Racing: Joseph gets win at ‘Blast From The Past’ event

Shelby Hurley, the 2014 Mar-Del Watermelon Queen, presents driver Mel Joseph with a victory trophy.

Shelby Hurley, the 2014 Mar-Del Watermelon Queen, presents driver Mel Joseph with a victory trophy.

It was an activity packed night on Saturday at the Delaware International Speedway.

Dozens of drivers that helped to forge the history of the sport in Delaware were honored guest as part of the second “Blast from the Past” and the Mar-Del Watermelon Association sponsored the night and treated all fans to samples of their delicious watermelons.

A solid field of cars were on hand but Mother Nature would have the final say hitting the speedway with a violent thunderstorm following the qualifying heats and vintage division features.

Prior to the start of the heat races the speedway paid a final tribute to their former pace car driver, Norris Bryan who lost his battle with cancer back on Aug 12.

Bryan was a former racer back in the 50’s and had paced the field at Delaware International for more than three decades. He was a heavy equipment operator by trade up until his illness and was noted for his fine touch at the controls of all types of construction equipment.

His final request was to have promoter Charlie Cathell drive the pace car and have his favorite driver, Harold Bunting spread his ashes during one final pace lap in the presence of his family, friends and fans.

It was a fitting tribute to a person who had literally carved speedway into the history of local racing.

The qualifying heats were won by: Scott VanGorder and Jamie Mills in the NAPA Big Block Modifieds; Andrew Mullins and Ricky Elliott in the Super Late Models; Robbie Walls Jr. and Zac Weller in the Crate Models; James Hill and Mike Stratton in the Mod Lites and Dwayne Crockett, Kevin Sockriter and Chad Clark in the AC Delco PSC Modifieds.

With severe weather approaching, the Little Lincoln Vintage cars took to the speedway for their 12-lap feature. It took five attempts to get the first lap in the books.

During those cautions pole sitter Bill Brittingham and outside front row starter Mel Joseph Jr. headed to the pits with flat tires. Both were able to return and start at the rear. With the yellows involving most of the middle of the field it only took three circuits before Joseph was able to pull by leader John Stevenson and move back on top.

Once out front, Joseph pulled away for his second win of the season.

Stevenson got around on the final turn and the second spot went to Brian Tracy making his first start in the family No. 3. Bunky White finished in third with Brittingham fourth and Stevenson fifth.

A great field of 15 vintage stock cars were on hand and veteran Freddy Brightbill jumped out to the early lead.

The yellow was out on lap two when Don Davidson went off the first turn and got into the retaining bank ending his night. Dwayne Heck began to pressure Brightbill on the restart and took the lead just before halfway.

Once out front, Heck was able to open a comfortable lead and drive to his fourth straight win. As he made his way to victory lane and sky opened ending the remainder of the night.

Brightbill held on to finish in second with Charlie Moore third. Fourth went to Oscar Fields making his first start of the year and Scott Calhoun rounded out the top five. Vic Thomas once again finished as first Sportsman in seventh.

 This Saturday night will feature the “King of Kings” for AC Delco Modified winners and a 20-lap Fall Championship qualifier for the Mod Lites along with the NAPA Big Block Modifieds, Super Late Models and Crate Models plus the addition of the Delmarva Chargers, Super Trucks and Slide for 5 for a huge eight division show. Gates open at 5 p.m. with hot laps at 7 p.m.

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