Drevicki Returns to USAC East Coast Victory Lane at Grandview!

Drevicki Returns to USAC East Coast Victory Lane at Grandview!

Bechtelsville, PA, May 13th, 2023, Nick Fillman, USAC ECSC

After a near two year hiatus from Rapid Tire Services, USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series, presented by Capitol Renegade Victory lane, Steven Drevicki returned to the top of the podium, and picked up his first career series win at the Grandview Speedway in dominating fashion.

Tim Buckwalter and Steven Drevicki were scheduled to start on the front row of the 25 lap feature event, in a rematch of heat race number two on the night. Unfortunately for Buckwalter, the Heffner Racing 27 machine would not fire for the feature event, even with a stop in the work area. The misfortune for Buckwalter, turned into an opportunity for Ed Aikin as he would assume the pole position of the feature event.

On the initial drop of the green flag, Drevicki swept to the high side of the Speedway and attempted to take the lead from Aikin. Aikin lead lap one, with Drevicki getting by on lap two to begin his quest for the feature event victory. Briggs Danner quickly worked around the 20 of Alex Bright, and pressured Aikin early on for the runner up position.

The top four early on in the feature focused on the bottom side of the speedway, with Drevicki uncharacteristically working the high line all the way around the speedway. Eventually the rest of the field caught on and began to work their way up the speedway, as Briggs Dinner utilized a diamond line working from high to low, to maneuver around Ed Aikin for the runner up spot near the lap ten mark of the feature. Bright quickly followed along and picked up the final podium spot from Aikin, as both began their work to try and reel in the leader Drevicki who had amassed a near half track lead over the rest of the field.

As the feature neared the half way mark, Drevicki was the leader comfortably over Danner, Bright, Aikin, and a ferocious battle at the tail end of the top five between Tommy Kunsman, Bruce Buckwalter, Joey Amantea, and Chris Allen. But with lapped traffic quickly arriving, the race within the race would soon take place.

Drevicki began encountering lapped cars and started picking them off left and right, soothly and steadily, with Danner not letting Drevicki get away. Briggs Danner pulled off a daring move, going three wide between the two lapped cars down the front straight away in his quest to try and pick off the leader of Drevicki.

As the laps continued to click off, Drevicki began to slow up behind some of the lapped traffic allowing Danner to close in more and more with each passing lap. The caution flag would fly however on lap seventeen for an incident between Jason Cherry and third place runner Alex Bright. Both drivers were able to re-fire, but at the rear of the field.
On the ensuing restart, Drevicki was side by side with Danner as the two dove off of the banking in turns one and two, with Drevickig maintaining the race lead as they worked into turns three and four. Unfortunately, the caution flag flew yet again, as a multi car pile up took place when Chris Allen and Tommy Kunsman made contact entering turn three. Kunsman, Allen, Buckwalter, Amantea, Bobby Butler, Mike Thompson, and Jonathan Swanson all made contact, but somehow only Allen and Swanson were stopped on the speedway. Allen and Swanson returned to the feature event, while Bobby Butler and Mike Thompson exited the speedway and did not return.

Again, Drevicki was faced with a restart where he would get away slightly from Danner, as the field completed lap 18. As the leaders made their way through turns three and four, the features only red flag occurred as Aidan Borden went for a massive flip and collected Billy Ney and Mike Thompson. Borden hopped to the top of the car, but was helped to the ambulance and taken to the hospital for evaluation. Billy Ney returned to action. While under red, Alex Bright suffered a flat right rear tire. Bright and team changed tires and returned for the ensuing restart.

What would be the final restart of the night was a perfect one for Drevicki as he got the jump on Danner and pulled away in the remaining seven laps of the feature event. Danner could not stay with Drevicki this time around as he felt pressure for second from Ed Aikin. Tommy Kunsman held strong for fourth, with Amantea blasting the high side of the speedway late to finish with a top five run.

The win for Drevicki was his first in nearly two years as his last victory came in the summer of 2021 at the Williams Grove Speedway. Drevicki, still utilizing his 358 power plant aboard his new RPM Chassis was smooth as silk from start to finish. From his heat race win, to gliding through lapped traffic, Drevicki was on rails and returned to victory lane after a lengthy hiatus.

Briggs Danner is continuing to have a banner year, despite not cracking into victory lane. Danner coming off of a second place finish at Williams Grove has had speed in all three events so far, and showed speed at the Eldora Speedway last weekend. While the team has yet to pick off their first win together, they are knocking on the door each and every night.

