BECHTELSVILLE, PA Seven time track NASCAR Whelen All American Series Modified champion Jeff Strunk earned his first win of the season at Grandview Speedway on Saturday night and became the 10th different racer to visit the 358 modified victory lane this season. The win came in the 30-lap NASCAR 358 modified feature. Randy Stoudt added another win to his impressive career resume driving the TP Trailers/Merkel Rebar sponsored entry to victory in the 30-lap NASCAR late model Memorial feature. And it was Scott Houdeshell claiming the top prize in the 15-lap feature for the Central Pennsylvania Legends stock cars.
The 30-lap feature for 358 modifieds had rookie A.J. DeSantis setting the pace early with Jeremy Banos and rookie Addison Meitzler challenging. On the fourth circuit of the one-third-mile, banked clay oval Jon Kellner Sr. got a helping hand into the first turn wall and was out for the night. A multi-car accident in between turns one and two brought out the caution before a lap could be completed and closed up the field on the leader. Popular Billy Pauch Jr. headed to the pits with rear problems in his Pioneer Pole Buildings No. 8.
At the one-third mark DeSantis was still in charge with point leader Duane Howard pressuring. With half the race in the record books Howard was able to lead briefly but then broke and headed to the pits. Jeff Strunk, coming from 15th starting spot, was now the leader and was kept busy by six time track champion Craig VonDohren as they battled for the top spot.
At the finish it was Jeff Strunk (Mohnton) earning his first win of the season becoming the 10th different winner in 10 features run this season. Strunk and the Vince’s Automotive No. 41 had just a scant margin of victory over Craig VonDohren (Boyertown). Third spot went to “over fifty” Meme DeSantis (Temple) who was able to beat his son A.J. DeSantis (Temple) across the finish line. Fifth spot went to Kerry Kratz (Bechtelsville).
As a result of his win Jeff Strunk was able to overtake Duane Howard in the track championship point battle as he shoots for his eighth title.
In the 30-lap late model Memorial, run in memory of many who were involved with the Bechtelsville oval and have passed on, a wild melee involving at least six racers took place coming off turn four for the start. Once the racers were settled down rookie Nate Christman took charge and set the pace until the 13th circuit when defending late model champion Chuck Schutz was able to charge to the front in turn four. Schutz had the BPG Racing No. 1 running comfortably in front of the field until the 18th lap when the caution came out as Brian Shuey broke and hit the first turn wall putting him out of action while running in the top five.
At the 20-lap mark Randy Stoudt, coming from ninth starting position, became a factor and was pressuring Schutz for the lead. With just three laps left in the feature Stoudt was able to charge past Schutz to grab the top spot and go on to victory with Schutz (Pottstown) finishing a close second. Last year’s Memorial winner Ron Kline (Salford) finished third followed by Mike Kellner (Lansdale) and Kyle Merkel (Gilbertsville). Stoudt picked up $1,000 for his efforts.
Making it a perfect night Stoudt was also able to win the one-on-one gauntlet competition that featured the top ten late model racers to decide the “King of the Hill.”
Stoudt also became the new late model point leader as a result of his victory.
The 15-lap feature for the Legends saw Lucas Montgomery set the early pace with Scott Houdeshell going to the front of the field on the third lap and holding off all challengers to grab the victory. The Marysville, PA racer had a narrow edge over Montgomery at the finish. Third spot went to Todd McCollum followed by Frank Polimeda and Tim Henry.
Qualifying events for the Legends were won by Reed Salony, Randy Kissinger and Jason Rochelle. The consolation race victory went to Clint Penekaukas.
In the late models qualifiers were won by Mike Kellner, Chuck Schutz and Danny Snyder.
Qualifying events for the NASCAR 358 modifieds went to Jeff Strunk, A.J. DeSantis, Jon Kellner Sr. and Kevin Hirthler. Consolation wins were taken by Tom Umbenhauer and Jason Hamilton.
Mike Gular gained 17 spots in the 358 modified feature, finishing 7th, and that earned him the Cornerstone Auto Sales Hard Charger Award while Kyle Merkel gained 12 spots to finish fifth in the late model feature and earn the award from the Fleetwood, PA car dealer.
Cargo Trailer Sales $50 gift certificates went to Kevin Hirthler in the modified feature and Rick Todorow in the late model main event for finish tenth.
Dan’s Deli Halfway Leader awards went to Duane Howard in the modifieds and Chuck Schutz in the late models.
On Tuesday, June 30th, the 410 sprints and 358 modifieds take to the one third mile banked clay oval in a doubleheader show of racing action. Beer City of Quakertown will sponsor the 4th of July Firecracker 40 for Late Models. The 358 modifieds will also be in action. Late model racer Kory Fleming will give away two boys bikes and two girls bikes on Saturday night while WNPV-1440 AM radio will give away a $250 ticket package for the Pennsylvania 500 Sprint Cup race at Pocono on August 2nd.
Grandview Speedway is a one-third-mile, banked clay oval track located at 43 Passmore Road, just off Route 100, in Bechtelsville, PA, just 10 miles north of Pottstown. For information telephone 610.754.7688 or visit their website at www.grandviewspeedway.com.