BECHTELSVILLE, PA Despite doom and gloom predictions from the weatherman the show, a tripleheader, went on at Grandview Speedway on Saturday night. Kevin Hirthler was able to wheel his Green Lane Wm. Penn/4 Star Lettering sponsored entry to victory in the 30-lap open competition modified stock car feature race for his second win of the season at the Berks County clay oval. Mike Kellner brought the Banes Roofing No. 57 across the finish line first to win the 20-lap open competition late model feature for his first win of the season. Tyler Potts became a first time winner taking top honors in the 20-lap SpeedSTR feature race with his HTP Racing entry.
The tripleheader card of racing was the final regular season Saturday night event for the 2011 season.
Hirthler, driving a unique creation that featured a billboard sized sail panel, did not have his feature efforts start off well. Before the first lap could be completed the Boyertown racer had a left rear tire tear off and that caused a wild melee in turn two that included Ray Swinehart and Duane Howard. Quick work by the pit crew had Hirthler back on the track along with Swinehart and Howard all restarting at the rear of the 28 car feature field.
After three tries the feature race got underway with Jeff Strunk leading Doug Manmiller in the early laps. Wet conditions created when another competitor sprayed water on the track during a wild ride on the edge of the infield caused Strunk to spin in turn one causing a caution. On the restart Doug Manmiller took the lead and two laps later Swinehart hit the wall in turn three bringing out the caution.
Again Manmiller was the front runner on the restart and set the pace until the midway point when Mike Gular charged to the front. One lap later Manmiller was back in front and Gular took the lead again just two laps later. With less than 10 laps to go Kevin Hirthler, who had been charging through the field, took the lead from Gular and set the pace for the balance of the race to gain the $2,500 first place money.
“We tore the tire off the wheel in the first turn of the first lap,” the Boyertown racer explained in victory lane. “The idea for the big sail board came from what John Willman did last year (in this same event). We called Bicknell (his car builder) and asked if it would work.” Apparently it worked for Hirthler.
Second spot went to Mike Gular (Green Lane) followed by Glenn Strunk (Bechtelsville), Jeff Strunk (Bechtelsville) and Doug Manmiller (Shoemakersville) finishing fifth with a soft rear tire.
Just as happened in the modified feature it took three restarts to get the late model feature race going with visitor Kyle Merkel taking the early lead over the scheduled 17 car starting field. With four laps in the record book Mike Kellner charged to the front and was able to lead the rest of the way. The Lansdale racer finished with a comfortable lead over second place Danny Snyder (Green Lane). Greg Hoffmaster (Pottstown) had his best effort of the season with a third place finish. Randy Stoudt (Pottstown) grabbed a fourth after spinning on the 8th lap and having to work his way back from the last place restart position. Steve Todorow (Quakertown) making his first start of the season finished fifth.
In victory lane winner Kellner said, “In the heat races we had handling problems. We had to make some adjustments. In the feature though it was hammer down.”
Tyler Potts (Milford, NJ) held the top spot from the first to last lap to win the 20-lap SpeedSTR feature race for his first career win at the Berks County oval. Brittany Wixon (Reading) stayed within shouting distance of the leader to grab second followed by Gary Hieber (Langhorne). Brandon Rahmer (Salfordville) grabbed fourth and Nick Pecko (Forest City) finished fifth.
Qualifying heat races for the SpeedSTRs went to Matt Harrol and Gary Huber. In the late models the qualifying heat wins went to Kyle Merkel and brother Sean. The three qualifiers for the open modifieds were won by Gary Butler, Doug Manmiller and Hirthler.
The next Saturday night event is set for Saturday, October 15th when the Halloween Special is presented, a Thunder on the Hill show promoted by Bob Miller and Bruce Rogers, featuring five 25-lap features for 358 modifieds, URC sprints, ARDC midgets, legends and sportsman stock cars. In addition there will be Garden State Vintage racing, Monster Smash Demo Derby and a Vince’s Towing Legends Owners race. Racing will start at 6 p.m. and there is a Sunday, October 16th, 4 p.m. rain date in place.
Racers and fans are reminded that the end of the year awards dinner-dance takes place on November 19th at the Gilbertsville, PA Fire Co. Social Hall. Tickets are priced at just $35.
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
. For marketing information telephone Ernie Saxton at 215.752.7797 or email Esaxton144@aol.com
SPEEDSTRS FEATURE -20 LAPS: 1. Tyler Potts 2. Brittany Wixon 3. Kyle Hieber 4. Brandon Rahmer 5. Nick Pecko 6. Gary Huber 7. Dane Tobias 8. Richie Tobias 9. Howie Bidel 10. Matt Janis 11. Matt Diehlman 12. Mario Page 13. Matt Harol 14. Al Arricher 15. Freddie Rahmer