Bacon Makes It Four USAC Wins In-A-Row At Grandview; VonDohren Tops Mods In Thunder On The Hill Opener

Story By: BOB MILLER / THUNDER ON THE HILL – BECHTELSVILLE, PA – The NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series kicked off their 32nd season of racing action at Grandview Speedway with an exciting doubleheader.

The event found Brady Bacon claim the USAC National Sprint Car Series 40-lap event and Craig VonDohren win the 358 Modified portion of the program.

It was a chilly night on the hill but a speedy and efficiently run show was completed by 9:45 PM.

Two years have passed since the USAC National Sprint Car Series has taken laps at Grandview Speedway, but the result hasn’t changed as ‘The Macho Man’ Brady Bacon claimed his fourth consecutive USAC win.

“Grandview has quickly become one of my favorite tracks, and I look forward to coming here every year,” Bacon said in USAC Victory lane. “I knew if I could get to second, I’d be in a good position to get the win.”

Kevin Thomas Jr. jumped to the front of the pack at the drop of the green flag with Brandon Mattox, Tim Buckwalter, and Bacon in hot pursuit. Thomas gained a full-straight-a-way lead in the initial circuits while the battle for second heated up.

Bacon charged into third position on the sixth lap, and powered outside of Mattox coming out of turn two, moving into the second position just two laps later. The yellow flew for sixth-place competitor, Chris Windom, who spun after contact slowing the action for the first time of the night.

Losing his sizable lead, Thomas maintained the top spot on the restart with Bacon on his tail. The two diced around the topside of the one-third mile high banks, and battled side-by-side down the straightaways, working their way through heavy lapped traffic.

As the scoreboard ticked passed lap 20, Bacon slid high in turn four and dove to the inside of Thomas to complete the pass for the lead, quickly pulling a full 1 second advantage over Thomas.

The red flag flew on lap 29 for Steven Drevicki, who tagged the wall and flipped between turns 3 and 4.

Bacon continued his quest for four in-a-row on the restart, but Thomas wasn’t done, closing in during the later stages of the event, rapidly switching lanes but unable to make a move on Bacon, who scored the win and the $6,000 payday.

Kevin Thomas Jr. settled for second, Robert Ballou in third from the 13th starting position, Tanner Thorson finished in fourth and Jake Swanson rounded out the top five.

Bacon’s win tied him for the most consecutive Thunder on the Hill Racing Series wins, a record held by Greg Hodnett.

Boyertown, Pennsylvania’s Craig Von Dohren picked up the win in the 30-lap 358 Modified portion of the event scoring the $3,000 top prize.

“The thing about Grandview is that you never know how close someone is, so you always have to be prepared and stay up on the wheel,” Von Dohren said in NAPA Auto Parts Victory Lane.

Alex Yankowski started on the pole position and led the first two circuits with heavy pressure from two of Grandview’s winningest drivers, Von Dohren and Duane Howard .

Von Dohren powered passed Yankowski exiting turn two and charged to a sizable lead, with Howard moving into the second position.

The only challenge came when CVD battled through lapped traffic at the mid-way point of the event, but a caution with five laps to go offered up an open track and the ability to coast onto victory.

Duane Howard finished in the second position, Alex Yankowski in third, Jeff Strunk in fourth and Doug Manmiller in fifth.

ZEMCO Headers presented $50 Gift Certificates the USAC Heat Race and Semi Winners: Alex Bright, Joey Biasi, Chris Windom, and Briggs Danner and one to the worst 358 Modified starting line-up draw car won by Rick Laubach.

Modified Heat Race Winners Duane Howard, Jared Umbenhauer, and Doug Manmiller were presented with $100 courtesy of Harry & George Turner of GT Automotive & GT Radiator Repairs. $100 was also presented to both the USAC Sprint Car and 358 Modified winning Crew Chief courtesy of Robert Altman.

Robert Altman, who always has the Thunder on the Hill fans in mind, said ‘Thank You’ by presenting lucky fans with $10 WAWA gift cards.

The NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series returns to Grandview Speedway on Sunday, May 30 with the ‘Roaring Triple 20s’ event featuring three 20-lap feature events for the Big-Block and 358 Modifieds, along with the Sportsman, and Outlaw Racing Series Vintage cars.

USAC National Sprint Car Series

Time Trials – 1. Briggs Danner – 13.571, 2. Tanner Thorson – 13.789, 3. Jake Swanson – 13.886, 4. Paul Nienhiser – 13.926, 5. Timmy Buckwalter – 13.953, 6. Brady Bacon – 13.964, 7. Kevin Thomas, Jr. – 14.069, 8. CJ Leary – 14.071, 9. Brandon Mattox – 14.131, 10. Robert Ballou – 14.148, 11. Justin Grant – 14.162, 12. Chris Windom – 14.185, 13. Carmen Perigo – 14.199, 14. Chase Stockon – 14.273, 15. Ricky Lewis – 14.276, 16. Alex Bright – 14.313, 17. Joey Biasi – 14.359, 18. Matt Westfall – 14.354, 19. Steven Drevicki – 14.369, 20. Thomas Meseraull – 14.389, 21. Nash Ely – 14.523, 22. Mark Smith – 14.601, 23. Isaac Chapple – 14.602, 24. Kenny Miller III – 14.750, 25. Rich Mellor – 15.612

Heat 1 (10 Laps) – 1. Alex Bright 2. Robert Ballou 3. Carmen Perigo 4. Kevin Thomas Jr. 5. Steven Drevicki

Heat 2 (10 Laps) – 1. Joey Biasi 2. Justin Grant 3. Tim Buckwalter 4. Chase Stockon 5. Tanner Thorson

Heat 3 (10 Laps) – 1. Chris Windom 2. Brady Bacon 3. Matt Westfall 4. Jake Swanson 5. Brandon Mattox

B-Main (12 Laps) – 1. Briggs Danner 2. CJ Leary 3. Paul Nienhiser 4. Thomas Meseraull 5. Kenny Miller III 6. Isaac Chapple 7. Ricky Lewis

Feature (40 Laps) – 1. Brady Bacon 2. Kevin Thomas Jr. 3. Robert Ballou 4. Tanner Thorson 5. Jake Swanson 6. CJ Leary 7. Alex Bright 8. Timmy Buckwalter 9. Briggs Danner 10. Chris Windom 11. Brandon Mattox 12. Paul Nienhiser 13. Justin Grant 14. Chase Stockon 15. Thomas Meseraull 16. Matt Westfall 17. Joey Biasi 18. Ricky Lewis 19. Carmen Perigo 20. Kenny Miller III 21. Steven Drevicki 22. Isaac Chapple 23. Mark Smith

358 Modifieds

Heat 1 (10 Laps) – 1. Duane Howard 2. Dylan Swinehart 3. Craig Whitmoyer 4. Jeff Strunk 5. Dillon Steuer 6. Ron Kline

Heat 2 (10 Laps) – 1. Jared Umbenhauer 2. Steve Young 3. Justin Grim 4. Kevin Hirthler 5. Danny Bouc 6. Ryan Lilick

Heat 3 (10 Laps) – 1. Doug Manmiller 2. Brett Kressley 3. Craig Von Dohren 4. Alex Yankowski 5. John Willman 6. Brian Hirthler

Feature (30 Laps) – 1. Craig Von Dohren 2. Duane Howard 3. Alex Yankowski 4. Jeff Strunk 5. Doug Manmiller 6. Dillon Steuer 7. Brett Kressley 8. Kevin Hirthler 9. Dylan Swinehart 10. Justin Grim 11. John Willman 12. Craig Whitmoyer 13. Rick Laubach 14. Ryan Lilick 15. Ron Kline 16. Scott Frack 17. Nate Brinker 18. Jared Umbenhauer 19. Jack Butler 20. Danny Bouc 21. Brian Hirthler 22. Steve Young

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