Some three hundred people were in attendance as the Bridgeport Speedway honored their 2017 track champions, Colonial Pipeline Call Before You Dig Poker Series Champions as well as the top performers on the Spirit Auto Center quarter mile track.
Bridgeport Speedway owner, Brian Ramey, addressed those in attendance, celebrating Bridgeport's success as well as looking forward to the track's future that will include the opening of a third track - a 3/8th mile speedway that will offer even more competition opportunities for the Logan Township facility. Ramey credited his management team that includes Keith Hoffman, Danny Serrano and Dave Adams, Kolby Ramey and Hali Monroe. Ramey talked about the past struggles of the speedway and how his original goal was to prove that the facility could be profitable so that it could be sold. "We aren't racers," Ramey stated, "but I have come to love this racing family. We are committed to the future of the Bridgeport Speedway,"
Ryan Watt received the top honors in the Spirit Auto Center Big Block Modifieds with his Ron Roberts Racing No. 14w. Watt is just one of six drivers to have collected back-to-back titles in the history of the 5/8th mile speedway. "This was the best year I've ever had," Watt exclaimed. "Who would have thought that a message on Facebook in 2009 would have led to this!" Watt referenced the 2009 season when it appeared that a blown motor would side the Boyertown driver and his team for the remaining weeks of the season. But a season ending message posted on Facebook by his wife, Lesley, led to a response from Ron Roberts and Fay Marion who offered Watt an engine to complete the season. And, as the saying goes, the rest is history. Watt has rewarded Roberts with three Big Block titles (plus a Crate Modified Championship in 2011) and numerous victories. The walls of Watt's garage, lined with the big checks from prominent wins, are a testament the success that the Watt/Roberts combination has produced. Watt collected nine Bridgeport wins this season including the Super DIRTcar event, King of the Big Blocks and Dirty Jersey.
Dominick Buffalino finished second in Big Block points, finishing outside the top ten on just three occasions during Bridgeport's 2017 season. Buffalino went winless at Bridgeport during the 2017 season but his frequent runner-up finishes and week in and week out consistency, had him second only to Watt in the final tally. Rick Laubach, Richie Pratt, Jr. and David Hunt finished in third through fifth in the final standings.
For the first time, Watt also claimed the Colonial Pipeline Call Before You Dig Poker Series Championship after winning three Poker series events. Duane Howard, the 2016 Poker Champion, finished second with Laubach's finishes netting him a third place run. Frank Cozze had four top ten finishes in Poker Series competition but his finishes didn't add up to a competitive Poker Series hand but he was able to collect the winnings for the Worst Hand of the 2017 season.
Young Matt Stangle raced to ten feature wins in the Stewart Stainless Crate Sportsman Division to collect his first Bridgeport Speedway championship in the Ace Materials No. 6. The Stangles celebrated the championship as a family that includes parents, grandparents and siblings - all who played a part in Matt's success during the 2017 season.
Brian Papiez collected seven wins during the season and kept the pressure on Stangle right up to the final nigh of racing. Roger Manning had a single victory and seven second place finishes to finish third. Eric Kormann's thirteen consecutive top five finishes placed him fourth with Adam Cox finishing fifth in his first full season as a Bridgeport competitor.
Stangle also collected the hardware for his first Poker Series Championship based on his three Poker Series wins. Papiez won twice and his two Aces resulted in a runner-up finish. Manning's pair of eights placed him third. Steven Kemery had five top ten finishes but finished with the Worst Hand in Crate/Sportsman Poker Series competition.
In Pennco Tech Outlaw Stock competition, it was Tom Wills, Jr. who raced his way to his first track title, winning six events during the season. Wills finished in the top five in every race during the 2017 season, collecting enough points to win the title over Jeramy Doerr, Brian Ludwig, John Parker and David Kramer.
Wills also collected the top honor in the Outlaw Stock Poker Series. It was Wills' second Poker Series championship. His first came during the 2015 season when his dad won the track championship and he won the Poker Series title, keeping it all in the Wills family.
For the first time in his racing career, Delaware's Matt Smith, raced for a track championship and he made that initial effort a successful one as he was crowned the 600 Micro Sprint Champion on the Spirit Auto Center quarter mile. Smith collected five victories during the season, including the win in the inaugural Skyscraper event.
Kyle Spence finished second to Smith after collecting the most top ten finishes of any of the 125 drivers who competed in the 600 events throughout the season. Germain Godshall finished third in the standings followed by Jon Keller and Travis Hill.
Tim Buckwalter wheeled Barry and Cheryl Greth's No. 71 to the Poker Series Championship with two wins. Smith finished second with 2016 Poker Champion, Tommy Kunsman taking third.
For the fifth consecutive season, Tyler Reinhardt raced to the 270 Micro Sprint Championship in what was admittedly, the toughest title to win. Alex Swift battled for the title right down to the final checkered flag, finishing second to Reinhardt in the end. Colin Bustard, Steve Coslop and Brandon Shipley rounded out the top five in 270 points.
Jacob Hendershot captured the Poker Series Championship for the 270s over team mate Nick Skias and Alex Swift.
Friday night Slingshot Action was sponsored by the Speedway All Star Bagel Stop with Rich Partite taking the season championship over David Bell, Lou Partite, Ashley Therien and David Morrell.
Travis Bieber was the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track Poker Series Champion in the Slingshots after capturing his first ever Spirit Auto Center Speedway feature win. Bieber's three wins in Donny Hockman's No. 151 gave him the title over Rich Partite and Travis Bieber.
Lee Allen was the 2017 Champion in the Eight Cylinder Enduro Series - his third title in four years. Scott Riggleman finished second with Chris Allen, Sr. taking third.
Scott Miller used his ten feature wins - twice winning in five consecutive races - to win 2017 Championship in the i2M Four Cylinder Enduros. John Garey finished second followed by Todd Francis.
The Most Popular Driver Awards, sponsored by D&D Media and selected by the fan vote were Richie Keller in the 270 Micros, Jon Keller - 600 Micros, David Kramer - Outlaw Stocks, Matt Peck - Crate/Sportsman and Ron Roberts - Big Block Modifieds.
Danny Serrano presented five awards in appreciation for support and dedication to racing at the Bridgeport and Spirit Auto Center Speedway. The recipients were Ken Andreas Sr. and Jr., Adam Cox, Don and Patti Thornton, Brian Ludwig and Whitey Kidd.