RYAN WATT SCORES DELAWARE DIRT TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP WIN IN SMALL BLOCKS

By Charlie Brown, Delmar, DE – Ryan Watt of Boyertown, N.J. has taken a real liking to the Delaware International Speedway in 2017. On Friday night he topped a strong field of Small Block Modifieds to post his first win in the Fall Championship event. When added to his two previous wins this season his $5110 victory took his race winning to over $13,000 this year!

Three cautions before the first lap was in the books got the race off to a rocky start. The first was brought out when Jamie Mills got around in turn three. Neal Williams, Kevin Sockriter and Scott Hulmes tangled on the next attempt and perennial favorite, Craig VonDohren slowed on the back straight with a flat tire to bring out the third before one lap was in the books.

When the first lap did get in it was Richland, Pa.’s Jared Umbenhauer, who was making his first start at DIS, in the lead. Ryan Watt bolted from his fifth starting spot into second and immediately began applying the pressure to the leader.

Watt proved to be too much for Umbenhauer taking the lead on lap six. Behind the lead duo a good battle was being waged by H.J. Bunting in third and Richie Pratt, Jr. in fourth, both of which are former Fall Championship winners in the Small Blocks.

Pratt got by Bunting on lap ten and Jordan Watson followed into third. Watt was showing a lot of confidence in his mount as he threaded the needle going three wide in lapped traffic.

VonDorhen was making his way back towards the front but there was some confusion as to whether or not he had gotten a lap down when he pitted with the flat. A post race evaluation found that he had indeed missed the first lap but his charge towards the front would prove to be profitable at the end.

A yellow on lap sixteen would tighten the field and lead to a long stretch of green that lasted until three laps to go. By that point, VonDohren had worked his way up to the leader but sparks started showering from his front brakes indicating a problem.

Watt remained smooth and quick and seemed intent on lapping the field. He may have come close to achieving that had Chuck Sayres not gotten around to bring out the final yellow with three to go. Watt had no problem handling the final circuits as he outdistanced Umbenhauer to the checkered.

“Man was that thing fast,” said a smiling Watt in Victory Lane. “Right from the beginning I knew we had a good car but every start there in the beginning kept getting called back. When Neal (Williams) went around in front of me – I don’t know how I missed that deal.”

Umbenhauer made his first Delaware start a good one finishing in second with Watson third. Mills and Pratt, Jr. got together in the final turn with Pratt getting around and Mills finishing fourth. VonDohren’s charge back through the field placed him as the first car that was one lap down, finishing fifth.

50-Lap Small Block Finish: 1. Ryan Watt; 2. Jared Umbenhauer; 3. Jordan Watson; 4. Jamie Mills; 5. Craig VonDohren; 6. H.J. Bunting; 7. Jeff Brown; 8. Brad Trice; 9. Scott VanGorder; 10. Trent Willey; 11. Chuck Sayres; 12. Matthew Peck; 13. Richie Pratt, Jr.; 14. Neal Williams; 15. Duane Rust; 16. Ryan Mortimer; 17. Jack Swain; 18. Kevin Sockriter; 19. Pete Serra; 20. Scott Hitchens.