|« "A TYPICAL WEEKEND" - The First Half Of a 358 Modified Weekend - Race # 25||"A TYPICAL WEEKEND" - Bench Racing and Real Racing At the New Borgers - Race #23 »|
Saturday, May 5 - We were looking at going to Mahoning Valley Speedway but a review of the weather showed a chance of showers in a two hour time frame between 7 and 9 so we opted to head south to the Bridgeport Speedway. It was my oldest brother’s birthday on Monday so we asked Bob if he wanted to be chauffeured to the races at Bridgeport as part of his birthday present. He accepted the offer and we all met at the Hellertown Park and Ride to begin the trek southward toward south Jersey.
We arrived at a little past 6 and upon exiting the car noticed that the weather in south Jersey was much more cloud filled and cooler than the partly sunny and 74 degree temperatures we had left from. As we entered the grandstand area we noticed that the crowd was “light". By the time the racing was ready to begin at 7 PM it was slightly better but no more than 300 to 325 fans in attendence. From some of the regulars, my brother included, said that the crowd was better than the past two races. The weather through the month of April and the beginning of May has been basically cool and wet so we hope the rest of the summer brings much better weather for Bridgeport and all the rest of the east coast tracks. The three division program would consist of big block modifieds (25), sportsman (16) and outlaw stocks (14). The fields were lean but the racing turned out to be very competitive. The three modified heats were spun off in 18 minutes and next up was the makeup 15 lap outlaw stock feature. These guys and gals turned in a credible performance with Terry Griffin flashing under the checkered flag first beating out Jeff Dirkes and Rick Broschard. A very good performance was turned in by Jim Hughes in his 4 cylinder machine racing against the engined outlaw stocks crossing the line in fourth.
The sportsman only needed two heats and all heat qualifying was completed by 7:50. There really was no need for a modified consie but they ran one the distance of four laps and by 7:57 it was intermission time. A half hour later the second outlaw stock feature rolled onto the track for their 15 lap feature. Terry Griffin won pulling away over Jeff Dirkes with Jeremy Doerr placing in the show position. The 20 lap sportsman feature would go next with the green waving at 8:54. Brett Kressley looked like he might pull this one off but Tommy Beamer used the outside groove and blasted by Kressley to take the lead late in the event. Kressley held on for second with Ryan Anderson coming back to finish third with Matt Budd taking fourth and last week’s winner, Ken Eckert Jr., rounding out the top five with the checker waving at 9:19. This was a good race and would have been labeled very good if it hadn’t been slowed five times because of cautions.
All that was left was the 30 lap big block modified feature which went green at 9:42. It was a bit dusty but the track was multi-grooved with much passing throughout the field. Ryan Watt was the first of the heavy hitters to make it to the front taking the lead from sixth starting spot and the defending track champion looked like the man to beat. Scott Ambruster who started fifth was running second until lap 21 when smoke began to bellow from his mount and the caution waved. On the restart Watt led with Jimmy Horton now sitting in second after starting 14th and 12th starting Eric Kormann on the inside of row two. Watt and Horton used the high groove while Kormann stuck it on the inside and executed a slid job exiting turn one that not only saw him pass Horton but also passing Watt to take the lead. Kormann would not be denied his first big block victory at Bridgeport and roared under the checkered flag at 10:08 to the delight of the small crowd. As Kormann exited his racer he climbed onto the roof and jumped up and down. His victory lane interview was great with even Kormann amazed that he pulled off the move passing Horton and Watt for the win. Pat and I agreed that it was the best feature racing we have seen at Bridgeport in quite some time. It was a shame that so few people witnessed a great feature race.
In closing I would like to add some comments about Bridgeport. The program was for the most part run efficiently but two points that would tighten the show would be to skip the consie until the car count increases to the high 20’s and the second and more important one is the caution flag procedure. It seems to take a long time to restart the race when the caution appears for something minor and with the advent of in car radios management should be able to skip the one to go to green procedure. Just have the pace truck pull off on the backstretch and go. On a big 5/8 mile track every caution slows the action and at least 2 minutes is lost with the current restart procedure. Streamline this and you probably save yourself a half hour. Another thought is that the admission price of $20 is too high. You are not competing with New Egypt for fans you need to establish your own fan base in south Jersey and to bring out the new potential fan in the area. A good way would be to advertise heavily in the local south Jersey papers with ads offering discounts for area residents with coupons and family plan deals and lowering the admission price to $15. We figured with the admission price decreased to $15 it would only take another hundred people to make up the difference from the current $20 admission to the lowered $15. This might also entice some folks that live in Pennsylvania to venture down but you have to give them a good value as they can go to Big Diamond or Grandview for $15 with larger car counts plus many must pay tolls to arrive at Bridgeport from the Keystone State.
Bridgeport has a good product here and the reworking of the racing surface has produced better and closer racing but without establishing a solid fan base it will not work. We wish the Hoffman family good fortunes in their uphill battle and hope to one day soon report on a successful racing program at Bridgeport with an ample crowd to witness it.
This post has 86 feedbacks awaiting moderation...