Steven Drevicki of Reading, PA came into the Delaware International Speedway with one ultimate goal – to wrap up the 2019 Rapid Tire USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series Championship.
Drevicki did more than just that. He won his heat race and pulled off the feature event win to put an exclamation point on his 2019 season. This marked his 5th feature win.
Mark Bitner and Eddie Strada would lead the feature event to the green flag for the final feature event of the 2019 season. Strada quickly jumped up to the cushion and blasted around Bitner in turns one and two to grab the lead down the back stretch. Bitner fell into second, with Eric Jennings moving into third with Drevicki falling back to fourth. The first caution flag of the evening came as Austin Bishop slowed in turns three and four after lap one had been scored.
The green flag came again off of turn four with the top five remaining the same as the field worked from the back to the front stretch to complete lap two. The second caution of the evening came for Zach Berghof who went for a spin in turns one and two before taking his machine to the pit area to end his night.
On the ensuing restart Drevicki made a couple of important passes and worked his way up to the second-place position where he looked to reel in Eddie Strada for the race lead. The competition behind the top two was ferocious as Eric Jennings, Ryan Quackenbush, Joey Biasi and Mark Bitner battled hard for positions within the top six. Unfortunately, the caution flag would fly again on lap six of the feature event as Quackenbush had a miscue in turns one and two when he went for a spin.
When the green flag flew again the top five featured Strada in the lead, Drevicki, Jennings, Allen and Biasi in the top five. Yet another caution flag came on lap nine as Chris Allen, Jr. blew out his right rear tire in the middle of turns three and four. Luckily Allen didn't flip over as his car caught the cushion and went for a series of hops.
The field had a quick restart followed by a quick caution for Larry Drake who spun in the first turn on lap 11. In the short two lap dash, Drevicki begun to press the issue on Strada for the lead. He looked to the inside at a potential slide job for the lead until the caution flag flew yet again.
Strada led yet another restart with Drevicki, Biasi, Jennings, Leoffler, and Bitner in the top group of the field. The next few laps of the event were some of the most intense. Drevicki hounded after Strada for the lead before throwing a monster slide job entering turns one and two for the top spot on lap 14. Biasi, Jennings, Leoffler, and Bitner were locked in hard action for spots within the top five with no driver giving an inch. Quackenbush and Allen, Jr. had also begun to carve their way through the back half of the field to close in on the top ten positions.
While the action for the top five was intense, so was the battle at the middle of the pack between Jonathan Swanson, David Swanson, Steven Downs, and Craig Pellegrini, who were trading positions just inside and outside of the top ten.
By lap 20 Drevicki had stretched his lead out to a very comfortable margin over Strada as the top two would work their way into the back of the field to begin the lapping competitors. The top five remained the same as they were nose to tail for most of the feature, but were unable to make any passes work at the end of the event.
Drevicki cruised to collect his fifth win of the 2019 season with Strada in second, Biasi in third, Jennings in fourth, and 14-year-old Connor Leoffler coming in strong in fifth place.
Rookie driver Leoffler, out of South Carolina, wrapped up honors for Rookie of the Year after a season long battle with Craig Pellegrini Jr.
Downs, who as a regular in the Big Block Modified and winged 360 sprint car events, decided to give wingless racing a try and came away with an impressive 10th place finish after starting in 17th. He took home the Hard Charger Award.
Bishop had a major flip on the warmup lap of the second heat race as he caught the cushion in turns one and two. The car suffered major damage, but the team would be able to make it back out for the feature event before slowing with issues.
Heat races on the night were won by Steven Drevicki and Mark Bitner.
USAC RAPID TIRE EAST COAST SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS:
September 7, 2019 – Delaware International Speedway – Delmar, Delaware
FIRST HEAT: (8 Laps, All Qualify, Top-3 Redraw) 1. #19 Steven Drevicki, 2. #42 Eddie Strada, 3. #5Q Ryan Quackenbush, 4. #85 Lee Nardelli, 5. #17J Jonathan Swanson, 6. #3H Heidi Hedin, 7. #812 Zach Berghof, 8. #67c Jason Cherry. NT
SECOND HEAT: (8 Laps, All Qualify, Top-3 Redraw) 1. #15 Mark Bitner, 2. #B1 Joey Biasi, 3. #32 Eric Jennings, 4. #22 Connor Leoffler, 5. #71 Chris Allen, Jr., 6. #117 David Swanson, 7. #11A Craig Pellegrini, Jr., 8. #8 Larry Drake, 9. #96 Lee Kauffman, 10. #11 Austin Bishop. NT
FEATURE: (25 Laps) 1. Steven Drevicki, 2. Eddie Strada, 3. Joey Biasi, 4. Eric Jennings, 5. Connor Leoffler, 6. Mark Bitner, 7. Chris Allen, Jr., 8. Ryan Quackenbush, 9. Jonathan Swanson, 10. #12D Steven Downs, 11. Craig Pellegrini, Jr., 12. Jason Cherry, 13. Jonathan Swanson, 14 Heidi Hedin, 15. Lee Kauffman, 16. Larry Drake, 17. Lee Nardelli, 18. Zach Berghof, 19. Austin Bishop
**Austin Bishop flipped during the second heat.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-13 Eddie Strada, Laps 14-25 Steven Drevicki
SCOTTY SIGNS HARD CHARGER $100: Steven Downs (17th to 10th) +7
KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER $50 CERTIFICATE: Steven Downs
VAHLCO WHEELS HARD CHARGER $50 CERTIFICATE: Steven Downs
ULTRA-SHIELD RACE PRODUCTS 2ND PLACE $50 CERTIFICATE: Eddie Strada
KEIZER WHEELS 3RD PLACE $50 CERTIFICATE: Joey Biasi
WILWOOD BRAKES 4TH PLACE $50 CERTIFICATE: Eric Jennings
ATL FUEL CELLS 5TH PLACE $100 CERTIFICATE: Connor Leoffler
KING RACING PRODUCTS 6TH PLACE $25 CERTIFICATE: Mark Bitner
ULTRA-SHIELD RACE PRODUCTS 8TH PLACE $50 CERTIFICATE: Ryan Quackenbush