BECHTELSVILLE, PA — Ray Swinehart, now into his 44th consecutive season behind the wheel, added a cool $10,000 to his bank account, Saturday evening at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, PA, after winning the 48th annual Pioneer Pole Buildings Forrest Rogers Memorial 50-lapper. In addition, Swinehart was awarded a $150 product award by VP Racing Fuels and $250 from T.P. Trailers & Truck Equipment of Limerick, PA.
Swinehart, 66, of Perkiomenville, PA started sixth in the 31-car starting field aboard his self-owned Troyer chassied R&R Race Engines powered Modified Parts Depot backed No. 33 358 Modified machine, took the lead on Lap 5 and raced off with the popular triumph.
The win by Swinehart was his second feature win this season at the high-banked third-mile dirt oval promoted by the Rogers family, his first since back on July 28. Swinehart’s triumph was the 30th win of his career at Grandview and his fourth career Rogers Memorial victory. Swinehart won the event previously in 1988, 1996 and 2005.
“Up until about six months ago,” commented Swinehart, “I didn’t think we’d ever win another feature here again at this track. Tonight we made it back again.”
With the green, Briggs Danner, 16, of Allentown, PA immediately jumped out in front, with 358 Modified rookie racer Jordan Henn and Bobby Trapper Sr. in tow. Ten-time 358 Modified track champion Jeff Strunk quickly slowed in Turn 2 with a right rear flat to quickly bring out the caution on Lap 2.
When racing resumed it was Danner back out in front, with Henn and Swinehart now trailing. On Lap 3, Swinehart moved around Henn and took the runner-up position, with a red flag for a six-car tangle in Turn 3.
“We have been working on this car since the season started and it has been getting better and better,” mentioned Swinehart. “We are really happy with it, now.”
On Lap 4 it was Danner out in front again over Swinehart, Henn and longtime veteran Meme DeSantis, who started seventh. The next time around it was Swinehart out in front, followed by Danner, with another caution appearing, due to a six-car tangle.
On the restart, Brett “The Threat” Kressley and 44-year-old Ryan Godown got together on the front straightaway, with both cars spinning into the infield area. After Kressley and Godown got into a bumping and banging dust up, a decision was made by track officials to send both drivers to the pits for the rest of the event.
The new green showed Swinehart out in front over Danner, DeSantis and Henn for Lap 6. With 10 completed it was DeSantis advancing into second-place, with Danner now third, followed by Doug Manmiller and Jared Umbenhauer.
As the laps clicked off, Umbenhauer moved into fourth on Lap 16 and claimed third-place after 20-laps were put in the record books. Lap 22 another caution appeared after a five-car skirmish in Turn 1.
“My car was really ill-handling in the very beginning because we had a full load of fuel,” announced Swinehart. “I had to fight my way through that, early on, but the car was real good, tonight.”
Lap 23 it was still Swinehart out in front, followed by DeSantis and Umbenhauer. A lap later, Umbenhauer slipped by DeSantis, with Manmiller now up to fourth and Danner still running strong in fifth.
With 32 down, Manmiller went by DeSantis for third and with 36 complete, Swinehart caught up to some very heavy lapped traffic, as Umbenhauer began to reel him in.
Swinehart worked the slower lapped traffic perfectly, as Umbenhauer, 26, of Richland,PA made several attempts to get by Swinehart, however, Swinehart remained out in front.
I never realized that the middle to the bottom was full of rubber and I wasn’t down there in that right away,” noted Swinehart. “I changed my line and got things going pretty good after that.”
The top five was now Swinehart, Umbenhauer, Manmiller, DeSantis and John Willman with nine circuits remaining.
With two to go, ten-time 358 Modified track champion Craig Von Dohren, 55, of Oley, PA, who used a provisional to start from 30th in a back-up car, moved into fifth-place, getting by Willman. On the final trip around, Von Dohren got by DeSantis to claim fourth-place at the checkered.
Swinehart crossed the line as the happy race winner over Umbenhauer, who started 15th, Manmiller, who started 11th, Von Dohren and DeSantis, who earned his best finish of the season with a fifth-place run.
“At this point in my racing career,” revealed Swinehart. “This right here is about as good as it can get.”
Heat winners for 40 358 Modified cars on the night were DeSantis, Swinehart, Joe Fanelli and Henn. Consolations were won by Rick Laubach and Brian “BK Speed” Krummel.
In the 25-lap Sportsman main event, Steve Young, who started from the pole, was the early race leader over Derrick Smith and Andy Clemmer. Cautions after 3-laps and again after 4-laps bunched up the field, with Young still out in front over Smith and Clemmer.
On Lap 5, Young was still showing the way over Smith, with Craig Whitmoyer, 43, of Hamburg, PA suddenly blasting his way into third, as Mike Mammana and Dylan Swinehart trailed. On Lap 8, Whitmoyer motored by Smith to move into second-place and on Lap 10 Whitmoyer drove it underneath Young exiting Turn 4 to become the new race leader.
With 10-laps remaining, Whitmoyer was a full straightaway in front, with Young, Smith and Mammana trailing.
With the white flag waving, Mammana went by Smith to advance to third, as Mike Lisowski, who started 21st in the 25-car starting field, took fifth.
