When the USAC Championship SpeedSTR division takes part in National Finals Weekend on November 1st and 2nd at the Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pa., the usual star-studded cast of competitors will fill the entry list.
Names such as Jeff Strunk, Kenny and Brad Brightbill, Frank Cozze, Earl Paules, Billy Pauch Sr. and his son, Billy Jr., Tim Buckwalter, and Kyle Lick will end the SpeedSTR season at the Fourth Annual Fall Jamboree, presented by Rich Tobias and Doug Rose, the promotional team at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA in Kutztown, and they’ll battle for the All Pro Tour National Championship on both Saturday and Sunday.
The stellar cast of characters will be joined by a dirt Modified stalwart who certainly knows his way around the high banked oval at Grandview, as multi-time track champion Duane Howard makes his SpeedSTR debut.
Howard, coming off a six win season at the Bechtelsville third-mile of clay, will pilot one of the division’s best rides…the potent JK Salvage No. 24 that always seems to finish in the top two or three positions when Late Model standout Rick Eckert is behind the wheel. Eckert will not be able to attend the Fall Jamboree due to his World of Outlaw Late Model commitments, so Howard was tapped to fill in for the lucrative weekend of competition “on the Hill” at Grandview.
“I am looking forward to the challenge of racing a SpeedSTR for the first time,” said Howard, who is coming off a solid fourth-place finish at the recent Big Block Modified biggie in Syracuse, NY.
“They look like they might be a handful to drive,” noted the Oley, Pa. Modified veteran, “but I hear they’re a lot of fun. Knowing the track at Grandview will help, and it will be interesting and fun to compare the driving style needed to get the SpeedSTR around there quickly to the style needed for my Modified.”
While Howard and Strunk have been Saturday night 358 Modified rivals at Grandview for many years, Strunk’s experience in a SpeedSTR is not lost on Howard.
“Jeff will certainly have an advantage because he’s been running these things for a couple of seasons now,” related Howard, “but then again, everyone in the field will have an advantage over me. I’m just going to try and get comfortable in the car and figure out how to get it around the track as fast as I can.”
Even though he’s been racing dirt Modifieds for almost 30 years, Howard admits he still gets a thrill when he has the opportunity to compete against some of his boyhood idols like Kenny Brightbill and Billy Pauch Sr.
“I grew up watching Kenny win all those races at Reading and watching Pauch win all over the place, so yeah, it’s really neat to race against them, even after all these years.”
A group of Canadian SpeedSTRs, led by teenage sensation and 2012 National Champion Maxime Plante, are expected to make the trek to Grandview for the Fall Jamboree’s National Finals Weekend, lending an international flair to an already star-studded roster.
Along with the USAC Championship SpeedSTRs, the Fall Jamboree will play host to the final pair of National Tour events for the All Star Slingshots, as Brett Bieber, Dylan Hoch, and Larry Raifsnider duke it out for the 2014 National Slingshot title.
The ever popular Pioneer Pole Building Wingless 600cc Sprints will also be part of the Jamboree, competing in complete racing programs on both Saturday and Sunday. Should one driver sweep the weekend’s Wingless 600cc features, he/she could pocket $1,400 for just 45 laps of main event action.
A pair of flat screen televisions, one for race teams and one for spectators, will be raffled off at the beginning of Sunday’s activities. To be eligible to win the large, flat screen tv’s, fans and racers must attend Saturday’s event and then return for Sunday’s program.
Warm-ups begin at 12:30 p.m. on both days of the Fall Jamboree, with qualifying events following immediately after the hot lap sessions. All three divisions will compete in heats, B-Mains, and features on both days.
By Barry Angstadt – https://www.facebook.com/barry.angstadt?fref=ts&ref=br_tf