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Bergman Wins at Rush County in Return to Family Team

Some drivers take weeks, months, even years to hit their stride when moving from one team to another. For Seth Bergman, it took one race.

In his return to his family-owned No. 23 machine, following a short stint in the TwoC Racing car, Bergman collected his second American Sprint Car Series National Tour victory of the season Friday night at Rush County Speedway.

After starting the Feature on the outside of the front row, following a second-place Dash effort, Bergman trailed closely behind polesitter Matt Covington in the early stages of the race. Once Covington began catching traffic on Lap 7, Bergman dove to Covington’s inside entering Turn 3, completed the pass, and never looked back.

“What a fantastic night,” Bergman said in Victory Lane. “First night back in our family car, to come out here and get a win, I couldn’t have scripted it any better.”

Seth Bergman wins
Seth Bergman celebrates his second National Tour win of 2024 (Emily Schwanke Photo)

With all 30 laps going caution-free, maneuvering around slower cars was critical throughout the seven-minute Feature. Bergman was one of the only drivers in the field capable of using any lane on the track at any time, which allowed him to build a lead of nearly seven seconds by the time the checkered flag flew – and lap up to sixth-place.

“This place was cowboy up tonight,” Bergman said. “I felt like a teenager again. Growing up on the west coast definitely helped me tonight, I was able to dig back in the toolbox and get the spurs on and go to work. I felt like my biggest concern there once I got going was running out of tear-offs, I felt like I was pulling two or three a lap sometimes.”

Covington’s dominant Dash victory gave him the night’s pole position for the Feature, but the 19-time National Tour winner said a lack of versatility in traffic was his downfall.

“I felt like my car was good in clean air, but I didn’t feel as good when I got into dirty air,” Covington said. “It doesn’t take a lot to make these cars go from looking really good to really bad, just subtle changes. We were real close. Bergman was better in traffic, I think. We’ll put that in the notebook and try to get him next time.”

The National Tour was not the only one making its Rush County debut, as many drivers in the field were making their first-ever laps around the 5/16-mile bullring, including the top two.

“The track stayed fairly narrow,” Covington said. “The kind of dirt it is, even though it looks all wet, you can get your car through it if you’re brave enough and stay in the gas.”

As for Bergman, the move back to his family team allows him to have a more hands-on approach to his racing program.

“Getting back in our family car, I’m able to oversee everything at our house,” Bergman said. “I spend countless hours just overthinking and paying attention to detail, and just really trying to build race cars that are capable of coming here and doing that.”

Rounding out the podium in the third spot was 17-year-old Ryder Laplante, who was making just his second start with the National Tour. The young Oklahoma native has bounced between everything from Micro Sprints to 410 Sprint Cars in the early months of the season and said he hopes his quick success with ASCS will snowball into a championship chase in 2025.

“We’re just going to hit as many races as we can here and there,” Laplante said. “Just get prepared for next year and hopefully we can hit it full time.”

Bergman wasn’t the only one able to make passes during the 30-lap Feature. Hank Davis, making his debut in the TwoC Racing No. 2C, charged from 11th to fourth, claiming the night’s Hard Charger Award.

Sam Hafertepe Jr., who challenged Covington for second most of the Feature, fell back and ended the night fifth – his first top-five finish of the 2024 National Tour season.

Podium photo
Seth Bergman, Matt Covington and Ryder Laplante made up the night’s podium (Emily Schwanke Photo)

UP NEXT: The National Tour will now turn its attention to the second half of this weekend’s Kansas doubleheader, with Dodge City Raceway Park on Saturday, June 1. Tickets will be available at the gate, with live coverage available on DIRTVision for those unable to make it to the track.

A Feature 1 (30 Laps): 1. 23-Seth Bergman[2]; 2. 95-Matt Covington[1]; 3. 88R-Ryder Laplante[7]; 4. 2C-Hank Davis[11]; 5. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[3]; 6. 10C-Jeremy Campbell[6]; 7. 36-Jason Martin[13]; 8. 10-Landon Britt[15]; 9. 55B-Jordon Mallett[4]; 10. 15D-Andrew Deal[8]; 11. 45X-Kyler Johnson[14]; 12. 2-Brekton Crouch[12]; 13. 16G-Austyn Gossel[9]; 14. 938-Bradley Fezard[20]; 15. 88J-Jeremy Huish[17]; 16. 2J-Zach Blurton[16]; 17. 88-Terry Easum[19]; 18. 88K-Jordan Knight[22]; 19. 57P-Peter Walker[23]; 20. 6G-Bryan Gossel[18]; 21. 1X-Bryant Wiedeman[10]; 22. 91-Michael Day[24]; 23. 71-Brady Baker[5]; 24. 11K-Tyler Knight[21]