RPW Column: Brett Kressley Breaks Into Grandview Victory Lane Saturday With Dominating Performance
Column By: TOM WENNER / RPW – BECHTELSVILLE, PA – Brett Kressley, The veteran from Orefield, PA improved his opening day finish by 1 spot and it was ironically a visit to the checkered flag victory lane at Grandview Speedway.
Kressley’s win was his 22nd Saturday Night score tying him with Billy Pauch Sr. and leaving him 1 behind Terry Meitzler and Mike Geiser, that is some elite company to be in.
The Kressley’s Auto & Sales Bicknell 19k was a missile all night after showing super speed in practice, Finishing in 2nd after starting 9th in the heat race and then driving from P15 to lead in 14th laps of the feature. The victory was not without several challenges for “The Threat” as he had to withstand a restart with 10 to go and most importantly a restart at 2 to go with Mike Gular, Craig Von Dohren, Jared Umbenhauer, and Eddie Strada on his bumper.
Carroll Hine III and Ray Swinehart led the 28 car T.P. Trailer Nascar Modified field to the green flag.
The Veteran Ray Swinehart piloting the Weller 942 powered into the race lead with Hine following in close 2nd driving a former Ryan Watt Modified numbered 114.
With 2 clicks on the scoreboard Kevin Hirthler broke into 4th while Doug Manmiller followed him into 5th.
On Lap 3 the Whelen caution lights were flashing as Bob Trapper in the Traps Speed 69 slowed to a stop. John Willman and Joe Funk visited the pits during the caution. Willman returned to action after the 291 team serviced his ride. Carroll Hine III had wrestled the lead away from Swinehart right before the caution appeared and he was now the race leader with Swinehart 2nd, Mike Lisowski, Doug Manmiller, Kevin Hirthler were the Top 5.
On the restart Hine and Swinehart went side by side for 2 laps battling for the race lead while Manmiller went after Lisowski for 3rd and Kevin Hirthler and Craig Whitmoyer battled for 5th and 6th.
At the 5 down mark of the race Ray Swinehart was now the race leader with Hine III, Manmiller, Lisowski and Hirthler the new Top 5.
As the field scored lap 6 Caroll Hine III lost the handle on the 114 in turn 2 and collected Doug Manmiller, Mike Lisowski and Kevin Hirthler. All racers who were running 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th. Kevin Hirthler went pitside and did not return. This accident caused the entire field to react quickly as cars throughout the pack jammed up and some sustained visual damage. Timmy Buckwalter in the Saxton 23x was in the top 15 before the accident and had to take evasive action to elude a partially blocked track, Buckwalter cut through the infield and while under caution was told that he had to go the rear of the field for using the infield to evade the accident. This was a tough blow to the Pottstown, PA racer Buckwalter.
The field was reset with Swinehart the race leader, Jesse Leiby now 2nd, Bobby Trapper 3rd, Craig Whitmoyer 4th, Eddie Strada 5th, Ryan Watt 6th, Mike Gular 7th, Brett Kressley 8th, Jeff Strunk 9th.
The field takes the green flag for lap 7 with Swinehart still setting the pace out front while Jesse Leiby is now pressuring the Weller 942.
On Lap 9 Brett Kressley breaks into the Top 5 from his 15th starting spot. Jesse Leiby and Ray Swinehart are side by side for the race lead. The fans were being treated to some outstanding racing action on the Grandview Speedway high banks. Craig Whitmoyer was holding down the 3rd spot, Trapper 4th.
At the 10 down mark of the event Swinehart held off the Jesse Leiby challenge, but Craig Whitmoyer and a coming Brett Kressley were 3rd and 4th with Mike Gular now breaking into the Top 5.
With 12 down, Brett Kressley moved into 3rd with Mike Gular following into 4th and Craig Von Dohren moved into 6th
On lap 13 Kressley drove to 2nd was clearly picking off cars one by one with Ray Swinehart still out front.
As the field came down for lap 14, Kressley went side by side with Swinehart and took command of the race dropping Swinehart to 2nd. Mike Gular moved into 3rd, Jesse Leiby 4th, Craig Von Dohren 5th, Craig Whitmoyer 6th, Jared Umbenhauer 7th, Eddie Strada 8th, and Bobby Trapper 9th.
Brett Kressley scored the Dan’s Deli Halfway Leader Bonus at Lap 15. Mike Gular was now chasing the 19k in 2nd while Craig Von Dohren was 3rd
On Lap 18 Ryan Grim took the 17G to the infield. Brett Kressley was driving away from the field as the 19k looked outstanding on both the top and bottom of the speedway.
On Lap 20 the caution lights appeared for Carroll Hine III who pulled off the speedway surface after slowing. Chris Esposito pulled to the infield during this caution and Ray Swinehart pulled to the infield after running in the 4th spot and leading several laps on the night. The field was reset after Kressley was setting a blistering pace out front. Kressley, Gular, Von Dohren, Umbenhauer, Leiby, Strada, Whitmoyer, Trapper Jr., Strunk, and Watt all ready for the restart.
