BECHTELSVILLE, Pa. – Established 358 Modified chauffeur Brett Kressley showed his strength early Saturday evening at Grandview Speedway, sweeping to victory on the track’s opening night.
Kressley won his heat race, started from outside the front row in the 30-lap main event and immediately jumped out in front over Eric Biehn, who started from the pole.
Frank Cozze, who started third, and Duane Howard, who started fourth, followed running third and fourth prior to a caution on lap three, when Brett Gilmore developed a flat right-rear tire.
Kressley retook the lead with the new green with Biehn, Jeff Strunk, who started fifth, and Cozze in tow for lap four, however a caution again quickly bunched up the field.
Again the green waved and it was the former Sportsman track champion Kressley, Biehn, Strunk and Doug Manmiller, who started from twelfth, in that order completing lap five.
Howard slipped by Manmiller to claim fourth on lap six and by lap eight, Kressley had built up a safe advantage over Biehn, who was doing a fantastic job holding on to the runner-up role while holding off challenges from 10-time track champion Strunk and five-time track champion Howard lap-after-lap.
At halfway, it was Kressley out in front by a full straightaway, but a caution on lap 20 as Briggs Danner developed a flat left-rear tire tightened things up again with 10 to go.
“The way they did the starting line-up tonight, you really had to give it all you had in the heat race to earn a good starting spot in the feature,” said Kressley. “With a lot of the real good cars starting up in the front it made things a little easier because we started in front of them.
“I wanted to run this car a week earlier (in the Bruce Rogers Memorial Money Maker 50) and I knew it was a good car,” he added. “We had some problems in that race a week ago, however, tonight it showed.”
Kressley remained on top over Strunk, with Howard slipping by Biehn for third, as Biehn fell back into fourth-place just ahead of Rick Laubach, who started the event from sixth.
“You can’t make a mistake on a restart with racers like Duane and Jeff right there behind you,” noted Kressley. “It definitely made it a little nerve-wracking, but I knew the top was the way to go. It’s a little shorter around the bottom and I saw Jeff sticking his nose in there, but everything worked out in our favor tonight.”
Kressley claimed the $2,500 first-place check, plus a $300 bonus award from T.P Trailers in nearby Limerick, Pa., and a $100 product award from VP Racing Fuels.
In addition, Kressley was awarded the “Halfway Hoagie” from Dan’s Deli in Boyertown, Pa., as the race leader at the halfway point.
The 12-lap heat race winners, with 45 cars in the pit area, were Biehn, Kressley, Cozze and Howard. The 10-lap consolation event wins were captured by Ryan Lilick and Skylar Sheriff.
Third generation Sportsman pilot Jack Butler started from the pole position and went on to victory in 25-lap Sportsman main event Saturday night.
The Phillipsburg, N.J. teenager beat Brian Hirthler and Kyle Lilick to the checkered flag.
“I got a little nervous on that late race restart with (Brad) Brightbill outside of me,” explained Butler. “I got lucky and got my lane going into turn one. Believe me, it feels pretty sweet to finally win one of these races here for a change.
“My dad (former racer Gary Butler) told me to keep looking ahead to see where the lapped cars were and I tried, but they were double-wide,” Butler added. “I kind of waited and followed other cars through the heavy traffic. I was kind of glad we got that late race caution. Those lapped cars would’ve been a real mess to get through. I have to give all the credit to my dad. He gave me the best car out here tonight. We kind of hit on something that worked last Saturday night and it worked for us tonight.
“Everything’s working right, right now.”
Wins in the eight-lap heat races, with 27 cars in the pit area, went to Butler, Lilick and Bachman. Winning the eight-lap consolation race was Josh Adams.
The entire 12-event card of racing was completed by 9:30 p.m.