Crossing under the checkered it was Whitmoyer earning his first win this season, becoming the 11th different winner in the division this season. The triumph for Whitmoyer was the 10th of his career and his first at the track since July 8, 2017. Whitmoyer received in addition to first place money a $75 product award from VP Racing Fuels and $100 from T.P. Trailers.
Young held on to finish runner-up, followed by Mammana, Smith and Lisowski.
With 24 Sportsman cars on hand the heat race winners were Mammana, Young and Whitmoyer. No consolation race was needed.
“We made some changes to the car and we had a fast hot rod,” offered Whitmoyer. “We have been running the 604 down here all year and we made the right changes. We’ve been tweaking it all year and I’ve got a great crew. Those guys do all the work on this thing. I just show up and drive and all the credit goes to them. With this combination the car was just glued to the bottom tonight and we were a rocket.”
In the 25-lap Late Model feature event, outside front row starter Kyle Merkel jumped out in front with the green over Drew Weisser and current point leader Danny Snyder. Former division champion Lou Egrie moved into third on Lap 2, dropping Snyder to fourth.
The laps clicked off, with Merkel pulling out to a safe advantage as the race leader.
By Lap 11, 9-time division champion Chuck Schutz, of Pottstown, PA moved into fifth-place, after starting in ninth. Three circuits later, Schutz advanced into fourth-place and with five tours remaining, Merkel suddenly slowed down the back part of the speedway due to motor issues, bringing out the first caution of the race.
On the restart, Weisser was out in front, with Schutz powering into second-place. With 22 complete, Schutz climbed to the top, becoming the new race leader. Cautions after 23-laps and again after 24-laps bunched up the field.
Schutz easily won his second consecutive main event and his third of the season, increasing his career win total to 51 overall. Schutz in addition took home a $100 VP Racing Fuels product award and $100 from T.P. Trailers.
Weisser finished a solid second in front of Snyder, Wayne Pfeil and Steve Wilson at the checkered.
“I had to wait until the track dried out so it would free my car up there and tonight it worked out pretty good,” said Schutz. “The car was vibrating again at the end, but I’m not sure why that is. I was working the bottom and glad that the caution came out. It evened up the playing field there a little.”
Exciting racing action returns to Grandview Speedway on Saturday, September 8th, with the running of WNPV1440 Radio Champion’s Night. The T.P.Trailers NASCAR 358 Modifieds, Sportsman and Late Models will all be battling to decide who will win the lucrative NASCAR/track chsmpionships. Racing starts at 7:30 p.m.
Fans are reminded that advance tickets for the 48th Annual Freedom 76 set for Saturday, September 15 will be on sale. The race pays $25,000 to win and is expected to attract many of the top talents in the sport. Advance tickets are priced at $35 while tickets purchased on race day will be $40.
In addition the Freedom 38 takes place on Friday night, 7 p.m. featuring the Sportsman, MASS Sprints and practice sessions for the Modifieds planning to race the next night.
Lap sponsorships, $20 each, are still available for the Freedom 76. See Tina Rogers or Tommy Kramer at the track.
For latest information check in at www.grandviewspeedway.com, Facebook or telephone 610.754.7688.
PIONEER POLE BUILDINGS NASCAR T.P.TRAILERS 358 Modified Feature (50 laps) – 1) Ray Swinehart, 2) Jared Umbenhauer, 3) Doug Manmiller, 4) Craig Von Dohren, 5) Meme DeSantis, 6) John Willman, 7) Mike Gular, 8) Briggs Danner, 9) Kevin Hirthler, 10) Rick Laubach, 11) Brian Krummel, 12) Brian Hirthler, 13) Kenny Gilmore, 14) Jordan Henn, 15) Danny Erb, 16) Clay Butler, 17) Joe Fanelli, 18) Bobby Trapper Jr., 19) Brett Gilmore, 20) Jeff Strunk, 21) Ryan Grim, 22) Chris Esposito, 23) Mark Kratz, 24) Bobby Trapper Sr., 25) Brett Kressley, 26) Ryan Godown, 27) Duane Howard, 28) Kyle Weiss, 29) Colt Harris, 30) Steve Swinehart, 31) Frank Cozze.
Late Models (25 laps) – 1) Chuck Schutz, 2) Drew Weisser, 3) Danny Snyder, 4) Wayne Pfeil, 5) Steve Wilson, 6) Lou Egrie, 7) Patrick Robinson, 8) Cory Merkel, 9) Kyle Merkel, 10) Stephen Todorow, DNS Scott McMichael, Terry Snyder.
Sportsman (25 laps) – 1) Craig Whitmoyer, 2) Steve Young, 3) Mike Mammana, 4) Derrick Smith, 5) Mike Lisowski, 6) Dylan Swinehart, 7) Brad Grim, 8) Kyle Lilick, 9) Kurt Bettler, 10) Louden Reimert, 11) Kenny Eckert Jr., 12) Mark Kemmerer, 13) Mike Kellner, 14) Andy Clemmer, 15) Jesse Landis, 16) Ryan Beltz, 17) Lex Shive, 18) Brad Arnold 19) Kenny Bock, 20) Nicho Flammer, 21) Blaike Bracelin, 22) Nathan Mohr, 23) Sean Weiss, 24) Brad Brightbill.
-Grandview Speedway Press Release
-Photo credit: Grandview Speedway/SDS Photography