BECHTELSVILLE, PA – Craig Von Dohren of Oley, Pa. scored a $5,250 payday at the NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series season kick-off at Grandview Speedway on Sunday Night. The Pioneer Pole Buildings Balls to the Wall 50 had Von Dohren claim the final checkered flag, with Duane Howard and Kevin Hirthler each scoring a segment win at laps 30 and 40 respectively. Billy Pauch Jr. won the 25 lap SpeedSTR main event collecting $2,500. A strong field of forty-three 358 Modifieds and twenty-two SpeedSTR’s took part in the show.
“There wasn’t a lot of strategy involved,” Von Dohren claimed in post-race ceremonies. “You just get in quick and keep moving.”
‘Keep Moving’ was the motto of the night with action all over the race track in an event that saw a top ten payout and the top-4 inverted at each segment.
Oley, PA’s Duane Howard set a rapid pace at the start of the event, with Douglasville’s Tim Buckwalter in the second position. The opening stages of the event went smoothly until the caution flag flew on lap-15 for a slowing Mike Lisowski.
Lisowski was running in the 5th-position before retiring the car with a billow of smoke.
On the restart, Howard and Buckwalter battled for the top position, while four cars — Craig Von Dohren, Kevin Hirthler, Brett Kressley and Jeff Strunk — battled for third spot. Strunk won the four-car war, having moved up from the 22nd starting position.
Howard claimed the checkered flag and a $1,500 payday for winning the first segment. Buckwalter was in second, Strunk in third, and Hirthler in fourth.
The top-4 finishers inverted for the start of segment two, giving Hirthler the prime starting position for the lap 31 green flag.
Hirthler dominated the second segment, taking the lead early while Howard faded backwards and Von Dohren moved into the third spot.
Hirthler scored a $1,500 payday, Strunk finished in second, Von Dohren in third, and Buckwalter in fourth.
The third and final segment of the event saw Buckwalter and Von Dohren on the front row in a 10-lap shootout to the finish – and a $5,000 payday. Von Dohren took the lead quickly, while Buckwalter and Strunk fought it out for the runner-up spot.
Von Dohren easily sailed to victory and the first ever Balls to the Wall 50. Tim Buckwalter finished in second, Jeff Strunk in third, Kevin Hirthler in fourth, and Billy Pauch Jr. in fifth.
GT Radiator Modified Qualifying events were won by Brett Kressley, Duane Howard, Rick Laubach, and Cory Merkel – each taking home $200 courtesy of GT Radiators. C. Modified last chance qualifying events were won by Steve Swinehart and Jeff Strunk, scoring a $100 payday from GT Radiators, respectively.
Von Dohren, Buckwalter and Strunk also received a bottle of wine, courtesy of Clever Girl Winery.
Billy Pauch Jr. took momentum from his fifth-place Modified finish and used that to score the win in the USAC All-Pro SpeedSTR feature event.
The Pauch pair started in the front row of the SpeedSTR feature with the younger starting on the pole, and Pauch Sr. starting on the outside.
Pauch Jr. was in a class of his own making quick work of the SpeedSTR 25-lap event. The action slowed one time on the 8th circuit, but that didn’t slow Pauch Jr. who easily picked up the win. Billy Pauch Sr finished in second, Richie Tobias finished in third, Louden Reimert in fourth, and Tim Buckwalter in the fifth position.
SpeedSTR heat races were won by Billy Pauch Jr. and Billy Pauch Sr.
The PPB Balls to the Wall Invert race offered drivers a unique opportunity to earn money as can be seen when reviewing the Modified feature finish below that includes money earned during the night Interesting to note that Duane Howard who finished sixteenth in the feature earned $2,325 as Tim Buckwalter who finished second and Kevin Hirthler who finished fourth, both earned $3,000. The format received very positive feedback from drivers, owners and race fans as well.
The NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on Hill Racing Series returns on Tuesday, June 14 for the AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series and the NASCAR 358 Modifieds.
For more information visit www.thunderonthehillracingseries.com.
NASCAR 358 Modifieds
Heat 1 (10 Laps) – 1. Brett Kressley 2. Timmy Buckwalter 3. Tanner Van Doren 4. Dillon Steuer 5. Craig Whitmoyer
Heat 2 (10 Laps) – 1. Duane Howard 2. Jesse Leiby 3. Mike Lisowski 4. Ryan Watt 5. Eric Biehn
Heat 3 (10 Laps) – 1. Rick Laubach 2. Brian Hirthler 3. Craig Von Dohren 4. Billy Pauch Jr. 5. Brad Brightbill
Heat 4 (10 Laps) – 1. Cory Merkel 2. Kevin Hirthler 3. Nick Rochinski 4. Anthony Tramontana 5. Kyle Lilick
Consi 1 (8 Laps) – 1. Steve Swinehart 2. Jack Butler
Consi 2 (8 Laps) – 1. Jeff Strunk 2. Louden Reimert
Feature (50 Laps) – 1. Craig Von Dohren ($5250) 2. Timmy Buckwalter ($3000) 3. Jeff Strunk ($2700) 4. Kevin Hirthler ($3000) 5. Billy Pauch Jr. ($1450) 6. Loudon Reimert ($1425) 7. Rick Laubach ($1500) 8. Ryan Watt ($1225) 9. Jesse Leiby ($1100) 10. Anthony Tramontana ($1000) 11. Jack Butler ($740) 12. Dillon Steuer ($700) 13. Craig Whitmoyer ($645) 14. Nick Rochinski ($625) 15. Cory Merkel ($800) 16. Duane Howard ($2325) 17. Brett Kressley ($850) 18. Tanner Van Doren ($535) 19. Kyle Lillick ($530) 20. Mike Lisowski ($500) 21. Eric Biehn ($500) 22. Brad Brightbill ($500) 23. Steve Swinehart ($600) 24. Brian Hirthler ($500)
Heat 1 (8 Laps) – 1. Billy Pauch Jr. 2. Cole Stangle 3. Mike Bednar 4. Richie Tobias 5. Tyler Brehm 6. Jason Musser
Heat 2 (8 Laps) – 1. Billy Pauch Sr. 2. Louden Reimert 3. Alex Bright 4. Tim Buckwalter 5. Dillon Steuer 6. Ryan Krachun
Feature (25 Laps) – 1. Billy Pauch Jr. 2. Billy Pauch Sr. 3. Richie Tobias 4. Louden Reimert 5. Tim Buckwalter 6. Tyler Brehm 7. Alex Bright 8. Andy Haus 9. Jason Musser 10. Dillon Steuer 11. Gary Wagner 12. Scott Houdeshell 13. Justin Thompson 14. Jack Helget 15. Cale Zangli 16. Chase Walker 17. Mike Bednar 18. TJ Mayberry 19. Cole Stangle 20. Ryan Krachun 21. Jack Berghoff