Whether it is baseball, football or stock car racing, every sport has a select group of athletes that fans simply love to hate. In baseball it’s the New York Yankees. In football, it’s the Dallas Cowboys. On Saturday nights in the small town of Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania, it’s seven-time Grandview Speedway track champion Craig VonDohren.
What all of these teams and athletes have in common is a great amount of success at some point during their careers or time as a franchise in their respective league.
On Saturday night at Grandview Speedway, Craig VonDohren continued to add to his already impressive resume by winning the track’s 30-lap Sportsman Modified feature in style. VonDohren took the lead from Meme DeSantis on lap 27 after making contact with the early leader and drove away to his second NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Sportsman Modified win of the 2014 season.
“It’s been a tough year,” said the Oley, Pennsylvania driver. “The track is a little different this year. They’ve put another surface on so we’ve been chasing a little bit. Hopefully, we’ve got a handle on it, but we’ve still got to tweak on it a little bit. We’ll look at lap times and see where everybody else was at and what we had, but we’ll take the win.”
In just nine laps, VonDohren was able to make his way to the second position from the 14th starting spot. VonDohren stalked DeSantis for a number of laps while also having to fend off a hard-charging Mike Gular, who started from the 12th position.
It wasn’t until a lap 23 restart that VanDohren was able to get by DeSantis, but that was quickly waved off after a spin deep in the field brought out the yellow flag before the leaders had completed a lap. DeSantis would get a better jump on the following restart, but VonDohren stayed right on his bumper before powering to the inside on lap 26.
As the two drivers wheeled their high horsepower machines side-by-side into turn one on lap 27, VonDohren and DeSantis made contact as they exited turn two. That slight bit of contact was enough to slow up DeSantis and allow VonDohren to drive away for the win.
“I had the preferred line,” said VonDohren. “I was kind of diamonding it in the corner and coming down to get a run on the leader. When you’re on the bottom that is what you do. He did what he did but when it comes to a certain point when it gets tight, I can’t change my angle. He has to know to back out, which he knows that but he just didn’t think he’d spin out. It’s a tough deal for him.”
As the seven-time track champion exited his car in victory lane following the win, a chorus of cheers and boos could be heard from the roughly 1,500 fans in attendance. VonDohren says that the chorus of cheers and boos heard on Saturday night are not an unfamiliar sound for him to hear when he winds up in victory lane.
“It is what it is,” said VonDohren. “I’ve got my fans and I’ve got my enemies. It’s like the Dallas Cowboys; you either love ‘em or hate ‘em.”
Love him or hate him, VonDohren’s win on Saturday night certainly wasn’t his first and most likely won’t be his last at the 1/3-mile high-banked clay oval located in Eastern Pennsylvania.
– Story by Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @brandon_paul51. Photo credit: Speed51.com
NWAAS Modified 30-Lap Feature Results
Grandview Speedway – Saturday, June 7
|11||37X||Tommy Scheetz III|
|15||976||Don Norris, Jr.|
|26||41||Jon Kellner, Sr.|