Brady Bacon Julia Johnson Photo

By Richie Murray
Port Royal, Pennsylvania (June 15, 2024)………It had been a full decade since Brady Bacon last raced into victory lane at Pennsylvania’s Port Royal Speedway.

That 2014 race helped propel the Broken Arrow, Okla. racer to both his first and only USAC Eastern Storm title to date as well as his initial USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship.

Bacon certainly hopes that Saturday night’s victory on the 1/2-mile dirt oval will play into the same outcome by weekend’s end. While that remains to be determined, in the short term, the victory did thrust Bacon into the USAC Eastern Storm point lead with one race remaining.

Assuming the lead with eight laps to go following racelong leader Briggs Danner’s encounter with the turn two outside guardrail, Bacon pushed forward to capture his second victory of USAC Eastern Storm 2024 while also notching USAC National Sprint Car career win number 56 in his Dynamics, Inc./J. Davidson Scrap Metal – Next Level Metal – Davis Bros. Trucking/Triple X/Rider Chevy. He now stands just six behind Darland’s all-time record of 62.

However, it was Danner who led early and often in the 30-lap main event, which served as round six of ten for the Bubby Jones Master of Going Faster Presented By Spire Sports + Entertainment series as fourth starting Bacon slotted into the second spot on the opening lap after briefly engaging in a three-wide meet and greet with Danner and outside front row starter Ricky Lewis.

From that point forward, Bacon relentlessly chased Danner who held steady with a five to six car length throughout much of the event. Danner was able to maintain his advantage as he toured the high side at the midway point, initially cruising around the high line to put Carson Garrett, J.T. Ferry and Korbyn Hayslett a lap down. Despite Danner’s mesmerizing movement through traffic, all the while, Bacon remained within a stone’s throw of Danner.

“I had little different strategy than him,” Bacon revealed. “He was kind of sliding up to the cushion and I was entering a little slower and trying to build my speed off. We were about even, but I feel like my strategy might have been a little less treacherous. He wasn’t making enough mistakes for me to be fast enough to just outright pass him, so I was just going to have to stay there and pressure him until he did make a mistake.”

On lap 23, Danner’s hopes for victory unraveled in an instant when his right rear tire snagged the cushion, grabbing him and shoving him into the outside turn two fence. After riding his right-side wheels atop the guardrail for several feet, Danner landed on all fours and slid sideways into the path of Bacon. Bacon whoa’d himself up and narrowly avoided contact with Danner before continuing on with the race lead. Danner subsequently slowed to a crawl to necessitate a yellow flag and was ultimately finished for the evening with a disappointing 23rd place result.

It was the second consecutive night of heartache and heartbreak for Danner and his Hogue Racing Enterprises team. One night earlier at Williams Grove Speedway, the team led the 29.75 of the 30 laps until running out of fuel on the final corner of the final lap to lose the lead and the race when a victory was just within their grasp.

“He got through lapped traffic well,” Bacon said of Danner’s pursuit of a Port Royal triumph. “He just got into that cushion hard a couple times and got into the wall. I was kind of banking on that, hoping it was going to happen. It’s unfortunate for him; he’s had a great week, but sometimes you’ve just got to take it. He’s going to get there and he’s going to win a lot of races. But we’ll gladly take this one from him tonight and keep on rolling. We feel like the team is back where we need to be and winning races.”

With Bacon as the new leader on lap 23, no other driver was able to pose a serious threat for the lead down the stretch. However, the feature’s only restart opportunity presented a bit of consternation for Brady and his pursuit of victory.

“In three and four, you had to run it hard, but it got over the lip, and the cushion is so big, you had to keep your speed up, then it got treacherous on exit, and you get to slipping and sliding down the straightaway,” Bacon explained. “I didn’t really know what I needed to do on that restart. So, I just tried to get as much momentum down the front stretch and take the safest route through one. I was afraid that if I slid myself, I’d bang that big part of the cushion and wind up losing everything I gained. Luckily, it worked out for me, and I think maybe we surprised (C.J. Leary) on the restart and got a good start and stayed out front. If I could just get a couple laps in, I felt I would be pretty fine. I felt like I was setting a pretty good pace.”

Bacon was untouchable in the latter stages as he raced onward to his third series victory of the season by a 1.851 second margin over C.J. Leary, Alex Bright, Daison Pursley and Mitchel Moles.

In his nine previous USAC National Sprint Car starts at Port Royal, C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) had never finished better than third (2019). On this night, he wound up as the runner-up in his BGE Dougherty Motorsports/Altoz – Valvoline – Hornbeck Concrete/DRC/1-Way Chevy. Earlier in the evening, he recorded his 51st career Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifying time, tying Brady Bacon for fourth on the all-time list.

Alex Bright (Collegeville, Pa.) hadn’t finished on the podium of a USAC National Sprint Car feature in two years. It just so happened that his most recent top-three result with the series came at Port Royal. On Saturday night, Bright was back on the Port Royal podium after wheeling his Heffner Racing Enterprises/ – – Frozen Farmer/Triple X/Rider Chevy to a third-place result. Bright’s most memorable maneuver came when he slid from fifth to third in one fell swoop past Daison Pursley and Mitchel Moles in turn one on the lap 23 restart. That earned Bright the Inferno Armor Fire Move of the Night.

Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.) has taken a liking to Port Royal right off the bat. In his 2023 debut here, he was the fastest qualifier and finished third in the feature. On this night, he started 13th and advanced all the way up to fourth to earn a $100 hard charger bonus courtesy of Irvin King.

USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: June 15, 2024 – Port Royal Speedway – Port Royal, Pennsylvania – 17th USAC Eastern Storm – 1/2-Mile Dirt Oval – USAC Eastern Blast

HONEST ABE ROOFING QUALIFYING: 1. C.J. Leary, 15x, BGE Dougherty-18.205; 2. Logan Seavey, 57, Abacus-18.273; 3. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-18.463; 4. Mitchel Moles, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-18.531; 5. Ricky Lewis, 41, Stensland-18.539; 6. Briggs Danner, 39, Hogue-18.589; 7. Charles Davis Jr., 47, Davis-18.608; 8. Jake Swanson, 2B, 2B Racing-18.637; 9. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-18.662; 10. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-18.679; 11. Daison Pursley, 21AZ, Team AZ-18.681; 12. Kevin Thomas Jr., 3R, Rock Steady-18.684; 13. Kyle Cummins, 3p, Petty-18.780; 14. Alex Bright, 27, Heffner-18.816; 15. Steven Drevicki, 19, Drevicki-18.882; 16. Anton Hernandez, 5, Baldwin/Fox-18.895; 17. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-18.912; 18. Joey Amantea, 88J, JPA-18.941; 19. Chase Stockon, 5s, KO-18.980; 20. Carmen Perigo, 21, Stehman-19.035; 21. Carson Garrett, 15, BGE Dougherty-19.041; 22. Korbyn Hayslett, 1H, Hayslett-19.101; 23. Tom Harris, 84, Harris-19.116; 24. Brian Ruhlman, 49, Ruhlman-19.244; 25. Hunter Maddox, 24m, Maddox-19.254; 26. J.T. Ferry, 18J, Ferry-19.286; 27. Jason Cherry, 67c, Cherry-19.763.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Matt Westfall, 2. Anton Hernandez, 3. Kyle Cummins, 4. C.J. Leary, 5. Mitchel Moles, 6. Chase Stockon, 7. Charles Davis Jr., 8. Korbyn Hayslett, 9. Hunter Maddox. 2:41.099

ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Alex Bright, 2. Daison Pursley, 3. Robert Ballou, 4. Logan Seavey, 5. Ricky Lewis, 6. Jake Swanson, 7. Carmen Perigo, 8. J.T. Ferry, 9. Tom Harris. 2:38.904

T.J. FORGED / CAR IQ THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Kevin Thomas Jr., 2. Briggs Danner, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Steven Drevicki, 5. Joey Amantea , 6. Carson Garrett, 7. Brian Ruhlman, 8. Justin Grant, 9. Jason Cherry. NT

ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (10 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Justin Grant, 2. Charles Davis Jr., 3. Carmen Perigo, 4. J.T. Ferry, 5. Korbyn Hayslett, 6. Tom Harris, 7. Brian Ruhlman, 8. Hunter Maddox, 9. Jason Cherry. 3:31.941 (New Track Record)

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Brady Bacon (4), 2. C.J. Leary (6), 3. Alex Bright (9), 4. Daison Pursley (13), 5. Mitchel Moles (3), 6. Logan Seavey (5), 7. Kevin Thomas Jr. (8), 8. Justin Grant (12), 9. Ricky Lewis (2), 10. Steven Drevicki (15), 11. Robert Ballou (17), 12. Chase Stockon (19), 13. Jake Swanson (11), 14. Kyle Cummins (14), 15. Tom Harris (23), 16. Matt Westfall (7), 17. Charles Davis Jr. (10), 18. Carmen Perigo (20), 19. Joey Amantea (18), 20. Korbyn Hayslett (22), 21. Carson Garrett (21), 22. J.T. Ferry (24), 23. Briggs Danner (1), 24. Anton Hernandez (16). NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-22 Briggs Danner, Laps 23-30 Brady Bacon.

USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Logan Seavey-1356, 2-C.J. Leary-1335, 3-Brady Bacon-1311, 4-Kevin Thomas Jr.-1304, 5-Daison Pursley-1279, 6-Mitchel Moles-1175, 7-Justin Grant-1171, 8-Robert Ballou-1152, 9-Kyle Cummins-1123, 10-Jake Swanson-1015.

USAC EASTERN STORM POINTS: 1-Brady Bacon-339, 2-Mitchel Moles-327, 3-C.J. Leary-318, 4-Justin Grant-291, 5-Daison Pursley-290, 6-Robert Ballou-290, 7-Kevin Thomas Jr.-286, 8-Logan Seavey-276, 9-Briggs Danner-273, 10-Kyle Cummins-254.

BUBBY JONES MASTER OF GOIN’ FASTER PRESENTED BY SPIRE SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT POINTS: 1-C.J. Leary-417, 2-Kevin Thomas Jr.-411, 3-Brady Bacon-407, 4-Daison Pursley-382, 5-Logan Seavey-363, 6-Mitchel Moles-363, 7-Justin Grant-354, 8-Kyle Cummins-320, 9-Robert Ballou-310, 10-Jake Swanson-293.

USAC NATIONAL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Daison Pursley-99, 2-Robert Ballou-94, 3-Logan Seavey-94, 4-C.J. Leary-85, 5-Joey Amantea-76, 6-Justin Grant-71, 7-Kyle Cummins-68, 8-Brady Bacon-60, 9-Matt Westfall-52, 10-Carson Garrett-50.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: June 16, 2024 – Action Track USA – Kutztown, Pennsylvania – 17th USAC Eastern Storm – 1/4-Mile Dirt Oval


Dirt Draft Hot Laps Fastest Driver: Brady Bacon (18.245)

Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifier: C.J. Leary (18.205)

Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: Matt Westfall

Rod End Supply Second Heat Winner: Alex Bright

T.J. Forged / Car IQ Third Heat Winner: Kevin Thomas Jr.

Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Carts Semi Winner: Justin Grant

Irvin King Hard Charger: Daison Pursley (13th to 4th)

Inferno Armor Fire Move of the Night: Alex Bright