Local auto racing: Del. Speedway suffers difficult week; Tanner posts 1st win

DELMAR — Last week was a rough week at Delaware International Speedway.

On Tuesday, track promoter Charlie Cathell was severly burned in a fire and explosion while transferring racing fuel at the track. He was airlifted to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where he is in stable condition recovering from burns on his arm and torso.

Cathell’s family hopes that he will be able to be released sometime during the coming week to complete his lengthy recovery at home.

On Saturday night a blown circuit breaker for part of the track lighting delayed the program for more than an hour while a replacement was located and installed. With the first appearance of the Mid-Atlantic Super Sprints on the program and a total of 124 cars in the pits, it was a race against time to get the program in before the 1 a.m. curfew.

Two red flags in the first five laps of the MASS feature — one requiring emergency transport — ended the feature just before curfew and forced the speedway to add the RUSH Crate Late Model and Mod Lite features to the June 24 program.

The first appearance for the Mid-Atlantic Sprint Cars Series did not get off to a smooth start.

Twenty-three cars took the green but the red was out before the first lap was completed when Bobby Scherft and Bronzie Lawson locked horns and did a double flip off the third turn. Both drivers were OK but their cars were not.

After the restart, it took only five more circuits before the red was out a second time. Fire erupted on Bobby Sandt’s car and he slid to a stop in the third turn.

Safety crews quickly extinguished the first but Sandt was transported to the local hospital after suffering burns in the incident.

Just when it appeared that leader Kevin Darling had the race under control, he slowed going down the front straightaway and rolled to a stop in the first turn to bring out the yellow.

Tim Tanner found himself back on top and held off Tommy Carberry for the remaining distance to post his first win of the season.

A full field of 24 NAPA Big Blocks competed. Jamie Mills was hammer down from his ninth starting spot and moved on top by lap nine before posting his second straight victory.

In the Super Late Models feature, Mark Pettyjohn got a great restart on lap five and beat Herb Tunis to the first turn on the restart. Pettyjohn stayed in control from there to earn the win.

The 15-lap AC Delco PSC 602 Sportsman feature turned out to be a great battle between second-place starter David Jenkins and former champion Scott Hitchens.

After a late-race restart, the pair did the rub-rail grind down the front straight. Hitchens was able to get to the first turn first to lead with four laps to go and race to his third straight victory in the division.

In the Delmarva Charger 12-lap feature, Tanner Marvel started in sixth before driving to his second win this season.

Truitt takes Super ET at U.S. 13: Action at U.S. 13 Dragway moved to Friday night this past weekend.

Coming out on top of the all “Door Slammer” Top ET final was Phillip Truitt of Salisbury, Md. in his ‘80 Malibu.

Chad Thurman of Seaford drove his ‘69 Camaro to the win in Mod ET and Chris Lynch of Ocean View rode his Hayabusa to his first win in Pro Bike. Other winners on the night included: Sara Davis of Laurel in Hot Rod; Ronn Carey of Dagsboro in Street; Chase Huber of Queen Anne, Md. in Jr. Dragster 1 and Hope Clarke of Parsonsburg, Md. in Jr. Dragster 2.

Truitt faced Billy Groton in his ‘90 Camaro in the Top ET final. Truitt had a .006 reaction to Groton’s .010 and ran a 10.601/119.84 on a 10.57 dial-in for the win. Groton was quick running an 8.453/152.05 on an 8.40 dial.

Action continues this Friday night. Gates open at 3:30 p.m. with time runs starting at 4:30 p.m. and eliminations beginning at approximately 7:30 p.m.

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