STRUNK GETS THIRD WIN, KYLE MERKEL GETS FIRST CAREER WIN AT GRANDVIEW SPEEDWAYGrandview PR
BECHTELSVILLE, PA JULY 22, 2007 . . . For the third time this season Jeff Strunk, the current point leader in the chase for the NASCAR Modified track championship, won the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All American Modified Series feature race at Grandview Speedway on Saturday night. The 20-lap Late Model feature saw Kyle Merkel win giving the teenager his first career victory. Josh Morrow of Hamburg, PA was able to win the 15-lap Central Pennsylvania Legends race.
Mike Laise, a recent high school graduate, was the leader for two laps before Randy Bailey took command. Early in the 30-lapper Duane Howard, a four feature winner locked in a tight battle for the Modified championship, was sent to the rear of the 28-car field for a rule infraction.
Bailey, a sometimes retired racer, set the pace until the seventh lap when a caution saw Mike Laise, the early leader, drop out. On the restart Rich Wisdo charged to the front . At the one third mark in the feature race Craig VonDohren, a six time champion, headed to the pits after running with the leaders.
At the 12-lap marker Wisdo and Rick Schaffer were locked in a tight battle while Duane Howard was working his way toward the front. Schaffer even put his Norm Hansell No. 357 in front of the pack briefly.
Wisdo and Schaffer continued the battle until the 21st lap when Schaffer, who had not been to victory lane since June, 2004, went to the front. Two laps later Jeff Strunk, who came up from 11th spot, was knocking on Schaffer?s rear bumper.
With just five laps remaining Strunk charged in front of the pack with Schaffer and Howard now battling for second. Howard went to second and was gaining on Strunk when he hit the third turn wall giving second back to Schaffer. On the final lap Howard (Oley) came back to gain second but time had run out for him to make a charger toward the leader and that is where he finished as Strunk was able to bring the Gold Rush Trailers No. 126 home first.
The Mohnton racer dedicated the win to Chad Miller, a youngster who worked on the crew and was killed in a single car auto accident a couple weeks back. Chad?s dad, Donnie, continues to be the crew chief on the winning car.
Third place went to Rick Schaffer (Woxall) followed by Mike Gular ( Green Lane) coming from 23rd starting spot, and Kevin Hirthler (Boyertown).
Rich Wisdo, an early race leader, finished in fifth spot but was disqualified for having an illegal carburetor on his race car.
In the 20-lap main event for the NASCAR Late Models three time past champion John Giesler went to the front of the 21 car starting field at the drop of the green. Giesler set the pace for five laps before Kyle Merkel, a teenage racer who watched his brother Sean win the Modified feature at Grandview the week before, took control of the race.
Once in front Merkel (Gilbertsville), in the family owned Gouldey Meats/ Merkel Rebar No. 117, had a relatively easy time of it leading all the remaining laps though past champion Ron Kline did put some pressure on in the final laps but the Salford racer had to settle for second. John Giesler (Aston), an early race leader, finished third followed by all time leading feature winner Jon Kellner Sr. (Lansdale) and Wayne Pfeil (Mohnton).
Steve Nederostek had the early lead in the 15-lap main event for the Central PA Legends but just could not hold back the strong challenges of Josh Morrow who finally went to the front with about one-third of the race complete. Once in front Morrow (Hamburg) was able to hold off the strong efforts of Nederostek and Tim Henry to grab his first feature win at Grandview Speedway. Second spot went to Nederostek following by Tim Henry, Brian Weitzel and Andy Lupfer. Ronnie Dunstan put on an impressive display of driving talent coming from 23rd starting spot to finish sixth,
The Legends will return to action at Grand