Danner Scores First Career Gallagher Memorial Victory


USAC East Coast Sprint Cars

Danner Scores First Career Gallagher Memorial Victory

Mechanicsburg, PA, June 7th, 2024. Nick Fillman, USAC ECSC

Briggs Danner of Allentown, PA collected his third win of the 2024 Rapid Tire Services, USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series, Presented by Capitol Renegade season at the Williams Grove Speedway. This time, for $5,000 and his first win in the third annual Bill Gallagher Memorial.

Tommy Kunsman Jr and Kenny Miller lll lead the field to green for the twenty-five lap feature event, with Miller quickly taking over the top spot from Kunsman on the initial green flag. Further back in the pack on the opening lap, and opening corner, a four wide situation unfolded with Bruce Buckwalter Jr, Briggs Danner, Bobby Butler and Joey Amantea battling for position early on.

Briggs Danner was the big winner of the four wide battle, as he advanced two positions moving from his sixth place starting spot to the fourth spot early in the event. Other cars in the feature field that were putting the moves on early were Steven Drevicki who quickly picked up a handful of positions, and Alex Bright, who had is work cut out for him starting in the fifteenth position.

The first caution flag of the evening was thrown on lap four as Tim Glatfelter, known for his winged 410 and 358 sprint car experience, spun to a stop in turn one in his wingless debut in the Lee Kauffman 96. Kenny Miller lll was the feature event leader over Tommy Kunsman Jr, Ed Aikin, Briggs Danner, and Bruce Buckwalter Jr.

On the ensuing restart, Miller put around a two car length lead on Kunsman, with Ed Aikin and Briggs Danner beginning to battle for the third spot. Behind them, Joey Amantea was flying around the outside of the speedway and had worked his way into the top five.

Another pair of laps were completed on the score board, with Briggs Danner moving around Ed Aikin on the high side of the speedway, then drawing in on the tail tank of Tommy Kunsman for second, completing the pass officially on lap seven. Further back, Steven Drevicki, Joey Amantea, and now Alex Bright began to battle side by side for positions just outside and inside the top five as the feature event began to near the half way point.

Briggs Danner, utilizing the high side of the speedway, was able to power around the outside of Kenny Miller coming down the straight-away, and officially taking the lead on lap nine of the feature event.

As the field completed lap twelve, the caution flag again was displayed. This time, for a pair of cars coming to a stop on the front stretch. Bobby Butler popped and sputtered his way to a stop just shy of turn one, while Troy Fraker slowed in the middle of the front stretch. Fraker would re-fire and join the tail end of the field, with Butler heading pit side and his feature event over.

Following the restart, Danner was back to the high side of the speedway with Miller down low, both drivers in their preferred racing groove trying to be the leader of the feature event. Danner began to pull away from Miller for the feature event lead with Kenny Miller now left to be challenged by Steven Drevicki on the bottom side of the speedway for the runner up spot, with Alex Bright drawing in on both of them pounding the cushion around the top of the track.

Drevicki was finally able to move around Miller for the second spot on lap seventeen, and try to set his sights on Danner for the feature event lead. Quickly following along with Drevicki, Alex Bright made the move around Miller for third on lap twenty.

Drevicki and Miller were working the bottom side of the speedway in turns one and two, and the top in three and four, with Danner on the high side all the way around the Williams Grove Speedway. Drevicki and Bright kept Danner honest, staying within a half straight away of Danner as the laps continued to click off.

Try as they might, Steven Drevicki, nor Alex Bright could catch Briggs Danner in time, as he went on to score his first ever Bill Gallagher Memorial and a $5,000 pay day, with Drevicki holding off Bright for second. Bright came home third on the podium with Kenny Miller lll and Christian Bruno completing the podium.

The win for Danner was the teams third of the season, and first as a pair at the Williams Grove Speedway. Last year at the Gallagher Memorial, The Hogue Enterprises team lost an engine in the heat race, forcing Danner to pilot the Ed Aikin 7 machine. Danner started dead last, and drove from 21st to third. This season however, was much less daring for Danner and team on their way to the feature event win. The win for Danner may have meant more to him than many others, as Bill Gallagher was the first to give Danner an opportunity to drive a sprint car, with the duo scoring a win in their opening night together and kicking off Danner’s tenure in sprint car racing.

