Story By: BRIDGEPORT MOTORSPORTS PARK – SWEDESBORO, NJ – It wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. Friday night was supposed to be the first of a two day event – Bridgeport’s first 305 Nationals – the combined effort of Bridgeport’s Doug Rose and the Mid Atlantic Sprint Series’ Eddie and Erika Wagner.
But, as she has done so many times this season, Mother Nature intervened.
With heavy rain expected for Saturday and into Sunday, the decision was made to race on Friday night and complete as much of the program as possible. The DCB’s Plumbing & Heating Mid Atlantic Sprint Series (MASS) would run a complete show along with the North East Wingless Sprints (NEWS) and the Precision Hydraulic and Oil 602 Sportsman in an Underdog 20 feature event.
All State Auto Glass, SJ Truck Bodies and Miranda Motors jumped on board to enhance the purse for the 305 sprint cars and the race was on! Thirty-five 305 sprint cars were on hand for the Friday night show!
Adam Carberry raced to the D Capps Carpentry fast time in timed hot laps just one week after picking up the win in the MASS feature event at Bridgeport. Ryan Stillwaggon, Kevin Nagy, 2023 MASS Champion, Buddy Schweibinz and Eddie Wagner picked up wins in the F&L Door heat races while Christian Rumsey raced to the win in the B Main.
The luck of the draw put Stillwaggon and Nagy on the front row for the start of the twenty-five lap feature event. Stillwaggon grabbed the lead on the start as Nagy, Dave Grube, Larry McVay and Eddie Wagner sorted out the top five through the first five times around the High Banks.
Nick Sweigert’s smoking No. 89 out the caution for the first time on lap seven. Nagy took the lead on the restart and Stillwaggon chased him down the backstretch but Nagy held the lead. McVay, Adam Carberry and Grube chased the lead pair through lap ten.
McVay took over second on a lap twelve restart and offered up a challenge for the lead but Nagy was able to pull away from McVay and the rest of the field after several green flag laps. Carberry took over third as Wagner and Brian Carber battled for a top five spot at halfway.
Carber slowed on lap nineteen as 2023 MASS Champion, Buddy Schweibinz broke into the top five with just over five laps to go.
2023 MASS Champion, Buddy Schweibinz broke into the top five in the final laps of the race. Nagy pulled away but second through fifth place were up for grabs as the field headed to the finish line.
Nagy took the win with Carberry racing into second over McVay, Schweibinz and Andy Best in the final laps.
Coming into Friday night’s race, Nagy and Tim Iulg were in a battle for the Tanner Brothers Dairy Bridgeport Point Championship which Nagy secured with his third victory of the season. This is the second season that the Tanner Brothers Dairy have offered this award and it always creates some additional excitement in the season.
Rich Mellor was the early race leader in the Liberty Kenworth North East Sprint Series feature event, leading the way over Eric Jennings, Chris Allen, Jr., Shea Wills and Stan Ploski III through the first five laps. Mellor was a feature winner in this division earlier this season.
Jennings closed the gap on Mellor as they completed the first half of the race’s twenty laps. Jennings challenged for the lead between turns one and two on lap thirteen but Mellor prevailed. Jennings slid in front of Mellor in turn two to take the lead one lap later.
Jennings led the way to the checkered over Mellor, Allen, Wills and Brian Spencer who is the Bridgeport NEWS Champion for 2023. The win gave Jennings four wins on the season with another event scheduled at the end of the month as part of Bridgeport’s Octoberfest weekend.
Mike Thompson finished sixth followed by Joe Kata, Larry Drake, Walt Fletcher and Zach Brown.
Victory Fuel heat races were won by Jennings and Allen.
The Precision Hydraulic & Oil 602 Sportsman competed in a Underdog 20 feature event that saw third generation driver, Luke Bunting lead the way through the first half of the race over Kris Lillick, Tom Sherby, Scott Hulmes and Kris Thompson.
Matt Martino’s No. 226 was showing some smoke just after the halfway mark. The No. 1 of Anthony Raisner came to a stop on lap twelve and both drivers were headed to the pits. This was the first race anywhere for Raisner and the sharp looking No.1.
The lap thirteen restart erased Bunting’s lead and brought Lillick and Sherby to the leader. It was a three car race for the lead when Ken Golden, Jr. waved the green flag on the restart. Bunting led the field to the stripe for lap thirteen but Lillick raced into the lead for lap fourteen with both Bunting and Sherby challenging. Sherby and Bunting continued to battle for second.
Lillick raced to the win over Sherby, Bunting, Thompson and Hulmes. Brian Lillick finished sixth followed by Brian Rogers, Howard Huepful, Samantha Osborn and Robert Tete.
It was Lillick’s first win on the High Banks and the first Victory Lane that he was able to share with his wife and family. The Lillicks are very active in local quarter midget racing with a third driver starting in 2024. Maybe they gave their dad some pointers!
Next up – Octoberfest weekend on October 27th and 28th featuring 410 sprint cars, USAC East Coast Wingless, North East Wingless Sprints and Modifieds!
MID-ATLANTIC SPRINT SERIES: 1. Kevin Nagy, 2. Adam Carberry, 3. Larry McVay, 4. Buddy Schweibinz, 5. Andy Best, 6. Ryan Stillwagon, 7. Dave Brown, 8. Dave Grube, 9. Zach Rhoads, 10. Eddie Wagner, 11. DJ Tanner Jr., 12. Christian Rumsey, 13. Kenny Laureno, 14. Rick Stief, 15. Scott Frack, 16. Tim Iulg, 17. Dan Leaper, 18. Josh Bricker, 19. Aiden Borden, 20. Mike Melair, 21. Timmy Bitner, 22. Jeff Paulson, 23. Brian Carber, 24. Matt McAnally, 25. Johnny Smith, 26. Nick Sweigert
602 SPORTSMAN UNDERDOG 20: 1. Kris Lilick, 2. Tom Sherby, 3. Luke Bunting, 4. Kris Thompson, 5. Scott Hulmes, 6. Brian Lilick, 7. Brian Rogers, 8. Howard Huepful, 9. Samantha Osborn, 10. Robert Tete, 11. Dave Hartman, 12. Anthony Raisner, 13. Matt Martino, 14. Tim Franks
DNS: Thomas Prychka
NEWS WINGLESS SPRINT CARS: 1. Eric Jennings, 2. Rich Mellor, 3. Chris Allen Jr., 4. Shea Wills, 5. Brian Spencer, 6. Mike Thompson, 7. Joe Kata, 8. Larry Drake, 9. Walt Fletcher, 10. Zach Brown, 11. Dan Malley, 12. Heidi Hedin, 13. Stan Ploski, 14. Brendan Hires