BECHTELSVILLE, Pa. – The saying it’s not over until it’s over certainly held true for the outcome of Saturday night’s racing program at Grandview Speedway.
In the 30-lap modified feature, Jeff Strunk – whose last win came Aug. 31, 2019 – appeared to be on his way to victory lane with Tim Buckwalter in hot pursuit.
Earlier Brett Kressley was the one on the move, running a solid second until contact with the lapped car of Louden Reimert caused him to hit the wall and break an axle, sending Kressley into the fourth turn wall as misfortune continued to plaque him.
The single file restart, with Strunk first and now Buckwalter second, had the pair ending up side-by-side rubbing door handles. Neither one lifted since both were determined to win.
Buckwalter put the Norm Saxton-owned mount in front on the white flag. Still swapping paint, Strunk made contact with the back bumper of Buckwalter, causing both drivers to spin and ending their chances to win.
The turn of events put early leader Dylan Swinehart in first and he held on to earn his second career win in the Bailey Fabrications No. 81.
The ironic part was he won last year on the same weekend.
Swinehart, who had two 27th place finishes in the past races, set the pace for nine laps from his second starting spot until Strunk, who started eighth, got underneath him coming out of the fourth turn.
Swinehart didn’t give in easily, as he stayed right with him trying to regain control, but within a few laps Strunk began gaining distance over his fellow competitors.
Kressley took over second on the 15th circuit and took chase after Strunk.
By the 24th lap slower moving traffic allowed Kressley to close the gap Strunk built up and would soon be pressuring him. Unfortunately Kressley made contact with a lapped car, which ended his night on the end of a tow truck and forced the yellow to be thrown.
Even though it was a single file restart, it didn’t take Buckwalter long to get even with Strunk and the bumping began. After Buckwalter passed Strunk for first and headed into the first turn, Strunk hit the back bumper of Buckwalter and they both went around causing the caution the come out.
Quick action on Swinehart’s part while in third allowed him to inherit the lead.
Swinehart kept hard charging runner-up Jared Umbenhauer at bay on the restart and went on to score the win. Third went to rookie Brad Grim, followed by Duane Howard and Doug Manmiller.
Rounding out the top 10 were Ryan Grim, Kyle Weiss, Rick Laubach, Craig Von Dohren and Joe Funk III.
Sportsman feature action seemed like a new name – Mike Mammana – would be added to the win column, but a lapped car and Brian Hirthler dashed those chances as the current point leader won his second feature to be the first repeat winner in the division.
After two unsuccessful attempts to complete the first lap of the sportsman feature, polesitter Mammana grabbed the early lead trailed by Jesse Leiby, Jack Butler, Hirthler and Kyle Lilick.
While Mammana opened daylight, a three-way battle for second ensured between Leiby, Butler and Hirthler which allowed Mammana to pull away even more.
Hirthler took chase after Mammana once he took over second on the 11th lap to try to change the status.
Lapped traffic that the front runners came upon on the 17th lap slowed Mammana’s momentum and allowed Hirthler to reel him in.
Mammana and Hirthler were constantly switching lanes as the slower cars made it difficult to get past, despite being told via in car radio the leaders were right behind.
The lead changed for the second time with two to go when Hirthler slipped underneath Mammana into first.
Hirthler never faltered and went on to victory followed by Mammana, Leiby, Butler and Lilick.
Last week’s feature winner Brad Arnold finished sixth, with Chris Esposito, defending point leader Brad Brightbill, Parker Guldin and Jimmy Leiby trailing.
The three-lap Diamond Disposal Cash Dash, sponsored by fellow driver and business owner John McGovern, was won by Brad Brightbill for an extra $100. Bock and Mammana each received $50.
Brightbill got into the event since Kenny Gilmore, who won a heat, chose not to participate, which allowed runner-up Brightbill a chance to compete.
T.P. Trailers Modified Feature (30 laps): 1. Dylan Swinehart, 2. Jared Umbenhauer, 3. Brad Grim, 4. Duane Howard, 5. Doug Manmiller, 6. Ryan Grim, 7. Kyle Weiss, 9. Rick Laubach, 9. Craig Von Dohren, 10. Joe Funk, 11. Mike Gular, 12. Brett Gilmore, 13. Ryan Watt, 14. Ryan Lilick, 15. Craig Whitmoyer (provisional), 16. Dan Waisempacher, 17. T.J. Lilly, 18. Bobby Gunther Walsh, 19. Tim Buckwalter, 20. Jeff Strunk, 21. Ron Kline, 22. Brett Kressley, 23. Louden Reimert, 24. Ray Swinehart, 25. Clay Butler, 276. Richie Hitzler, 27. Mike Lisowski, 28. Justin Grim, 29. Mark Kratz.
T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman Feature (25 laps): 1. Brian Hirthler, 2. Mike Mammana, 3. Jesse Leiby, 4. Jack Butler, 5. Kyle Lilick, 6. Brad Arnold, 7. Chris Esposito, 8. Brad Brightbill, 9. Parker Guldin, 10. Jimmy Leiby, 11. Ken Eckert Jr., 12. Lex Shive, 13. Ryan Beltz, 14. Ryan Higgs, 15. Brandon Edgar, 16. Kenny Gilmore, 17. Decker Swinehart, 18. Kenny Bock, 19. John McGovern, 20. Nate Brinker, 21. Mark Kemmerer, 22. Derrick Smith, 23. Joey Vaccaro, 24. Jesse Landis.