BECHTELSVILLE, PA. — Past champion Duane Howard drove the Atlas Paving #66 to his second win of the young season in the NASCAR 358 Modified feature race at Grandview Speedway on Saturday night. Brett Kressley was able to earn his second Sportsman feature win and Lou Egrie Sr. earned his first BRC Late Model feature victory since 2012.The entire three division show of stock car racing was completed before 10 p.m.
NASCAR stock car racing returns to Grandview Speedway on Saturday, April 25th with another exciting tripleheader show of 358 Modifieds, BRC Late Models and Sportsman stock cars. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with the Low Down and Dirty Meet and Greet happening at the front gate area at the same time. Drivers and cars from each division are featured. Racing gets the green flag at 7 p.m. Adult admission is just $15 with youngsters 11 and under admitted free. Active military personnel are admitted free with proper ID.
Opening night feature winner Howard quickly closed the distance between himself and leader Ryan Watt, who encountered lapped cars that somewhat hindered him, by the 18th lap of the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified feature.
Defending point champion Jeff Strunk came on strong in the closing stages, but time ran out and Howard pulled into victory lane to be the first repeat winner of the season in the division.
It was Oley, PA based Howard’s 66th career win at the oval which is ironically his car number. After a fourth-place heat finish the crew made major changes and Howard commented, “They gave me a hell of a race car for the feature.” He also picked up an additional $250 from T.P. Trailers and if he was racing with VP Fuels he was eligible for $150 in VP product.
Pole sitter Kevin Hirthler led for one lap before Glenn “The Professor” Strunk powered ahead on the second circuit. Jockeying for positions behind him were Hirthler, Watt, Tim Buckwalter and Danny Erb.
Doug Manmiller brought out the first caution when he stopped along the fourth turn wall with a front and back flat right tire on the fifth lap. He was able to rejoin the action following a quick pit stop. After three attempts to get the next lap completed Glenn Strunk was still the pacesetter with runner-up Watt making his presence known.
The lead changed for the third time on the seventh lap as Watt and Buckwalter got past Glenn Strunk as he fell to third with Howard and Jeff Strunk fourth and fifth.
Kyle Weiss, last week’s feature winner, slowed in turn one bringing out the yellow on lap nine. After a quick trip to the pits he soon was trackside again. Watt maintained the lead but now Howard was in second and Watt wasted no time outdistancing himself from the rest of the competition.
Lapped cars came into the picture by lap 18 which allowed Howard to reel Watt in to pressure him for the lead.
Howard took advantage of the situation the others were also dealt and powered into first on lap 20. Dealing with the slower cars behind Howard now were Watt, Jeff Strunk, Buckwalter and Mike Gular.
Watt and Jeff Strunk battled for second for several laps before Jeff Strunk cleared him and set sail after Howard.
No one was able to erase the distance and Howard was victorious again. Coming on strong in the end only to have to settle for second was Jeff Strunk followed by Watt, who also picked up the Dan’s Deli ½-way Hoagie certificate; Buckwalter and Gular. Jared Umbenhauer, Frank Cozze, Erb, meme DeSantis and John Willman, who received the Cargo Trailer certificate completed the top ten.
Jeff Strunk, Buckwalter and Watt won the heats.
Craig Von Dohren, the point leader at the start of the race night, took a hard hit in the heat and had to be double-hooked to the pits. They were able to repair the car for the feature in which he took a provisional and he finished 14th.
In BRC Late Model action Willow Grove, PA’s Lou Egrie Sr., who sat out the previous week with engine problems, came back strong and led from the second lap until the drop of the checkered to win his first 25-lap NASCAR BRC Late Model feature of the season. It was his first win since May 12, 2012. He collected the $100 T.P. Trailers bonus along with the Dan’s Deli ½-way Hoagie certificate.
Bill Henning, back from vacation, set the pace for one lap until Egrie motored ahead.
While Egrie showed the way, the Merkel brothers Cory and Sean diced for second while Henning, Steve Gross and Chuck Schutz anticipated a false move.
By the 10th lap it was a three-way battle for first between Egrie and the Merkel’s.
Gross brought out the caution on the 19th lap when he spun in turn two. It was still Egrie at the front of the field on the restart.
