From Robert Miller
BECHTELSVILLE, PA (July 3, 2018) – It was an Independence Day celebration of speed as a capacity crowd witnessed the NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series action at the Grandview Speedway will star filled field of local and national driving stars. NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson invaded to claim the Pennsylvania 410 Sprint Car Speedweek victory – round five of the 10-race stretch, while Jeff Strunk picked up the win in the NASCAR 358 Modified main event. The event was presented by Pioneer Pole Buildings as Larson collected $7,000 for his win and Strunk earned an attractive $3,000 first place prize in the modified feature.
“Such an awesome crowd tonight,” Larson said in Victory Lane celebrations. “It seemed like a pretty exciting race, at least from my seat, every time I went to the top I’d see Greg Hodnett pull to my inside.”
A blind re-draw put James McFadden and Greg Hodnett on the front row of the 35 lap main event. Hodnett – a 9-time Thunder on the Hill winner – quickly jumped to the lead. Larson, who started in the fourth position, moved into contention on the third circuit.
With a 24-car starting field on the one-third-mile, lapped traffic became a factor on the sixth lap, with Larson taking the low-groove and Hodnett taking the high-side to split a lapped car. Larson powered around the bottom claiming the top spot.
The race’s first caution flew on lap 9, while circling the track under yellow James McFadden – running in the third position – pulled pitside to change a right rear flat tire.
Larson took command on the restart with Hodnett giving chase, the two diced high-and-low ticking off laps one-by-one, with Larson riding right up against the outside wall.
“It was such a fine line running right up that high, there’s such a risk of getting into the wall. I was a little nervous,” Larson offered.
With Larson running an extreme outside groove, Hodnett peeked to the inside of Larson’s No. 57 machine – before the two swapped lanes with Larson moving to the bottom and Hodnett on the top.
Then came Christopher Bell.
The 23-year-old Sprint Car ace turned NASCAR driver, used momentum and lapped traffic to close on the leaders forming a three-car fight for the win – but ultimately Bell’s night would end drastically bunching up the field with a right rear flat and collecting Trey Starks.
Larson outgunned Hodnett on the Lap 32 restart leading the final three circuits and collecting a $7,000 payday and his second consecutive NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Series Speedweek victory.
Hodnett would finish in second position, followed by a pair of NASCAR Cup Series superstars Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart in third and fourth respectively. Danny Dietrich finished in fifth moving from a 12th place starting position.
From a 23rd starting position, Jeff Strunk led the Glenn Hyneman-owned No. 126 to a $3,000 NASCAR 358 Modified payday.
Ryan Watt jumped to the early lead from his front row starting position followed closely by Jared Umbenhaue.. A lap 3 yellow flag slowed the field for the first time.
On the restart, Watt continued on in the top spot with Umbenhauer in second and Craig VonDohren moving into the third position.
The top-three competitors battled side-by-side for the lead, with Umbenhauer slipping past Watt on multiple occasions but unable to hold the top spot.
Lap-by-lap Watt maintained a command on the field with Umbenhauer and VonDohren forming a three car chase for the checkered.
A lap 21 restart offered Strunk an opportunity to pounce, first on VonDohren and then on Umbenhauer one lap later.
Strunk raced outside Watt’s No. 14W on the 23rd lap and finally completed the pass after multiple attempts. Strunk would go on to claim his 13th NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series win and his first since 2015.
Watt settled for second place, Craig VonDohren finished in third, Jared Umbenahuer in fourth, and Doug Manmiller in the fifth position.
31 410 Sprint Cars and 27 Modifieds were signed in for competition.
Anthony Macri set the 410 Sprint Car Quick Time with a lap of 12.553. Macri set the time on his first circuit around the Speedway, before flipping during his second lap. Macri would go on to get the car repaired for the first heat race.
This marked Kyle Larson’s third Grandview Speedway appearance. Larson finished in 3rd at the 2012 Speedweek event that Greg Hodnett won and was the defending race winner after a 2017 victory. Larson was joined in victory lane by his son, Owen.
Former NASCAR Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart was the first 410 Sprint Car to take Time Trials. Stewart clocked in at 7th on the speed charts with a 12.751
Sprint Car Heat Races were won by Aaron Reutzel, Trey Starks, Tony Stewart, and Kasey Kahne
Modified Heat Races were won by Brian Papiez, Ron Kline, and Ryan Watt.
