Sprint Car
Saturday, 16 April 2022


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


By: Nick Fillman - USAC ECSC

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania (April 15, 2022)………Briggs Danner of Allentown, Pennsylvania remained the hottest driver in the field on Friday night at the Williams Grove as he un-seated Steven Drevicki as the only winner in series competition at Williams Grove for his third win of the season.

A strong field of 23 Rapid Tire, USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series, presented by Capitol Renegade teams entered the legendary pit area on Friday night at Williams Grove for competition. Friday night also marked event three of the season for the series and would be the final feature redraw event of the season before handicapping begins next week.

Alex Bright, Steven Drevicki, and Tommy Kunsman took the heat race victories on Friday night for the events qualifying rounds, and following the top nine redraw, Tommy Kunsman Jr and Jonathan Swanson drew the front row of the twenty-five lap feature event.

Tommy Kunsman got the early drop on the field and took the lead on the opening lap of the feature event, utilizing the middle lane of the speedway early in the feature event. Quickly, Mike Thompson dove to the bottom side of Kunsman out of the turn two to take the lead down the back straightaway as the field rocketed underneath the bridge into turns three and four.

Briggs Danner made quick work of the drivers in front of him as he had move into second from his fifth place starting spot, with eight place starter Alex Bright directly on the tail tank of Danner in third.

Thompson held the lead for a handful of laps with Danner not giving any room for mistakes as Thompson ran just a lane higher off the bottom of the speedway than Danner did, leaving the door open on more than one occasion for Danner to get by.

Ultimately, Thompson got into turn one harder than he had any previous time on lap five, giving the bottom lane free and clear to Danner who assumed the lead off two and down the back straight away. Alex Bright, and Tommy Kunsman followed Danner on the bottom as they moved into second and third.

The first caution of the event flew on lap eight for the slowing David Swanson entry, who had lost brakes on the front stretch and slowed to bring out the caution. This was the first shot that Bright had to be directly on the tail of leader Danner due to the bad draw of Bright.

Danner got out to a solid start and put some distance between himself and Alex Bright, as Tommy Kunsman began having something to say about the second place position.

The top five remained the same for the next handful of laps, before tenth place driver Jason Cherry went for a spin in turn one and two on lap eleven to bring out the caution flag once again. Unfortunate circumstance for Cherry who was having a fantastic run inside the top ten, that also lead Bruce Buckwalter to be collected in the incident with nowhere to go. Buckwalter’s night was over, with Cherry restarting at the tail end of the field.

Danner led the field back to green with Bright, Kunsman, Thompson, Amantea, and Drevicki the top six of the field with fourteen laps remaining. Danner again had the Heffner Racing 5G out to a solid lead with the most contested spot inside the top five being for second between Bright and Kunsman. Meanwhile, Steven Drevicki had moved by Amantea for fifth as he was trying to continue his streak of being the only series winner at the Williams Grove Speedway.

With high winds and sun beating down on the surface of the Williams Grove Speedway, drivers were locked down to the bottom side of the speedway with any attempts to run the high side of the speedway resulting in multiple positions lost. The only driver to experiment with the high side and not suffer significant losses was that of Alex Bright who began to try to run the top side of the fourth corner to get a run on Danner. The move to the high side only allowed Tommy Kunsman to draw in closer, and even under the 20 of Bright, with Bright closing the door hard and holding off Kunsman.

The top five had nothing in the tank for the leader Danner who went on to score career win number one at the legendary Williams Grove Speedway. Alex Bright came home second with Tommy Kunsman Jr third, another impressive run for Mike Thompson in fourth, and Steven Drevicki rounding out the top five.

Danner and the Heffner Racing 5G team broke through and ended the streak of Steven Drevicki, along with ending a streak of their own. In both events at the Williams Grove the Bill Gallagher 5G team has finished second. In 2020 with Billy VanInwegen, and in 2021 with Danner at the wheel. So far for Danner, in two starts at Williams Grove a second and a first result in a great average with the next event at The Grove being the Bill Gallagher Memorial event paying $5,000 to the winner.

Alex Bright and the Hummer Motorsports team are beginning to dig themselves out of the hole that they have been in since their uncharacteristic DNF finish at the season opening event at the Bridgeport Speedway. A win in twin 15, number one at Bloomsburg, followed by a third in the second, and a runner up finish at Williams Grove are more of what the team expects to have on the series trail. Fortunately for Bright the series heads to Bedford and Port Royal, where Bright won shows last season. However, Danner has also graced victory lane at both speedways, so significant points gains may be hard to come by.

