On a weekend that found virtually every racing event in the Northeast cancelled due to unseasonably cold temperatures and snow and rain showers, the Bridgeport Speedway overcame the odds and presented its second event of the 2016 season.
“It wasn’t just the wet track conditions that presented the problem,” Bridgeport Speedway owner, Brian Ramey explained. “We’ve dealt with situations like that before.” With an early start time of 4pm with cars scheduled to hit the track for warm-ups around 3pm, Bridgeport was presented with a steep challenge. Could they prepare the track surface in time with very little help from the weather? The management team met several times during the pre-noon hours. By mid-day, Keith Hoffman and his track crew had the surface on its way to being race ready. Pit gates opened on time and the show went on.
For the second year in a row, the United Racing Club opened their season at the Bridgeport Speedway with sponsorship from Bob Lilick’s BRB Contractors. The URC competitors were anxious to get their season underway as they lined up at the pit gate at noon.
Twenty-two URC teams signed in in addition to thirty Big Block Modifieds, nearly thirty Crate/Sportsman and twelve Outlaw Stocks. It was a great day of racing that kept the fans focused on the action and not on the temperature!
At the end of the day, several drivers had made history at the Bridgeport Speedway!
Champion, Davie Franek used a lap twelve restart to move ahead of nine time URC Champion, Curt Michael to take the lead in the twenty-five lap URC season opener. Michael was dominant through the first eleven laps, building a sizeable lead over the competition. While Michael raced through lapped traffic, Franek began to cut into Michael’s lead. The restart positioned the two drivers side by side for the restart with Franek quickly moving into the lead. Franek led Michael, Robbie Stillwaggon, Josh Weller and Randy West with just five laps to go. The caution waved again with just one lap remaining for debris on the speedway. On the restart, Weller moved up to third and then raced Michael and Franek for the lead in a three way battle. Weller’s bid for the win came to an end when something broke in the front end of Weller’s No. 63, leaving him sitting in turn two. The final restart was single file but that didn’t stop Michael from sliding by Franek to take the lead between the first and second turns. However, Franek was not to be denied as he returned the favor and retook the lead as the field raced down the backstretch.
Franek picked up the win in the 2016 URC opener and his first ever win on the 5/8 mile Bridgeport Speedway. Michael finished second with Robbie Stillwaggon in third. Troy Betts rallied in the final laps to finish fourth with Nate Snyder finishing fifth in Tim Hogue’s No. 39.
The Spirit Auto Center Big Block Modifieds were not to be outdone as young Brett Kressley led from the green fla
g to the checkered to claim his first ever win in Big Block Modified competition in only his third race in a Big Block.
Kressley drew the pole for the start of the twenty-five lap feature event and held 2015 Bridgeport Champion, Jamie Mills and Ryan Godown at bay to claim his first Big Block victory. A late race caution put Mills alongside of Kressley for the restart with just seven laps to go but the young driver never wavered as he pulled away from the reigning track champion. Young invader, Tyler Dippel made a late race challenge to move through the top five.
Kressley drove to the checkered flag followed by Mills, Dippel, Godown and Jeff Strunk. With his third place finish, Ryan Godown is the current preseason point leader in the Big Block Modified division. The pre-season points are sponsored by Oliver Engineering and Oliver Communications.
Steve Davis raced to his first win of the season in the Stewart Stainless Crate/Sportsman ranks after taking the lead from Steve Searock before the half way mark. Searock went on to finish second followed by Brandon Grosso in third, Matt Stangle in fourth and Scott Hitchens rounding out the top five.
Davis’ fourth place finish in the opener, coupled with his most recent win, finds him on top of the leader board for the Crate/Sportsman pre-season points.
Ron Frees has left little doubt about who the pre-season point leader is in the PennCo Tech Outlaw Stock division as Frees picked up his second win of the season. It was a three wide race to the checkered as TJ Henry and Jim Avery raced Frees to the finish line.
