BECHTELSVILLE, Penn. — The 60th anniversary season of auto racing continues at Grandview Speedway, and Saturday night provided three very competitive feature races to entertain the big crowd on hand for the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series program.
Jeff Strunk scored his first win of the season on Saturday night in the 30-lap T.P. Trailer NASCAR Modified feature race after a nearly 10-lap duel with Jared Umbenhauer and Brett Kressley.
The victory for Strunk was his first win of the year, his 77th career NASCAR victory and it was worth a cool $3,500 in purse and bonuses thanks to T.P. Trailers and feature race sponsors V&M Towing and SDS Photography.
Brian Hirthler drove to his second consecutive win of the season in the 25-lap T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman feature, after outdueling Kenny Bock to secure the lead with just six laps remaining.
Hirthler also picked up an increased payday of $1,000 thanks to T.P. Truck Equipment, V&M Towing and SDS Photography for his 16th career victory.
The United Racing Club made their annual visit with Josh Weller winning the 31-lap Tim Higgins classic feature race — worth an increased $3,100 — after tracking down race leader Adam Carberry. Higgins came out on top of a great battle through lapped traffic to take the win.
The T.P. Trailer Modified feature race began with Ron Haring Jr. leading the opening laps before losing the car on lap 11 and spinning for a caution to reset the field. During this time, Dylan Swinehart and Joe Funk were challenging each other for second spot, with Swinehart securing it before the caution.
By the time the caution appeared, Kevin Hirthler was up from tenth starting spot, Strunk up from twelfth, Kressley up from fourteenth and Umbenhauer was up from eleventh to contend for the win at the front.
The restart proved to be a disaster, as two cars in the front of the pack made contact and briefly slowed off of turn four, causing the middle and back of the field to jam up. A 12-car pileup followed.
Luckily, nine cars drove away and rejoined the race, but three cars were towed off — including Ray Swinehart, Michael Storms and Craig Whitmoyer.
The action heated up after that, as Hirthler was able to grab the lead from Dylan Swinehart following a restart on lap 13. Swinehart went down the back straightaway, with Strunk following to second and Kressley moving into third.
Strunk applied the pressure to Hirthler and was able to secure the lead off of turn four on lap 18.
A quick caution for debris on lap 20 set up the late race drama.
Strunk led on the restart, but Umbenhauer swept to the top lane and quickly moved around Kressley and Hirthler to chase Strunk.
Umbenhauer got alongside Strunk twice, once on the front straight at the flag stand, but ran out of room and scraped the wall losing some momentum. Several laps later when he was outside of Strunk going into turn three, Strunk changed lanes, causing Umbenhauer to slide up into the marbles.
Kressley grabbed second with just two laps to go.
Strunk survived all challenges and ran the final two laps to score the win, followed by Kressley, Umbenhauer, Hirthler, Craig Von Dohren, Duane Howard, Doug Manmiller, Dylan Swinehart, Justin Grim and Joe Funk.
BJ Joly was the early leader of the T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman feature, before things started heating up behind him. A caution on lap 11 really changed the complexion of the race when Cole Stangle, Mike Myers, Mark Kemmerer, Dylan Hoch and Kyle Smith all crashed together in turn two.
Following the restart, Joly then had a great battle on his hands, as Kenny Bock and Hirthler turned up the pressure. After several laps of the three-wide race, Bock moved by Joly coming out of turn four on lap 16 to take the lead.
Three laps later, after a side-by-side duel, Hirthler was able to move by Bock off of turn four on lap 19 and become the final leader of the exciting race.
Zane Roth, who started second but fell back in the field early on, made a late race comeback and moved into third with six laps remaining. Roth was part of a three-car duel in the late stages with Dakota Kohler and Parker Guldin.
When the checkered flag fell, Hirthler was the winner. He was followed by Bock, Roth, Kohler, Guldin, Cody Manmiller, Joly, Jesse Hirthler, Logan Bauman and Kyle Smith.
The URC Sprint drivers honored one of their late members — Tim Higgins — with a 31-lap, $3,100-to-win main event. The No. 31 was his car number during his driving career.
Brandon McGough took the early lead before Adam Carberry moved by and into the lead on lap seven.
With only one stoppage in the feature early, the race ran a long stretch of green flag racing. Carberry ran in the lead using the top lane, while Josh Weller slowly closed in using the bottom. Once Weller caught Carberry, the race for the lead was a good one for many laps in and out of traffic before Weller secured the lead on lap 27.
Once in front, Weller pulled away in the closing laps to score his third victory of the season and his fourth career Grandview Speedway URC victory.
Following Weller to the finish line were Carberry, Dallas Schott, Troy Betts, Joe Kata, Mike Thompson, McGough, Jason Shultz, Denny Peebles and Ryan Stillwagon.