Third spot belonged to Tommy Kunsman Jr, who has been very fast in both of his appearances with the series so far. Kunsman explained that the team had planned to run the event at the Bloomsburg Speedway on Thursday but chose not too due to weather. Kunsman was strong all night winning his heat race by over a straightaway and having what many in the pits felt was the fastest car of the feature event. Kunsman was also fast at Bridgeport two weeks ago where he collected a heat win, before pulling off with engine issues. Look for Kunsman to continue his speed and continue to be in contention for wins as the season rolls on.

Mike Thompson has been a man on a mission this season from the drop of the first green flag at Bridgeport. The now eighteen year old, third generation driver has been fast at each event on the series trail and was rewarded with yet another top five run at one of the most technical tracks on the series trail being the Williams Grove Speedway. The winged and wingless regular has shown that seat time is key and has impressed thus far.

Rounding out the top five was Steven Drevicki who, until Friday night, was the only series winner at the Williams Grove Speedway. Drevicki started the feature event in fourth, before falling back early on, and rallying late. Drevicki has been back to his championship form so far in 2022, looking more on par for what many expect from the veteran open wheel driver. Drevicki will try to keep the momentum rolling as the series heads to two big half miles next week at the Bedford Speedway and the Port Royal Speedway.

One of the surprise entries and combinations of the night as that of veteran open wheel driver Lou Cicconi teaming up with dominant 360 driver Mark Smith who won the URC portion of Thursdays event at the Bloomsburg Speedway. The Cicconi entries are very potent, and Smith is no stranger to wingless racing and success. Unfortunately, an issue in the heat race cost the team a better starting spot for the feature. Ultimately, Smith rallied from 20th to 13th on a technical and very difficult to pass track. Smith was the evenings hard charger gaining seven spots. Certainly, a strong sign for the pairing that will more than likely make some more starts together this season.

Unfortunately, the tricky Williams Grove bit one of our series rookies very early on in the night as Dylan Hoch went for a big ride in turn three and four. Luckily, Hoch was ok and walked away from the crash. Bad luck also befell Aidan Borden who had been struggling with a car running on seven cylinders for most of the evening Thursday at the Bloomsburg Fair Raceway. Hopefully both drivers can make repairs and join us back at the track soon.





FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature, starting positions in parentheses) 1. 20-Alex Bright (5), 2. 5G-Briggs Danner (6), 3. 3BC-Nash Ely (7), 4. 7-Ed Aikin (2), 5. 23B-Preston Lattomus (8), 6. 59-Steve Wilbur (1), 7. 83-Bruce Buckwalter Jr. (4), 8. 12w-Troy Fraker (3). NT

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature, starting positions in parentheses) 1. 19-Steven Drevicki (7), 2. 11-Mike Thompson (1), 3. 23m-Kenny Miller III (3), 4. 17B-Christian Bruno (6), 5. 117-David Swanson (2), 6. 83s-Billy Ney (4). NT

THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature, starting positions in parentheses) 1. 21K-Tommy Kunsman (2), 2. 88J-Joey Amantea (3), 3. 17J-Jonathan Swanson (6), 4. 67-Jason Cherry (7), 5. 56-Jermain Godshall (5), 6. 96-Lee Kauffman (1), 7. 75-Mark Smith (4). NT

ALSO AT THE TRACK: 7B-Aidan Borden & 7T-Dylan Hoch

FEATURE: (25 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Briggs Danner (5), 2. Alex Bright (8), 3. Tommy Kunsman (1), 4. Mike Thompson (3), 5. Steven Drevicki (4), 6. Joey Amantea (7), 7. Christian Bruno (11), 8. Kenny Miller III (9), 9. Nash Ely (6), 10. Preston Lattomus (13), 11. Jonathan Swanson (2), 12. Steve Wilbur (16), 13. Mark Smith (20), 14. Jermain Godshall (15), 15. Ed Aikin (10), 16. Troy Fraker (21), 17. Jason Cherry (12), 18. Billy Ney (17), 19. Lee Kauffman (18), 20. Bruce Buckwalter Jr. (19), 21. David Swanson (14). NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Tommy Kunsman, Laps 2-4 Mike Thompson, Laps 5-25 Briggs Danner.

USAC RAPID TIRE EAST COAST SPRINT CARS PRESENTED BY CAPITOL CUSTOM TRAILERS POINTS: 1-Briggs Danner-226, 2-Steven Drevicki-206, 3-Mike Thompson-193, 4-Joey Amantea-188, 5-Alex Bright-187, 6-Kenny Miller-125, 7-Christian Bruno-120, 8-Tommy Kusnman-109, 9-Ed Aikin-105, 10-Jonathan Swanson-102.