Race Results 09/14/2003

JEFF STRUNK WINS FIRST T.H.PROPERTIES FREEDOM 76 AT GRANDVIEW

Bechtelsville, PA September 14, 2003 . . . Many of the top names in dirt track modified stock car racing have won the T.H. Properties Freedom 76 Modified stock car classic at Grandview Speedway and now two time track champion Jeff Strunk can add his name to the impressive list of winners.
Strunk, at the wheel of the Chad Sinon Motorsports/BPG Racing Bicknell, wheeled to victory in the richest event of the season winning more than $20,000 as he rode to victory in the 33rd annual T.H. Properties Freedom 76 on Sunday night (the original Saturday night date had been rained out).
In victory lane, with rain falling, Strunk thanked his crew, his car owner, his sponsors and the promoters of the event. “It is the race I have always wanted to win. I can’t tell you how happy I am,” said the Bethel, PA racer.
Fourty cars started the 76 lap classic with veteran Doug Hoffman putting the Herzog Auto Sales #77H in front of the pack at the drop of the green. At the end of the 10 laps Hoffman, a winner of the Freedom 76 in 1984, was still on top with Tracy Readinger running second. Keith Hoffman, the Big Diamond Raceway Coalcracker 100 winner, was already out of the race with tire problems and Billy Pauch was involved in a multi car accident forcing him to the rear of the field.
At the 20-lap mark it was still Hoffman in front while Jeff Strunk and Duane Howard gave chase. Two laps later Hoffman and Strunk “traded paint” in the fourth turn and the new leader was Jeff Strunk.
Though Hoffman and Duane Howard tried to “reel in” the leader a couple times it was clear that it was Jeff Strunk’s night as he had a straightaway lead on the field a number of times.
The real battle, the one that had the fans on edge, was the Hoffman and Howard chase for second, often times running side by side.
Some felt things might change when all cars stopped for fuel at the 45-lap mark but on the restart Strunk jumped out in front and there were no strong challenges. Duane Howard (Oley) finished second in a close down to the checkered flag battle with Hoffman (Allentown). Fourth place went to Doug Manmiller of Wyomissing and Craig VonDohren (Oley) was able to come home fifth.
Both Howard and Hoffman pointed out, after the race, that Strunk was the class of field and they just had nothing for him in the final laps. Both drivers expressed happiness at being able to finish so well against so many outstanding drivers even though they do not run here on a regular basis.
Qualifying heat races were won Keith Hoffman, Duane Howard, Billy Pauch, Sean Merkel, Kyle Weiss, Paul Kline, Ryan Beltz and Kenny Gilmore. The consolations went to Ed Scott, Rick Schaffer, Doug Pannepacker and Ken Lindaberry.
The Schaeffer Motorsports Minuteman 20, sending five cars to the feature race, was won by Kerry Kratz. And the Cheer’s Tavern Cash Dash worth $1000 went to Billy Pauch.
More than 80 race cars were in the pits for the T.H. Properties Freedom 76.