FINAL LAP PASS GETS STRUNK A WIN AT GRANDVIEW, MIKE KELLNER WINS BEER CITY FIRECRACKER 40Grandview PR
BECHTELSVILLE, PA JULY 6, 2008 . . . A final lap pass between the third and fourth turns gave Jeff Strunk and the Gold Rush Custom Trailers No. 126 their second win of the season in the 30-lap Beer City NASCAR 358 Modified feature race at Grandview Speedway on Saturday night. In the annual Firecracker 40, the biggest event of the season for the Late Model stock cars, Mike Kellner was able to take his first win in the classic event wheeling the Touch of Green Landscaping No. 57.
The 29-car starting field for the Modified feature race had their share of problems getting the event started. Two cautions for accidents on the first lap eliminated Ryan Beltz from the field and put Shawn Reimert to the back of the pack.
Chris Gambler set the first lap pace with Kurt Spotts moving to the front on the second circuit of the one-third-mile, banked clay oval. Cautions plagued the fourth lap with no less than four cautions slowing the pace of the event and sending the field into a single file restart.
At five laps Kurt Spotts was in charge with Chris Gambler keeping the leader within his sights.
Jason Hamilton became a factor with six laps in the record book and for the next six laps Hamilton put heavy pressure on the leader. Todd Smith brought out a caution on the 12th lap when he stopped in the third turn. The restart saw Hamilton shoot to the front.
Three laps later six time track champion and current point leader Jeff Strunk, coming from 16th starting spot, was pressuring Hamilton and Ryan Godown, who had started 22nd, was now third.
Early leader Spotts hit the wall hard in turn four. He was out for the night but not injured.
With 20 laps tallied Hamilton continued to lead with Strunk, Godown, Doug Manmiller and Craig VonDohren in the chase.
Hamilton continued to master the clay oval and Strunk until the final lap when a lapped car, running in the third turn, forced Hamilton to slow and change his groove. Strunk, a master at Grandview, took advantage and snuck under the leader, forcing him out a little, and took the lead and rode to his second win of the season.
Strunk (Mohnton) earned $2250 for his first place effort.
Second spot went to Ryan Godown (Ringoes, NJ) while Hamilton (Erwinna) finished a disappointing third. Doug Manmiller (Shoemakersville) came home fourth followed by six time track champion Craig VonDohren (Oley).
In victory lane Strunk told victory lane interviewer Pete Knappenberger that he didn?t know if he could have gotten the win if the lapped car had not ?helped him.?
Wayne Pfeil Jr., looking for his first career victory at Grandview, took the lead at the drop of the green in the Firecracker 40 and pulled away from the field.
At the end of five laps Pfeil had a comfortable lead over second place Kyle Merkel. Bill Henning, a former Firecracker winner, held down third spot.
Mike Kellner became a factor in the battle for the top spot when he moved into second spot with seven laps in the record book.
Pfeil and Kellner put on a real show for the fans as they ran side-by-side for several laps. At the 12-lap marker Kellner put his mount in front of the field.
With half the race complete Kellner almost was put out of the race when a slower car spun and Kellner did a magnificent bit of driving to avoid him.
For many of the final 20 laps Chuck Schutz and Wayne Pfeil put on a spirited battle for second spot with Schutz getting the honors. With just a few laps remaining Schutz tried to challenge Kellner for the win but there were just not enough laps for Schutz to go after his third Firecracker 40 win and Kellner was able to hold on for the win.
Kellner (Lansdale) said, ?I watched the board (scoreboard) and could see Schutz was there. The outside groove was perfect. There was not much on the bottom so I stayed on top. This wi