On the 10 to go restart Kressley chose the top for the start and darted out front to the lead from Mike Gular. Von Dohren, Umbenhauer, Strada and Leiby all were in chase mode.
At the 5 to go mark of the race Brett Kressley opened up a half straightaway lead and was powering away with the lead. Kressley was starting to hit lap traffic. Gular, Von Dohren, Leiby, Strada were the Top 5 at this point.
On Lap 28 the caution lights were flashing setting up a 2 lap dash to the checkered flag as Justin Grim spun the 61 in turn 2. Does somebody have anything for Kressley at the end? We are going to find out now as the field is bunched up with Kressley, Gular, Von Dohren, Umbenhauer, Strada, Leiby, Whitmoyer, Trapper Jr., Watt, and Strunk were the Top 10.
Brett Kressley would pull away on the restart and race to his 1st Grandview Speedway win of 2023 over Mike Gular, Craig Von Dohren, Jared Umbenhauer, Eddie Strada, Jesse Leiby, Bobby Trapper Jr., Craig Whitmoyer, Jeff Strunk, and Ryan Watt.
In victory lane Grandview Speedway Announcer, Jeff Ahlum introduced Kressley as the “The Threat to the Kingdom” after Kressley had a powerful evening at the track. Kressley expressed gratitude to the Grandview Speedway track crew, his sponsors, and crew on the 19k. Brett shared in victory lane that the car suffered some damage from the lap 6 accident involving the Top 5 cars, but it did not hamper the performance the rest of the way. Brett shared that getting through lap traffic was not an issue for him and the restart choice of the top or bottom created some drama for him, but the Kressley’s Auto and Truck Sales 19k was up for the challenge.
Spec 358 Night Notes:
Jimmy Leiby having a good night in his 2nd Spec 358 Modified start after moving up from Sportsman in ’23. Jimmy won Modified heat #3 in a photo finish with Timmy Buckwalter, then drove a solid feature to finish 13th. On Sunday, Jimmy will head to the Orange County Fair Speedway to compete in the Super DIRTcar Sportsman event. Eddie “The Edge” Strada continues to impress at Grandview with another Top 10 run running 12th to 5th on Saturday. A heartbreaking night for Doug Manmiller who had the Jason Miller 44 flying all night only to get collected up in a wreck and finish 12th from the rear. The same for Timmy Buckwalter who was in the Top 10, and had to go to the rear for using the infield to evade the accident, Buckwalter finished 11th. Hard Luck Award on the night goes to Ray Swinehart pulling off after leading and running in the Top 10 with 10 laps remaining. Kudos to the drivers and Grandview Speedway officials and track crew, All racing was completed in 2.5 hours on an absolutely perfect weather night.
T.P. TRAILER NASCAR MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (30 laps): BRETT KRESSLEY, Mike Gular, Craig Von Dohren, Jared Umbenhauer, Eddie Strada, Jesse Leiby, Bobby Trapper Jr., Craig Whitmoyer, Jeff Strunk, Ryan Watt, Tim Buckwalter, Doug Manmiller, Jimmy Leiby, Dylan Swinehart, Kevin Graver Jr., John Willman, Justin Grim, Eric Biehn, Lex Shive, Mike Lisowski, Ray Swinehart, Chris Esposito, Carroll Hine III, Ryan Grim, Kevin Hirthler, Bob Trapper, Joe Funk, Glenn Owens
DID NOT QUALIFY: Bobby Gunther-Walsh, Chris Gambler, Ron Haring Jr., Mark Levy, Nate Brinker, Ryan Beltz, Darrin Schuler, Mark Malcolm, Kyle Weiss, Mark Kratz
T.P. TRUCK EQUIPMENT NASCAR SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (25 laps): HUNTER IATALESE, Jesse Hirthler, Kyle Smith, Steve Young, Cody Manmiller, Addison Meitzler, Logan Watt, Brad Grim, Brian Hirthler, Parker Guldin, Ronnie Solomon, Michael Burrows, Adrianna Delliponti, Tyler James, Ryan Graver, Logan Bauman, Molly Struss, Dakota Kohler, Mark Gaugler, Nathan Horn, Kaitlyn Bailey, Zane Roth, Andy Ressler, Decker Swinehart, Brett Gilmore, Colton Perry, Kenny Bock, Kyle Hartzell
DID NOT QUALIFY: Nick Faust, Zach Steffey, Tom Miller, Jesse Landis, Mark Mohr, Dallas Breidenbach, Nathan Mohr, Keith Haring, Tom Miller Jr., Nicholas Hamm, BJ Joly, Mike Schneck Jr.,