RPW Column: Craig Von Dohren Goes 2-For-2 During Hall Of Fame Induction Race Week

Column By: TOM WENNER / RPW – BECHTELSVILLE, PA – Craig Von Dohren has had a legendary career carving out Small Block Modified racing victories in Pennsylvania for 42 years.

On Wednesday, July 20th the Northeast Dirt Modified Hall Of Fame and Museum inducted the Oley, PA racer into the prestigious Hall Of Fame celebrating those crown jewel achievements. Von Dohren is not finished writing the story on his career as he continues to carve out victories on the PA Tri-Track Series.

On Friday, 2 days after his Hall Of Fame induction Von Dohren wrestled the race lead away from Brett Kressley to score his 102nd Big Diamond Speedway feature win. On Saturday Night, Craig Von Dohren showed exactly why he is a Hall Of Fame member, going 2 for 2 on the weekend winning at the Grandview Speedway while grabbing the lead on a late race restart with 4 to go.

The race saw the first 26 laps go all green with no cautions, as CVD was on a mission getting to the front of the pack. As Craig cleared Bobby Trapper Jr. for second on lap 24, The caution lights came on for the first time all night with 6 to go. Von Dohren used a slider in 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 on a fast running Kyle Lilick to sneak by for the lead. Craig then cruised to the win after grabbing the lead.

Ray Swinehart and Bobby Trapper Jr. led the 30 car T.P. Trailers Modified field to the green flag.

Bobby Trapper Jr. took the early lead at the start of the race with Ray Swinehart, Kyle Lilick, Dylan Swinehart, Brett Gilmore and John Willman in tow.

The early laps of the race were clicking off at an extremely fast pace as Bobby Trapper Jr. was in full command as 5 laps were scored. Kyle Lilick, Ray Swinehart, John Willman and Brett Gilmore were the top 5. Craig Von Dohren was on the move early as he cracked the top 10 on lap 6.

Ryan Lilick took the R-10 to the infield as 8 laps were scored.

At the 10 down mark, Trapper Jr. in the Traps Speed #2 was your leader with Lilick in chase, Swinehart in 3rd, Willman 4th and Ryan Grim 5th.

The event was all green flag racing action as lap 12 was scored. Kyle Lilick was now on the bumper of the Trapper Jr. and looking for the lead. After some side by side racing Kyle Lilick moved into the lead on lap 13 and took control of the race.

On lap 14 Craig Von Dohren was 6th and continuing his march to the front from his 13th starting spot, Jared Umbenhauer was running 10th from his 16th spot. As the field saw the crossed flags for halfway Kyle Lilick was stretching his legs out front of the pack.

All of the action was under green light action with no cautions to bunch the field. Trapper Jr was now second, Ray Swinehart holding onto 3rd, Craig Von Dohren was now 4th, and John Willman rounded out the Top 5.

At the 20 down mark the field remained at a green flag pace with Kyle Lilick putting on the race of his young career out front, Trapper Jr 2nd, Ray Swinehart 3rd, Craig Von Dohren 4th, Ryan Grim 5th, Kevin Hirthler 6th, John Willman 7th, and Jared Umbenhauer 8th.

On lap 21 Timmy Buckwalter took the Saxton Motorsports Bicknell 23x into the infield. On the lap 22 Craig Von Dohren moved into 3rd. A lap later on Lap 24 Von Dohren was 2nd and really picking up speed at the front of the pack.

As the field hit the 5 to go mark and was still all under green the running order was – Lilick your leader, Von Dohren in chase mode, Trapper Jr. 3rd, Ryan Grim 4th, Ray Swinehart 5th, Kevin Hirthler 6th, Jared Umbenhauer 7th, John Willman 8th, Doug Manmiller 9th, and Jeff Strunk 10th.

On lap 26 the caution lights were finally displayed for a slowing Brad Arnold in turn 4. The Arnold 27 lost power and was pushed off.

As the field was finally regrouped after 26 hard fought caution free laps, Lilick was at the point, CVD 2nd, Trapper 3rd, Grim 4th, Swinehart 5th, Hirthler 6th, Umbenhauer 7th, Willman 8th, Manmiller 9th, and Brett Gilmore 10th. The field was setting up for a 4 lap dash to the checkered flag.

The green Whelen Lights flashed on and Craig Von Dohren pulled a slider on Kyle Lilick in 1 and 2 while Lilick fought back for the lead. As the 2 drivers entered 3 and 4, CVD pulled another slider and it was successful as Von Dohren secured the lead coming for lap 27. Ryan Grim moved into 3rd dropping Trapper Jr. to 4th with Ray Swinehart holding down the final spot in the Top 5.

As the field scored lap 28, The 2nd caution of the night was waving for Brett Gilmore, Brett Kressley and Duane Howard. Gilmore got turned around turns 3 and 4, Kressley was collected and Duane Howard was sitting on top of the Kressley 19k front end. Gilmore and Kressley visited the pits. Kressley returned to the rear of the field. Howard rejoined the rear of the field as well.

The field was now eyeing a 2 lap dash to the checkered flag. Craig Von Dohren now had full control of the race pace. Kyle Lilick was 2nd, Ryan Grim 3rd, Ray Swinehart 4th and Bobby Trapper Jr. 5th.

The field was given the green flag and it was short lived as lap 29 was scored, the yellow was waving again for Justin Grim as the 61 lost power in turn one. The field was restacked for a 1 lap dash to the checkered flag now. Craig Von Dohren with the lead, Lilick 2nd, Grim 3rd, Swinehart 4th and Trapper Jr. 5th.

The green flag was dropped and Craig Von Dohren sped off to his 8th Grandview Speedway feature win of 2022. CVD’s 5th regular season win along with the Bruce Rogers Memorial and 2 Thunder On Hill Victories. With Grandview Speedway point leader Brett Kressley finishing 20th, Craig will certainly close that margin and set up some epic future weeks of racing.

Kyle Lilick finished 2nd, his career best finish, Ryan Grim was 3rd, Ray Swinehart 4th, Bobby Trapper Jr. 5th, Jared Umbenhauer 6th, Kevin Hirthler 7th, John Willman 8th, Jeff Strunk 9th and Doug Manmiller 10th.

In victory lane, Von Dohren noted that when he hit second spot he had no idea that Kyle Lilick was the leader. Lilick was setting a fast pace in lapped traffic and was far out front. Craig noted that he was lucky to get the breaks coming through the field.

Craig shared in Victory Lane his thoughts on how incredible the Bruce Brueche #30 Team truly is, sharing gratitude to KL Harring, Bob and Diane Greene at Pioneer Pole Building, V&M Towing, and Nick Gatto for building the power under the hood. Craig shared that Stephon LaFrance, Trick Race Parts has helped the Brueche #30 team with race setup this season.

Craig thanked Jason Bashore and all of the members of the #30 crew this season. And lastly, Craig took a minute to reflect on Ernie & Marilyn Saxton. Marilyn passed away this week and touched many at the track and will be missed greatly.

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