BECHTELSVILLE, PA ~ Winning a race on your sponsor?s night is a good thing. Ron Kline did a good thing on Saturday night at Grandview Speedway when he drove his Curt J. High & Associates/V&M Towing sponsored No.3 to victory in the Curt J. High & Associates sponsored Firecracker 40 for the Late Model stock cars. And Kevin Hirthler was more lucky than good as he was able to take over the number one spot when leader Duane Howard went to the pits with a flat tire on the 23rd lap and then lead the rest of the way to claim his first NASCAR 358 Modified feature win of the season.
A jubilant Ron Kline stood on the roof of his car celebrating the win in victory lane and then got down and kissed the roof of his car. ?We have been experimenting with different setups,? said Kline as he collected the $2,000 first place money. ?We hit the right setup tonight. Nothing better than to win on the night your sponsor is sponsoring the race.? Kline last won the Late Model Classic back in 2009.
John Favinger charged to the front leading the 23 car starting field through the first lap and setting the pace for the first five laps on the one-third-mile, banked clay oval. At the six lap marker Kline, charging from sixth starting spot, passed Favinger coming off turn four to take command of the championship event.
The veteran driver, who calls Salford, PA home, was able to survive the chaos of more than 60 caution laps to lead the balance of the 40-lap race to claim the rich victory.
Mike Kellner looked like he might be able to mount a charge in the late laps but driveshaft problems forced him out of competition on the 36th circuit.
At the finish Kline had a comfortable margin of victory over Randy Stoudt (Pottstown). Third spot went to current Late Model point leader Chuck Schutz (Pottstown) followed by Danny Snyder (Green Lane) who had been a challenger early in the race. Fifth place was earned by Wayne Pfeil Jr. (Mohnton).
In the 30-lap main event for the NASCAR Whelen All American Series 358 Modifieds young Todd Smith took the front spot at the start but the lead was short lived as veteran racer Danny Erb charged to the front. A caution for Gary Hager who stopped in turn one closed up the field on the leader at 12 laps. On the restart Erb had point leader and defending champion Duane Howard, coming from 15th starting spot, to contend with. The midway marker showed Howard in front and pulling away from the field and looking as if he was well on his way to a fifth feature win.
With 23 laps in the record book a wild melee on the backstretch saw Don Norris Jr., Ron Seltman, Nate Christman and Shawn Reimert involved bringing out a red flag.
As the field waited for a restart officials noticed that Howard?s BPG Racing No. 4 had a flat tire and he was sent to the pits returning to start at the back of the pack with just seven laps to go. Kevin Hirthler took over the lead and was able to hold off strong challenges in the closing laps Mike Gular, Ryan Godown, Craig VonDohren and Kevin Albert.
At the finish Godown was nipping at the rear of Hirthler?s mount as the checkered flag fell giving the win to the youngster from Boyertown. Godown (Ringoes, NJ) finished an impressive second followed by Gular (Green Lane), VonDohren (Boyertown) and Albert (Lebanon). Duane Howard managed to get back up to 14th spot before the race was finished.
?Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good,? said Hirthler in victory lane. ?Duane (Howard) was not lucky tonight. This is the shove out season needed. The different setup we have been trying (on the car) came around tonight.?
Qualifying heats for the Late Models were won by Randy Stoudt, Danny Snyder and Rick Todorow with the top two finishers in each heat race earning extra cash courtesy of Luppold Hardware of Laureldale, PA. The five lap 3Starz Landscaping of Hatboro, PA Cash Dash was won by Danny Snyder.
In the NASCAR 358 Modified qualifiers wins went to Kevin Hirthler, Ryan Godown, Mike Gular and