BECHTELSVILLE, PA “It feels like winning the Daytona 500,” said Ron Kline in victory lane after winning the Beer City Firecracker 40 for late models on Saturday night at Grandview Speedway. “Now I know how Dale Earnhardt felt when he won his first 500. I have been trying for so long.”
Kline, a former late model champion, picked up over $2,000 for his win.
In the 30-lap feature for NASCAR 358 modifieds Jeff Strunk was able to steer the Vince’s Automotive No. 41 to victory to become the first repeat winner in the modified division this season.
Rookie Nate Christman charged to the front of the 24-car starting field at the start of the Firecracker 40 and set a tough pace. With just three laps in the record book Buddy Wharton had problems bringing out the caution and closing up the field behind the leader. At seven laps Christman got caught up behind the lapped car of D.D. Keely and that gave the lead to Mike Kellner.
At the 12 lap marker Kellner was involved with three time champion John Giesler in the third turn and that forced Kellner to make a quick pit stop and return to restart last.
Now Nate Christman was back in front with Brian Shuey challenging. One of the early favorites, Chuck Schutz, broke in the fourth turn putting him out of action.
Shuey charged to the front of the field on the 16th lap with Ron Kline having coming from 11th starting spot to take the runner-up position.
With 26 laps in the record book Kline was able to get by the leader in Turn 2 to take the top spot. Once in front Kline made it look rather easy as the Salford, PA racer rode to victory for the first time in the Firecracker 40 picking up $1,800. He also earned the Cornerstone Auto Sales Hard Charger Award worth $100. On top of that he picked up the “Three Cheers” Award, sponsored by Cheers Tavern, worth $200.
Kline did point out in victory lane that he and his crew had found a big problem with the No. 3 late model during the week. “We had put the rear end in the car wrong,” said Kline. With the fixed the car performed well enough to win and to have Kline thinking about another championship season.
Second spot went to Brian Shuey (Shoemakersville). Third across the line was rookie Andy Ressler (Macungie) for an impressive showing. However Ressler was later disqualified for a rule infraction. Third officially went to Wayne Pfeil (Mohnton). Fourth was earned by Mike Kellner (Lansdale) in a tremendous effort after having to go to the pits early in the event and restart last. Nate Christman (Oley) came home fifth.
With the win Ron Kline moved into first spot in the chase for the late model track title.
The 30-lap feature for the NASCAR Whelen All American Series 358 modifieds had Cliff Quinn putting his A-B-E Car Care/Channel 69 News entry in front of the 29 car starting field. Quinn was having everything pretty much his way has he set the pace lap after lap. At the 11 lap mark Keith Brightbill, running third, spun in the fourth turn backing his entry over the guard rail bringing out the caution.
On the restart Quinn was again in charge but Jon Kellner Sr. had brought his Banes Roofing No. 8 up through the field to challenge the leader. With 19 laps in the records Kellner, the all time leading late model feature winner, was able to take command and look as if he could hold on for the win. His son Jon Jr. had won a feature earlier in the season.
Seven time track champion Jeff Strunk had spent his time working his way from 19th starting spot and was now challenging Kellner Sr. for the lead. With 26 laps completed Strunk made a fantastic move in the fourth turn, going high on Kellner and then shooting down low and squeezing under the leader, much to the fans delight, to take the lead.
Once in front Strunk, who calls Mohnton home, was able to sail to his second win of the season and increase his number one spot in the point standings as he shoots for an unprecedented 8th track title.
Second spot went to Kellner Sr. (Lansdale) followed by Craig VonDohren (Boyertown) coming from 15th starting slot. Fourth finishing position went to Doug Man miller (Shoemakersville) coming from 14th and John Willman (Birdsboro) gained fifth finishing spot.
Qualifying heat wins for the late models went to Nate Christman, Chuck Schutz and Danny Snyder while the consolation race was won by Kurt Spotts.
In modified qualifiers wins went to Mike Laise, Brad Missimer, Cliff Quinn and Craig VonDohren while the consolation race victories were earned by Duane Howard and Ray Swinehart.
The Cornerstone Auto Sales of Fleetwood Hard Charger award went to Ron Kline in the late model feature for going from 11th to 1st and that earned him $100. In the modified feature Jeff Strunk went from 19th to 1st to get the $50 award.
Brian Shuey earned the Dan’s Deli Halfway Leader award in the late models while Cliff Quinn got the honor in the modifieds.
Doug Walton took the Cargo Trailer Sales $50 gift certificate for finishing 10th with the late models and Meme DeSantis earned it for his 10th place finish in the modifieds.
Next on the schedule at Grandview Speedway is the RCN-TV Night featuring the NASCAR 358 Modifieds and Late Models starting at 7:30 p.m. Then on Wednesday, July 15th the TRIPLE CROWN will be presented featuring the URC sprints, 358 modifieds and ARDC wingless midgets. Racing starts at 7:30 p.m.
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