Alex Bright
Alex Bright

Alex Bright
Collegeville, PA

First in the First State!, Danner Wins at Delaware International


USAC East Coast Sprint Cars

First in the First State!, Danner Wins at Delaware International

Delmar, DE, June 30th, 2023, Nick Fillman, USAC ECSC

Briggs Danner of Allentown, PA picked up a his second straight win with the Rapid Tire Services, USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series presented by Capitol Renegade at the Delaware International Speedway on Friday night, in epic fashion holding of a last lap, last corner driver from Alex Bright.

Tommy Kunsman and Christian Bruno lead the field to green for the 25 lap feature event, with Kunsman getting the best of Bruno on the initial start. Kunsman took the lead into corners one and two with Bruno trying to rip the high side of the speedway and stay close with Kunsman down the back stretch.

Alex Bright quickly dropped the nose to the inside of Bruno early as the pair began to battle early on lap one and down the back straight away on lap two. In three and four, with Kunsman out front, Bright was able to roll around the outside of Bruno for second, with Amantea following in the tire tracks of Bright and moving by Bruno for third.

Meanwhile behind the lead trio, fierce battles for position raged on with Bobby Butler and Briggs Daner battling hard for the last spot inside the top five, Steven Drevicki, Ed Aikin, and Chris Allen were nearly three wide for position, with Kyle Spence, who had fallen back a few positions since the initial drop of the green.

As Bobby Butler and Briggs Danner battled hard for position, Joey Amantea began to put pressure on the runner up Alex Bright as the duo tried to reel in Tommy Kunsman who had a marginal lead over the rest of the podium runners. Amantea stayed glued the tail tank of Bright, as for multiple laps as they were not gaining on Kunsman, but were not necessarily falling back either. Behind that battle, Kyle Spence battled three wide with Chris Allen and Ed Aikin as Spence appeared to have one of the fastest cars on the track, and was trying to work his way into the top five.

As the field closed in on the half way point with Kunsman having a four to five car lead over Bright, Joey Amantea began to defend his third place position from Briggs Danner. Danner made the move to the outside of Amantea for third at the halfway mark, with Amantea battling back down the back straightaway and making slight contact with Dinner in three and four. Amantea would take the position back, as Danner tapped the outside wall, but only slightly entering turn one. The pair would battle back and forth for a handful of laps before Danner took the position over on lap fifteen.

While Danner and Amantea battled for third, Alex Bright closed in on Tommy Kunsman for the race lead as Kunsman began to encounter lapped traffic. As Kunsman navigated to the outside of Brett Rose to complete lap fifteen, Bright drew side by side with Kunsman at the line, with Kunsman retaining the race lead.

Danner had quickly turned up the heat on the lead pairing, as he quickly dispatched of Amantea after securing third, and drew in on the leaders. At lap seventeen, the three leaders were all within the same corner as each-other, and remained that way for a full lap.

On lap eighteen, Danner attempted a slide job into turns one and two on Alex Bright for second. Bright was not deterred and blasted the high side on the cushion out of two and took the race lead from Kunsman down the backstretch. As the leaders entered turn three, Bright had the lead but pushed wide, with Kunsman missing the rubber patch on the bottom as well. Danner did not miss the rubber, and in a daring three wide move, passed both Kunsman and Bright for the race lead and became the official race leader on lap nineteen.

Behind the leaders, Joey Amantea held fourth, Christian Bruno held fifth, but a hungry pack of drivers were chasing him down as Kyle Spence moved by Bobby Butler and Steven Drevicki and was quickly closing in on Bruno. Chris Allen then moved into battle with Drevicki and Bobby Butler in another highly entertaining four car battle for position.

Alex Bright appeared to have the better car in turns one and two as he utilized the cushion to get massive runs down the back straightaway into turn three, but Danner was better through the middle of three and off of four and held a one to two car length advantage as the last handful of laps clicked away.

With two laps to go, Bright was not letting Danner get away, but could not get the bite he needed to get around Danner for the race lead as they came to the white flag. Bright gave it everything he had down the back stretch for the final time, and drew in on the tail tank of Danner for the race lead, Danner rolled the bottom well, as did Bright as the two came off the corner side by side and down to the line! In an amazing finish and drag race to the line, Briggs Danner was able to hold off Bright by a margin of just .049 seconds!

It seems as though Danner and the Hogue Racing team have hit their stride in the month of June. A win at the Bedford Speedway in the series last event, with an extremely impressive Eastern Storm run, culminated with a second win with the series at Delaware International to end the month. Danner has now added to his points lead, and looks even more poised to go back to back as a champion with the series. As an added note for the Danner team and family, Briggs grandfather David Miller was celebrating a birth day on Friday night, and received an awesome present from Briggs as the pair got to celebrate in victory lane.

