Danner and Amantea Score Opening Weekend Victories

Danner and Amantea Score Opening Weekend Victories

Nick Fillman, USAC ECSC

Finally, after four straight rained out events, the 2024 Rapid Tire Services, USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series, Presented by Capitol Renegade Series was finally able to get underway with a pair of action packed events at the Bedford Speedway and the Port Royal Speedway.

The season got underway at Bedford on Friday night, with Carmen Perigo Jr and Briggs Danner scoring the heat race victories. Following the redraw, Bruce Buckwalter Jr and Carmen Perigo Jr lead the field to green for the 25 lap feature event.

Defending champion Briggs Danner quickly made his way to the feature event lead with a ferocious battle taking place for positions two through seven, with cars quickly and rapidly changing positions.

Just as it looked like Briggs Danner would cruise to the feature event win by his lonesome, Lee Kauffman went for a tumble in turn one on lap 23 setting up a two lap dash to the finish. During the red flag, Danner had a deflating Right and Left rear tire making things challenging for the two time series champion. Try as he might, soft tires and all, Alex Bright was not able to catch Danner as he would go on to score win number one of the season.

Alex Bright and his rally from eighth place wound up second with, Bobby Butler, Joey Amantea and Steven Drevicki rounding out the top five in the first event of the 2024 season.

The show then picked up and moved north as the series headed to the always entertaining Port Royal Speedway for their first visit since the 2022 season as both events last year were cancelled.

Once again, Briggs Danner scored the heat race win, with Alex Bright also picking up a heat race victory, setting up what was sure to be another battle between the two titans of the USAC East Coast Series.

Alex Bright quickly secured the race lead from pole sitter Christian Bruno, with Danner moving into second just a few laps later. The chase was on. While Bright may have had clean air up front, Danner was rapidly closing in on the leader, with the rest of the field nearly a straightaway behind the battle for the lead.

Around the midway point of the feature event, Danner was all over Bright for the race lead. As the duo dove into turn one on lap fifteen, the unpredictable happened. Alex Bright got just a bit too much into the cushion on the high side of the speedway, losing the handle on the Heffner Enterprises 27 machine, causing the front end to go airborne into a wheel stand, onto the hood of the Hogue Enterprises machine of Briggs Danner sending both spinning to a stop at the exit of corner number two. Somehow, neither driver went upside down or suffered extreme damage from the incident. However, Danner did head to the work area, and the damage sustained in the incident was more than it appeared ending his night. Bright would go on to tag the rear of the field and continue in the feature event.

The incident subsequently lead to Christian Bruno inheriting the race lead from Joey Amantea, with just ten laps to go. Bruno and Amantea would trade the lead of the feature event lap after lap, with slide job after slide job on either end of the speedway before the caution flag would again fly on lap 19 for a slowing Rich Carnathan on the front stretch.

A restart with six laps to go allowed Joey Amantea to take the race lead back from Bruno on lap twenty-two after a side by side battle, with Carmen Perigo Jr, Steven Drevicki, Bobby Butler, and Alex Bright quickly joining the battle at the front of the field. With Bruno, Perigo, and Drevicki battling three wide for the runner up spot with just two laps remaining.

Despite the slider battle for the lead, Amantea pulled away from Bruno and went on to score his third career victory, and first ever at Port Royal. Carmen Perigo barely nipped, Christian Bruno at the line for second, with Steven Drevicki and Alex Bright rounding out the top five.

A scheduled off weekend lies ahead for the series, before three straight weekends of actions starting off at the banked 1/3 Mile Grandview Speedway on May 11th, before a double dose of Delaware starting at the Georgetown Speedway May 17th, and Delaware International on May 25th.

USAC East Coast at Bedford Results:

Heat 1 (8 Laps, All transfer, 4 Redraw): 1. 21-Carmen Perigo Jr[2]; 2. 27-Alex Bright[7]; 3. 19-Steven Drevicki[3]; 4. 5B-Bobby Butler[5]; 5. 03-Matthew Swift[1]; 6. 39X-Scott Frack[6]; 7. 12W-Troy Fraker[4]

Heat 2 (8 Laps, All transfer, 4 Redraw): 39-Briggs Danner[3]; 2. 88J-Joey Amantea[7]; 3. 7-Ed Aikin[2]; 4. 83-Bruce Buckwalter Jr[5]; 5. 67-Jason Cherry[4]; 6. 96-Lee Kauffman[1]; 7. 29-Dalton Herrick[6]

Feature Event (25 Laps):1. 39-Briggs Danner[5]; 2. 27-Alex Bright[8]; 3. 5B-Bobby Butler[4]; 4. 88J-Joey Amantea[3]; 5. 19-Steven Drevicki[7]; 6. 7-Ed Aikin[6]; 7. 21-Carmen Perigo Jr[2]; 8. 83-Bruce Buckwalter Jr[1]; 9. 67-Jason Cherry[10]; 10. 03-Matthew Swift[9]; 11. 39X-Scott Frack[11]; 12. 29-Dalton Herrick[14]; 13. 12W-Troy Fraker[13]; 14. 96-Lee Kauffman[12] *Lee Kauffman Flipped on Lap 23

USAC East Coast at Port Royal Results:

Heat 1 (8 Laps, All transfer, 4 Redraw): 1. 39-Briggs Danner[2]; 2. 88J-Joey Amantea[4]; 3. 17-Christian Bruno[1]; 4. 5B-Bobby Butler[6]; 5. 21K-Tommy Kunsman[8]; 6. 7-Ed Aikin[7]; 7. 64-Rich Carnathan[3]; 8. 67-Jason Cherry[5]; 9. 12W-Troy Fraker[9]

Heat 2 (8 Laps, All transfer, 4 Redraw): 1. 27-Alex Bright[5]; 2. 19-Steven Drevicki[1]; 3. 21-Carmen Perigo Jr[4]; 4. 83-Bruce Buckwalter Jr[2]; 5. 03-Matthew Swift[3]; 6. 29-Dalton Herrick[8]; 7. 76-Mike Smith[7]; 8. 23M-Kenny Miller III[6]

Feature Event (25 Laps): 1. 88J-Joey Amantea[3]; 2. 21-Carmen Perigo Jr[5]; 3. 17-Christian Bruno[1]; 4. 19-Steven Drevicki[6]; 5. 27-Alex Bright[2]; 6. 5B-Bobby Butler[7]; 7. 21K-Tommy Kunsman[9]; 8. 7-Ed Aikin[11]; 9. 83-Bruce Buckwalter Jr[4]; 10. 29-Dalton Herrick[12]; 11. 76-Mike Smith[14]; 12. 03-Matthew Swift[10]; 13. 67-Jason Cherry[15]; 14. 64-Rich Carnathan[13]; 15. 39-Briggs Danner[8]; 16. 23M-Kenny Miller III[16]; 17. 12W-Troy Fraker[17]

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