Strunk Claims Kutztown Fair Victory

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KUTZTOWN, Pa. — Jeff Strunk’s SpeedSTR victory Tuesday night was his first of the year at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA.

The $800 triumph also locked Strunk into Sunday’s Dick Tobias Memorial as it did for Tuesday’s runner-up Rick Eckert.

Strunk and Eckert will start on the front row of the 45-lap Tobias Memorial on Sunday. The race, worth $3,500 to the winner, is the final event of the 2013 season at the Action Track USA.

Strunk and Eckert started on the front row and spent much of the 20-lap “Prelim to the SpeedSTR National” racing side by side. Eckert, the World of Outlaws Late Model star from York, nosed ahead to lead as the duo crossed the stripe each time during the race’s first 14 circuits. Eckert ran the top at first, with Strunk’s BPG Racing No. 88D strong on the bottom.

As the event entered its second half, Eckert switched lines and utilized the low groove while Strunk rolled the top. The pair engaged in some sensational wheel to wheel action before Strunk, from Pottstown, shoved the nose of his car in front to narrowly lead lap 15. Seconds later, the yellow flag appeared, and Strunk was out front for the restart. He went on to win by just over one-second, with Eckert fending off the challenges of Billy Pauch Sr. to record the runner-up finish.

With nine laps left to run, Billy Pauch Jr. ignited a seven-car pile-up in turns one and two when he spun while running fourth. Collected in the melee were Kenny and Brad Brightbill, Matt Janisch, John Kovatch, Wayne Weaver, and Steve Yankowski. Only Janisch was unable to continue, although Kenny Brightbill, and Pauch Jr., the top two in the SpeedSTR point standings at the JeffreyHogueRealtor.com Action Track USA, dropped out later in the race.

Ross Perchak won the 270cc micro-sprint feature, while Dylan Hoch topped the junior slingshot feature.