Click Below for ARDC 2015 Membership Form!
Bright Is Nominee for John Blewett III Young Gun Award
As Collegeville, PA driver, Alex Bright prepared to head to the ‘land down under’ he received word that he is one of five nominees for the John Blewett III Young Gun Award presented annually by the Eastern Motorsports Press Association (EMPA).
Bright, who races a midget with the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) has received recognition on both a national and international level during the past year.
Bright came to ARDC in 2010 as the driver of his grandfather’s, Joe Hemler, Lightcap Electric #77. The new team picked up their first win the following season and have been a threat ever since.
Last January, Bright and Hemler drew national attention when Alex wheeled the #77 to a podium finish on his qualifying night for the 2014 Chili Bowl. His third place finish placed Bright in the redraw for what is often referred to as the Super Bowl of Midget racing on Saturday night. After dropping back in the early going, Bright fought his way back to battle with Christopher Bell and Kevin Swindell in the closing laps of the Chili Bowl. While Bryan Clauson raced to the checkered, Bright raced to a fourth place finish. After five days of competition and nearly three hundred competitors, Bright raced the same car that he uses in ARDC competition to achieve one of the highest finishes ever by an ARDC driver in the main event in Tulsa.
Just one year ago, Bright garnered international headlines when he captured the Magic Man 34 while racing on the Speed Car circuit in Australia. The Magic Man 34 is one of the most coveted races in Australia as it pays tribute to former Speed Car competitor, Mike Figliomeni. Bright and four time Magic Man 34 winner, Davey Ray, exchanged the lead back and forth and had the fans in the Perth Motorplex on their feet until Ray was finally sidelined seven laps from the checkered. Bright went on to take the win – certainly one of the biggest of his career.
Bright returned to Australia just a week ago to prepare to race a brand new entry for car owner, Graham Jones.
“I was really surprised to be selected as a nominee for this award,” Bright related. “I had a lot of bad luck this year (motor issues) but at the same time, I made all the races I did finish count!” Bright finished fourth in the ARDC points chase for the 2014 season, collecting 5 wins, including three consecutive wins during July and August. Bright collected ten podium finishes in fifteen scheduled events.
The winner of the John Blewett III Young Gun award will be decided by members of EMPA and will be honored at the annual EMPA Convention weekend in Valley Forge on January 2-4, 2015.
NEW ARDC CHAMPION CLOSES SEASON WITH A WIN
It was the final race of the season for the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) as the wingless midgets competed as just one of the five divisions in the final Thunder on the Hill event of 2014 at the Grandview Speedway.
Steven Drevicki had already clinched the 2014 ARDC Championship prior to the final event. With the title in hand, Drevicki was now free to race on the final night and not be concerned about points. Drevicki took full advantage of the opportunity and it paid dividends for the first time champion.
“I’m really looking forward to racing at Grandview this weekend,” Drevicki related in the days prior to the final race. “By clinching the title after Path Valley, I can go into Grandview to race for the win and not have to worry about the points.” With the Grandview Speedway just a short distance from his Reading, PA home, Drevicki was anxious to pick up his first win at his home track.
Timed warm-ups determined the top twelve fastest for the final race with those twelve drivers then drawing for their starting positions. Brenden Bright has the fastest time. Drevicki timed fifth quick and then drew the pole for the start of the twenty-five lap main event.
In spite of his pole position start, Drevicki still had his work cut out for him. Alex Bright, with five ARDC feature wins to his credit, started outside pole in the Mike Heffner owned #27.
Drevicki took the lead at the wave of the green with Alex Bright right on his tail. Billy Pauch Jr., driving a team car to Drevicki, powered past PJ Gargiulo to take over third following a lap four restart. Pauch Jr. made a three car race for the lead as Gargiulo, Ryan Watt, 2013 ARDC Champion, Trevor Kobylarz and Brenden Bright followed.
Brett Arndt lost power as the field headed down the homestretch to complete lap eleven and then needed a caution when he and Ryan Greth tangled between turns one and two.
