BECHTELSVILLE, PA – Defending NASCAR T.P.Truck Equipment Sportsman champion Brian Hirthler piloted the Green Lane/Wm. Penn PPB No. 4* to his third win of the season in the T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman event on Saturday night at Grandview Speedway, but it was his first ever Firecracker 40-lap victory for a $2,000 plus payday.. It was an early birthday present for his father who celebrated and he remembered it was this time years ago he lost a good friend Chad Miller. The veteran racer commented in victory lane that he’d prefer to win this race rather than the championship.
Jeff Strunk, who has been having a rather up and down season and struggling on occasion, finally got the monkey off his back and parked the Zubi Racing No. 88Z in the winner’s circle for his first 358 NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series 30-lap T.P.Trailers Modified feature to be the sixth different winner during the current season. An emotional win for the ten-time point champion as he dedicated it to former crew member Chad Miller who lost his life 12 years ago in an automobile accident. Strunk also thanked the crew for sticking by him and constantly working diligently all week long trying to get the car in top running condition.
Sportsman action saw Adrianna Delliponti, the first female driver in the division, who is also a Micro Sprint driver, take the early lead from the pole starting spot.
Within a short time she outdistanced herself leaving Tom Miller, previous feature winners Decker Swinehart, Jesse Landis and Kyle Lilick jockey for the remaining positions.
Lilick worked his way into second by the 14th lap and two laps later he reeled Delliponti in to challenge her for the lead in quest of another win.
The red was thrown on the 17th lap as Tyler James was sitting along the berm of the backstretch infield and was aided by the fire crew. When action resumed Lilick outgunned Delliponti to become the new leader.
Once Lilick was in control he wasted no time building up a comfortable lead and by this point was being chased down by Landis, Jimmy Leiby, Delliponti and Hirthler.
Dakota Kohler slowed his pace in the third turn and had to be towed into the pits for the 27th lap caution period. Lilick held his pace on the restart, but it was Hirthler on the move as he advanced into the runner-up spot.
On the 30th lap Lilick’s car developed a push and he almost hit the fourth turn wall. He collected it, but Hirthler capitalized on the situation and moved into first as Lilick was now second followed by Landis, Leiby and Dylan Hoch.
Mike Schneck set up a one-lap dash to the checkered when he stopped along the backstretch apron for the yellow. Hirthler motored away quickly to remain first and went on to collect he checkered for his tenth career triumph. Chasing him across the line were Lilick, Landis, Hoch and Leiby. Sixth through tenth were Kyle Smith, Cole Stangle, Kenny Gilmore, Parker Guldin and Mike Laise.
Miller, Delliponti and James won the heats. The consi went to Hoch.
Mark Kratz was the early pacesetter in the Modified feature with pressure coming from Darrin Schuler, Brett Gilmore, Ryan Lilick and John Willman.
After three attempts to complete the fifth lap Kratz was still the leader, but now Hirthler was second putting his bids in on the leader.
Doug Manmiller, who was running a solid fourth, slowed his pace in turn one with mechanical problems for the seventh lap caution. On the restart Hirthler charged into the lead and Strunk followed through for second to challenge.
By the Dan’s Deli ½-way hoagie mark with Hirthler at the helm of the pack, the order behind him was comprised of Strunk, Craig Von Dohren, Jared Umbenhauer and Brett Kressley.
Jesse Leiby hit the second turn wall and brought out the final yellow on lap 22. At this time Strunk became the new leader.
Throughout the race positions were constantly changing behind Strunk, but he never surrendered first and went on to chalk up Saturday night career win number 76. Kressley came on strong in the final stages for second trailed by Hirthler, Von Dohren and Umbenhauer. Rounding out the top ten were Timmy Buckwalter, Dany Bouc, Craig Whitmoyer, Duane Howard and Jack Butler.
Heats were won by Cory Merkel, Justin Grim and Lilick. Carroll Hine III won the consi.
The popular Capital Renegade Rapid Tire United Racing Club sprint cars will join the T.P. Trailers Modifieds and T.P.Truck Equipment Sportsman on Saturday, July 17th creating an action packed tripleheader.
Sprint car action at Grandview always provides excitement racing and a strong field of racers is expected for the only appearance of the season. Andy Best, Ryan Taylor, Mike Thompson, Ryan Stillwagon, Jason Shultz and other top talents are expected to be on hand.
Adult admission for July 17th tripleheader is $25 for adults, $10 for youngsters 6-11 and those under 6 are admitted free.
The Meet and Greet session will feature Modified racer Jordan Henn along with Sportsman talents Chris Esposito and Matt Clay. It gets started at 5 p.m. at the main entrance area.
T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman Firecracker 40 Feature (40-laps): 1. Brian Hirthler, 2. Kyle Lilick, 3. Jesse Landis, 4. Dylan Hoch, 5. Jimmy Leiby, 6. Kyle Smith, 7. Cole Stangle, 8. Kenny Gilmore. 9. Parker Guldin, 10. Mike Laise, 11. Ryan Beltz, 12. Bryan Rhoads, 13. Decker Swinehart, 14. Logan Bauman, 15. Adrianna Delliponti, 16. Mike Schneck, 17. Dakota Kohler, 18. Chris Esposito, 19. Tom Miller, 20. Tyler James, 21. Mike Stofflet, 22. Joey Vaccaro, 23. Kenny Bock, 24. Steve Young. DNQ: Nathan Mohr, Hunter Iatalese, Colton Perry, Wayne Rotenberger, Nick Faust.
T.P. Trailers Modified Feature (30-laps): 1. Jeff Strunk, 2. Brett Kressley, 3. Kevin Hirthler, 4. Craig Von Dohren, 5. Jared Umbenhauer, 6. Timmy Buckwalter, 7. Danny Bouc, 8. Craig Whitmoyer, 9. Duane Howard, 10. Jack Butler, 11. Nate Brinker, 12. Eric Biehn, 13. Darrin Schuler, 14. Carroll Hine III, 15. Cory Merkel, 16. Mark Kratz, 17. Dylan Swinehart, 18. Ryan Lilick, 19. Jesse Leiby, 20. John Willman, 21. Justin Grim, 22. Joe Funk III, 23. Brett Gilmore, 24. Ryan Grim, 25. Ray Swinehart, 26. Doug Manmiller, 27. Kyle Weiss, 28. Brad Grim. DNQ: Brad Arnold, Mike Lisowski, Ron Kline, Bobby Gunther Walsh, Ron Haring Jr., Jordan Henn, Mike Tyson.