By Robert Miller
BECHTELSVILLE, PA (JUNE 27, 2016) – Winning at Grandview Speedway is no easy task — especially when the 410 Sprint Cars invade the Berks County oval – but this year’s contingent of Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speed week competitors may be the strongest in years, and there is definitely opportunity to knock off two-time defending race winner Greg Hodnett.
The challenge takes place this Tuesday, June 28 at 7:30 PM when NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series showcases the 410 Sprint Cars in a 35-lap, $5,000-to-win event as the NASCAR 358 Modifieds battlein a 30-lap, $3,000-to-win feature presented by Pioneer Pole Buildings.
Leading the charge is Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Stevie Smith. A veteran of Sprint Car racing, Smith has claimed victories at almost every track he’s raced at. Of course, it was August 1990 when the Smith Family’s famed Black Bandit No. 19 sat in Thunder on the Hill victory lane. Steve Smith Sr. would pilot that machine to the inaugural NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series event win. Now, twenty-six years later the younger Smith – defending PA Speed Week Champion – searches for his first Thunder on the Hill win a Grandview Speedway.
Sitting second in PA Speed Week Series points is 31-year-old Lucas Wolfe, of Mechanicsburg, PA. Wolfe certainly knows the fast way around the Bechtelsville high-banks setting quick time at 2015’s Thunder Cup race. At the 2014, Speed Week event Wolfe pulled alongside eventual race winner Greg Hodnett, with two laps remaining only to be beaten by inches at the line – this wasn’t Wolfe’s first time as a bridesmaid, he finished second to Todd Shaffer at the 2007 Speed Week event.
Kunkletown, PA’s Ryan Smith claimed three victories in 2015, traveling with the All-Star Circuit of Champions and has solid finishes in just three 410 starts at Grandview Speedway with a sixth, fourth and seventh in respectively.
Ryan Taylor’s flashy No. 20 machine is a fan favorite at Grandview Speedway – probably because the 27-year-old racer credits the Bechtelsville clay for piquing his interest in racing action. Taylor is a proven winner, having claimed victories at the Port Royal Speedway.
Smith’s teammates, 20-year-old Sprint Car aces Brandon and Freddie Rahmer, out of Salfordville, PA, have both claimed home track victories this season – and Freddie has picked up a top-five finish at Grandview’s last two 410 Sprint races. The Rahmer name is no stranger to Grandview victory lane – Fred Rahmer holds 9 Thunder on the Hill Sprint Car wins and 45 Modified victories.
Other possible first-time winners include Brent Marks of Myerstown, PA; Alan Crimes of Denver, PA, JJ Grasso of Middletown, DE, and Aaron Tot of East Berlin, PA. Noblesville, IN’s Bryan Clausen has never claimed a winged Sprint Car victory at Grandview, but does hold two wingless Sprint Car wins.
A $200 bonus has been posted to the top 360 Sprint Car, with a $100 bonus to the second 360 Sprint Car.
The Grandview small-block Modified stars will be out in full force defending their home turf: Current weekly series point leader, Craig VonDohren; 10-time Track Champion, Jeff Strunk; two-time 2016 race winner, Duane Howard; and 4-time Thunder on the Hill winner, Doug Manmiller. Previous Thunder on the Hill modified winners Rick Laubach, Mike Gular, Ryan Godown, and Kevin Hirthler are all expected to be in attendance.
Advance tickets are on sale now and may be ordered by calling 443-513-4456. Please provide your name and the number of tickets requested. Tickets may be picked up and paid for on race night after 3:30 PM. Advance ticket holders may enter the grandstands at 4:30 PM, one half hour prior to the sale of General Admission tickets.
Celebrating the 27th 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, JOE “THE PIZZA DUDE”, giveaways, fireworks and appearances by the Thunder Girls.
The Low Down & Dirty Meet and Greet kicks off at 5 PM with drivers Ryan Smith and Ryan Taylor. Fans are encouraged to take photos and get autographs with these popular Sprint Car drivers.
NAPA Auto Parts continues their long run with Thunder on the Hill as the Series title sponsor joined by Pioneer Pole Buildings, Quaker Steak & Lube, and GALCO Business Communications.
For full rules, format, purse and information visit: www.thunderonthehillracingseries.com
GPS USERS: 43 Passamore 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
Series Website: http://www.thunderonthehillracingseries.com
Track Website: http://www.grandviewspeedway.com
Twitter/Instagram: @TOTHRACING, #TOTHRACING
Advanced Ticket Entrance: 4:30 PM
Low Down & Dirty Meet & Greet: 5:00 PM
Grandstand Gates: 5:00 PM
Racing: 7:30 PM
General Admission Ticket Pricing: Adults: $25; Children 6-11: $10; Kids 5 & Under: FREE!
Pit Admission: $35