Bechtelsville, Pa. ? Jeff Strunk, the defending Grandview Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series modified point champion joined forces with Vince Gagliardo to be the new driver for the 2009 in the Vince?s Towing No. 41. The team struggled for awhile, but improvement was being made as the weeks progressed.
Saturday night the seven-time champion overtook Duane Howard, the point leader going into the feature, on a restart before Howard developed mechanical problems. Strunk kept the ?Squeak? Slaybaugh powered mount at the head of the pack the remaining laps to finish a close margin ahead of runner-up Craig Von Dohren as he crossed the finish line. It was Strunk?s first win of the season at the oval in the 30-lap event sponsored by Tom Oates Chevy. Strunk not only won the feature, he now moved into the point lead. he dedicated the win to his friend Brandon Gilbert who was killed in a motorcycle accident.
Rookie A.J. DeSantis put the Dino?s Wings & Things No. 14D into the early lead on the start trailed by Jeremy Banos, Addison Meitzler, another rookie; Brad Missimer and Kyle Follweiler, also a rookie. The first caution was on the third lap when Jon Kellner found himself in the second turn wall. Kevin hirthler was placed to the rear for a rule infraction. A.J. DeSantis maintained his position when action resumed with pressure now coming from A. Meitzler, Banos, Kerry Kratz and Missimer. With six laps in the record books Billy Pauch Jr. came to a rest in the first turn wall after being bounced off the fourth turn wall. Keith Brightbill also went pitside before action resumed. A.J. DeSantis was still the leader on the restart, but now the order behind him was comprised of A. Meitzler, Kratz, Howard and Strunk.
Howard advanced to second on the ninth lap to challenge A.J. DeSantis for the lead.
Terry Meitzler spun on the backstretch on the 11th lap to bring out the yellow. When action went green again Howard, the veteran, outgunned A.J. DeSantis to become the new pacesetter.
One lap later Strunk was in the runner-up spot setting his sights on Howard. Don Norris Jr. stopped along the backstretch for the caution on the 15th lap and just as the leaders approached him, he pulled across the track. Luckily a major incident was avoided.
On the restart Strunk overpowered Howard, but that quick Howard dropped off the pace. Howard was trying to get into the infield, but the yellow was out for the final time on the 16th lap.
With Strunk the new leader, the battle for positions behind him developed between Von Dohren, father and son Meme and A.J. DeSantis and Kerry Kratz with the order never changing.
In the closing stages of the event, lap cars allowed Von Dohren to reel Strunk in as Von Dohren was gaining ground on Strunk. Time ran short for Von Dohren as Strunk pulled into the winner?s circle. Von Dohren had to settle for second followed by Meme DeSantis, A.J. DeSantis, for his rookie best finish and Kerry Kratz, who finally had a change of luck to pull off a fifth place finish. Rounding out the top ten were Mike Gular,
who received the CornerStone Auto Sales Hard Charger award; Jason Hamilton, Ryan Godown, Shawn Reimert and Kevin Hirthler. Howard received the Dan?s Deli 1/2-way leader award.
RANDY STOUDT CLAIMS L.M. MEMORIAL CLASSIC FEATURE AT GRANDVIEW
Bechtelsville, PA ? With three laps to go in the 30-lap NASCAR late model memorial classic race on Saturday night at Grandview Speedway, Randy Stoudt shot underneath leader Chuck Schutz and went on to claim the victory worth $1,000.