By ERIKA PALMAI WAGNER
With the first inaugural season coming to an end, Eddie Wagner of Newfield, NJ was named the 2017 Engler Machine and Tool Mid-Atlantic Sprint Series point champion on September 22nd at Bridgeport Speedway after also winning the twenty-lap feature event. This Saturday, Wagner is looking to continue his streak by visiting victory lane at Grandview Speedway Inc. to claim the $500 to win pay day, which was upped from the regular $300 to win by series sponsor Freiberger Excavating.
“I always wanted to win a championship title, but I haven’t always had the chance to run a complete schedule, and when I have focused on points, I finished second and third each time,” Wagner said. “It really hasn’t hit me yet that I’ve won because the season hasn’t ended, and we’re focusing on coming out on top in the last string of events. But I am proud to have won this thing with such a small team of just me, my dad, and my buddy Mark, who’s stuck with me since the beginning. It takes a lot of dedication from not just my part, but from crew guys also, which are hard to find on a weekly basis, so I’m very thankful for the help that I have”.
Twenty-seven-year-old Wagner, who began his career racing quarter midgets at the age of thirteen, worked his way up to through the Micro Sprint ranks before purchasing his first full-sized Sprint Car in 2009, racing with the well-known and historic United Racing Club before joining the Tri-State Racesaver Sprint Series in 2012.
“I learned a lot racing with URC when I first started, but it just got to be too expensive, and when the Racesaver 305 Sprint Car division took off in this area, it only made sense to me to start running with those guys because of how close to home we were able to run, and also the cost to race a 305 was significantly cheaper then with the 360’s,” Wagner recalled.
Now, five years later, Wagner owns five victories all coming from Bridgeport Speedway, a 2015 Poker Series Championship from Bridgeport and now the Mid-Atlantic Sprint Series Championship title. With the demise of the Tri-State Racesaver Sprint Series (TSRS) at the end of 2016, Eddie and his wife Erika along with fellow competitor Jeff Geiges and his wife Lindsey all took on a new role of managing the new series (MASS) to ensure that the Racesaver concept would be restored and continue to grow in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware regions for years to come.
“I haven’t had as much time to stress about my feature set-ups like I’ve had in the past because of the other obligations that Jeff and I took on this season, so everything has been pretty much basic and simple, which has probably benefited me this year to be honest,” Wagner said of his race day involvement as Regional Director over the Mid-Atlantic Sprint Series. “We all work so well together, and Jeff and I have some good people behind us this year that have chosen to stick with us and support the series, so I think this year has been successful to say the least”.
With over fifty different competitors competing with MASS within the 2017 season, Wagner explained who he thought was his toughest competition this year, saying "Tommy Carberry is usually a force to reckon with at Grandview. He has a line around the top of the race track that not many people can run, but when he’s up there, he’s always super-fast. At Bridgeport this year, Rick Stief was always quick and you could always find him finishing within the top three there this year, and with that being one of my stronger tracks, I could always count on seeing Rick up there racing hard for the win. We have such a talented field, with guys who are very consistent like Tim Tanner Jr., Dave Brown and Mark Bitner, that it’s hard to just pick just one driver to list as my toughest competitor”.
Eddie looks forward to bringing out a new car for Grandview that he recently purchased and put together for the end of the year races.
“I’m busting out a completely different car for Grandview, a Mach 1, so I’m not really sure what to expect, but if I get a top ten, I will be more than happy with that result,” he said.
Sponsoring the points champion this year with a FULL and FREE custom helmet paint job is Trenton, NJ based JLD Graphics. Jason Dunn of JLD Graphics, specializes in all forms of custom paint lettering and hand painted graphic jobs that range from as small as a race helmet to as large as a whole race car! Dunn, offered an astonshing $1,015 worth of work to the top three in points, providing second place standing Tim Tanner Jr. a $250 gift certificate towards a helmet paint job and third place finisher Jeff Geiges a $150 gift certificate to JLD graphics.
The Mid-Atlantic Sprint Series heads to Grandview for the final time this year, for the Thunder On The Hill Racing Series “Triple Thunder Thriller” Special Event, a much-anticipated event for many teams this season. This event is an open invitation race, allowing teams from all over the opportunity to race at the critically acclaimed “Premier Sprint Car track” in the area. More information on this event will be released later this week. For more info on the Mid-Atlantic Sprint Series, visit our website at www.masprintseries.com and check out our Facebook page to receive the latest news and details!