Sprint Car
Monday, 10 June 2024


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


By: Nick Fillman – USAC ECSC

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania (June 7, 2024)………Briggs Danner of Allentown, Pa. collected his third win of the 2024 Rapid Tire Services USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series Presented by Capitol Renegade season at Williams Grove Speedway.

This time, it came with a $5,000 prize and his first win in the third annual Bill Gallagher Memorial.

Tommy Kunsman and Kenny Miller lll led the field to green for the 25-lap feature event with Miller quickly taking over the top spot from Kunsman on the initial green flag.

Further back in the pack on the opening lap, and on the opening corner, a four-wide situation unfolded with Bruce Buckwalter Jr., Briggs Danner, Bobby Butler and Joey Amantea battling for position.

Briggs Danner was the big winner of the four-wide battle as he advanced two positions from his sixth place starting spot to fourth early in the event.  Other cars in the feature field that were putting the moves on early were Steven Drevicki, who quickly picked up a handful of positions, and Alex Bright, who had his work cut out for him after starting 15th.

The first caution flag of the evening was thrown on lap four as Tim Glatfelter, known for his winged 410 and 358 sprint car experience, spun to a stop in turn one in his wingless debut in Lee Kauffman’s No. 96.  Kenny Miller lll was the feature event leader over Kunsman, Ed Aikin, Danner and Buckwalter.

On the ensuing restart, Miller put a two car length lead on Kunsman with Aikin and Danner beginning to battle for the third spot.  Behind them, Joey Amantea was flying around the outside and had worked his way into the top-five.

Another pair of laps were completed on the scoreboard with Danner moving around Aikin on the high side of the speedway, then drawing in on the tail tank of Kunsman for second, completing the pass officially on lap seven.  Further back, Drevicki, Amantea and now Bright began to battle side-by-side for positions just outside and inside the top-five as the feature event began to near the halfway point.

Danner, utilizing the high side of the speedway, was able to power around the outside of Miller coming down the straightaway, and officially took the lead on lap nine of the feature event.

As the field completed lap 12, the caution flag again was displayed.  This time for a pair of cars coming to a stop on the front stretch.  Butler popped and sputtered his way to a stop just shy of turn one while Troy Fraker slowed in the middle of the front stretch.  Fraker re-fired and joined the tail end of the field while Butler headed pit side with his feature event over.

Following the restart, Danner went back to the high side of the speedway with Miller down low, and both drivers in their preferred racing groove trying to become the leader.  Danner began to pull away from Miller as the leader with Miller now left to be challenged by Drevicki on the bottom for the runner-up spot.  All the while, Bright drew in on both of them, pounding the cushion around the top.

Drevicki was finally able to move around Miller for the second spot on lap 17, and then set his sights on Danner for the lead.  Quickly following along with Drevicki, Bright made his move around Miller for third on lap 20.

Drevicki and Miller worked the bottom in turns one and two, and the top in three and four with Danner on the high side all the way around the half-mile dirt oval.  Drevicki and Bright kept Danner honest, staying within a half straightaway of Danner as the laps continued to click off.

Try as they might, Drevicki nor Bright could catch Danner in time as he went on to score his first ever Bill Gallagher Memorial and a $5,000 payday.  Meanwhile, Drevicki held off Bright for second.  Bright came home third on the podium with Miller and Christian Bruno completing the podium.

The win for Danner was the team’s third of the season and was their first as a pair at Williams Grove.  Last year at the Gallagher Memorial, the Hogue Racing Enterprises team lost an engine in the heat race, forcing Danner to pilot the Ed Aikin No. 7 machine.  Danner started dead last and drove from 21st to third.  This season, however, was much less daring for Danner and the team on their way to the win.  The win for Danner may have meant more to him than many others, as Gallagher was the first to give Danner an opportunity to drive a sprint car.  The duo scored a win on their opening night together, thus kicking off Danner’s tenure in sprint car racing.

Drevicki is the current series points leader and a former winner at Williams Grove.  After a hard-fought battle with good friend Buckwalter in the heat race, Drevicki missed the redraw position by just one spot, forcing him to start ninth outside of the redraw cars. The deeper starting position did not seem to bug Drevicki all that much as the former series champion worked the low side to methodically work his way to the front.  Should there have been a caution in the late stages, who knows what would have happened?  But as Drevicki exclaimed in the pit area at the conclusion of the night, “man, second sucks!”

