The NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series continued Tuesday night at the Grandview Speedway with a 410 sprint car feature event that might very well be the best 410 sprint car racing of year.
With just a handful of starts at the Grandview Speedway, Gettysburg, PA driver Danny “Double D” Dietrich earned his first ever Thunder on the Hill Racing Series feature win, taking the lead from Greg Hodnett with just two laps remaining in the 35 lap Thunder Cup Championship. Hodnett, appeared to be on his way to a fifth consecutive win at Grandview until Danny Dietrich made the winning move to earn the $5,300 first place prize. In the 358 NASCAR Modified feature, Jeff Strunk was the winner of the 30 lap feature earning $3,100 for the victory. The racing program started promptly at 7:30 PM and was complete just minutes before 10:30 PM.
Lucas Wolfe, driving the ZEMCO sprint car set fast time of the night, turning the one-third mile high banked Grandview Speedway in a time of 12:135 seconds. The three 410 sprint car heat race events were won by Lance Dewease, Darren Mollenuyux and Brian Carber. In the 358 Modifieds, Ray Swinehart, Jeff Strunk and Craig VonDohren were the heat race winners as Tim Buckwalter won the consolation.
In the thirty-five lap 410 sprint Thunder Cup, Ryan Smith was the early race leader followed by Danny Dietrich and Greg Hodnett. Smith set an impressive pace until lap five when the caution flag was displayed for Karl Baker who came to a stop on the homestretch. When green flag racing resumed, Ryan Smith continued to set the pace with Dietrich in the hunt.
On lap eleven, Smith was now approaching lapped traffic with Dietrich and Hodnett in striking distance of the lead. On lap thirteen, Hodnett made a run for the lead but Ryan Smith held on to the top spot. Smith and Hodnett thrilled the crowd with their battle for the lead as Hodnett was looking for his fifth win in a row as Ryan Smith was looking for his first Thunder on the Hill victory.
After an intense battle, Hodnett took the lead on lap sixteen followed by Smith, Lucas Wolfe, Lance Dewease and Danny Dietrich. One lap later, Wolfe moved into second and began the task of chasing down Hodnett. As the laps ticked off, Wolfe was cutting into the lead established by Hodnett as all eyes were on the battle for third between Ryan Smith, Danny Dietrich and eleventh place starter Alan Krimes.
Dietrich began another surge to the front, moving into third on lap twenty-two. Wolfe was definitely closing in on Hodnett, but on lap twenty-five, after a homestretch tangle with a slower car, Lucas flipped, displaying the red flag. Wolfe was not injured but the damage to his car kept him for restarting the race.
With ten laps to go, Hodnett was the leader followed by Dietrich, Ryan Smith, Alan Krimes and Lance Dewease. At the drop of the green, Hodnett had the advantage but it was time for Dietrich to take a run for the lead. Dietrich passed Hodnett in turn three but exiting turn four, Hodnett regained the top spot. Alan Krimes was now in third and gaining on the leaders. Dietrich stayed with Hodnett looking for the right opportunity to take another run for the lead. Krimes continued to close in on the leaders.
On lap thirty-two, Hodnett had plenty of company as both Dietrich and Krimes were now challenging in a three car race for the lead. Dietrich made a bold move going into turn three, making a slide across and in front of Hodnett to take the lead. Hodnett made a repeat challenge and at the same time, had to hold off Krimes who was looking to take second.
With the checker flag waiving, the large crowd on hand cheered Dietrich as he crossed the finish line earning his first ever, Thunder on the Hill 410 sprint car feature win. Hodnett earned a well-deserved second place finish as Alan Krimes finished third after starting eleventh. Lance Dewease finished fourth with Freddie Rahmer fifth.
The field of twenty-four 358 NASCAR Modifieds were called to the track with Jeff Strunk and Jimmy Horton bringing the field down for the green flag. Strunk immediately took the lead and quickly established himself as the man to beat. Strunk set a blistering pace with Horton, Ray Swinehart and Billy Pauch Jr in the chase. Danny Erb was on the charge, advancing to the top five by lap six.
At the halfway point of the race, Strunk had a commanding lead over Jimmy Horton, Pauch Jr., Erb and Craig VonDohren. A late race caution brought the field together for one last run to the checker flag. Strunk remained in control of the top spot as Pauch moved closer to challenge Horton for second. Strunk was the dominant star of the night in the 358 NASCAR Modifieds and scored his twelfth Thunder on the Hill victory. Jimmy Horton finished second followed by Billy Pauch Jr., Danny Erb and Craig VonDohren making up the top five.
410 SPRINT THUNDER CUP FINISH: $5,300 To Win Danny Dietrich, Greg Hodnett, Alan Krimes, Lance Dewease, Freddie Rahmer, Ryan Smith, Billy Dietrich, Kyle Reinhart, Brian Carber, Brandon Rahmer, Davey Sammons, Robbie Stillwaggon, Darren Mollenuyux, Justin Barger, Lucas Wolfe, Brad Franks, Kevin Nagy, JJ Grasso, Jimmy Stitzel, Jevon Ahner, Karl Baker.
358 NASCAR MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH: $3,100 To Win Jeff Strunk, Jimmy Horton, Billy Pauch Jr., Danny Erb, Craig VonDohren, Duane Howard, Doug Manmiller, Frank Cozze, Ray Swinehart, Rick Laubach, Ryan Watt, Ron Kline, Brian Houseknecht, Mike Gular, Don Norris Jr, Jordan Umbenhauer, Ryan Grim, Brett Kressley, Ryan Godown, John Willman, Ryan Krachum, Ron Haring, Jr., MeMe DeSantis, Tim Buckwalter. DNQ – Kenny Gilmore, Ryan Krachum, Kenny Pettyjohn, Dennis Bailey, Mark Kratz, Blane Bracelin, Mike Bailey.
– Grandview Speedway press release
– Photo credit: Grandview Speedway Facebook