AMSOIL Sprints
Monday, 29 May 2023


Winner Preston Lattomus (Lewes, Del.) Winner Preston Lattomus (Lewes, Del.) Steve Koletar Photo


By: Nick Fillman – USAC ECSC

Winchester, Virginia (May 27, 2023)………Preston Lattomus of Lewes, Delaware scored his second ever Rapid Tire USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series Presented by Capitol Renegade Series victory at the Winchester Speedway in dominating fashion.

Lattomus finished second in the event last September, in a close duel with Briggs Danner, and was able to reverse the result on Saturday night.

Mike Thompson and Preston Lattomus lead the field to green for the 25-lap feature event, with Lattomus getting the better of Thompson down the back straightaway and taking the early race lead. Briggs Danner quickly dispatched Ed Aikin and Joey Amantea in the opening circuit and drew in on the rear of Bruce Buckwalter Jr for the runner up spot.

An extremely slick surface, with the bottom lane being the one and only lane for racing, left the field strung out quickly, with cars nose to tail battling for positions waiting for the driver in front of them to make a mistake and capitalize for position.

Preston Lattomus set a torrid pace quickly jumping out to a half-track lead over the bulk of the field. Bruce Buckwalter Jr held strong for second over Briggs Danner and Joey Amantea early, with Amantea taking advantage of a slight bobble by Danner to move into second around the lap ten mark.

As the field closed in on the half way point of the feature event, Lattomus had begun to encounter lapped traffic, but still maintained his half-track lead. Joey Amantea was trying every move he had to try and work to the underside of Bruce Buckwalter Jr for the runner up spot, with Briggs Danner not far behind. Ed Aikin led the battle for fifth ahead of Drevicki, Perigo, and Bobby Butler.

Lattomus continued to pick up lapped cars and keep his large lead over Buckwalter when the first and only caution flag of the feature event flew on lap seventeen for dual issues from a slowing Troy Fraker and Brett Rose. Fraker was able to retire and rejoin at the tail of the field.

The ensuing restart for Lattomus was perfect as he shot away from Buckwalter and the rest of the field. With lap eighteen being completed at the line, Amantea dove to the bottom of the speedway and put the elbows up and out and moved Buckwalter out of the for the runner up spot. Buckwalter regained his speed, but after losing another position to Briggs Danner, fell to fourth.

Amantea tried all he could to reel in Lattomus for the feature event lead, even drawing to within two to three car lengths with four laps to go, but Lattomus again, pulled away and put a large gap on the field.

Preston Lattomus went unchallenged for the remainder of the event and scored his second career victory over Joey Amantea, Briggs Danner, Bruce Buckwalter Jr. and Ed Aikin.

While Lattomus missed last week’s action at the Clinton County Speedway as they were rebuilding cars, and preparing a new Capitol Renegade trailer, the team opted to bring their 358 powered RPM chassis that they utilize for winged racing at Williams Grove and other area speedways. The lesser horsepower certainly helped on Saturday night in the slick, but Scott McClaren had Lattomus hooked up and cruising for the team’s second career win. Lattomus has been fast all season long, continuing the strength that the team showed to close out the 2022 season following their first career win at Lincoln.

Joey Amantea is a driver who is not a fan of slick tracks but drove a very smart race on Saturday night at Winchester. The young and ambitious driver fought tooth and nail with both Briggs Danner and Bruce Buckwalter Jr throughout the feature event, and was rewarded with a strong runner up finish, and will continue to move back up the points standings following a DNQ at Williams Grove in April.

Briggs Danner entered the night as the most recent winner at the Winchester Speedway, and will leave the speedway at the series points leader, continue to top three and top five the rest of the field. Danner and the team are still searching for their first series win and have been all over the top five attempting to do so. There is no doubt that Danner and team will break through into series victory lane once again, and perhaps it will come at the biggest race of the season next week at Williams Grove.

Bruce Buckwalter is a small track specialist. Three great runs in the month of May for Buckwalter culminated with a top four run at Winchester on Saturday. While we are sure Bruce would rather have finished in the second position, possibly if not for the contact with Amantea, the veteran open wheel driver ended the month of May with a solid top five run.

Rounding out the top five was another veteran driver who has been on a tear of top five runs, was Ed Aikin. Coming off a top third place at Grandview, and a second at Clinton County, Ed came into the Winchester Speedway looking for another solid run. After nearly scoring a heat race win in a fierce battle with Carmen Perigo Jr, Aikin ran a solid race and came home with yet another top five. The first feature win for Aikin sure feels like it’s closer than ever for the veteran driver.

Up next for the series is the biggest event of the season at the Williams Grove Speedway on Friday, June 2nd. The second annual Bill Gallagher Memorial will pay $5,000 to the winner in honor of the legendary car owner. A stop to the Bedford Speedway on June 9th, and the Delaware International Speedway on June 30th will end another busy month for the series, with the annual USAC National “Eastern Storm” sandwiched in the middle of the month.





FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature, starting positions in parentheses) 1. 39-Briggs Danner (6), 2. 88J-Joey Amantea (4), 3. 83-Bruce Buckwalter Jr. (1), 4. 11-Mike Thompson (8), 5. 19-Steven Drevicki (5), 6. 5B-Bobby Butler (7), 7. 87-Austin Graby (3), 8. 45-Brett Rose (9), 9. 96-Lee Kauffman (2). NT

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature, starting positions in parentheses) 1. 21-Carmen Perigo (4), 2. 7-Ed Aikin (3), 3. 29-Dalton Herrick (1), 4. 23B-Preston Lattomus (6), 5. 18T-J.T. Ferry (8), 6. 117-David Swanson (7), 7. 67-Jason Cherry (2), 8. 12w-Troy Fraker (5). NT

FEATURE: (25 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Preston Lattomus (2), 2. Joey Amantea (4), 3. Briggs Danner (6), 4. Bruce Buckwalter Jr. (3), 5. Ed Aikin (5), 6. Steven Drevicki (9), 7. Mike Thompson (1), 8. Carmen Perigo (7), 9. Bobby Butler (11), 10. J.T. Ferry (10), 11. Austin Graby (13), 12. David Swanson (12), 13. Dalton Herrick (8), 14. Jason Cherry (14), 15. Troy Fraker (16), 16. Brett Rose (15), 17. Lee Kauffman (17). NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-25 Preston Lattomus.

HARD CHARGER: Briggs Danner (6th to 3rd)

USAC RAPID TIRE EAST COAST SPRINT CARS PRESENTED BY CAPITOL CUSTOM TRAILERS POINTS: 1-Briggs Danner-354, 2-Steven Drevicki-326, 3-Ed Aikin-273, 4-Joey Amantea-269, 5-J.T. Ferry-259, 6-Bruce Buckwalter Jr.-255, 7-Bobby Butler-239, 8-Austin Graby-211, 9-Preston Lattomus-199, 10-Jason Cherry-199.