MERKEL, STOUDT AND KLINE WIN SATURDAY NIGHT NASCAR FEATURES AT GRANDVIEW SPEEDWAYGrandview PR
Young Sean Merkel led every lap of the 30-lap Whelen Engineering Night Modified feature race to earn his first win of the season and the second of his career. Past champion Ron Kline rode to victory in the 20-lap Late Model feature that was left from a rained out show on April 14th while Randy Stoudt was the winner in the regularly scheduled 20-lapper for Late Models.
With 28-cars starting the Modified feature Merkel (Gilbertsville) was quick to take command from his second place starting position. In the early stages veteran talent Larry Soloman put some heavy pressure on the leader. Mike Gular moved up to challenge the leader at 10 laps. Six time track champion Craig VonDohren brought out a caution when he spun in turns three and four. A few laps later VonDohren was out of the race with front end problems. At the halfway mark past champion Ray Swinehart charged into second spot and put pressure on the leader.
A slower car gave Merkel a problem with five laps to go and damaged Swinehart?s car but he was able to continue. The final five laps were a down to the wire battle between Merkel and Swinehart.
Merkel thought he had broken something on the car and indicated that Swinehart had him worried in the late stages of the race. ?We had a tough 2006 season and this season did not start out that well,? said Merkel. ?I never would have believed we would be here (victory lane) tonight.?
Merkel, driving the Merkel Rebar/Pheasantland Roller Rink No. 118, picked up $2,200 for his winning efforts. Swinehart (Bechtelsville) grabbed second followed by Mike Gular (Green Lane), Jeff Strunk (Mohnton) and Larry Soloman (Birdsboro).
The first 20-lapper for Late Models had Dean Stoudt, a four time Late Model kingpin, setting the pace early. A multi-car accident brought out the caution on the second lap and Stoudt spun on the third lap and went to the rear of the field. Ron Kline went to the front of the pack and spent the rest of the feature holding off challenges from Brian Shuey and Randy Stoudt. At the finish Kline (East Greenville), a past champion, had a comfortable lead with his V&M Towing No. 3 over Randy Stoudt (Pottstown) followed by Brian Shuey (Hamburg), Mike Kellner (Lansdale) and Sean Merkel (Gilbertsville).
In victory lane Kline said, ?We missed the setup last week with this new car. We had it hooked up tonight.?
Wayne Pfeil looked impressive as he took the early lead. A multi-car accident wiped out a few of the top talents with defending champion Chuck Schutz and Ron Kline caught up in someone else?s mistake. Pfeil was able to keep his No. 72 in front of the pack and gave Randy Stoudt quite a battle for the top spot before past champion Stoudt put his Rogers Auto Parts/TP Trailers sponsored No. 10 in front of the pack on the 8th lap and that was where he stayed until the checkered flag fell.
Brian Shuey (Hamburg) tried to make a close race of it but had to settle for second as Stoudt had a comfortable lead at the finish. Wayne Pfeil (Mohnton) came home with an impressive third followed by Rick Todorow (Lansdale) and Dean Stoudt (Green Lane).
Qualifying heats for the Late Models went to Ron Kline, Brian Shuey and Rick Todorow.
Qualifying events for the Modifieds were won by Doug Manmiller, Mike Gular, Jeff Strunk and Ryan Watt. The two consolation victories went to Kyle Weiss and Tom Umbenhauer.
The Cornerstone Auto Sales of Fleetwood, PA Hard Charger Awards went to Jeff Strunk in the Modifieds gaining 8 spo