Following the single file restart, Drevicki held a car length or two lead over Alex Bright who was now fending off the challenges of Pauch Jr. for second. Gargiulo and Kobylarz rounded out the top five with plenty of action to follow among the likes of Brenden Bright, Danny Stratton, Watt, Tim Buckwalter and Jim Radney.
Stratton had just broken into the top five when driveline issues sent him pit side. Brenden Bright was also sidelined with a flat tire with just nine laps remaining.
With plenty of pressure coming from Pauch for second, Drevicki was able to pull away from his rivals in the final laps. Pauch used a slide job to pass Alex Bright for second as they raced in turn three but Bright returned the favor in the next corner and regained the position.
Drevicki led the way to the checkered, adding a third win to his championship season and his first ever at the Grandview Speedway. Alex Bright finished second with Pauch, Jr. taking third. Kobylarz finished fourth with Gargiulo rounding out the top five.
The win also gave Drevicki the win in the Hilbert on the Hill Challenge sponsored by Bob Hilbert Sportswear. Drevicki will be awarded 100 Express White shirts for his team at the upcoming ARDC banquet in November.
FEATURE (25 LAPS) 1. #19 Steven Drevicki, 2. #27 Alex Bright, 3. #28 Billy Pauch, 4. #1 Trevor Kobylarz, 5. #5 PJ Gargiulo, 6. #52 Tim Buckwalter, 7. #95 Jim Radney, 8. #20 Ryan Watt, 9. #83 Bruce Buckwalter, Jr., 10. #8 Kyle Lick, 11. #54 Austin Burke, 12. #97 Tyler Brehm, 13. #78 Nick Wean, 14. #33 Danny Straton, 15. #92 Brenden Bright, 16. #46 Brett Arndt, 17. #4 Ryan Greth, 18. #44 Brett Wanner, 19. #7 Shawn Jackson, 20. #21 Thomas Kunsman, 21. #75 Billy Courtwight
The 75th Anniversary Season of the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) will come to a close at the Thunder on the Hill Halloween Party at the Grandview Speedway this Saturday night when ARDC is just one of the divisions to be featured in this fun filled annual event.
Steven Drevicki of Reading, PA has already sealed the 2014 Championship for his DeGre Engineering team and car owner, Greg Fitzpatrick. In addition to his two feature wins, Drevicki has been able to complete every race on the 2014 ARDC schedule and has amassed a long string of top five finishes. In spite of his outstanding record, Drevicki would like nothing better than to add a Grandview Speedway win to his list of accomplishments for the 2014 season. Many of the ARDC teams consider Grandview to be their home track and of course, want to perform well in front of family, friends and sponsors!
Even thought Drevicki has clinched the title, there is still plenty of action left to determine who the top ten will be at season’s end. Currently, Brenden Bright is second in the points chase – a position that he has held for most of the season. 2013 ARDC Champion, Trevor Kobylarz, sits in third, followed by Alex Bright and Brett Arndt. Alex Bright leads all competitors with five wins. Bright has one win at Grandview this season that still has many talking. Bright came from 21st to win the twenty-five lap feature during the first Thunder on the Hill program back in May.
Bruce Buckwalter, Jr. Nick Wean, Ryan Greth, rookie, Austin Burke and PJ Gargiulo round out the top ten in points going into the final event but Tony DiMattia, Kyle Lick and Brett Wanner are well within striking distance. This is a very important race for many ARDC teams.
With the 2014 winding down, plans are well underway for 2015. Many tracks do not begin to work on their new schedules until after their last race of the season however, ARDC has already scheduled several dates for 2015. The 2015 schedule will include a return of ARDC to the tracks of Dixieland and Countyline in North Carolina as well as Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway and the Bedford Fairgrounds. Stay tuned for more upcoming news in the months to come!
Not only was it Bright’s first win of the season but his first ever win at the Grandview Speedway – the track that is the closest to Bright’s Collegeville, PA home. “We’ve always struggled at Grandview,” Bright related. “We’ve been good this season on the heavy tracks or early in the night but we’ve struggled on the hard slick tracks.”
