Race Results 04/18/2015Grandview PR
By: VICKI GEHRIS
BECHTELSVILLE, PA. ? Former point champion Duane Howard quickly closed the distance between himself and leader Ryan Watt, who encountered lap cars that somewhat hindered him, by the 18th lap of the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified feature on Saturday night at Grandview Speedway. Two laps later Howard put the Mike Petruska-owned/Atlas Paving mount into the lead.
Defending point champion Jeff Strunk came on strong in the closing stages, but time ran out and Howard pulled into victory lane to be the first repeat winner of the season in the division.
It was Howard?s 66th career win at the oval which is ironically his car number. After a fourth-place heat finish the crew made major changes and Howard commented, ?They gave me a hell of a race car for the feature.? He also picked up an additional $250 from T.P. Trailers, Limerick.
Polesitter Kevin Hirthler led for one lap before Glenn ?The Professor? Strunk powered ahead on the second circuit. Jockeying for positions behind him were Hirthler, Watt, Tim Buckwalter and Danny Erb.
Doug Manmiller brought out the first caution when he stopped along the fourth turn wall with a front and back flat right tire on the fifth lap. He was able to rejoin the action following a quick pit stop. After three attempts to get the next lap completed Glenn Strunk was still the pacesetter with runner-up Watt making his presence known.
The lead changed for the third time on the seventh lap as Watt and Buckwalter got past Glenn Strunk as he fell to third with Howard and Jeff Strunk fourth and fifth.
Kyle Weiss, last week?s feature winner, slowed in turn one bringing out the yellow on lap nine. He soon was trackside again. Watt maintained the lead but now Howard was in second and Watt wasted no time outdistancing himself from the rest of the competition.
Lap cars came into the picture by lap 18 which allowed Howard to reel Watt in to pressure him for the lead.
Howard took advantage of the situation the others were also dealt and powered into first on lap 20. Dealing with the slower cars behind Howard now were Watt, Jeff Strunk, Buckwalter and Mike Gular.
Watt and Jeff Strunk battled for second for several laps before Jeff Strunk cleared him and set sail after Howard.
No one was able to erase the distance and Howard was victorious again. Coming on strong in the end only to have to settle for second was Jeff Strunk followed by Watt, who also picked up the Dan?s Deli ?-way Hoagie certificate; Buckwalter and Gular. Jared Umbenhauer, Frank Cozze, Erb, meme DeSantis and John Willman, who received the Cargo Trailer certificate completed the top ten.
Jeff Strunk, Buckwalter and Watt won the heats.
Craig Von Dohren, the point leader going into the night, took a hard hit in the heat and had to be double-hooked to the pits. They were able to repair the car for the feature in which he took a provisional and he finished 14th.
In Late Model action Lou Egrie, who sat out the previous week with engine problems, came back strong and led from the second lap until the drop of the checkered to win his first 25-lap NASCAR BRC Late Model feature of the season. It was his first win since May 12, 2012. He collected the $100 T.P. Trailers bonus along with the Dan?s Deli ?-way Hoagie certificate.
Bill Henning, back from vacation, set the pace for one lap until Egrie motored ahead.
While Egrie showed the way, the Merkel brothers Cory and Sean diced for second while Henning, Steve Gross and Chuck Schutz anticipated a false move.
By the 10th lap it was a three-way battle for first between Egrie and the Merkel?s.
Gross brought out the caution on the 19th lap when he spun in turn two. It was still Egrie at the front of the field on the restart.
With the Merkel?s battling this allowed Egrie some extra breathing room.
Sean Merkel finally cleared Cory on the 22nd lap and next would have to try to catch Egrie.
Egrie never surrendered the lead and p