With the Merkel’s battling this allowed Egrie some extra breathing room.
Sean Merkel finally cleared Cory on the 22nd lap and next would have to try to catch Egrie.
Egrie never surrendered the lead and put the Frank and Doris McCarthy-owned No. X4 in the winner’s circle. Finishing second was Sean Merkel with Schutz getting third at the line with Cory fourth and Joe Fanelli fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Dan Green, Rick Todorow, Dave Ogin, Henning, who received the Cargo Trailers certificate and Gross.
Sean Merkel and Green were the heat winners.
The 25-lap NASCAR Sportsman feature also saw a repeat winner as Brett Kressley of Orefield, PA took home the checkered as he got leader Brad Arnold, who led from the initial green, out of the groove in the third turn with five laps to go and went on to win the event in which he also picked up $100 from T.P. Trailers.
Arnold, who had tire issues the past two weeks, wasted no time pulling away fast in the WEEU 830 AM car trailed by Tom Miller, Erik Renninger, Joe Funk and Craig Whitmoyer.
By the Dan’s Deli ½-way Hoagie certificate mark, which Arnold received, he had a commanding lead built up.
The straightaway lead Arnold had was wiped out by the 16th lap caution brought out when John McGovern spun in the fourth turn. When action resumed Arnold continued his pace, but now Craig Whitmoyer and Kressley were second and third putting the pressure on.
Kressley advanced to second on the 18th lap and began to challenge Arnold.
As the pair entered turn three on lap 20 Kressley slid underneath Arnold taking him up towards the marbles and was now the new leader.
Kressley and his Kressley’s Auto & Truck Sales #19 never faltered and was victorious again followed by Arnold, Whitmoyer, Funk and Brett Gilmore. Sixth through tenth were Miller, Renninger, Kenny Gilmore, who received the Cargo Trailers certificate; Ryan Beltz and Ryan Lilick.
The heats were won by Arnold, Ryan Lilick and Whitmoyer.
-Grandview Speedway Press Release & Photo
NASCAR 358 Modified Feature Finish (30 Laps): 1. Duane Howard, 2. Jeff Strunk, 3. Ryan Watt, 4. Tim Buckwalter, 5. Mike Gular, 6. Jared Umbenhauer, 7. Frank Cozze, 8. Danny Erb, 9. Meme DeSantis, 10. John Willman, 11. Nate Christman, 12. Glenn Strunk, 13. Doug Manmiller, 14. Craig Von Dohren (provisional), 15. Mike Kellner, 16. Don Norris Jr., 176. Eric Biehn, 18. Kyle Borror, 19. Kyle Weiss, 20. Ray Swinehart, 21. Brian Houseknecht, 22. Bobby Gunther-Walsh, 23. Jamie Speers, 24. Mike Laise, 25. Ron Haring Jr., 26. Kevin Hartnett, 27. Kevin Hirthler, 28. Todd Smith, 29. Ron Seltmann Jr. DNQ: Jarrad Miller.
NASCAR BRC Late Model Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Lou Egrie, 2. Sean Merkel, 3. Chuck Schutz, 4. Cory Merkel, 5. Joe Fanelli, 6. Dan Green, 7. Rick Todorow, 8. Dave Ogin, 9. Bill Henning, 10. Steve Gross, 11. John Giesler, 12. Dirk Rimrott, 13. George Irwin, 14. Wayne Pfeil, 15. Buddy Mertz, 16. Lou Egrie Jr. DNS: Kory Fleming.
NASCAR Sportsman Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Brett Kressley, 2. Brad Arnold, 3. Craig Whitmoyer, 4. Joe Funk, 5. Brett Gilmore, 6. Tom Miller, 7. Erik Renninger, 8. Mike Lisowski, 9. Kenny Gilmore, 10. Ryan Beltz, 11. Ryan Lilick, 12. Jeff Sechrist, 13. Jim Housworth, 14. Jordan Henn, 15. Dean Bachman, 16. Kyle Lilick, 17. Paul Houseknecht, 18. John McGovern, 19. Mark Kemmerer, 20. Joe Masiado, 21. Pat Conrad, 22. Brian Hirthler, 23. Alyssa Fogel, 24. Mike Koffel. DNS: Dave Dissinger.