Bright Scores Third Consecutive Win at Williams Grove

Bright Scores Third Consecutive Win at Williams Grove

Mechanicsburg, PA. April 14th, 2023. Nick Fillman, USAC ECSC

Alex Bright of Collegeville, PA held off a last lap slide job attempt from defending series champion Briggs Danner to collect his third straight victory at the Williams Grove Speedway dating back to the 2022 season.

Series Rookie JT Ferry and Alex Bright lead the field to green following the redraw for the front eight positions of the field. Bright immediately got the drop on the young rookie, beating Ferry to the high side of the speedway and rocketing to the race lead. Bobby Butler followed through on the outside of the speedway from fourth to second, with Briggs Danner and Steven Snyder Jr also making moves early on the high side of the speedway.

Within the opening five circuits of the speedway, the high line was the place to be with just about every driver blasting the cushion around the top of the track, with entry into the corners being the major passing opportunity. Danner made his move around early third place runner Christian Bruno to move into the podium spot and try to reel in runner up Bobby Butler, who was keeping pace with Bright for the race lead. On lap seven of the feature event, with Danner closing in on Butler, Steven Snyder Jr made his move around the outside of JT Ferry to take over the fifth place spot.

Plenty of action occurred all around the high side of the speedway as drivers regularly traded slide jobs throughout the field. With the exception of leader Bright, the rest of the top four began to close in on each other as the field worked their way to the half way mark of the feature event. Meanwhile, just outside the top five, intense racing occurred between Christopher Allen, JT Ferry, Bruce Buckwalter Jr, Mike Thompson, and Carmen Perigo Jr who regularly traded positions back and fourth, with slide jobs at each end of the speedway for positions inside the top ten.

With only a handful of laps to go, Bright had a commanding lead over Bobby Butler, who was holding off challenges from Briggs Danner for third. Christian Bruno held strong in fourth with Steven Snyder Jr pressuring him for the fourth place spot.

As Bright worked his way by the flag stand to complete lat fourteen, some smoke began to show from the car as he entered turn one and two, and down the back straightaway. When Bright entered into turn three heavy smoke bellowed from the number 20 machine and continued down the front stretch of the speedway. Evidently, a large amount of fluid had been laid down by Bright in turns three and four with Butler getting over the cushion and nearly hitting the wall. Unfortunately some other drivers were not as lucky. Mike Thompson, Bruce Buckwalter Jr, and Carmen Perigo all made contact with each other and got into the turns three and four wall, Buckwalter going upside down in the middle of the corner. While all three would be ok, only Carmen Perigo would be able to rejoin the feature event.

The ensuing restart was picture perfect from Bright as he pulled away from Butler and Danner out front. Danner pressured Butler even more now for the second place spot, drawing even with Butler on lap sixteen. Steven Snyder Jr made a mistake on the same lap getting above the cushion trying to work his way around Bruno for fourth, with Chris Allen narrowly avoiding contact with Snyder Jr for position. Both drivers were able to recover and not lose any positions in the hectic moment.

On lap 16 Danner worked his way by Butler for second and drew his sights on Bright for the race lead with only four laps to go and clear track ahead of them. Bright had a slight lead, but Danner was rapidly closing in on the former series champion.

Danner worked his way to the inside of Bright for the race lead on lap seventeen of the feature event, entering turn one, but Bright was able to continue to get great drive off of the corners and hold off Danner for the feature event lead. Danner pulled a veteran move and sat behind Bright for the next lap, waiting to make his move until the final lap.

As the duo made their way under the flag stand for the white flag, Danner dove deep to the bottom side of turns one and two to attempt yet another slide job for the race lead. In a veteran move, Bright grabbed a foot full of brake, turned the car down the track underneath Danner and kept the race lead down the back stretch. Bright dove low in turn three to protect himself from the slider attempt from Danner, with Danner trying to work the low side of the speedway off of the fourth turn. It would not be enough as Alex Bright went on to score his first feature event win of the season, and third in a row at Williams Grove. Danner came home a close second, with Bobby Butler, Christian Bruno, and Steven Snyder Jr rounding out the top five.

In what was a bit of a surprise, Alex Bright and the Hummer Motorsports team entered the pit area of the Williams Grove Speedway and the complexion of the nights event immediately took a turn. The un-wrapped no.20 machine unloaded in the pit area with no wrap, but as fast as ever. Following a runner up heat race finish, and a feature event win, Bright explained that the decision to compete Friday was only made just the day before from car owner Robert Hummer. Despite the short notice and decision, Bright and team was as fast as ever and picked up where they left off. Bright explained further that a new job will prevent him from racing as freely in prior years, but will still continue to pop in here and there. Look for the potent Bright and Hummer team to return in two weeks at the Port Royal Speedway on April 29th.

Briggs Danner continued his smooth and steady ways on Friday as he and the Hogue Racing team continue to build their notebook and rapport through the season. Danner scored the runner up finish in his heat race, and nearly completed slide job for the win in the feature event. One thing is certain, a first win for the new combination is not far off and could come at any moment.