Frees picked up the win followed by Henry, Avery, Scott Dugan and Jack Beaumont.
It was the season opener for the DA’s Auto Body Rookie Class with Bridgeport newcomer, Chad Kohler taking the win over Chuck Sayres, Bob Hartman and Tom Terry. Sayres led the early laps before Kohler took the lead.
The Short Track Super Series comes to the Bridgeport Speedway this Sunday for the second race of the 2016 season in the Southern Region. In addition to the Big Block Modifieds, the Crate/Sportsman, Outlaw Stocks and Xcel 600 Modifieds will compete. Rick Laubach won the inaugural event last season while Ryan Watt was crowned as the Southern Region champion at the conclusion of the five race series.
Seven races will make up the Southern Region competition this year. Anthony Perrego won the first event of 2016 at the Georgetown Speedway and will be on hand to chase this year’s title along with many invaders and as well as the Bridgeport regulars.
Racing gets underway at 4pm on Sunday.
United Racing Club Sprints (25 laps) – 1. Davie Franek, 2. Curt Michael, 3. Robbie Stillwaggon, 4. Troy Betts, 5. Nate Snyder, 6. Randy West, 7. Davey Sammons, 8. Kevin Darling, 9. Jason Clauss, 10. Mark Bittner, 11. Paulie Colasiovanni, 12. Art Liedl, 13. Josh Weller, 14. Ryan Stillwaggon, 15. Brad Franks, 16. Dave Brown, 17. Brett Michalski, 18. Ed Aiken, 19. Justin Whittal, 20. Jonathan Swanson, 21. Mark Sasso, DNS – Justin Hoffman
Spirit Auto Center Big Block Modifieds (25 laps) – 1. Brett Kressley, 2. Jamie Mills, 3. Tyler Dippel, 4. Ryan Godown, 5. Jeff Strunk, 6. Rick Laubach, 7. Duane Howard, 8. Tommy Beamer, 9. Ryan Watt, 10. David Hunt, 11. Dominick Buffalino, 12. Travis Hill, 13. Jordan Watson, 14. Kyle Borror, 15. Ryan Krachun, 16. Jimmy Horton, 17. Richie Pratt, Jr., 18. Ron Roberts, 19. Jack Swain, 20. Stan Frankenfield, 21. Wade Hendrickson, 22. Mike Franz, 23. Tommy Scheetz, 24. Sam Martz, DNS – C.J. Jones DNQ – Ricky DiEva, Anthony Moran, Jesse Hill, Mike Barone, Kyle Merkle
Stewart Stainless Supply (20 laps) – 1.Steve Davis, 2. Steve Searock, 3. Brandon Grosso, 4. Matt Stangle, 5. Scott Hitchens, 6. Steve Kemery, 7. Clyde Cox, 8. Matthew Peck, 9. David Crossman, 10. Brad Roberts, 11. Harry Landis, 12. Scott Hulmes, 13. Fred Massey, 14. Nick Nicotra, 15. Billy Briggs, 16. John McGovern, 17. Chad Kohler, 18. Jason Rush, 19. Jeremy Harrington, 20. Tyler Hulmes, 21. Ernie Miles, III, 22. Pete Visconti, 23. Connor King, 24. Tom Princiotta, DNS – Jeramy Doerr, DNQ – Chuck Sayres, Kevin Belmont, Jim Kraus
PennCo Tech Outlaw Stocks (15 laps) – 1. Ron Frees, 2. T.J. Henry, 3. Jimmy Avery, 4. Scott Dugan, 5. Jack Beaumont, 6. Tom Wills, Jr., 7. Gary Klimeczak, 8. John Meyer, 9. Jeff Dirkes, 10. Brian Ludwig, 11. Cleve Riehl, 12. Spider Ensinger
D.A.’s Auto Body & Repair Rookies (8 laps) – 1. Chad Kohler, 2. Chuck Sayres, 3. Bob Hartman, 4. Thomas Terry