Brady Bacon

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BACON BAGS BRIDGEPORT, BECOMES USAC EASTERN STORM’S WINNINGEST DRIVER
312
6/12/2024

6/12/2024

Brady Bacon


BACON BAGS BRIDGEPORT, BECOMES USAC EASTERN STORM’S WINNINGEST DRIVER

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Swedesboro, New Jersey (June 12, 2024)………After 17 years of USAC Eastern Storm competition, one driver now stands head and shoulders at the top of the all-time win list for the annual June series on the east coast.

Fittingly, that same driver, Brady Bacon, stood head and shoulders above the competition during Wednesday night’s USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship event at New Jersey’s Bridgeport Motorsports Park.

Bacon’s seventh career Eastern Storm triumph moved him past Bryan Clauson, Levi Jones and Chris Windom to become the winningest driver in the history of the series, which debuted in 2007.

How dominant was Bacon at Bridgeport? In the 18th event of the 2024 USAC National Sprint Car season, he became the first driver to lead a feature from start to finish without interruption, doing so once again for his second win of the year and the 55th of his career with the series in his Dynamics, Inc./J. Davidson Scrap Metal – Next Level Metal – Davis Bros. Trucking/Triple X/Rider Chevy.

Furthermore, Bacon’s victory was his first in New Jersey, extending his record of different United States won in to 15 throughout his career.

And don’t look now, but Bacon is back in the hunt on the points front as well. On May 10, he stood 218 points out of the USAC National Sprint Car point lead. Now, after a run of seven consecutive podium finishes, Bacon has pulled to within 52 markers as he remains in the hunt for his record-tying fifth series driving title.

“We had a rough start to the year, but we knew it would turn around,” Bacon stated. “We just had to keep doing things right and we knew we had a fast racecar. You just go to the racetrack and try to win every night, then battle whatever obstacles come your way. We had to change a water pump today after qualifying, so we just needed to keep working and doing the right things. It’s easy to slack off and maybe get lazy but you’ve just got to keep doing everything right even if it takes a little extra effort. It doesn’t seem like it at times, but eventually it does pays off.”

Bacon’s admission is on point considering that, 24 hours earlier in the USAC Eastern Storm opener at Grandview Speedway, his engine dropped a cylinder, yet he still managed to persevere with a late-race pass to finish second. On Wednesday, the team’s engine provider, Gene Franckowiak, made an early morning trip to Rider Racing Engines to pick up a new engine for the team to use later that night at Bridgeport while also dropping off the Grandview powerplant to be fixed.

Prior to Bridgeport’s 30-lap main event, a considerable track rework took place while Bacon and the crew were busy preparing for battle. Nonetheless, they quickly adapted to the conditions and appeared comfortably in the zone for the distance.

“Luckily, I didn’t have time to look at what they did with track prep because I got really aggressive with my car,” Bacon noted. “I probably wouldn’t have done that if I had been paying attention, but we were scrambling all night. It was a lot wetter than I had anticipated, and I didn’t really know if I needed to be up on the bank or down on the bottom since I knew they worked the bottom a bit.”

Starting from the pole position, Bacon dashed away to the early lead with inside row two starter Kevin Thomas Jr. slotting into second and giving chase, and even briefly edging ahead in turns three and four on lap three, but was unable to keep pace with Bacon’s momentum at the exit of turn four. As it turned out, this brief interaction altered the course of the race from that point forward.

“He showed me his nose there and I was able to adjust to a line that worked,” Bacon revealed. “I just judged my speed off the lapped cars after that, and my diamond move seemed to be working well. I don’t know how good we were compared to everyone else, but we tightened up a lot and I was really nervous those first couple of laps, but I kept it on all fours, so I knew that if I could make it through those first five or six laps, we were going to be really good at the end.”

The lone stoppage of the feature came at the conclusion of lap four when 17th running Alex Bright slowed at the top of turn four to necessitate a yellow flag. When action resumed, Thomas was able to drive right to the rear bumper of Bacon by the time the race reached lap eight but was unable to gain any further ground.

By halfway, Bacon was knifing his way through traffic as he charged past the likes of Tom Harris, Korbyn Hayslett and Chase Stockon, putting each a lap down while also managing to keep both of his challengers, Thomas and the emerging Justin Grant, at bay to the tune of roughly seven tenths of a second.

