Bechtelsville, PA August 2, 2009 . . . Dedicating his win to his long time friend and sponsor Gregg Schatzel, Ryan Godown celebrated the richest win of his career picking up $10,000 as the winner of the 39th annual Forrest Rogers Memorial 50-lap feature race for NASCAR Whelen All American Series 358 Modifieds at Grandview Speedway on Saturday night.
Making the win even more enjoyable for the Ringoes, NJ racer was the fact that up to a couple days before the race he was not even sure he was going to be able to compete in the event as the team’s primary Grandview car had been virtually destroyed in an accident the previous Saturday. Car owner Johnny Rea decided that they would use a car normally raced at Big Diamond Raceway and the decision proved to be a good one.
Rookie racer Nate Christman of Oley was able to drive to his first career late model victory winning the 20-lap feature for the NASCAR late model stock cars.
A large crowd saw John Tschudy lead the 31-car starting field to the green flag and set the pace for the first couple laps. A spin by Don Norris resulted in a multi-car accident that brought out the caution with two laps completed. On the restart Troy Wink charged to the front but at the six lap marker Ray Swinehart, a three time winner of the Rogers Memorial, took over the top spot.
With one third of the race in the record books Ryan Godown, coming from 11th starting spot, was put pressure on Swinehart with Duane Howard, looking for his first Rogers Memorial win, was running third.
At the 22 lap marker Troy Wink hit the fourth turn “boiler plate” brining out the caution and the first aid crew. Wink was shaken but was able to walk away.
On the restart Swinehart resumed command with Godown and Howard still challenging. Craig VonDohren, a four time winner of the Classic, headed to the pits with a tire problem. Quick work by the crew had him back out and running at the back of the field.
With half the race complete Swinehart was able to collect the Dan’s Deli Halfway Leader award.
Five laps later, after several side-by-side battles, Godown was able to charge past Swinehart on the backstretch with his Abbi Electric sponsored No. R1.
The final 20 laps of the 50-lapper saw Duane Howard move into second place to challenge for the victory. Howard has not been able to win a Forrest Rogers Classic during his long career.
When the checkered flag fell Godown had a few car lengths over second place finisher Duane Howard (Oley) who had come from 20th starting spot. Seven time track champion and current point leader Jeff Strunk (Mohnton) took third after having started the race in 16th spot.
Producing some great fan excitement was Craig VonDohren (Boyertown) who had gone to the pits for a tire change on the 22nd lap, restarted last, and came back to finish in fourth spot.
Ray Swinehart (Bechtelsville), who had led the most laps, held on for a fifth place finish.
The 20-lap feature for the late models had John Favinger leading the start for the 22 car starting field. Favinger had Nate Christman and Danny Snyder to contend with. With eight laps in the record book Snyder was able to charge to the front on the front straightaway looking for his first career win. Just two laps later, after he earned the Dan’s Deli Halfway Leader award, Snyder went to the pits with mechanical problems.
John Favinger was able to regain the top spot with Snyder’s departure. Young Favinger held off Nate Christman until the 14th circuit when he spun off the second turn giving the lead to rookie Christman.
At the finish Christman brought the Double D Sheet Metal/Christman Meats No. 37 home first. Second spot was earned by Wayne Pfeil (Mohnton), followed by Rick Todorow (Quakertown), Brian Shuey (Shoemakersville) and Mike Kellner (Lansdale).
Qualifying heat racers for the Modifieds were won by John Tschudy, Troy Wink, Cliff Quinn and Don Norris. The two consolation races, last chances to make the feature, were won by Ryan Beltz and Craig VonDohren.
Late model qualifing victories went to Mike Kellner, Bill Henning and Nate Christman.
The Cargo Trailer Sales $50 gift certificates went to Terry Meitzler who finished 10th in the modified feature for the third race in a row. Doug Walton got the certificate in the late model feature.
Walton also earned the Cornerstone Auto Sales Hard Charger Award gaining 12 spots in the late model feature. Mike Gular moved from 26th to 7th in the modified feature picking up a $100 award from Cornerstone Auto Sales.
Hatfield Quality Meats Night will feature the NASCAR 358 modifieds and late models on Saturday, August 8th at 7:30 p.m. On Thursday, August 13th the World of Outlaws late models will make their first ever appearance as part of a doubleheader with the big block modifieds.
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.