BECHTELSVILLE, Pa. – Doug Manmiller was on a winning streak back in April at Grandview Speedway when he tallied up three 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified features.
Victory had eluded the self-employed electrician since the win streak, at least until Saturday night when he wheeled the Josh Biever-owned GMI No. 46 to victory by a .173-second margin over Duane Howard.
Ron Seltmann Jr. and Jon Kellner brought out the yellow before the first lap of the modified feature was scored.
When action went green again Bobby Gunther-Walsh, who failed to qualify the past two weeks, was the pacesetter trailed by Brian Houseknecht, Chris Gambler, Todd Smith and Andy Ressler.
The caution was out again on lap two when Tim Buckwalter did a 360 in turn two and continued, but until things cleared Jared Umbenhauer, the defending Sportsman point champion and current point leader, running modifieds since the Sportsman were not part of the doubleheader show, spun. At the same time Gambler was pulled into the infield as it appeared there was a fire in his car. Upon further inspection it was determined there was no fire and officials deemed it only fair that he regain third.
Houseknecht emerged as the new leader on the restart and immediately began to open daylight between himself and the rest of the pack.
The field regrouped on the eighth lap after Ressler, the sixth-place runner, was trying to limp his way into the infield with a left rear flat tire. Chris Esposito left with nowhere to go made contact with him and they spun in turn four. It was still Houseknecht in front, but now Gunther-Walsh, Manmiller, 14th-place starter who made a bold move through the middle down the backstretch to advance; Brad Arnold and Smith completed the top five. On the move from 16th was Howard and by the 11th lap he was fifth.
Manmiller overtook second on the tenth lap and set his sights on Houseknecht, who was having the best night of his career, who had a slight lead built up. The action behind them was hot and heavy for third between Smith, Arnold and Howard. Howard split Smith and Arnold to take over third on the 15th lap.
By the 16th lap Manmiller reeled Houseknecht in and one lap later he was the new leader.
The final yellow was on the 20th lap when Arnold, who was having a solid fifth place run, slowed on the backstretch with mechanical issues. The restart put Manmiller and Howard side-by-side, but Manmiller kept Howard at bay while Houseknecht, Terry Meitzler and Smith jockeyed for positions. Jeff Strunk was trying to get into the top five.
Manmiller never faltered and chalked up his fourth win for his 22nd career win. Chasing him across the line were Howard and Strunk.