ECHTELSVILLE, PA – Five time track champion Duane Howard wheeled the Atlas Paving #66 358 Modified to victory in the 30-lap Atlas Paving sponsored NASCAR Whelen 358 Modified feature race at Grandview Speedway on Saturday night. The win was his fifth of the season. In the Pepsi-Bashore One-on-One Modified Challenge Kevin Hirthler was able to top seven time track champion Craig VonDohren in the final challenge to earn $1500. In the 25-lap main event for the BRC Late Models it was young rookie racer Cory Merkel getting his first career victory. And for the tenth time this season point leader Jared Umbenhauer was able to take the top spot in the 25-lap feature for Sportsman.
The next event on the busy Grandview Speedway schedule is set for Tuesday, July 29th at 7:30 p.m. with the running of the 17th Annual Pioneer Pole Buildings Traffic Jam featuring the Race of Champions Modifieds and 410 Sprint cars. Adult admission is $25.
Then on Saturday, August 2nd, the NASCAR 358 Modifieds, BRC Late Models and Sportsman stock cars are in action along with the Blast from the Past Vintage race cars. The night is sponsored by WNPV-1440 AM Radio of Lansdale and they will be giving two lucky fans 4-packs of tickets for Knoebel’s Amusement Park valued at $160. Racing starts at 7:30 p.m. Spectator gates open at 5:30 p.m. Adult admission is $15 while youngsters 12 and under are admitted free.
Howard, not happy with the outcome of his efforts during the running of the Bashore/Pepsi Challenge and that lit a fire under the past champion to get out front early in the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified feature. The flame never went out until he pulled the Petruska-owned/Atlas Paving No. 66 into the winner’s circle.
The Oley lead foot picked a perfect night to chalk up his fifth win since Atlas Paving was also the race sponsor.
For the third consecutive week WAEB-790AM radio personality Bobby Gunther-Walsh was once again the early race leader, a position he maintained until Don Norris Jr. pulled in front on the 10th lap.
Mike Gular spun between the first and second turns to bring out the 11th lap caution. Gunther-Walsh stormed back into the lead when action resumed, but now Howard was second pressuring him for first.
Howard powered the Morrison Engines/TEO mount into first on the12th lap to take control. Behind him, Gunther-Walsh, Norris Jr., Doug Manmiller and Ray Swinehart dueled for positions.
Manmiller advanced into second at the Dan’s Deli ½-way leader mark claimed by Howard and took chase after Howard, who had a slight advantage over the competition.
Howard and rest of the top five that now consisted of Manmiller, Norris Jr., Swinehart and Jeff Strunk encountered heavy lapped traffic by the 22nd lap. Despite being at the back, the lapped cars were racing for positions too.
A green, white, checkered shoot-out was set up when Swinehart, running fourth, hit the first turn infield tire and spun. Swinehart suffered heavy front end damage and had to be towed back to the pits. Kevin Hirthler, who won $1,500 in the Bashore/Pepsi Challenge when he defeated Craig Von Dohren in the final segment pitted with a flat tire along with Tim Buckwalter, last week’s feature winner was also out of action with a flat tire.
On the restart Howard was still the leader and charging towards the front on the outside with a full-head of steam was Frank Cozze. Contact was made between VonDohren and Cozze with Cozze being sidelined slowing drastically in the first turn. Rather than stop on the track with a broken race car, Cozze limped it into the infield and kept the show going. The contact also hindered VonDohren as he began falling off the pace.
Howard kept everyone behind him and collected his 64th career win at the wave of the checkered. Chasing him across the line were Manmiller, Strunk and posting their best finishes of the season were Norris Jr. and Modified rookie Kyle Borror. Sixth through tenth were Nate Christman, Gular, Jon Kellner, VonDohren and Jordan Umbenhauer, who also received the Cargo Trailer certificate.
Borror, Hirthler and Norris Jr. won the heats. The consolation went to Glenn Owens.
In the Bashore/Pepsi Challenge for the Modifieds that paid $100 to the winner of each round, Nate Christman defeated John Willman in the first round while Howard ousted Christman and Strunk in two and three. VonDohren won the next six rounds as he eliminated Howard, Ryan Grim, Cozze, Gular, Umbenhauer and Manmiller. In the final round that paid $1,500 it was Hirthler able to outrun VonDohren.
In the 25-lap NASCAR BRC Late Model feature, rookie racer Cory “Crazy” Merkel finally had a change of luck and ended up at a place he thought he’d never see – victory lane. His dad, Ken, calmed him down earlier and the youngster ran a good race. What probably made him the happiest and the win extra special was he finally defeated his older brother Sean at a sport.
Joe “Geezer” Fanelli took the early lead and set the pace for eight laps before Cory Merkel was able to pass him.