On this race night, Bright had some help. His Presidential HVAC #92 got some help from five time ARDC winner, Alex Bright and his crew chief, Eddie Heffline who made some suggestions to improve the younger Bright’s performance. He had some help from his brother in the feature line-up as well. When Alex drew the pole after winning the third heat race, he volunteered to start 12th for the twenty-five lap main – the last of the redraw positions. That moved Brenden up to a third place start. “I need all the help I can get,” Brenden stated as he looked over the starting grid.
Brett Wanner and Billy Pauch Jr. led the field to the green flag but Wanner fought for control as the rear wheel came off his #44 as the field headed into turn one. The inside row slid up for the complete restart, pitting Brenden Bright against Pauch Jr. on the front row. Pauch immediately took the lead as Brett Arndt slid under Brenden Bright to briefly take second.
Pauch had the Mike Heffner owned #27 on the bottom of the track as Brenden Bright and second year driver, Jim Radney battled for the runner-up spot. Radney like the high line around the track and took over second on lap four. Pauch led Radney, Brenden Bright, Tim Buckwalter and Brett Arndt with five complete.
Alex Bright had advanced to sixth but slid high and lost several positions. By lap seven, Radney was putting the pressure on Pauch for the lead. Radney ran the top with Pauch on the bottom as the two dueled for the top spot.
The field was three wide through turns one and two following a caution for Alex Bright just before half way.
Radney took a run on the outside of Pauch as the two drivers raced down the backstretch on lap thirteen with Radney becoming the race leader at the half way point. With ten laps to go, Radney led Pauch, Tim Buckwalter, Brenden Bright and Ryan Watt who was behind the wheel of the R/T Racing #20.
Austin Burke ran into trouble in turns three and four while moisture on the race track caused a tangle between Alex Bright and Bruce Buckwalter Jr. in turns one and two, bringing out what would be the race’s final caution. While the field circled under caution, race leader, Jim Radney came to a stop on the homestretch with battery failure. Radney’s bid for a first ARDC win would be postponed for another night. Pauch led the field back to the green flag for the final ten laps as the race leader.
Brenden Bright wasted no time taking his car to the outside to challenge Pauch for the lead on the back stretch. The race had a new leader as Brenden Bright led the way.
Watt challenged Tim Buckwalter and took over third with five laps to go. 2013 ARDC Champion, Trevor Kobylarz and Brett Arndt battled it out for fifth.
At the end of twenty-five laps, Brenden Bright headed for his first checkered flag of the season followed by Billy Pauch, Jr., Ryan Watt, Tim Buckwalter and Trevor Kobylarz.
This Friday night, ARDC heads west to race at the Path Valley Speedway Park – a return to the Central PA track after an absence of nearly twenty years.
Billy Pauch Jr. made his first start of the season in Mike Heffner’s #27 midget, wrenched by Sean Michael. Ryan Watt subbed for Carey Becker and drove Becker’s #20 to a third place finish. When electrical issues sidelined point leader, Steven Drevicki’s #19. DeGre Engineering car owner, Greg Fitzpatrick turned over his #28 to Drevicki for the night. The point leader raced his way to an eighth place finish at the end of twenty-five laps. Danny Stratton had the Steward #33 out in front of the first heat before rear end problems brought Stratton to a stop in turn four. Fast time of the night turned by Ryan Watt in the first qualifier when Watt turned the third mile track in 15.128 seconds.
Feature Finish (25 laps)
1. Brenden Bright 2. Billy Pauch Jr. 3. Ryan Watt 4. Tim Buckwalter 5. Trevor Kobylarz 6. Brett Arndt 7. Ryan Greth 8. Steven Drevicki 9. Kyle Lick 10. Tyler Brehm 11. Tony DiMattia 12. Tommy Kunsman 13. Austin Burke 14. Billy Courtwright 15. Jim Radney 16. Bruce Buckwalter, Jr. 17. Alex Bright 18. Justin Grosz 19. Brett Wanner 20. Nick Wean DNS – PJ Gargiulo
Buckwalter has been the winner of both twenty-five lap ARDC main events. During the June race, Buckwalter raced with Billy Pauch, Jr. and Tim Buckwalter before taking the win. In July action, it was current ARDC point leader, Steven Drevicki who held the race lead when Buckwalter challenged.
