Alex Bright, Tim Buckwalter, Wayne Scott and Gary Bozowski punched their tickets into the third annual East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals Saturday night inside Cure Insurance Arena in Trenton, NJ by winning the four 20-lap A-Main Qualifier 600 Sprint races Friday.
Bright is an open wheel specialist, Buckwalter is a versatile open wheel and stock car racer; Scott and Bozowski are full time Micro Sprint competitors.
The four heat winners as well as the second and third place finishers locked themselves into the 50-lap main event Saturday.
In heat one, won by Bright, Eddie Strada and Brendan Bright, the race winner’s brother and teammate, followed him into Saturday’s A-Main as qualifiers.
“The top was the place to be in this race,” Bright said. “I wasn’t moving down from there even though it got a little slicker in the last few laps.”
The second heat, won by Buckwalter, saw Billy Pauch, Jr. and Brian Carber transfer into the A-Main as second and third place finishers.
“I like the track,” Buckwalter, who like Bright used the high groove throughout the race. “I hope it holds up just like it did tonight for the A-Main Saturday.”
Wayne Scott won heat three. He outran Doug Snyder and 2018 East Coast Dirt Nationals winner Erick Rudolph to take the victory.
Scott won in a car owned by his uncle that he had never driven before. “I lost two engines at home putting my car together and missed practice,” Scott said. “We didn’t finish working on this until this morning.”
In the final 20-lapper, apparent winner Billy Koch came six pounds light in post-race inspection. Indoor Auto Racing Series officials provided Koch with several opportunities to weigh the car but it failed to make Jesse Maurer second and third.
“I don’t like to win this way, but I’ll take it,” Bozowski said.
Among the notable drivers who failed to qualify and will need to race their ways into the A-Main Saturday include Volusia Speedway Park Modified Point Champion Larry Wight, 410 Sprint ace Brian Montieth, 2017 race winner Whitey Kidd, recent New Smyrna Modified standout Anthony Nocella, Hyper Racing standout Austin Quick, and unfortunately, Koch.
Ten 12-lap heat races preceded the four Qualifiers. They were won by Billy Koch, Nick Groff, Erick Rudolph, Tim Buckwalter, James Morris, Austin Quick, Billy Covert, Dan Lane, Alex Bright and Kyle Spence.
Two Friday afternoon practice sessions for the drivers and teams entered in the third annual East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals saw 74 teams on the clay. Brett Altemose (9.386) of Pocono Summit, PA and Aiden Bordan (10.167) of Jackson, NJ paced the fields.
The clay track, which had proven to be challenging in Thursday night’s optional practice sessions, remained table top smooth and yielded multi-groove passing opportunities throughout a night consisting of 14 races totaling 180 green flag laps of racing.
Saturday, the gates to Cure Insurance Arena open at 4:00 pm with racing beginning at 6:00 pm, starting with a pair of 10-lap F-Main with the top four finishers advancing to two 10-lap E-Mains. The E-Mains promote the top four from each into a duo of 10-lap D-Mains, which in turn advance the top four in each forward into the C-Mains. The top four in each C line up behind the two B-Main eligible drivers.
The top six finishers from each B-Main (12 drivers and cars) will transfer into the 24-car, 50-lap A-Main paying $5,000 to win.
The A-Main will also convey the Bob Hilbert Hard Charger Award to the driver who advances the most spots at the finish from their starting spot.
Precision Engine Oil is the designated sponsor of the B, C, and D alphabet main events.
Other event sponsors include Freiberger Excavating, Hoosier Tires, VP Race Fuels, Hyper Racing and Racing.
For race day information, including time schedule of events and ticket purchases, contact indoorautoracing.com.
First A Qualifier (20 Laps): 1. Alex Bright, 2. Eddie Strada, 3. Brendan Bright, 4. Pat Bealer, 5. Chris Locuson, 6. Christian Bruno, 7. Brandon Pavel, 8. Dakota Kessler, 9. Adrianna Dellaponti, 10. Whitey Kidd III, 11. Anthony Nocella, 12. Nathan Smith, 13. James Morris, 14. Jason Rochelle, 15. Nick Groff.
Second A Qualifier (20 Laps): 1. Tim Buckwalter, 2. Billy Pauch, Jr., 3. Brian Carber, 4. Aiden Bordan, 5. Rob Pajaulis, 6. Dominick Buffalino, 7. Collin White, 8.Brian Kramer, 9. Joey Amantea, 10. Billy Covert, 11. Josh Conover, 12. Austin Quick, 13. David Burns, 14. Larry Wight 15. Lavar Scott.
Third A Qualifier (20 Laps): 1. Wayne Scott, 2. Doug Snyder, 3. Erick Rudolph, 4. Brian Montieth, 5. Matt Riggs Carr, 6. Mike Thompson, 7. Tyler Lindsay, 8. Kyle Spence, 9. Dan Lane, 10. Billy Murphy, 11. Joe Dopke, 12. Andrew Hannula, 13. Scott Smith, 14. Andrew Locuson, 15. Briggs Danner.
Fourth A Qualifier (20 Laps): 1. Gary Bozowski, 2. Brett Altemose, 3. Jesse Maurer, 4. Kenny Miller III, 5. Mike Bednar, 6. Tommy Kunzman, 7. Cody West, 8. Jim Radney, 9. Jimmy Glenn, 10. Jason Swavely, 11. Carl Locuson, 12. Sammy Martz, 13. PJ Williams, 15. Geordan Marrero. DQ: Billy Koch (From First – Weight)