BECHTELSVILLE, PA SEPT.9, 2001 . . . Craig VonDohren, the 2001 NASCAR Modified Champion at Grandview Speedway, won his second T.H.Properties Freedom 76 Classic on Saturday night. The last victory came in 1985. For his efforts the five time track...
BECHTELSVILLE, PA SEPT.9, 2001 . . . Craig VonDohren, the 2001 NASCAR Modified Champion at Grandview Speedway, won his second T.H.Properties Freedom 76 Classic on Saturday night. The last victory came in 1985. For his efforts the five time track champion took home in excess of $20,000.
In victory lane, in front of the huge fan turnout, VonDohren gave much of the credit for the victory and the championship season to his crew, his car owners and his sponsors.
During the season the Barto, PA racer was able to win six races at Grandview Speedway including the two biggest, the Forrest Rogers Memorial worth $10,000 and the T.H.Properties Freedom 76.
Brian Kressley put his Budget Car Rental entry in front of the 38 car starting field at the drop of the green flag. His lead was short lived as Shawn Reimert moved in front from his third starting spot with the Kochel Equipment mount. Jeff Strunk, the 2000 track champion, was an early casualty with a faulty distributor.
With Reimert in front Tom Mayberry was working his way forward to a challenging position. At 20 circuits of the one- third-mile, clay banked oval Reimert was in control followed by Mayberry, Kressley and Meme DeSantis.
Just short of the midway mark Reimert slowed going between the third and fourth turn bringing out the caution. With Reimert the victim of mechanical demons Tom Mayberry was in the front spot on the restart. However Meme DeSantis got credit for leading the 36th lap and also was in front on the all important 38th (midway) lap which was worth $360 in lap money with $250 coming from Weikel Sportswear. DeSantis was a man on the mission, his first victory in a Freedom 76.
At the 44-lap marker VonDohren, who had started in 21st spot was able to grab the lead after several laps of challenging the leader.
The mandatory fuel stop happened on the 49th lap of the all green flag laps event (caution laps did not count).
On the restart VonDohren resumed command and at times built up a healthy lead only to have it erased by cautions for a variety of minor incidents. Meme DeSantis continued to pursue in second spot with the Hoover Motors entry. And as the field got into the final third of the 76 lap event Duane Howard (from 23rd) and Billy Pauch (from 34th) moved into the battle for the win.
Each challenger searched for that "extra something" to put them in a position to battle VonDohren and his Mrs. T's Pierogies sponsored mount for the victory. All fell short as VonDohren was able to charge to the checkered flag and win the 2001 edition the T.H.Properties Freedom 76 Modified Classic.
Second spot, worth $10,000, went to Meme DeSantis (Temple) while three time Classic winner Duane Howard (Oley) grabbed third. Billy Pauch (Frenchtown, NJ) came home fourth, having been as high as second, in his chase for his seventh Freedom 76 win. Tom Mayberry (Sellersville), an early challenger for the top spot, held on to finish fifth with the A&T Chevrolet sponsored mount.
With close to 90 cars in the competition area trying for a starting spot in the Freedom 76, eight qualifying heats were needed. Wins in the qualifying events went to Jeff Sechrist, Todd Heydt, Jack Hartnett, Duane Howard, Ray Swinehart, Meme DeSantis, Kevin Hartnett and Keith Brightbill. Consolation wins, earning the top three spots in the Schaeffer Motorsports Minuteman 20, went to Kip Timmer, Richie Tobias and Jason Smythe.
The Schaeffer Motorsports Minuteman, giving the top three starting spots in the main event, was won by Doug Manmiller after a torrid battle with Mike Gular. Third spot, with a final lap charge, went to Randy Bailey.
Keith Brightbill was able to take advantage of the tire problems that sidelined leader Duane Howard and take the victory in the $1,000 to win THE 10-lap Cheers Tavern Cash Dash.
The United Racing Club sprint cars make their second Saturday night appearance at Grandview Speedway this Saturday, September 15. The modified stock cars will also be part of the doubleheader show with a 7 p.m. starting time. URC sanctioned events have been attracting strong fields of racers this season and with the point chase going into the final month, it is expected that a large field of sprint cars will be on hand.
And the modified stock car competition is expected to attract some outsiders that do not normally compete at the Berks County clay oval with many tracks already closed for the season.
The season finale, at least for regular Saturday night stock car racing action, will be presented on Saturday, September 22. The green flag, for open competition modifieds, late models and sportsman stock cars, will fall at 5 p.m.
Grandview Speedway is located on Passmore Road, just off Route 100, in Bechtelsville, just 10 miles north of Pottstown. For information on race events telephone 610.754.7688 or visit their website at www.grandviewspeedway.com.