BECHTELSVILLE, PA Defending NASCAR 358 Modified champion Duane Howard showed that he is serious about defending his title as he drove the Chad Sinon owned BPG Racing No. 4 entry to victory in the 30-lap opening night feature race for NASCAR 358 Modifieds at Grandview Speedway on Saturday night. Chuck Schutz was able to bring his BPG Racing sponsored No. 1 to victory lane in the 20-lap Late Model feature race.
During the course of the opening night activities promoter Bruce Rogers announced that the regular 30-lap features for the NASCAR 358 Modifieds would now be paying $2500 to win while the 20-lap Late Model features will now earn the winner $800.
A large crowd braved the chilly weather as Kevin Hirthler charged to the front of the 29 car starting field in the 30-lap 358 Modified feature race. Hirthler was able to hold the top spot until the 8th circuit of the one-third-mile, banked clay oval when he spun in the first and second turns taking second place Glenn Strunk out of the event. Hirthler was able to restart at the back of the field. On the restart Terry Meitzler had the front spot and spent the next few laps trying to hold off Ryan Godown. At the 13 lap marker Godown went to the front of the field. John Willman spun on the 16th circuit and the caution closed up the field on the leader.
At 17 laps Howard moved by Godown on the outside as they were coming off the fourth turn to start the 18th circuit.
Once in front Howard, who makes his home in Oley, PA, was able to survive a few cautions, one that almost took him out of the race, and went on to lead the balance of the race and win with a comfortable margin of victory. Godown (Ringoes, NJ) finished second followed by Craig VonDohren (Boyertown), Jeff Strunk (Bechtelsville) and Rick Laubach (Quakertown).
In victory lane Howard had high praise for the NASCAR organization and told how he has been invited to be part of a NASCAR event, a Denny Hamlin charity race at Richmond International Raceway on April 28th. “I wish a lot of this had been available to me 25 years ago,” said Howard as he talked about all the awards and special attention that he had received from NASCAR and Grandview Speedway as a result of his stellar 2010 season.
“We got off to a late start this year but we are back here with the same car, same motor and just happy to win the opener,” said the 2010 track champion. “We are not going to let off this season.”
Chuck Schutz, a past champion at Grandview, made it look easy as he was able to hold off another past champion, Ron Kline (Salford), in winning the 20-lap Late Model feature race.
“We had good stuff, brand new car, and we got a great program,” said the Pottstown racer in victory lane. “We need a little tweak here and there and we can be even faster.”
Third spot went to Rick Todorow (Quakertown) followed by Mike Kellner (Lansdale) and defending champion Brian Shuey (Shoemakersville).
Qualifying heat race winners in the Late Model division were Chuck Schutz, Rick Todorow and Ron Kline. Qualifying heat wins in the NASCAR 358 Modified division went to Kevin Hirthler, Glenn Strunk, Jon Kellner Jr. and Terry Meitzler. The consolation races had Doug Manmiller and Nate Christman as the winners.
The Dan’s Deli Halfway Leader Awards went to Chuck Schutz in the Late Models and Ryan Godown in the Modifieds. Cargo Trailer Sales had $50 gift certificates for Shawn Reimert as the 10th place finisher in the Modifieds and Wayne Pfiel as the 10th place finisher in the Late Models.
A 40-lap feature for the NASCAR 358 Modifieds paying $4,000 to win will be the highlight of the Saturday, April 9th show which will also feature the excitement of Late Model stock cars. A full series of qualifying events will lead up to the feature races in both divisions. Racing starts at 7 p.m. with spectator gates open at 5 p.m.
Grandview Speedway, a NASCAR sanctioned one-third-mile, banked clay track, is located at 43 Passmore Road, Bechtelsville, PA, just off Route 100, 10 miles north of Pottstown. For race information telephone 610.754.7688 or check in at www.grandviewspeedway.com
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