By Charlie Brown, DELMAR, DE – A sellout crowd of 280 competitors, family and friends packed the Delmar Fire House Saturday night for the 54th Annual U.S. 13 Dragway Awards Banquet. The top IHRA and List racers for the 2017 season shared the $20,000 in cash and contingencies.

The evening started on an emotional note as the Dragway paid tribute to long-time competitor, Wayne Ketterman. After competing at the track for more than three decades, Ketterman is currently in the race of his life as he battles cancer. Escorted by his wife Renea and sons Tommy and W.R. (both of which are also accomplished racers) Wayne was presented with the first ever U.S. 13 Dragway Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment, dedication and love of the sport. Ketterman credited his success by saying, “I try to treat people the way I like to be treated.” He was then given the opportunity to present his son Tommy with his trophy for finishing 14th in Top ET.

Second generation driver, Jamie Russell of Dover, Del. captured the Top ET point championship earning $1400 from the point fund. Russell had an outstanding season earning 581 points and his first point title. Former champion Ben Parks finished in second with 511. Jamie also earned family bragging rights as he finished ahead of his father and former division champ, Vernon Russell who ended up third with 471. Rounding out the top five were Horace Willey with 456 and Alex Bradford with 444. Trophies were presented by Eddie Morris of Pepsi Bottling Ventures.

Rounding out the divisions award winners were: Brooks Moore with 433; Phillip Truitt with 420; Michael Dilorenzo with 352; Frank Lecates with 352; Bobby Insley with 344; Doug Milner with 328; Glenn Reese with 322; Bill Groton with 312 and Tommy Ketterman with 305.

Ben Garnett of Smyrna, Del. captured his first ever title in the Mod ET division. Driving his beautiful ‘71 Maverick, Barnett amassed 632 points worth $1050. He outdistanced Daryl Beauchamp who finished second with 581 and Kody Mariner who finished in third with 556. Fourth went to Brian Riebert, Jr. with 510 and Vincent Wade rounded out the top five with 489.

The remainder of the top 14 who received awards in order were: Crystal Hudson with 435; Roger Ridgeway, Jr. with 418; Tim Foskey, Jr. with 382; Chad Thurman with 355; Jim Williams with 337; David Hornsby with 324; Ryan Groton with 321; Jacob Bowie with 317 and John Henderson with 313. Trophies were presented by the Cheswold Connection.

Jason Taylor of Salisbury, Md. appeared on the radar screen for the first time this season, competing in the Outten Brothers Furniture Pro Bike division. Taylor on his Kawasaki turned out to be a legitimate threat as he outdistanced the veteran riders for his first championship with 463 points worth $600. The title went down to the final week as Taylor edged former champ, Roland Powell, Jr. by just four points in the final standing. Third was John Bartkovich with 368 and Chris Lynch got the final award spot in fourth with 331. Trophies were presented by Roland Powell and Outten Brothers.

Michael Jefferson of Parsonsburg, Md. powered his ‘74 Nova to his first championship in Street Eliminator earning $350. Ronn Carey scored several wins and finished in second with 520 and former champion Gary Stickles came in third with 417. Trophies were presented by Insinger Performance.

Second generation driver, Cole Foskey of Rhodesdale, Md. upheld his family’s championship tradition posting his first title win in Jr. Dragster 1. Foskey earned 326 points worth $100 and was also presented with the Raymond E. Townsend Youth Achievement Award which goes to a Jr. Dragster driver that best exhibits the qualities of good sportsmanship on and off the track and academic performance in school. Finishing second was Chase Huber with 221 points and Chris Lynch finished third with 184. Trophies were presented by Steve Drummond of Drummond Race Cars.

It was a sweep for first time champions as Brett Holston of Felton, Del. came on strong in the latter part of the season the win a tight battle for the Jr. Dragster 2 title. Holston tallied 404 points earning $100. Former Jr. 1 champ, Nicholas Bowie finished in second just eight points back with 396 and Caitly Hooper finished third just ten points back with 394. Rounding out the standings were: Hope Clarke with 345; Carter Foseky with 335; Keith Riddle with 287; Vance Usilton with 218 and Morgan Larkin with 119. Trophies were presented by Drummond Race Cars.

The Top 10 grudge racers from the 302 List were on hand. At the top of the list was Tom Lynch, driver of “The Girlfriend” Mustang who picked up $1000, a championship belt and contingencies. Lewis Jones was second on the list and former No. 1, Steve Drummond ended in third. Danny Clark held the fourth spot and J.J. Joiner rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Bobby Osborn; Scott Willoughby; Adam Adams; Troy Wongus and Ray Rodgers. Tim Lewis of L&D Performance of Berlin, Md. added over $2500 in contingencies to the $3900 track fund for the 302 racers.

All champions were presented with one of a kind custom made trophies from The Metal Shop plus championship jackets and gold cards for the 2018 season.

Southern Bracket Racing Association (SBRA) point champions were also recognized and included: Jamie Russell in Top ET; Ben Garnett in Mod ET; Harvey Powell in Pro Bike; Gary Stickles in Street; Cole Foskey in Jr. Dragster 1 and Brett Holston in Jr. Dragster 2.

Special recognition was given to the 57 racers from the U.S. 13 Dragway who traveled to the Mason-Dixon Dragway in Hagerstown, Md. at the end of the season for the SBRA season finale that involved six race tracks from Delaware, Maryland and Virginia competing over five days. “Team 13” more than held their own with the over 300 competitors. Phillip Truitt was recognized for winning 46 rounds in four days of racing including finishing in the High Rollers Top ET semi-finals and winning the Gamblers Race. Truitt was runner-up in Saturday’s Top ET Race of Champions and runner-up in Sunday’s Top ET final.

Many other team members also had a great week with Ben Garnett winning the Mod ET Gamblers Race on Thursday. W.R. Ketterman won the High Rollers with Wayne Patton runner-up while Daryl Beauchamp won the Mod ET Gamblers Race on Friday. Kody Mariner won the Mod ET Race of Champions on Saturday and Morgan Larkin was runner-up in the Jr. Dragster final on Sunday This combined with many other teams going deep into eliminations earned U.S. 13 Dragway the Gold Cup as 2017 SBRA Champions.

Season sponsors were also recognized including: Delmar Pizza; Drummond Races Cars; NAPA; Pepsi Bottling Ventures; Cheswold Connection; Why Not Travel; The Metal Shop; Outten Brothers Home Furnishings; Advanced Auto Parts of Delmar; Insinger Performance, Inc.; L&D Performance; Tawes Brothers GMC Buick; T&S Marine and Hopkins Automotive.