After a solid top ten run last week at Georgetown, Bobby Butler came out swinging at the Williams Grove Speedway. Butler was flying in hot laps, laying down some impressive laps with a lot of eyes being drawn to the 5B entry. Butler scored the heat race win in convincing fashion, and was in contention all night long. While Bright may have had a decent lead over Butler during the feature event, he was always with striking distance should Bright have made a mistake or had an issue. Butler gave Danner all he could handle as well, as Butler found himself sandwiched between two series champions for the majority of the event. What may have been an intimidating position for some, Butler handled with ease and finished a strong third.

Christian Bruno scored a convincing heat race win as he held off a hard charging Briggs Danner. Bruno started the night off in the third place position, and ran in the top three for a handful of laps. The 600 sprint star, really gets around the central PA half mile ovals well, and Friday night was no different.

Steven Snyder Jr finished out the top five, and grabbed his first career top five finish in a sprint car. Snyder Jr was able to get a well taught lesson in hot laps as he followed former series Champion Alex Bright. Snyder Jr used those lessons perhaps to hold off Bright who tried a slide job for the heat win in heat three with Snyder getting the better of Bright in that instance and scored the win. Snyder Jr started off in seventh and finished in fifth, while battling hard to try and get around a close 600 sprint foe Chrisitan Bruno for fourth. Overall, for the second ever event for the rookie, a top five run with the company around the driver is a strong accomplishment.

While not in the top five, Preston Lattomus had an amazing run through the field from the Semi feature and staring 17th, too finishing in the seventh position. An impressive run for the sophomore driver.

A strong field of 26 drivers entered the pit area on Friday night at the Williams Grove Speedway with many drivers making their season debuts, and three drivers making their fist career starts. Former Central PA winged drivers Brian Nornhold and Tim Stallings made their first starts along with CRSA Winged driver Dalton Herrick from McDonough, New York. Unfortunately all three did not make the feature event through the Semi, with Herrick showing plenty of speed to get into future feature events.

The night was unfortunately scene to a handful of hard nights for three series drivers. Tommy Kunsman appeared to have an engine let go while leading his heat race, leaving him unable to start the remainder of the night. Bruce Buckwalter Jr suffered a flip on lap fourteen of the feature, ending an extremely strong run for the Mechanicsburg, PA driver. The scariest incident of the night happed in hot laps for last week’s third place driver Joey Amantea. Amantea entered turn one on the opening lap and the car went straight through the corner and into the wall, sending Amantea for a series of flips. Luckily Amantea was physically fine, but was not able to compete for the rest of the evening.

Up next for the series is the first trip of the season to the always entertaining Bridgeport Speedway on April 22nd, followed by a double header on April 28th and 29th at the Bedford Speedway.
USAC East Coast at Williams Grove Results:

Heat 1 (8 Laps, 5 Qualify, 3 Redraw): 1. 5B Bobby Butler, 2. 83 Bruce Buckwalter Jr, 3. 71 Chris Allen Jr, 4. 22 Kyle Spence, 5. 17J Jonathan Swanson, 6. 83s Billy Ney, 7. 29 Dalton Herrick, 8. 23B Preston Lattomus, 9. 35 Brian Nornhold.

Heat 2 (8 Laps, 5 Qualify, 3 Redraw): 1. 17B Christian Bruno, 2. 39 Briggs Danner, 3. 18J JT Ferry, 4. 87 Austin Graby, 5. 67 Jason Cherry, 6. 117 David Swanson, 7. 12w Troy Fraker, 8. 21K Tommy Kunsman Jr, DNS: 88J Joey Amantea.

Heat 3. (8 Laps, 5 Qualify, 3 Redraw): 1. 27 Steven Snyder Jr, 2. 20 Alex Bright, 3. 11 Mike Thompson, 4. 21 Carmen Perigo Jr, 5. 7 Ed Aikin, 6. 19 Steven Drevicki, 7. 96 Lee Kauffman, 8. 28 Tim Stallings.

Semi: (8 Laps, 5 Qualify): 1. 83s Billy Ney, 2. 23B Preston Lattomus, 3. 19 Steven Drevicki, 4. 117 David Swanson, 5. 96 Lee Kauffman, DNF: 6. 28 Tim Stallings, 7. 35 Brian Nornhold, 8. 12w Troy Fraker, 9. 29 Dalton Herrick. DNS: 21K Tommy Kunsman Jr, 88J Joey Amantea.

Feature Event (20 Laps): 1. 20 Alex Bright, 2. 39 Briggs Danner, 3. 5B Bobby Butler, 4. 17B Christian Bruno, 5. 27 Steven Snyder Jr, 6. 71 Christopher Allen Jr, 7. 23B Preston Lattomus, 8. 18J JT Ferry, 9. 22 Kyle Spence, 10. 19 Steven Drevicki, 11. 87 Austin Graby, 12. 67 Jason Cherry, 13. 21 Carmen Perigo Jr, 14. 83s Billy Ney, 15. 17J Jonathan Swanson, 16. 117 David Swanson, 17. 96 Lee Kauffman, 18. 11 Mike Thompson, 19. 83 Bruce Buckwalter Jr, 20. 7 Ed Aikin.

Bruce Buckwalter Flipped on lap fourteen

Lap Leaders: Alex Bright (1-20)

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