By T.J. Buffenbarger
(April 4, 2021) – The 2021 season is already off to a better start than 2020 since racing has taken place through March and April. One thing that is carrying over from 2020 is the quality of the on-track product. Staying home last weekend afforded me the opportunity to watch programs from Lincoln, Port Royal, Attica, Pevely, Watsonville, Lawrenceburg Bridgeport, and Placerville.
The common theme throughout all these programs was great racing. All the above mentioned events produced great sprint car features I am amazed every week how good the on-track product has become with different sprint car series and tracks throughout the country.
Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 produced two exceptionally good World of Outlaws programs. The racing was good enough for me to ponder if Pevely’s Ironman 55 would produce a better product in April than it does in August. With the great racing we have seen from the Outlaws the past three weeks it also makes a strong argument that the March and April schedules need to be retooled permanently, not making the initial trip to the West Coast.
Central Pennsylvania featuring a “Dietrich Duel” with Billy getting the best of Danny at Lincoln was entertaining while Lance Dewease missed out on all the great action behind him racing for second on back in route to winning at Port Royal. Dewease joined Justin Peck as the only 410 sprint car drivers to win more than one main event in Central Pa. this season.
Bridgeport Speedway held the opening round for the USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series with a sneaky good feature Saturday won by Briggs Danner. The back-and-forth racing between Danner and Alex Bright was well work the mouse click to tune in between races at other vendues. Bridgeport’s new track layout seems to provide for action packed, entertaining racing. Bridgeport also gives us a mid-week taste of 410 sprint car racing Tuesday with the “Invasion of the Posse” on Tuesday.
If you haven’t gotten out to a race in person yet or checked out the online pay per view options I highly recommend doing so. This season appears to be shaping up to be as good as last year where I felt the on track racing was as good as any season I could remember.
- Attica Raceway Park showcased a very different look for the All Star Circuit of Champions. Floracing as the new title sponsor and a host of young talent that will travel with the tour packed the pit area on Saturday. Justin Peck, Zeb Wise, Hunter Schuerenberg, Brent Marks, and Cory Eliason making up the top five shows how much change there is for the series in 2021. None of those drivers finished in the top five in All Star competition at Attica in the previous two seasons. Eliason came the closest with a sixth-place finish in August 30 of 2019.
Attica was just part of an amazing day of 410 racing in the state of Ohio. 83 different sprint cars to track on Saturday with Attica drawing 33, Atomic Speedway’s FAST 410 Sprint Car Series program drawing 29, and 21 cars showing on the box score at Wayne County. In addition, 35 entries signed in for the 305 sprint car class at Attica, showing sprint car racing is alive and well in the Buckeye state.
- In the Attica 305 sprint car division Paul Weaver picked up his third victory in a row. The amazing thing about Weaver’s recent string of success in the 305 class is he has used the same chassis since 2015 for all but eight races.
Weaver has been racing long enough in the 305 class that many of his fellow competitors do not recall or were not old enough to see Weaver running in the 360 and 410 class. For those that ask why Weaver has not moved up to the 410 class again, the 305 class is what he can pay for running his own race team.
- With COVID-19 wiping out most off-season events Rob Hoffman accepted the 2020 USAC National Sprint Car Championship car owner trophy at Lawrenceburg Speedway on Saturday. The award meant more this time around for Rob as the award is now named after his father Richard. It seemed fitting for Rob to accept the award at what they consider their home track.
The Hoffman family now partners with Brady Bacon to field the famous Hoffman Auto Racing #69 with most of the work taking place in Bacon’s shop. There is still work being done in the Hoffman Family compound near Cincinnati, Ohio on a Little 500 entry Rob is building from the ground up for Bacon’s first attempt at the event. Hoffman and Bacon recently shook down the car for the first time at Anderson Speedway.
- In additional Little 500 news, Eric Gordan posted on his Facebook page that he will drive the red and white #2 car, now owned by Mike Bowman, in the 2021 race. This is the same car Gordon has driven to multiple Little 500 victories. The entry originally purchased by Eric’s uncle and reworked by legendary mechanic Jack French was a dominant force at the Little 500 throughout the 2000’s.