12th annual USAC Eastern Storm race rolls into Grandview Speedway
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.