BECHTELSVILLE, PA JULY 6, 2008 . . . A final lap pass between the third and fourth turns gave Jeff Strunk and the Gold Rush Custom Trailers No. 126 their second win of the season in the 30-lap Beer City NASCAR 358 Modified feature race at Grandview Speedway on Saturday night. In the annual Firecracker 40, the biggest event of the season for the Late Model stock cars, Mike Kellner was able to take his first win in the classic event wheeling the Touch of Green Landscaping No. 57.
The 29-car starting field for the Modified feature race had their share of problems getting the event started. Two cautions for accidents on the first lap eliminated Ryan Beltz from the field and put Shawn Reimert to the back of the pack.
Chris Gambler set the first lap pace with Kurt Spotts moving to the front on the second circuit of the one-third-mile, banked clay oval. Cautions plagued the fourth lap with no less than four cautions slowing the pace of the event and sending the field into a single file restart.
At five laps Kurt Spotts was in charge with Chris Gambler keeping the leader within his sights.
Jason Hamilton became a factor with six laps in the record book and for the next six laps Hamilton put heavy pressure on the leader. Todd Smith brought out a caution on the 12th lap when he stopped in the third turn. The restart saw Hamilton shoot to the front.
Three laps later six time track champion and current point leader Jeff Strunk, coming from 16th starting spot, was pressuring Hamilton and Ryan Godown, who had started 22nd, was now third.
Early leader Spotts hit the wall hard in turn four. He was out for the night but not injured.
With 20 laps tallied Hamilton continued to lead with Strunk, Godown, Doug Manmiller and Craig VonDohren in the chase.
Hamilton continued to master the clay oval and Strunk until the final lap when a lapped car, running in the third turn, forced Hamilton to slow and change his groove. Strunk, a master at Grandview, took advantage and snuck under the leader, forcing him out a little, and took the lead and rode to his second win of the season.
Strunk (Mohnton) earned $2250 for his first place effort.
Second spot went to Ryan Godown (Ringoes, NJ) while Hamilton (Erwinna) finished a disappointing third. Doug Manmiller (Shoemakersville) came home fourth followed by six time track champion Craig VonDohren (Oley).
In victory lane Strunk told victory lane interviewer Pete Knappenberger that he didn’t know if he could have gotten the win if the lapped car had not “helped him.”
Wayne Pfeil Jr., looking for his first career victory at Grandview, took the lead at the drop of the green in the Firecracker 40 and pulled away from the field.
At the end of five laps Pfeil had a comfortable lead over second place Kyle Merkel. Bill Henning, a former Firecracker winner, held down third spot.
Mike Kellner became a factor in the battle for the top spot when he moved into second spot with seven laps in the record book.
Pfeil and Kellner put on a real show for the fans as they ran side-by-side for several laps. At the 12-lap marker Kellner put his mount in front of the field.
With half the race complete Kellner almost was put out of the race when a slower car spun and Kellner did a magnificent bit of driving to avoid him.
For many of the final 20 laps Chuck Schutz and Wayne Pfeil put on a spirited battle for second spot with Schutz getting the honors. With just a few laps remaining Schutz tried to challenge Kellner for the win but there were just not enough laps for Schutz to go after his third Firecracker 40 win and Kellner was able to hold on for the win.
Kellner (Lansdale) said, “I watched the board (scoreboard) and could see Schutz was there. The outside groove was perfect. There was not much on the bottom so I stayed on top. This win means a lot to me since my father (Jon Kellner Sr.) won this race four times.”
Second spot went to Schutz (Pottstown) followed by Wayne Pfeil Jr. (Mohnton), Kyle Merkel (Gilbertsville) and Randy Stoudt (Pottstown).
Five individuals who had been or are current outstanding performers at Grandview Speedway over the years were inducted into the Grandview Speedway “Wall of Fame.” Included were former Late Model racers C.C. Lick and Ray Brinckman. Current Late Model racers receiving their “Wall of Fame” stars included three time past champion John Geisler, four time past champion Dean Stoudt along with Jon Kellner Sr. who is the all time leading Late Model feature winner with 58 career wins and five Late Model titles.
Randy Stoudt, Brian Shuey and Rick Todorow won the Late Model qualifying heats while Jud Hendrickson took the consolation victory. In the NASCAR 358 Modified qualifiers wins were earned by Doug Manmiller, Mark Fehr, Glenn Owens and Bobby Gunther Walsh. The consolation races went to Sean Merkel and Ryan Godown.
The Cornerstone Auto Sales Hard Charger awards, worth $50 to each driver, went to Dallas Breidenbach in the Firecracker 40 gaining 14 positions coming from 22nd to 8th place finish and Meme DeSantis in the 30-lapper for Modifieds as he gained 21 spots coming from 27th to finish 6th.
The NASCAR Whelen All American Series Modifieds along with the Late Models and Legends stock cars will all be part of an action packed tripleheader show that starts at 7:30 p.m. with sponsorship from Excel Collision Service of Bechtelsville, PA.
Coming up on Tuesday, July 16th, 7:30 p.m. is a Super DIRT Series Big Block Modified show featuring the Traffic Jam 100.
Admission for regular Saturday nights is $13 for adults, $5 for youngsters 6 thru 11 and under 6 are admitted free with a paying adult. There is always free parking on the speedway grounds and fans are invited to enjoy the wide array of concessions available at the track or are free to bring their food and refreshments.
Grandview Speedway is located on Passmore Road, just off Route 100, Bechtelsville, PA, 10 miles north of Pottstown. For information check in at www.grandviewspeedway.com or telephone 610.754.7688.
30-LAP BEER CITY NASCAR 358 MODIFIED STOCK CAR FEATURE FINISH: 1. Jeff Strunk 2. Ryan Godown 3. Jason Hamilton 4. Doug Manmiller 5. Craig VonDohren 6. Meme DeSantis 7. Kerry Kratz 8. Danny Erb 9. Sean Merkel 10. Kevin Hirthler 11. Terry Meitzler 12. Mark Fehr 13. Danny Hieber 14. John Willman 15. Brad Brightbill 16. Glen Owens 17. Chris Gambler 18. Jason Smythe 19. Bobby Gunther Walsh (FOLLOWING CARS NOT RUNNING AT FINISH) 20. Kurt Spotts 21. Rick Schaffer 22. Todd Smith 23. Ryan Grim 24. Tommy Scheetz III 25. Shawn Reimert 26. Stewart Friesen 27. Mike Gular 28. Cliff Quinn 29. Ryan Beltz
40-LAP BEER CITY FIRECRACKER 40 NASCAR LATE MODEL FEATURE FINISH: 1. Mike Kellner 2. Chuck Schutz 3. Wayne Pfeil Jr. 4. Kyle Merkel 5. Randy Stoudt 6. Brian Shuey 7. Bill Henning 8. Dallas Breidenbach 9. John Giesler 10. Dean Stoudt 11. Rick Todorow 12. Ron Kline 13. Buddy Wharton 14. Ed Trimbur 15. Danny Snyder 16. John Favinger (FOLLOWING CARS DID NOT FINISH) 17. Bryon Sipe 18. Jud Hendrickson 19. Eric Snoke 20. Mike Steinmetz 21. Chad Rae 22. Mark Malcolm 23. Bobby Wyatt 24. Jamie Undercoffler.