By Richie Murray
Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania (June 13, 2022)………A year ago, we were amid an absence of 50 years between the first and second USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car appearances at Pennsylvania’s Selinsgrove Speedway.
Come this Thursday night, June 16, we will have only had to wait another 364 days before USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship racing returns to the half-mile for Eastern Storm round three.
It was 364 days ago in which Justin Grant only had to wait a mere 48 hours between Eastern Storm win number one and Eastern Storm win number two.
Two days after his initial Eastern Storm triumph, after a near decade of trying, the Ione, Calif. driver collected the second of his career, leading the final seven laps at the track which had last hosted a USAC National Sprint Car event in 1971.
Grant took the lead from Windom seven laps from the finish, then withstood multiple Robert Ballou slide job attempts during the final restart to win. Funny enough, it was Grant who initiated the drive to bring USAC Sprint Car racing back to Selinsgrove following a half-century absence. Later in the 2021 season, Grant collected a 5th in Silver Crown action at Selinsgrove.
The debut USAC Silver Crown National Championship race took place at Selinsgrove in 2020 and was won by Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) who made an incredible charge from the 23rd starting position to the victory. Cottle finished 11th in the sprinter there during Eastern Storm 2021.
Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) captured the USAC Silver Crown 75-lapper at Selinsgrove in 2021 and took 20th in his lone Eastern Storm Sprint Car run there in 2021.
Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) can also count himself as a winner at Selinsgrove, as the 2014 Eastern Storm king captured the 2020 USAC East Coast Sprint Car feature. At S-Grove, he’s been 7th and 8th, and was 5th during Eastern Storm a year ago.
C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) holds the USAC Silver Crown track record at Selinsgrove in a USAC Silver Crown car. The 2019 Eastern Storm champ started from the pole in Silver Crown action at Selinsgrove in both 2020 and 2021, and finished 2nd in the main event both years. He ran 3rd in the 2021 Eastern Storm Sprint Car feature.
Robert Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.), the 2015 and 2021 Eastern Storm champion, was leading the 2020 USAC East Coast Sprint Car feature at Selinsgrove with seven laps remaining when he flipped. He found much better fortune during Eastern Storm in 2021, finishing as the runner-up.
Alex Bright (Collegeville, Pa.) won with the USAC East Coast Sprint Cars twice at Selinsgrove in 2021 en route to the championship and took 6th with the USAC national series during the same year.
Current USAC East Coast point leader Briggs Danner (Allentown, Pa.) has won races with the series in both 2021 and 2022. His USAC National Sprint Car record at Selinsgrove includes the eight-lap track record for the series at 2:51.33.
Three-time USAC East Coast Sprint Car champion Steven Drevicki (Reading, Pa.) took the runner-up spot in a 2020 race at Selinsgrove, and finished 14th during Eastern Storm in 2021.
Sportsman superstar Carmen Perigo (Stoystown, Pa.) has finished inside the top-10 twice in USAC national competition at Selinsgrove in 2021, 8th in the Sprint Car and 9th in the Silver Crown. Fellow Pennsylvanian Mark Smith (Sunbury, Pa.), 9th during his 2021 Eastern Strom run, is a four-time sprint car track champion at Selinsgrove and turned in a 5th with USAC East Coast this year. Timmy Buckwalter (Douglassville, Pa.) is set to make his Selinsgrove Eastern Storm debut on Thursday.
USAC East Coast stalwart Kenny Miller III (Morgantown, Pa.) finished 5th with the East Coast series in 2021 while Joey Amantea (Mount Pocono, Pa.) took 3rd this past May.
Jake Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.) made a couple fine appearances at Selinsgrove in 2021 with a 3rd in the Silver Crown main event and 7th in the sprint car. Matt Westfall (Pleasant Hill, Ohio) was rock solid at Selinsgrove in 2021, finishing 7th with the Crown car and 13th aboard the sprinter.
Also returning to the Selinsgrove lineup are 2020 USAC National Most Improved Driver Brandon Mattox (Terre Haute, Ind.) who finished 16th in 2021 as well as USAC National Sprint Cars’ Ironman, Chase Stockon (Fort Branch, Ind.), 17th in 2021. Also on board is 2018 USAC Southwest Sprint Car champion Charles Davis Jr. (Buckeye, Ariz.), 19th in 2021.
