KUTZTOWN, PA November 8, 2008 . . . For the seventh time in his storied career as one of the area’s top dirt short track stock car racers Jeff Strunk was honored as Grandview Speedway’s NASCAR Whelen All American Series Modified stock car champion. Chuck Schutz earned the honors for the fourth time as the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model champion.
A full house turned out on Saturday night at the Kutztown, PA Fire Hall to honor the champions and other award winners as the 46th annual Grandview Speedway Awards Banquet was presented.
Strunk, winner of four feature races during the season at the one-third-mile, banked clay oval, tallied up 5827 points to earn the driving title for himself and the car owners title for Glenn Hyneman and his Gold Rush Custom Trailers No. 126 team. The Mohnton, PA racer finished out of the top five just once during the entire 21 point races. The team shared in the $10,000 championship money posted by track operators, the Rogers family. In addition Strunk earned the NASCAR Pennsylvania State title and a fifth place overall in the national NASCAR Whelen All American Series standings which encompass more than 50 tracks nationwide. The team will also receive point fund money from NASCAR.
An added perk for champion Strunk is that he and a guest will spend a week cruising the Hawaiian Islands as part of the annual Champion’s Trip. This is a perk valued at more than $5,000 presented by the Rogers family.
Schutz earned the championship for himself and car owner Ty Zeigler with consistent performances but just one feature victory. For the Pottstown, PA racer it was his fourth driving title at Grandview Speedway. Schutz and the BPG Racing/Jesse Baro Trucking No. 1 team shared in lucrative first place point fund money along with the NASCAR Whelen All American Series point money.
Doug Manmiller (Shoemakersville), without a victory during the regular season, earned the second place honors for the Rod Breitenstein No. 14 Modified team while rookie Ryan Godown (Ringoes) earned a third place finish for the JR Motorsports No.1R Modified team.
Six time track champion Craig VonDohren finished fourth in the standings. The Oley, PA racer was the big winner during the season taking home the victory in seven features including the rich BPG Racing Freedom 76 Classic that earned him in excess of $20,000.
Randy Stoudt (Pottstown) was in the chase for the title right up to the final night in the point racing season. Unfortunately Stoudt was involved in a on-track incident that put him out of action giving the title to Schutz.
Interesting to note is the fact that Stoudt may have cost himself the title. He knew that the track officials had made an error in scoring during a mid-season event and brought it to their attention. It resulted in him having 100 points deducted from his point total. Stoudt had six wins during the season with his TP Trailers sponsored No. 118.
Third spot in the Late Model standings went to 2007 champion Brian Shuey. The Shoemakersville, PA racer earned five wins with his Bob Fisher Chevy No. 5x.
The top three finishers in each division received awards courtesy of NASCAR.
Trophies went to the top 20 racers in the Modifieds and Late Models and the top 10 owners in each division. In addition point fund money went to the top 10 drivers and top five owners in each division.
A variety of special awards were presented including:
Modified Rookie of the Year - Danny Hieber
Best Newcomer in the Modifieds - Ryan Godown
Best Appearing Modified Crew - Nitro Fish No. 107 Danny Hieber
Best Appearing Modified - Jon Kellner Jr.’s No. 67
Most Improved Modified Driver - Tommy Scheetz Jr. who finished 25th in points in 2007 and improved to 13th in 2008
Sportsmanship Award - Modified car owner Kenny Merkel
Hard Luck Award - Todd Marburger
Late Model Rookie of the Year - Danny Snyder
Best Newcomer in the Late Models - Johnathan Favinger
Best Appearing Late Model Crew - No. 18 Pink Panther Crew of Johnathan Favinger
Best Appearing Late Model - Mike Kellner’s No. 57
Most Improved Late Model Driver - Bill Henning who improved nine spots over his 2007 finish with a 10th place in 2008 and won two features
Sportsmanship Award - Randy Stoudt
Hard Luck Award - Greg Hoffmaster
Special appreciation awards were presented to BPG Racing’s Chad Sinon for his outstanding sponsorship support at Grandview and to Jeff D’Ambrosio Dodge for providing the Dodge pace vehicle.
Close to a dozen media were on hand for the annual banquet and all received special gifts from the Rogers family.
The Grandview Groove track magazine Most Popular Driver Awards, by vote of the fans, went to Kurt Spotts in the Modifieds and Brian Shuey in the Late Models.
Modified racer Bobby Gunther Walsh, on behalf of fans and racers, presented a special award to track announcer, public relations and marketing person Ernie Saxton for his 40 years as the track announcer. An award that was very much appreciated by the 66-year-old veteran announcer.
Official track photographer Chris Budihas presented beautiful large photographs to each of the top three finishers in both divisions.
The awards presentations were followed by music for dancing and socializing.
The 2009 season at Grandview Speedway, the 47th consecutive season, will kick off with a free-to-the-public practice session on March 28th.
A complete schedule of events for the 2009 season will be announced in the near future though the NASCAR 358 Modifieds and Late Models will continue to be the main Saturday night attraction at the Bechtelsville, PA track.