AMSOIL Sprints
Sunday, 18 June 2023


Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) crushed another victory lane celebration after winning Saturday night's USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship feature at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway. Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) crushed another victory lane celebration after winning Saturday night's USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship feature at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway. Indy Racing Images Photo


By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Port Royal, Pennsylvania (June 17, 2023)………Leading up to Saturday night’s event at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway, Justin Grant felt he was getting right back to where he needed to be in the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship hunt.

After an unsavory trend of five finishes of 13th or worse in a six-race stretch that reached from early May and endured into the beginning of USAC Eastern Storm earlier this week, Grant settled in with a ship-steadying third place result on Thursday at Big Diamond followed by a fourth on Friday at Williams Grove.

On Saturday, during the penultimate round of Eastern Storm at Port Royal’s half-mile dirt oval, Grant came full circle back to victory lane for the first time in more than six weeks in his TOPP Motorsports/NOS Energy Drink – Bow Foundation – TOPP Industries/Maxim/Kistler Chevy.

“It feels like forever since we won a race,” Grant exclaimed.  “I had a blast running against the wall; that’s my jam.  I was happy up there, but I think I bent the wheel up with two to go there and it was shaking.  But it was good to bring it home.”

For the Ione, Calif. native, it was his fourth career Eastern Storm score and the 37th overall in his USAC National Sprint Car career, tying him for 11th all-time alongside fellow series champions Robert Ballou and Sheldon Kinser.

Grant’s latest triumph also came during a momentous occasion with it being the 2,000th USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship event ever held dating back to the organization’s infancy in 1956.

Rolling off third on the grid, Grant gave chase to early race frontrunners Emerson Axsom and Brady Bacon.  Axsom, winner of the two most recent series races at Big Diamond and Williams Grove, jetted out to the initial lead from the pole position and was gunning to become the first driver to win three consecutive Eastern Storm features since Robert Ballou in 2015.

By lap four, Axsom had already positioned himself as the commander by a 1.369 second margin.  Meanwhile, Grant was in hot pursuit and ably powered past Bacon for the second spot on the bottom of turns three and four on lap five.

From there on, Grant began inching his way forward toward Axsom, gradually sneaking up on the race leader, and eventually, had stripped his deficit to within a second as the race neared the halfway mark of the 30-lap venture.  Axsom's lead shrank even further moments later, to a mere two car lengths with Grant reeling him in on the high side while Axsom occupied the middle groove.

On lap 16, Grant propelled himself into the race lead, utilizing the top side to fly around the outside of Axsom for the top spot in the narrow alley between Axsom’s right side wheels and the outside wall at the exit of turn four.

Axsom didn’t burn out nor did he fade away in the ensuing aftermath after dropping to second in the pecking order.  On a restart following the stoppage of first time USAC National Sprint car feature starter and 19th running Ed Aikin on lap 18, Axsom caught his second wind and made a resurgence at the forefront of the pack.

On the lap 18 restart, Axsom used the bottom/middle byways to advance past the high-riding Grant in turn two and retake the spot.  The two waged an epic side-by-side battle that lasted the duration of two entire laps around The Speed Palace with Axsom in front before Grant picked his way back past Axsom to reclaim his place at the top of the leaderboard with a back straight pass that led him to the stripe a mere half car length ahead of Axsom at the conclusion of lap 20.

Grant’s resurgence came by the virtue of a bit of patience, at least initially, and later paid its share of dividends when Grant needed something to get ahold of in the final stanza.

“We finally got the top cleaned off up there,” Grant noted.  “I was riding around, and just kept looking, waiting for it to clean up to where we could get up there right against the wall.”

Riding clean rather than dirty, Grant began to edge away from Axsom, building his interval to three-quarters of a second with the checkered flag finally within his reach.  Grant grasped the warm embrace of victory for the third time overall during the 2023 USAC National Sprint Car season by a 0.841 second margin with Axsom second, Daison Pursley third, Bacon fourth and Chase Stockon fifth.

Additionally, the Port Royal round had a bit of an extra incentive for Grant as it was round five of the Bubby Jones Master of Goin’ Faster Presented By Spire Sports + Entertainment event, a 10-race series honoring Grant’s father-in-law, and a series in which he is the defending champion.

“These races are all about big racetracks and about sacking up and getting it done,” Grant explained of the miniseries.  “We’ve been terrible; I don’t think we’ve even finished one so far this year.  To get in victory lane for the family and everybody is awesome and I’m just grateful.”

Axsom’s second place result in his Clauson Marshall Newman Racing/Driven2SaveLives – ZMax Race Lubricants/Spike/Kistler Chevy essentially locked up the Eastern Storm title for the Franklin, Ind. racer who now owns a 31-point advantage entering Sunday’s finale at Kutztown, Pennsylvania’s Action Track USA.  With Sunday’s event being an appearance points only event, all Axsom must do is push off for hot laps and the title is all his.  Axsom’s Eastern Storm record thus far has been impeccable with a pair of wins at Big Diamond and Williams Grove, plus runner-up finishes at both Grandview and now Port Royal.

For Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.), it was yet another stirring, hard-charging effort, one that moved him up to second in the Eastern Storm points in his KO Motorsports/Hutson John Deere – S & C Machine – Peterbilt/Flea RC/J & D Chevy.  Pursley’s charge on this evening in his debut Port Royal run took him from 10th to 3rd in the main event.  Earlier in the evening, the recent high school grad set fast time during Honest Abe Roofing Qualifying and also won the semi-feature, setting a new 10-lap track record in the process of 3:39.34.




USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: June 17, 2023 – Port Royal Speedway – Port Royal, Pennsylvania – 1/2-Mile Dirt Track – 16th Eastern Storm – Open Wheel Madness

HONEST ABE ROOFING/LAUVER’S CONCESSIONS QUALIFYING: 1. Daison Pursley, 5p, KO-18.834; 2. Mitchel Moles, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-18.960; 3. Jake Swanson, 21AZ, Team AZ-18.979; 4. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-19.074; 5. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-19.079; 6. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-19.090; 7. Emerson Axsom, 47BC, Clauson Marshall Newman-19.175; 8. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-19.181; 9. Chase Stockon, 5s, KO-19.256; 10. Briggs Danner, 39, Hogue-19.298; 11. Charles Davis Jr., 47, Davis-19.301; 12. Logan Seavey, 2B, 2B Racing-19.305; 13. Kyle Cummins, 3R, Rock Steady-19.388; 14. Carson Garrett, 15, BGE Dougherty-19.416; 15. Steven Drevicki, 19, DeGre-19.446; 16. Mario Clouser, 6, Clouser-19.455; 17. C.J. Leary, 15x, BGE Dougherty-19.465; 18. Max Adams, 17GP, Dutcher-19.550; 19. Shane Cottle, 74x, Hodges-19.552; 20. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-19.561; 21. Tom Harris, 84, Harris-19.765; 22. Kevin Thomas Jr., 2x, 2B Racing-19.805; 23. Alex Bright, 27, Heffner/Hummer-19.830; 24. Preston Lattomus, 23B, Lattomus-19.892; 25. Ed Aikin, 7, Aikin-20.119; 26. Joey Amantea, 88J, Amantea-20.145; 27. Jason Cherry, 67c, Cherry-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Kyle Cummins, 2. Briggs Danner, 3. Mario Clouser, 4. Emerson Axsom, 5. Robert Ballou, 6. Daison Pursley, 7. Ed Aikin, 8. Kevin Thomas Jr., 9. Shane Cottle. 2:38.14

ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. C.J. Leary, 2. Carson Garrett, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Mitchel Moles, 5. Justin Grant, 6. Matt Westfall, 7. Charles Davis Jr., 8. Joey Amantea, 9. Alex Bright. 2:44.77

T.J. FORGED / CAR IQ THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Steven Drevicki, 2. Max Adams, 3. Chase Stockon, 4. Jake Swanson, 5. Logan Seavey, 6. Tom Harris, 7. Matt Mitchell, 8. Preston Lattomus. 2:49.15

ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (10 laps, top-7 transfer to the feature) 1. Daison Pursley, 2. Matt Westfall, 3. Alex Bright, 4. Charles Davis Jr., 5. Preston Lattomus, 6. Ed Aikin, 7. Kevin Thomas Jr., 8. Tom Harris, 9. Joey Amantea, 10. Matt Mitchell. 3:39.34 (New Track Record)

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Justin Grant (3), 2. Emerson Axsom (2), 3. Daison Pursley (10), 4. Brady Bacon (1), 5. Chase Stockon (11), 6. Steven Drevicki (8), 7. Kyle Cummins (7), 8. Mitchel Moles (6), 9. Jake Swanson (5), 10. Briggs Danner (12), 11. Matt Westfall (18), 12. Robert Ballou (4), 13. Logan Seavey (14), 14. Carson Garrett (15), 15. Charles Davis Jr. (13), 16. Kevin Thomas Jr. (19), 17. C.J. Leary (9), 18. Mario Clouser (16), 19. Preston Lattomus (21), 20. Max Adams (17), 21. Ed Aikin (22), 22. Alex Bright (20). NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-15 Emerson Axsom, Laps 16-17 Justin Grant, Laps 18-19 Emerson Axsom, Laps 20-30 Justin Grant.

USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Emerson Axsom-933, 2-Jake Swanson-902, 3-Kyle Cummins-877, 4-Justin Grant-876, 5-Brady Bacon-857, 6-C.J. Leary-828, 7-Mitchel Moles-777, 8-Chase Stockon-743, 9-Daison Pursley-740, 10-Robert Ballou-677.

USAC EASTERN STORM POINTS: 1-Emerson Axsom-299, 2-Daison Pursley-268, 3-Justin Grant-264, 4-Jake Swanson-242, 5-Kyle Cummins-212, 6-Briggs Danner-211, 7-Chase Stockon-209, 8-Thomas Meseraull-205, 9-Robert Ballou-202, 10-Mitchel Moles-198.

BUBBY JONES MASTER OF GOIN’ FASTER PRESENTED BY SPIRE SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT POINTS: 1-Jake Swanson-342, 2-Mitchel Moles-337, 3-Emerson Axsom-331, 4-C.J. Leary-305, 5-Brady Bacon-299, 6-Kyle Cummins-284, 7-Daison Pursley-283, 8-Chase Stockon-259 9-Justin Grant-254, 10-Matt Westfall-223.

OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Daison Pursley-97, 2-Logan Seavey-54, 3-Chase Stockon-52, 4-Justin Grant-50, 5-Matt Westfall-42, 6-Carson Garrett-38, 7-Thomas Meseraull-37, 8-Bryant Wiedeman-35, 9-Brady Bacon-34, 10-Emerson Axsom-33.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: June 18, 2023 – Action Track USA – Kutztown, Pennsylvania – 1/4-Mile Dirt Track – 16th Eastern Storm



Dirt Draft Hot Laps Fastest Driver: Mitchel Moles (18.786)

Honest Abe Roofing / Lauver’s Concessions Fast Qualifier: Daison Pursley (18.834)

Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: Kyle Cummins

Rod End Supply Second Heat Winner: C.J. Leary

T.J. Forged / Car IQ Third Heat Winner: Steven Drevicki

Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Carts Semi Winner: Daison Pursley

Hard Charger: Daison Pursley (10th to 3rd)