Stock car racing returned to Georgetown Speedway’s progressively high-banked half-mile clay oval last Friday, June 28. Two pursed classes and four support classes compet-ed. Sunoco Super Late Model and RUSH Late Model feature races in the Clash for Cash paid winners $3,500 and $1,150, respectfully. The RUSH Late Model purse, first adver-tised at $1,000 was upped $150 by speedway sponsor Ad-Art Sign Company.
When Jamie Lathroum left his home in Mechanicsville, Md., last Friday, heading to Georgetown Speedway, he was expecting the ride to take its usual two-and-a-half hours, not the five-hour and 40-minute fiasco that followed. Traffic was especially heavy head-ing into the Fourth of July holiday. Making matters worse, when Lathroum got near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, he found traffic at a standstill and the bridge closed for the afternoon because of an accident.
Lathroum got to the speedway just in time to jump out of his hauler and run to the driv-ers’ meeting. While Lathroum was at the drivers’ meeting, his crew unloaded his race car and began making what last-minute adjustments they could before the start of heat racing.
When the Sunoco Super Late Model “Clash for Cash” heat races were over, Lathroum was on the pole for 30 laps, with Millsboro racer Amanda Whaley starting next to him. Whaley tried to take the lead from Lathroum during the early laps, but Lathroum shook off her early challenges and began opening a half-track advantage over her.
Meanwhile, Whaley began having to fight off another local, Rick Eckert of Georgetown, who, after several failed attempts, shot by her on the high side of turns three and four. Second place was his, while first was half a track ahead of him.
In the final laps, Eckert closed the gap, seriously challenging the leader as they got the three-laps-to-go signal. Eckert snatched the lead for a lap. They were side-by-side, bang-ing doors, as they crossed the stripe, with Lathroum leading by less than a fraction of a second.
“I think Eckert got by me one lap, and I got him back on the last lap, which was good ’cause it was the last lap and that’s the one that counts,” Lathroum said after his win.
Further back in the top five were Jason Covert, Whaley and Georgetown native Ross Robinson.
Later, Whaley was denied a second money win — this time from her friend Matt Hill of Georgetown, who beat her under the 20-lap RUSH Late Model Series checkered flag. Hill started on the feature pole and was perfect from flag to flag.
Joe Warren battled from eighth to a third-place finish, while Nick Davis was fourth, fol-lowed by Robinson, for the top five.
“I thought she was going to get me there at the beginning,” Hill said of Whaley. “But that was a fun race between us two. We’re great friends, we hang out all the time, but I’m so glad I beat her. She’s tough, but we were able to come up with the win tonight. The car handled great. We actually, at first, jumped ahead and changed a lot of things and got screwed up.”
Kelly Putz won the 12-lap Modified division of the Southern Delaware Vintage Stock Car class. In his class debut, David Tucker topped the Sportsman division. Georgetown native Kirk Lawson led the way in the Little Lincoln Cars competition. Jordan Herbert and Melvin Joseph Jr. finished second and third.
“We put a lot of time in this car,” Lawson said. “We do a lot of work during the week, and it shows on the track. You know this car handles real good. It likes Georgetown Speedway, and the banking here lets you hold on. I want to thank Jay Wilkins, Wilkins Wild Life, First State Flag, Leisure Point and Stockley Tavern.”
Robert and David Smith of Delmar dominated the Delaware Super Trucks feature race, taking the top two positions, followed by Matt Esham in third.
“It was a good race tonight — no bumping, no bruising,” reported Robert Smith, who drives a 1998 Ford Ranger. “We started sixth and worked our way up there. My buddy Matt [Esham] led every lap until the last lap. There was a caution. On the restart, he made a mistake. He went from his top groove to the bottom; I took the top side, and that was it. My brother David finished second, and Matt was right behind him.”
Joe Waters led the Delmarva Chargers feature flag-to-flag.
This Friday and Saturday, July 5-6, Georgetown Speedway will be hosting the Monster Truck Racing League’s Monster Truck Madness. According to the league, trucks will in-clude the legendary Big Foot, Snake Bite, Wolf’s Head, Fit Torque and more. Quad Wars Racing will be new to this year’s program. The Monster Truck Experience costs $10.
A pre-show meet-and-greet is scheduled for 5-6:30 p.m. Show time is 7 p.m. each day.
By Bruce C. Walls
Special to the Coastal Point