Shane Cockrum (Benton, Ill.) joins the Eastern Storm lineup in time for Selinsgrove where he ran 4th with the USAC Silver Crown series in 2021. He joins a group of Selinsgrove first-timers, a group that is highlighted by two-time 2022 USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship feature winner Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.), two-time Eastern Storm winner Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.), 2020 USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.), USAC National Sprint Car Rookie Alex Banales (Lafayette, Ind.), Korbyn Hayslett (Troy, Ohio), veteran Dallas Hewitt (Troy, Ohio) as well as Eldora Speedway’s four-time late model and two-time modified titlist, Brian Ruhlman (Clarklake, Mich.).
Thursday’s Eastern Storm event at Selinsgrove features the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship and Winged 410 c.i. Sprint Cars.
Pits open at 4:30pm Eastern with grandstands opening at 5:30pm, the drivers meeting at 6pm and hot laps at 6:30pm.
Adult admission tickets are $25, students age 12 to 17 are $15 and children 11 and under will be admitted free. Add $2 for grandstand reserved seats. Pit passes are $40.
All Eastern Storm events will be streamed live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/3u7ID2N.
2022 USAC EASTERN STORM SCHEDULE:
June 14: Grandview Speedway | Bechtelsville, PA
June 15: Bridgeport Motorsports Park | Swedesboro, NJ
June 16: Selinsgrove Speedway | Selinsgrove, PA
June 17: Williams Grove Speedway | Mechanicsburg, PA
June 18: Port Royal Speedway | Port Royal, PA
June 19: Bloomsburg Fair Raceway | Bloomsburg, PA
TRACK RECORDS FOR USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CARS AT SELINSGROVE SPEEDWAY:
1 Lap – 6/17/2021 – Chris Windom – 19.506
8 Laps – 6/17/2021 – Briggs Danner – 2:51.33
10 Laps – 7/17/1971 – Mitch Smith – 4:01.56
USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINS AT SELINSGROVE SPEEDWAY:
1-Justin Grant & Mitch Smith
USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINNERS AT SELINSGROVE SPEEDWAY:
1971: Mitch Smith (7/17)
2021: Justin Grant (6/17)
PAST USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS AT SELINSGROVE SPEEDWAY
1971 FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Mitch Smith, 2. Lee Osborne, 3. Bobby Adamson Sr., 4. Dick Tobias, 5. Lee Kunzman, 6. Joe Saldana, 7. Bruce Walkup, 8. Tom Bigelow, 9. Pancho Carter, 10. Larry Cannon, 11. Greg Weld, 12. Darl Harrison, 13. Rollie Beale, 14. Bill Koepfer, 15. Leigh Earnshaw Jr., 16. Larry Dickson, 17. Gary Bettenhausen, 18. Jimmy Kirk, 19. Jimmy Sheaffer, 20. Lennie Waldo. NT
2021 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Justin Grant (4), 2. Robert Ballou (7), 3. C.J. Leary (2), 4. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1), 5. Brady Bacon (5), 6. Alex Bright (10), 7. Jake Swanson (20), 8. Carmen Perigo (14), 9. Mark Smith (17), 10. Chase Johnson (11), 11. Shane Cottle (13), 12. Tanner Thorson (3), 13. Matt Westfall (15), 14. Steven Drevicki (16), 15. Chris Windom (6), 16. Brandon Mattox (21), 17. Chase Stockon (18), 18. Paul Nienhiser (19), 19. Charles Davis Jr. (12), 20. Logan Seavey (9), 21. Briggs Danner (8), 22. Isaac Chapple (22). NT
USAC 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
2021: Robert Ballou
USAC EASTERN STORM FEATURE WINS: (2007-2021)
6-Bryan Clauson, Levi Jones & Chris Windom
3-Kevin Thomas Jr. & Cole Whitt
2-Tyler Courtney, Justin Grant, Thomas Meseraull
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