Danner Keeps on Rolling! Collects Fourth Win at Port Royal

Danner Keeps on Rolling! Collects Fourth Win at Port Royal

Port Royal, PA. April 23rd, 2022. Nick Fillman, USAC ECSC.

Briggs Danner of Allentown, PA kept up his incredible run on the Rapid Tire, USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series, Presented by Capitol Custom Trailers trail by picking up his fourth event win of 2022 through five feature events. Danner, last years runner up in points, is on the fast track to an early points lead and is looking to lock up top honors in the 2022 season.

Ed Aikin and Mark Smith lead the field to green for the initial start of the 25 lap event, with Smith edging out Aikin and Alex Bright for the race lead as the field stormed into turn three. Lee Kauffman went for a spin as the field was working their way off the fourth corner, bringing out the yellow and setting up a complete restart.

Yet again, Mark Smith got the best of Aikin and Bright on the initial start and was the race leader at the completion of lap one. Bright, utilizing the extreme outside of the speedway was glued to the rear bumper of runner up Ed Aikin, who was less than a car length behind race leader Mark Smith.

The caution flag, then red flag flew on lap two of the feature event as Joey Amantea got into turns one a two a bit too hard and made contact with the 21 entry of Carmen Perigo. The subsequent contact sent Amantea spinning backwards across the track collecting Tommy Kunsman, and Preston Lattomus who went for a bit of a rollover in turns one and two. Lee Kauffman was also collected in the accident, but was able to continue on. All three drivers involved in the bulk of the accident were unfortunately unable to continue on in the feature event.

Just as the previous two starts had gone, Mark Smith aboard the Cicconi 75 entry yet again got the best of Aikin and Bright and controlled the pace of the race lead early on. Briggs Danner was searching high and low on the speedway to try and find a clean lane to get by the drivers in front of him as the early laps clicked off with drivers two and three wide throughout the field.

On lap six, Bright was able to get to the outside of Mark Smith and put his best challenge on the veteran driver thus far in the feature. Bright was ultimately able to take the lead away from Smith on lap eight, with Danner charging hard on the bottom working by Aikin, and Smith to move into second on lap eight as well.

Danner was able to catch Bright the very next lap, as the two would battle wheel to wheel for the next two laps before Danner was able to secure the lead on lap eleven of the feature event as the feature neared the half way mark.

Meanwhile, the most intense, and hard fought battle of the night continued to go on as Mark Smith, Ed Aikin, Steven Drevicki, Colin White, Kenny Miller, and Carmen Perigo were racing two, three, and four wide for the bulk of the feature event with each driver having a shot, and at least one lap at the head of the pack of cars. As the halfway mark of the feature came and went, Steven Drevicki, utilizing the bottom side of the speedway was able to pull away form the hornets nest battle that was fourth through about ninth place in the feature event.

Danner had amassed a massive lead over Bright, who began searching all over the speedway to try and find the best lane to catch Danner. Drevicki was quickly reeling in Bright for second, while Colin White, Mark Smith, and Aikin still fought tooth and nail for the fourth spot with each driver trading the fourth place spot over the next several laps.

With five to go in the feature event, Drevicki had reeled in Bright and made his move under Bright to secure the second place spot on lap 21 of the feature event. Drevicki noticeably had the fastest car on the track and was making up ground quickly on race leader Briggs Danner, but the lead Danner had created was insurmountable without a caution flag.

Mark Smith had won the war for fourth at the moment over Colin White, and Ed Aikin. While further back another three wide battle ensued between Christian Bruno, Jason Cherry, and Nash Ely.

Up front, no caution flag flew as Briggs Danner went on to collect his fourth win of the season over a hard charging Steven Drevicki, Alex Bright, Carmen Perigo who made a late race push to secure the fourth spot, and Mark Smith rounding out the top five.

With the exception of the first feature event of the twin 15 program at the Bloomsburg Speedway, Danner has been perfect, winning four of the five feature events so far in the season. Danner has certainly not lost a single step so far in 2022 and is easily backing up the performance the team was putting up in 2021.

