Column By: NICK FILLMAN / RPW – SWEDESBORO, NJ – The “Ice Man” Coleman Gulick was able to nab his first career USAC East Coast 360 Sprint car feature event win at the series first ever appearance at the Bridgeport Speedway as part of their fourth annual “Three For All” Special featuring something for every kind of dirt track racing fan.
23 USAC East Coast sprint cars would enter the pit area ready for competition, which would be the highest car count for the series to date, as both drivers and fans continue to increase their support. The first stop for the series as a part of their “Mini Speedweek” that will shift from the Bridgeport Speedway to the Big Diamond and Path Valley Speedway’s this weekend.
Three absolutely action packed heats with plenty of passing and slide jobs would be just a sampling of things to come as Bill Unglert, Chandler Leiby and Steve Drevicki would pick up the heat race victories and head to the redraw.
The night would start out rough for two drivers who have already collected feature wins with the USAC East Coast series in the form of the last feature winner Eddie Strada and Ryan Godown. Godown and Strada would make contact in the third and final heat race sending them both to the consolation event as both were outside of a qualifying position.
Strada would go on to the win the consolation event with Godown close by in second placing the two deep in the field for the nights feature event.
Joey Biasi would lead the field to the green flag with Bill Unglert in a close second as the field would come around to complete the first lap. Third place starter Coleman Gulick would quickly make his way into the second spot and reel in Biasi for the race lead passing him in the early going.
Gulick would have to face a hard challenge from Biasi and later series point leader Steve Drevicki who would work his way up from the 9th place starting position into second and challenge Gulick on a couple of occasions during late race restarts.
While there was action from the beginning of the field from start to finish, Eddie Strada and Ryan Godown would quickly and methodically slice their way to the front of the field with Godown leading the way and cracking the top five before a red flag on lap 10.
Eventually after utilizing a late race restart, Godown would be able to get by Joey Biasi for the third place position with Strada moving up into fifth. Unfortunately for both drivers thats where they would end up as Coleman Gulick would go on to collect the win.
Gulick, who has quite a history of running non wing sprint cars, is fresh off of a win at the Lernerville Speedway in the first race out for the teams new DRC Chassis entry. Gulick is also the current leader in the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints division that runs mainly in New York. In addition to the winged racing, and now the wingless 360 action, Gulick has also been regularly following the USAC Silver Crown Series in their dirt event throughout the midwest.
Drevicki would continue his smooth and steady racing habits collecting his second podium run in as many starts with the USAC Sprint series, in addition to collecting two victories.
Trouble would fall upon second place points driver Chandler Leiby following a crash and small roll over on lap 10 of the feature event following a wild sequence of events that would end up with too many cars trying for one position sending Trevor Kobylarz into Leiby in what was the result of hard racing.
The series will now move on to the Big Diamond Speedway on Friday where they will be joined by the USAC Eastern Midget series for an open wheel double header before moving to the Path Valley Speedway on Saturday where the 360 sprint cars will take on the regular drivers of the Super Sportsman division in their challenge event.
USAC East Coast 360 Feature: 14c Coleman Gulick, 19 Steve Drevicki, 4 Ryan Godown, B1 Joey Biasi, 5G Eddie Strada, 14 Trevor Kobylarz, 33b Bill Unglert, 71 Chris Allen Jr, 32 Eric Jennings, F15 Mark Bitner, 17j Jonathan Swanson, 09 Brian Riccio, 5z Zach Burd, 131 Bobby Sandt Jr, 3h Heidi Hedin, 27c Craig Pelligrini, 7 Trey Hivner, 1st Steve Surniak, 8L Kyle Lick. DNQ 115 Dean Conk, 8 Larry Drake.