BECHTELSVILLE, PA The first two thirds of the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All American Series 358 Modified feature race at Grandview Speedway Saturday night was all about Jason Hamilton, the final one third was all about Craig VonDohren as the six time past champion drove to his second win of the season and 72nd of his career. Billy Pauch Jr. did double duty running in both the Modified feature and ARDC Wingless Midget feature won the 25-lapper for the Midgets using the outside groove to storm past all competitors on his way to his second Midget win of the season. Young Kyle Hieber won the 15-lap feature for SpeedSTRS.
“Motors are good, cars are good and we just keep rolling along,” said the low key VonDohren in victory lane. “The cautions worked out for us tonight.” He gave credit for the win to his variety of sponsors and his crew.
Jason Hamilton put the Beer City No. 15 in front of the 28 car starting field and spent the first two thirds of the 30-lap Modified feature leading the race while early season feature winners John Willman and Sean Merkel were battling with Sean Merkel and VonDohren.
Coming from 10th starting spot and spending a couple of laps trying to get the top spot from Hamilton, VonDohren was able to put the Felty Farms #1c in front of the field with one third of the race still to be run. The Boyertown racer was able to avoid a couple of cautions in the final laps to beat Hamilton (Erwina) across the finish line and pick up the $2,200 first place money.
The second place finish for Hamilton was his best effort of the season as he has been hampered by a variety of mechanical issues.
Third spot went to John Willman (Birdsboro) followed by current NASCAR Modified point leader Duane Howard (Oley) and Sean Merkel (Gilbertsville).
A multi car tangle in the fourth turn before the first lap was completed eliminated point leader and two feature winner Steve Buckwalter from the 25-lap ARDC feature. Jason Rice got credit for leading the first lap while teenager Trevor Kobylarz took command on the second circuit. At the midway point the youngster still was in charge but Billy Pauch Jr. had the Burke Trucking No. 54 in the charge mode after having started way back in 18th spot. With just six laps left Pauch charged to the front of the pack and went on to win.
Second spot went to Kobylarz followed by Drew Heistand, Bruce Buckwalter Jr. and Frank Polimeda.
A late race caution eliminated both Lou Cicconi, making his first dirt midget racing start in 18 years, and Andrew Hannula who had run much of the event in the top five.
“We were pretty fast here tonight and I am looking forward to returning for the ARDC Midget race when they run with the USAC Wingless Sprint cars (June 1),” said the Frenchtown, NJ racer in victory lane.
Gary Huber set the early pace in the 15-lap SpeedSTRs feature race and was the frontrunner until the Kyle Hieber, coming from sixth, was able to put his Bucks County International No. 66 in first spot on the 13th lap going on to pick up the victory. Hieber (Langhorne) had a comfortable lead when he took the checkered flag. Huber finished second followed by Doug Rose, Jeff Gallup and Tyler Potts.
Brandon Rahmer, teenage son of sprint car legend Fred Rahmer, flipped wildly on the backstretch during the second lap of the SpeedSTR feature. He was not injured. Fred Rahmer Jr. earned a sixth in the feature race.
Qualifying heat races for the NASCAR 358 Modifieds, 49 cars on hand, were won by VonDohren, Ryan Godown, Jeff Strunk and Sean Merkel. The consolation races went to Kevin Hirthler and Chris Esposito.
For the ARDC midgets their three qualifying heats were won by Frank Polimeda, rookie Alex Bright and Donnie Trent. The consolation race had Steve Buckwalter beating Lou Cicconi to the checkered flag.
Tyler Potts and Kyle Hieber won the qualifiers for the SpeedSTRs.
The Dan’s Deli Halfway Leader Award went to Jason Hamilton in the Modified feature. And the Cargo Trailer Sales 10th Place Finisher Award with the Modifieds went to Jeff Strunk.
3 STARZ LANDSCAPING sponsors the doubleheader night of racing action at Grandview Speedway on Saturday, May 22nd. The green flag falls at 7:30 p.m. with NASCAR 358 Modifieds and Late Models in action.
Coming up on Wednesday, May 26th at 7:30 p.m. will be the first Thunder on the Hill midweek show featuring the Keystone Cup 410 sprint cars and Sportsman stock cars.
Reasonably priced opportunities to market through motorsports at Grandview Speedway are available by contacting Ernie Saxton Communications, Inc. at 215.752.7797. A color brochure outlining all the opportunities is available upon request.
Grandview Speedway is located at 43 Passmore Road in Bechtelsville, PA, just a short distance off Route 100, 10 miles north of Pottstown. For information telephone 610.754.7688 or check in at www.grandviewspeedway.com.
PIT NOTES: Late Model racers Ron Kline and Kyle Merkel will be at the Lehigh Valley Grand Prix on Thursday, May 20th at 6 p.m. and to race karts at 7 p.m. The facility is located on S. 10th Street in Allentown, PA. Check it out at www.lehighvalleygrandprix.com