LAUBACH, MANNING AND STIEF SCORE “FIRSTS” IN BRIDGEPORT ACTION
In just his second race behind the wheel of the Atlas Paving No. 66, Rick Laubach drove into the lead just before half way in the Spirit Auto Center Big Block Modified Feature event to capture his second Bridgeport win of the season and his first in the Petruska family owned racer. Roger Manning, in just his tenth Bridgeport start, picks up the first win of his career in the Stewart Stainless Crate/Sportsman division. Rick Stief is certainly no stranger to the Bridgeport Speedway after racing Micro sprints on the quarter mile but on Saturdaynight, Stief picked up his first sprint car win with a victory in the final hand of the Tanner Brothers Dairy Store/Thayer Performance 2016 Poker Series for the Tri State Race Saver Sprint Cars. It was a great night of racing on Bike Night on the 5/8 mile speedway!
Bob Sarkisian took the lead from pole sitter, Dave Shirk as the field raced out of turn two on the first lap. Sarkisian led the first two circuits before Bensalem, PA driver, Jim Britt raced by Sarkisian in turn three on the third lap. With one win to his credit in his Modified rookie season, Britt pulled away from the field until Laubach moved up to second on lap six. Laubach started in close the gap as Britt led the way to complete lap ten. Britt led Laubach, Sarkisian, Dave Shirk and Jamie Mills.
Mike Franz drew a caution with eleven laps scored, erasing Britts advantage over Laubach as the two drivers lined up side by side for the restart. After one false start, Laubach raced into the lead and Mills, took over third.
It was Mills first race since being injured in late May. Mills nephew, Joseph Watson, filled the cockpit for Mills during his absence but Mills and the Blue Hen Racing Team debuted a new Bicknell chassied No. 30 for Saturday night’s action.
Mills raced into second before the yellow flag waved as Richie Pratt, Jr. and Tommy Beamer slowed between turns one and two with thirteen laps complete. Laubach elected to restart from the outside and pulled ahead of Mills on the restart.
Ryan Watt raced his way into the top five after making contact with the third turn wall on the second lap. One lap later, he moved by Britt to take fourth. Laubach led Mills, Jordan Watson, Watt and Britt with ten laps to go.
With Laubach safely out in front, Watt was on the move in the final laps. The current point leader overtook Watson on lap nineteen and then raced by Mills following the race’s final restart for the disabled mount of Watson with three laps to go.
Laubach took the win for his new team over Watt, Mills, Britt and Neal Williams. Laubach said that the ride in the Petruska No. 66, “is a dream come true for me!” This is a new experience for Laubach who usually maintains and transports his rides to the track. Laubach asked that fans keep car owners, Gary and Lori Hermann in their thoughts and prayers this week as Lori deals with some health concerns and Laubach’s mother, Shirley is battling breast cancer.
Roger Manning took the lead from the outside at the waveofthe green and flag and literally never looked back as he drove to a convincing win in the Stewart Stainless Crate/Sportsman feature. Manning had no idea that he led Bobby Lilick and then Brad Roberts by a near straight away at the end of twenty laps. The first time feature winner was focused on hitting his marks. The second generation driver - son of former Bridgeport competitor, Don Manning - listened to his father’s words of advice as he circled the 5/8 mile track with his HigFab No. 50 with Lombardo power under the hood.
Last week’s feature winner, Brad Roberts, took second from Bobby Lilick on the final lap. Lilick finished third with current point leader, Steve Davis finishing fourth and Eric Kormann finishing fifth in the Cogdill No. 98.
Rick Stief was fast all night, taking the lead in the Hilborn Tri State Race Saver (TSRS) Sprint Car Feature event on lap nine as he drove to the first sprint car win of his career. Stief was the eighth different driver to win in Saturday night TSRS action on the 5/8th mile speedway.
Former feature winner, Jeff Geiges finished second with Christopher Allen, Jr. finishing third. Eddie Wagner finished fourth with Mark Bitner rounding out the top five. Allen and Wagner are also previous feature winners.
Current TSRS point leader, Mike Haggenbottom suffered mechanical failure in the final laps after running among the leaders for most of the race. Haggenbottom was crowned as the 2016 Tanner Dairy Store/Thayer Performance Poker Series Champion with three Kings.
The final point race of the season is scheduled for Saturday night at the Bridgeport Speedway as the Big Block Modifieds, Crate/Sportsman and Outlaw Stocks return to action at 7pm. The Garden State Vintage will be on hand for this final night of points. Then the 5/8th mile speedway will be idle until the return to action on Friday, September 23rd for the Small Block Modfiieds and TSRS Sprint Car doubleheader followed by the King of the Big Blocks event on Saturday, September 24th with $12,000 going to the winner of the 50 lap Big Block Modified feature.
SPIRIT AUTO CENTER BIG BLOCK MODIFIEDS (25 laps): 1. Rick Laubach, 2. Ryan Watt, 3. Jamie Mills, 4. Jim Britt, 5. Neal Williams, 6. Dave Shirk, 7. David Hunt, 8. Ron Roberts, 9. Sam Martz, 10. Bob Sarkisian, 11. Mike Franz, 12. C.J. Jones, 13. Ricky DiEva, 14. Chuck Potts, 15. Jordan Watson, 16. Richie Pratt, Jr., 17. Tommy Beamer, DNS – Wade Hendrickson
STEWART STAINLESS SUPPLY CRATE/SPORTSMAN (20 laps): 1. Roger Manning, 2. Brad Roberts, 3. Bob Lilick, 4. Steve Davis, 5. Eric Kormann, 6. Dave Damiano, 7. Matt Stangle, 8. Kris Lilick, 9. Clyde Cox, 10. Chris Jenkins, 11. Jeramy Doerr, 12. David Crossman, 13. Bill Briggs, 14. Chuck Sayres, 15. Tom Errico, 16. Stan Hawk, 17. Jeff Bubori, 18. Ernie Miles, III, 19. Steve Kemery, DNS – Melissa Scarpati, David Banko
HILBORN TSRS 305 SPRINTS - TANNER BROTHERS DAIRY/THAYER PERFORMANCE 2016 POKER SERIES (20 laps): 1. Rick Stief, 2. Jeff Geiges, 3. Chris Allen, 4. Eddie Wagner, 5. Mark Bitner, 6. Tim Tanner, Jr., 7. Mike Haggenbottom, 8. Stef Carberry, 9. Tommy Carberry, 10. Kyle Purks, 11. Scott Frack, 12. Bryant Davis, 13. Joe Lord, 14. David Bonner, 15. Mike Kostic, 16. Douglas Snow, 17. Logan Diehl, 18. Doug Suiter, 19. Samantha Lieberman
Saturday, September 3 - Final Night of Points - Big Block Modifieds, Crate/Sportsman, Outlaw Stocks & Garden State Vintage, racing at 7pm
Saturday, September 10 & 17 - No Racing
Friday, September 23 - Small Block Modifieds, TSRS Sprints & Open Practice, racing at 7:30pm
Saturday, September 24 - King of the Big Blocks - $12,000 to Win - Big Block Modifieds, Crate/Sportsman & Outlaw Stocks, racing at 6pm (Rain date if needed - October 1)