Story By: JEFFREY AHLUM / GRANDVIEW SPEEDWAY – BECHTELSVILLE, PA – Jeff Strunk of Boyertown, Pa., who has been a model of consistency all season long finishing all race events in the top ten except one, won out on a three-way battle for the lead to score the win in the 30-l ap T.P. Trailer NASCAR Modified feature Saturday night at Grandview Speedway.
Strunk started fifteenth on the grid for the feature event, and soon became part of a seven-car battle for the lead position. That awesome struggle for the top spot eventually became a three-car battle between Darrin Schuler of Stroudsburg, Pa., Carroll Hine III of Reading, Pa., and Strunk who was finally able to work to second, then power by Hine III down low off turn four to take the lead to score lap twenty and go on for the win.
Dylan Swinehart of Fleetwood, Pa., who started the season in the T.P. Trailer Modified division until his ride blew an engine, returned to T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman action a few weeks ago and has been struggling to get a setup in his car. Saturday night he put everything together, powered around the outside of Nathan Horn of Slatedale, Pa. to score lap seven, and charged home to score the 25-lap T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Sportsman feature win.
Both winners received bonus money (Modified $300, Sportsman $200) from T.P. Trailers and Truck Equipment of Limerick, Pa., sponsors of the two divisions at Grandview Speedway, in a program run under the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series banner.
The T.P. Trailer Modified feature was a thriller again from start to finish, with only one caution during the 30-lap main event, and that was on lap two for a multi-car front stretch mix-up involving five cars.
When action resumed, Schuler was leading, and by lap ten a seven-car battle was entertaining the crowd up front for the lead involving Schuler, Hine III, Nate Brinker of Macungie, Pa., Ryan Grim of Laurys Station, Pa., Doug Manmiller of Shoemakersville, Pa., Jeff Strunk, and Jared Umbenhauer of Richland, Pa.
Hine III kept the pressure on Schuler and slid past him down low entering turn one on lap twelve to take command of the race. Grim quickly followed and began pressuring Hine III for the top spot in another entertaining lead battle.
Strunk, who had started fifteenth, was into the top ten by lap three, and made the top five by lap fourteen, after fighting through the great action for positions up front. Strunk was able to pass Umbenhauer and Schuler to arrive in third on lap sixteen and join in the three-car action for the lead.
Strunk was able to pass Grim on lap 19 for second, and one lap later made the winning pass down low off turn four on Hine III to score lap 20.
With the race going green from lap two until the end, Strunk encountered some serious lapped traffic by lap 24, but was able to work through flawlessly with a good handling race car, and powered on to his first Saturday night NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series win of the season, and the 78th of his Grandview career. Including his Thunder on the Hill series wins in 358 Modified competition along with the Saturday night NASCAR wins, Strunk’s total now stands at 89 career Grandview victories.
The closing stages of the feature had Strunk out front working through traffic, but the action never stopped for the top spots. Seventeenth starting Brett Kressley and twenty fourth starting Mike Gular were charging through the field, picking cars off with each passing lap.
Kressley eventually joined Hine III and Grim in a battle for second, and Gular made the top five with just four laps remaining, giving both drivers a stellar performance.
At the wave of Starter Ray Kemp’s checkered flag, it was Strunk in for the win followed by Ryan Grim, Kressley, Gular, Umbenhauer, Manmiller, Hine III, Mike LIsowski of Minersville, Pa., Brinker, and Craig Von Dohren of Oley, Pa.
Qualifying heats for the 32 cars on hand were won by Ron Haring Jr. of Alburtis, Pa., Brinker, and Kevin Hirthler of Boyertown, Pa. with Chris Gambler of Orefield, Pa. winning the consolation.
The 25-lap T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman feature was a wild affair, with several multi-car tangles in the early going. Despite this crazy action, Nathan Horn led the early laps, with Dylan Swinehart challenging, while Joey Vaccoro of Reading, Pa. and Parker Guldin of Fleetwood, Pa. were battling for third.
Swinehart was able to grab the lead powering off turn four to score lap seven, using the outside groove around Horn to take a lead he would never surrender.
