Danner & Snyder, T. Hoch & C. Schott Take Opening Night Triumphs on May 7Barry Angstadt
Kutztown, PA (May 7)— Allentown, Pennsylvania’s Briggs Danner brought a brand new SpeedSTR to last Sunday’s opener at Championship Energy Action Track USA on the Kutztown Fairgrounds, and the results indicate that it’s a pretty darn good hot rod.
Danner captured the 30 lap GMI First Mechanical Solutions SpeedSTR feature, holding off four-time champion and last season’s big winner, Billy Pauch Jr. to notch the victory. Other opening night winners included Steven Snyder Jr. (Hyper Racing 600 Sprints), Tyler Hoch (All Star Slingshots), and Chase Schott (Junior Slingshots).
Sammy Martz Jr. led from the pole as the first SpeedSTR feature of ‘23 (at Action Track USA) went green. Martz had to fend off challenges from Dustin Morris and Eddie Strada, but it was Danner, who started sixth, grabbing the big crowd’s attention as he sliced his way forward.
Briggs snatched the top spot from Martz on the eighth tour, then dashed out to a commanding lead. A smattering of caution periods continuously erased his advantage, and they also allowed 11th starter Pauch to work his way through the field. With nine circuits remaining, the native of Frenchtown, NJ motored into the runner-up position and another yellow flag just two laps later gave him an opportunity to line up next to the leader as they prepared for the restart. Danner chose the bottom, giving Pauch the high side as the green reappeared and the duo charged into turn one.
Did Danner have second thoughts about picking the inside lane for that (possibly) fateful restart? “I knew Billy was second, and I did think twice about which lane I wanted,” smiled the winner in victory lane. “I picked the bottom because I knew he was good down there, but then I wasn’t sure if the outside would give him more momentum to get by me in one and two. But it all worked out.”
It worked out because third-running Mike Bednar ducked under Pauch on the restart, allowing Danner to scoot away with the lead. By the time Pauch cleared Bednar to secure second once again, Danner was too far ahead and too few laps remained to mount a serious bid for the top spot.
Danner crossed the stripe almost three-quarters of a second ahead of Pauch, with Bednar finishing a strong third. Steve Buckwalter and Martz finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
“We learned some things about this new car at Bloomsburg a few weeks ago, and we made it better for tonight,” said Danner. “And I think there’s still more there; we can make it even faster.”
SpeedSTR heat race triumphs went to Louden Reimert and Bednar.
Steven Snyder Jr., from Rising Sun Maryland, rumbled all the way from 16th starting position to register the win in a wild Hyper Racing/EVO Injection main event. The 25 lapper was tough on leaders in the early going, as polesitter Tyler Lindsay fell out after some contact with Pat Bealer on lap three. Bealer went to the bottom in three and four as he and Lindsay fought for the same piece of real estate on the smooth and fast Action Track USA oval. They banged wheels and Lindsay slowed as Bealer gassed his No. 44 into the lead.
On lap 11, it was Bealer’s turn to feel the effects of an attack on his lead as Reese Nowotarski went from the high side to the low groove at the end of the backstretch, diving under Bealer in turn three where the pair got together, resulting in a Bealer spin.
Nowotarski was now the front runner, but Snyder had threaded his way through a fast and furious, talent-laden pack of 600’s to claim the runner-up spot. On a restart with ten to go, Snyder blasted into the lead. He then flat-footed his No. 21s away from his pursuers but another caution slowed his pace and he now had to deal with the second place machine of February’s East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals victor Tim Buckwalter. Buckwalter emerged from a fierce battle for the runner-up position with Connor Gross.
But Snyder was simply too strong on this night, as the high school senior easily beat Buckwalter to the checkered flag. Eleventh starting Colin White finished third, with Gross fourth and 21st starter Christian Bruno, the defending 600 Sprint champion at the Berks County race place, placing fifth.
A fantastic field of 63 entered 600cc Sprint competition on Sunday. Six qualifying heats were needed for the large turnout, with heat race victories going to Quinn Roberts, Mason Peters, Connor Gross, Pat Bealer, Tyler Lindsay, and Wayne Scott. Dual C-Mains went to Marty Brian and Jacob Fisher, while the B-Main victory fell to Eddie Strada.
Mertztown, PA’s Tyler Hoch shared the front row of the All Star Slingshot feature with his older brother Dylan. Tyler raced out to a comfortable lead while Andrew Turpin scuffled with D. Hoch for runner-up status. Turpin eventually gained the position, dropping D. Hoch to third, as Dave Carraghan and defending track champ Brett Bieber wrestled for fourth.
Turpin, already a two-time winner at Bloomsburg this year, gave it a shot on a late race restart, looking to the inside of the leader as they accelerated their Slingers down the back chute. Turpin drew even into turn three, but Hoch shot back in front as the duo exited the fourth turn, ending Turpin’s strongest bid for the top spot.
At the end of the 20 lap feature, it was Tyler Hoch scoring the win and Turpin forced to settle for second. Dylan Hoch chased the top two to the finish line in third, with Carraghan holding off Bieber for fourth.
