Charlie Cathell and his dad, William, ran the Delaware International Speedway for many years before William’s death. Charlie now works with his son Mark and his son Chad, a fourth-generation Cathell now playing a big part at the speedway.
The grounds were spruced up for the season on Sunday and new ideas added to the schedule including the Full-Throttle series, more mid-week events and some rare Saturday nights off during the season.
For a driver like HJ Bunting, a seven time track champion, having a Saturday night off during the summer is going to be something different. He grew up at DIS watching his dad, Harold, race. He’s been there ever since with his own career.
“You have to take the good with the bad,” said Bunting of the schedule change. “We’ll still be racing, just not every Saturday like we’re used to.”
Bunting wasn’t sure if he’ll take the night off, or go race elsewhere when the Modifieds are not scheduled at his home track.
“Jake (Marine) has plenty of cars so it’s up to him if we want to do some traveling,” said Bunting. “I guess it will depend on how long the break is. It will definitely be a change.”
The Full-Throttle series pays a bigger purse than the track does on a weekly Saturday night which is good for the regulars like Bunting, but it also draws tougher competition.
“I think he had a really good turnout of cars tonight and the crowd looked good,” said Bunting. “Hopefully he’ll be able to start building off this. It can only be good for the track.”
Although Jamie Mills and Jordan Watson live in nearby Milford, Delaware they both raced last season on Saturday nights at N.J.’s Bridgeport Speedway. Thanks to the schedule changes, they’ll both race this year at DIS and have listed it as their home track for the lucrative American Racer Cup points.
“You have to stay in Delaware because that’s where the money is,” said Mills. “I like the way the schedule is structured. I’m getting old and having a Saturday night off is a good thing. I enjoy me, my wife and my kids going out on the boat on Sundays. Maybe we’ll go out on some Saturdays when were not so tired.”
Dale Hawkins and his son Matt bring two Modifieds to DIS weekly so they compete against each other. Last year was a break out season for Matt, who won two features and finished second to Bunting in the point series.
Dale and Matt told AARN they were thrilled with the speedway changes and the facility. While they were not sure what they would do on non-racing Saturday nights this year, they are considering doing some traveling that wasn’t possible for them before. They said they’d like to drop in at, say Bridgeport on a Saturday night for a regular show. However because of handicapping they’d have to start in the back. They said they would rather do that than travel to a big event where there would be added pressure to qualify.