Dick Tobais Classic Belongs to Buckwalter

Dick Tobais Classic Belongs to Buckwalter

Kutzown, PA. August 20th, 2023, Nick Fillman, USAC ECSC.

Tim Buckwalter of Douglasville, PA was able to break back into Rapid Tire, USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series victory lane for the first time since 2019, when paired with the late Bill Gallagher.

Austin Graby and Kenny Miller lll lead the field to green for the 30 Lap, Dick Tobias Classic at Action Track USA and immediately the action was on! Drivers battling two and three wide through out the field and all over the speedway. Kenny Miller had utilized his outside front row starting spot to take the lead, with JT Ferry glued to the tail tank of the leader.

Miller was using the high side of the speedway, with Ferry running about a half a lane lower, and continually poking his nose to the inside of Miller for the race lead. Tim Buckwalter was quickly on the moving passing cars on the extreme high side of the speedway, while Briggs Danner had fallen back a few positions from his seventh place position.

As the field continued to battle tooth and nail for every position around lap ten, Scott Frack and Bruce Buckwalter Jr made contact, Left rear to Right rear, down the back straightaway. This sent Buckwalters car flying into the air as the car dug into the speedway and began to flip. While in the process of flipping, Mike Thompson had no where to go and made contact with the flipping Buckwalter machine with, with both coming to a rest against the outside wall in turn three. Luckily both drivers were able to get out of the car by themselves, but both suffered heavy frame damage from the accident.

On the ensuing restart, the intensity level was turned all the way up as the battle at the front of the field for the race lead quickly took shape. Tim Buckwalter was utilizing the extreme high side of the speedway, fully in the cushion, with Kenny Miller utilizing the middle of the speedway. JT Ferry continued to look low, with Steven Drevicki making it a four wide battle for the lead as he was on the bottom of the Speedway and Briggs Danner quickly drew into the mix as well.

As the half way mark in the feature came, Buckwalter worked around the outside of Ferry, and Drevicki and took over the runner up spot, with Danner working under Ferry for fourth. Buckwalter began to trade slide jobs with Kenny Miller for the race lead on either end of the speedway, while Steven Drevicki worked beneath both drivers in third, battling three wide for the lead. Buckwalter was able to the lead from Miller on lap seventeen and lap nineteen. Miller was able to take the lead back from Buckwalter as the duo completed lap twenty.

As the lead duo worked down the front stretch into turn one, Buckwalter and Miler make contact battling toward the bottom side of the speedway. The subsequent contact sent Miller up the race track and collected third place runner Briggs Danner, fourth place Steven Drevicki, and sixth place JT Ferry who all came to a stop in turn one. Miller making hard contact with the wall, along with Danner, while Drevicki came to rest over the left rear of Danner with the front end in the air. Unfortunately the feature event for Miller and Danner came to a close, with Drevicki and Ferry pushing off and tagging the rear of the field.

The ensuing restart drew Joey Amantea to the tail tank of Tim Buckwalter as the field went green and through turns one and two. Amantea got a big run down the back straightaway into three and four and slid Buckwalter for the lead at the exit of four, and took the lead at the line on lap twenty-one. Again, as the leaders entered turn one, Buckwalter and Amantea made contact with Amantea then getting into the wall and getting upside down.

Another restart came with just nine laps to go. This time, Christian Bruno moved into the challenger spot, with Bobby Butler rounding out the top three for the final segment of the feature. Buckwalter nailed the restart and separated himself from Bruno for a handful of laps, before Bruno mounted a charge on the high side and drew within a few car lengths of the race leader. The charge was not enough as Tim Buckwalter went on to score the Dick Tobias Classic victory at Action Track USA.

The combination of Paul Lotier and Hummer Motorsports has been fast since their late pairing just before Eastern Storm in June. Strong runs, including a podium run after leading multiple laps at the Williams Grove Speedway were the highlight of the week, and for the team. The win on Sunday was the second of the season for Hummer Motorsports, and first since April 14th at Williams Grove with Alex Bright. However, the drought for Buckwalter goes back much further with his last win coming for late car owner Bill Gallgher in June of 2019 at the Big Diamond Speedway. Not only did Buckwalter score the USAC East Coast Win on, he completed the clean sweep of the night winning the Speedstr feature and 600 Sprint feature all on the same night.

