The operations at Bridgeport Speedway open themselves to just about anything that can be raced on a dirt track. There are regular shows for Modifieds and Sportsman cars, and you'll also see Micro Sprints, Limited Sprints, Lite Modifieds, Street Stocks, and any number of cars in competition when the gates open at this track.
Actually, we should say "tracks." Bridgeport offers two racing ovals. There is a 51/48-mile with Modifieds, Sportsman, and others contesting that circuit. Inside the track, another oval, a 11/44-mile, shares the frontstretch with the bigger track. The 11/44-mile is home to divisions such as Micro Sprints, Lite Modifieds, and the new Four-Cylinder Street Stocks.
When Bridgeport opened more than 30 years ago, the big track was the only one in operation. "We realized there were a number of race vehicles that couldn't run on a track that size, so the 11/44-mile track was added in 1996," said Promoter Bill Lincoln.
Lincoln opens the 11/44-mile for Friday racing action, and the crowd returns on Saturday to watch the 51/48-mile action.
Because the track is situated in New Jersey, there are state regulations governing some of the operations and race vehicles. You must be 18 years old to be in the pit area, all drivers in competition must possess a valid driver's license, and fuel cells in the cars must meet FIA-FT3 standards. The state of New Jersey Department of Law and Safety DMV also requires that all race cars come to a complete stop during all red-flag conditions.
Location can be a positive, but it can also present a challenge. In the case of Bridgeport, competition from area major league sports forces Lincoln to come up with fresh and exciting programs. "We live in the Philadelphia area, and we are fighting the 76ers, Phillies, and Flyers. One of them is always in season. It's a tough racket," he explains.
To combat the competition, Lincoln worked a deal with Coca-Cola to develop a Coke Modified as a show car, promoting both entities. Putting a billboard on nearby Interstate 95 proved cost prohibitive. Instead, they put a large sign on a cabover truck and let that serve as the billboard.
When Lincoln took over operation of the track in 1999, the primary emphasis was on the track surface. "We brought in new clay, some 275 truckloads worth. It's about 6 inches thick down low and 2 feet deep near the guardrail. It makes for great racing as it holds water well and is easy on the tires," adds Lincoln.
The quality of the track surface is a real enticement. Drivers come from Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York, bringing their fans to see the action.
Duane Howard picked up the 2002 championship in Modified competition in a close contest. The 2002 championship honors for the Sportsman Class went to Bob Sarkisian. The Outlaw Stock title went to Pat Hires.
* Banking (51/48-mile)-22 degrees* Flat straightaways* Banking (11/44-mile)-15 degrees* No camping allowed on grounds* Reserved parking available* 856/467-4407* www.bridgeportspeedway.com