Sunday, November 10, 2019

JJ Grasso wins night one of the Big Track Classic at Bridgeport Speedway

Chad Warner Photo
SWEDESBORO, NJ – Last year on the final night of the Big Track Classic, JJ Grasso was leading when he had a left rear go flat on a restart causing him to lose the lead to Robbie Stillwaggon who would go on to win. This year, however, the cards have turned and JJ Grasso found himself in victory lane for night one of the Big Track Classic – Midge Miller Memorial on Friday, November 8, 2019.

Twenty-two cars signed in to battle the brutally cold temperatures and compete in the final race weekend of the 2019 season. There was much to be determined going into this weekend as the Capitol Renegade United Racing Club would be crowning the Midge Miller Memorial winner, and the 2019 champion, in addition to saying goodbye to the big 5/8th’s mile track at Bridgeport Speedway.

Steve Buckwalter and two-time winner of the Big Track Classic, and 2012 URC Champion Robbie Stillwaggon shared the front row and led the field to the green for the first night of action. Robbie Stillwaggon jumped to an early lead while his brother, Ryan Stillwaggon followed suit into second from the fourth starting position. Battles began to ensue all over the race track but clean air gave Robbie the advantage as he began pulling away from the field and into lapped traffic – at this point Buckwalter was running third, Curt Michael fourth, and JJ Grasso fifth. Lapped traffic caused havoc on the field and the first victim was Ryan Stillwaggon who was running second and tagged the inside jersey barrier attempting to put lapped cars behind him which eventually ended his night early.

Grasso worked his way through lapped traffic – using one to his advantage to get by Michael and into fourth and eventually working his way by Buckwalter and into the second spot. On the final night of 2018 Grasso looked as though he was untouchable when tragedy struck and a left rear flat on the final restart would cost him the race. This year, Robbie Stillwaggon looked as though he had the race wrapped up, when once again tragedy struck the leader and he hit a lapped car and backed his car into the outside wall in turn two. Though Stillwaggon was able to keep going, his lead quickly vanished and Grasso – after having lap car issues of his own - took the point with Buckwalter behind him. JJ would then cruise the last four laps to take home the win for night one of the finale weekend; Buckwalter, Tyler Ross, Michael, and Chad Layton rounded out the top 5.

“Lapped cars helped us and hurt us tonight” Grasso said after his win, “I heard someone say Robbie got into a lap car which helped us but I did the same thing a lap earlier and hurt my car and my thumb/body”. JJ said this win “felt like it has been a long time coming,” after heartbreak last year during the finale weekend. “This is the first win since a former crew member, sponsor, and friend, Todd Elwell passed away so I dedicated this one to him”.

JJ would like to thank his team – Shag, Donny, Glen and his dad for their help. He would also like to thank his sponsor Kenny Eldreth for getting the car to the track and funding his deal. “He is always supportive of what races we pick to run and has our backs like family.” Finally, JJ would like to thank his wife, mom and daughter – who got to experience her first victory lane – for coming out and supporting him even in the freezing weather.

The KSE Hard Charger for the night went to Tyler Ross who started tenth and ended up on the podium in the third position. Heat race wins went to Chad Layton, Josh Weller, and Steve Buckwalter.

The Capitol Renegade United Racing Club will wrap up the 2019 season tonight, November 9, 2019 at Bridgeport Speedway for the final night of the Big Track Classic. This will also be the final race for URC on the Bridgeport 5/8ths mile as they are changing the configuration and length of their track for next year. The Midge Miller Memorial trophy, hand crafted by Cold Hart Art, will be presented to the driver with the best average finish for the two nights of the Big Track Classic. Along with the Midge Miller Trophy presentation, the URC Champion will be crowned. Going into the final race Chad Layton is leading by 95 points over Josh Weller. Chad Layton will have to take the green flag during hot laps to wrap up his championship season.

Photo credit: Chad Warner


HEAT 1 (8 LAPS) – 1. 35-Chad Layton, [2]; 2. 25-J.J. Grasso, [1]; 3. 22-Troy Betts, [3]; 4. 5-Tyler Ross, [5]; 5. 5Z-Jeff Geiges, [6]; 6. 83-Larry McVay, [4]; 7. 706-Mark Sasso, [8]; (DNS) 34-Mark Van Vorst,

HEAT 2 (8 LAPS) – 1. 63-Josh Weller, [1]; 2. 89-Robbie Stillwaggon, [2]; 3. 5G-Curt Michael, [3]; 4. 5W-Lucas Wolfe, [5]; 5. 72-Ryan Smith, [7]; 6. 71-Chris Allen Jr., [4]; 7. (DNF) 5Q-Ryan Quackenbush, [6]

HEAT 3 (8 LAPS) – 1. 7X-Steve Buckwalter, [1]; 2. 11-Ryan Stillwaggon, [4]; 3. 7-Ed Aikin, [2]; 4. 47-Adam Carberry, [5]; 5. 39-Ryan Watt, [3]; 6. 11A-Austin Bishop, [6]; 7. 67C-Jason Cherry, [7]

FEATURE (25 LAPS) - 1. 25-J.J. Grasso, [3]; 2. 7X-Steve Buckwalter, [1]; 3. 5-Tyler Ross, [10]; 4. 5G-Curt Michael, [6]; 5. 35-Chad Layton, [7]; 6. 63-Josh Weller, [5]; 7. 5W-Lucas Wolfe, [11]; 8. 72-Ryan Smith, [14]; 9. 47-Adam Carberry, [12]; 10. 39-Ryan Watt, [15]; 11. 22-Troy Betts, [9]; 12. 11A-Austin Bishop, [18]; 13. 71-Chris Allen Jr., [17]; 14. 7-Ed Aikin, [8]; 15. 5Z-Jeff Geiges, [13]; 16. 67C-Jason Cherry, [21]; 17. (DNF) 89-Robbie Stillwaggon, [2]; 18. (DNF) 11-Ryan Stillwaggon, [4]; 19. (DNF) 83-Larry McVay, [16]; 20. (DNF) 5Q-Ryan Quackenbush, [20]; 21. (DNF) 706-Mark Sasso, [19]; (DNS) 34-Mark Van Vorst,

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