USAC Eastern Storm Sprint Cars At Williams Grove Friday: Wingless & Winged 410 Sprint Double On Tap

Story By: SHAWN BROUSE / WILLIAMS GROVE SPEEDWAY – MECHANICSBURG, PA – Williams Grove Speedway will host racing action for the AMSOIL USAC National 410 Sprint Car Series coming up this Friday night, June 17 at 7:30 pm.

Also on the racing card will be the Lawrence Chevrolet 410 sprint cars, racing in a $5,500 to win main event.

Presented by KRS Graphics, the national 410 sprint stars of the United States Auto Club will race in the Eastern Storm Series for wingless sprint cars at Williams Grove.

Competing in a 30-lap main event, the USAC drivers will be racing for a $6,000 payday.

A roster of nearly 30 USAC drivers is tentatively slated to enter the Eastern Storm events.

Just some of the USAC stars slated to be in action include Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK.; Robert Ballou, Rocklin, CA.; Thomas Meseraull, San Jose, CA.; CJ Leary, Greenfield, IN.; Shane Cottle, Kokomo, IN.; and point leader Justin Grant of Ione, CA.

Seventeen-year-old USAC rookie Emerson Axsom of Plainfield, Indiana, who is currently second in points behind Grant, will also be in the field.

Others slated to appear include Chase Stockon, Shane Cockrum, Jake Swanson and Korbyn Hayslett.

Several local wingless drivers also intend to compete including standouts Briggs Danner, Steve Drevicki, Alex Bright and Timmy Buckwalter along with others.

Chris Windom of Canton, Illinois, was the last USAC 410 sprint driver to visit victory lane at Williams Grove Speedway.

Windom took the lead from Brady Bacon with five laps to go and went on to the win.

Winners to date on the USAC 410 sprint tour have been rookie Emerson Axsom, 2; Robert Ballou, 2; Brady Bacon, 2; and Justin Grant and CJ Leary, 1 each.

In Williams Grove 410 sprint action, both Danny Dietrich and Freddie Rahmer are now tied in the season-long title chase at the oval.

Racing action on June 17 gets underway at 7:30 pm. Gates will open at 5:30.

Adult general admission is set at $30 with youth ages 13-20 admitted for just $10 while kids ages 12 and under are always admitted for FREE at Williams Grove Speedway.


Friday’s USAC Sprint Show Has Plenty Of History; Summer of ’71 & Mitch Smith synonymous in USAC lore

This Friday’s visit by the AMSOIL National USAC 410 Sprint Car Series to Williams Grove Speedway will be the first for the circuit since 2018 and for some, the notion of the full-blown USAC sprints coming back to the Grove still harkens them back to some wild 1971 USAC shows at the oval.

It was the season of Mitch Smith. What the local sprint car stud did back then to the national gurus of USAC when they came to the area was unheard of, anywhere.

Driving the Gary Wasson-owned No. 5, the Linglestown driver applied for and was granted a temporary permit to compete in the Grove USAC shows that June and September.

For reference, those permits were handed out by USAC with an eyedropper.

To fully appreciate what happened at Williams Grove during those USAC shows one must realize that USAC ruled the Indy 500 back then and their drivers were widespread in all Indy-car races.

And then along came 40-year old Smith to destroy the USAC destinies during that famed season.

Wicked mechanic Dick Hench of Newport was turning the wrenches on the Gary’s No. 5.

Smith humiliated the USAC stars on June 19 at Williams Grove.

But USAC car owners protested, putting up the cash to tear down Smith’s engine.

And then came the word, “It’s legal…three inches to spare.”

The next night, Smith and company would do it all again, up the road this time, at Selinsgrove Speedway.

And that would lead to threats of the USAC drivers “boycotting” the next Williams Grove race, not slated until September.

But again, Smith licked ‘em all! And he did it after going to the rear mid-race.

And yes, it’s true.

There had been USAC sprint shows at the Grove before 1971 and there have been many run since that time.

But nothing will ever measure up to that summer of ’71, when Mitch Smith and the No. 5 had them on the run.

When a local dominated all mid-state shows staged by the invaders.

Gates for this Friday’s USAC 410 Sprint Eastern Storm event open at 5:30 pm with time trials slated for 7:30.

The regular Williams Grove 410 sprints will join the USAC cars on the program.

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