Post race, Ed Aikin explained that he nearly pulled off before the feature event began as well! Aiking pushed off for the feature event and quickly realized he had little to no brakes in his number 7 entry, but could not throw away the opportunity to start on the pole of the feature event. Aikin did his best despite the issue, running the bottom and top of the speedway for a strong top three finish, nearly getting around Danner for second in the closing laps.

Tommy Kunsman suffered engine issues last time out at the Williams Grove Speedway while leading his heat race. With a fresh engine installed, the most recent midget winner at the Grandview Speedway, looked right at home running at the front of the field all night long following a heat race victory and starting seventh in the feature. While Kunsman could not quite mount a podium run, the team showed abundant speed on Saturday night and picked up their first top five of the season.

Rounding out the top five in a big rebound was Joey Amantea. Following a destroyed car in hot laps due to part failure at Williams Grove, Amantea was back in action on Saturday and lived up to his reputation of ripping the high side of any speedway. Amantea mounted a late charge in the feature event following his involvement in the lap 17 restart pile up. Amantea had no w-link on the car for the remainder of the feature, but battled his way to a top five feature event finish.

While the series had a great showing of 28 cars at the Grandview Speedway, with multiple drivers making their season and series debuts, the night was unfortunately plagued with bad accidents.

Rich Carnathan was the first to go for a tumble in turns three and four in heat race number one. Preston Lattomus was battling hard with Briggs Danner for the third and final redraw spot in that same heat race when he hopped a wheel and went for a big flip in turn three, collecting rookie Patrick Chilmonik.

The final incident of the evening came in the feature where Aidan Broden went for a massive flip in turns three and four as well. Borden was transported to a local hospital for evaluation, after some complaints of uncomfort. We await further word from the Borden family, but Aidan was awake and alert when prior to the being transported, and was able to get most of the way out of his car under his own power. We are sending our well wishes and healing thoughts to Aidan at this time.

USAC East Coast at Grandview Results:

Heat 1 (10 laps, 5 transfer, 3 redraw): 1. 83 Bruce Buckwalter Jr, 2. 7 Ed Aikin, 3. 39 Briggs Danner, 4. 7b Aidan Borden, 5. 5B Bobby Butler, 6. 11 Mike Thompson, 7. 23b Preston Lattomus (DNF), 8. 1 Patrick Chilmonik (DNF), 9. 64 Rich Carnathan (DNF), 10. 45R Brett Rose (DNS).

Heat 2 (10 laps, 5 transfer, 3 redraw): 1. 19 Steven Drevicki, 2. 27 Tim Buckwalter, 3. 88J Joey Amantea, 4. 83s Billy Ney, 5. 117 David Swanson, 6. 39x Scott Frack, 7. 18J JT Ferry, 8. 87 Austin Graby, 9. 35 Brian Nornhold.

Heat 3 (10 laps, 5 transfer, 3 redraw): 1. 21k Tommy Kunsman, 2. 20 Alex Bright, 3. 17B Christian Bruno, 4. 71 Chris Allen, 5. 17J Jonathan Swanson, 6. 67 Jason Cherry, 7. 76 Mike Smith, 8. 96 Lee Kauffman, 9. 44 Gary Huston.

Semi Feature (10 laps, 5 transfer): 1. 11 Mike Thompson, 2. 39x Scott Frack. 3. 18J JT Ferry, 4. 76 Mike Smith, 5. 87 Austin Graby, 6. 67 Jason Cherry, 7. 96 Lee Kauffman, 8. 35 Brian Nornhold, 9. 44 Gary Huston, 10. 45R Brett Rose. DNS: 23B Preston Lattomus, 64 Rich Carnathan, 1 Patrick Chilmonik.

Feature Event (25 Laps): 1. 19 Steven Drevicki, 2. 39 Briggs Danner, 3. 7 Ed Aikin, 4. 21K Tommy Kunsman Jr, 5. 88J Joey Amantea, 6. 71 Chris Allen Jr, 7. 83 Bruce Buckwalter Jr, 8. 87 Austin Graby, 9. 17J Jonathan Swanson, 10. 18J JT Ferry, 11. 83s Billy Ney, 12. 39x Scott Frack, 13. 67 Jason Cherry, 14. 117 David Swanson, 15. 76 Mike Smith, 16. 20 Alex Bright, 17. 7B Aidan Borden, 18. 5B Bobby Butler, 19. 11 Mike Thompson. DNS: 27 Tim Buckwalter, 17B Christian Bruno.

Lap Leaders: Ed Aikin (1), Steven Drevicki (2-25).
Hard Charger: Austin Graby +12
Aidan Borden flipped on lap 18.

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