Bechtelsville, PA September 14, 2003 . . . Many of the top names in dirt track modified stock car racing have won the T.H. Properties Freedom 76 Modified stock car classic at Grandview Speedway and now two time track champion Jeff Strunk can add...
Bechtelsville, PA September 14, 2003 . . . Many of the top names in dirt track modified stock car racing have won the T.H. Properties Freedom 76 Modified stock car classic at Grandview Speedway and now two time track champion Jeff Strunk can add his name to the impressive list of winners.
Strunk, at the wheel of the Chad Sinon Motorsports/BPG Racing Bicknell, wheeled to victory in the richest event of the season winning more than $20,000 as he rode to victory in the 33rd annual T.H. Properties Freedom 76 on Sunday night (the orginal Saturday night date had been rained out).
In victory lane, with rain falling, Strunk thanked his crew, his car owner, his sponsors and the promoters of the event. "It is the race I have always wanted to win. I can't tell you how happy I am," said the Bethel, PA racer.
Fourty cars started the 76 lap classic with veteran Doug Hoffman putting the Herzog Auto Sales #77H in front of the pack at the drop of the green. At the end of the 10 laps Hoffman, a winner of the Freedom 76 in 1984, was still on top with Tracy Readinger running second. Keith Hoffman, the Big Diamond Raceway Coalcracker 100 winner, was already out of the race with tire probems and Billy Pauch was involved in a multi car accident forcing him to the rear of the field.
At the 20-lap mark it was still Hoffman in front while Jeff Strunk and Duane Howard gave chase. Two laps later Hoffman and Strunk "traded paint" in the fourth turn and the new leader was Jeff Strunk.
Though Hoffman and Duane Howard tried to "reel in" the leader a couple times it was clear that it was Jeff Strunk's night as he had a straightaway lead on the field a number of times.
The real battle, the one that had the fans on edge, was the Hoffman and Howard chase for second, often times running side by side.
Some felt things might change when all cars stopped for fuel at the 45-lap mark but on the restart Strunk jumped out in front and there were no strong challenges. Duane Howard (Oley) finished second in a close down to the checkered flag battle with Hoffman (Allentown). Fourth place went to Doug Manmiller of Wyomissing and Craig VonDohren (Oley) was able to come home fifth.
Both Howard and Hoffman pointed out, after the race, that Strunk was the class of field and they just had nothing for him in the final laps. Both drivers expressed happiness at being able to finish so well against so many outstanding drivers even though they do not run here on a regular basis.
Qualifying heat races were won Keith Hoffman, Duane Howard, Billy Pauch, Sean Merkel, Kyle Weiss, Paul Kline, Ryan Beltz and Kenny Gilmore. The consolations went to Ed Scott, Rick Schaffer, Doug Pannepacker and Ken Lindaberry.
The Schaeffer Motorsports Minuteman 20, sending five cars to the feature race, was won by Kerry Kratz. And the Cheer's Tavern Cash Dash worth $1000 went to Billy Pauch.
More than 80 race cars were in the pits for the T.H. Properties Freedom 76.
With the T.H. Properties Freedom 76 out of the way attention turns back to the close, very close, NASCAR Modified and Late Model point chases. The Saturday, September 20th show, starting at 6 p.m., will be sponsored by Arctic Cat/Rossi Welding of Reading, will feature the track point battle in the Modifieds, Meme DeSantis leads the chase by 13 points over two time champion Jeff Strunk. And in the Late Models Randy Stoudt, without a feature win, leads the point battle by a narrow margin over Lou Egrie, a two time champion, also without a feature win. The Late Models will be racing topless meaning they will run without roofs for the first time in the history of the speedway.
Also of great interest is the NASCAR New England Regional point battle. Meme DeSantis is second to Dennis Gada who races at Waterford, CT Speedbowl. DeSantis did not get a chance to improve his position because the event at Grandview this weekend was not a NASCAR point race. However Gada had a tough night, finishing 17th and 7th in two feature races and that will hurt his status. In addition Gada still has not completed the required 18 NASCAR sanctioned events but DeSantis has. Last chance to improve is this weekend for both drivers as the NASCAR points end on Sunday, September 21.
The regular season finale at Grandview Speedway takes place on Saturday, September 27th with a 6 p.m. show that features open competition racing for the Modifieds and Late Models...at least 13 events. Grandview Speedway is located on Passmore Road, just off Route 100, in Bechtelsville, PA, 10 miles north of Pottstown. For racing information telephone 610.754.7688 or visit their website at www.grandviewspeedway.com.
T.H.PROPERTIES FREEDOM 76 MODIFIED CLASSIC:
Doug Hoffman, Duane Howard, Doug Hoffman, Doug Manmiller, Craig VonDohren, Kevin Hirthler, Jimmy Horton, MemeDeSantis, Paul Kline, Billy Pauch, Ryan Watt, Kevin Hartnett, Cliff Quinn, Keith Brightbill, Randy Bailey, Jon Kellner, Jr., Bobby Trapper, Rick Schaffer, Tracy Readinger, Rick Laubach, Danny Erb, Randy Laird, Glenn Strunk, Sean Merkel, Dale Hartz, Glenn Owens, John Wilman, Terry Meitzler, Donny Erb, Mike Bailey, Mike Gular, Craig Whitmoyer, Kyle Weiss, Tom Umbenhaur, Tom Mayberry, Ryan Beltz, Keith Hoffman, Kenny Gilmore, Jon Kellner, Kerry Kratz.