Steven Drevicki was able to secure yet another second place finish in a USAC East Coast Feature event, and is more and more looking like the championship caliber team that they have been on three occasions. Drevicki has been struggling some in heat race events, but has been nailing the feature event set ups and has emerged as the biggest title contender to Danner so far in the 2022 season. A welcome sight for the three time series champion who had a less than dismal 2021 season with the series.

Alex Bright has been in the top five on more than one occasion so far in 2022, and with the exception of the DNF 14th at Bridgeport, has been just as fast as 2021, but appears to be lacking just a little bit off of the teams pace last season. Bright has lead feature events on more than one occasion this season, but can’t seem to seal the deal late in the feature events so far this season. Bright and the Hummer Motorsports will no doubt continue to work even harder until they are able to find their winning ways yet again.

Fourth place was well earned, and a welcome sight for Stoystown, PA veteran Carmen Perigo following a massive flip in heat race competition at the Bloomsburg Fair Speedway last week. Perigo drove just like a veteran is supposed to during the feature event and waited until his car came to him and drove forward late after being directly in the middle of a massive six car fight inside the top five all night. Perigo stated after the feature event “Now that’s a much better result than last time!” And it sure was as the veteran picked up his first top five of the season.

Rounding out the top five was the “Rim Rider” Mark Smith who had an extremely solid run aboard the Cicconi Racing 75 entry. Last season, the Cicconi Racing team could be found at the front of the feature field often with driver Damon Paul behind the wheel. Paul has since moved on, and Cicconi has tabbed veteran Mark Smith to pilot the 75 in the last two events run. Smith and team had issues in their heat race last week at Williams Grove, but proved to be a real contender for victories should the duo make more starts throughout the season in 2022 as Smith lead the opening seven laps of the feature event, and was rewarded with a solid top five run.

Two drivers made their season debut on Saturday night at Port Royal, with one driver making his series debut in the form of John Fraker. Family member of part time series driver Troy Fraker, John appeared to struggle with some mechanical issues on Saturday night, and pulled off early in both his heat and the feature event. While, Colin White made his season debut aboard the Hamilton Racing 90 entry and was fast from the moment the trailer door dropped. White was third quick in hot laps, finished third in his heat race to make the redraw, and at one point was up to the fourth place position during the incredible battle at the pack part of the top five before settling for sixth. Not a bad start for White and the Hamilton Racing team.

USAC EC At Port Royal Results:

Heat 1 (8 Laps, All Qualify, 4 Redraw): 1. 5G Briggs Danner 2. 88J Joey Amantea, 3. 90 Colin White, 4. 7 Ed Aikin, 5. 23M Kenny Miller lll, 6. 19 Steven Drevicki, 7. 23B Preston Lattomus, 8. 83 Bruce Buckwalter, 9. 42 John Fraker, 10. 83s Billy Ney,

Heat 2 (8 Laps, All Qualify, 4 Redraw): 1. 20 Alex Bright, 2. 21 Carmen Perigo, 3. 75 Mark Smith, 4. 3BC Nash Ely, 5. 21K Tommy Kunsman, 6. 17B Christian Bruno, 7. 67 Jason Cherry, 8. 96 Lee Kauffman, 9. 12w Troy Fraker.

Feature Event (25 Laps): 1. 5G Briggs Danner, 2. 19 Steven Drevicki, 3. 20 Alex Bright, 4. 21 Carmen Perigo Jr, 5. 75 Mark Smith, 6. 90 Colin White, 7. 23M Kenny Miller, 8. 7 Ed Aikin, 9. 17B Christian Bruno, 10. 67 Jason Cherry, 11. 3BC Nash Ely, 12. 83 Bruce Buckwalter Jr, 13. 96 Lee Kauffman, 14. 42 John Fraker, 15. 88J Joey Amantea, 16. 21K Tommy Kunsman, 17. 23B Preston Lattomus, 18. 83s Billy Ney, 19. 12W Troy Fraker.

Feature Lap Leaders: Mark Smith (1-7), Alex Bright (8-10), Briggs Danner (11-25).
AV Frenchies $100 Hard Charger: Steven Drevicki +9 (11th to 2nd).

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