Bechtelsville, Pa. ? Billy Pauch Jr., a rookie in the modified division this season at Grandview, led many laps of the main event several weeks ago only to be sidelined by fuel pump problems.
Saturday night Pauch Jr. put the Bob Greene-owned Pioneer Pole Buildings No. 8P into the lead with five laps to go in the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Racing Series modified feature and went on to capture his first career victory in the 358-modified class at the 1/3-mile oval. The night was the Don Marks Memorial presented by Main Racing Engines and the Mavericks Motorcycle Club. Marks was the long-time track photographer who passed away in March, 2008. In addition to the top prize money, Pauch Jr. also received lap money and a statue courtesy of Cheers Tavern.
Todd Marburger charged into the early lead and set the pace for two laps before the yellow came out after Ryan Godown, 14th-place starter and one of last week?s feature winner, was put in the wall and stopped between the third and fourth turn out of contention for the night. Before action starter Craig Von Dohren, who had to qualify through the consi and started 23rd running Duane Howard?s back-up car, pulled out of the race. On the restart Marburger maintained his position being challenged by another rookie Kyle Follweiler, Troy Wink, Chris Esposito and Tom Umbenhauer, driving the Norm Hansell No. 357.
Marc Fehr brought out the yellow on the fifth lap when he stopped in the fourth turn after being bounced off the wall. Follweiler became the new leader on the restart with Wink following through for second to challenge. The lead changed hands again on the eighth lap restart needed when Doug Manmiller found himself facing the wrong direction in turn four. This time Wink moved to the number one spot trailed by Follweiler, Marburger, Esposito and John Willman. Mike Gular was attempting to get into the top five and he advanced to fourth by lap nine.
The yellow was out again with ten laps completed when Ryan Grim stopped between turns three and four. On the restart Gular was on the move and took over first.
Behind Gular dicing for positions were Wink, Duane Howard, who made his way through the competition from 13th; Follweiler and Willman. Howard overtook second on the 14th lap to challenge Gular for the lead. On the 17th lap Meme DeSantis, a feature winner last week and Jeff Strunk tangled between the third and fourth turn for yet another caution. Howard, experienced rear-end problems with the car and pitted before the race resumed. Gular was still the pacesetter on the restart with the order behind him comprised of Wink, Follweiler, Pauch and Marburger.
Wink, who was having a solid run, stopped in the third turn on the 24th lap after Pauch Jr. made contact with him when he slowed a bit to bring out the final caution. When action went green again Pauch Jr. took over the lead with Gular giving him no margin to error.
Pauch Jr. never looked back and pulled into victory lane to be the ninth different feature winner thus far. Finishing second was Gular followed by Shawn Reimert, for his best finish and he also received $400 collected by various photographers headed by Chris Budihas for the first driver to finish not in the top 15 in points; Jason Hamilton and Follweiler, who recorded his best run. Rounding out the top ten were Strunk, Esposito, Danny Hieber, Terry Meitzler and Marburger. Gular received the Dan?s Deli Half-Way award, Jon Kellner Jr. was the recipient of the CornerStone Auto Sales Hard Charger award and Todd Smith, who finished 13th, received $100 from EMPA for being the last car on the lead lap.