Down the stretch, Bacon encountered even more traffic, but managed to sweep by with relative ease as he sprinted past Charles Davis Jr., Jake Swanson and even series point leader Logan Seavey in 15th, putting each driver one lap down as he finished off a masterful performance by a 1.256 second margin over runner-up Kevin Thomas Jr. with Justin Grant third, Robert Ballou fourth and Mitchel Moles fifth.

After mighty disappointment the night before at Grandview when he was caught up in an incident while running eighth with 10 laps to go, Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) recovered nicely at Bridgeport to finish as the runner-up in his Rock Steady Racing/Inferno Armor – Eddie Gilstrap Motors – Creative Finishing/Mach-1/Stanton Chevy. It was his best run to date on the newer 4/10-mile track distance after scoring a win and a second on the 3/8-mile track utilized for the series at Bridgeport in 2018-19.

“We had the same amount of grip no matter which part of the racetrack we went whether it was the bottom, middle or diamond line; we all just kind of went the same speed,” Thomas explained. “It’s kind of what you want in a racetrack where you can go the same speed anywhere. Whenever we were battling with Brady, we showed him a nose there in three and four. He’s not stupid, so he’s going to go exactly where I was. You’ve got to clear those guys whenever they’re of that caliber. At the end of the day, it’s a lot better than where we were yesterday and that’s all we can ask for. Everybody on our team works extremely hard. I think they work harder at keeping my head above water than they do on the car. They do a great job, and they give me great racecars to drive.”

Justin Grant’s recovery from Grandview to Bridgeport was a facsimile of KTJ’s. Contact on an earlier restart resulted in Grant’s drag link folding up while running fifth on the final lap at Grandview, sending him into the outside wall and back to a 20th place result in the blink of an eye. At Bridgeport, the ride was much smoother throughout as Grant returned to the podium with a third-place result in his TOPP Motorsports/NOS Energy Drink – Bow Foundation – TOPP Industries/Maxim/Kistler Chevy.

“I think our car was good and it was good last night too,” Grant said. “We just got caught up in a melee there and then the drag link ended up breaking. But it was good tonight. The track was fast but there just wasn’t a whole lot we could do. These guys were fast, and it was good to come home on the podium.”

Aside from Bacon, Logan Seavey (USAC National Sprint Car point leader) and Briggs Danner (USAC Eastern Storm point leader) also suffered somewhat similar, but more dire, engine-related consequences during the heat races at Bridgeport. Both wound up utilizing back up cars, which required them to start at the tail of the field for the feature. Danner’s backup car lasted only four laps before he pulled off with a steering issue. Seavey managed to collect Irvin King Hard Charger honors with his advancement from 23rd to 15th.

Anton Hernandez (Arlington, Texas) missed the first race of USAC Eastern Storm on Tuesday night at Grandview. However, you couldn’t have missed him in his first run of the week on Wednesday at Bridgeport. He set a new eight-lap USAC Sprint Car track record in his heat race at a time of 2:03.44, destroying the former record of 2:11.63 set by Timmy Buckwalter in 2021. He then went on to finish eighth in in the feature, which earned him the Inferno Armor Fire Move of the Night.

Likewise, Mitchel Moles (Raisin City, Calif.) also wrote himself into the record books with a new USAC one-lap mark at Bridgeport. His lap of 14.685 seconds in the Honest Abe Roofing Qualifying session broke the former record of 14.779 set by C.J. Leary in 2022. Moles’ 11th career fast qualifying time in USAC National Sprint Car competition tied him for 48th all-time alongside Jim McWithey and George Snider.

=====================

USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: June 12, 2024 – Bridgeport Motorsports Park – Swedesboro, New Jersey – 17th USAC Eastern Storm – 4/10-Mile Dirt Oval

