Story By: JEFFREY AHLUM / GRANDVIEW SPEEDWAY – BECHTELSVILLE, PA – Craig Von Dohren of Oley, Pa. was able to race from 12th starting position and into the lead by lap seven, then outduel Jeff Strunk of Boyertown, Pa. in the final laps to score his second point race victory of the season in the 30-lap T.P. Trailer NASCAR Modified feature Saturday night at Grandview Speedway.
In the T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Sportsman 25-lap feature event, Lex Shive of Pennsburg, Pa. was able to take the lead away from Anthony Raisner of Fleetwood, Pa. on a fifth lap restart and race onto his second career Grandview Speedway victory. His first and only previous win came on September 11, 2021.
Both winners received bonus money from T.P. Trailers and Truck Equipment ($300-Modified, $200-Sportsman) provided they had the proper decals on their cars. The night’s racing program was part of the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series.
The 30-lap T.P. Trailer Modified feature got off to a slow start as three caution flags on lap one slowed the action. First Duane Howard of Oley, Pa. slowed with a flat front tire, then a two-car tangle in turn one involving John Willman of Birdsboro, Pa. and Justin Grim of Orefield, Pa., followed by a four-car scramble in turn four involving Ron Haring Jr. of Alburtis, Pa., Nate Brinker of Macungie, Pa., Kevin Hirthler of Boyertown, Pa. and Howard, that saw all four drivers pulling away.
During this final caution, early leader Darrin Schuler of Stroudsburg, Pa. pulled pit side with a flat tire, handing the lead to Joe Funk of Coopersburg, Pa. Funk led for several laps following the restart while things heated up behind him, as Strunk was flying around the top groove of the speedway advancing quickly from his eleventh starting spot to third by lap three. Von Dohren was also on the move, quickly advancing to fourth by lap four and joined the battle up front for the lead.
It was a great four car battle under a blanket for several laps, as Funk led with Mike Laise of Pottstown, Pa. alongside followed by Strunk and Von Dohren side by side right behind. This great battle ended on lap seven as the group ran through turns three and four, when Laise made a pass on Funk for the lead on the high side at the same time as Von Dohren cleared the other two with a high side move to grab second, then quickly darted to the bottom off turn four down the front straight, past Laise and into the lead on lap seven to take command.
Following the final caution on lap eleven, which saw point leader Brett Kressley of Orefield, Pa. duck to the pits and then quickly return, the race ran green to the end.
For several laps after the restart, Laise, Funk, Jesse Leiby of West Milford, NJ battled for the top five spots soon to be joined by Tim Buckwalter of Douglasville, Pa. and Doug Manmiller of Shoemakersville, Pa.
As the green flag stretch ran on, Von Dohren was chased by Strunk and the two moved into some heavier lapped traffic which allowed Strunk to close on Von Dohren at times, and other times allowed Von Dohren to use the lapped cars to fend of the Strunk challenges.
Meanwhile Buckwalter and Manmiller had their own battle going on for position three through traffic, while Laise and Leiby were joined by a charging Kressely in another battle for top ten positions during some furious action in the late stages of the race.
Von Dohren worked the traffic to perfection during the final ten laps to score his second win of the season and the 116th of his Grandview career over Strunk, Buckwalter, Manmiller, and a fast-closing Kressley, returning from the earlier pitstop. Rounding out the top ten finishers were Leiby, Howard after his lap one pitstop, Brad Brightbill of Sinking Spring, Pa. with his third straight top ten, Mike Lisowski of Minersville, Pa. up from 22nd starting spot and Laise with his best finish of the season.
Qualifying heat race winners for the 37-car field on hand were Buckwalter, Mark Kratz of Pennsburg, Pa., Funk and Willman. Consolations were won by Jared Umbenhauer of Richland, Pa. and Lisowski.
The T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman 25-lap main event saw Hunter Iatalese of Germansville, Pa. lead for the first two laps until Anthony Raisner was able to take command on lap three. Lex Shive was quick to challenge Raisner for the lead while six other drivers battled for third position, but this ended quickly on lap five, as a multi-car scramble on the backstretch brought out the caution on lap five.