Williams Grove & Lincoln Speedways Celebrate ARDC’s 75th
It was all about history.
It was all about the present.
It was all about the future as the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) celebrated their 75th Anniversary with the help of the Williams Grove & Lincoln Speedways and the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing at the Latimore Valley Fairgrounds this weekend.
When the last checkered flag waved, it proved to be a weekend about Alex Bright who emerged with his fourth and fifth wins of the season by capturing the first wins of his career at both Williams Grove and Lincoln.
Williams Grove Friday night
It has been nearly fifty years since ARDC ran their first race at the Williams Grove Speedway in 1955.
Justin Grosz and Bright shared the front row as they led the field to the green flag for the twenty lap feature event.
Bright grabbed the lead and Bruce Buckwalter drove to the inside of Grosz to take over second as they raced into turn three. The racing came to a quick halt as Grosz caught the track the wrong way as he approached turn four. Grosz caught the wall with the tail of his #99G and then got up in the air and turned around before settling back on the track. Grosz was not injured.
The field realigned for a complete restart. Bright put his Lightcap Electric #77 out in front as Bruce Buckwalter, Jr. took over second. 2013 ARDC Champion, Trevor Kobylarz moved up to third as PJ Gargiulo took over fourth. Bright pulled away from the field as he led Buckwalter, Kobylarz, current point leader, Steven Drevicki and Gargiulo with five laps scored.
Drevicki was on the move as he took third one lap later and then made his way past Buckwalter for the runner-up spot on lap eight. By that time, Bright was out of the line of sight of his nearest competitor.
Bright, Drevicki, BJ Buckwalter, Kobylarz and Steve Buckwalter raced in the top five at the half way mark.
There were any number of competitors who were looking for a caution in those final ten laps but there was not a yellow to be found.
BJ Buckwalter was successful in holding off the challenges of Kobylarz for the battle for third as the laps counted down. Buckwalter got airborne with just two laps to go as he caught the track the wrong way in turn four. While the BDB Construction #83 got some height, several competitors were able to go by but Buckwalter saved the car and finished the race in sixth.
With the checkered flag waving, Alex Bright drove to his fourth win of the season with Drevicki following in second. Kobylarz picked up the final podium spot followed by Gargiulo and Brenden Bright.
Eastern Museum of Motor Racing
The EMMR celebrated the 75th Anniversaries of both ARDC and the Williams Grove Speedway during their annual convention weekend.
There was a roundtable discussion on Friday that included several ARDC past competitors – Brett Mowery, Hank Rogers, Jr., Lenny Boyd, Ken Brenn Sr., Jimmy McGuire, Ron Lauer and six time champion, Ray Bull.
The ARDC Midget teams were invited to the beautiful ground of the Latimore Valley Fairgrounds to make their preparations for the upcoming events at the Lincoln Speedway on Saturday night. It gave the teams a chance to catch up with some old friends – like Ken Brenn, Sr., Jimmy McGuire, Stan Lobitz and many more while race fans had the opportunity to watch the team’s prepare for the race. It was a great time for the fans to see the midgets and the drivers up close.
ARDC competitor, Kyle Lick even had the opportunity to drive on the track at Latimore Valley in a vintage URC sprint car owned by his grandfather.
After an absence of several seasons, the ARDC midgets returned to the Lincoln Speedway and it wasn’t long before everyone was reminded of the great combination that Lincoln and the midgets make!
There was a lot of close racing in the qualifying events that was just a prelude to the action that awaited in the twenty-five lap feature event.
Steven Drevicki led the field to the start and quickly took control of the field when the green flag waved. Steve Buckwalter used the top of the track to move into second after starting fifth. Gargiulo took third on lap two but it was Wean who ran third just one lap later. Buckwalter pressed Drevicki for the lead and took the top spot to lead lap five. Drevicki, Wean, Gargiulo and Arndt made up the top five. At this point in the race, Alex Bright raced outside of the top five as he looked for a way to the front.
