Column By: TOM WENNER / RPW – BECHTELSVILLE, PA – For the seventh time in his legendary career, Craig Von Dohren scored the opening day feature event win at Grandview Speedway Saturday night.
The man known as CVD has made Grandview his personal playground for many years and few get can around Grandview Speedway like Craig does when top $ are on the line. The VP Racing Fuels Bruce Rogers Money Maker 60 in ’22 celebrates the life of Bruce Rogers who took Grandview to another level in race promotion after his father built the track.
The Rogers family continues to operate the speedway and does amazing job each season celebrating Bruce’s legacy at the track with Bruce Rogers Memorial Money Maker event.
Saturday’s running of the Bruce Rogers Memorial Money Maker 60 was another example of the outstanding racing action and promotion of the speedway with 43 Modifieds and 38 Sportsman pitside for competition and full crowd to witness the epic event.
Timmy Buckwalter in the Saxton Motorsports Bicknell 23x raced to an early lead from his pole starting spot at the drop of the green. Jeff Strunk, Doug Manmiller, Craig Von Dohren, Jimmy Leiby, and Brett Kressley were in tow behind.
On Lap 4 Ray Swinehart retired from competition.
As the field stayed under green through lap 10 Steve Swinehart, the driver of the 942 retired from the event and the 10 of Kevin Graver went to the infield. Timmy Buckwalter was out front and trying to break away from the field with a nice lead. The balance of the running order at Lap was Manmiller, CVD, Strunk, Kressley, Bobby Varin in the Hansell 357, and Jared Umbenhauer.
Brad Brightbill and Duane Howard pulled off on lap 12. Timmy Buckwalter remains out front and looks to have the field covered the early laps of the race. The looks to be taking an aggressive hit as John Willman heads to the infield on lap 18, and Ryan Beltz to the infield on lap 20.
Timmy Buckwalter is staying out front but in lap traffic and the field has started to run him down as the top is closing in – running order: Buckwalter, Manmiller, Strunk, CVD, Umbenhauer, Kressley, and Varin.
On lap 21, The 1st caution flag flies of the event – Kevin Hirthler in the 117 with a RR flat tire. Nate Brinker in the 14 goes pitside and returns after a break. Buckwalter remains the leader Doug Manmiller in the Miller 44 showing some muscle, Strunk back to 3rd, Craig Von Dohren staying in the mix, Brett Kressley got around Umbenhauer, Bobby Varin in the 357 and Ryan Krachun from 19th to 8th all under green flag racing action.
The track was super racy, with a groove up at the top and rubber on the bottom.
Back to green for a few laps until the caution flies on lap 24 for Jimmy Leiby. Back to green again, on lap 26, Jeff Strunk goes to 3rd. Umbenhauer back to 4th and the field sets sail with a clear track in front of them. As the laps click off for 30 and 35 the running order remains – Buckwalter holding down the top spot, Manmiller, Strunk, CVD, Umbenhauer, Kressley, Krachun, Varin
Lap 38, The caution flies – Brad Grim and Ryan Krachun strong night ends. Krachun had run 19th to 6th and suffered a mechanical failure.
New running order with 22 to go – Buckwalter the leader, Manmiller, Strunk, CVD, Umbenhauer, Kressley, Varin, Henn, Whitmoyer, Brinker. There was only 11 cars remaining in competition at this point of the race.
Back to green, With 20 to go Craig Von Dohren started to make his move on a clear track in front of him as he passed Strunk for 3rd. On lap 41, Craig secured from Doug Manmiller and set sail after Buckwalter the race leader.
On lap 42, Von Dohren caught Buckwalter and the Modified started a battle for the $10k payday. The running order behind them was Manmiller in 3rd, Strunk in 4th, Umbenhauer in 5th, Kressley in 6th.
After a tussle with Buckwalter for lead, Von Dohren took the lead coming for lap 47. Buckwalter fell to 2nd.
Coming for the 10 to go, Timmy Buckwalter struck the turn 2 inside wall while chasing Von Dohren for the lead. This contact caused a LF Flat Tire on the Saxton 23x for Buckwalter and the caution light lit for Bobby Varin in the Hansell 357 with a RR Tire failure.
With 10 to go under caution Von Dohren was the new leader, Strunk got around Manmiller, Umbenhauer in 4th, Kressley now 5th, Jordan Henn in the 77 was 6th, Craig Whitmoyer in the 99 7th, Bobby Gunther-Walsh 8th, Nate Brinker 9th. Timmy Buckwalter returns after the Saxton crew replaces the new LF sneaker.
The field goes back to green as Jeff Strunk takes his best shot at Von Dohren at the restart. The caution is back on lap 58 as Brett Kressley has a RR Flat Tire on the Kressley’s Auto & Truck Sales 19k. Kressley retires from competition.
Two to go, Von Dohren with a strong car out front and Strunk in 2nd, Manmiller 3rd, Umbenhauer 4th, Whitmoyer 5th, Buckwalter 6th, Henn 7th, Brinker 8th, Gunther-Walsh 9th.
Strunk tries again on the restart and cannot match the speed of the Craig Von Dohren Bicknell #30. Von Dohren speeds off to his 7th career opening day Grandview Speedway win. The 2nd win of the early ’22 season for the Bruce Brueche #30 team.
Jeff Strunk finished in 2nd, Doug Manmiller in 3rd, Jared Umbenhauer in 4th, Craig Whitmoyer in 5th, Tim Buckwalter rebounded for 6th, Jordan Henn in 7th, Nate Brinker in 8th, Bobby Gunther-Walsh in 9th, and Brett Kressley in 10th. There was only 9 cars in competition at the end of the race.
VP Racing Fuels Bruce Rogers Memorial Money Maker Big Block/Small Block Modified Heat Race Results: 12 Laps Each / 4 Qualify:
Heat #1: Kressley, Von Dohren, Whitmoyer, Howard
Heat #2: Beltz, Leiby, S. Swinehart, Umbenhauer
Heat #3: Varin, Gunther-Walsh, Strunk, K. Hirthler
Heat: #4: B. Hirthler, Manmiller, B. Grim, Buckwalter,
Consi 1: D. Swinehart, Krachun, Willman, Brinker
Consi 2: Brightbill, R. Swinehart, Henn, R. Grim
VP RACING FUELS BRUCE ROGERS MEMORIAL MONEY MAKER BIG BLOCK/SMALL BLOCK MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (60 laps): CRAIG VON DOHREN, Jeff Strunk, Doug Manmiller, Jared Umbenhauer, Craig Whitmoyer, Tim Buckwalter, Jordan Henn, Nate Brinker, Bobby Gunther-Walsh, Brett Kressley, Bobby Varin, Ryan Krachun, Brian Hirthler, Brad Grim, Jimmy Leiby, Kevin Hirthler, Ryan Beltz, John Willman, Ryan Grim, Duane Howard, Brad Brightbill, Kevin Graver Jr., Steve Swinehart, Ray Swinehart DNS: Dylan Swinehart
Did Not Qualify: WB James, Kyle Smith, Clay Butler, Mike Laise, Dan Waisempacher, Brad Arnold, Mike Lisowski, Eric Biehn, Kyle Weiss, Darrin Schuler, Doug Snyder, Jesse Leiby, Brett Gilmore, Steve Young, Ron Jaring Jr., Justin Grim, Corey Merkel, Mark Van Vorst, Joel Smith