Story By: RICHIE MURRAY / USAC – PORT ROYAL, PA – This is exactly what Logan Seavey pictured when he first became aware of Pennsylvania’s Port Royal Speedway.
The Sutter, Calif. native had the intuition that the place was just his style, and that his first ever visit to the venue on this night could very well be a special night indeed.
Port Royal was the track Seavey was most looking forward to competing at on the entire schedule and how Seavey visualized it would unfold is exactly what occurred on Saturday night during the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship portion of Open Wheel Madness at the half-mile dirt oval.
Seavey took control for the entire second half of the feature to place a second checkmark into the USAC Eastern Storm win column this week after previously adding a victory on Wednesday night at New Jersey’s Bridgeport Motorsports Park, which ascended him to the top of the Eastern Storm standings and into a tie for the Bubby Jones Master of Going Faster Series point lead alongside Brady Bacon with four of the ten races completed thus far.
“Hammering the guardrail at a big, fast half-mile is tough to beat,” Seavey exclaimed following his second victory of the season worth $6,000 in his Baldwin-Fox Racing/Fox Paving – AMSOIL/DRC/Claxton Chevy. “I knew this is a place I’d pick up quickly and I’d enjoy racing at.”
The victory by Seavey was the eighth of his USAC National Sprint Car career, tying him for 61st all-time along with Mike Bliss, Chet Fillip, Johnny Rutherford and Joe Saldana.
Seavey started fifth on the grid, but immediately dropped to seventh during the opening two circuits before steadily making up ground in the ensuing laps. Pole sitter Briggs Danner galloped out to the early lead and controlled the first two laps before tagging the cushion at the top of turn two on lap three, which packed his right rear wheel full of mud and forced him to the work area for repairs from which he’d recover from to finish 10th.
Fatheadz Fast Qualifier C.J. Leary had set a torrid pace early in the feature after starting 6th, finding his way to the second spot by the end of lap one and then taking over his role at the head of the pack when Danner had his troubles.
Bacon became the first to issue a challenge to Leary for the lead on lap four but was unable to complete the pass. That opened the door for a suddenly surging Emerson Axsom who shot to the bottom and veered past Bacon for the runner-up position and, subsequently, the race lead on lap six in between turns one and two.
The previous night’s winner on the somewhat similar half-mile dirt oval of nearby Williams Grove Speedway was Justin Grant who, while running 7th at Port Royal, slowed with a flat right rear tire on lap six. His car was pushed to the work area where it received extensive help from his crewman Dylan Cook as well as rival Brady Bacon’s Dynamics, Inc. Racing crew where it was all hand on deck.
Starting with the lap seven restart, Bacon and Seavey, along with Shane Cottle, zipped by second-running Leary who dropped from second to fifth in no time flat. Bacon closed rapidly on Axsom shortly thereafter and was able to get right to his rear bumper on lap 12 but couldn’t make the pass.
The door swung wide open for Seavey at that exact moment, allowing him to rip by Bacon for 2nd with a major slider in turn one. As the new second-place car of Axsom challenged Seavey for the top spot at the halfway point, lap 15, Bacon himself closed in on Axsom for 2nd.
Alex Bright, seemingly out of nowhere for the second-straight night, flew from the 16th starting spot past Bacon for third on the 18th lap and to second on lap 19 by Axsom utilizing a patented Port Royal slide job to accomplish the task at hand. However, Seavey still maintained a sizable, near-straightaway lead over Bright with 10 to go.
Meanwhile, Grant, who restarted last after his blown tire on lap seven, had blown by nearly the entire field as he climbed to fourth on lap 26 with an outside pass of Axsom in turn two, then did even one better on the final lap when he slid Bacon in turn three to secure the third and final spot on the podium.
Up and out ahead of those two was Seavey who made his Port Royal debut an astounding and resounding success as he finished off his first ever appearance at Port Royal with his first trip to victory lane at the scenic venue over Bright, Grant, Bacon and Axsom, while leading by a whopping 5.407 second margin at the finish line.
“I had no idea how big of a lead I had,” Seavey acknowledged. “I knew I had good speed, but I didn’t feel like I was running that hard. I feel like the harder you run, the more you hit the cushion and it kind of eats you up. I had kind of a different line down there in three and four and I noticed it’s pretty flat right up by the wall. I was working that, then I bounced off the wall and turned back down. I was just looking for any kind of grip we could find there. (Crew chief) Ronnie Gardner had this car really, really good.”
Alex Bright (Collegeville, Pa.) endured a blown engine early in the night, then swapped engines in his Hummer Motorsports/Rodota Trucking & Excavating – DriveWFX.com/Maxim/Rider Chevy. Bright unearthed the middle groove and found it to his liking as he experienced near déjà vu from the night before. On Friday night at Williams Grove, Bright earned hard charger honors by driving from 13th to 2nd. On Saturday night, he earned hard charger honors by driving from 16th to 2nd, equaling his best career USAC National Sprint Car finish in the process.
Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) made a miraculous drive to finish 3rd in the feature after pitting for a flat right rear tire on lap seven which was the result of smacking the fence and cutting his tire down. Grant restarted from the tail and blitzed to a 3rd place finish without the aid of a caution, putting on the finishing touches with a last lap pass of Bacon in his TOPP Motorsports/NOS Energy Drink – MPV Express – TOPP Industries – LA Poly/Maxim/Kistler Chevy.
