Kevin Hirthler gave his mother an early Mother’s Day present on Saturday night when he collected his first 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified feature of the season at Grandview Speedway. Hirthler, who led from start to finish didn’t have an easy task since he had several different drivers alongside him on restarts and the last five laps he had constant pressure from runner-up Craig Von Dohren. He held off all challenges for his ninth career win. The win made Hirthler the fifth different winner in the Modifieds.
Wayne Pfeil finally had a change of luck after struggling a few weeks and was able to record his second 25-lap NASCAR BRC Late Model feature of the current campaign holding off a hard-charging second-place finisher Sean Merkel. In victory lane Pfeil thanked Fluffy from Berks-Mont Towing for all his help the past week.
Kenny Gilmore reversed the tables this week and he was ahead of Brett Kressley when the checkered fell in the 25-lap NASCAR Sportsman feature.
All three feature winners in the NASCAR events sponsored by Whelen Engineering received extra monetary prizes from T.P. Trailers, Limerick. Hirthler, Pfeil and Ryan Beltz received the Dan’s Deli ½-way leader hoagie award. The top finisher in each division using VP fuels earned bonuses provided the VP decal was carried.
Next up at Grandview Speedway is Checkered Flag Fan Club Night on Saturday, May 16th. One of the oldest fan club organizations in the nation will have members seeking to add some members to this great organization. In addition the track will remember May is Neurofibromatosis Awareness Month and Sunday, May 17th will be National NF Day. Racers are invited to carry NF stickers during the racing action which will feature the NASCAR 358 Modifieds, BRC Late Models and Sportsman. Spectator gates open at 5:30 p.m. with the popular Low Down and Dirty Meet and Greet happening at the same time. RCN-TV will be videoing the action for showing later in the week. Racing starts at 7:30 p.m.
Hirthler wasted no time getting the jump on polesitter Ron Seltmann Jr. to keep his self-owned Wm. Penn/Green Lane Towing/4-Star Lettering No. 117 ahead of the 28-car starting grid.
The first caution was when Ray Swinehart slowed in the fourth turn with mechanical issues. Hirthler held his own when action continued with Tim Buckwalter, Kyle Weiss, Todd Smith and Glenn Strunk giving him a run for the money.
Hirthler held the high side while Buckwalter tried to pass him on the inside.
Positions were constantly changing and by the 13th lap Buckwalter and Jeff Strunk were in a fierce duel for second with Weiss and G. Strunk waiting for a slip-up.
Mike Kellner stopped with a left front flat tire in the fourth turn on the 15th lap for another caution. By this time Weiss was next to Hirthler on the restart, but he left him behind along with Buckwalter, Doug Manmiller and J. Strunk. Attempting to get into the thick of the action was Von Dohren.
The final caution was lap 17 when Kellner and Bobby Gunther-Walsh tangled between turn three and four. Hirthler was still in command with Weiss, Manmiller, Von Dohren and Buckwalter in hot pursuit.
Lap 25 saw Von Dohren overtake second and was on the move to try to close in on Hirthler. He couldn’t pull the feat off and Hirthler defeated him by 0.593 seconds. Third went to Manmiller, who had a change of luck followed by Weiss and Buckwalter. Sixth through tenth were G. Strunk, Danny Erb, J. Strunk, Frank Cozze and Duane Howard.
Weiss, Nate Christman and Hirthler were the heat winners.
Lou Egrie Sr. set the pace for four laps of the Late Model feature before Pfeil charged past him the fifth circuit.
While Pfeil showed the way Egrie Sr., Kory Fleming, S. Merkel and Randy Stoudt diced for the remaining positions.
Pfeil approached lap cars by the 11th lap, but he kept outdistancing himself from the others.
The full straightaway lead Pfeil had was erased when Lou Egrie Jr. spun in the second turn. Pfeil motored away quickly leaving S. Merkel, Egrie Sr., Stoudt and Fleming chasing.
The positions behind Pfeil were constantly being swapped and that gave him extra breathing room.
