BECHTELSVILLE, PA – The 2020 Grandview Speedway racing season shortened by the virus has been a series of ups and downs for two time former Modified point champion Ray Swinehart.
Numerous occasions Swinehart had his No. 33 hooked up and appeared to be on the way to a possible victory only to be hampered with some form of problem that eliminated his chances.
Saturday night in the activities sponsored by Hope Mortgage Team that sponsors Sportsman drivers B.J. Joly and Lex Shive, Swinehart took the early lead in the 30-lap T.P. Trailers Modified NASCAR Advance Auto Parts feature and stayed there until the drop of the checkered to go home $3,850 richer for his first win of the year. He received $2,500 to win, plus $300 from T.P., $1,000 from Hope Mortgage and an extra $50 for third in the Cash Dash also from Hope Mortgage.
Kyle Lilick took advantage of the lane leader Jesse Landis opened up with one lap remaining in the 25-lap T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Sportsman feature and went on to claim his second triumph. The win, his second of the season, was worth $1,800 – $600 to win, $200 from TP and $1,000 from Hope Mortgage.
The highlight of the evening activities was the crowning of the point champions in each class.
Craig Von Dohren finished fifth in the Modified feature, but it was enough to rack up his 11th title with a total of 3133 points which was 227 points ahead of runner-up and defending champion Duane Howard.
The Sportsman chase had a closer point difference between first and second. Brian Hirthler had to fix two broken axles while in the pits under caution in the feature and was one lap down, but with an 18th place finish he was able to finish with 2258 points, just five points ahead of second place finisher Brad Arnold.
At the onset of the Modified feature Swinehart was off and running with John Willman, recently released by the doctors to race following a gall bladder surgery; Justin Grim, Rick Laubach and Ron Kline in tow.
Within seven laps Swinehart had a comfortable lead built up leaving a three-way battle for second between Willman, J. Grim and Laubach. Attempting to get in the mix were Craig Whitmoyer and Ryan Grim.
By the Dan’s Deli ½-way hoagie mark the order behind Swinehart was now Laubach, Willman, Mike Gular and J. Grim.
The first caution was brought out on the 17th lap when Louden Reimert slowed in the fourth turn with a right rear flat tire. The restart was void after Meme DeSantis and Joe Funk III tangled in turn four. Swinehart continued his rapid pace when action continued, but by this time Laubach, Brett Kressley, Gular and J. Grim held down second through fifth. Von Dohren was trying aimlessly to move into fifth, but to no avail.
Even though lapped traffic was among the front runners Swinehart could run the top and bottom lanes to get by them.
All the suspension changes tried throughout the year which was a learning curve paid off for Swinehart as he pulled into victory lane for the first time since September 1, 2018 when he won the Forrest Rogers Memorial race. Placing second was Laubach, for his best finish, trailed by Kressley, Gular and Von Dohren. Sixth through tenth were J. Grim, last week’s feature winner Kevin Hirthler, Whitmoyer, Dillon Steuer and Jeff Strunk. Jared Umbenhauer who started 27th and finished 16th received $250 as the Hard Charger from Hope Mortgage.
Qualifying heat winners were J. Grim, Louden Reimert, Swinehart and Ryan Grim. Dylan Swinehart and Doug Manmiller won the consies. R. Grim won the Hope Mortgage 3-lap Cash Dash for $300.
Polesitter Bryan Rhoads led the Sportsman feature for seven laps until Steve Young, who previously won the Hope Mortgage Cash Dash for $300, passed him on the outside on the restart needed when Brandon Edgar stopped in turn one.
Hirthler pulled into the homestretch infield close to the edge of the track on the ninth lap, but it wasn’t until the 10th lap the yellow was thrown putting him a lap down. Hirthler went pit side and in that time the red was thrown for a fire in Chris Esposito’s car ending his night. This mishap allowed Hirthler more time to work on his car and return. Young remained first with Landis trying to overtake him.
Landis became the new leader on the 12th lap restart needed when Tommy Scheetz Sr. and Scott Kohler tangled in the second turn. Behind him Cole Stangle, Lilick, Young and Ryan Beltz diced for the remaining top five positions.