Very nice field of 35 All Star Slingshots signed in for competition on Sunday, with heat race triumphs going to Bieber, Austin Kroboth, and Mike Maguire. Two last chance B-Mains were run, and Garrett Chillot, along with Terry Noll, claimed the B-Main victories.
Chase Schott started tenth in the Junior Slingshots’ 15 lap main, and the young but extremely skilled driver passed Aubrey Romig for the top spot on the second trip around the clay! Schott went on to dominate the race, with a game Darien Danyluk giving chase a long way behind the leader.
At the finish, it was Schott in for the win over Danyluk as Romig had to be satisfied with third. Matthew Laubach started 12th and finished fourth, while 13th starter Cody Williamson wound up fifth.
Good field of 15 Junior Slingshots turned out on Sunday. Laubach and Romig were heat race winners.
Championship Energy Action Track USA is now silent until Wednesday, May 17, when the Speedway Entertainment All Pro SpeedSTRs, the Hyper Racing/EVO Injection 600 Sprints, All Star and Junior Slingshots will all compete in the annual Goldie & Elton Meitzler Memorial Race. Pit gates open at 4 p.m. and grandstand gates swing open at 5:00. Warm-ups begin at 6:15, with opening ceremonies and qualifying heat activity following the hot lap sessions.
For all the latest news regarding Championship Energy Action Track USA, check out the speedway’s website at www.actiontrackusa.com. Or there’s always Facebook.com/Action Track USA or the news is available on Twitter (@actiontrackusa.com).
All Pro SpeedSTRs, 30 laps: 1.Briggs Danner, 2.Billy Pauch Jr., 3.Mike Bednar, 4.Steve Buckwalter, 5.Sammy Martz Jr., 6.Matt Janisch, 7.Dustin Morris, 8.Louden Reimert, 9.Jason Musser, 10.Mark Manieri, 11.Eddie Strada, 12.Josh Dalrymple, 13.Tim Buckwalter, 14.Shea Wills, 15.Steve Young, 16.Cale Zangli, 17.Pat Bealer, 18.Doug Snyder.
Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, 25 laps: 1.Steven Snyder Jr., 2.Tim Buckwalter, 3.Colin White, 4.Connor Gross, 5.Christian Bruno, 6.Brian Carber, 7.Eddie Strada, 8.Wayne Scott, 9.Mason Peters, 10.Shelby McLaughlin, 11.Michael Nolf, 12.Dominic Schmidt, 13.Evan Nolf, 14.Dylan Kontra, 15.Quinn Roberts, 16.Jacob Severn, 17.Gabe Gerber, 18.Dallas Damask, 19.Gunnar Pio, 20.Reese Nowatarski, 21.Richie Hartman, 22.Pat Bealer, 23.Preston Lattomus, 24.Tyler Lindsay, 25.Alex Ruppert, 26.Cole Dewease, 27.Ryan Boyd, 28.Daniel Bair, 29.Briggs Danner.
DNQ: Danny Buccafusca, Julian Rexrode, JT Ferry, Jackson White, Marty Brian, Jacob Fisher, Zack Weisenfluh, Weston Doklan, Aidan Donaldson, Connor Mirabelli, Amanda Onimus, Sonny Tete, Jason Ashfield, Junior Ankiewicz, Brian Hughes, Matt Chowns, Jacob Homnick, Jake Winters, Richie Ptaszynski, Billy Calvert, Zach Bealer, Nate Freed, James Roselli, Zach Curtis, Alex Heckendorn, Tyler Henry, Kyle Herve, Aidan Svanda, Zach Jurcik, Fred Heinly, Cory Colaluce, Maddie Boyd, Morgan Rochelle-Bealer.
All Star Slingshots, 20 laps: 1.Tyler Hoch, 2.Andrew Turpin, 3.Dylan Hoch, 4.Dave Carraghan, 5.Brett Bieber, 6.John Redner, 7.Dylan Hahn, 8.Garrett Chillot, 9.Gavin Danner, 10.Lindsey Garl, 11.Mason Lineman, 12.Amanda Angstadt, 13.Austin Kroboth, 14.Tyler Ulsh, 15.Ryan Rochelle, 16.Haley Thunberg, 17.Mike Maguire, 18.Faith Turnbaugh, 19.Terry Noll, 20.Owen King, 21.Griffin Hendershot, 22.Luke McCloskey, 23.Danny Buccafusca, 24.Brianna Snyder.
DNQ: Nolan Layser, Thomas Mawson, Karrer Adams, Scott Thunberg, Jax Yohn, James Hendricks, Shawn Dengler, Tyler Lilick, Abby Lineman, Patrick Weiss, Daron Reppert.
Junior Slingshots, 15 laps: 1.Chase Schott, 2.Darien Danyluk, 3.Aubrey Romig, 4.Matthew Laubach, 5.Cody Williamson, 6.Daniel Betz, 7.Haley Burnatowski, 8.Cheyenne Snodderly, 9.Lily Barrett, 10.Jocelynn Darinsig, 11.Brenden Lilick, 12.Gavin Marrero, 13.Gage Marrero. DNS: Mason Noll, Carter Parsons.
NOTE: the following photo credits go to Ty’s Racing Photos 2023: Danner’s No. 78 powering through turn three during Sunday’s opener.