C.J. Leary’s Fast Qualifying effort to start the program was the 35th of his USAC National Sprint Car driving career, equaling him with Kevin Thomas Jr. and Rich Vogler in that category for the eighth most all-time.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: June 18, 2022 – Port Royal Speedway – Port Royal, Pennsylvania – 1/2-Mile Dirt Track – 18th USAC Eastern Storm – Bubby Jones Master of Going Faster Race #4
FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. C.J. Leary, 77m, Michael-18.617; 2. Logan Seavey, 5, Baldwin/Fox-19.095; 3. Jake Swanson, 21AZ, Team AZ-19.136; 4. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-19.184; 5. Emerson Axsom, 47BC, Clauson Marshall Newman-19.196; 6. Briggs Danner, 5G, Heffner South-19.232; 7. Chase Stockon, 5s, KO-19.259; 8. Shane Cottle, 39, Hogue-19.317; 9. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-19.318; 10. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-19.395; 11. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-19.417; 12. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-19.624; 13. Dallas Hewitt, 18, Keen-19.679; 14. Joey Amantea, 88J, Amantea-19.692; 15. Mark Smith, M1, L & M-19.735; 16. Alex Bright, 20, Hummer-19.776; 17. Charles Davis Jr., 47, Davis-19.827; 18. Steven Drevicki, 19, DeGre-19.842; 19. Jadon Rogers, 14, Engler-19.941; 20. Brian Ruhlman, 49, Ruhlman-20.582; 21. Austin Graby, 7, Lotier/Nemeth-20.795.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Brady Bacon, 2. C.J. Leary, 3. Justin Grant, 4. Alex Bright, 5. Chase Stockon, 6. Dallas Hewitt, 7. Jadon Rogers.
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Logan Seavey, 2. Matt Westfall, 3. Emerson Axsom, 4. Brian Ruhlman, 5. Shane Cottle, 6. Joey Amantea, 7. Charles Davis Jr.
PIT STOP USA / ROD END SUPPLY THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Mark Smith, 2. Robert Ballou, 3. Briggs Danner, 4. Jake Swanson, 5. Steven Drevicki, 6. Austin Graby, 7. Brandon Mattox.
FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Logan Seavey (5), 2. Alex Bright (16), 3. Justin Grant (10), 4. Brady Bacon (3), 5. Emerson Axsom (2), 6. Matt Westfall (12), 7. Robert Ballou (9), 8. Chase Stockon (7), 9. Steven Drevicki (18), 10. Briggs Danner (1), 11. Shane Cottle (8), 12. C.J. Leary (6), 13. Brian Ruhlman (20), 14. Brandon Mattox (13), 15. Joey Amantea (15), 16. Dallas Hewitt (14), 17. Jake Swanson (4), 18. Austin Graby (21), 19. Jadon Rogers (19), 20. Mark Smith (11), 21. Charles Davis Jr. (17). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Briggs Danner, Laps 3-5 C.J. Leary, Laps 6-14 Emerson Axsom, Laps 15-30 Logan Seavey.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Justin Grant-799, 2-Brady Bacon-780, 3-Robert Ballou-758, 4-Logan Seavey-753, 5-C.J. Leary-743, 6-Chase Stockon-720, 7-Emerson Axsom-716, 8-Matt Westfall-593, 9-Jake Swanson-526, 10-Jadon Rogers-474.
USAC EASTERN STORM POINTS: 1-Logan Seavey-280, 2-Brady Bacon-269, 3-Justin Grant-260, 4-C.J. Leary-254, 5-Briggs Danner-246, 6-Chase Stockon-237, 7-Robert Ballou-237, 8-Alex Bright-237, 9-Matt Westfall-236, 10-Jadon Rogers-227.
BUBBY JONES MASTER OF GOING FASTER POINTS: 1-Brady Bacon-299, 2-Logan Seavey-299, 3-Robert Ballou-267, 4-Justin Grant-266, 5-C.J. Leary-248, 6-Emerson Axsom-234, 7-Matt Westfall-224, 8-Chase Stockon-198, 9-Jake Swanson-187, 10-Jadon Rogers-150.
OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Thomas Meseraull-48, 2-Alex Bright-46, 3-Buddy Kofoid-45, 4-Robert Ballou-45, 5-Justin Grant-42, 6-Brady Bacon-42, 7-Jadon Rogers-33, 8-Brenham Crouch-32, 9-Logan Seavey-30, 10-Kyle Cummins-29.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: June 19, 2022 – Bloomsburg Fair Raceway – Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania – 3/8-Mile Dirt Track – 18th USAC Eastern Storm
CONTINGENCY AWARD WINNERS:
Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier: C.J. Leary
GSP Quality Driving Performance: Brady Bacon
Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: Brady Bacon
Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner: Logan Seavey
Pit Stop USA & Rod End Supply Third Heat Winner: Mark Smith
Dirt Draft Hot Laps Fastest Driver: Brady Bacon
Feature Hard Charger: Alex Bright (16th to 2nd)