MERKEL AND SCHUTZ ARE BIG WINNERS AT GRANDVIEW SPEEDWAY IN NASCAR STOCK CAR RACING EVENTSGrandview PR
Bechtelsville, PA July 15, 2007 . . . For the second time this season young Sean Merkel was able to wheel the family owned Pheasantland Roller Rink No. 118 home first in the 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All American Modified stock car race at Grandview Speedway on Saturday night. Three time champion Chuck Schutz was first across the line with his Jesse Baro Trucking/Herb Real Estate No. 1 in the 20-lap feature for the NASCAR Late Models.
A multi car accident on the first lap eliminated a few of the 30-car starting field with Sean Merkel taking command when starter Ray Kemp gave the green after the lengthy caution. Once in front Merkel was able to lead all the laps on his way to victory.
The Gilbertsville, PA racer had his hands full in the final laps when lapped traffic slowed his pace.
?I was getting worried by lapped traffic,? said Merkel. ?I settled down an could feel that I had some help in the car with me tonight.? Merkel was referring to his friend Chad Miller who had been killed in an auto accident earlier that week. He dedicated his victory to Miller.
When victory lane announcer Pete Knappenberger had some problems with the microphone Merkel was quick to say, ?That is just Chad having some fun with us.?
Second spot went to Jeff Strunk who was closing on the leader at the finish. The Mohnton racer started 11th and charged into second on the final lap. He did not have enough time left to mount a strong challenge for winner Merkel.
Ryan Grim, Laury Station, had his best effort of the season claiming third after running in second for most of the laps.
Fourth spot went to Kevin Hirthler (Green Lane) followed by Danny Erb (Boyertown). Hirthler was disappointed that he did not win because he has a crew member that has refused to cut his hair until he wins a feature.
The second place effort by Strunk and a seventh place finish by point leader Duane Howard moved Strunk in front in the chase for the lucrative championship at Grandview Speedway.
Rounding out the top ten were Todd Marburger, Howard, Meme DeSantis, Craig VonDohren and John Willman.
Larry Solomon, who rolled his No. 517 Modified on the first lap, was not injured.
John Giesler took control of the 20-lap NASCAR Late Model race on the first lap and set the pace for seven circuits of the one-third-mile, banked clay oval. Both Bryon Sipe and Chuck Schutz, feature winners already this season, challenged Giesler and made life miserable for the three time champion for several laps.
At seven laps Schutz went to the front of the pack with Sipe trying to grab the top spot.
Mike Kellner turned some of the fastest laps and was able to grab second when the Lansdale racer charged past Sipe on the final circuit.
Kyle Merkel looked like he might be able to make a ?family sweep? of the night, running with the leaders, but the younger brother of the Modified feature winner got caught up in an on track incident and finished 15th.
At the finish Schutz (Pottstown) had a comfortable lead over second place Kellner
Sipe (Leesport) finished in third spot followed by early leader Giesler (Aston) and four time Late Model champion Dean Stoudt (East Greenville).
Schutz credited his patience with helping him win his second feature of the season. He did point out that he had shock problems earlier in the night and the team was fortunate to solve them before the feature race. Schutz dedicated his win to Chad Miller.
Brian Shuey continues to lead the point standings in the Late Models by a narrow margin over challenger Mike Kellner
The entire night of racing was dedicated to the memory of young Chad Miller, a 17-year-old, fatally injured in an auto accident earlier in the week. The well liked and personable youngster worked on the crew that handled the No. 126 Modified driven by Jeff Strunk.