Alex Bright and the Heffner Enterprises South team started out their pairing with a bang, winning in their first event together at the Williams Grove Speedway. Since then, it has been an up and down run with the team going through some hardships during Eastern Storm. But, the team does not quit and battled all week long, and even the week leading up to the show at Delaware International. From a bare frame on Wednesday, to nearly picking up the win on Friday at Delaware International, the team seems to be starting to mesh together. One more East Coast series race for the team is on the horizon, before they head west to compete with the USAC National Sprint Cars during Indiana Sprint week at the end of June.

Third place belonged to Joey Amantea who had fought hard all night long and was rewarded with a solid podium run. Amantea ran toe to toe with the two best the series has to offer and did not back down from the challenge. Amantea explained that at the end of the feature event, he simply had no more right rear tire to challenge the leaders, and settled in for a podium run. Like Bright, Amantea and team will also head west at the end of July for a run at Indiana Sprint Week with the USAC National Series.

Fourth place was a welcome sight for Christian Bruno in their return to action with the series. Bruno and team have had a tumultuous year suffering a pair of engine failures, despite having a great deal of speed. Engine builder for the team, and a part time series driver, Mark Bitner worked out a deal to allow Bruno and team to borrow his DRC Chassis entry for Friday nights show at Delmar, and the team was rewarded with a top five run. Bruno looked smooth and steady all night long, just as he has all season. Look for the Bruno team to have the family owned entry back in action in two weeks at Action Track USA.

Rounding out the top five making his first start with the series since April at Williams Grove was Kyle Spence. Spence started eighth after the points inversion as the show on Friday at Delmar was only his third of the season. Spence put on a show battling with Ed Aikin, Chris Allen, Drevicki and Bobby Butler throughout the feature event as he had fallen back early, but regained his composure and went on a charge into the top five. Should there have been any cautions in the feature event, Spence may have had something to say about other positions inside the top five. Spence has been busy this season running with the wings on in 358 sprint action at multiple central Pennsylvania tracks, including the Lincoln Speedway where Spence picked up a win so far. Spence also made a start with the All Star Circuit of Champions 410 series and select other 410 shows. Look for Spence to continue his speed each and every time he is in action with the series throughout the year.

Up next for the series is the first stop of the season to the always entertaining Bull Ring at the Kutztown Fairgrounds, Action Track USA on Wednesday, July 12th for the series only event for the Month of July.

As a note to the readers and viewers, with two laps to go, Tommy Kunsman spun and did a 360 in corner one. I was able to see this, and announced a yellow over the PA that should have been. Unfortunately, none of our officials, nor our flagger saw the incident and a yellow was not called. This was a product of human error, and all drivers and teams were talked too that may have had their positions effected.

USAC East Coast at Delaware International Results:

Heat 1 (8 Laps, All Transfer, 4 to Points Inversion): 1. 27 Alex Bright, 2. 5B Bobby Butler, 3. 22 Kyle Spence, 4. 21K Tommy Kunsman, 5. 19 Steven Drevicki, 6. 7 Ed Aikin, 7. 87 Austin Graby, 8. 45R Brett Rose, 9. 76 Michael Smith, 10. 23M Kenny Miller lll

Heat 2 (8 Laps, All Transfer, 4 to Points Inversion): 1. 88J Joey Amantea, 2. 39 Briggs Danner, 3. 17B Christian Bruno, 4. 18J JT Ferry, 5. 71 Chris Allen Jr, 6. 23B Preston Lattomus, 7. 11 Mike Thompson, 8. 83 Bruce Buckwalter Jr, 9. 83S Billy Ney, 10. SR71 Chris Allen Sr.

Feature Event: (25 Laps): 1. 39 Briggs Danner, 2. 27 Alex Bright, 3. 88J Joey Amantea, 4. 17B Christian Bruno, 5. 22 Kyle Spence, 6. 19 Steven Drevicki, 7. 5B Bobby Butler, 8. 71 Chris Allen Jr, 9. 21K Tommy Kunsman Jr, 10. 23M Kenny Miller lll, 11. 23B Preston Lattomus, 12. 7 Ed Aikin, 13. 18J JT Ferry, 14. 11 Mike Thompson, 15. 87 Austin Graby, 16. 83 Bruce Buckwalter Jr, 17. 76 Michael Smith, 18. 45R Brett Rose, 19. 83S Billy Ney, 20. SR71 Chris Allen Sr.

Lap Leaders: Tommy Kunsman (1-18), Briggs Danner (19-25).
Hard Charger: Kenny Miller lll +9 (19th to 10th)

Article Credit: Nick Fillman

Submitted By: Nick Fillman

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