Column By: TOM WENNER / RPW – BECHTELSVILLE, PA – Ryan Grim scored a $2000 Freedom 38er victory on the night before the 76er.
Grim is a modified talent who was invading the Sportsman division looking to steal away the big money offered up on the night before the Freedom 76.
Grim was piloting the Gilroy Northeast Inc. #20 normally raced by Danny Buccafusca at the Big Diamond Speedway. The Freedom 38er started in 2014 and was running the 9th edition of the special Grandview Sportsman race that is now run on the night before the 76er.
The Sportsman race is open to all drivers and often has Modified drivers seeking rides to capture the coveted prize money. Jordan Henn won the 2021 version and was back in the field looking to defend his crown, along with fellow modified drivers Ryan Grim, Brett Gilmore, Kevin Hirthler, Nate Brinker, Brad Grim, and Dylan Swinehart. 50 Sportsman drivers took part in 6 heats and 2 consolations to fill out the ’22 Freedom 38er field.
Ryan Grim and ’21 Freedom 38er winner Jordan Henn led the 28 car TP Truck Equipment field to the green flag.
Jordan Henn took the #4R to the lead at the start with Ryan Grim, Cole Stangle, Mike Schneck, Nathan Mohr and Michael Burrows in tow.
After 5 laps down and all green flag racing, Jordan Henn was controlling the race out front. Ryan Grim was stalking Henn for the lead in 2nd, Cole Stangle maintained the 3rd spot, Mike Schneck Jr. 4th, and Brett Gilmore moved into 5th.
With 10 down and all green Henn remained out front. Grim, Stangle, Schneck Jr. and Gilmore still the Top 5.
At the lap 12 mark of the race Jordan Henn, Ryan Grim and Cole Stangle were nose to tail and could have blanket thrown over them. This race was shaping up to be a burn burner at the front of the pack.
With 15 down and still all green flag racing, Jordan Henn remained the race leader. Ryan Grim continued to be in stalker mode with Cole Stangle throwing everything at him. Brett Gilmore, Mike Schneck Jr. and Kyle Smith in chase.
On Lap 17 the race for the lead changed as Ryan Grim powered past defending champ Jordan Henn. Stangle, Gilmore and Kyle Smith were the new Top 5.
On Lap 19, Halfway mark of the race the 1st yellow appeared from race control for Brad Brightbill. Brightbill was stopped in turns 1 & 2 after contact with another racer. Mark Kemmerer pulled to the infield during the caution.
The field was restacked for 2nd half of the Freedom 38er. Ryan Grim was the new leader at the point. Henn, Stangle, Gilmore, Smith, Schneck Jr., Nate Brinker, Logan Watt from 17th spot, and Dakota Kohler.
The restart was aborted due to another accident, this time Brad Grim and Dakota Kohler tangled in turn 4.
On the restart Ryan Grim and Jordan Henn went side by side, wheel to wheel for the lead. Henn took command in one turn, Grim grabbed it back in another. Henn followed closely in 2nd, Stangle, Gilmore, Logan Watt was flying in 5th from 17th.
On Lap 21 the yellow appeared once again for Michael Burrows who blew the motor in the #55. During this caution Jordan Henn who was running 2nd went to the pits for service. Ryan Grim remained the race leader with Cole Stangle moving to 2nd, Brett Gilmore to 3rd, Logan Watt to 4th, and Kyle Smith to 5th. Henn returned to the tail after service from his pit crew.
With 17 to go, Ryan Grim and Cole Stangle were the next to driver to do the 2-step battle up front. Stangle pulled ahead in 1 turn, then Grim turned him back and took the lead. There was some light contact after a slide job move in turns 3 & 4 between the Grim and Stangle cars as Grim pulled away with the lead. Stangle held onto to 2nd, Logan Watt moved to 3rd, Brett Gilmore was 4th and Kyle Smith was 5th.
At the 25 down mark Ryan Grim was now controlling the pace and the lead, Stangle, Watt, Gilmore and Smith followed. On Lap 26, Logan Watt moved past Cole Stangle for 2nd. Watt has never run a Grandview Sportsman event and was pulling off an epic run from 17th to 2nd. Logan’s night was not over yet as he set sail after Grim.
At the lap 30 point of the race Ryan Grim remained in race control, Logan Watt was chasing him and reeling him in 2nd, Stangle, Gilmore, Smith remained the Top – 5.
With 35 down Ryan Grim was approaching lap traffic with only 3 laps to go, Logan Watt a car length back in 2nd, Cole Stangle had full control of 3rd, Brett Gilmore 4th, and Kyle Smith in 5th.
As the race wound down to the checkered flag, Ryan Grim would secure the win. Logan Watt challenged him, but could never muster up speed to get around Grim for the win. Watt put on the show driving from 17th to 2nd. Brett Gilmore would get past Cole Stangle for 3rd place after starting 9th, Cole Stangle 4th, Kyle Smith 5th, Addison Meitzler 6th from his 13th starting spot, Kevin Hirthler 7th from his 18th starting spot, Nate Brinker 8th, Decker Swinehart 9th, Jimmy Leiby 10th.
Ryan Grim pocketed a cool $2000 victory and the Dan’s Deli half way leader bonus. In victory lane Grim commented that starting on the pole is not always the greatest thing. Ryan said the track was good at the top and bottom at times during the race, but the car was really good. Grim saw a #4 on the lap counter and thought it was Brian Hirthler and not Logan Watt. Ryan mentioned that the lap traffic did a good job staying in their lane and he was able to score the win. With the victory, Grim makes it 3 years in a row that a Modified driver has claimed the Freedom 38er Gold – Grim ‘22, Henn ‘21 and Kevin Hirthler ‘20.
Grandview Speedway Sportsman Point Champion Brian Hirthler suffered an engine failure in practice and started in 21st spot in Jesse Hirthler’s #117 after Jesse failed to qualify. Brian drove the 117 from 21st to 12th.