Craig Von Dohren (30) battles Kevin Hirthler at Grandview Speedway. (Rich Kepner photo)

$12,000 Grandview ‘Balls To The Wall’ Event Approaches

BECHTELSVILLE, Pa. — The first NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series event of the year will take place on May 28 with the return of the Pioneer Pole Buildings 2nd Annual Balls to the Wall 50 Invert Race for 358 Modifieds at Grandview Speedway. 

The event will be joined by a complete program of 602 Sportsman as well. 

The PPB Balls to the Wall 50 is very different from your traditional fifty-lap feature, with two inverts taking place, one on lap 20 and again on lap 35 when the top four in running order will invert. The leaders on lap 20 and 35 will pocket $1,500 with $400 going to second, $200 for third, $100 for fourth and $50 going to fifth through tenth at each invert.  

Ryan Krachun is the latest pre-entry for this unique and different event. Krachun, looking for his first Thunder win, has come close on several occasions and would like nothing more then to pocket the $12,000. 

“My goal is to get to the front as quick as possible and win each segment, after all, it’s called Balls to the Wall for a reason”, said Krachun.

The format is presented only by Thunder on the Hill and Grandview Speedway, which proved to be successful last season. Brian Hirthler and Duane Howard were the segment leaders last year.

When the checkered flag fell, Craig Von Dohren pocketed the $5,000 first place prize.   

This race of chance and strategy offers another twist. If one driver should lead lap 20, 35 and go on to win the 50-lap event, Pioneer Pole Buildings will serve up a $4,000 bonus making the win worth $12,000.      

Defending Balls to Wall winner Von Dohren liked the format last year and is optimistic when the event returns again to the hill on May 28.   

“It is possible and anything can happen, the format is cool but you kinda have to pick your poison on which end you want to win,” Von Dohren said.

Kevin Hirthler, always a strong runner in the Thunder Series led one segment last year and was in the hunt the entire race. This year, Hirthler’s strategy is simple.

“You gotta run her balls to the wall,” Hirthler said.

Jeff Strunk, the winningest driver on the Thunder on the Hill roster with 16 victories also commented on the event. 

“It’s a unique one of a kind format that’s exciting for the fans and drivers and after the first year as a driver experiencing it, I’m looking forward to it in May,” Strunk said. 

Strunk, driving the Glenn Hyneman No. 126 is looking to do the sweep in chase of the $12,000 win.  Strunk has been shut out of the Thunder on the Hill victory lane since October 2019.

“I’m excited to get back to Grandview to run the Balls to the Wall 50, we had good speed last year in this race and we’re looking to improve on our results and maybe get a win,” Louden Reimert said.

What’s the strategy in an event like this?

“Just stay consistent throughout the race, stay out of trouble and make sure you’re still in a position to win at the end,” Reimert said.

The 358 Modifieds will qualify through a series of heat race events with the top twelve qualifiers drawing for the top twelve starting spots.  A field of twenty-four cars will start the event that will pay $500 to take the green.

Also on the program will be the 602 Sportsman, take part in heat race qualifying leading up to a 25 lap feature that will pay $1,200-to-win and $130 to start the twenty-four car field.