Column By: TOM WENNER / RPW – BECHTELSVILLE, PA – Brett Kressley’s nickname is “The Threat.”
Saturday night, he lived up to it by scoring his second career Forrest Rogers Memorial victory in a dominate performance at Grandview Speedway.
Kressley broke into the Top-10 by lap 4, cruised into the Top-5 by 7 and was the race leader by lap 20. Kressley never looked back on the competition and drove off to a fan pleasing $10k victory behind a strong running Kressley’s Auto & Truck Sales Morgantini Racing Engines Bicknell 19k.
While my comments may sound easy, scoring the victory was not without challengers. Craig Von Dohren in the Bruce Brueche & Sons #30 reached 2nd place by lap 30 and had his opportunity to steal it away on a lap 40 restart and was not successful.
Jeff Strunk powered the Zubi’s Racing #88 past CVD with 10 to go and tried to run down the Kressley machine and was not able to make a charge either.
Grandview Speedway is known for their epic high dollar racing events and last nights 52nd edition of the Forrest Rogers feature results show that the all of the top names rose to the challenge.
Ryan Lilick and Ron Haring Jr. led the TP Trailers NASCAR 28 car field to the green flag.
At the drop of the green flag Ryan Lilick took the former RIO Brothers R-10 to the front of the field. Ron Haring Jr., Mark Kratz, Darrin Schuler and Ryan Beltz followed.
Brett Kressley was on the move early charging from his 15th starting position as he moved into 9th on lap 4. With 5 clicks off the lap counter the Lilick R-10 was flying out front early in the race.
Ron Haring Jr. who recently debuted a new Bicknell Chassis riding on Fast Four Shocks out of the Hoffman Speed Supplies Shop has been very fast in recent weeks was in chase. Bobby Gunther Walsh, Ryan Beltz, Mark Kratz and Joe Funk were the Top-5 with 5 down.
The yellow lights were flashing later on lap 5 for an accident in turn one. Brett Gilmore, Kevin Graver Jr., Justin Grim, Cory Merkel, Ray Swinehart, Jesse Leiby, and Ron Kline.
The Gilmore and Leiby cars were towed off and did not return. Kline ducked in and out of the infield. Merkel, Grim, and Graver Jr. returned to action.
Ryan Grim pitted and returned to action. The field was reset and showed Lilick as your leader with Haring Jr., Gunther-Walsh, Beltz, Kratz, Whitmoyer, Schuler, Kressley, Willman and Umbenhauer following.
The field goes back to green with Lilick keeping the pace out front.
Ron Haring Jr. takes the lead on lap 6. Brett Kressley has a great restart and moves to 4th as lap 7 clicks off. After lap 7 is scored there is a jingle mid pack on the front stretch that involves several cars. The Yellow lights are now flashing as Timmy Buckwalter and Jared Umbenhauer head to the pits with race damage.
Ryan Beltz and Carroll Hines III head to the rear. Timmy Buckwalter returned to action and Umbenhauer did not return. With 7 down on the lap counter, Craig Von Dohren is making his charge to the front showing in 10th from his 15th starting spot. Ron Haring Jr. is now the race leader with Lilick in 2nd, Kressley 3rd, Gunther-Walsh 4th, and Mark Kratz 5th.
With the field now reset and another attempt to go back racing on lap 10 there is a pileup in turn one that involves the Craig Whitmoyer #99 machine taking a tumble after hard contact with the wall and a few race cars. Darrin Schuler, Timmy Buckwalter and Carroll Hines III are involved. The Whitmoyer and Schuler machines were heavily damaged. Craig Whitmoyer walked away to the pit area. Darrin Schuler was ok and was taken for observation to a nearby medical center. Both the Schuler and Whitmoyer Modified race cars sustained heavy damage from the accident. Buckwalter and Hines rejoined the field.
After an extended red flag for track cleanup, the field was restacked for the remaining 40 laps of the Forrest Rogers Memorial. Ron Haring Jr. remained your race leader, Ryan Lilick was 2nd, Brett Kressley was 3rd, Brad Grim was 4th, and Bobby Gunther-Walsh 5th.
The field goes back to green and Ron Haring Jr. powers away on the restart. On Lap 12 Brett Kressley moved into 2nd.
At the 15 down mark, Haring Jr. and Kressley were pulling away from the Top-5 runners. Lilick, Brad Grim and Craig Von Dohren were the Top-5.
As lap 17 is scored Craig Von Dohren moves in 4th.
On Lap 20 Brett Kressley powers past the fast running Ron Haring Jr. for the race lead. Lilick, Von Dohren, B. Grim remain the Top-5. Justin Grim and Cory Merkel pull to the infield on Lap 20.
The race finally has a period of all out racing action now as Kressley is attempting to pull away from the field at lap 25. Haring Jr., Von Dohren, Lilick, B. Grim, Manmiller, Strunk, Willman and Howard are all in chase mode.
As the race remains under all green flag action at Lap 30 Brett Kressley has full control out front. Craig Von Dohren has just moved into 2nd and has his sights set on the rear of the Kressley’s Auto & Truck Sales 19k, Brad Grim is now 3rd, Ron Haring Jr. 4th and Jeff Strunk is 5th.
As the race clicks the lap 39 mark the yellow cautions lights are flashing for a slowing Mark Kratz. This sets up an incredible 10 lap dash to the lucrative $10k victory. Brett Kressley was out front on cruise control with the lead. He will now be facing the best in the business as Craig Von Dohren will be scored 2nd. CVD with 9 Forrest Rogers Memorial victories and looking for #10 lined up next to the Kressley machine for the restart. Jeff Strunk is making a late race dash to the front is now scored 3rd, Brad Grim having a great run in 4th, Ron Haring Jr. 5th, Ryan Lilick 6th, Doug Manmiller 7th, John Willman 8th, Duane Howard 9th, Ryan Grim 10th.
On the restart Brett Kressley powers into the race lead with Craig Von Dohren in 2nd. Jeff Strunk moves past Von Dohren on the next lap and is now looking for a late race score at the Hill in Bechtelsville. Von Dohren slides back to 3rd with Haring Jr and Doug Manmiller making up the Top-5.
With 5 circuits to go, Kressley was maintaining a good distance from Jeff Strunk in 2nd. Von Dohren was solidly in 3rd, Doug Manmiller was 4th with his right side door waving in wind, Duane Howard breaking into the Top-5. John Willman pulled to the infield at the lap 45 mark.
Brett Kressley would go unchallenged the rest of the way to score his 2nd career $10k Forrest Rogers Memorial victory in the 52nd Annual event. The “Threat” scored the Grandview TP Trailer Modified Bonus in the race win. Jeff Strunk finished 2nd, Craig Von Dohren 3rd, Doug Manmiller 4th, Duane Howard 5th, Ryan Lilick 6th, Brad Grim 7th, Ron Haring Jr. 8th, Ron Kline 9th, Ryan Grim 10th.
In victory lane, Kressley commented how the Brett Kressley Team stepped up their game for Saturday night. Kressley spoke about how his quick run to the front of the pack and how it helped his race strategy. Brett spoke of those loved ones and grandparents who are no longer with us and the importance of doing this race for them.