BRIDGEPORT, NJ – “Build it and they will come.” Remember that great line from the classic film, Field of Dreams?
Well the Bridgeport Speedway built it and they came to the Grand Opening of the Design for Vision/Sunglass Central 3/8th mile track at the Bridgeport Speedway!
The Spirit Auto Center Big Block Modifieds, the Stewart Stainless 602 Crate Sportsman, the Delaware Auto Exchange Mid Atlantic Sprint Series (MASS) and the DA’s Auto Body & Repair Rookies each had their first crack at the new racing surface with Jeff Strunk, Ryan Simmons, Eddie Wagner and Danny Buccafusca writing their names in the history books as the first feature winners on the Design for Vision/Sunglass Central 3/8th mile track.
There was a lot of excitement to go around but the Big Block Modifieds had the fans on their feet as the field raced to the checkered flag!
Danny Bouc was the race’s early leader in the C&S Equipment No. 6, holding off challenges from Matt Stangle for the first six laps. Stangle took the lead on lap seven but Bouc was back in front the next time around.
Jeff Strunk was challenging for the runner-up spot prior to a lap ten caution. After starting outside row four, Strunk took over second on lap thirteen. Bouc led the way with ten to go with Strunk, Stangle, Ryan Godown and Duane Howard in tow.
As the field headed through turns one and two on lap sixteen, Bouc spun in front of the back. Everyone was able to get by as the field regrouped for the restart with Strunk out in front and Bouc restarting from the rear. Strunk led with pressure from Stangle through a caution on lap nineteen when Billy Pauch Jr. slowed on the backstretch. Stangle was on the throttle on the restart, taking the lead with seven laps to go.
Strunk wasn’t giving up as he raced after Stangle and challenged several times in the final laps but each time, Stangle prevailed. Godown was right behind the leaders, just waiting for an opportunity. Stangle and Strunk raced side by side as they took the white flag and the race was on to the checkered. The fans were on their feet as Strunk put the Hyneman No. 126 on the inside of Stangle’s Ace Materials No. 6 in turn three. It was anyone’s race as the leader’s exited turn four with Strunk winning the drag race to the checkered to be the first Modified feature winner on the new track. Stangle finished second followed by Godown, Howard and Rick Laubach.
Former Rookie Champion, Steve Kemery took the lead in the 602 Crate Sportsman feature from Jeremy Harrington following a lap six restart. Kemery ran the outside to take the lead but contact with Harrington between turns three and four sent both front runners spinning and then to the pits for repairs. Ryan Simmons was the race’s new leader.
Simmons had his hands full with Brad Roberts until the final lap when Roberts clipped the inside barrier in turn two and spun. That put a very determined Eric Kormann on his bumper for the run to the checkered but Simmons prevailed for his first ever Bridgeport victory on the Design for Vision/Sunglass Central 3/8th mile track. Kormann finished second followed by Joe Brown, Rookie, Danny Buccafusca and Tommy Sheetz, Sr.
Eddie Wagner came away with the win in the MASS Sprint Car feature and became the first driver to win on all three of the Bridgeport tracks. Wagner has a 600 Micro win on the Spirit quarter mile and now winged sprint car wins on both the 5/8th and 3/8th mile speedways.
Rick Stief led the way for the MASS competitors until lapped traffic became a factor in the closing laps. Wagner took the lead on lap eighteen as Mike Haggenbottom was on the move through the top five. Haggenbottom was challenging for second before contact by Tyler Reinhardt sent the cars of Stief, Haggenbottom and Reinhart spinning between turns three and four on the final lap. Wagner took the win over Dave Brown, Larry McVay, Brandon Poff and Logan Diehl.
Earlier in the day, Rockaway, NJ driver, Danny Buccafusca picked up the win in the DA’s Auto Body & Repair Rookie Feature – the first of the 2018 and the first feature to be run on the new 3/8th mile track. Buccafusca, who has past experience in Slingshots and 600 Micros took the win over third generation driver, Sammy Martz Jr. making his first ever laps at Bridgeport. Another Slingshot competitor, Seth Spayd finished third followed by Parker Guldin and David Hartman. Buccafusca took the lead from Paige Brown as the two front row starters headed down the backstretch on lap one. Buccafusca never looked back but Martz was closing fast in the final laps.
SPIRIT AUTO CENTER BIG BLOCK MODIFIEDS (25 laps): 1. Jeff Strunk, 2. Matt Stangle, 3. Ryan Godown, 4. Duane Howard, 5. Rick Laubach, 6. Jordan Watson, 7. Frank Cozze, 8. Jimmy Horton, 9. Wade Hendrickson, 10. Jim Britt, 11. Chris Grbac, 12. Danny Bouc, 13. Dillion Steuer, 14. Sam Martz, 15. Roger Manning, 16. Ryan Krachun, 17. Steve Davis, 18. Billy Pauch, Jr., 19. Ron Roberts, 20. Ricky DiEva, 21. David Hunt, 22. Ryan Watt, 23. Neal Williams, 24. Billy Pauch, Sr., DNQ – Tommy Beamer, Derek Krum, Bob Sarkisian, Richie Pratt, Jr.
STEWART STAINLESS SUPPLY 602 CRATE SPORTSMAN (20 laps): 1. Ryan Simmons, 2. Eric Kormann, 3. Joe Brown, 4. Danny Buccafusca, 5. Tom Scheetz, Sr., 6. Frank Dorry, 7. Bobby Bracall, 8. Wayne Weaver, 9. Steve Kemery, 10. Alonso Morales, 11. Sammy Martz, Jr., 12. Pete Serra, 13. Dave Hartman, 14. Ernie Miles, Jr., 15. John Cavallero, 16. Brad Roberts, 17. Tom Moore, 18. Jeremy Harrington, 19. Parker Gulden, 20. Seth Spayd, 21. Ray Cost
MASS 305 SPRINTS (20 laps): 1. Eddie Wagner, 2. Dave Brown, 3. Larry McVay, 4. Brendon Poff, 5. Logan Diehl, 6. Mark Bitner, 7. Jeff Geiges, 8. Tim Tanner, Jr., 9. Bryant Davis, 10. Samantha Lieberman, 11. C.J. Faison, 12. Jason Dunn, 13. Dom Melair, 14. Rick Stief, 15. Mike Haggenbottom, 16. Tyler Reinhardt, 17. David Bonner, 18. Zack Burd, 19. Joe Kay, 20. Dean Conk, Jr., 21. Ryan Stilwaggon, 22. Tom Carberry, Sr., 23. Austin Bishop, 24. Scott Frack, DNQ – Keith Anderson, Jon Haegele, Craig Pellegrini, Chad Conner, Dan Leaper
DA’S AUTO BODY & REPAIR ROOKIES (8 laps): 1. Danny Buccafusca, 2. Sammy Martz, Jr., 3. Seth Spayd, 4. Parker Guldin, 5. David Hartman, 6. Paige Brown