Column By: TOM WENNER / RPW – BECHTELSVILLE, PA – Craig Von Dohren once again showed the world why he is a Hall Of Fame DIRT driver and the “King” of Grandview Speedway.
Craig started 19th last night and drove by everyone in one of the best drives that I witnessed in ‘22.
The win, his 126th career Grandview Speedway victory leads all drivers at the Hill. This Jason Bashore led Bruce Brueche #30 team is firing on all cylinders and not looking back as they head into the final night of point racing on Saturday, September 10th.
Von Dohren came into the night with a 167 point lead and added to the number as 2nd place driver Brett Kressley suffered a flat right rear tire at the halfway mark of the feature. The Kressley crew changed the sneaker and returned Brett to action, but he was only able to claw back to 14th spot.
Grandview Speedway announced some jaw dropping news a week ago regarding the potential sale of the historical speedway to COPart Inc. They were rewarded with one of the best crowds all season for Saturday night race event last night.
The grandstands were at near capacity and the pit area was near capacity with close to 90 cars for Modified, Sportsman and Wingless Super Sportsman racing action. The talk of the track sale dominated conversation all around the track all night. The atmosphere with the point races coming to an end and Labor Day Weekend arriving which signals the start of the Fall big race season is upon us.
Doug Manmiller was scratch in the feature on Saturday Night. Prayers to Doug and his family. Doug was feeling under the weather and left the speedway in an Ambulance at intermission. The Manmiller scratch from the field allowed Cory Merkel to join the 28 car field.
Ryan Beltz and Steve Swinehart led the 28 car TP Trailers NASCAR Grandview Modified field to the green flag.
Ryan Beltz took the early lead with Steve Swinehart, Mark Kratz, Bobby Gunther-Walsh, and Dylan Swinehart in tow.
At the lap 5 mark of the race Beltz continued to control the pace out front with Steve Swinehart showing speed in the Weller 942 in second, Kratz, D. Swinehart, Gunther-Walsh, Joe Funk, Eric Biehn, Nate Brinker, Brad Arnold, and John Willman making up the Top 10.
On Lap 7, Brett Kressley was on the move cracking his way into the Top 10 in 9th.
Lap 10, All green flag laps early on with Ryan Beltz showing the lead in the 221, S. Swinehart, D. Swinehart, Kratz, and Gunther-Walsh in the Top-5.
On lap 11 the Whelen caution lights were flashing as Ryan Graver and Cory Merkel were collected on the backstretch. Graver was towed off on the business end of the wrecker.
The field was reset showing Ryan Beltz as the race leader. S. Swinehart, D. Swinehart, Kratz, Gunther-Walsh, Arnold, Brett Kressley from 7th from 14th, Funk, Duane Howard, and Eric Biehn.
On the restart at the starters stand the field was jammed up and several cars made contact. The yellow lights were quickly back on as Duane Howard suffered a flat and Bobby Trapper headed to the pits. While under caution Ray Swinehart and Dan Waisempacher were collected in the middle of turns 3 & 4. Eric Biehn was towed off for contact at this point. Howard and Trapper returned from the pits. Howard returned back to the pits a 2nd time with another flat tire.
Another attempt was made at the lap 12 green flag and yellow lights flashed again as Waisempacher, Lilick, Ryan Grim, and Jeff Strunk all suffered problems. Lilick, Grim, Strunk and Waisempacher all returned to action from the pits.
The field was restacked once again for another restart and this time Turn 3 was the caution area of focus. Justin Grim, Lex Shive, Jesse Leiby, and Kyle Lilick were involved this time. Justin Grim was hauled off on the hook. Mark Kratz and Kyle Lilick went pitside. Shive and Kratz returned to action. Brett Kressley has a right rear tire going soft under caution, but stays out.
The field goes back to green after a few attempts with Steve Swinehart taking the lead now. Dylan Swinehart moves into second, Craig Von Dohren blasts out of nowhere to go 3 for 1 and moves into 3rd on the restart with Brad Arnold and Ryan Beltz the top 5.
Lap 15 halfway mark and the caution lights are flashing for Brett Kressley as that soft right rear tire went completely flat. Under caution the field is reset with Steve Swinehart out front, Dylan Swinehart in 2nd, Craig Von Dohren coming from 19th to 3rd in 15 laps, Brad Arnold 4th, Ryan Beltz 5th, Bobby Gunther-Walsh 6th, Nate Brinker 7th, and Kevin Hirthler 8th.
Brett Kressley is back out after a tire change and rejoins the rear.
On the restart it is all a Swinehart family side by side race – Steve vs. Dylan and Dylan takes control of the race. Craig Von Dohren moves into 2nd while Steve Swinehart drops to 3rd, Ryan Beltz 4th, and Brad Arnold is the Top-5. Von Dohren made his bid for the race lead and takes control on lap 16, depositing Dylan Swinehart to 2nd.
Lap 19 Bobby Trapper Jr. retires from the event.
At lap 20 Craig Von Dohren is stretching his legs out front and pulling away. Dylan Swinehart, Steve Swinehart, Ryan Beltz, Brad Arnold make up the Top 5.
Lap 23 CVD is in full control out front with lap traffic coming soon for him. D. Swinehart, S. Swinehart, Beltz, Arnold, Jared Umbenhauer, Nate Brinker, and Kevin Hirthler.
Lap 25 with 5 to go and Von Dohren is sailing away out front in lapped traffic D. Swinehart, S. Swinehart, Beltz, and Umbenhauer are the Top 5.
Lap 27 Cory Merkel retires from the event.
Craig Von Dohren takes the checker flag, his 8th Saturday Night point victory, 12th of the year at Grandview and 126th career victory. Dylan Swinehart with a sold 2nd place run, Steve Swinehart 3rd, Jared Umbenhauer 4th, Ryan Beltz 5th, Brad Arnold 6th, Nate Brinker 7th, Kevin Hirthler 8th, Jeff Strunk rebounding from flat tire for 9th, and John Willman 10th.
Von Dohren padded the Grandview Speedway point lead with the win and helped keep himself in the American Racer Cup and NASCAR Weekly Series Championship Races. Von Dohren talked about how good the Bruce Brueche #30 team is right now. Jason Bashore has the Bicknell Chassis on rails.
Craig showed some love towards KL Harring, VM Towing, Bob Greene and Pioneer Pole Buildings, Trick Race Parts, and Gatto Racing Engines. 1 more week to go at the Grandview Speedway for point racing and you will not want to miss it.