By Richie Murray
Swedesboro, New Jersey (June 16, 2021)………The last time the Eastern Storm tour visited Swedesboro, New Jersey’s Bridgeport Speedway, the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars were greeted by the newly-constructed 3/8-mile dirt oval constructed within the 5/8-mile track that served as the perimeter of the confines.
On Wednesday night, June 16, USAC will make what is basically a second debut at Bridgeport, which has now galvanized the two tracks into a high-banked 4/10-mile dirt oval, which the series will make their first trek to.
Only 10 previous USAC National Sprint Car races have been held in the state of New Jersey, and just two at Bridgeport, in 2018 and 2019. Kevin Thomas Jr. won the 2018 race while Jason McDougal held off Thomas to win in 2019. Thomas (Cullman, Ala.) also earned quick time honors in 2018.
Rocklin, California’s Robert Ballou, the 2015 Eastern Storm champion, is a USAC National Sprint Car winner in the state of New Jersey. At Bridgeport, Ballou finished 6th in 2018 and 10th in 2019, winning his heat races in both of those years.
The USAC Rapid Tire East Coast Sprint Cars have made annual visits to Bridgeport each year since 2018. On the new layout, Briggs Danner (Allentown, Pa.) has won twice, first in 2020 then again in their EC season opener in April.
Steven Drevicki (Reading, Pa.), the three-time USAC East Coast Sprint Car champion in 2018-19-20, has won in a USAC SpeedSTR feature on the new Bridgeport layout, doing so in 2020. He was 12th there during Eastern Storm in 2019 as well. Fellow East Coaster Timmy Buckwalter was 13th in Bridgeport’s inaugural Eastern Storm event in 2018.
Two-time Eastern Storm king Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) was the runner-up in 2018 and led 11 laps. He followed up with an 8th in 2019. Another Eastern Storm champ, Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.), earned hard charger honors in both of his Bridgeport USAC National Sprint Car starts, going 13th to 4th in 2018 and 12th to 7th in 2019. He also won his heat in 2018.
Chase Stockon held the one-lap USAC Sprint Car track record at the 3/8-mile version of Bridgeport in 2019. A new record will be established on Wednesday. Stockon has raced to a pair of top-fives in each of his Bridgeport starts, taking 5th in 2018 and 4th in 2019 along with a heat victory in 2018.
Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) has scored two top-tens in each of his Bridgeport goes, with an 8th in 2018 and 3rd in 2019. C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.), the 2019 Eastern Storm champion, was 12th in 2018 and 5th in 2019 at Bridgeport. Isaac Chapple (Willow Branch, Ind.) made his first career USAC National Sprint Car appearances during Eastern Storm in 2015. At Bridgeport, he was 10th in 2018 and 14th in 2019. USAC National Sprint Car feature winner Matt Westfall was 16th at Bridgeport in 2018.
New Jersey’s own Craig Pellegrini (Buena, N.J.) finished 22nd at Bridgeport in 2019 and will be joined in the field by fellow Garden State resident, Chris Allen Jr. (Monroe, N.J.), a USAC East Coast Sprint Car winner who’ll be making his first Eastern Storm appearance in 2021.
Other first-time Bridgeport appearances will be turned in by a pair of past USAC National Midget champions in Minden, Nevada’s Tanner Thorson (2016) and Sutter, California’s Logan Seavey (2018). Thorson has already won twice with the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars in Pennsylvania this year and leads all series Rookies in the standings.
Jake Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.), the 2017 USAC West Coast Sprint Car champion, nearly collected a Pennsylvania state victory during Keystone Invasion, finishing 2nd at Big Diamond. Paul Nienhiser (Chapin, Ill.) made the trip out East this past April but will try his hand at Eastern Storm for the initial time this week.
Alex Bright (Collegeville, Pa.) is the current USAC East Coast Sprint Car point leader and is making his first tour with Eastern Storm since the 2017 season. One of several Pennsylvania’s on the tour, Bright is joined by winged sprint car super stud Mark Smith (Sunbury, Pa.), Nash Ely (Sinking Spring, Pa.) and Joey Amantea (Mt. Pocono, Pa.).
