BECHTELSVILLE, PA – Brothers.Kevin Hirthler, 39, and Brian Hirthler, 37, both of Perkiomenville, PA, took home a feature win, Saturday night at Grandview Speedway. Kevin scored his 12th career TP Trailers 358 Modified feature win at the high-banked third-mile dirt track, while Brian collected his second career Sportsman triumph at the popular Bechtelsville, PA raceway. The raceway promoted by the Rogers family celebrated 55 consecutive seasons of racing with the annual opening night programSaturday night.
Ron Kline, 48, of Salford, PA steering the Wanda Brown owned Junior Grebe Motorsports No. 3 Late Model claimed his 37th career feature triumph in the BRC Late Model main event.
“We’ve been trying to do this over the past five or six years, now, and finally we got it done tonight,” remarked a bearded Brian Hirthler after his win in the 25-lap Sportsman fray aboard his self-owned Pioneer Pole Building No. 4* Sportsman car.
Provided they met all requirements each feature winner earned bonus bucks from TP Trailers and Truck Equipment of Limerick. And VP Racing Fuels had product awards for top performers that met the requirements.
Coming up on Saturday, April 15th, 7 p.m. is the first extra distance event of the season for the T.P.Trailers NASCAR 358 Modifieds. They will be featured in a 35-lap main event paying $3500 to win along with T.P.Trailers and VP Racing Fuel bonuses. Also included will be the BRC Late Models and Sportsman. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with the Low Down and Dirty Meet and Greet set to take place as gates open.
In the 25-lap Late model main, Chuck Schutz, the 2016 Late Model track champion, started from the pole in a heads-up start after winning the first heat race of the night. Kline, also a heat winner, started outside the front row. With the green it was Schutz out in front over Kline through the first seven circuits prior to the caution on Lap 7.
The new green again showed Schutz on top over Kline through Lap 12. Off turn 4 on Lap 13, Kline ducked under Schutz and took the top spot crossing at the starters stand. From that point on it was Kline going on to victory, with Schutz pressuring Kline several times in the final 12-laps, but never getting out in front. Schutz pressed Kline, but wound up runner-up, with Kyle Merkel finishing up third. Stephen Todorow brought home a solid fourth in front of Brian Sipe.
Heat winners for the 15 Late Models in action were Chuck Schutz and Ron Kline.
“You got to keep your foot in it,” explained Kline. “We survived. The lapped cars were all over. Tonight, being in second was a better thing. I found the guard rail twice tonight and got by Chuck down there off the bottom in turn 4 and, believe me, once I got out in front I wasn’t about to give it back. Junior Grebe gave me a heck of a car.”
Kline now has won three of the last five features run at the track in recent years on Opening Night.
In the 30-lap 358 Modified feature, 10-time track champion Jeff Strunk started from the pole with Kevin Hirthler outside the front row chauffeuring his self-owned Bicknell chassied Pioneer Pole Building No. 117 mount. With the green it was Strunk powering out on top over Hirthler, as the caution was out after a lap. On the new green Hirthler was quicker on the restart from the outside lane, dropping Strunk to second spot for lap 2 in front of Brett Kressley. Lap 8 brought out another caution involving Kyle Borror, Ryan Grin and Kyle Weiss, as Kressley headed to the pit area with a flat tire.
On the restart from the outside lane it was Hirthler out in front again on Lap 9 as Strunk stayed close. Hirthler remained out in front, with another caution on Lap 13.
Again from the outside lane it was Hirthler scoring Lap 13 as the race leader. Caution again on Lap 15 bunched things up, but Hirthler remained out in front, with Strunk applying heavy pressure every tour. Hirthler kept his advantage and easily took the win in the 30-lapper over Strunk, with Craig Von Dohren finishing up a real strong third-place. In fourth it was invader Ryan Watt and five-time track champion rounded out the top five finishers.
Heat winners for 38 358 Modified racers were Strunk, Hirthler, Dan Wasempacher and 9-time speedway championVon Dohren, who was the 2015 and 2016 358 Modified champion. Consolation winners were Chris Gambler and Brian Houseknecht.
