VONDOHREN & WILLS CAPTURE FRIDAY NIGHT BRIDGEPORT WINS
Story By: Deb Smith/Bridgeport Speedway
Photos By: George Steigerwalt & Jim Brown/RacersGuide.com
After a pair of second place finishes, Craig VonDohren made a strong statement as he raced to the win in the 358 Small Block Modified feature event at the Bridgeport Speedway on the first night of the Wildcard Racing weekend. Tom Wills, Jr. raced to his sixth win of the season in Pennco Tech Outlaw Stock competition.
Polesitter, Brett Kressley led the first fifteen laps of the feature event, looking for his second Bridgeport Small Block Modified victory of the season. Kressley had early pressure from both 2017 Track Champion, Ryan Watt and Jeff Strunk. Kressley led Watt and Strunk through lap five as VonDohren and Frank Cozze battled for fifth.
The leaders were in lapped traffic by lap eight but a caution was needed for Chris Grbac one lap later. Kressley gained a clear track on the restart but had Watt, Strunk, VonDohren and Cozze on his tail for the green flag. VonDohren raced into third as Watt challenged for the lead.
Watt and VonDohren raced side by side on lap eleven with VonDohren taking the spot off of turn two. VonDohren looked to the inside of Kressley on several occasions but it was a move to the outside that paid dividends as VonDohren put Dick Biever’s No. 14s out in front on lap sixteen.
Dominick Buffalino had just raced his way up to third before the lead change and it wasn’t long before he had dropped Kressley to third while Watt and Strunk battled for position.
VonDohren raced away from the field but Buffalino was able to close some of the gap as they raced through lapped traffic in the closing laps. VonDohren raced to the win – his first at Bridgeport since he doubled during the 2008 Atlantic Coast weekend. Buffalino finished second followed by Kressley, Watt and Strunk. Cozze, Billy Pauch, Jr., Duane Howard, Brandon Grosso and Dylan Steuer rounded out the top ten.
“The bottom really felt good,” VonDohren explained after the win. “Kressley kept moving down, which is what you do. That left the top open and I had to go for it. I didn’t know what it was going to do but I went to the outside and it stuck.”
Polesitter, Rich Stinson, Jr. took the wheel of his dad’s Outlaw Stock and led the first five laps of the Colonial Pipeline Dig Safely 2017 Poker Series Hand # 5. Stinson outgunned seven time winner, Jeramy Doerr who was driving the Andrew Joslin No. 6 in this race. Rich Brosshard took over second and chased Stinson as Tom Wills, Jr. raced through the top five.
Wills raced into the lead on lap six as Stinson, Doerr, Broschard and TJ Henry all battled for position. Both Doerr and Henry exited with mechanical problems by halfway as Wills raced ahead for the win and his third Ace in Poker Series competition.
Willis captured the fifteen lap main event in record time, setting a new fifteen lap record for the Outlaw Stocks with a time of 6:24.513. Wills took the win over Stinson, Broschard, Jeff Dirkes and 2017 8 Cylinder Enduro Champion, Lee Allen who was making his first Outlaw Stock start.
Dominick Buffalino set the fastest time of the night in Spirit Auto Center Big Block first timed hot lap session with a time of 19.526. Rick Laubach was the fastest car in the second round with a time of 19.936. Both drivers earned starting positions in Saturday night’s Gone But Not Forgotten season finale. Roger Manning set a new one lap record during timed hot laps for the Sportsman with a time of 21.002, earning him a starting spot in Saturday night action.
SMALL BLOCK MODIFIEDS (25 laps): 1. Craig VonDohren, 2. Dominick Buffalino, 3. Brett Kressley, 4. Ryan Watt, 5. Jeff Strunk, 6. Frank Cozze, 7. Billy Pauch, Jr., 8. Duane Howard, 9. Brandon Grosso, 10. Dillon Steuer, 11. Ryan Krachun, 12. Ron Roberts, 13. Kevin Vacavicek, 14. Jack Swain, 15. Ryan Lilick, 16. Tom Sherby, 17. Scott Hulmes, 18. Jordan Cox, 19. Bob Sarkisian, 20. Jimmy Horton, 21. Dakota Kessler, 22. Chris Grbac.
COLONIAL PIPELINE CALL BEFORE YOU DIG POKER SERIES HAND #5 – OUTLAW STOCKS (15 laps): 1. Tom Wills, Jr., 2. Rich Stinson, Jr., 3. Rick Broschard, 4. Jeff Dirkes, 5. Lee Allen, 6. Jill Long, 7. Ken Moren, 8. Gary Klimeczek, 9. John Parker, 10. Mike Smith, 11. Pete Ellis, 12. T.J. Henry, 13. Jeramy Doerr, 14. Vern McLaughlin, 15. Keith McKinley, 16. Chris Kramer, 17. Paul Donahue, DNS – Ken Watson
BIG BLOCK MODIFIED TIMED LAPS (FIRST ROUND): 1. Dominick Buffalino 19.526 sec., 2. Rick Laubach 19.553 sec., 3. Jeff Strunk 19.639 sec., 4. Ryan Watt 19.724 sec., 5. Neal Williams 20.055 sec., 6. Sam Martz 20.192 sec., 7. Ron Roberts 20.321 sec., 8. Richie Pratt, Jr. 20.375 sec., 9. Billy Pauch, Jr. 20.465 sec., 10. Bucky Kell 20.555 sec., 11. Wade Hendrickson 20.615 sec., 12. Ernie Miles III 20.893 sec., 13. Ricky DiEva 21.007 sec., 14. Dillon Steuer 21.150 sec., 15. Brian Hitz 22.287 sec.
BIG BLOCK MODIFIED TIMED LAPS (SECOND ROUND): 1. Laubach 19.936 sec., 2. Ryan Watt 20.103 sec., 3. Jeff Strunk 20.196 sec., 4. Dillon Steuer 20.390 sec., 5. Ron Roberts 20.445 sec., 6. Sam Martz 20.453 sec., 7. Wade Hendrickson 20.596 sec., 8. Billy Pauch, Jr. 20.700 sec., 9. Richie Pratt, Jr. 20.858 sec., 10. Bucky Kell 21.072 sec., 11. Ricky DiEva 21.097 sec., 12. Ernie Miles, III 21.269 sec., 13. Brian Hitz 21.824 sec