Bright was the only change to the top five at lap ten as he moved up to take fifth. That’s when Bright retried the high, outside line and found it to his liking. He took fourth from Gargiulo on lap twelve as S Buckwalter raced well ahead of the field. For several laps, Bright raced Wean for third. With ten to go, Wean held the spot as Arndt moved into fifth ahead of Gargiulo.
Bright took third from Wean and began to reel in the DeGre Engineering #19 of Drevicki. On lap nineteen, Drevicki had Bright on his rear bumper.
As Drevicki and Bright battled for second, they came up on the lapped car of Tyler Brehm. Just as the two contenders closed in on Brehm, Brehm had a water line break on his Jackson #97 in the midst of a lot of steam and water. The caution was thrown and everyone negotiated the situation successfully. Buckwalter’s huge lead was erased as the single file restart had Drevicki and Bright lined up right behind the 2010 ARDC Champion.
Bright took it to the top of the track, passing first Drevicki and then Buckwalter to lead lap twenty. Buckwalter battled back from the bottom of the track but Bright had all of the momentum coming off the top.
Bright took the win ahead of Steve Buckwalter and Drevicki. Wean and Arndt battled side by side for fourth for the final laps of the feature with Wean holding the edge at the line over Arndt.
Williams Grove Speedway (20 lap feature)
1. Alex Bright 2. Steven Drevicki 3. Trevor Kobylarz 4. PJ Gargiulo 5. Brenden Bright 6. Bruce Buckwalter, Jr. 7. Brett Arndt 8. Kyle Lick 9. Jim Radney 10. Brett Wanner 11. Nick Wean 12. Tommy Kunsman, Jr. 13. Austin Burke 14. Clayton Glassman 15. Steve Buckwalter 16. Ryan Greth 17. John Barnett 18. Billy Courtwright 19. Greg Fitzpatrick 20. Justin Grosz DNS – Tony DiMattia
Lincoln Speedway (25 lap feature)
1. Alex Bright 2. Steve Buckwalter 3. Steven Drevicki 4. Nick Wean 5. Brett Arndt 6. Ryan Greth 7. PJ Gargiulo 8. Trevor Kobylarz 9. Brenden Bright 10. Eric Heydenreick 11. Drew Heistand 12. Kyle Lick 13. Brett Wanner 14. Justin Grosz 15. Tony DiMattia 16. Austin Burke 17. Tommy Kunsman 18. Tyler Brehm 19. Jim Radney DNS – Clayton Glassman, Billy Courtwright, Brian Gilmore, Bruce Buckwalter, Jr.
A weekend celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) will be held this weekend as ARDC races at the Williams Grove Speedway on Friday evening (8/15) and then the Lincoln Speedway on the following night. (8/16).
The Eastern Motorsports Museum of Racing (EMMR) will be hosting events to honor both ARDC and the Williams Grove Speedway who are both celebrating their 75th Anniversaries this season as part of the EMMR’s Annual Convention. Crocky Wright will also be honored on this very special weekend.
The EMMR will host a round table discussion on Friday morning from 10:30am-noon that will feature six time ARDC Champion, Ray Bull on the discussion panel. Friday evening, the ARDC midget teams will head to the Williams Grove Speedway for qualifying events as well as a twenty lap feature. Then on Saturday morning, the museum will be providing space for the ARDC teams to prepare their car for the night’s action at the Lincoln Speedway. Fans will be able to watch the teams at work during this time. Late in the day on Saturday, the racing teams will head to the nearby Lincoln Speedway for a second night of midget racing.
Of course, the museum and all of its facilities will be open throughout the weekend for people to few the history on display.
The weekend of activities will be concluded on Sunday with the roast of Stan Lobitz, a long time friend of ARDC and racing in general. Lobitz has been an advocate of the preservation of racing history and has supported the sport and the museum in many ways over the years. The roast should be entertaining at the very least – full of many stories from over the years.
Make a weekend of it and take in two nights of racing as well as the EMMR Museum on the grounds of the Lattimore Valley Fairgrounds.