“I won three features here in 2015 and got zero wins in 2016,” explained Hirthler. “One night I was leading the feature and broke a bolt. Strunk got passed me and won that night taking that win from me. I guesstonight we got him back, with this win?
“I might have jumped Jeff slightly on that restart early on, but he certainly had his chances to get me back throughout tonight. All the yellow’s just kept coming out. The track was choppy because of all the wet weather we’ve had recently. Give the track crew time to work on it. It’s understandable. Everyone knows I am out there pushing on the gas every lap. We had a great race car tonight,” said Hirthler.
The Sportsman feature saw Craig Whitmoyer vault out on top after starting from the pole over Brian Hirthler. Kenny Bock took third and Brian Papiez fourth. Papiez advanced to third by Lap 3 and immediately challenged Hirthler for second spot. The top three ran nose-to-tail for laps 9, 10 and 11 and laps 14 and 15 saw Papiez and Hirthler battling it out for second.
By Lap 16 Hirthler got hooked up on the high outside and in turn two he drove by Whitmoyer to take the top spot, while running with a couple of laps in lapped cars. Two slower lapped cars crashed right in front of the leaders racing through turns 3 and 4 and nearly took out the top runners, but a lap wasn’t completed. Lap 17 it was Hirthler again taking the lead, but Brad Arnold stopped in turn two to quickly bring out the caution.
The new green showed Hirthler out in front over Whitmoyer, Jordan Henn and Papiez, as the caution was waving again after 19 rounds for Papiez, who broke the front suspension.
The green reappeared with Hirthler on rails and flying out in front of Whitmoyer. Invader Cale Ross, normally a New Egypt Speedway runner, climbed up to third with 20-laps completed in front of Henn and Jim Housworth. It remained that way to the checkered.
Heat winners for 36 Sportsman racers were Whitmoyer, Kenny Bock and Hirthler. Mike Lisowski took the win in the consolation.
“I was running the car hard,” said Hirthler. “I was gasping for air on lap 16. After the heat race I was convinced this car was a rocket. Whitmoyer gave me a real run for the money, but I had him covered running on the top, the bottom or down the middle tonight. This car was a rocket.”
BRC Late Models 25-laps
1) Ron Kline 2) Chuck Schutz 3) Kyle Merkel 4) Stephen Todorow 5) Brian Sipe 6) Wayne Pfeil 7) Blaine Emery 8) Steve Wilson 9) Shawn Horning 10) Dirk Rimrott 11) Jordan Knepp 12) George Irwin 13) Andy Cassell 14) Todd Ravel 15) Brian Shuey
1) Brian Hirthler 2) Craig Whitmoyer 3) Cale Ross 4) Jordan Henn 5) Jim Housworth 6) Mark Kemmerer 7) Joe Funk 8) Dean Bachman 9) Loudon Reimert 10) Kenny Gilmore 11) Ryan Higgs 12) Kenny Bock 13) Mike Mammana 14) Brad Grim 15) Kurt Bettler 16) Mike Lisowski 17) Ryan Beltz 18) Ken Eckert Jr. 19) Nathan Mohr 20) Jesse Landis 21) Dave Dissinger 22) Brian Papiez 23) Brad Arnold 24) Ryan Shupp 25) Jeromy Guistwite 26) John McGovern
TP Trailers 358 Modifieds 30-laps
1) Kevin Hirthler 2) Jeff Strunk 3) Craig Von Dohren 4) Ryan Watt 5) Duane Howard 6) Rick Laubach 7) Doug Manmiller 8) Ray Swinehart 9) Danny Bouc 10) Brett Gilmore 11) Dan Waisempacher 12) Jared Umbenhauer 13) Kory Fleming 14) Justin Grim 15) Mike Gular 16) Briggs Danner 17) Brett Kressley 18) Mike Laise 19) Brian Houseknecht 20) Chris Esposito 21) Kyle Borror 22) Ryan Grim 23) Addison Meitzler 24) PJ Oliver 25) Chris Gambler 26) Blaine Bracelin Jr. 27) John Willman 28) Kyle Weiss
MEDIA CONTACT: Ernie Saxton @ 267.934.7286 or Esaxton144@aol.com