By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
INDIANAPOLIS -- Before he was a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Bobby Unser was winning sprint car races sanctioned by the United States Auto Club in the commonwealth.
The popular non-wing USAC National Sprint Car Series returns on Tuesday for the start of the 7th annual Eastern Storm.
This year's four-race schedule begins at Grandview on June 5 with the Jesse Hockett Classic. The series moves to Path Valley in Sinking Spring on Wednesday. Following a day off, the series resumes on Saturday, June 8, at Port Royal and concludes June 9 at Susquehanna Raceway Park in Newberrytown.
The ARDC midgets will be on the racing card at Grandview and Port Royal.
Last year, Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, Ind., the two-time defending USAC National Sprint Car champion, won the features at Grandview and New Egypt (N.J.) en route to his first Eastern Storm title.
Chris Windom won his second race of the series at Big Diamond while Concord, Calif., driver Damion Gardner won the finale at Port Royal.
The series has drawn drivers from all over the nation for years and for Unser, it was always a welcome return to the Keystone State.
"For many years going to Pennsylvania was like a second home for me," Unser said. "I was always going there to race a sprint car or a midget or any Indy car race. That was a hot area for racing in those days in the 60s and 70s."
Unser won twice at Reading, with his first win coming in 1965, three years before his first 500 win.
"My favorite track was Reading, but I'd rather tell you about the track I hated the most and that was Langhorne," Unser said. "Nobody liked Langhorne. A guy who liked Langhorne had to be on dope. That was a terrible place to race. I say that jokingly, but it was probably the most dangerous race track on the earth and the hardest to run."