Point leader Logan Watt of Boyertown, Pa. started 22nd after qualifying through a consolation, and was working his way through the field toward the front, reaching the top five by half-way.
By lap 15, Watt joined Horn and Guldin in a great battle for second place, that would last until lap 22, when Watt was able to secure second. By this time Swinehart was ahead by a safe margin, and went on to score his fourth career T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman win, becoming the 11th different winner in the division this season.
At the finish it was Swinehart, Watt, Horn, Guldin, Jesse Hirthler of Boyertown, Pa., Vaccaro, Ryan Graver of Lehighton, Pa., Kyle Smith of Fleetwood, Pa. who rebounded from an early race mishap, Brian Hirthler of Green Lane, Pa., and Adrianna Delliponti of Norristown, Pa.
Qualifying heats for the 37 cars on hand were won by Horn, Decker Swinehart of Fleetwood, Pa., Tom Miller Jr. of Pottstown, Pa., and Vaccaro, while Cody Manmiller of Philadelphia, Pa. and Ryan Graver won the consolations.
Grandview Speedway will be presenting another NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series program next Saturday featuring the T.P. Trailer NASCAR Modifieds and the T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Sportsman starting at 7:30 pm.
The show on Saturday, August 5 will include qualifying events for both divisions leading into the 30-lap T.P. Trailer Modified feature and the 25-lap T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman feature.
Adult grandstand admission is $20, students 10-15 with ID are $10, while children ages 9 and under are admitted free of charge. Pit admission is $35 for NASCAR members and $45 for non-members.
Pit gates will open at 4 pm. with grandstand gates opening at 5:30 pm. warm-ups starting at 6:15 pm. and the first race of the evening getting the green flag at 7:30 pm.
The weekend action begins on Friday, August 4 as another Outlaw Racing Series Enduro/Vintage double program will be presented along with the addition of the Xcel 600 Modifieds. On Friday, grandstand admission for adults is $10, children ages 12 and under are free, while pit admission is $30. Pit gates open at 2 pm. while grandstand gates open at 5:30 pm. and racing starts at 7 pm.
Grandview Speedway will be remembering the speedway’s founder with the 53rd annual running of the Forrest Rogers Memorial for the T.P. Trailer Modifieds on Saturday, August 12 starting at 7:30 pm.
The 50-lap championship race will reward a cool $10,000 to the winner of this prestigious event. Not only will the event honor the track’s founder, but it will also be Grandview Speedway’s anniversary, celebrating the weekend of the track’s first race in 1963.
T.P. TRAILER NASCAR MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (30 laps): JEFF STRUNK, Ryan Grim, Brett Kressley, Mike Gular, Jared Umbenhauer, Doug Manmiller, Carrol Hine III, Mike Lisowski, Nate Brinker, Craig Von Dohren, Ryan Watt, Tim Buckwalter, Darrin Schuler, Eric Kormann, Kevin Hirthler, John Willman, Justin Grim, Eddie Strada, Bobby Trapper Jr., Jimmy Leiby, Craig Whitmoyer, WB James, Chris Gambler, Mark Kratz, Ron Haring Jr., Eric Biehn, Jesse Leiby, DNS – Ray Swinehart
DID NOT QUALIFY: Chris Esposito, Bobby Gunther-Walsh, Kevin Graver Jr., Mark Malcolm
T.P. TRUCK EQUIPMENT NASCAR SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (25 laps): DYLAN SWINEHART, Logan Watt, Nathan Horn, Parker Guldin, Jesse Hirthler, Joey Vaccaro, Ryan Graver, Kyle Smith, Brian Hirthler, Adrianna Delliponti, Michael Burrows, Mike Schneck Jr., Cody Manmiller, Brett Gilmore, Logan Bauman, Ronnie Solomon, Tom Miller Jr., Nathan Mohr, Addison Meitzler, Zach Steffey, TJ Mayberry, Brad Grim, Keith Haring, Molly Struss, Decker Swinehart, Zane Roth
DID NOT QUALIFY: Dakota Kohler, Mark Kemmerer, Bastian Miller, Mark Gaugler, Mark Mohr, Kenny Bock, Brandon Banos, Kaitlyn Bailey, Jesse Landis, Colton Perry, Monte Pool