SWEDESBORO, NJ – David Hunt of Bridgewater, NJ, returned to Bridgeport’s Victory Lane for the first time since 2015 when he captured the Spirit Auto Center Big Block Modified feature event on Joy Auto Parts sponsored Bike Night. It was Hunt’s sixth Big Block win at Bridgeport.
Brian Papiez became the first driver to repeat in the Winner’s Circle in the Stewart Stainelss Crate/Sportsman with a last lap pass for the win. Rick Stief captured the Mid Atlantic Sprint Series (MASS) win in their twenty lap main event while Jim Gallagher, Jr. became the fourth different winner in four races in the DA’s Auto Body & Repair Rookie competition.
Hunt led every lap of the twenty-five lap Big Block event after starting alongside of Neal Williams for the green flag. Hunt played a game of hide and seek as he quickly distanced himself from the competition. Even multiple caution flags that resulted in double file restarts couldn’t produce a challenge for the lead as Hunt handily drove away from the field each time. After a frustrating season last year, Hunt was happy to capture a win early in 2017. “We really needed it (the win),” Hunt explained. “After last year and the very beginning of this year – it was tough to get up a lot of mornings after a race!” The addition of Roger Mahan Motorsports LLC to Hunts No. 27 team has helped to put the young driver where he needs to be.
Ryan Godown raced his way into second following a lap eight restart and held off the persistent challenges of Jeff Strunk throughout the remainder of the twenty-five lap event. Strunk dove underneath Godown on several occasions but wasn’t able to pull even with the Ringos, NJ driver. Godown finished second with Strunk third. Richie Pratt, Jr. made some solid moves during the late stages of the race to finish fourth in his family owned No. 28 while reigning Bridgeport Champion, Ryan Watt finished fifth.
Dave Damiano took the lead in the Crate/Sportsman feature when a flat tire sent Matt Stangle to the pits. Damiano looked to be on his way to a career first victory has he handily raced out in front of rookie driver, Louden Reimert for most of the race. A series of late race cautions would alter the outcome, however, has Papiez dove to the inside of Damiano on the final lap restart to take the lead. Damiano held on to finish second with Scott Hitchens moving up to third on the final lap. Brandon Grosso finished fourth with Eric Kormann moving into the top five on the final lap.
Rick Stief led the final six laps of the MASS 305 Sprint Car feature to capture his first win of the season and his third top five finish of the weekend. Ryan Stillwaggon took the lead on the first lap and looked like a potential winner until mechanical woes sent him off the track with fourteen laps complete. Tim Tanner finished second with Tommy Carberry taking third. Mark Bitner used some late race moves to advance to fourth with Dave Brown rounding out the top five.
Jim Gallagher, Jr. may be a second generation race car driver but when Gallagher came to the track for the first time this season, “I didn’t even know how to make it go,” Gallagher related. With absolutely no prior racing experience, Gallagher has shown that he’s a fast learner as he raced to the win in the Rookie division to become the fourth different winner this season. Scott Kohler had his best finish to take second with Brett Belmont duplicating his best effort to finish third. Dave Izzi and previous winner, Tommy Errico rounded out the top five.
Racing returns to the Bridgeport Speedway this Saturday night. It’s Kids Money Scramble Night with the Big Block Modifieds, Crate/Sportsman, Outlaw Stocks & Rookies in action. Racing gets underway at 6:30pm. The Super DIRTcar Series returns to the Bridgeport Speedway on Tuesday, May 16th for the Friends of Mike grand finale. Racing will get under way at 7:15 for that event which will see drivers from all over the East Coast compete in qualifying and a feature event. The Crate/Sportsman will also be on the program for the twelfth and final Friends of Mike event.
SPIRIT AUTO CENTER BIG BLOCK MODIFIED FEATURE (25 laps): 1. David Hunt, 2. Ryan Godown, 3. Jeff Strunk, 4. Richie Pratt, Jr., 5. Ryan Watt, 6. Wade Hendrickson, 7. Mike Barone, 8. Neal Williams, 9. P.J. Oliver, 10. Jimmy Horton, 11. Dave Shirk, 12. Rusty Smith, 13. Jack Swain, 14. Bob Sarkisian, 15. Jim Britt, 16. Ron Roberts, 17. Tommy Beamer, 18. Ricky DiEva, 19. Billy Pauch, Jr., 20. Mike Franz, 21. Sam Martz, 22. Rick Laubach, DNS – Daniel Johnson, Brett Kressley, Clay Butler
STEWART STAINLESS SUPPLY CRATE/SPORTSMAN FEATURE (20 laps): 1. Brian Papiez, 2. Dave Damiano, 3. Scott Hitchens, 4. Brandon Grosso, 5. Eric Kormann, 6. Louden Reimert, 7. Clyde Cox, 8. Roger Manning, 9. Chris Jenkins, 10. Ryan Simmons, 11. Matthew Peck, 12. Tom Sherby, 13. Rich Deck, Jr., 14. Bobby Bracall, 15. Adam Cox, 16. Scott Hulmes, 17. Steve Kemery, 18. Matt Stangle, 19. Jim Gallagher, Jr., 20. Bill Briggs, 21. Brad Roberts, 22. Matt Budd, 23. Chuck Sayres, 24. David Crossman, 25. Chad Kohler, 26. Andrew Belmont, DNQ – David Izzi, Scott Kohler, Matt Luzi, Brett Belmont, Tom Holding, Chris Sammons, Ray Cost, Jim Gallagher, Sr., Jeff Bubori
D.A.’S AUTO BODY & REPAIR ROOKIE FEATURE (8 laps): 1. Jim Gallagher, Jr., 2. Scott Kohler, 3. Brett Belmont, 4. Dave Izzi, 5. Tommy Errico, 6. Kevin Britt, 7. Matt Luzi, 8. Jim Cheesman, 9. Jeff Stuart, 10. Chris Sammons, 11. Ray Cost, 12. Erik Mattson
MID-ATLANTIC SPRINT SERIES FEATURE (20 laps): 1. Rick Stief, 2. Tim Tanner, Jr., 3. Tommy Carberry, 4. Mark Bitner, 5. Dave Brown, 6. Joe Kay, 7. Stef Palmai- Carberry, 8. Eddie Wagner, 9. Jamie Kostic, 10. Jeff Geiges, 11. Bryant Davis, 12. Bobby Scherff, 13. Keith Anderson, 14. Douglas Snow, 15. Craig Pellegrini, 16. Harris Kohen, 17. Gabe Fox, 18. Ryan Stillwaggon, 19. Sam LiebermanB