BECHTELSVILLE, Pa. — Top sprint car drivers on the East Coast are preparing to meet the challenge of USAC’s AMSOIL National Sprint Car regulars this week in four Pennsylvania races comprising the seventh annual “Eastern Storm.”
In addition, USAC veterans Daron Clayton and Shane Cottle will compete in cars fielded by Pennsylvania car owners. Past Eastern Storm competitor Steve Petry will field Clayton’s car, while history will be served by Cottle’s car, fielded by Gene Franckowiak’s City of Syracuse Special.
Franckowiak’s Spike/Rider machine honors the legacy of legendary car owner Pat Santello, who along with Bernie Gerthoffer fielded cars for drivers like Gary Bettenhausen, Tim Richmond, Billy Vukovich, Lee Kunzman, Jim Malloy, George Snider, Larry Dickson, Jim McElreath, Jan Opperman, Steve Chassey, Jerry Karl and Larry Rice. In 1977, Kunzman piloted a Santello entry to seventh in the Indianapolis 500.
The series opens tonight at Grandview Speedway and continues Thursday at Path Valley Speedway in Spring Run, Pa.
Saturday night at Port Royal Speedway and Sunday night at Susquehanna Speedway Park in Newberrytown complete the series.
Pennsylvania drivers Mark Smith, whose Mach-1 chassis are popular in Pennsylvanie and run by USAC regular Hunter Schuerenberg; Lincoln Speedway champion Brent Marks; J.R. Berry and Kyle Moody are among expected drivers in the four-race swing, along with other local drivers on a race-by-race basis.
Others are New Jersey drivers Mark Bitner and Billy Pauch Jr.
In all 11 drivers have won the 20 previous “Eastern Storm” feature events, topped by the six posted by Levi Jones, the 2007, 2010 and 2011 champion. Cole Whitt won three races and the 2008 and 2009 title. Defending series champ Bryan Clauson has two wins, both coming last year at Grandview and at New Egypt, N.J.