BRIDGEPORT, NJ – JJ Grasso raced to victory in the first night of competition in Bridgeport’s Big Track Classic sponsored by BRB Contractors of King of Prussia, PA. Friday night racing was just the first of three days of Bridgeport’s Wild Card Weekend which will mark the end of the 2019 season and the final races on Bridgeport’s 5/8th mile speedway.
Grasso picked up the win in the twenty-five lap feature for the Capitol Renegade United Racing Club sprint cars that ran non-stop and took just over seven minutes to complete. The race was run without any cautions but not without incident as three competitors were involved in three separate incidents during the main event.
Robbie Stillwaggon powered into the lead from his outside front row starting spot and ran away from the competition. Ryan Stillwaggon quickly moved into second, ahead of Steve Buckwalter. Grasso raced into third just before the dynamic of the race changed.
It was Ryan Stillwaggon who first ran into trouble with a lapped car, sending the younger brother of the race leader off the racing surface with eighteen laps on the books after running second for most of the race. That moved Grasso up to second but Grasso ran over the back wheel of Larry McVay less than two laps later. McVay was attempting to pull off of the track when Grasso ran over his rear wheel. Grasso’s Eldreth Trucking No. 25 did a wheelie with all four wheel off the ground before it landed on all fours on the race track. It was a hard landing that had Grasso headed toward the wall. “I thought I was finished,” Grasso explained. “I was ready to pull off but then I saw Stillwaggon in trouble and I just put the pedal back down and took off.” Robbie Stillwaggon then made contact with the car of Jason Cherry, sidelining the race leader with less than five laps to go.
Grasso raced to victory over Steve Buckwalter in the Lilick No. 7, Tyler Ross, ten time URC Champion, Curt Michael and current URC point leader, Chad Layton. Josh Weller, Lucas Wolfe, Ryan Smith, Adam Carberry and four time Bridgeport Big Block Champion, Ryan Watt rounded out the top ten.
The South Jersey Overhead Door 602 Crate Sportsman competed in the Underdog 20 – a twenty lap feature event that featured non-winners from the 2019 season.
Polesitter, Andy Walko led the first ten laps, holding off the challenges of Howie Finch through the first half of the race. After racing in third, Bobby Bracall headed to the pits with mechanical issues after the halfway mark.
Misfortune struck for Walko when Billy Chester spun in front of the leaders on lap eleven. Walko almost made it by but just caught Chester’s No. 41 and that sent his No. 27 spinning in turn one. Finch was able to avoid the mishap and inherit the lead.
John Micek challenged Finch on several occasions during the final laps but Finch was able to maintain the lead as he raced to his first ever Bridgeport victory. Micek finished second followed by Chris Jenkins, Pete Serra and Roger Gaskill. Tom Princiotta finished sixth followed by Scott Maher, Jr., John Meyer, John Cranston and Justin Lilick.
Tom Wills, Jr. raced to his fifth win of the season in the Sunbelt Rentals Outlaw Stocks. The win gave Wills an Ace for the 2019 Poker Series that is currently led by Rich Stinson, Jr. who has three Aces to his credit.
A hard charging Jeff Dirkes finished second to Wills after making some nice moves to make his way through the top five. Rich Stinson, Jr. finished third followed by Lee Allen and Vern McLaughlin. Brian Ludwig, Andrew Joslin, Gary Klimeczak, Paul Donahue, and Darren Cox completed the top ten in the running order at the checkered flag.
Night One of the Big Track Classic (25 laps)
1. JJ Grasso, 2. Steve Buckwalter, 3. Tyler Ross, 4. Curt Michael, 5. Chad Layton, 6. Josh Weller, 7. Lucas Wolfe, 8. Ryan Smith, 9. Adam Carberry, 10. Ryan Watt, 11. Troy Betts, 12. Austin Bishop, 13. Chris Allen, Jr., 14. Ed Aiken. 15. Jeff Geiges, 16. Jason Cherry, 17. Robbie Stillwaggon, 18. Ryan Stillwaggon, 19. Larry McVay, 20. Ryan Quackenbush, 21. Mark Sasso, 22. Mark VanVorst
Underdog 20 for the South Jersey Overhead Door 602 Crate Sportsman non-winners (20 laps)
1. Howie Finch, 2. John Micek, 3. Chris Jenkins, 4. Pete Serra, 5. Roger Gaskill, 6. Tom Princiotta, 7. Scott Maher, Jr. 8. Jon Meyer, 9. John Cranston, 10. Justin Lilick, 11. Jimmy Dallett, 12. Rich Wegner, Jr., 13. Ted Reynolds, 14. Joseph Brown, 15. Eric Mattson, 16., Andy Walko, 17. Bobby Bracall, 18. Billy Chester, 19. Scott Hulmes, 20. Tom Moore, 21. Dave Damiano
Susnbelt Rentals Outlaw Stocks (4th hand of 2019 Poker Series – 15 laps)
1. Tom Wills, Jr., 2. Jeff Dirkes, 3. Rich Stinson, Jr. 4. Lee Allen, 5. Vern McLaughlin, 6. Brian Ludwig, 7. Andrew Joslin, 8. Gary Klimeczak, 9. Paul Donahue, 10. Darren Cox, 11. John Parker, 12. Kevin Conaway, 13. Nick Sandone, III, 14. Justin Nowlen, 15. Jeramy Doerr