BECHTELSVILLE, PA – There was quite chill in the air for the 4th Annual VP Fuels Bruce Rogers Memorial Money Maker 50-lap race on Saturday night at Grandview Speedway, but the action was hot and heavy as Big Block Modifieds went up against Small Block racing talents.
45 Modifieds entered the pits to attempt to qualify for the Rogers Memorial while 33 Sportsman took to the track for their second part of the night’s racing action.
Oley, PA’s Duane Howard, started 12th in the Modified feature named in honor of the late track owner and promoter and at the conclusion of 12 laps he piloted the Butch Getz-owned No. 15G, a new ride for the six-time Oley, PA track champion, into the lead. He battled briefly with John Willman followed by Brett Kressley and later defending champion Craig Von Dohren, also in a different ride owned by Bruce Bruecher.
In the closing stages of the event Von Dohren was reeling Howard being able to gain ground when Howard was hampered by a lapped car. Howard kept Von Dohren at bay and went on to become the fourth different winner of the prestigious event for a hefty $7,500 payday. Howard commented in victory lane that he’s determined to make the new ride coil work and prove to those that said he was too old to win another championship that they were wrong. This big win does not count toward the season title but the chase for the Advance Auto Parts NASCAR Weekly Series championship will kick off on Saturday, April 10.
In the 25-lap Sportsman feature, polesitter Kyle Lilick collected his seventh career win by withstanding the challenges of runner-up Kenny Gilmore.
Through the luck of the draw for the 50-lap feature, John Willman, the “Ultimate Underdog”, started on the pole trailed by Doug Manmiller, Ron Kline, Louden Reimert and Kevin Hirthler.
Willman was able to hold off the various challengers until Howard took over second on the tenth lap and two laps later was the new leader.
Brad Brightbill brought out the red when he flipped the BMS No. 14 in the third turn. He was uninjured, but the car sustained heavy damage. Howard maintained the lead when action resumed with pressure coming from Willman, Kressley, Louden Reimert and Von Dohren, who started first, eighth, seventh and 14th respectively.
Kressley advanced into second on the 16th lap and set his sights on Howard, who had a commanding lead built up.
Howard’s comfortable margin was erased on the 19th lap when Manmiller, running a solid fifth, stopped in turn two with mechanical issues and was finished for the night. By this time Kressley was in second and on the restart edged into first, but the lap counted Howard was ahead trailed by Kressley, Von Dohren, Willman and Reimert.
Second changed on the 31st lap when Von Dohren overtook Kressley and then was off to try and overtake Howard.
The lead Howard built up was dwindling because at the end of 38 laps Von Dohren was closing in as Howard was hindered by slower moving traffic.
Ten to go and Von Dohren was pressuring Howard as the laps clicked off.
Howard succeeded to keep the competition behind him and pulled into Victory Lane an elaborate winner followed closely by Von Dohren and Kressley, also right behind. Willman hung on for fourth with Ryan Watt fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Mike Maresca, Jared Umbenhauer, defending race winner Tim Buckwalter, Reimert and Danny Bouc.
Von Dohren, Kyle Weiss, Maresca and Kressley were the heat winners while Brad Grim and Buckwalter won the consies.
Despite the fact that Kyle Lilick started on the pole in the Sportsman feature, it was no easy task winning the race. First he dueled with Kyle Smith, who he lost the lead to briefly, then from the 14th lap until the drop of the checkered, he encountered a fierce battle with second-place finisher Kenny Gilmore. Following Lilick and Gilmore across were defending point champion Brian Hirthler, Smith and Jimmy Leiby. Sixth through tenth were Mark Kemmerer, Donn Edger, Bryan Rhoads and Ryan Conrad.
The chase for the NASCAR track titles gets the green flag on Saturday, April 10th at 7 p.m. when the T.P.Trailers Modifieds and T.P.Truck Equipment Sportsman are featured in a doubleheader show. Adult admission is $15 while youngsters 12 and under are admitted FREE.
RACE RESULTS—- Fourth Annual VP Race Fuels Bruce Rogers Memorial Money Maker Feature (50-laps): 1. Duane Howard, 2. Craig Von Dohren, 3. Brett Kressley, 4. John Willman, 5. Ryan Watt, 6. Mike Maresca, 7. Jared Umbenhauer, 8. Tim Buckwalter, 9. Louden Reimert, 10. Danny Bouc, 11. Brad Grim, 12. Eric Biehn, 13. Kyle Weiss, 14. Mike Lisowski, 15. Dillon Steuer, 16. Doug Manmiller, 17. Jeff Strunk, 18. Ron Kline, 19. Kris Graver, 20. Dylan Swinehart, 21. Ryan Beltz, 22. Kevin Hirthler, 23. Brad Brightbill, 24. Brian Hirthler. Cory Merkel, Joe Funk Jr., Craig Whitmoyer, Brett Gilmore, Jesse Leiby, Nate Brinker, Justin Grim, Mark Levy, Jack Butler, Steve Young, Ryan Lilick, Richie Hitzer, Darren Schuler, Bobby Gunther Walsh, Scott Frack, Kyle Merkel, Jordan Henn, Alex Yankowski, Mark Kratz, Brad Arnold and Ryan Grim.
Sportsman Feature (25-laps): 1. Kyle Lilick, 2. Kenny Gilmore, 3. Brian Hirthler, 4. Kyle Smith, 5. Jimmy Leiby, 6. Mark Kemmerer, 7. Brandon Edgar, 8. Bryan Rhoads, 9. Doug Snyder, 10. Ryan Conrad, 11. Chuck Eckert, 12. Cody Schantz, 13. Jesse Landis, 14. Lex Shive, 15. Nathan Mohr, 16. Joey Vaccaro, 7. Kenny Bock, 18. Decker Swinehart, 19. Mike Schneck, 20. Mike Stofflet, 21. Parker Guldin, 22. Tyler James, 23. Tom Miller, 24. Kevin Hirthler. DNQ: BJ Joly, Mark Gaugler, Brad Force, Dakota Kohler, Wayne Rotenberger Jr., Nick Faust, Colton Perry, Logan Bauman. DNS: Chris Esposito.