DELMAR, Del. — Nothing, not even a caution-filled feature on Saturday, has been able to keep H.J. Bunting from victory lane in the NAPA Big Block Modified division at Delaware Int’l Speedway.
Bunting, the all-time championship leader at the track with six titles, overtook rookie Brandon Watkins on a restart inside of five laps to go en route to his second win of the season in the No. 85 Art Collins Trucking entry.
“It never hurts to get another win,” Bunting told Race Chaser Online after the win. “I would rather have the wins then the points, honestly. We are just trying to get as many wins as we can.”
“Brandon (Watkins) was doing a good job; he was holding his line. He was protecting the bottom pretty good, so I had to use the outside to get past.”
The Milford, Delaware native also extended his commanding lead in the championship battle — he now holds more than 200 points over second in the standings as he chases his seventh championship.
“Hopefully we can get some more wins,” Bunting expressed. “We are just trying to keep the car owner happy.”
Making his fifth start in the Big Block Modifieds, rookie Watkins grabbed a hard fought runner-up finish, a career-best through five races for the former AC Delco PSC Modified standout and his second top five since joining the track’s top series.
“I don’t really know how to explain it,” an ecstatic Watkins said. ‘Two heat race wins and two runner-up finishes in my rookie season — I can’t ask for more than that. Cautions were the only thing that killed me tonight.”
Cambridge, Maryland’s Drew Simmons captured the final spot on the podium, scoring his first top five this season in the Big Block Modified division after leading the early stages of the feature.
Despite spinning out during the main event, Matt Hawkins fought back to fourth, rebounding from a dismal showing in last week’s S.R. Pete & Sons Super Late Model vs. Big Block Modified event for his first top five this season.
After being credited with his first win in the Big Block Modifieds last week, Dave Dissinger rounded out the top five, his third such result this season.
Following the invert, Simmons started the event from the pole position and appeared to have a race-winning No. 48 BDS Argo Sales modified during the opening laps.
However, on the first caution, which was brought out when Hawkins’ modified went around, Watkins overtook Simmons for the front spot on the ensuing restart and never looked back, until six laps to go, when chaos began to reign throughout the field.
After a myriad of cautions, Bunting was able to move into second on one of the late restarts. He then cruised right to the bumper of Watkins’ modified, where he passed the rookie two laps later — sailing to another Big Block Modified feature win.
Robert Dutton, Scott VanGorder, Clay Tatman, Kyle Fuller, and Dale Hawkins capped off the top 10.
Brad Trice, who was second in the class points standings entering the weekend, did not race on Saturday — electing to spend his Father’s Day weekend with family.