Steven Drevicki is the current series points leader and former winner at Williams Grove. After a hard fought battle with good friend Bruce Buckwalter Jr in the heat race, Drevicki missed the redraw position by just one spot, forcing him to start ninth outside of the redraw cars. The deeper starting position did not seem to bug Drevicki all that much, as the former series champion worked on the low side of the speedway to methodically work his way to the front. Should there have been a caution in the late stages, who knows what would have happened, but as Drevicki exclaimed in the pit area at the conclusion of the night: “man second sucks!”

Alex Bright and the Heffner Enterprises South team came into the night as the defending champions of the Gallagher Memorial, with Bright winning the previous two 5G events. Furthermore, Bright had won the last four USAC EC events at Williams Grove between the Hummer Motorsports 20 and Heffner 27. The night seemed to be off to a good start in hot laps with Bright turning quick lap times, before disaster struck. The Heffner 27 slowed with smoke showing in hot laps with an expired power plant. The team got to action pulling the damaged engine out, and with a phone call to good friend of Heffner Racing, and brother to Curt, Sean Michael, a back up 360 engine was on its way to the track. Bright missed his heat race, started fifteenth in the feature event and battled his way to the front, coming home with a respectable third place effort.

Last weeks winner Kenny Miller lll lead the feature event early on, before dropping a few positions at the front of the field. While Miller may not feel great about not getting the big victory, finishing fourth behind three different series champions is great company to be around. The three time series winner in 2023 will have to wait until his next race to have a shot at adding to the win column in 2024.

Rounding out the top five was Christian Bruno with another impressive run. The former 600 Speedweek Champion, and 2x Action Track USA 600 Champion has had his best season to date so far in USAC EC competition. Bruno has made five starts, with all five features ending in top five runs, two of which being podium runs. As Bruno continues to run at the front of the field, he will continue to gain valuable knowledge and continue to battle for a potential first career win.

Hard luck of the night without a doubt belongs to Milford, NJ driver Bobby Butler. The day started out with Bobbys normal truck blowing an engine on their way to the track, just across the border of PA from his native NJ. A few phone calls later, a spare truck was loaned to Butler allowing him to get to the speedway for the nights event. A convincing heat race win seemed to have things on the right track for Butler in the feature event, before the car slowed with an issue. An apparent engine failure ended the night for Butler, and by his own admission, may have ended his season. We certainly hope that is not the case and would love to see Bobby back in the pit area at our next event.

Speaking of next events, the series will now have a full two week break before getting back into action with our first ever trip to the Utica Rome and Fonda Speedway’s in New York. In the meantime, a number of our drivers will be competing against the nations best during the annual “Eastern Storm” visit by the USAC National Series.

USAC EC at Williams Grove Results:

Heat 1 (8 Laps, 4 Redraw, all qualify) : 1. 5B-Bobby Butler[4]; 2. 21K-Tommy Kunsman[2]; 3. 7-Ed Aikin[5]; 4. 83-Bruce Buckwalter Jr[6]; 5. 19-Steven Drevicki[8]; 6. 18T-JT Ferry[3]; 7. 12W-Troy Fraker[7]; 8. 27-Alex Bright[1]

Heat 2 (8 Laps, 4 Redraw, all qualify): 1. 88J-Joey Amantea[2]; 2. 17-Christian Bruno[1]; 3. 23M-Kenny Miller III[3]; 4. 39-Briggs Danner[5]; 5. 21-Carmen Perigo Jr[6]; 6. 96-Tim Glatfelter[7]; 7. 67-Jason Cherry[4]; 8. 44-Gary Huston[8]

A Feature 1 (25 Laps): 1. 39-Briggs Danner[6]; 2. 19-Steven Drevicki[9]; 3. 27-Alex Bright[15]; 4. 23M-Kenny Miller III[2]; 5. 17-Christian Bruno[8]; 6. 88J-Joey Amantea[5]; 7. 21K-Tommy Kunsman[1]; 8. 21-Carmen Perigo Jr[10]; 9. 7-Ed Aikin[4]; 10. 83-Bruce Buckwalter Jr[3]; 11. 18T-JT Ferry[11]; 12. 67-Jason Cherry[14]; 13. 96-Tim Glatfelter[12]; 14. 12W-Troy Fraker[13]; 15. 44-Gary Huston[16]; 16. 5B-Bobby Butler[7]

Lap Leaders: Kenny Miller lll 1-8, Briggs Danner 9-25.

Susan and David Miller $100 Bonus Drivers:
Briggs Danner
Steven Drevicki
Alex Bright
Kenny Miller lll
Christian Bruno

Article Credit: Nick Fillman

Submitted By: Nick Fillman

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