“This one is for Bill!” Danner Continues Winning Ways at Georgetown

“This one is for Bill!” Danner Continues Winning Ways at Georgetown

Georgetown, DE. July 24th, 2021. Nick Fillman, USAC ECSC.

Allentown, PA’s Briggs Danner continued his all out assault on the Rapid Tire, USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series tour in 2021 by picking up his sixth victory of the season, and first for the team since the untimely passing of car owner Bill Gallagher.

Briggs Danner and Bruce Buckwalter Jr lead the field to the green for the first feature event of the season for the USAC East Coast Sprint Cars at the Georgetown Speedway, with Danner immediately out muscling Buckwalter for the early race lead. Danner began to open an early lead on Buckwalter and the rest of the field as the feature event settled in.

Fifth place starter Alex Bright was quickly on the move working his way to the second place position by the completion of lap three and began his quest to reel in Danner for the race lead.

Danner was out front and setting a blistering pace at the front of the field as the entire race field was working their way around the cushion on the top of the speedway for the 25 lap feature event. Danner quickly stretched his lead to over a straightaway, and began to encounter lapped traffic on lap six of the feature event. Danner began the lapping process moving through the first few cars, with Bright continuing to try his best to catch Danner.

By lap ten of the feature event, Danner and Bright had gapped themselves from the bulk of the field as Nash Ely moved into the third place position, with a pair of 83’s going at it for positions four and five. Bruce Buckwalter Jr was the victory of that battle as he had established himself into the fourth place position with Billy Ney rounding out the top five, and Chris Allen on the tail tank of Ney for fifth.

As Danner inched ever closer to the back half of the top five, naturally the competition was much more fierce, and Danner began to struggle with lapped traffic. This allowed Bright to close nearly within the same corner as Danner for the lead just passed the half way mark of the feature event. On lap sixteen of twenty-five with only nine laps to go, the feature event took an eventful turn. Kevin Darling spun in turn one and two, and ended up going for a backwards tumble bringing out the red flag. As the field was slowing, Alex Bright could not avoid making contact with the rear of the Troy Betts machine as they entered turn three. Bright hopped over the tail tank of Betts and went for a one revolution flip in turn three. Bright, along with Curt Michael and the Gallagher racing team quickly sprung into action helping their most fierce competitor on the track, and were able to make repairs to Bright’s car and get him back on to the track.

At the time of the caution, Danner had lapped up to position number five, leaving Bright as the last car on the lead lap, but restarting at the tail end of the field. On the ensuing restart, Danner was able to pull away from the top five yet again and continue blasting the cushion to perfection. Meanwhile, Bright quickly carved through the back half of the field, and was inside the top ten, yet was in the fifth place position.

As the laps wound down, with only five to go, Bright was able to get by Ney, and then Buckwalter and be inside the top three with a handful of laps to go. The remainder of the race went green however, and the gap that Danner had built up was too much for Bright to overcome as Briggs Danner went on to collect his sixth win of the season.

The win for Danner on Friday night was not his first of the week, as Danner collected the opening night win of 600 Micro Speedweek on Monday over fellow USAC EC Driver Tommy Kunsman in thrilling fashion. Danner and the Gallagher team were able to enjoy the moment, which was truly special as the team was elated to score yet another victory, but this time without the leader of the team in Bill Gallagher. Danner and the Gallagher team will continue their quest for the championship, along with more victories on the remainder of the USAC East Coast Series Season.

Coming home second in another career best race was Nash Ely. The third generation driver has continued his upswing through the field over recent weeks, besting his career best on more than one occasion. Ely was within two car lengths of leader Danner with a handful of laps to go, but was still not quite up to the same speed that Danner was able to put down. Ely is solidly inside the top five in points, and with his second place effort on Friday, is establishing himself as a driver to watch for the remainder of the season.

A night of up’s and down’s ended on a high note for second place in points driver Alex Bright. Following a heat race victory early in the night, Bright looked to be setting himself up for another duel with Danner for the feature event victory until the accidental flip in turn three. Luckily for Bright, the immense pace that Danner was setting and lapping cars at during the feature, allowed for Bright to salvage a great points night and actually shrink the gap on Danner for the points lead. The battle for the championship is far from over, and things are only heating up.

Bruce Buckwalter Jr came home in the fourth place position on Friday night, besting his highest finish of the season. Buckwalter fought engine issues all night, and the car could be heard banging and popping while under speed for the entire night. Buckwalter and team think they have a slight timing issue, but issue or not, the team showed great speed on Friday night at Georgetown.

Rounding out the top five, scoring his first career top five, was Reading PA’s Billy Ney. Ney could easily be described as the most energetic, and excited driver in the pits on any given night during the season. The team has fought mechanical issues, and a learning curve, but have shown speed in every event they have attended this season. Potentially the fifth place effort could be an ice breaker for the rookie driver and team, and could lead to an increased number of top five finishes as the season goes on.

Up next for the Rapid Tire, USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series, Presented By Capitol Renegade, is the series second trip of the year to the 4/10ths mile, high-banked oval at the Bridgeport Motorsports Park in Swedesboro, NJ on July 24th. The first event, which was the season opener for the series, ended in dramatic fashion as Briggs Danner out gunned Alex Bright for the feature win after the two traded multiple slide jobs for the lead.

As always, keep up to date with all the lates news, results, photos, and more by following along on our social media pages! On Facebook at: USAC East Coast Sprint Cars, or on Twitter at @USACecsc.

USAC East Coast at Bridgeport Results:

Heat 1 (8 laps, Top 4 Redraw): 1. 20 Alex Bright, 2. 57 Damon Paul, 3. 3BC Nash Ely, 4. 83s Billy Ney, 5. 22B Troy Betts, 6. 11 Mike Thompson, 7. 117 David Swanson, 8. 17J Jonathan Swanson.

Heat 2 (8 laps, Top 4 Redraw): 1. 71 Chris Allen, 2. 5G Briggs Danner, 3. 83 Bruce Buckwalter, 4. 9D Kevin Darling, 5. 88J Joey Amantea, 6. 12 Blaine Emery, 7. 57x Ricky Rutt.

Feature Event (25 Laps): 1. 5G Briggs Danner, 2. 3BC Nash Ely, 3. 20 Alex Bright, 4. 83 Bruce Buckwalter Jr, 5. 83s Billy Ney, 6. 71 Chris Allen, 7. 88J Joey Amantea, 8. 57 Damon Paul, 9. 11 Mike Thompson, 10. 12 Blaine Emery, 11. 17J Jonathan Swanson, 12. 117 David Swanson, 13. 57x Ricky Rutt, 14. 22B Troy Betts, 15. 9D Kevin Darling.

Lap Leaders: 1-25: Briggs Danner

Penske Shocks $100: Briggs Danner
Penske Shocks $50: Nash Ely
Penske Shocks $25: Alex Bright
Ultra Shield 3rd Place: Alex Bright
Ultra Shield 6th Place: Chris Allen Jr
Vahlco Wheels $50 Hard Charger: Jonathan Swanson

USAC East Coast Points:
Briggs Danner 797
Alex Bright 781
Tommy Kunsman 595
Nash Ely 591
Damon Paul 533
Steven Drevicki 523
Joey Amantea 507
Chris Allen Jr 489
Bruce Buckwalter 478
Mike Thompson 443

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