Christian Bruno came home with his best career finish on Sunday night at Action Track USA in his return to the series with his own family car. The team attempted to compete at the first Action Track event in July, but engine issues forced the team to scratch from the program. Bruno has been fast when the car runs at full song, and has proved time and time again he is capable of competing at the front of the field. A third place finish at the Delaware International Speedway in June driving for Mark Bitner was the best result of the season for the driver until Sunday night. In another repeat of fate, Bruno wound up finishing second to Tim Buckwalter in the 600 sprint feature, and was able to cap off his second straight 600 Championship at Action Track USA.

Yet again, it looks as though things could be turning the corner for Bobby Butler. Back to back top three results have been a welcome improvement for the Milford, NJ driver, as he continues to try and score his first career win. Obviously the finish was a result of some unfortunate circumstances at the front of the field, but that is a part of racing, and could be part of the luck changing for Butler!

Preston Lattomus capped off a busy three day weekend of action on Sunday at Action Track USA, and was rewarded with a top five finish. Lattomus has had an up and down season, but still has had plenty of consistency during the season. Lattomus had the wings on top on Friday and Saturday in 358 Sprint car competition, before removing the tops for Sunday at Kuztown. Lattomus competed in double duty action as he piloted the teams 600 sprint as well, making both feature events.

Rounding out the top five with a return to the series was Billy Pauch Jr. Pauch Jr made his first start of 2023 aboard the Lesko Motorsports 16 entry. While Pauch Jr has had a quite year on the Modified side of things, he has still found time to compete in other divisions when time allows. The start on Sunday was his first of the season with USAC East Coast, while he did make one start with the USAC National Series also at Action Track aboard the Heffner Racing 27 entry. Pauch Jr lead the majority of his heat race early in the night, before relinquishing his top three spot, but qualifying for the feature. Pauch Jr kept his nose clean and was able to collect a top five effort in his first start of the season, from his twelfth place staring spot. Pauch Jr was scheduled to make more starts with the series than one this year, but unfortunately things did not work out. Perhaps, we can see more of the talented driver in our remaining events, time will tell.

Sunday marked the end of summer racing for the series, as our next scheduled event takes place at the Delaware International Speedway on Friday, September 22nd, before heading north, but only slightly, on September 29th to the Georgetown, Speedway. Following the Delaware trip comes the second annual SprintOberfest at the Bridgeport Speedway, where exact details have not been ironed out as to which day or days the series will be in action.

USAC East Coast at Action Track Results:

Heat 1 (10 Laps, 5 Transfer, 3 Invert): 1. 20 Tim Buckwalter, 2. 39x Scott Frack, 3. 18J JT Ferry, 4. 17B Christian Bruno, 5. 11 Mike Thompson, 6. 7B Aidan Borden, 7. 3h Heidi Hedin, 8. 96 Lee Kauffman.

Heat 2 (10 Laps, 5 Transfer, 3 Invert): 1. 5B Bobby Butler, 2. 39 Briggs Danner, 3. 7G Austin Graby, 4. 83 Bruce Buckwalter Jr, 5. 83s Billy Ney, 6. 1 Patrick Chilmonik, 7. 29 Dalton Herrick.

Heat 3 (10 Laps, 5 Transfer, 3 Invert): 1. 23M Kenny Miller lll, 2. 19 Steven Drevicki 3. 88J Joey Amantea, 4. 16 Billy Pauch Jr, 5. 23B Preston Lattomus, 6. 7 Ed Aikin, 7. 2 Brenden Hires.

Semi Feature (10 Laps, Top 5 Transfer): 1. 7B Aidan Borden, 2. 2 Brenden Hires, 3. 7 Ed Aikin, 4. 29 Dalton Herrick, 5. 3H Heidi Hedin, 6. 1 Patrick Chilmonik, 7. 96 Lee Kauffman.
Feature Event (25 Laps): 1. 20 Tim Buckwalter, 2. 17B Christian Bruno, 3. 5B Bobby Butler, 4. 23B Preston Lattomus, 5. 16 Billy Pauch Jr, 6. 7G Austin Graby, 7. 83s Billy Ney, 8. 39x Scott Frack, 9. 7 Ed Aikin, 10. 2 Brenden Hires, 11. 29 Dalton Herrick, 12. 7B Aidan Borden, 13. Steven Drevicki, 14. 18J JT Ferry, 15. 3H Heidi Hedin, 16. 88J Joey Amantea, 17. 23M Kenny Miller lll, 18. 39 Briggs Danner, 19. 83 Bruce Buckwalter Jr, 20. 11 Mike Thompson.

Bruce Buckwalter flipped on lap 10
Joey Amantea flipped on lap 21
Lap Leaders: Kenny Miller (1-16, 18, 20), Tim Buckwalter (17, 19, 22-30), Joey Amantea (21).

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