By Richie Murray
Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania (June 16, 2021)………The newest facility in Pennsylvania racing circles, and on USAC’s racing calendar, is having the finishing touches put upon it in preparation for this Sunday night’s 2021 USAC Eastern Storm finale at Bloomsburg Fair Raceway featuring the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship on June 20.
It’s been 35 years since auto racing has been held at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds and Sunday will mark the first appearance of USAC at the track, which was formerly a half-mile, but is now a 3/8-mile dirt oval.
Construction started on the facility in January and, basically, using a clean sheet of paper, the grounds were completely revamped and upgraded from top to bottom, mixing the classic covered grandstand with modern amenities to create a top notch facility with no stone left unturned, literally. The clay has been screened, a big process mind you, but ideal in taking the time to do it the right way right out of the box.
“It’s a cool town with a great racing history and we’re really looking forward to Sunday,” USAC Executive Vice President Levi Jones said. “The wall and fence, scoreboard, tower, everything is new. It’s a great fairgrounds with bathrooms, concessions, grandstands and all new lighting. It’s perfect.”
It started with a clean sheet of paper, redoing the shape of the track that was there,” Jones added. “It’s awesome to have a place that’s building a track. We talk about tracks that are shutting down, forced to close or moved, but to have a place that’s revamping a track, that’s what we need.”
In January 2021, Jones and Randy Mausteller partook in the first ceremonial laps on the new Bloomsburg track in a sprint car and midget, respectively, the first laps turned at Bloomsburg since 1986. Since that point five months earlier, construction has been a constant at the track, albeit having to fight the elements of snow at first, and rain in the spring.
Kokomo Speedway General Manager Reece O’Connor has been brought in by the Bloomsburg Fair Raceway to prepare the racing surface leading up to the opener as well as on Sunday’s race day for the Eastern Storm closer.
Pennsylvania is well-known for its big half-mile dirt ovals, many of which are a half-mile in length. Bloomsburg will serve as a fairly unique track in the region in that sense with a more bullring type of feel for sprint car and midget racing.
The half-mile track surrounding the new 3/8-mile dirt oval remains and will still be utilized for horse racing and tractor pull events. The venue is used extensively for concerts during the fair, making it truly a multi-use facility in all facets.
Among the drivers competing with the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars at Bloomsburg on Sunday are a number of prior Eastern Storm champions: 2014-Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.), 2015-Robert Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.), 2017 & 2018-Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) and 2019-C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) as well as 2021’s Eastern Storm opener Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.), plus Pennsylvania USAC Sprint Car winners Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.), Chase Stockon (Fort Branch, Ind.), Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.) and Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) along with 2018 USAC National Midget champ Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.)
Pennsylvania stars Briggs Danner (Allentown, Pa.), Alex Bright (Collegeville, Pa.), Timmy Buckwalter (Douglassville, Pa.), Steven Drevicki (Reading, Pa.) and Mark Smith (Sunbury, Pa.) will also be in the hunt, along with many others, to try to win one for the home crowd.
The first real test of at the track will come this Thursday night, June 17, with an open practice for Sprint Cars, Late Models, Dirt Modifieds and Winged 600 Micro Sprints from 5pm to 8pm EDT. Admission is free. Concession stands will also be open.
On race day this Sunday at Bloomsburg, the ULMS Late Models will also be in action alongside the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship.
Pits open on Sunday at 3pm EDT with spectator gates opening at 5pm, drivers meeting at 5:45pm and cars on track at 6:15pm.
Adult admission tickets are $30, students are $20 and children 12 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.
This Sunday’s USAC Sprint race won’t be the only National event of the season at Bloomsburg. The USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship comes to the track on August 6 during Eastern Midget Week.