The yellow was waving again on the 14th lap after Brett Gilmore stopped in the fourth turn. Hirthler went pit side once again and while he was in the staging lane along the back pits waiting to return modified drivers Jeff Strunk and Mike Lisowski noticed a broken axle and along with brother Kevin Hirthler quickly changed it and he came back out. On the Dan’s Deli ½-way restart Landis was now being chased by Lilick, Beltz, Young and Stangle.
Lilick made several bids to take control, but Landis, in search of victory, kept him behind.
With one lap to go Landis opened up the proper line which was the break Lilick needed and got past him.
Lilick never looked back and went on to his second win of the season followed by Landis, for his best finish, Beltz, Stangle, the highest crate engine finisher earning an extra $100 from the track and Jack Butler. Rounding out the top ten were Kyle Smith, Lex Shive, John McGovern, Mark Kemmerer, who started 23rd and received $250 from Hope Mortgage as the Hard Charger, and Brad Arnold. Lilick was the only repeat feature winner of the season in the Sportsman division.
Esposito, Young and Shive won the heats. Consi winners were Dylan Hoch and Kenny Bock.
Coming up on Friday, September 18 is the Freedom 38 for Sportsman with the winner earning $3,550. In addition to the regulars several visitors are expected to test their talents with action set to get under way at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 19 the 50th Annual Freedom 76 Modified race that rewards the winner with $35,550 plus lap money. The action set to start at 7 p.m. Fans are invited to enter the speedway grounds between 9 a.m. to 12 noon to reserve seats. Saturday action will include qualifying events, the $1,000 to win Kirsten Snyder Web Design & Photography Cash Dash, the Schaeffer Racing Minuteman 20 topped off with the 50th Annual Freedom 76.
Bobby Gunther Walsh and his sponsors will sponsor the Hard Charger Award worth $500. Bob Hilbert Sportswear will present a jacket to the winner.
Hope Mortgage Team Night T. P. Trailers Modified Feature (30-laps): 1. Ray Swinehart, 2. Rick Laubach, 3. Brett Kressley, 4. Mike Gular, 5. Craig Von Dohren, 6. Justin Grim, 7. Kevin Hirthler, 8. Craig Whitmoyer, 9. Dillon Steuer, 10. Jeff Strunk, 11. Ryan Grim, 12. Duane Howard, 13. John Willman, 14. Ron Kline, 15. Brad Brightbill, 16. Jared Umbenhauer, 17. Louden Reimert (provisional), 18. Doug Manmiller, 19. Bobby Trapper Jr., 20. Brad Grim, 21. Richie Hitzler, 22. Carroll Hine III, 23. Joe Funk III, 24. Mike Lisowski, 25. Kenny Gilmore, 26. Meme DeSantis, 27. Mark Kratz, 28. Dylan Swinehart, 29. Ryan Lilick. DNQ: Mark Levy, Mark Kratz, Eric Biehn, Ron Haring Jr., Bobby Gunther Walsh, Dan Waisempacher, Colt Harris and Darrin Schuler.
Hope Mortgage Team Night T.P. Trailers Truck Equipment Sportsman Feature (25-laps): 1. Kyle Lilick, 2. Jesse Landis, 3. Ryan Beltz, 4. Cole Stangle, 5. Jack Butler, 6 Kyle Smith, 7. Lex Shive, 8. John McGovern, 9. Mark Kemmerer, 10. Brad Arnold, 11. Nathan Mohr, 12. Brett Gilmore, 13. Brandon Edgar, 14. Dylan Hoch, 15. Dakota Kohler, 16. Scott Kohler, 17. Ryan Rhoads, 18. Brian Hirthler, 19. Steve Young, 20. Jesse Leiby, 21. Nate Brinker, 22. Tommy Scheetz Sr., 23. Chris Esposito, 24. Kenny Bock. DNQ: Parker Guldin, Derrick Smith, Mike Schneck, Tom Miller, Tyler James, Troy Conrad and Cody Manmiller.