BECHTELSVILLE, PA. – After three consecutive weeks of being towed off the track as a victim of circumstances, ten-time Grandview Speedway point champion Jeff Strunk finally got the monkey off his back and parked the Glenn and Bonita Hyneman-owned/Tabloid Graphics/Teo No. 126 in victory lane at the conclusion of the 30-lap TP Trailers NASCAR 358 Modified feature on Saturday night at Grandview for his first triumph of the year.
It was an emotional win for the Boyertown leadfoot as he thanked everyone for the patience and for sticking by him in the roller-coaster ride of the struggling team. It wasn’t a totally drama-free night for them since they were experiencing fuel pump system problems and he was just thankful no cautions came out once he had the lead after several laps of side-by-side racing earlier with rookie Mike Lisowski.
Nathan Mohr also had Lady Luck on his side in and got rid of the gremlins to cop his first win of the season in the TP Truck Equipment 25-lap Sportsman NASCAR feature. The previous week while leading the race, engine problems sidelined him erasing his chance at a possible win. The week the East Greenville driver led from the drop of the green until the wave of the checkered. He had to endure lap traffic and restarts to pull off the win, but he had no easy time accomplishing the feat as first he dueled with rookie Joey Vaccaro, then Kenny Bock and finally runner-up Brad Brightbill.
Providing all feature winners met the necessary requirements, the Modified and Sportsman feature winner got monetary awards from TP Trailers and a certificate from VP Fuels for product awards. Lisowski and Mohr won the Dan’s Deli ½-way hoagie award.
Richie Hitzler, also a rookie, motored into the early lead with another rookie Steve Wilson, Lisowski, Danny Erb and Ryan Lilick in pursuit.
The yellow was out with seven laps in the books when Ray Swinehart slowed along the homestretch after contact with Tim Buckwalter which put him out of contention and Swinehart continued The restart was brought back to the line when Wilson spun between turns three and four and triggered a chain reaction-type multi-car pile-up that eliminated last week’s runner-up Skylar Sheriff, Kevin Hirthler and Clay Butler. When action went green again Lisowski was the new pacesetter trailed by Strunk, Hitzler, Erb and Louden Reimert. A blanket could have been thrown over third through fifth since that’s how close they were running. Trying to get into the mix was last week’s winner Brett Kressley.
Lisowski and Strunk battled side-by-side for numerous laps and it wasn’t until lap 19 that Strunk put the Ray Carroll-powered mount into the lead.
Strunk built up a commanding lead by the 23rd lap, but at the same time encountered lap traffic and had to use heads up driving with the top five now comprised of Lisowski, Kressley, Erb, Alex Yankowski and Doug Manmiller.
No one was able to reel Strunk in to even attempt to challenge and he went on to record Saturday night career win number 70. Chasing him across the line were Kressley, Lisowski, who also had a change of luck; Yankowski, recipient of the Hard Charger award and Manmiller. Sixth through tenth were Erb, Jared Umbenhauer, Ryan Grim, Reimert and Rick Laubach.
Reimert, Von Dohren, Howard and Strunk were the heat winners. Consies were won by Umbenhauer and Craig Whitmoyer.
Sportsman action saw polesitter Mohr pull away quickly leaving rookies Joey Vaccaro and Scott Kohler along with Bock and Derrick Smith dice for the remaining positions.
By the ½-way marker the top five comprised of Mohr, Vaccaro, Kohler, Bock and Andy Clemmer encountered lap traffic.
The first caution of the race was on the 18th lap when Mike Mammana, who had just taken over fifth, stopped in the second turn. It was still Mohr first on the restart with Bock now challenging trailed by Vaccaro, Brightbill and Brad Arnold.
Clemmer brought out the next yellow when he spun along the front stretch. A yuke tire out on the track erased the next restart. A massive tangle caused by an impatient driver trying to advance by rubbing and pushing his way front further voided the next attempt. This action caused the decision to go to a single file restart. It was now a side-by-side battle for first between Mohr, Bock and Brightbill followed by Arnold and Brad Grim just waiting for a slip-up.
Mohr was able to hold off all the competition to post his second career win his last victory being the Summer Splash 40 June 23, 2018. Finishing second was Brightbill, who overtook that spot on the 22nd lap, Bock, Arnold and Grim. Jack Butler, Brian Hirthler, last week’s winner and also the highest finishing crate engine again this week that earned him an extra $100; Ryan Beltz, Kohler and Kyle Lilick rounded out the top ten.
Heats were won by Mammana, Mohr and Kohler. Mark Kemmerer won the consi.
Next Saturday, June 1, a tripleheader card of racing action will be presented starting at 7:30 p.m. Included in the night of excitement will be the T.P.Trailers NASCAR Modifieds, T.P.Truck Equipment Sportsman and the first time appearance of the Central PA Legends. All that racing offered at the same low price of $15 for adults while youngsters under 12 are admitted FREE. Spectator gates open at 5:30 p.m.
T.P. Trailers Modified Feature (30-laps): 1. Jeff Strunk, 2. Brett Kressley, 3. Mike Lisowski, 4. Andy Yankowski, 5. Doug Manmiller, 6. Danny Erb, 7. Jared Umbenhauer, 8. Ryan Grim, 9. Louden Reimert, 10. Rick Laubach, 11. Craig Whitmoyer, 12. Dan Waisempacher, 13. Craig Von Dohren, 14. Duane Howard, 15. Kyle Weiss, 16. Richie Hitzler, 17. Tim Buckwalter, 18. Frank Cozze (provisional driving Ron Myers No. 18), 19. Ray Swinehart, 20. Ron Kline, 21. Steve Wilson, 22. Ryan Lilick, 23. Kory Fleming, 24. Brett Gilmore, 25. Clay butler, 26. Kevin Hirthler, 27. Skylar Sheriff, 28. Kenny Gilmore, 29. Glenn Owens. DNQ: Jordan Henn, Briggs Danner, Justin Grim, Bobby Gunther-Walsh, Mike Laise, Meme DeSantis, Kyle Kania, Eric Biehn, Mark Kratz, Frank Yankowski, Ron Seltmann Jr., Joe Funk, Brian Houseknecht, Dylan Swinehart, Mark Levy, Steve Swinehart and Ron Myers.
T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman Feature (25-laps): 1. Nathan Mohr, 2. Brad Brightbill, 3. Kenny Bock, 4. Brad Arnold, 5. Brad Grim, 6. Jack Butler, 7. Brian Hirthler, 8. Ryan Beltz, 9. Scott Kohler, 10. Kyle Lilick, 11. Josh Adams, 12. Andrew Kreis, 13. Mark Kemmerer, 14. Lex Shive, 15. Blake Reber, 16. Steve Desmelyk, 17. Brandon Edgar, 18. Andy Clemmer, 19. Joey Vaccaro, 20. Kyle Smith, 21. Dean Bachman, 23. Nate Brinker, 23. Mike Mammana, 24. Derrick Smith. DNQ: Josh Pepe, Tom Miller and Ray Cost III.