BECHTELSVILLE, PA ~ With about 10 laps to go in the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen 358 Modified feature race at Grandview Speedway on Saturday night not even Duane Howard thought he had a chance to win. He had just cracked the top ten and Jon Kellner Sr., Doug Manmiller and Kyle Follweiler were putting on a crowd pleasing battle for the top spots.
A couple of cautions changed the standings in the closing laps and when two laps to go was indicated Howard and his Blue Bell Air No. 4 were in third place to the amazement of the large crowd of fans. At the finish Howard had taken to the high groove and charged past both Kellner and Manmiller, who were running one-two, and claimed his seventh feature victory of the season much to the delight of fans in the stands.
Jason Miller brought his Miller Used Cars & Trucks No.44 home first in the 20-lap Late Model feature race giving him his first win at the Berks County oval since 2004. And Mike Stringer was first across the finish line in the 25-lap feature for the Sportsman stock cars with his J.T.Auto Center No. 23 to gain his first career feature win at the NASCAR sanctioned clay oval.
Bobby Gunther Walsh set the pace from his pole position starting spot on the first lap with Glenn Strunk going to the front in the 30-lap NASCAR 358 Modified feature race on the second lap followed by his teammate Jon Kellner Sr.
The two staged a close battle with Kyle Follweiler joining the action at the five lap marker. At 10 laps the top three remained the same but on the 12th lap Jon Kellner took over the lead after a caution.
Right on up to the 20th circuit of the one-third-mile, clay oval Kellner was in command followed by Glenn Strunk and Follweiler. A few laps later Follweiler was able to move to second but on the 25th lap Kellner and Follweiler made contact in Turn 3. Kellner was able to hold on to his top spot but Follweiler went to the pits done for the night.
Doug Manmiller was now the challenger trying to take first from Kellner and the two staged a tight battle. Todd Smith brought out the caution with two laps to go and setting up a green-white-checkered chase for the win that now included Duane Howard.
With the green out Howard made a charge to the outside and when the checkered flag fell fans were astounded to see that the Modified point leader had been able to charge past Kellner and Manmiller on the outside to gain his seventh win of the season. The Oley based racer is now firmly in control of the battle for the track championship.
Second spot went to veteran Jon Kellner (Lansdale) with Doug Manmiller (Shoemakersville) a very close third. Craig VonDohren (Boyertown) claimed fourth followed by nine time track champion Jeff Strunk (Pottstown).
Cliff Quinn earned a $100 Hard Luck Award from an anonymous fan in memory of Big Tom Hager, a dirt track racing legend that had passed away recently.
The 20-lap Late Model feature had Lou Egrie Sr. in front at the start and setting the pace for the early laps. A four car battle for first featured Egrie Sr., Jason Miller, Kory Fleming and Rick Todorow but at the six lap mark Miller was able to take control.
Once in front the New Tripoli racer was able to hold off challenges from Egrie, Fleming and Danny Snyder throughout the race to earn his first win at Grandview since 2004. Second spot went to Kory Fleming (Milford, NJ) holding off Danny Snyder (Green Lane) by a narrow margin. Point leader Chuck Schutz (Pottstown) finished fourth while Rick Todorow (Quakertown) gained a fifth place finish.
The caution filled 25-lap feature for the Sportsman racers had Mike Stringer (Germansville) leading from start to finish but having quite a few challengers. The feature winner had actually forecasted his victory earlier in the day much to the amazement of many since he had never been a winner at Grandview before. Craig Whitmoyer (Hamburg) charged from 1