The Ben Moyer Memorial Hard Charger award was presented to Danny Dietrich collecting a $750 payday. NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series Officials matched the $750 payoff and awarded it to Brandon Rahmer for gaining the most spots in the A-main event.
Jeff Strunk maintains his position as the winningest driver in NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series Modified history scoring his 13th Modified feature event win.
410 Sprint Cars
Time Trials — 1. Anthony Macri – 12.553 2. Greg Hodnett – 12.567 3. Kyle Larson – 12.674 4. James McFadden – 12.727 5. Aaron Reutzel – 12.741 6. Trey Starks – 12.746 7. Tony Stewart – 12.751 8. Kasey Kahne – 12.813 9. Parker Price Miller – 12.893 10. Christopher Bell – 13.002 11. Rico Abreu – 13.044 12. Tyler Reeser – 13.093 13. Ryan Smith – 13.115 14. Lucas Wolfe – 13.189 15. Freddie Rahmer – 13.283 16. Danny Dietrich – 13.313 17. Alan Krimes – 13.345 18. Steve Buckwalter – 13.352 19. Gerard McIntyre III – 13.354 20. Tyler Ross – 13.464 21. Jared Esh – 13.534 22. Brock Zearfoss – 13.573 23. JJ Grasso – 13.578 24. Kyle Moody – 13.582 25. Ryan Taylor – 13.623 26. Brandon Rahmer – 13.642 27. Jessie Attard – 13.722 28. Mitchell Wormell – 13.726 29. Joe Kata III – 13.789 30. Brett Michalski – 14.119 31. Troy Fraker – 15.07
Heat 1 – 1. Aaron Reutzel 2. Parker Price-Miller 3. Ryan Smith 4. Anthony Macri 5. Alan Krimes
Heat 2 – 1. Trey Starks 2. Christopher Bell 3. Lucas Wolfe 4. Greg Hodnett 5. Steve Buckwalter
Heat 3 – 1. Tony Stewart 2. Freddie Rahmer 3. Kyle Larson 4. Rico Abreu 5. JJ Grasso
Heat 4 – 1. Kasey Kahne 2. Danny Dietrich 3. James McFadden 4. Kyle Moody 5. Tyler Ross
B-Main – 1. Tyler Reeser 2. Ryan Taylor 3. Brandon Rahmer 4. Gerard McIntyre 5. Jesse Attard 6. Brock Zearfoss 7. Jared Esh 8. Mitchell Wormall 9. Joe Kata III 10. Brett Michalski 11. Troy Fraker
A-Main – 1. Kyle Larson 2. Greg Hodnett 3. Kasey Kahne 4. Tony Stewart 5. Danny Dietrich 6. Ryan Smith 7. Parker Price-Miller 8. Freddie Rahmer 9. Anthony Macri 10. Lucas Wolfe 11. Rico Abreu 12. Kyle Moody 13. Alan Krimes 14. Brandon Rahmer 15. Ryan Taylor 16. Tyler Ross 17. Christopher Bell 18. Trey Starks 19. Gerard McIntyre 20. James McFadden 21. JJ Grasso 22. Tyler Reeser 23. Aaron Reutzel 24. Steve Buckwalter
Heat 1 – 1. Brian Papiez 2. Brett Kressley 3. Timmy Buckwalter 4. Danny Erb 5. Ryan Grim 6. Jordan Henn
Heat 2 – 1. Ron Kline 2. Mike Lisowski 3. Brian Hirthler 4. Billy Pauch 5. Louden Reimert 6. Kyle Weiss
Heat 3 – 1. Ryan Watt 2. Jared Umbenhauer 3. Craig VonDohren 4. Doug Manmiller 5. Ryan Beltz 6. Ray Swinehart
Feature – 1. Jeff Strunk 2. Ryan Watt 3. Craig VonDohren 4. Jared Umbenhauer 5. Doug Manmiller 6. Timmy Buckwalter 7. Ron Kline 8. Brian Hirthler 9. Danny Erb 10. Mike Lisowski 11. Steve Swinehart 12. Billy Pauch, Jr. 13. Kyle Weiss 14. Ray Swinehart 15. Loudon Reimert 16. Kory Flemming 17. Ryan Grim 18. Jordan Henn 19. Ryan Beltz 20. Brian Papiez 21. Don Norris, Jr. 22. Justin Grim 23. Mark Kratz 24. Brett Kressley 25. Kenny Gilmore
DNS: Chris Esposito, Meme DeSantis