Brian Hirthler after winning at Grandview Speedway. (Thunder on the Hill Series Photo)

Hirthler Takes First Thunder On The Hill Triumph

BECHTELSVILLE, Pa. — A pair of first-time NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill winners kicked off the series of special summer events.  Brian Hirthler picked up his first ever modified win in the Balls to the Wall 50 presented by Pioneer Pole Buildings at Grandview Speedway.

This marked the 150th NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series since the series started in 1990.

“This is absolutely incredible,” Hirthler said in victory lane, surrounded by a large group of family, friends, and fans.  “We were put in a great position with the invert in the final segment and just had to battle to stay up front.”

Hirthler kicked off the final segment of the Balls to the Wall 50 on the pole, after a four-car invert at lap 35, with Brett Kressley assuming the second spot. Hirthler’s Pioneer Metal Roofing No. 4 claimed the top spot on the drop of the green flag while Kressley battled Duane Howard and Mike Gular. 

Gular moved to second with five laps remaining and aggressively battled Hirthler for the $5,000 winner’s share. Despite late race contact with Gular and a hard charging Duane Howard, Hirthler claimed the victory.

Gular and Billy Pauch Jr. received $1,500 bonuses from GT Radiator Repair for leading their segments at the four-car invert.

For his win, Hirthler took home a total payday of $5,200; Gular with $4,050 after leading the lap 35 segment and finishing second, Howard claimed $2700 for his third place finish, Brett Kressley $1,800 for fourth and Jeff Strunk earned $1,450 for fifth.  

The PPB Balls to the Wall 50 for 358 Modifieds was an intense race that went non-stop with the exception of the two competition cautions where the top four drivers inverted the running order. The battle for the top four spots was continuous throughout the entire 50 laps. 

In addition to the big payoff for the 50 lap PPB Balls to the Wall feature that paid $5,000-to-win, $1,000 for tenth and $500 to take the green, GT Radiators of Ambler, PA posted an additional $5,000 in bonus money that was earned by the drivers running in the top ten on lap 20 and again on lap 35.  

Teen racer, Logan Watt picked up the win in the 602 Sportsman main event overtaking Brad Grim on lap 19 and sailing on to victory.  Brad Grim finished in second, Logan Bauman in third, Jordan Henn in fourth and Parker Guldin in fifth battling from the 18th starting position.

Feature Finish (50 Laps)

1. Brian Hirthler  2. Mike Gular  3. Duane Howard  4. Brett Kressley  5. Jeff Strunk  6. Craig Von Dohren  7. Billy Pauch Jr.  8. Doug Manmiller  9. Jack Butler  10. Jared Umbenhauer  11. Louden Reimert  12. Rick Laubach  13. Mike Lisowski  14. Alex Yankowski  15. Ryan Watt  16. Jimmy Leiby  17. Eddie Strada  18. Kevin Beach  19. Bobby Gunther Walsh  20. Eric Kormann  21. John Willman  22. Ron Haring Jr.  23. Steve Young  24. Bobby Trapper Jr.