Racing back on track at Delmar

DELMAR — The energy and excitement was palpable as dirt track racing resumed at Delaware International Speedway on Saturday night.

The races were held under state-mandated guidelines and restrictions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic at Charlie Cathell’s half-mile oval.

Joseph Watson and Donald Lingo, Jr. were the headline winners in their divisions as they defeated reigning champions, Jordan Watson and Amanda Robinson, respectively.

It was a battle to get to the lead when the green flag waved for the Big Block Modifieds, as pole-sitter Pat Walls, Joseph Watson and Jordan Watson went three-wide into the first corner. Joseph Watson prevailed with Walls, Jordan Watson, and H.J. Bunting scavenging for the second position.

Late in the race, Ricky Elliott began running down the leaders but ran out of time.

Despite a handful of restarts and late-race lapped traffic, Joseph Watson captured the first checkered flag of the season with Jordan Watson and Elliott in tow.

Watson said he was excited in victory lane to finally get back to “normalcy” at the race track. He was also happy to finish his first event of the year after having misfortune during Florida Speedweeks and an early-season event at nearby Georgetown Speedway.

Donald Lingo, Jr. dominated the 20-lap Super Late Model feature event from the pole position, extending his lead over Amanda Robinson nearly a straightway.

The previous track champion was smooth and consistent in his family-owned No. 55L.

The AC Delco Modified division arguably produced one of the most exciting races of the night, with Adam White holding off the hard-charging Scott Hitchens.

With five laps remaining, a late-race caution regrouped the field with Hitchens up to the third position. Over the next five laps, Hitchens tracked down the top two cars, with a drag race off turn four for the checkered.

Adam White edged out Hitchens, though, to take the win.

Matt Hill picked up where he left off in the 2019 season, piloting the Courtland Manor No. 84 to victory in the RUSH Late Model division.

Defending Modified Lite champion Ray Gulliver was in the right place at the right time, as leaders Jerry Barker and Jason Musser tangled with two laps remaining. Gulliver captured the victory.

Chris “Tippy” Martinez continued his success in the Delmarva Chargers division, taking the checkered flag.

Racing will resume at Delaware International on a unique Friday night edition for a bonus payout.

Boys’ soccer

Sals’ Blackwell earns state honor: Drew Blackwell of Salesianum was named the Gatorade Delaware Boys’ Soccer Player of the Year.

Blackwell is the 12th player from Sallies to win the award

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior midfielder led the Sals to a 17-1 record and their 10th straight DIAA Division I state championship in the fall. Blackwell tallied 18 goals and eight assists, including a hat trick in Salesianum’s 7-0 win over Caesar Rodney High in the state final.

The Delaware Coaches’ Player of the Year, Blackwell was a two-time first-team All-State selection. He concluded his high school soccer career with 36 goals and 26 assists.

“Drew had a great presence and consistently affected the match positively for his team,” said Sussex Tech Carlos Villa. “He also seemed to bring a good mix to the chemistry of the Sals’ squad. With so many quality players, leadership and camaraderie are vital to success — he did that very well.”

Blackwell has maintained a weighted 4.11 GPA in the classroom. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on scholarship at the University of New Hampshire this fall.