Pfeil never faltered and went on to pick up career win number eight. S. Merkel was second with defending champion Stoudt, third; Chuck Schutz, fourth and Fleming, fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Egrie Sr., Joe Fanelli, Rick Todorow, Dave Ogin and Corey Merkel.
Heats were won by Egrie Sr. and C. Merkel.
Sportsman action had Dean Bachman as the early leader with pressure from Kyle Lilick, Brian Hirthler, Jason Neidlinger and Ryan Beltz.
At the completion of ten laps, Bachman and Beltz, both trying to win their first career feature, battled for first.
A six-car first turn tangle brought out the yellow on the 11th lap. On the restart Beltz became the new leader while now Bachman, Jim Housworth, K. Gilmore and Hirthler jockeyed for second through fifth.
Gilmore advanced to second on the 17th lap to put his bids in for the lead. Beltz held the high line while Gilmore ran the inside trek.
The lead changed for the third time when Gilmore powered to the front on the 21st lap.
Kressley took over second with two laps to go and was coming on strong.
This time Gilmore was determined to keep Kressley behind and pulled into the winners circle for his first win of the year. Third was Beltz followed by Housworth and Bachman. B. Hirthler, Ryan Lilick, Ken Eckert Jr., Brad Arnold and Jordan Henn completed the top ten.
Neidlinger, Bachman and Hirthler won the heats.
The 15-lap Vintage Car feature was won by Dennis Drain. In a last lap pass of Ronnie Peck. Dave Smith, Kevin Barndt and Chris Miller with second through fifth.
Kevin Kuser won the heat.
-Grandview Speedway Press Release. Photo credit:
Grandview Speedway Unofficial Results
Saturday, May 9
Whelen Engineering NASCAR Modified Feature (30 Laps): 1. Kevin Hirthler, 2. Craig Von Dohren, 3. Doug Manmiller, 4. Kyle Weiss, 5. Tim Buckwalter, 6. Glenn Strunk, 7. Danny Erb, 8. Jeff Strunk, 9. Frank Cozze, 10. Duane Howard, 11. Jared Umbenhauer, 12. Meme DeSantis, 13. Jarrad Miller, 14. Don Norris Jr., 15. John Willman, 16. Kyle Borror, 17. Ryan Grim, 18. Nate Christman, 19. Eric Biehn, 20. Ron Seltmann Jr., 21. Bobby Gunther-Walsh, 22. Jamie Speers, 23. Mike Bailey, 24. Mike Kellner, 25. Todd Smith, 26. Ray Swinehart, 27. Mark Kratz, 28. Mike Gular. DNQ: Ron Haring Jr., Brian Houseknecht and Ryan Kunkle.
Whelen Engineering NASCAR BRC Late Model Feature (25 Laps): 1. Wayne Pfeil, 2. Sean Merkel, 3. Randy Stoudt, 4. Chuck Schutz, 5. Kory Fleming, 6. Lou Egrie Sr., 7. Joe Fanelli, 8. Rick Todorow, 9. Dave Ogin, 10. Cory Merkel, 11. Steve Wilson, 12. Dan Green, 13. Bill Henning, 14. John Giesler, 15. Buddy Mertz, 16. Lou Egrie Jr., 17. Shawn Horning, 18. Steve Gross.
Whelen Engineering NASCAR Sportsman Feature (25 Laps): 1. Kenny Gilmore, 2. Brett Kressley, 3. Ryan Beltz, 4. Jim Housworth, 5. Dean Bachman, 6. Brian Hirthler, 7. Ryan Lilick, 8. Ken Eckert Jr., 9. Brad Arnold, 10. Jordan Henn, 11. Jason Neidlinger, 12. Brett Gilmore, 13. Joe Funk III, 14. Craig Whitmoyer, 15. Sean Weiss, 16. Kyle Lilick, 17. Mike Koffel, 18. Paul Effrig, 19. Mark Kemmerer, 20. Tom Miller, 21. Erik Renninger, 22. Andy Ressler, 23. Mike Lisowski, 24. Jeff Sechrist, 25. John McGovern.