12th an­nual USAC Eastern Storm race rolls into Grand­view Speed­way

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - SPORTS - By Bob Miller For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

The tra­di­tion of USAC Non-wing Sprint Car rac­ing in Berks County goes all the way back to 1956 when Tommy Hin­ner­shitz , a res­i­dent of Berks County won the first three USAC events held at the Read­ing (Pa.) Fair­grounds.

Hin­ner­shitz, known as the Fly­ing Farmer, raced with­out a wing, no roll cage and for many years, wore a leather hel­met. He was a pi­o­neer in the sport, a leg­end. A man whose handshake was as firm at the end of his career, as it was the first time his fin­gers em­braced the steer­ing wheel of a sprint car.

Later in life, Hin­ner­shitz re­turned to the Read­ing Fair­grounds, a prop­erty then oc­cu­pied by a Mall, to take part in the An­nual Read­ing Rac­ing Re­union & Car Show. Hin­ner­shitz en­joyed the fan fun event an­nu­ally un­til his pass­ing in 1999. Hin­ner­shitz com­peted in the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950 on dirt, as­phalt and yes, the board tracks.

Since those three USAC con­sec­u­tive vic­to­ries by Hin­ner­shitz, the ros­ter of driv­ers who have won USAC fea­tures in Berks County is a who’s who of auto rac­ing.

The Berks County halfmile saw driv­ers of the likes of Johnny Thom­son, Ed­die Sachs, A.J. Foyt, Jim Hurt­ibise, Roger McCluskey, Jud Larson, Greg Weld, Red Riegel, Johnny Ruther­ford, Bobby Unser, Larry Dick­son, Gary Bet­ten­hausen, Bruce Walkup, Toby Tobias, Lee Kun­z­man, Larry “Boom Boom” Can­non, Pan­cho Carter, Lee Os­borne, Ron Shu­man, Gus Lin­der and Paul Pitzer col­lect a very charmed Berks County vic­tory.

In 1979, USAC left Berks County for the fi­nal time as the Read­ing Fair­grounds closed. Well, un­til 2007.

In 2007, Bob Miller, who co-pro­moted the Thun­der on the Hill Rac­ing Se­ries at Grand­view Speed­way with track own­ers Bruce and Theresa Rogers, had a thought -- to bring USAC non-wing rac­ing back to Berks County. Lo­cal busi­ness­man Gene Franck­owiak brought Miller and USAC Race Or­ga­nizer Greg Stabb to­gether to open dis­cus­sions. Miller had a faceto-face meet­ing with Stabb in 2006 at the Lar­wance­burg, IN Speed­way and that marked the birth of the USAC Eastern Storm.

Levi Jones won that first event in 2007 at Grand­view Speed­way and went on to win the first Eastern Storm Cham­pi­onship. USAC was back -- and alive and well in Berks County. Since that time, Cole Whitt won the Eastern Storm Ti­tle in 2008 and 2009; Jones re­turned to take the cham­pi­onship in 2010 and 2011. Bryan Clau­son scored cham­pi­onships in 2012 and 2013 fol­lowed by Brady Ba­con in 2014, Robert Bal­lou in 2015, Clau­son again in 2016, and Chris Win­dom just last year, in 2017.

And now we gear up for the 12th An­nual AMSOIL USAC Na­tional Sprint Car Se­ries Eastern Storm, open­ing at the Grand­view Speed­way on Thurs­day night, June 14, and con­tin­u­ing at Williams Grove on Fri­day, June 15, Port Royal on Satur­day, June 16, BAPS Mo­tor Speed­way on Sun­day, June 17 Bridge­port Speed­way on Mon­day, June 18 and the Weed­sport Speed­way on Tues­day night, June 19.

The Eastern Storm of 2018 is boast­ing the most ex­pan­sive sched­ule in the his­tory of the se­ries with six events in three dif­fer­ent states for the first time in USAC’s 63 year his­tory.

Grand­view Speed­way and the NAPA Auto Parts Thun­der on the Hill Rac­ing Se­ries in Bech­telsville have been part of the Eastern Storm since its in­cep­tion in 2007 and is the only track that can make that claim. Grand­view is a high-banked, one-third mile oval that is the per­fect venue for the non-wing war­riors. USAC at Grand­view is a must-see show and of­fers slide jobs, plenty of rooster tails and rub rails, a lit­tle wheel bang­ing and a bounce or two off the tracks out­side boiler plate is just the norm.

Join­ing the USAC Non­wing sprints at Grand­view are the pop­u­lar 358 Mod­i­fieds, rac­ing for a $3,000 pay­day to win the 30 lap fea­ture. For USAC, the 40 lap Jesse Hock­ett Clas­sic will pay $6,000 to the win­ner.

Gen­eral Ad­mis­sion ticket pric­ing for Thurs­day, June 14 is $30 for Adults, Chil­dren 6-11 are $10 and kids 5 & un­der are free. Pit Ad­mis­sion pric­ing is $35.

Ad­vance tick­ets are on sale now and may be or­dered by call­ing 443-5134456. Please pro­vide your name and the num­ber of tick­ets re­quested. Tick­ets may be picked up and paid for on race night af­ter 3:30 p.m. Ad­vance ticket hold­ers may en­ter the grand­stands at 4:30 P.m., one-half hour prior to the sale of Gen­eral Ad­mis­sion tick­ets.

The Pi­o­neer Pole Build­ings Mo­bile Sales Unit will be on dis­play in the mid­way along with all of the Thun­der on the Hill Rac­ing Se­ries main­stay pro­mo­tions in­clud­ing the Low Down & Dirty Ra­dio Show pre-race Meet and Greet, pit area tours, the In­side/Out Ex­pe­ri­ence - where fans can watch hot laps from the in­field, Joe ‘The Pizza Dude’ of­fer­ing up free piz­zas to the row­di­est fans, give-aways, and ap­pear­ances by Miss Thun­der on the Hill.

Grand­stand gates open at 5:00 p.m. and Rac­ing starts at 7:30 p.m.

NAPA Auto Parts con­tin­ues their long run with the Thun­der on the Hill Rac­ing Se­ries as the ti­tle spon­sor joined by Pi­o­neer Pole Build­ings, Le­van Ma­chine and Truck Equip.m.ent and GALCO Busi­ness Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

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