BECHTELSVILLE, Pa. — In a wild final five-lap battle to the finish, Eric Biehn was able to secure that elusive first career T.P. Trailer NASCAR Modified feature win Saturday night at Grandview Speedway.
Biehn secured the top spot-on lap 14 of the 30-lap T.P. Trailer Modified feature after a nearly twelve lap battle with race leader Chris Gambler.
Following that, he then withstood a flurry of challenges in the final five laps from Ryan Grim, Jeff Strunk and Brett Kressley, who circled the track practically under a blanket, to score the memorable first career Grandview victory.
If that wasn’t enough excitement, Ryan Graver duplicated the Biehn accomplishment, as he scored his first career T.P. Truck Equipment 25-lap NASCAR Sportsman feature win in the nightcap, after he came out on top of a late race battle with leader Logan Bauman to pull off the last-lap victory.
Both winners received bonus money (Modified $300, Sportsman $200) from T.P. Trailers and Truck Equipment of Limerick, Pa., sponsors of the two divisions at Grandview Speedway.
The T.P. Trailer Modified feature was a highly competitive affair from the drop of the green flag until the checkered, with only two quick cautions to slow the action, in a race which saw a lot of drivers who started deep in the 30-car starting field make their way to the top ten by the end of the race.
Following a spin on the start causing a caution and complete restart, the feature did not stop again until a lap 17 caution for a flat tire for Doug Manmiller, who had started 16th and was quickly up to seventh when the flat tire happened, sending him pit side and then rejoining at the rear of the field.
During this long stretch of green flag action, Gambler led the race with Biehn right behind and at times alongside, applying pressure, trying to grab the lead.
The restart following the Manmiller flat tire was the last stoppage of the feature and proved to be a game changer for a lot of drivers. Following the restart green, the field flew into turn one with cars leaning and bouncing off each other, drivers going three-wide and one row went four across.
It was at this time that 19th starting Strunk and 22nd place starting Kressley gained many spots to put themselves into the picture up front and in contention for a possible win. Strunk and Kressley went from eighth and ninth on lap 17, to fourth and fifth by lap 20, and third and fourth by lap 23, following a short battle with Trapper Jr., Schuler, and Hine III.
Grim had also advanced forward following the restart, steadily gaining positions until he reached second, then took flight after Biehn. By lap 25 Biehn caught the back end of the field and lapped traffic, and that is all the other three needed to quickly reel in the leader and the four-car tussle for the lead was on until the checkered.
Biehn stayed in the high groove which made it possible for him to sweep around the slower cars and use them to block off any pass attempts. At the same time Grim was looking to the bottom to pass Biehn, and trying to hold back the serious challenges of Strunk and a rim-riding Kressley which he did until the checkered flag waved.
The 25-lap T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman feature also got off to a great start with an extended period of green flag action at the beginning, which saw Keith Haring and Zach Steffey grab the top two spots and pull away in the first twelve laps.
While the top two were setting the pace, there was a serious battle going on for third spot between Molly Struss, Logan Bauman, Graver, Mark Mohr and Decker Swinehart.
That group eventually broke down to just Struss, Graver and Bauman battling for third when the first caution flew on lap twelve for a stopped Addison Meitzler to reset the field.
On the restart Bauman, who was fourth at the time, swept to the top lane in the next two laps and motored around Graver, Steffey and Haring to take the lead on lap fourteen. Graver soon followed and moved into second by lap fifteen.
Bauman looked strong out front followed by Graver, Haring and a now fast closing Logan Watt of Boyertown, Pa., who had started 19th after winning the consolation and was now up to fourth and looking to grab a possible second feature win in a row.
The great action was slowed on lap 22 for an unfortunate spin by Struss, which set up some late trace dramatics. Bauman led Graver, Watt, Haring and Steffey to the green, with Graver staying close to Bauman in the late stages.
After taking the white flag, Graver threw a huge slide attempt at Bauman entering turn one which did not work, and the two made contact, causing them to slow momentarily and bunch up the field.
Graver quickly recovered and grabbed the lead off turn two and raced home to his first career Grandview Speedway victory, making it three weeks in a row for the T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman division to have a first-time career winner.