SWEDESBORO, NJ – The Bridgeport Speedway opens their season with the 60 Over Special/Doug Hoffman Memorial – a two day event for the first time this year. New clay and a well prepared racing surface made for the exciting side by side racing that Bridgeport is known for and the first event of the season was no exception!
Hellertown, PA driver, Rick Laubach came away with his first win of the season after a heated battle with Ryan Watt and Frank Cozze who each had a win in 2016 Bridgeport Speedway Small Block Modified competition.
Laubach, the 2012 Bridgeport Track Champion, was behind the wheel of the Ryan Kerr owned No. 1K with sponsorship form Touch of Green, Pine Creek Holdings and Earl’s Factory Air.
Polesitter, Ryan Watt led the field to the green flag and received his first challenge from Dominick Buffalino in turn two but the reigning Big Block Modified Champion pulled away from the field. With five laps scored, Watt led Buffalino, Frank Cozze, Wade Hendrickson and Brett Kressley around the 5/8th mile speedway. Kressley moved up to fourth one lap later as the top three remained unchanged through lap ten.
Watt closed in on lapped traffic by the midway point. On lap sixteen, while Watt was working a lapped car, Buffalino applied the pressure and slid into the lead as the field headed into turn three. Unfortunately for Buffalino, another lapped car was just around the corner. When the other car slid off the inside, the two cars made contact with Buffalino getting air time before somehow saving the car from the concrete wall. Watt went back out front with Cozze taking over second. Jim Britt slowed bringing out the yellow with just seven laps remaining.
Watt led Cozze, Buffalino, Laubach and Hendrickson to the green flag with Cozze using the outside line to jump out in front with the Renaldo No. 401 after the first restart was called back. Cozze took the five to go sign with Watt in tow. Laubach moved into third and began to pressure Watt for second. Laubach won the spot and set his sights on Cozze. On lap twenty-three, Laubach went to the inside and took the lead off of turn two. He led the final three circuits to lead the way to the checkered over Cozze, Watt, Billy Pauch Jr. and Stewart Friesen who raced his way from his twenty-first starting spot to gain a top five finish.
The DA’s Auto Body & Repair Rookies made their first start of the 2017 season and made quite a first impression with three lead changes during their eight lap feature. Chris Sammons led the way to the green but it was Eric Mattson who was out in front by the time lap one was scored. Mattson led the way through lap four when Tommy Errico complete the pass for the lead. Errico pulled away from the field before having trouble negotiating turn two. Kevin Britt seized the opportunity with Bobby Bracall’s No. 28 and took the lead. Britt led the final two laps to the checkered with Jim Gallagher, Jr. taking second over Ericco. Mattson finished fourth with Jim Cheeseman claiming fifth at the flag.
Timed hot lap sessions earned several drivers guaranteed spots in the draws for Saturday nights main events. Tom Wills, Jr. was the fastest in the PennCo Tech Outlaw Stocks, Steve Kemery in the Crates and Kevin Belmont in the Sportsman. Stewart Friesen not only set fast time in the first session for the Big Block Modifieds but set a new one lap track record, previously held by Duane Howard from the 2008 season. Jamie Mills earned a spot in the draw with his time from the second hot lap session.
FRIDAY NIGHT RESULTS
SMALL BLOCK MODIFIED FEATURE (25 laps): 1. Rick Laubach, 2. Frank Cozze, 3. Ryan Watt, 4. Billy Pauch, Jr., 5. Stewart Friesen, 6. Duane Howard, 7. Jeff Strunk, 8. Ryan Godown, 9. Danny Bouc, 10. Jesse Hill, 11. Bob Sarkisian, 12. Roger Manning, 13. John Pakenham, 14. Dominick Buffalino, 15. Wade Hendrickson, 16. Kyle Borror, 17. Jim Britt, 18. Brett Kressley, 19. Ron Roberts, 20. Justin Grim, 21. Matt Stangle, 22. Kevin Sockriter, 23. Clyde Cox, 24. Ryan Grim
DA’S AUTO BODY & REPAIR ROOKIE FEATURE (8 laps): 1. Kevin Britt, 2. Jim Gallagher, Jr., 3. Tommy Errico, 4. Eric Mattson, 5. Jim Cheesean, 6. Brett Belmont, 7. Olivia Ingersoll, 8. Jeff Stuart, 9. Chris Sammons, 10. Matt Luzi, DNS – Keith McKinley