Keystone Invasion Trail Leads USAC Sprints to Path Valley April 25

#5N Paul Nienhiser, #39BC Cole Bodine & #69 Brady Bacon. (Josh James Artwork)

SPRING RUN, PA – Finally! The USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars will have their opportunity to tussle on the high banked, quarter-mile, Appalachian Mountain backdropped Path Valley Speedway Park in Spring Run, Pa.

The Sunday night, April 25, show will conclude a tantalizing stretch of seven races in 10 nights for the series, and the Path Valley date will, itself, conclude the four-race Keystone Invasion mini-series throughout Pennsylvania, which tours through Grandview Speedway on April 22, Big Diamond Speedway on April 23 and BAPS Motor Speedway on April 24 prior to the curtain closer at Path Valley.

Just once has Path Valley appeared on the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car calendar, when it was part of Eastern Storm in 2013, and was ultimately rained out. However, three USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget events have been held there, in 2015-17-19.

Many fans may harken back to CRA’s nationwide tour which took the wingless sprint cars to Path Valley in 1992, a race won by Frankie Kerr. In the field that night were USAC luminaries and race winners such as Tony Elliott (3rd), Rusty McClure (7th) and Jack Hewitt (10), just to name a few.

With no previous USAC Sprint Car experiences to base off of, it is a necessity to note that several of the expected Keystone Invasion entries do have a bit of past midget encounters at Path Valley, meaning a couple handfuls of these pilots won’t enter the bullring completely “green” to this particular test.

Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.) is the leading Rookie of the Year candidate in the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car division. He’s led a total of 31 laps in three starts with the midgets at PV. He was the fastest qualifier in 2015 and, that same year, he led the first 13 laps of the feature before being passed by Rico Abreu on a mid-race restart. While battling for 2nd, Thorson and Kevin Thomas Jr. made contact, sending Thorson spinning to a stop, eventually returning and finishing 9th.

In 2017, Thorson was in position again to win at Path Valley, pacing the field for 18 laps and was leading when contact between he and Tyler Courtney in turn four coming to the checkered flag sent Thorson spinning out of the lead and from the brink of victory. An ultimately better result came about for Thorson in 2019 with a 4th place finish.

Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) finished 2nd in his Path Valley debut Midget run in 2019 while Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) has made one previous Path Valley Midget appearance, winning his heat, then finishing 15th in the 2017 feature. The result was not indicative of his performance, however, as he was running 4th on the final lap when he flipped while getting caught up in the aforementioned late-race skirmish between Thorson and Courtney.

With five laps remaining in the 2017 Midget show, Brady Bacon led a single lap before trouble ensued with his car slowing atop the fourth turn cushion. Bacon restarted after taking his car to the work area and returned to finish 9th.

Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) has made two USAC Midget starts at Path Valley, winning his heat race and finishing 3rd in 2015, then took 14th in the latest round there in 2019.

Timmy Buckwalter (Douglassville, Pa.) has had a fair amount of success in his three Midget experiences at Path Valley. The 2012 ARDC Midget champ and 2018 co-USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year captured the semi and a 6th place result in 2017, and a 9th in 2019.

In his USAC Midget experiences at Path Valley, Steven Drevicki (Reading, Pa.), the three-time USAC East Coast Sprint Car champion, captured a semi-feature victory and a 10th place finish in 2015. In 2019, the back-to-back ARDC titlist in 2014-15 recorded a 16th place result.

First-time Path Valley visitors include USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champions, Rocklin, California’s Robert Ballou (2015) and Greenfield, Indiana’s C.J. Leary (2019). The USAC National Sprint Car division’s all-time ironman in terms of consecutive feature starts, Chase Stockon (Fort Branch, Ind.), will be teamed with top USAC Rookie contenders Paul Nienhiser (Chapin, Ill.) and Carson Garrett (Littleton, Colo.).

Ten-time USAC National Sprint Car winner – one of which came in Pennsylvania (Lincoln Speedway) – Thomas Meseraull will be on hand for a full Keystone Invasion run in Tim Hogue’s No. 39, along with 2017 USAC West Coast Sprint Car champion Jake Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.), 2020 USAC National Most Improved Driver Brandon Mattox and Eldora USAC Sprint Car winner Matt Westfall (Pleasant Hill, Ohio).

The Wingless Super Sportsman king of Path Valley, Carmen Perigo (Stoystown, Pa.) will be joined by fellow Pennsylvanians and USAC East Coast Sprint Car winners Joey Biasi (Mary D, Pa.) and Briggs Danner (Allentown, Pa.), as well as Quaker State native Brandon Spithaler (Evans City, Pa.) and New Jersey’s Craig Pellegrini (Buena, N.J.).

The fourth and final round of Keystone Invasion at Path Valley will also feature the Wingless Super Sportsman. Pits open at noon Eastern, front gates at 2pm and hot laps at 5pm. General admission tickets are $25 and kids age 10 & under are free. Pit passes are $35.