Bright Shines in Season Finale at Bridgeport

Bright Shines in Season Finale at Bridgeport

Swedesboro,NJ. October 28th, 2023, Nick Fillman, USAC ECSC

In only his second start since returning to action from a horrific crash and injury in July, Alex Bright was able to conquer the high banks of the Brigdgeport Motorsports park in dominating fashion. The in for Bright and the Heffner Racing Enterprises South team was their second of the season, and came in the season finale of the Rapid Tire Services, USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series, presented by Capitol Renegade.

Alex Bright and Mike Thompson lead the field to green for the final event of the 2023 season, which came in the series one and only completed event at the Bridgeport Motorsports Park.

Bright immediately shot to the race lead and dispatched of Mike Thompson, while Joey Amantea, and Kenny Miller were quick to work to the front of the field as well. By virtue of missing the inversion spot for the feature, Briggs Danner started in the ninth place position and was quickly trying to make moves to the high side of the speedway in his march forward. At the same time, his closest competitor for both the driver and owner championships, Steven Drevicki started just ahead of Danner as the pair began to pick off cars.

Bright was enjoying a half track lead over the rest of the top five which saw Kenny Miller lll move into the second place position, with Joey Amantea, Briggs Danner, and a battle for fifth between Tim Buckwalter and Steven Drevicki. Danner was glued to the rear bumper of Amantea for the final spot on the podium, but was unable to get the position away from Amantea early on. Tim Buckwalter eventually moved to the high side of the speedway and moved passed Drevicki for the final position inside the top five.

As the field quickly approached and got too the half way point of the feature event, Bright had made his way to lapped traffic at the back of the field and began to negotiate the lapped cars. Kenny Miller held on to second as Joey Amantea and Biggs Danner waged war for the third spot, lap after lap, for nearly four laps before Danner was able to move by Amantea for the final podium spot.

With ten laps to go, Alex Bright had closed in on a fight for position at the tail end of the top ten, featuring three wide battles for position between Preston Lattomus, Ed Aikin, and JT Ferry. This was allowing Kenny Miller lll and Briggs Danner to draw in ever more on Bright for the race lead, but laps were quickly evaporating from the score board.

With Bright continuing to battle the lapped cars in front of him, Danner had moved by Kenny Miller lll and secured the second spot. The hunt was on as Danner began to eat into the lead that Bright had over the rest of the field with only a handful of laps remaining.

Meanwhile, Joey Amantea had reeled in Kenny Miller for third as the pair began to battle side by side for position, with the rest of the top seven: Tim Buckwalter, Steven Drevicki, and Mikey Thompson all running equidistant to each other as the feature event drew to a close.

Despite the charge by Danner, and Bright continuing to battle with lapped cars for position, getting as close as being in the same set of corners would be all Danner could muster in the season finale. Alex Bright went on to collect win number three of the season over Danner, a photo finish for third going to Kenny Miller, Joey Amantea and Tim Buckwalter completing the top five.

One week removed from the teams return to action, a second to sixth run at the Delaware International Speedway, Alex Bright and the Heffner Enterprises South Team hit on all cylinders Saturday night and scored the convincing win. Bright has been no stranger to victory lane at Bridgeport, nor has Curt Michael and the Heffner team. Both of whose experience was on full display Saturday night. Its only fitting that the first victory for Bright and team, comes at track that is of eerie size, and shape as the venue Bright suffered his horrific crash. Perhaps a conquering of any last reservations that the veteran driver may have had, and a great way to close a season and build for the future.

While Briggs Danner came just one spot short of victory in the feature event Saturday, he and the Hogue Racing Enterprises team were victorious in the year long battle for driver and owner points. The new pairing found victory lane twice, in back to back weeks on their way to the title, and with a convincing nine to two drive Saturday night, proved that they were without a doubt the team to beat in 2023.

Kenny Miller lll capped off a break out season with the USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series on Saturday night, with yet another podium run. Thus concluding a five top five, eight top ten, and three victory season in only night events for the Morgantown, PA family team. While we certainly encourage Kenny to continue with his career outside of racing, thoughts of what “could have been” will linger through the series of what the team may have been able to do in a full season of action.

Joey Amantea rounded out the 2023 campaign for the USAC East Coast Series where he did much of the 2023 season, inside the top five. The sophomore driver had an ambitious schedule for the season, which no doubt helped not only the driver, but the team grow as a whole. Amantea battled hard in the feature with Briggs Danner for position, before a right rear tire began to deflate, forcing Amantea to drop back a pair of positions.

Rounding out the top five on the ninth was one time feature winner in 2023, Tim Buckwalter. The pairing of Paul Lotier and Robert Hummer was one of great success starting with Eastern Storm in June, and continuing throughout the season. Buckwalter scored a convincing heat race victory on Saturday night, but was unable to draw any further into the top five in the green to checker feature event. Perhaps with another caution flag, Buckwalter could have had something else to say about the feature event. Look for the Lotier/Hummer team to head to the Charlotte World Finals this week with the wings on top, and possibly more events in 2024.

With the final checkered flag thrown of 2023, the Rapid Tire Services, USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series, presented by Capitol Renegade would like to thank all of the drivers, teams and fans for their support of the 2023 campaign! We are already looking forward to next year, and have some exciting bookings planned, some of which already announced like our return to New York, July 4th weekend of 2024 which will feature first time events at the Utica Rome and Fonda Speedway’s!

USAC East Coast at Bridgeport Results:

Heat 1 (8 Laps, All qualify, 4 Invert): 1. 88J Joey Amantea, 1 Patrick Chilmonik, 3. 7 Ed Aikin, 4. 23M Kenny Miller lll, 5. 39 Briggs Danner, 6. 87 Austin Graby, 7. 17J Jonathan Swanson, 8. 7B Aidan Borden, 9. 67 Jason Cherry, 10. 64 Rich Carnathan.

Heat 2 (8 Laps, All qualify, 4 Invert): 1. 20 Tim Buckwalter, 2. 19 Steven Drevicki, 3. 27 Alex Bright, 4. 11 Mike Thompson, 5. 5B Bobby Butler, 6. 18J JT Ferry, 7. 23B Preston Lattomus, 8. 39X Scott Frack, 9. 91D Mick D’Agostino, 10. 44 Gary Huston.

Feature Event (25 Laps): 1. 27 Alex Bright, 2. 39 Briggs Danner, 3. 23M Kenny Miller, 4. 88J Joey Amantea, 5. 20 Tim Buckwalter, 6. 19 Steven Drevicki, 7. 11 Mike Thompson, 8. 18J JT Ferry, 9. 5B Bobby Butler, 10. 23B Preston Lattomus, 11. 7 Ed Aikin, 12. 87 Austin Graby, 13. 91D Mick D’Agostino, 14. 39X Scott Frack, 15. 67 Jason Cherry, 16. 64 Rich Carnathan, 17. 17J Jonathan Swanson, 18. 44 Gary Huston, 19. 7B Aidan Borden, 20. 1 Patrick Chilmonik (DNS).

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