Thrill on the Hill, Grandview Feature Belongs to Danner
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5/12/2024

5/12/2024

USAC East Coast Sprint Cars


Thrill on the Hill, Grandview Feature Belongs to Danner

May 11th, 2024. Bechtelsville, PA, Nick Fillman, USAC ECSC.

Briggs Danner of Allentown, PA was able to collect his second win of the 2024 Rapid Tire Services, USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series, presented by Capitol Renegade, and second career win at his home track, the Grandview Speedway.

With rains moving in quickly from the west, a quick turn around time was made for the series by the Grandview Speedway staff, with drivers and teams needing to make quick changes to present their cars for the feature event. Heat one winner Christian Bruno drew the pole for the feature event, and lead the field to green with rookie driver Matthew Swift.

As the field when green, Bruno jumped out to the early event lead with Bobby Butler quickly moving up into the runner up spot and drawing in on the tail tank of Bruno. Briggs Danner was quickly on the move as well, ripping the high side of the speedway to move up into third from his sixth starting spot early on in the feature event.

By lap two, Bobby Butler was able to move around the outside of Christian Bruno and take the race lead, with Bruno a close second, and Briggs Danner hustling to catch up to the front two. On lap three, unfortunately the red flag would have to be thrown as Circileville, NY driver Thomas Radivoy slide wide in turn one, caught the wall, and went for a vicious bout of barrel rolls before coming to a stop in the middle of turns one and two.

Bobby Butler would lead Christian Bruno, Briggs Danner, Ed Aikin, and Alex Bright who was on the charge from the worst redraw position, starting spot eight. Butler secured a stellar restart, but did not run away from Bruno, with Briggs Danner now drawn in close to the rear of the 17B for the runner up spot. Danner quickly dispatched of Bruno for the runner up spot, bringing Alex Bright with him around the outside as the the duo tried to draw in on Bobby Butler for the race lead.

Around lap ten, the top three were all within the same corner as each other with Butler fending off challenges from Danner and Bright as the trio ran bumper to bumper to bumper nearing the half way mark.

On lap twelve, just as Briggs Danner was attempting a slide job on Butler for the lead in turns three and four, Butler appeared to get too loose and began to spin in the corner, Alex Bright, with no where to go, tagged the rear of Butler sending him for a 360 spin, and drawing the caution, with Butler able to stay running. Bright however, was not able to keep fire under the hood of the Heffner 27, and spun to the bottom of the corner handing the lead to Briggs Danner with thirteen laps to go.

The restart saw Danner get a good jump on runner up Christian Bruno, with Steven Drevicki moving in on Bruno for second, and eventually moving around the outside of Bruno, putting his sights on Danner for the race lead.

Behind the lead three, Ed Aikin found himself with a comfortable gap in fourth, with what was without a doubt the best racing of the night going on behind him for fifth through tenth. Bruce Buckwalter and Cameron Smith battled side by side, lap after lap, with JT Ferry and Tommy Kunsman side by side just behind them in a four car battle for position.

With the Grandview surface continuing to slick off, Danner and the leaders were not making much time up on the rest of the field as the laps wound down, Drevicki was inching closer and closer to Danner for the race lead, with Buckwalter and Cameron Smith, JT Ferry, and Kunsman continuing to battle side by side for position.

Cameron Smith, the winged 410 regular from Central PA, moved around Buckwalter for fifth, with Buckwalter holding sixth, and Kunsman getting the better of Ferry for seventh. Alex Bright was hard on the prowl and had moved his way back inside the top ten.

With three laps to go, the diamond maneuver that Drevicki had been working on, was quickly working as he drew closer and closer to Danner for the race lead. As the field came down the back stretch with one lap to go, Drevicki moved a lane lower on the speedway and drew side by side with Danner for the race lead, and took the lead at the line with one lap to go. Danner quickly gassed up, and drove around the outside of Drevicki to take the lead back at the exit of the second turn, as they dove into turn three for the final time. Danner had moved to the bottom side of three and four with Drevicki left trying to run the middle in case, Danner missed the bottom trying for the cross over. Drevicki got a solid run as the two drove side by side off the corner, Drevicki to the bottom, but not having enough to get Danner at the line.

Briggs Danner held on to score his second feature event win of the season with Drevicki coming home a close second. Christian Bruno with another solid run came home third, with Grandview veteran Ed Aikin fourth, and Cameron Smith in his first series start finishing fifth.

Speaking of Cameron Smith, the talented young driver without a doubt was the most impressive run of the race. In what was his first USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series start with Lee Kauffmans, Rocky Ridge Racing 96 car, the team missed hot laps, and only had eight laps in the heat race to figure the set up out. Smith slow rolled the bottom from the thirteenth position to score his first top five, in what was around his seventh start in a wingless sprint car. Smith competed with the USAC National Series in February of 2023 in Florida for the team.

Up next for the series is a double dose of Delaware action to end the month of May, with a stop to the Georgetown Speedway on May 17th, and the Delaware International Speedway on May 25th.

USAC East Coast at Grandview Results:

Heat 1 (8 Laps, All Qualify, 4 Redraw): 1. 17-Christian Bruno[1]; 2. 03-Matthew Swift[2]; 3. 7-Ed Aikin[7]; 4. 83-Bruce Buckwalter Jr[5]; 5. 21K-Tommy Kunsman[8]; 6. 29-Dalton Herrick[3]; 7. 96-Cameron Smith[6]; 8. 64-Rich Carnathan[4]; 9. 67-Jason Cherry[9]

Heat 2 (8 Laps, All Qualify, 4 Redraw): 1. 27-Alex Bright[1]; 2. 5B-Bobby Butler[3]; 3. 39-Briggs Danner[6]; 4. 19-Steven Drevicki[7]; 5. 18T-JT Ferry[2]; 6. 39X-Scott Frack[5]; 7. 1Q-Thomas Radivoy[4]; 8. 22R-Ronald Helmick[9]; 9. 76-Mike Smith[8]

A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 39-Briggs Danner[6]; 2. 19-Steven Drevicki[5]; 3. 17-Christian Bruno[1]; 4. 7-Ed Aikin[4]; 5. 96-Cameron Smith[13]; 6. 83-Bruce Buckwalter Jr[7]; 7. 21K-Tommy Kunsman[9]; 8. 18T-JT Ferry[10]; 9. 27-Alex Bright[8]; 10. 22R-Ronald Helmick[16]; 11. 67-Jason Cherry[17]; 12. 29-Dalton Herrick[11]; 13. 39X-Scott Frack[14]; 14. 5B-Bobby Butler[3]; 15. 76-Mike Smith[18]; 16. 03-Matthew Swift[2]; 17. 64-Rich Carnathan[15]; 18. 1Q-Thomas Radivoy[12]

Lap Leaders: Christian Bruno (1), Bobby Butler (3-12), Steven Drevicki (24), Briggs Danner, (13-23, 25)


Article Credit: Nick Fillman

Submitted By: Nick Fillman

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