Alex Bright and the Heffner Enterprises South team came into the night as the defending champions of the Gallagher Memorial, with Bright winning the previous two 5G events.  Furthermore, Bright had won the last four USAC East Coast events at Williams Grove between the Hummer Motorsports No. 20 and Heffner No. 27.  The night seemed to be off to a good start in hot laps with Bright turning quick times before disaster struck.  The Heffner 27 slowed with smoke showing in hot laps, resulting in an expired power plant. The team got to action by pulling the damaged engine out, and with a phone call to a good friend of Heffner Racing, and brother to Curt, Sean Michael, a backup 360 c.i. engine was on its way to the track.  Bright missed his heat race, started 15th in the feature and battled his way to the front, coming home with a respectable third place effort.

Last week’s winner, Kenny Miller lll, led the feature early on before dropping a few positions at the front of the field.  While Miller may not feel great about not getting the big victory, finishing fourth behind three different series champions is great company to be around.  The three-time series winner in 2023 will have to wait until his next race to have a shot at adding to the win column in 2024.

Rounding out the top-five was Christian Bruno with another impressive run.  The former 600 Speedweek Champion and two-time Action Track USA 600 Champion has had his best season to date so far in USAC East Coast competition.  Bruno has made five starts, all five of which have ended in top-five runs and two being podium runs.  As Bruno continues to run at the front of the field, he will continue to gain valuable knowledge and battle for a potential first career win.

Hard luck of the night, without a doubt, belongs to Milford, N.J. driver Bobby Butler.  The day started out with Bobby’s normal truck blowing an engine on their way to the track, just across the border of Pennsylvania from his native New Jersey.  A few phone calls later, a spare truck was loaned to Butler, allowing him to get to the speedway for the night’s event.  A convincing heat race win seemed to have things on the right track for Butler in the feature before his car slowed with an issue.  An apparent engine failure ended the night for Butler, and by his own admission, may have ended his season.  We certainly hope that is not the case and would love to see Bobby back in the pit area at our next event.

Speaking of next events, the series will now have a full two-week break before getting back into action with our first ever trip to Utica Rome and Fonda Speedway in New York.  In the meantime, a number of our drivers will be competing against the nation’s best during the annual Eastern Storm tour by the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship.





FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature, starting positions in parentheses) 1. 5B-Bobby Butler (4), 2. 21K-Tommy Kunsman (2), 3. 7-Ed Aikin (5), 4. 83-Bruce Buckwalter Jr. (6), 5. 19-Steven Drevicki (8), 6. 18T-J.T. Ferry (3), 7. 12w-Troy Fraker (7). NT

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature, starting positions in parentheses) 1. 88J-Joey Amantea (2), 2. 17-Christian Bruno (1), 3. 23m-Kenny Miller III (3), 4. 39-Briggs Danner (5), 5. 21-Carmen Perigo (6), 6. 96-Tim Glatfelter (7), 7. 67-Jason Cherry (4), 8. 44-Gary Huston (8). NT

FEATURE: (25 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Briggs Danner (6), 2. Steven Drevicki (9), 3. 27-Alex Bright (15), 4. Kenny Miller III (2), 5. Christian Bruno (8), 6. Joey Amantea (5), 7. Tommy Kunsman (1), 8. Carmen Perigo (10), 9. Ed Aikin (4), 10. Bruce Buckwalter Jr. (3), 11. J.T. Ferry (11), 12. Jason Cherry (14), 13. Tim Glatfelter (12), 14. Troy Fraker (13), 15. Gary Huston (16), 16. Bobby Butler (7). NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-8 Kenny Miller lll 1-8, Laps 9-25 Briggs Danner.

USAC RAPID TIRE EAST COAST SPRINT CARS PRESENTED BY CAPITOL CUSTOM TRAILERS POINTS: 1-Steven Drevicki-415, 2-Alex Bright-402, 3-Ed Aikin-348, 4-Christian Bruno-345, 5-Briggs Danner-341, 6-Bobby Butler-283, 7-Jason Cherry-274, 8-Carmen Perigo-247, 9-Matthew Swift-233, 10-Joey Amantea-208.




Susan and David Miller $100 Bonus Drivers: Briggs Danner, Steven Drevicki, Alex Bright, Kenny Miller lll & Christian Bruno