Is It A Race Of Chance Or Strategy? Thunder On The Hill’s Balls To The Wall 50 Paying $12K-To-Win
Story By: BOB MILLER / THUNDER ON THE HILL – BECHTELSVILLE, PA – The NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series opens its’ thirty-fourth season on Sunday night, May 28 with the return of the Pioneer Pole Buildings 2nd Annual Balls to the Wall 50 Invert Race for 358 Modifieds, joined by a complete program of 602 Sportsman at the Grandview Speedway.
The PPB Balls to the Wall 50 is not your ordinary fifty lap feature, two inverts take place, one on lap 20 and again on lap 35 when the top four in running order will invert.
The leaders on lap 20 and 35 will pocket $1,500 with $400 going to second, $200 for third, $100 for fourth and $50 going to fifth through tenth at each invert. Is it a race of chance or strategy?
The format is presented only by Thunder on the Hill and Grandview Speedway and proved to be successful last season. Brian Hirthler and Duane Howard were the segment leaders and when the checker flag fell, Craig Von Dohren pocketed the $5,000 first place prize.
This race of chance and strategy offers another twist. If one driver should lead lap 20, 35 and go on to win the 50 lap event, Pioneer Pole Buildings will serve up a $4,000 bonus making the win worth $12,000.
Defending Balls to Wall winner Craig Von Dohren liked the format last year and is optimistic when the event returns again to “the hill” on Sunday, May 28. About this unique format and when asked is it possible for one driver to sweep the three segments, Von Dohren said, “It is possible and anything can happen, the format is cool but you kinda have to pick your poison on which end you want to win”. In other words, do you charge early to lead the segments, or pace yourself to be there at the end?
Kevin Hirthler, always a strong runner in the Thunder Series led one segment last year and was in the hunt the entire race, Hirthler’s strategy is simple, “You gotta run her balls to the wall”. He’s going to win the segments right out of the gate.
Jeff Strunk, the winningest driver on the Thunder on the Hill roster with 16 victories had this say about the Balls to the Wall 50. “It’s a unique one of a kind format that’s exciting for the fans and drivers and after the first year as a driver experiencing it, I’m looking forward to it in May”. Strunk, driving the Glenn Hyneman #126 is looking to do the sweep in chase of the $12,000 win. Strunk has been shut out of the Thunder on the Hill victory lane since October 2019.
Louden Reimert had this to say, “ I’m excited to get back to Grandview to run the Balls to the Wall 50, we had good speed last year in this race and we’re looking to improve on our results and maybe get a win”. So how do you win the race of chance or strategy? Reimert said, “Just stay consistent throughout the race, stay out of trouble and make sure you’re still in a position to win at the end”.
The 358 Modifieds will qualify through a series of heat race events with the top twelve qualifiers drawing for the top twelve starting spots. A field of twenty-four cars will start the event that will pay $500 to take the green.
Also on the program will be the 602 Sportsman, take part in heat race qualifying leading up to a 25 lap feature that will pay $1,200 to win and $130 to start the twenty-four car field.
Race time is set for 7:30 PM with gates opening at 5 PM. Order your advance tickets for Sunday, May 28 by calling 443 513 4456. Please speak clearly, provide you first and last name and the number of tickets you want. Tickets may be paid for and picked up at the Will Call Window after 4 PM. Advance ticket holds may ender the grandstands at 4:30 PM, one half hour prior to gates opening at 5 PM.