RPW Column: Craig Von Dohren Continues Grandview Dominance; Late-Race Pass Of Strunk Nets Win #7

Column By: TOM WENNER / GRANDVIEW SPEEDWAY – BECHTELSVILLE, PA – Craig Von Dohren is having a Hall Of Fame season at the Grandview Speedway on Saturday Nights in 2022.

If you have been present to attend them, you are witnessing a special season in the making, Craig has made the ’22 season his personal stomping grounds.

With this victory on Saturday, His 7th of the season Craig has won every event except 3 races that were won by Brett Kressley and Doug Manmiller.

Von Dohren has won the Bruce Rogers Memorial, 4 regular NASCAR T.P. Trailer Point events and 2 Bob Miller Thunder On The Hill events at Grandview this season. Craig will be inducted into the Dirt Motorsports Hall Of Fame later this summer and he is adding to the legacy every weekend, with Saturday’s checkered flag his 121st career win.

Bobby Trapper Jr. and Mark Kratz led the T.P. Trailers NASCAR 30 car field to the green flag on Saturday night. As the whole took the green there was a skirmish mid-pack that saw the Joe Funk #14 and Kevin Hirthler get together and the 117 of Hirthler flipped softly in turn #4. Kevin Hirthler climbed from the car safely, but the #117 sustained heavy rear end damage. Funk went to the pits and did not return. Justin Grim was sent to the rear for his involvement.

A full restart was in place and the field was given “Take Two”. Kratz and Trapper Jr. led the field to the green a 2nd time and we were off racing. On Lap 2 Duane Howard and Doug Manmiller had made some great runs forward as Howard was 7th and Manmiller 11th. Craig Von Dohren was also on the move early in 12th from his 15th spot. Bobby Trapper Jr. was setting the pace out front and for the 2nd week in row Mark Kratz was near the front of the pack.

As the field clicked off fast laps approaching lap 5, Craig Von Dohren was already hitting the Top 10, Brett Kressley was 11th as he was coming forward as well. Trapper Jr. and Kratz continued the set the pace out front.

Caution Lights were on for Lap 7, Bobby Gunther-Walsh & Dylan Swinehart stopped on the track. Swinehart needed towing assistance from the track. John Willman, Darren Schuler, and Jesse Leiby all visited the pit area. Kevin Graver Jr. was towed off as well. Bobby Trapper Jr. remained the leader with Kratz, Brad Grim in 3rd, Jeff Strunk 4th, Duane Howard 5th, Brett Gilmore 6th, Timmy Buckwalter 7th, Jordan Henn 8th, Craig Von Dohren 9th, Brad Brightbill 10th at this point. Jeff Strunk making a charge forward from 12th to 4th, Timmy Buckwalter 14th to 7th, Duane Howard 13th to 5th, CVD 15th to 9th, and Brett Kressley 18th to 11th.

On the lap 8 restart Trapper Jr. chose the high side pushing Kratz to the bottom lane. Trapper Jr. took the lead while Brad Grim moved into 2nd spot. Kratz fell back to 3rd as Buckwalter, Howard and Von Dohren were pushing to the front now.

On Lap 10 Jeff Strunk made a move into 2nd and was chasing down leader Trapper Jr., Grim remained 3rd, Howard, Buckwalter, Von Dohren, Kratz and Doug Manmiller were in tow.

On Lap 16 Jeff Strunk made the pass for the lead on Bobby Trapper Jr in Turn 2, Duane Howard had now moved into 3rd, Craig Von Dohren was now 4th, Brad Grim 5th, Timmy Buckwalter 6th, and Doug Manmiller 7th.

On Lap 20 Jeff Strunk had full command of the race and looked like he was going to score his first of ’22 at GV. Trapper Jr. was second and under fire from Duane Howard who was marching forward and looking for more. Craig Von Dohren was riding 4th, Buckwalter 5th, Manmiller 6th, Grim 7th, and Brett Kressley 8th.

As Strunk clicked off lap 22, He started to enter lap traffic and the race was clicking off laps at a rapid pace. As a fan, your head needed to be on swivel to keep track of where the leaders and the rest of the field were. Strunk was the leader and started to put the rear of the field a lap down. Duane Howard moved past Trapper Jr. into 2nd and was cutting into Strunk’s margin. Trapper Jr. 3rd, Von Dohren 4th, and Buckwalter 5th.

On Lap 24 Strunk in heavy lapped traffic was caught by Howard and Von Dohren. Howard and Von Dohren who got by Trapper Jr. a lap earlier were now breathing down Strunk’s back. Von Dohren snuck under Howard and was now 2nd and looking for the lead as they navigated some heavy traffic.

At the 5 to go mark – Strunk the leader, Von Dohren 2nd, Howard 3rd, Trapper Jr. 4th, Buckwalter 5th, Manmiller 6th, and Brett Kressley 7th

At the lap 28 mark the entire top 10 was in heavy traffic Strunk was fighting off Von Dohren, Howard was close by in 3rd, Brett Kressley making a late race charge forward was now 4th and coming on strong Trapper Jr. back to 5th.

As the field was coming to the White Flag lap in turn 4, Jeff Strunk got crossed up by lap car and Craig Von Dohren blasted by on the bottom to take the lead. Strunk chased for the final lap, Duane Howard 3rd, Brett Kressley 4th, and Bobby Trapper Jr.

Jeff Strunk made a final run at Von Dohren in turns 3 & 4 but was not able to steal it back. Craig Von Dohren uses his legendary knowledge of lapped traffic and experience as he steals a late race win over Jeff Strunk, Duane Howard 3rd, Brett Kressley 4th, Bobby Trapper Jr. 5th, Timmy Buckwalter 5th, Doug Manmiller 6th, Jared Umbenhauer 7th, Brad Grim 8th, Jordan Henn 9th, Brad Brightbill 10th.

Craig mentioned in victory lane that the lap traffic held up Strunk and allowed him the opportunity to go after this one. He mentioned that Duane Howard had a LR Tire going down late in the race and that the race came to him. Craig had no idea who was the leader and where the end of the race was. Craig gave credited to the Bruce Brueche #30 team, Trick Race Parts, Integra Shocks, Bicknell Race Cars, Nick Gatto Racing Engines, KL Harring, Pioneer Pole Buildings, Vanderhoof Bus Company, and V & M Towing

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