Also in the field are USAC’s 2020 National Most Improved driver, Brandon Mattox (Terre Haute, Ind.) who finished 5th in his latest Pennsylvania appearance in April 2021. Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.), a 2013 Eastern Storm winner at BAPS, is back on the tour for the first time in five years. Charles Davis Jr. (Buckeye, Ariz.) is an Eastern Storm first-timer with the highly decorated racer owning a 2018 USAC Southwest Sprint Car driving title. Three-time 2021 Indiana Sprint Car feature winner Ricky Lewis (Ventura, Calif.) made a run through the four-race Keystone Invasion series in April and will be back once more for his Eastern Storm debut.
Wednesday’s Eastern Storm at Bridgeport will feature the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship and 358 Modifieds.
Pits open at 3pm EDT, grandstands at 5pm, drivers meeting at 5:45pm and on track at 6:15pm.
Adult admission tickets are $30, children 10 to 15 are $15 and children 9 and under will be admitted free. Pit passes are $40.
All Eastern Storm events will be streamed live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/3dgONXz.
USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINS AT BRIDGEPORT SPEEDWAY:
1-Jason McDougal & Kevin Thomas Jr.
USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINNERS AT BRIDGEPORT SPEEDWAY:
2018: Kevin Thomas Jr. (6/18)
2019: Jason McDougal (6/12)
TRACK RECORDS FOR USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CARS AT BRIDGEPORT SPEEDWAY:
None – this will be the first race on the new 4/10-mile layout.
BRIDGEPORT SPEEDWAY USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR FEATURE RESULTS:
2018 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (6),2. Chris Windom (3), 3. Tyler Courtney (2), 4. Brady Bacon (13), 5. Chase Stockon (5), 6. Robert Ballou (9), 7. Dave Darland (8), 8. Justin Grant (7), 9. Thomas Meseraull (18), 10. Isaac Chapple (12), 11. Chad Boespflug (1), 12. C.J. Leary (10), 13. Timmy Buckwalter (16), 14. Jarett Andretti (4), 15. Joey Biasi (17), 16. Matt Westfall (14), 17. Zach Daum (15), 18. Tony DiMattia (11), 19. Kyle Lick (22), 20. Mark Bitner (20), 21. Ryan Godown (19), 22. Robert Bell (21). NT
2019 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Jason McDougal (2), 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (3), 3. Justin Grant (4), 4. Chase Stockon (6), 5. C.J. Leary (5), 6. Tyler Courtney (10), 7. Brady Bacon (12), 8. Chris Windom (7), 9. Carson Short (1), 10. Robert Ballou (14), 11. Bill Balog (9), 12. Steven Drevicki (16), 13. Chad Boespflug (8), 14. Isaac Chapple (11), 15. Joey Biasi (13), 16. Dave Darland (15), 17. Jarett Andretti (18), 18. Ryan Godown (21), 19. Dominick Buffalino (20), 20. Brian VanMeveren (17), 21. Dustin Clark (19), 22. Craig Pellegrini (22). NT
USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINS IN NEW JERSEY:
1-Robert Ballou, Tom Bigelow, Chad Boespflug, Levi Jones, Jason McDougal, Hunter Schuerenberg, Kevin Thomas Jr. & Johnny Thomson
2021 EASTERN STORM SCHEDULE:
June 15: Grandview Speedway – Bechtelsville, PA (USAC Sprint)
June 16: Bridgeport Speedway – Swedesboro, NJ (USAC Sprint)
June 17: Selinsgrove Speedway – Selinsgrove, PA (USAC Sprint)
June 18: Williams Grove Speedway – Mechanicsburg, PA (USAC Silver Crown)
June 19: Port Royal Speedway – Port Royal, PA (USAC Sprint)
June 20: Bloomsburg Fair Raceway – Bloomsburg, PA (USAC Sprint)
EASTERN STORM CHAMPIONS:
2007: Levi Jones
2008: Cole Whitt
2009: Cole Whitt
2010: Levi Jones
2011: Levi Jones
2012: Bryan Clauson
2013: Bryan Clauson
2014: Brady Bacon
2015: Robert Ballou
2016: Bryan Clauson
2017: Chris Windom
2018: Chris Windom
2019: C.J. Leary
2020: Not Held
EASTERN STORM FEATURE WINS (2007-2020):
6-Bryan Clauson, Levi Jones & Chris Windom
4-Brady Bacon & Robert Ballou
2-Tyler Courtney, Thomas Meseraull & Kevin Thomas Jr.
1-Chad Boat, Chad Boespflug, Daron Clayton, Shane Cottle, Dave Darland, Bobby East, Damion Gardner, Jesse Hockett, Jason McDougal, Hunter Schuerenberg, Jon Stanbrough, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. & Chase Stockon