BECHTELSVILLE, PA Veteran Modified talent
Kevin Hirthler was able to grab his first win of the season and first in two
seasons in the WNPV-1440AM Radio 30-lap NASCAR Modified feature on Saturday
night at Grandview Speedway. Randy Stoudt, the current BRC Late Model point
leader, added win number four to his impressive record for the season while
Vince Gagliardo Jr. won the Blast from the Past Vintage Racers feature event.
And Jared Umbenhauer drove to his sixth straight Sportsman feature win and 11th
of the season.
One of the biggest and most popular events of the stock car racing
season for area Modified racers is set for Saturday, August 9th when the annual
Forrest Rogers Memorial presented by Peerless Pole Buildings takes place. The
rich 50-lap feature race for NASCAR 358 Modifieds, run in memory of the track
founder, pays at least $10,000 to the winner. In addition to the Modifieds, the
BRC Late Models and Sportsman stock cars will be seen in action. Spectator gates
open at 5:30 p.m. while racing gets the green flag at 7:30
Then on Sunday, 1 p.m. the Outlaw Enduro racers will present
another of their action packed events along with the excitement of the Blast
from the Past Vintage Racers.
It appeared veteran
campaigner Bobby Gunther Walsh, a WAEB-790 AM radio personality, who has led so
many 30 -lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified features the past few
Saturday nights at Grandview Speedway, was possibly on his way to his first
career win at the 1/3-mile oval, but fell seven laps short when the yellow came
out allowing the field to close up on him for the
Kevin Hirthler, who last visited victory lane August 11, 2012 when
he won the Forrest Rogers Memorial, shot to the outside and overtook Gunther
Walsh for the lead with Duane Howard following through for second. Hirthler
proceeded to keep Howard behind him to score his first win of the season on
WNPV-1410 AM radio night. He also received the $250 bonus from T.P. Trailers,
It was Gunther Walsh at the head of the 28-car starting grid at the
start while Ryan Kunkle, Chris Esposito, Mike Kellner and Eric Biehn diced for
Gunther Walsh had a comfortable lead built up by the Dan’s Deli
˝-way leader mark, which he received, but by this time Kunkle, Don Norris Jr.,
Hirthler and Esposito were the chasers.
At the conclusion of the 14th lap Norris Jr. and Hirthler were in a
heated contest for second and neither one gave an inch which allowed Gunther
Walsh some leeway with Kevin Hartnett and M. Kellner in the wings waiting for a
With Gunther Walsh at the head of the pack and the top five headed
into turn one, Hirthler and Norris Jr., racing hard for second, made contact. As
a result, Norris Jr. spun ending his best run in a long time and Hirthler
continued as the yellow came out on the 23rd lap.
When action went green again, Hirthler was in control and Howard
was in the hunt in second. Behind the pair by this time were Gunther Walsh, Doug
Manmiller and Craig VonDohren.
Hirthler, running the outside lane “since that was the fastest
spot, saw Howard stick his nose under him several times and he knew Howard was
just waiting for him to slip-up.”
Hirthler never faltered and pulled the Green Lane/Wm. Penn
family-owned No. 117 sponsored by Pioneer Pole Building into victory lane ending
his winless drought. Following him across were Howard, VonDohren, Manmiller and
Kevin Hartnett, for his best run since returning a few weeks ago. Sixth through
tenth were Jeff Strunk, the current point leader; Kunkle, who had his best run;
Gunther Walsh , who earned one of his best career finishes; Chris Esposito,
recipient of the Cargo Trailer product certificate and Ryan Grim. Hirthler
picked up $2750 for his winning efforts including $250 from T.P. Trailers of
Limerick. He will also earn a $150 VP Racing Fuels product award provided he was
using the VP gasoline and had the decals and patches in the proper
Norris Jr., Frank Cozze and Tim Buckwalter won the qualifying
heats. The consi went to Chris Gambler.
These same drivers, plus a host of others, used this race as a
tune-up for the 44th annual Forrest Rogers Memorial sponsored by Pioneer Pole
Builders with at least $10,000 to win which is set for August 9th and
has an August 16th rain date.
Randy Stoudt, who returned to Late Model action this season in the
Taylor White and Wanda Brown-owned No. 10, overtook Sean Merkel on the 20th lap
restart to win his fourth 25-lap NASCAR BRC Late Model feature. In addition to
the top prize money, he picked up an additional $100 from J & H Automotive,
who is also one of his sponsors and another $100 from T.P.
Lou Egrie Jr. was the pacesetter for four laps until he had to pit
with a flat left rear tire on the restart needed when Buddy Mertz spun. Egrie
Jr.’s misfortune gave the lead to Joe Fanelli on the
Fanelli held the lead until Sean Merkel passed him on the eighth
Stoudt overtook second to challenge S. Merkel for the lead. S.
Merkel ran the high groove and Stoudt stuck to the inside trek as the pair went
at it for first. Trailing them in their own race were Fanelli, Egrie Sr. and
Jason Miller, the defending point champion.
Dan Green spun in the fourth turn to bring out the yellow on the
20th lap. The restart saw Stoudt succeed at getting underneath Merkel to become
the new leader.
Positions constantly changed behind Stoudt, but at the wave of the
checkered it was another victory for the current point leader. Chasing Stoudt
across were S. Merkel, Dan’s Deli ˝-way leader; Chuck Schutz, Fanelli and
Miller. Egrie Sr., Cory Merkel, last week’s feature winner; Rick Todorow, Kory
Fleming and Green completed the top ten. The Cargo Trailer certificate went to
Egrie Jr. and C. Merkel won the heats.
Ryan Lilick was just two laps short of winning his first 25-lap
NASCAR Sportsman feature until Jared Umbenhauer spoiled it and passed him to
make it six wins in a row and also collect the $100 T.P. Trailers
Tom Miller led for eight laps before Lilick ducked underneath him
for the lead.
While Lilick led the way, Miller, Brandon Whitmoyer, Joe Funk III
and Brett Gilmore jockeyed for the remaining
Lilick encountered lapped traffic by the 17th lap along with B.
Whitmoyer, Funk III, Umbenhauer and Miller.
multi-car first turn accident on the 21st lap that leader Lilick just squeaked
by, brought out the yellow. B. Whitmoyer, second-place runner at the time,
wasn’t as lucky and made contact with them ending his fine run. Lilick held on
to first with Umbenhauer just waiting to pounce into
The lead changed on the 24th lap and the rest was history as
Umbenhauer was now ahead – a place he stayed until the end. Posting their best
finishes were Lilick, Funk III, B. Gilmore and Paul Kline. Rounding out the top
ten were Kenny Gilmore, Jordan Henn, Brett Kressley, who drove the car normally
chauffeured by Guy Germano, but Germano who was already qualified; relinquished
the ride to Kressley and Kressley qualified via the consi; Craig Whitmoyer,
recipient of the Cargo Trailer product certificate and Ken Eckert
Heats were won by Jamie Undercoffler, Mike Lisowski and C.
Whitmoyer. K. Gilmore won the consi.
The 15-lap Blast From the Past Vintage Car feature was won by Vince
Gagliardo Jr. who held off runner-up Ronnie Peck followed by Kevin Kuser, Kevin
Barndt and Ron Phillips.
Jeff Sechrist won the qualifying event.