Column By: TOM WENNER / RPW – BECHTELSVILLE, PA – With a three-division schedule on tap for Saturday Night the Grandview Open Sportsman division was given first crack to race their feature on the tacky Grandview Speedway Oval.
Brian Hirthler put on a driving clinic racing from his 14th starting spot to the lead and then blasting away from 2nd place runner and 2nd place point man Kyle Smith to steal the win.
With the victory, Brian’s 14th career Open Sportsman win he moved past Brett Kressley into 2nd on the all-time win list for Open Sportsman drivers at the Grandview Speedway.
Wayne Rotenberger and John Leiby brought the 26 car Open Sportsman field to the green flag. Wayne Rotenberger took command at the start with Mike Stofflet in tow, Nathan Mohr, Joey Vaccaro and Zach Steffy in the Top 5.
Cole Stangle was a man on a mission early in the event as he drove from his 11th starting spot into 3rd within 5 laps. At the 5 down mark, Rotenberger was the leader with Stofflet, Stangle, Vaccaro and Mohr in chase.
On lap 7, Stangle moved into 2nd and a lap later Stangle moved the 20 into the lead.
With 10 down, Stangle was your leader and starting to open up some space from the field. In tow, Rotenberger, Stofflet, Vaccaro, Smith, Mohr, Graver, Schneck, Brian Hirthler, and Shive.
By lap 12 Cole Stangle had a full straightaway lead and was looking very strong.
On lap 13 caution lights were flashing as somebody clipped the turn yuke tire and it moved into the racing surface. Brian Hirthler was starting to show his presence in the race as he had raced into 4th. Kyle Smith was now in 2nd as Cole Stangle remained the leader. During the caution Jesse Landis headed to the pits and Wayne Rotenberger pulled off. The running order was reset as Stangle in 1st, Smith 2nd, Hirthler 3rd, Stofflet 4th, Vaccaro 5th, Graver 6th, Schneck 7th, Mohr 8th, Jesse Hirthler 9th, Adriana Delliponte 10th. Kyle Smith had driven from 15th to 2nd, Brian Hirthler had driven from 14th to 3rd, and Adriana Delliponte had driven from 17th to 10th. Mike Myers pulled the 7 off the track right before the field took the green.
The green lights came on briefly before yellow flashed again for Wayne Rotenberger. Rotenberger had pulled off and then rejoined the field before spinning in turns 1 & 2.
As the field went back to green flag action Kyle Smith powered the 77 around Cole Stangle on the top of the speedway, Brian Hirthler quickly followed into 2nd and Stangle was disposed to 3rd.
As the field clicked off laps heading to lap 19, Kyle Smith, Brian Hirthler and Cole Stangle stretched away from the remaining field and decided to settle this event themselves. On lap 20 Anthony Raisner dropped from the event.
On lap 22, Brian Hirthler decided it was go time and he was challenging Kyle Smith for the lead.
Lap 23, Yellow lights are now flashing for Adrianna Delliponte who had a Right Rear Flat Tire. Just as the caution flag was about to be turned on, Brian Hirther snuck by Kyle Smith for the lead on the straightaway and was scored the leader. With 2 to go the race was Brian Hirthler in the 4* leader, Kyle Smith 2nd, Cole Stangle 3rd, Dylan Hoch 4th from his 21st starting spot, and Mike Stofflet 5th.
The field was given the green flag for a Green, White and Checker finish – Brian Hirthler drove away from the field to secure his 14th career feature win and 2nd on the ‘22 season. Kyle Smith 2nd, Cole Stangle 3rd, Dylan Hoch point leader 4th, Mike Stofflet 5th, Jimmy Leiby 6th, Ryan Graver 7th, Lex Shive 8th, Joey Vaccaro 9th, and Logan Bauman 10th.
Brian mentioned in victory lane that he was happy to rebound from a tough week the week prior. Brian thanked his crew and sponsors “Art’s Radiators, Jones Racing Products, Alpine Truck Repair, Pioneer Pole Buildings, Whitetail Disposal, Green Lane Wm. Penn, and Four-Star. Brian thanked the Rogers Family, The photographers and the fans in attendance.