HONEST ABE ROOFING QUALIFYING: 1. Mitchel Moles, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-14.685 (New Track Record); 2. C.J. Leary, 15x, BGE Dougherty-14.746; 3. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-14.871; 4. Kevin Thomas Jr., 3R, Rock Steady-14.898; 5. Carson Garrett, 15, BGE Dougherty-14.966; 6. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-14.989; 7. Logan Seavey, 57, Abacus-14.992; 8. Kyle Cummins, 3p, Petty-14.992; 9. Briggs Danner, 39, Hogue-14.994; 10. Alex Bright, 27, Heffner-15.004; 11. Anton Hernandez, 5, Baldwin/Fox-15.052; 12. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-15.173; 13. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-15.213; 14. Ricky Lewis, 41, Stensland-15.351; 15. Jake Swanson, 2B, 2B Racing-15.364; 16. Jadon Rogers, 17GP, Dutcher-15.392; 17. Daison Pursley, 21AZ, Team AZ-15.472; 18. Joey Amantea, 88J, JPA-15.546; 19. Chase Stockon, 5s, KO-15.558; 20. Charles Davis Jr., 47, Davis-15.564; 21. Steven Drevicki, 19, Drevicki-15.584; 22. Korbyn Hayslett, 1H, Hayslett-15.600; 23. Tom Harris, 84, Harris-15.861; 24. Hunter Maddox, 24m, Maddox-15.995.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Matt Westfall, 2. Jadon Rogers, 3. Alex Bright, 4. Mitchel Moles, 5. Kevin Thomas Jr., 6. Korbyn Hayslett, 7. Chase Stockon, 8. Logan Seavey. 2:05.686

ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Anton Hernandez, 2. Ricky Lewis, 3. Kyle Cummins, 4. Daison Pursley, 5. Carson Garrett, 6. C.J. Leary, 7. Charles Davis Jr., 8. Tom Harris. 2:03.436 (New Track Record)

T.J. FORGED / CAR IQ THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Robert Ballou, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Jake Swanson, 4. Joey Amantea, 5. Justin Grant, 6. Steven Drevicki, 7. Hunter Maddox, 8. Briggs Danner. 2:06.634

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Brady Bacon (1), 2. Kevin Thomas Jr. (3), 3. Justin Grant (4), 4. Robert Ballou (8), 5. Mitchel Moles (6), 6. C.J. Leary (5), 7. Kyle Cummins (10), 8. Anton Hernandez (7), 9. Ricky Lewis (12), 10. Joey Amantea (16), 11. Carson Garrett (2), 12. Matt Westfall (9), 13. Daison Pursley (15), 14. Jadon Rogers (14), 15. Logan Seavey (23), 16. Jake Swanson (13), 17. Charles Davis Jr. (18), 18. Chase Stockon (17), 19. Korbyn Hayslett (20), 20. Tom Harris (21), 21. Steven Drevicki (19), 22. Alex Bright (11), 23. Briggs Danner (24), 24. Hunter Maddox (22). NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Brady Bacon.

USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Logan Seavey-1179, 2-C.J. Leary-1152, 3-Brady Bacon-1127, 4-Kevin Thomas Jr.-1122, 5-Daison Pursley-1092, 6-Robert Ballou-990, 7-Justin Grant-979, 8-Kyle Cummins-976, 9-Mitchel Moles-964, 10-Jake Swanson-880.

USAC EASTERN STORM POINTS: 1-Brady Bacon-155, 2-C.J. Leary-135, 3-Robert Ballou-128, 4-Mitchel Moles-119, 5-Carson Garrett-113, 6-Kyle Cummins-107, 7-Kevin Thomas Jr.-104, 8-Briggs Danner-103, 9-Daison Pursley-103, 10-Justin Grant-99.

OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Daison Pursley-94, 2-Logan Seavey-93, 3-Robert Ballou-86, 4-C.J. Leary-81, 5-Joey Amantea-71, 6-Justin Grant-58, 7-Brady Bacon-54, 8-Kyle Cummins-51, 9-Carson Garrett-50, 10-Matt Westfall-48.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: June 13, 2024 – Big Diamond Speedway – Pottsville, Pennsylvania – 17th USAC Eastern Storm – 3/8-Mile Dirt Oval

CONTINGENCY AWARD WINNERS:

Dirt Draft Hot Laps Fastest Driver: Kyle Cummins (15.164)

Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifier: Mitchel Moles (14.685)

Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: Matt Westfall

Rod End Supply Second Heat Winner: Anton Hernandez

T.J. Forged / Car IQ Third Heat Winner: Robert Ballou

Irvin King Hard Charger: Logan Seavey (23rd to 15th)

Inferno Armor Fire Move of the Night: Anton Hernandez


Article Credit: USAC

Submitted By: Xia Xianna Baker

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