By Chad Cathell, LAUREL, DE – Drivers and fans turned out in force Saturday night at the Laurel Fire Dept. Hall to honor the top drivers of the 2017 season at the Delaware International Speedway. Nearly $50,000 in cash and awards were distributed to the top ten in the five weekly divisions. Division champions were crowned which included; Jamie Mills of Milford, Del. in the NAPA Big Block Modifieds; Ross Robinson of Georgetown, Del. in the Super Late Models; Joe Warren of Georgetown, Del. in the RUSH Crate Models; Scott Hitchens of Gumboro, Del. in the AC Delco PSC 602 Sportsman and James Hill of Laurel, Del. in the Mod Lites.


            “Jamin” Jamie Mills was quick right out of the gate for the 2017 season posting back to back wins in June. He remained a constant threat in the top five and was consistent throughout the entire season. By the final month he had picked up one more win and tallied a comfortable point lead that led him to his fourth NAPA Big Block Modified title with 775 points. Finishing second in points was former champion and Mills’ nephew, Jordan Watson who notched a feature win and earned 700 points. A late season win allowed former champion, H.J. Bunting to slip into third with 675. Watson’s brother, JoJo (Joseph) finished fourth with 601 and 2016 Rookie of the Year, Brandon Watkins rounded out the top five with 569.


            Rounding out the top ten in order were: Scott VanGorder; Matt Jester; Kevin Sockriter; Dave Dissinger and a tie between Robert Dutton and Mike White for tenth. Trophies were presented by NAPA Auto Parts of Delmarva.


            Ross Robinson’s S.R. Pete & Sons Late Model Championship was obtained through shear determination. Competing in his first full season in years in the division, Robinson was a strong contender from the start but a mid season crash that totaled his car while leading was a major setback for the team. Robinson returned with his backup which was not up to par with the car he wrecked but through hard work and determination he entered the final point night without a win but holding a mere five point lead over Mark Pettjohn. Robinson’s performance that night was enough to earn him the title with 825 points to Pettyjohn’s 805 final.


            Seven time champion, Donald Lingo, Jr. was also in the hunt to the end finishing third just 15 points behind Pettjohn with 790. Fouth went to Nick Davis with 769 and “The Wild Child” Amanda Whaley rounded out the top five with 705.


Rounding out the top ten were: Ricky Elliott; Kerry King; Rob Schirmer; Geoff Carey and Dylan Evans. Trophies were presented by S.R. Pete & Sons.


            The speedway ran under the RUSH Crate Late Model Series banner for the first time in 2017 which enticed former five time champion, Joe Warren to return to the class. Warren got his first win in the opening “Battle of the Bay” mid week series and would add three more including the Fall Championship to post his sixth point title with 810 points. Former champion, Matt Hill gave Warren a run for his money finishing second just five points back with 805 and defending champion, Sparky White made it a three car battle on the final point night ending up in third just six points back with 804. Sparky also would come out on top in the overall “Battle of the Bay” series. Matt Glanden captured a “Battle of the Bay” win plus one more to turn some heads and earned 745 and Brandon Sturgis had his best season finishing in fifth withy 574.


            Finishing in sixth through tenth in order were: David Pettyjohn; Derek Magee; Trevor Collins; Scott Tessman and Mike Wharton. Trophies were presented by Sysco Eastern Maryland.


            Scott Hitchens was back in top form in 2017 in the AC Delco PSC 602 Sportsman. Hitchens ran and hid from the rest of the field driving to five wins including a win in the mid week “Full Throttle” series earning 925 points. It was his second championship in the highly competitive division. Defending champion Jordn Justice finished in the second spot with 785 and former champion, Joe Tracy returned to weekly action finishing third with 750. Fourth went to last season’s Rookie of the Year, Adam White with 684 and Ryan Riddle rounded out the top five with 665.


            Sixth through tenth in order were: Jason Rush; Nick Alberti; David Jenkins; Matt Smith and Dwayne Crockett. Trophies were presented by R.C. Holloway Co.


            For the second year in a row, James Hill was the dominate driver in the Mod Lite division. Hill recorded a staggering 10 wins and earned 955 points for back to back titles. Former champion, Tim White tried to keep him in striking distance settling for second with 830 points and Ray Gulliver returned to weekly action to finish in third with 720. Nick Nash posted a solid fourth with 719 points and Aaron VanVorst rounded out the top five with 690.


Finishing in sixth through tenth in the standings were: Curt Miles, Jr.; Jason Musser; and Jake Nelson with Kirk Miles and Harry Mears tied for ninth. Trophies were presented by Pepsi Bottling Ventures of Salisbury, Md.


Rookie of the Year winners in the five divisions were recognized. They included: T.J. Williams in the NAPA Big Blocks; Geoff Carey in the S.R. Pete & Sons Late Models; Sean Metz in the A.C. Delco PSC 602 Sportsman; Trevor Collins in the RUSH Crate Late Models and Brian Gladden in the Mod Lites.



            All champions received championship jackets and gold cards for admission in 2018. Champion trophies were created by The Metal Shop, with graphics provided by Victory Graphics.


            The sponsors on the 2017 Delaware International Speedway Money Trail were individually recognized for their support and contributions. They included: AC Delco and R.C. Holloway Co., Sysco Eastern Maryland; The Metal Shop: Elliott Farms of Delmar, Del.; Insinger Performance; Scott’s Furniture; Taylor & Messick; Lias Tire and American Racer; Clark’s Swimming Pools, Inc.; Why Not Travel; S.R. Pete & Sons HVAC; NAPA Auto Parts of Delmarva; L&J Sheet Metal; Hoosier Tire Mid Atlantic and Hoosier Racing Tires and Delmar Drivers Club.