Column By: TOM WENNER / RPW – MINERSVILLE, PA – Brian Hirther drove the beautiful Four Star 4* car from 10th starting position to the lead with 2 laps to go on Saturday Night at Grandview Speedway in the Open Sportsman Season Points Opener.
Saturday’s feature win was the 13th triumph of his Sportsman career and a great way to get his ’22 season started.
Hirthler has won the Grandview Open Sportsman title in 2017 and 2020, But lost last year after winning 5 times in ‘21 to Kenny Gilmore. Gilmore retired from competition, choosing to put Adrianna Delliponte in the family owned #7 in 2022.
At the Drop of the green for the T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Open Sportsman 25 Lap Main event Ryan Graver in the 101 took command. Jesse Landis in the 973 was quickly in chase, followed by Colton Perry, Jimmy Leiby, Jesse Hirthler, Adrianna Delliponte and Kenny Bock. As the field came for lap 2, Jesse Landis powered the 973 into the lead.
On lap 2 the caution lights were turned on as Mike Myers brought the #7 to a stop with mechanical failure in turns 1 & 2. Steve Young took the 187 to the pits during this caution.
Back to green and Landis was now the leader with Graver, Perry, Leiby, J. Hirthler, Bock and Esposito giving chase. Young Cole Stangle was making a charge from the back of the pack. Stangle was 13th from his 20th starting position.
As the field hit the 5 down mark, Jesse Landis was powering away from the field. Graver remained in 2nd, Rookie Jesse Hirthler was 3rd, Perry in 4th, Jimmy Leiby in 5th, and Brian Hirthler from his 10th starting spot cracked the Top 5.
On lap 6 the caution lights were turned on as Parker Guldin had a LF Flat Tire and Tyler James headed to the pits with a LF Flat tire. Guldin did not return to competition, James returned to race.
The field was reset and green lights were back on. Jesse Landis once again powered out front. On lap 11 the caution lights came back on for Nathan Mohr and Decker Swinehart.
The running order was Landis, Graver, B. Hirthler, J. Hirthler, Stangle, Esposito, Smith, Kohler, and Hoch. Dylan Hoch was 9th, from a provisional starting spot in 27th. Cole Stangle was 5th from a 20th starting spot.
The green lights were turned back on and the field was off. As the field hit the halfway mark Landis was in command of the lead as Jimmy Leiby made a move to the front and was in 2nd, Brian Hirthler was 3rd, Graver back to 4th, Stangle in 5th, Kyle Smith in 6th, Rookie Jesse Hirthler in 7th, Chris Esposito in 8th, and Dylan Hoch in 9th.
As the field came by for lap 18, Leader Jesse Landis #973 was starting to show some smoke from his fast hot rod.
The field came for the 5 to go mark with Landis leading, the #973 was showing signs of smoke coming from the race car and it was noticeable that he was losing power as the field was running him down. Jimmy Leiby had settled into 2nd, Brian Hirthler in the 4* was right there in 3rd, Cole Stangle in the 20 in chase, Kyle Smith, Graver, Hoch, and Jesse Hirthler.
As the field hit the lap 21 mark Brian Hirthler moved the Alpine Truck Repair / Whitetail Disposal / Green Lane Wm. Penn 4* Bicknell into 2nd past Jimmy Leiby.
As the field came for the 2 to go signals, Brian Hirthler executed a perfect slide job for the lead passing Jesse Landis. Landis #973 was continuing to show signs of smoke. Brian pulled away from the field with a very strong run for the checkered flag. Jimmy Leiby was able to sneak by the ailing #973 Sportsman of Jesse Landis for 2nd, Landis made it to the finish in 3rd, Cole Stangle made a run from 20th to finish 4th, Kyle Smith in 5th, Ryan Graver 6th, Dylan Hoch made a run from 27th to 7th, Rookie Jesse Hirthler 8th, Chris Esposito 9th, Adrianna Delliponte 10th.
Brian Hirthler celebrating his birthday scored his 13th career victory in Grandview Sportsman competition. In victory lane Brian commented that he was fortunate that Landis had mechanical troubles as Jesse seemed to have the field covered. There was some outstanding racing action between Landis, Hirthler and Jimmy Leiby over the final 5 laps. Hirthler Thanked Grandview for the new improved LED Lighting and the fans for coming out.