BECHTELSVILLE, PA Veteran Modified racer Jeff Strunk got to victory lane on Saturday night at Grandview Speedway for the first time this season driving the Norm’s Save Station No. 357 to victory in the 30-lap Hatfield Quality Meats NASCAR 358 Modified feature race. Mike Kellner and Wayne Pfeil each took wins in the Late Model feature races while John Kovatch IV came home first in the 25-lap feature for NASCAR Sportsman stock cars.
Ron Seltman went to the front of the 29 car starting field in the Modified feature race that was marred by a number of cautions as a result of accidents. John Willman took control of the top spot on the 9th lap after a restart due to a caution that was the result of a multi-car accident on the front straightaway.
Willman, having one of his best efforts of the season, set the pace until the 18th lap when Jeff Strunk was able to take charge and hold off any challengers for the balance of the race.
“It has been too long,” said Strunk when he was asked in victory lane about his last visit to victory lane. The nine time track champion who calls Pottstown home these days had a comfortable lead over second place Duane Howard (Oley) at the finish. Howard continues to lead the point standings in the chase for the lucrative NASCAR 358 Modified championship. Third place was earned by Doug Manmiller (Shoemakersville) while six time track champion Craig VonDohren (Oley) finished fourth and Ray Swinehart (Perkiomenville), a feature winner just a couple weeks back and was in the thick of the battle throughout the event, finished fifth.
In the 25-lap Sportsman feature race Steve Searock put his Searock Lawn Care No. 26 in front of the 25 car starting field at the drop of the green. A couple early race incidents mixed up the field a little and put Craig Whitmoyer, a challenger for the division title, out of competition.
With just three laps in the books John Kovatch IV charged to the front from his fourth starting spot and held off challenges from a number of racers to pick up his first win leading the rest of the way to put his KME Fire Apparatus No. 00 in victory lane. Finishing second to the Nesquehoning racer was Brad Brightbill (Sinking Spring) who was closing on the leader at the finish. Third went to Sportsman point leader Jared Umbenhauer (Richland) followed by Mike Lisowski (Minersville) and Joe Funk Jr. (Coopersburg).
The first Late Model feature of the night started with five laps in the record book and Wayne Pfeil as the leader. This is the event rained out the previous week. At the drop of the green Pfeil and challenger Mike Kellner resumed their battle from the previous week with Pfeil (Mohnton) able to hold off his challenger until there was just five laps remaining. Kellner (Lansdale) put his Mary Kay/Power Washers No. 57 in front to stay picking up his fifth win of the season. Pfeil was able to hold on for second followed by Ron Kline (Salford), Andy Ressler (Macungie) and Jason Miller (New Tripoli).
In the second Late Model feature Wayne Pfeil again charged to the front at the start but this time he was not going to give up his front running position despite challenges from Mike Kellner and John Giesler. The race was pretty much a survival of the fittest with numerous accidents taking place during the 20-laps. At the finish Pfeil had his J&H Automotive/Kochel Equipment No. 72 comfortably in front while Gieseler (Aston), a three time past champion, earned his best finish of the season with a second. Young Steve Nederostek (Walnutport) came home third followed by Danny Snyder (Green Lane) and point leader Chuck Schutz (Pottstown).
Qualifying heat races, 12 laps each, for the NASCAR Whelen All American Series 358 Modifieds were won by Ron Seltman, Glenn Owens, Ray Swinehart and Gary Hager while the two consolation races, each 10 laps, had Kevin Hirthler and Ryan Grim as the winners. Qualifying races for the Sportsman, each 8 laps, were won by Brad Brightbill, Joe Funk Jr. and Guy Germano. And the two 8 lap qualifiers for the Late Models, earning spots in the regular Late Model feature race, went to Wayne Pfeil and Mike Kellner.
T.P. Trailers of Limerick paid $250 for the Modified feature winner along with $100 to each of the feature winners in Sportsman and Late Models. Texas Roadhouse Restaurant of Wyomissing had two winners for each of the feature winners while Cargo Trailer Sales of Lansdale gave $50 gift certificates to outstanding performers in each feature race. Two giant hoagies went to each driver that led at the halfway mark in each feature race courtesy of Dan’s Deli in Boyertown. The Bobby Gunther Walsh & Sponsors Hard Charger Award for the 358 Modifieds went to Don Norris Jr. for gaining 18 positions to finish 9th in the feature. In the Late Models Salvage Transport Hard Charger Awards went to Steve Todorow for gaining 12 positions in the regularly scheduled feature while Chuck Schutz earned the award in the rained out feature from the week before. He gained eight positions. And in the Sportsman feature Searock’s Lawn Care of Bath, PA had their Hard Charger award going to Andy Fayash as he gained 14 spots in the feature race.
NASCAR -sanctioned stock car racing returns to Grandview Speedway on Saturday, August 25th, 7:30 p.m. with the running of the Kauffman BBQ Chicken Night featuring the 358 Modifieds, Late Models and Sportsman along with the added attraction of 1000cc Sidewinders. First 300 fans through the main gate receive a Kauffman’s BBQ Chicken Can Coolie.
Admission for regular Saturday night stock car racing events is $15 for adults, youngsters 12 and under are admitted free.
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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