On the restart, Shive was able to take the lead and open a sizeable advantage on the rest of the field, while a great race for position was ongoing behind him between Matt Clay of Lebanon, Pa., Colton Perry of Breinigsville, Pa. and two drivers who were moving quickly through the field, defending champ Kenny Gilmore up from 16th starting spot, along with Dakota Kohler from his 13th starting position.
As the race continued other challengers moved into contention for top five spots including Decker Swinehart of Fleetwood, Pa. and Logan Bauman of Boyertown, Pa. Another driver who made huge late race gains was Dylan Hoch of Mertztown, Pa., who advanced from a consolation win and 21st starting spot to continue passing cars to the end and was a challenger into the top five.
Shive was the class of the field on this night, as he easily survived a late race caution on lap 18 to motor on to his first win of the season and second of his Grandview career. Raisner finished second for his career best run, Gilmore was third, Hoch with the late race charge ended in fourth and Kohler was fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Clay, Bauman, Cody Manmiller of Philadelphia, Pa., Chris Esposito of Telford, Pa. and Kyle Smith of Fleetwood, Pa. also up from a consolation win and 22nd starting spot.
Qualifying heat race winners for the 37 cars on hand were Iatalese, Wayne Rotenberger of Ringing Hill, Pa., Shive and Mike Stofflet of Mertztown, Pa. Consolations were won by Hoch and Kyle Smith.
Next weekend the T.P. Trailer NASCAR Modifieds and T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Sportsman will be joined by the 602 Crate Sportsman in race two of their five race mini-series making for a three-division program on Saturday, May 28 starting at 7:30 pm. The program will include qualifying events for all three divisions leading to the 30-lap T.P. Trailer Modified feature, the 25-lap T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman main, and the 25 lap 602 Sportsman feature. Pit gates will open at 4 pm. with grandstand gates opening at 5:30 pm. and warm-ups starting at 6:30 pm. Adult grandstand admission is $20, while children under age 12 are admitted free of charge.
The Memorial Day holiday weekend will include a special Thunder on the Hill racing program on Sunday, May 29 starting at 7:30 pm. The racing event will be the first of two PA Tri-Track series events to be held at Grandview this season. The 358 Modifieds will be competing in a new event called the Balls to the Wall 50, and the All-Pro SpeedSTR’s are also on the card.
On Sunday, May 29, pit gates open at 2:30 pm, grandstand gates open at 5 pm. with racing at 7:30 pm. Grandstand admission will be $30 for adults, children ages 6-11 are $10, while kids ages 5 and under are admitted free. Pit admission will be $40, and no license is required.
T.P. TRAILER NASCAR MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (30 laps): CRAIG VON DOHREN, Jeff Strunk, Tim Buckwalter, Doug Manmiller, Brett Kressley, Jesse Leiby, Duane Howard, Brad Brightbill, Mike Lisowski, Mike Laise, Joe Funk, Dylan Swinehart, Cory Merkel, Dan Waisempacher, Brad Arnold, Nate Brinker, Darrin Schuler, Mark Kratz, John Willman, Ray Swinehart, Ryan Grim, Ron Haring Jr., Jordan Henn, Kevin Hirthler, Carrol Hine III, Justin Grim, Ryan Beltz, Jared Umbenhauer
DID NOT QUALIFY: Brett Gilmore, Bobby Trapper, Bobby Gunther-Walsh, Kevin Graver Jr., Craig Whitmoyer, Steve Swinehart, Brad Grim, Eric Biehn, Dave Dissinger
T.P. TRUCK EQUIPMENT NASCAR SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (25 laps): LEX SHIVE, Anthony Raisner, Kenny Gilmore, Dylan Hoch, Dakota Kohler, Matt Clay, Logan Bauman, Cody Manmiller, Chris Esposito, Kyle Smith, Decker Swinehart, Colton Perry, Mark Kemmerer, Parker Guldin, Jimmy Leiby, Zane Roth, Kenny Bock, Brian Hirthler, Mike Schneck Jr., Nathan Mohr, Jesse Landis, Hunter Iatalese, Bryan Rhoads, Wayne Rotenberger, Jesse Hirthler, Joey Vaccaro, Mike Stofflet
DID NOT QUALIFY: Tyler James, Mike Faust Jr., Kyle Hartzell, Josh Adams, Erik Renninger, Mike Myers, Ryan Graver, Nathan Horn, Cole Stangle, Weston Mensch