By Bob Miller
It was August of 1990 when the famed Black Bandit No. 19 sat in victory lane at the inaugural NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series event at the Grandview Speedway, Steve Smith Sr. would claim the victory. Now, twenty-five years later the younger Smith, Stevie Smith looks to pick up his first ever Grandview Speedway win, when the 410 Sprint Cars come to town with the NASCAR 358 Modifieds on Tuesday, June 30th as part of Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speed Week.
Kicking off the 2015 edition of Speed Week in fine fashion, Smith — the hired gun of 13-time Speed Week Champion, Fred Rahmer – dominated the evening activities setting quick time and leading each of the 25 A-Main laps. In a victory lane interview, Rahmer was clear that he wanted to claim this year’s Pennsylvania Sprint Speed Week title. Stevie Smith took the win on Friday night over Greg Hodnett.
But at the Grandview Speedway high banks, stopping Hodnett isn’t going to be an easy task – even for the star-filled field expected to be on the Hill Tuesday night. Hodnett, has claimed eight total Thunder victories, including the past four 410 Sprint Car feature events at the Bechtelsville, PA oval – something no driver has done in all of Thunder on the Hill Racing Series history. Hodnett’s ‘drive for five’ is on everyone’s mind, and a Tuesday Night victory for Hodnett would see him tie Rahmer on the Thunder on the Hill All-Time Win list.
While all eyes are on Smith and Hodnett, the door sits wide open for someone to come in and steal the $5,000 top prize – and their first Thunder on the Hill win. That someone could be Gettysburg, PA’s Danny Dietrich – currently sitting third in the Speed Week Points – Dietrich finished 3rd in Grandview’s event last year. Other contenders include: Lucas Wolfe, who almost beat Hodnett last year; Brent Marks, who currently sits 5th in Speed Week points and finished 4th in the 2014 Grandview race; and Alan Krimes, who has a string of top-5 finishes in Grandview sprint car events. Krimes has been so close to winning to that first Thunder on the Hill victory, they can almost taste it. Other entries include Ryan Smith, Lance Dewease, JJ Grasso, Aaron Ott, Brady Bacon, Davey Sammons, Brian Carber, Freddie and Brandon Rahmer, Tim Glatfelter and Ryan Talor.
The 35 Lap 410 Sprint Car event pays $5,000 to win, $1,400 for fifth position, $1,000 for tenth position and $400 to start the feature event.
Things continue to heat up for the 358 NASCAR Modifieds – during the Traffic Jam event Oley, PA’s Duane Howard claimed the victory in dominant fashion with Jeff Strunk, Meme Desantis, Jared Umbenhauer and Doug Manmiller rounding out the top five finishers. It’s a battle for bragging rights and $3,000 when the mighty Modifieds take to the track in 30 laps of three-wide, wheel-banging, boiler plate bouncing action. The 358 Modifieds portion of this show is open to all competitors with heat race qualifying, a consolation and a 30 lap feature. T
Quaker Steak & Lube has upped the ante with a $50 bonus to sprint car heat race event winners, with the stipulation that they pre-register and $125 to all non-qualified 410 Sprint Cars.
Bonus awards for the 410 Sprint Cars include: $100 Quick Time Bonus and an additional $100 if the track record is broken. The current track record is held by Jeff Shepard who clocked a time of 11.433 in May of 2008.
For additional information or to pre-enter, please call 443-513-4456. Drivers should provide their name, car number, hometown and phone number.
Previous Grandview Speedway PA Speed Week Feature Winners include: Greg Hodnett (2014, 2012, 2003), Tyler Walker (2011, 2010), Chad Kemenah (2009), Fred Rahmer (2008, 2005, 2004, 2002, 1997), Todd Shaffer ( 2007), Billy Pauch (2001), Lance Dewease (1999, 1998)
Celebrating the 26th season of racing action NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series always includes fun for the fans with activities such as: Pre-Race Pit Tours, the Inside/Out Experience – where fans can sign-up to watch hot laps from the infield, the Low Down & Dirty Radio Show pre-race Meet & Greet, JOE “THE PIZZA DUDE”, giveaways, fireworks and appearances by the Thunder Girls.
General Admission ticket pricing for Tuesday, June 30 is $25 for Adults, Children 6-11 are $10 and Kids 5 & under are FREE! Pit Admission pricing is $35 without a license and $30 with license.
Advance tickets are available by calling 443-513-4456. Please provide your name, the number of tickets you will need and a phone number. Tickets may be paid for and picked-up at the WILL CALL Window on race night after 3:30 PM. Advance ticket holders may enter the grandstands at 4:30 PM a full half-hour before General Admission Tickets go on sale.
Pit Gates open at 3:00 PM, Advance Ticket Holders are able to enter at 4:30 PM, Grandstand Gates open at 5:00 PM and Racing starts at 7:30 PM
The June 30th event at the Grandview Speedway marks the third event of the Pennsylvania Sprint Speed Week schedule – which offers nine races in ten days, with $250,000 in race payouts. With sponsorship support from Wayback Burgers and associate sponsorship from Trone Outdoor Advertising a $25,000 point fund will be offered with $10,000 going to the series champion. Celebrating its 25 season, Pennsylvania Sprint Speed Week has hosted 163 races at 12 different tracks, with 36 different drivers scoring wins. More information on Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speed Week can be found at www.paspeedweeks.com <http://www.paspeedweeks.com/>
NAPA Auto Parts continues their long run with Thunder on the Hill as the Series title sponsor joined by: Quaker Steak & Lube, Window World, GALCO Business Communications & Pioneer Pole Buildings.
GPS USERS: 43 Passmore Road, Bechtelsville, PA 19505
Located less than a mile off Route 100, 10 miles north of Pottstown, PA
Speedway Phone: 610-754-7688
Thunder on the Hill Racing Series Phone: 443-513-4456
About Thunder on the Hill Racing Series
The brainchild of Grandview Speedway owner Bruce Rogers, special events promoter Bob Miller and local driving star Dave Kelly, the Thunder on the Hill Racing Series celebrates 26 years of the most anticipated events on the racing calendar year after year. In 114 events over $3.8 million dollars has been divvied up among the area’s fastest racers. What started as a single 410 Sprint Car event in 1990 has blossomed to feature a variety of racing action including: 358 Modifieds, USAC Wingless Sprints, 360 & 410 Sprint Cars, Sportsman, Late Models, Midgets, Legends cars, DIRTcar and ROC Modified events.
About Grandview Speedway
Grandview Speedway is a high-banked one-third mile clay oval, celebrating their 53rd Anniversary season in 2015. The facility offers free parking, quality food at reasonable prices (be sure to try the french fries), a program book, Grandview Speedway and Thunder on the Hill race wear and great viewing from every seat in the house. Race fans may take part in the Inside/Out promotion, where you can sign up (no charge) to watch warm-ups from inside turn four. Race fans are also invited to victory lane following the racing program and, race fans may enter the pits after the races to meet the drivers. Be ready to enjoy the spine tingling fireworks salute on the feature event parade lap.