The battle behind C. Merkel consisted of Fanelli, S. Merkel, Kory Fleming and Lou Egrie.
While S. Merkel and Fanelli diced for the runner-up spot this gave C. Merkel some breathing room.
In the later stages S. Merkel, who took over second on lap 15 began reeling his brother in and it was only a matter of time to see if Sean could pass Cory.
Cory overcame an overheating car that caused his visor to steam up making it somewhat difficult, but it was all worth it in the end as he kept the completion at bay and pulled into victory lane. It was a place he said feels “great” to be in for a crowd-pleasing win in which he also picked up the Dan’s Deli ½-way leader award. Following the Merkel brothers across the line were Fanelli, Fleming and Randy Stoudt, last week’s feature winner. Dan Green, Wayne Pfeil, Chuck Schutz, Lou Egrie and Jason Miller, the Cargo Trailer product certificate winner, rounded out the top ten.
Heats were won by Lou Egrie Jr. and C. Merkel.
In the winner’s circle at the conclusion of the 25-lap NASCAR Sportsman feature was Jared Umbenhauer earning win number 10. Umbenhauer gives a great deal of credit for his success this season to his hard working crew.
Joe Masiado led for three laps with Jason Neidlinger taking over on the fourth circuit.
Behind Neidlinger, Tom Miller, Umbenhauer, Masiado and Mike Lisowski vied for the remaining positions. Umbenhauer charged into second on the ninth lap and began pressuring Neidlinger for the lead.
The lead changed on the 15th lap when Umbenhauer became the new pacesetter in quest of another triumph.
A few laps later left dueling for second through fifth were Neidlinger, Kenny Gilmore, Miller and Brett Kressley.
As the checkered was thrown Umbenhauer claimed his fifth straight victory trailed by Neidlinger, for his season best finish and he also received the Dan’s Deli ½-way leader award; Gilmore, Kressley and Miller. Rounding out the top ten were Paul Kline, Joe Funk III, Lisowski, Dean Bachman and Ryan Beltz, Cargo Trailer product certificate recipient.
Masiado, Guy Germano and Tom Miller were the heat winners. The consi was won by Brian Hirthler.
Atlas Paving Modified Feature (30 Laps): 1. Duane Howard, 2. Doug Manmiller, 3. Jeff Strunk, 4 Don Norris Jr., 5. Kyle Borror, 6. Nate Christman, 7. Mike Gular, 8. Jon Kellner, 9. Craig Von Dohren, 10. Jordan Umbenhauer, 11. Jarrad Miller, 12. Chris Esposito, 13. Bobby Gunther Walsh, 14. Todd Smith, 15. Ryan Grim, 16. Eric Biehn, 17. Brian Houseknecht, 18. Chris Gambler, 19. Glenn Owens, 20. Frank Cozze, 21. Ray Swinehart, 22. Tim Buckwalter, 23. Kevin Hirthler, 24. Tommy Scheetz III, 25. Terry Meitzler, 26. John Willman, 27. Mike Kellner, 28. Ron Seltmann Jr. DNQ: Kevin Hartnett, Mike Laise.
Atlas Paving BRC Late Model Feature (25 Laps): 1. Cory Merkel, 2. Sean Merkel, 3. Joe Fanelli, 4. Kory Fleming, 5. Randy Stoudt, 6. Dan Green, 7. Wayne Pfeil, 8. Chuck Schutz, 9. Lou Egrie, 10. Jason Miller, 11. Bill Henning, 12. John Giesler, 13. Rick Todorow, 14. Buddy Mertz, 15. Lou Egrie Jr. DNS: Steve Wilson.
Atlas Paving Sportsman Feature (25 Laps): 1. Jared Umbenhauer, 2. Jason Neidlinger, 3. Kenny Gilmore, 4. Brett Kressley, 5. Tom Miller, 6. Paul Kline, 7. Joe Funk III, 8. Mike Lisowski, 9. Dean Bachman, 10. Ryan Beltz, 11. Erik Renninger, 12. Brian Hirthler, 13. Brett Gilmore, 14. Jordan Henn, 15. Craig Whitmoyer, 16. Jim Housworth, 17. Joe Masiado, 18. Sean Weiss, 19. Ryan Lilick, 20. Ken Eckert, 21. Doug Snyder, 22. Kevin Dries, 23. Guy Germano, 24. Lex Shive. DNQ: Jamie Undercoffler, Gene Garman, Mark Behm, Brandon Whitmoyer, Steve Warner.
Grandview Speedway is located on Passmore Road just off Route 100 in Bechtelsville, PA, 10 miles north of Pottstown. For information telephone 610.754.7688 or check in atwww.grandviewspeedway.com. Also on [email protected] and www.facebook.com/grandviewspeedwayinc.
Grandview Speedway PR – Tammy for Grandview Speedway photo