By BOBBY SWEENEY
BECHTELSVILLE, PA – Stewart Friesen made the most of his opportunity to race at the Grandview Speedway on Saturday night. The Sprakers, N.Y., driver and former regular, made the most of his rare visit to capture the victory in the VP Racing Fuels Bruce Rogers Memorial to pocket a hefty $7,500 payday.
“I love this racetrack,” an ecstatic Friesen said. “To win this first event named after one of the best promoters in the business of all time, somebody my family looked up to as promoters, it’s just so cool. I love this place, I love this racing, I love all you fans that came out tonight, it’s just one of the best places to be.”
Timmy Buckwalter took the lead at the drop of the green flag in the 50-lap brawl, taking off in front of Don Norris and Mike Gular. Gular got the best of the fight for second, and immediately went to work on Buckwalter. After a couple of laps of drawing even, Gular got the run he wanted off the bottom of turn four to lead lap 11. Two turns later, Buckwalter pulled to the infield with mechanical issues.
Gular took advantage of Buckwalter’s misfortune and established a solid advantage over a torrid battle for second between Norris, Friesen, and Craig Von Dohren. Lap after lap, Gular inched away while the trio battled top, bottom, and middle for second.
With 20 circuits in, Friesen finally cleared Norris for second, with Von Dohren following through for third. Two laps later, Brian Hirthler spun from a top ten spot to bring out the first caution of the race. Gular hung tough the next quick dash, before Matt Sheppard blew a left rear tire to slow the pace on lap 24.
After the next restart, Gular quickly established a big lead over Friesen and Von Dohren. Gular’s lead maxed out by lap 35, but then both Friesen and Von Dohren began chipping away as lapped traffic loomed. The first few slow cars Gular encountered pulled to the infield, but Friesen continued to close.
Much of the mid portion of the race saw the top three blasting the cushion, but Friesen and Von Dohren dropped to the bottom and picked up time. By ten to go, Friesen was within a car length, and at five to go, Friesen had caught Gular and Gular caught traffic. Even on lap 46, and to the lead on lap 47 was Friesen, rolling under Gular and around lapped cars.
Gular stayed locked to Friesen’s bumper, but Friesen slipped under one more car coming to the white flag that Gular could not match, giving Friesen the advantage he needed to collect the massive paycheck.
Gular chased in second, followed closely by Von Dohren, Ryan Watt, and Frank Cozze.
RACE RESULTS (4/14/18)
VP RACING FUELS Bruce Rogers Memorial Money Maker (50-Laps): 1. Stewart Friesen, 2. Mike Gular, 3. Craig Von Dohren, 4. Ryan Watt, 5. Frank Cozze, 6. Duane Howard, 7. Meme DeSantis, 8. Rick Laubach, 9. Billy Pauch, 10. Mike Mahaney, 11. Matt Sheppard, 12. Jordan Henn, 13. Kyle Weiss, 14. Brett Kressley, 15. Louden Reimert, 16. Don Norris Jr., 17. Kevin Hirthler, 18. Justin Grim, 19. Mike Lisowski, 20. Tim Buckwalter, 21. Brian Hirthler, 22. Kenny Gilmore, 23. Jordan Umbenhauer, 24. Ryan Grim. DNQ: Danny Erb, Ron Myers, Ray Swinehart, Dan Waisempacher, Bobby Gunther-Walsh, Brett Gilmore, Chris Esposito, Joe Fanelli, Mark Kratz, Jeff Strunk, Mike Kellner, Bobby Trapper, John Willman, Tommy Scheetz, Brian Krummel, Chris Gambler, Clay Butler, Doug Manmiller, Steve Swinehart, Eric Biehn, Briggs Danner, Bobby Trapper Jr., Ron Kline.
Sportsman Feature (25 Laps): 1. Kevin Hirthler, 2. Brad Grim, 3. Brian Hirthler, 4. Dylan Swinehart, 5. Mark Kemmerer, 6. Jim Housworth, 7. Jack Butler, 8. Mike Lisowski, 9. Ryan Higgs, 10. Kurt BeItler, 11. Kenny Bock, 12. Dennis Smith, 13. John McGovern, 14. Andy Kemmerer, 15. Joe Funk III, 16. Jesse Landis, 17. Brad Arnold, 18. Lex Shive, 19. Craig Whitmoyer, 20. Richard Emel, 21. Ryan Lilick, 22. Mike Mammana, 23. Nathan Mohr, 24. Gary Wagner. DNQ: B.J. Joly, Paul Houseknecht, Andrew Kreis, Bobby Delson, Ryan Beltz and Nicholas Flammer.