BECHTELSVILLE, PA Giving high praise to his crew chief Alan Finch and the rest of the crew Duane Howard celebrated his big win in the $4,000 to win NASCAR Whelen All American Series 40-lap 358 Modified feature race on Saturday night at Grandview Speedway. The win was the second in a row for the defending 358 Modified champion. In the companion 20-lap feature for the NASCAR Late Models Danny Snyder charged under Randy Stoudt in the fourth turn of the final lap to grab the $800 victory.
Don Norris put his Limerick Diner #976 in front of the 28-car 358 Modified feature starting field at the drop of the green and set the pace, surviving a number of cautions including one for a six car wreck in the first turn that eliminated crowd favorite Meme DeSantis, until the sixth circuit of the one-third-mile, banked clay oval when Kyle Weiss charged to the front.
With ten laps in the record book Weiss and Norris continued a close battle for the top spot. The 12th lap had no less than three cautions slowing the pace of the race with the final restart giving Norris the lead once again.
At the midway mark Norris had his hands full with Weiss and now Duane Howard challenging. With 25-laps in the record book Howard was right on the rear of the leader and on the 29th circuit of the clay oval Howard was able to take the top spot with a strong move under Norris in Turn 2.
Once in front Howard had a relatively easy time of it in taking the Chad Sinon owned BPG Racing No. 4 to victory lane.
“This is the same package, same car and same motor, we had last year,” said Howard in victory lane after giving praise to his crew chief and crew. “We used the top and took some chances tonight. It is a great way to get the season started.” Howard and his crew celebrated their second straight win.
Second spot went to Don Norris (Douglassville) followed closely by Ray Swinehart (Perkiomenville), Jeff Strunk (Bechtelsville) and Craig VonDohren (Boyertown).
“That was worth the price admission alone,” is how one fan described the finish of the NASCAR Late Model feature race. Randy Stoudt, the all-time leading feature winner amongst active Late Model drivers, looked like he had the race won as he had the top spot coming off the fourth turn. However Danny Snyder, who had the lead about midway in the race and lost it to Stoudt, charged to the low groove squeezing under Stoudt and went on to win the 20-lap feature for Late Models leaving Stoudt spinning into the straightaway wall limping to an 11th place finish.
Stoudt did manage to get to victory lane before winner Snyder, sort of protesting what had happened on the final turn of the final lap, but was told by track officials that he would have to clear the way for Snyder.
Once in victory lane Snyder told victory lane announcer Pete Knappenberger, “We rubbed each other. That is just racing. That is what the fans come for.”
The official finish had Mike Kellner (Lansdale) finishing an impressive second avoiding the wild fourth turn action.The second place finish put Kellner in the point lead for the Late Models. Defending champion Brian Shuey (Shoemakersville) finished in third spot while Wayne Pfeil Jr. (Mohnton) got a fourth and Lou Egrie Sr. (Willow Grove) finished fifth.
Past champion Chuck Schutz, winner of the opening night feature race, managed a sixth place finish despite being involved in an accident on the final lap.
Qualifying heat race victories went to Don Norris Jr., Kyle Weiss, Mike Gular and Glenn Strunk in the Modifieds while the consolation races were won by Jeff Strunk and Ryan Godown. In the Late Models Wayne Pfeil Jr. and Randy Stoudt won the consolation races.
The Dan’s Deli Halfway Leader Award went to Randy Stoudt in the Late Model feature and Don Norris in the Modified feature. The Cargo Trailer Sales $50 gift certificates were earned 10th place finishers in the feature races, John Favinger in the Late Models and Kevin Hirthler in the Modifieds.
Coming up on Saturday, April 16th, 7 p.m. the NASCAR Whelen All American Series 358 Modifieds and Late Model stock cars will be featured in a doubleheader show. A full series of qualifying events will lead up to a 30-lap feature for the Modifieds and a 20-lap main event for Late Models.
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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