RPW Column: Keith Brightbill Turns Back The Clock: Wins 52nd Sportsman Firecracker 40 At Grandview With Family-Built Car

Column By: TOM WENNER / RPW – BECHTELSVILLE, PA – Keith Brightbill turned back the clock on Saturday night at the Grandview Speedway and scored the 52nd running of the Firecracker 40 Sportsman Championship Event.

Keith, who scored two NASCAR Modified feature wins several years ago and then moved away to NC, has been racing at Grandview Speedway in the Sportsman division the last several weeks preparing for this event.

Keith Brightbill did it the Brightbill Racing family way, racing a Sportsman car for his brother Brad which was home built in the Sinking Spring race shop. The Firecracker 40 win was worth $2000 to the Brightbill Racing Team.

Wayne Rotenberger and Zane Roth led the 28 car Firecracker 40 field to the green flag.

Wayne Rotenberger took the race lead from the start with Mike Myers, Roth, Nathan Mohr and Kenny Bock in tow. Mike Myers took control of the race on lap 2 in fast running Myers Motorsports Bicknell #7.

As the field clicked lap 7 Myers was in full control of the Firecracker 40 main event. Roth was 2nd, Bock 3rd, Mohr 4th, and Rotenberger 5th.

On Lap 6 the Yellow and then Red were displayed as Wayne Rotenberger spun in Turns 1 &2 while running 5th and collected a large group of cars. Tyler James, Joey Vaccaro, Lex Shive, Jesse Landis, Dylan Hoch, and Hunter Iatalese were involved. James received the worst of the group and needed a full lift off the track. Logan Bauman visited the pits as well. Several drivers in the group visited the pits and returned. Up front, Myers was your race leader with Roth, Bock, Mohr and Mark Kemmerer in the top 5.

The green is displayed again and Mike Myers darts back to the lead again. Kyle Smith is on move cracking the Top 10 from his 21st starting spot.

On Lap 8 the yellow lights are flashing again for Logan Bauman who is stopped in turn 1 and needs the business end of the tow truck to get off the track. Myers continues his strong pace at the front of the pack, Roth 2nd, Bock 3rd, Kemmerer 4th, and Keith Brightbill is 5th from his 22nd starting spot.

The green is displayed again and yellow lights are back on as Nathan Horn has the 211 spun in turn 3. The field is reset and back to racing.

On Lap 10 yellow lights are flashing again, The $2000 to win Sportsman Firecracker 40 has all drivers giving it their all. This time Zane Roth spun while running in the Top 10 and collected Mark Kemmerer, Ryan Graver, Mark Gaugler, Lex Shive, Joey Vaccaro, Chris Esposito, Josh Adams, and Parker Guldin. Roth sustained heavy damage and did not return. Several of the others involved pitted and returned to action. With 10 down, Mike Myers was your leader, Bock 2nd, Keith Brightbill to 3rd, Nathan Mohr 4th, and Kyle Smith 5th.

We head back to green flag action with Myers racing back out front. Brian Hirthler who took a provisional has marched from 28th into the Top 10 on lap 12.

On Lap 15 the yellow is displayed again for something on the track. Parts from an on track accident were laying in the racing groove on the backstretch. Mike Myers running the best race of his ’22 season remained the leader, Bock was challenging for the lead before the caution, Brightbill 3rd, Smith 4th, and Cole Stangle has now cracked the Top 5. Jimmy Leiby and Brian Hirthler struggled to qualify and both took provisional starting spots. Leiby 27th and Hirthler 28th, Both were 6th and 7th respectively and making huge runs to the front of the pack.

The green flag is displayed and yellow lights are back on for a turn accident that involves Jesse Landis, Dakota Kohler, Nathan Horn, Ryan Graver and Hunter Iatalese. Colton Perry took the 36 to the pits during this caution. Several drivers visited the pits and returned. It is at this point that the 28 car field is starting to thin out. The track is cleaned up and we are back racing.

Mike Myers remains your race leader as the race clicks off halfway at lap 20. Myers is the Dan’s Deli halfway leader bonus winner for the Firecracker 40. The Yellow lights are flashing right after we cross for halfway. Nathan Horn retires to the pits, Kenny Bock retires and Brian Hirthler and Kyle Smith both have flat tires from contact on the restart. Both return to the track. Myers remains out front but Keith Brightbill is now 2nd, Cole Stangle 3rd, Jimmy Leiby 4th and Dylan Hoch 5th. Smith and Hirthler return to the track.

The field gets the 20 to go restart green and Keith Brightbill powers around Mike Myers for the race lead. Cole Stangle is 3rd, Leiby 4th and Dylan Hoch from 20th starting spot and visiting the pits for repairs. A call was made for the track welder to visit the Hoch pits during the red flag on lap 6 as repairs were made and Hoch was back running 5th.

On lap 22 Jimmy Leiby makes a power move on the topside of the track to go from 4th to 2nd. Brightbill is at the point, Leiby 2nd, Stangle 3rd, Myers 4th, and Hoch 5th.

The Sportsman field was now thinned out and green flags were now clicking off at a rapid pace without caution. Keith Brightbill was strong and the race was well in his hands. Jimmy Leiby was keeping in 2nd, Stangle 3rd, Dylan Hoch moved past Myers for 4th and Myers was 5th.

On Lap 35 the caution was displayed once again. Lex Shive had the 5 stopped against the turn 3 fence. Keith Brightbill will bring the field to a 5 lap dash to the Firecracker 40 finish. Jimmy Leiby 2nd, Stangle 3rd, Hoch 4th, Nathan Mohr 5th, Brian Hirthler back from his flat tire change to 6th, Mike Myers 7th.

The field was restacked and back to green. Brightbill takes control with Jimmy Leiby hawking the race leader looking for a way around the Brightbill Racing Heavy Business TK #19. Cole Stangle, Dylan Hoch, and Brian Hirthler are now bunch together racing for 3rd, 4th and 5th. Nathan Mohr and Mike Myer challenging for 6th and 7th.

Keith Brightbill holds off Jimmy Leiby for the historical Firecracker 40 $2000 to win victory. Brian Hirthler rallies to finish 3rd, Cole Stangle 4th, Nathan Mohr 5th, Parker Guldin 6th, Mike Myers 7th, Cody Manmiller 8th, Kyle Smith 9th, and Mike Schneck Jr. 10th.

Keith Brightbill thanked his brother Brad for allowing him to race the car. Brightbill praised Leindecker Racing Engines in victory lane while offering thanks to his marketing sponsors for support TK Masonry, Heavy Business, Scott Fick Plumbing, Roadrunner Race Fuels, Behrent’s Speed & Performance, DMI Rear Ends, Cutting Edge Lawn & Garden, VBC Construction, and

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