By CHARLIE BROWN, DELMAR, DE – The new track surface at the Delaware International Speedway made its debut on Saturday night. Several drivers found the new clay to their liking as it produced four first time winners this season. Taking the headliner for his first career win in the division was Shawn Ward of Laurel, Del. who won the 30-lap NAPA Big Block Fall Championship qualifier.
At the drop of the green Ward began to slowly pull away from Matt Hawkins and Brad Trice. H.J. Bunting got crossed up on lap five and recovered but not before the yellow was out. Bunting recovered without losing a spot and there was no penalty. The restart shuffled the top five with Ward remaining on top as Michael White moved from fourth to second and Howard O’Neal followed from fifth into third.
Jamie Mills slowed on lap eight with a flat and the yellow was out again. Trice took over third on the restart with Bobby Watkins charging into fourth and Jordan Watson fifth. At the halfway Ward was comfortably out front as Trice got by White for second and Watson got by Watkins for fourth. The final yellow flew on lap 17 when Scott VanGorder slowed on the front straight.
Ward quickly settled into a rhythm on the restart and once again began to pull away. With three to go Watson got by White for third. Ward would make no mistakes and take his first checkered by a little over a second over Trice. Watson finished in third with White and Watkins rounding out the top five. Heats were won by Trice and Beau Wilkins.
“It was good,” said Ward. “I knew the first couple laps that as long as we kept the car on the bottom it was going to be tough to get us on the top. It stay good all race long.”
30 Lap NAPA Big Block Modified Finish: 1. Shawn Ward; 2. Brad Trice; 3. Jordan Watson; 4. Michael White; 5. Bobby Watkins; 6. Beau Wilkins; 7. Matt Hawkins; 8. HJ Bunting; 9. Howard O’Neal; 10. Dale Hawkins; 11. Drew Simmons; 12. Scott VanGorder; 13. Dave Simmons; 14. Matt Jester; 15. Jamie Mills; DNS: Trent Willey.