AMSOIL Sprints
Sunday, 11 June 2023


Winner Briggs Danner (Allentown, Pa.) Winner Briggs Danner (Allentown, Pa.) Steve Koletar Photo


By: Nick Fillman – USAC ECSC

Bedford, Pennsylvania (June 9, 2023)………Briggs Danner, the 2022 champion, and current point leader out of Allentown, Pa. broke into Rapid Tire Services USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series presented by Capitol Renegade victory lane for the first time of the 2023 season on Friday night at Bedford (Pa.) Speedway.

Billy Ney and Carmen Perigo led the field to green for the 25-lap feature event on an extremely wet and fast Bedford Speedway following two different rounds of rains prior to the beginning of racing action.

Carmen Perigo was the early race leader after a drag race to the line over Billy Ney, with Steven Drevicki moving by positions and drawing in on race leader Perigo. Briggs Danner was also quickly on the move from the middle of the pack after the inversion, being highest in points, moving into third by the completion of lap one, and into the runner up spot by lap three.

Drevicki drew in on the back of Perigo and took the race lead down the back straightaway on the completion of lap three, and officially becoming the race leader on lap four.  Drevicki was bringing Danner along with him, as Danner quickly moved passed Perigo for second on lap three as well and began to pressure Drevicki for the race lead.

The high side of the speedway was very quick early with Drevicki using the bottom side of the speedway to try and hold off Danner, who was able to blast around the outside of Drevicki for the race lead on lap six. Danner immediately tried to turn and burn and quickly put distance on Drevicki and the rest of the field, but Drevicki did not let Danner get too far away.

Behind the lead duo, Carmen Perigo and Mike Thompson battled hard for the third-place position while Bobby Butler, who was possibly the fastest car on the speedway, tried to claw his way back into the top five.

Butler moved his way into the top five by lap ten and drew in on the hard battle for fourth between Thompson and Perigo. Thompson was able to clear Perigo and move away from the battle for a number of laps, while Butler eventually worked his way passed Perigo for fourth.

Up front, Danner was setting a lightning-fast pace and was beginning to pick off a few lapped cars at the tail end of the field as the clean and green feature was quickly winding down. Drevicki was still within a reasonable distance if Danner made any mistakes in lapped traffic while, further back, Thompson and Butler battled hard for the third-place position with only a handful of laps to go.

Around five to go, Danner encountered a hard-fought battle for position that was three wide at times between Billy Ney, Ed Aikin and J.T. Ferry who battled for sixth through eight. This allowed Drevicki to move even closer, at times even being in the same corner as the race leader. Danner wisely was able to pick his way around the cars battling for position and begin to stretch his lead over Drevicki as the final few laps clicked off.

Try as he might, Drevicki could not catch and pass Danner for the race lead as Briggs Danner dominated the feature for his first win of the 2023 season. Drevicki finished with a strong runner up, with Bobby Butler getting around Mike Thompson for the final spot on the podium, and Carmen Perigo Jr completing the top five.

Briggs Danner and the Hogue Racing team have been fast all season long, and their first win was only a matter of time. After last year’s dominant performance in nearly every feature event, some may have been surprised that it took seven races for the team to get their collective first win. However, they have been all over the podium all season long, working, and building to get their first win. Danner and team have definitely now found something for the rest of the season and nabbed their first win before heading into a very busy stretch of racing with the USAC National Sprint Series for their upcoming Eastern Storm.

Steven Drevicki has two wins on the season and should Danner have had any issues on Friday night, Drevicki would have been more than ready to pounce. The three-time series Champion has been back and better than ever so far this season, and Friday night was no different. Drevicki, like Danner, kicked off a massive stretch of racing Friday as the team headed west to the BOSS Series race on Saturday at the Mercer Speedway where Drevicki finished ninth. Drevicki now sets his sights on another BOSS race before Eastern Storm with the USAC National Series as well.

Third place in a hard-fought effort went to Milford, NJ’s Bobby Butler. Butler has been gaining speed back into their program after a hot start, since moving back to the maxim chassis that he was so comfortable and fast in last season. Butler overcame a starting position penalty and stormed through the field for a podium run. Butler definitely had more of his rocket speed that he had at the tail end of the 2022 season, and a win with the series is without a doubt on the horizon.

Mike Thompson has been steadily building back his 2023 season over a big run of bad luck. Thompson and the team initially struggled to even complete a feature event early on in the season but have begun to turn things around. Thompson had a solid effort on Friday and put on a great show battling with Carmen Perigo and Bobby Butler for spots inside the top ten in the second half of the feature event. Thompson and team have seemingly found the spark they had during the 2022 season and appear to be back on track in ’23.

Rounding out the top five, in what is the team’s closest race of the season, was Carmen Perigo Jr. Perigo started on the front row of the feature event on Friday and led the opening three laps. Perigo has been good so far with the series in 2023, with four top five runs in five starts. While Perigo has not yet won with the series, it feels as though it could still come at any moment. Speaking of wins, Perigo won his fourth BOSS series event of the season on Saturday night, and like Danner, Drevicki, and a number of others, will be competing in many of this week’s USAC National Series “Eastern Storm” events.

Even though he did not finish in the top five of the feature event, the most impressive run of Friday night may have come from Reading, PA’s Billy Ney. Ney had a rough 2022 season, but so far has been able to finish every single feature event with the series. Ney led most of his heat race on Friday night and was locked in a three wide battle for the lead with Danner and Ed Aikin in his heat. Ney started on the pole of the feature event, and while he may not have led a lap, Ney finished a career best sixth place on Friday night. An extremely impressive run for the team who loves non wing sprint car racing and just wants to run well.

Up next for many drivers in the series will be competing in events during the annual USAC National “Eastern Storm” across Pennsylvania and New Jersey next week. The USAC East Coast Series will officially be off for two weeks, and return to action on Friday, June 30th at the Delaware International Speedway.





FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature, starting positions in parentheses) 1. 21-Carmen Perigo (3), 2. 19-Steven Drevicki (2), 3. 5B-Bobby Butler (5), 4. 83-Bruce Buckwalter Jr. (4), 5. 87-Austin Graby (6), 6. 12w-Troy Fraker (1). NT

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature, starting positions in parentheses) 1. 39-Briggs Danner (6), 2. 83s-Billy Ney (2), 3. 11-Mike Thompson (5), 4. 7-Ed Aikin (1), 5. 18T-J.T. Ferry (4), 6. 67-Jason Cherry (3). NT

FEATURE: (25 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Briggs Danner (8), 2. Steven Drevicki (7), 3. Bobby Butler (4), 4. Mike Thompson (3), 5. Carmen Perigo (2), 6. Billy Ney (1), 7. J.T. Ferry (10), 8. Ed Aikin (5), 9. Bruce Buckwalter Jr. (6), 10. Austin Graby (9), 11. Troy Fraker (11), 12. Jason Cherry (12). NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-3 Carmen Perigo, Laps 4-5 Steven Drevicki, Laps 6-25 Briggs Danner.

USAC RAPID TIRE EAST COAST SPRINT CARS PRESENTED BY CAPITOL CUSTOM TRAILERS POINTS: 1-Briggs Danner-504, 2-Steven Drevicki-465, 3-Bruce Buckwalter Jr.-372, 4-J.T. Ferry-369, 5-Bobby Butler-349, 6-Ed Aikin-344, 7-Joey Amantea-330, 8-Austin Graby-294, 9-Mike Thompson-288, 10-Jason Cherry-283.