HUGE CROWD ON HAND TO SEE PAUCH NOSE OUT SWINEHART TO WIN SCHAEFFER'S FAMILY RESTAURANT FREEDOM 76 WORTH MORE THAN $20,000 BECHTELSVILLE, PA SEPTEMBER 13, 1998 . . . "The last six laps alone were worth the price of admission," said one nameless...
HUGE CROWD ON HAND TO SEE PAUCH NOSE OUT SWINEHART TO WIN SCHAEFFER'S FAMILY RESTAURANT FREEDOM 76 WORTH MORE THAN $20,000
BECHTELSVILLE, PA SEPTEMBER 13, 1998 . . . "The last six laps alone were worth the price of admission," said one nameless face in the crowd after watching Billy Pauch just nose out Ray Swinehart to win the 28th annual Schaeffer's Family Restaurant Freedom 76 modified race at Grandview Speedway on Saturday night.
"I feel really good (Pauch had been recovering from some early season injuries). I want to thank the fans for coming out to Grandview. Thanks to my crew for putting together a great car. And thanks to 724 Auto Sales (D.A.Hanson) for the sponsorship help," said Pauch after picking up more than $20,000 for his victory.
"I found something on the bottom ( explaining to the fans in a victory lane interview ) that allowed me to get by Ray (Swinehart). I was just trying to make it to the end of the race (Pauch started 20th in the 76 lap race which had 40 358 modifieds take the green)."
The final six laps had the huge crowd standing and cheering as Pauch and Swinehart, who had lead since the 10th lap, were crossing over and under, swapping the lead back and forth. Pauch got the lead on the 69th lap, Swinehart came back to lead on the 70th circuit of the one-third-mile clay, banked oval and Pauch got credit for leading the final six laps but during those laps the lead changed hands at least a dozen times.
"Grandview is a real racey place. It is great for sprint cars (Pauch won the King of the Hill sprint car show several weeks back with a run from the back of the pack) and it is great for stock cars. I'm glad there is a Grandview Speedway. I will be back." said the popular Frenchtown, NJ racer who now has five Freedom 76 victories.
Dennis Fisher jumped out to take the lead in the early laps but Ray Swinehart quickly brought the Mike Kelly owned Golden Corral/Kountry Kitchen entry to the front. At the 10 lap marker Swinehart was able to get the lead when Fisher bounced off the backstretch wall, dropping him to second. Steve Folk, Kevin Hartnett and Jon Kellner were giving Swinehart a run for the big bucks being paid to the winner.
At the halfway mark Jon Kellner was pressuring Swinehart and at the 50-lap marker Terry Meitzler, who had started 14th, was running second. The top two put on a show for the fans with Swinehart able to keep the lead but Meitzler testing the skills of the leader on every lap.
Billy Pauch, who had been running in the top five much of the final third of the race, now became a factor as he go by Meitzler. At the 69 lap mark Swinehart and Pauch started what could considered one of the best battles for a victory seen in the 28 year history of the Schaeffer's Family Restaurant Freedom 76 race. For the final six laps the top two ran high and low, side by side, nose to tail, with Pauch, considered by many to be the very best overall dirt track racer in the business, taking the win by a very narrow margin.
Swinehart, the current NASCAR Winston Racing Series modified champion, took second earning $10,000 for his efforts. Jon Kellner (Lansdale), a factor for much of the race, finished third followed by Terry Meitzler (Kutztown) and Kevin Hartnett ( Perkasie).
In addition to the $20,000 first place money for his victory, Pauch earned a custom championship ring ( he now has five), a custom jacket, a 76 inch hoagie from Dan's Deli of Boyertown, PA and a small share of lap money.
Kenny Gilmore (Fleetwood) grabbed the win in the BLC Motorsports Minuteman 20 earning himself a spot in the Freedom 76. Second place went to John Willman, Danny Erb and Larry Solomon. The top four finishers went to the Freedom 76. Gilmore was able to 37th in the Freedom 76 and finish 11th, gaining 26 spots, to earn the Salvage Transport Services Hard Charger Award worth $200.
Sam Schoenly was the Kochel Equipment First Alternate Award winner and received a $300 Karcher Pressure Washer from the Elverson, PA firm.
The Jesse Baro Hauling Cash Dash, paying $1,000 to the winner of the eight lapper, had Craig VonDohren taking the win.
The Area Auto Racing News Hard Luck Award went to Ed Aikin who had a tire roll off the rim in his qualifying heat while running in a comfortable qualifying position. Aikin will receive a pair of driving shoes.
Qualifying heat races for the close to 90 race cars on hand were won by Donny Schwab, Jack Hartnett, Kevin Hartnett, Todd Marburger, Dave Faust, Keith Hoffman, Donny Erb and Craig VonDohren. Consolation races, earning the top four in each a spot in the BLC Motorsports Minuteman 20, were won by Doug Pannepacker and Ryan Beltz.
In addition to an exciting evening of stock car racing fans were entertained throughout the day with driver interviews by track announcer Ernie Saxton, autograph sessions, music and race car displays. There was a spectacular fireworks display just before the start of the race and paratroopers dropped to the speedway to welcome fans.
Erin Kelly, just 3 and 1/2 years old, she has been on the Al Alberts TV Showcase, performed at the Great Allentown Fair and at other local events, delivered a delightful rendition of God Bless America. And there was a few moments taken to remember Ronnie Tobias, a modified stock car racer, who passed away recently as the result of a massive heart attack.
Two more Saturday night shows of stock car racing remain on the Grandview Speedway schedule. On Saturday, September 19, 5 p.m., open competition 358 modifieds will be featured along with late models and PA Sportsman stock cars. It will be NASCAR Souvenir Night with fans having a chance to win some NASCAR souvenirs. And on Saturday, September 26, 5 p.m. the season comes to a close with Family Night (youngsters under 12 admitted free) featuring open competition 358 modifieds, PA sportsman and late models. There are no rain dates in place for the final two events of the season.
Grandview Speedway will honor their champions, top point race finishers and special award recipients on Saturday, November 21, at the Gilbertsville, PA Fire Co. Banquet Hall. For banquet information telephone 610.754.7688.
The one third mile, clay banked Berks County oval is located on Passmore Road, just off Route 100, in Bechtelsville, PA, just 10 miles north of Pottstown. For information telephone 610.754.7688 or visit their website at: www.grandviewspeedway.com.
BLC MOTORSPORTS MINUTEMAN 20 ( TOP TWO WENT TO FEATURE RACE) Kenny Gilmore, John Willman, Danny Erb, Larry Solomon, Sam Schoenly, Doug Manmiller, Cliff Quinn, Sam Martz, Jim Stong, Ron Haring
SCHAEFFER'S FAMILY RESTAURANT FREEDOM 76 FOR MODIFIED STOCK CARS.....Billy Pauch, Ray Swinehart, Jon Kellner, Terry Meitzler, Kevin Hartnett, Glenn Strunk, Duane Howard, Kerry Kratz, Dennis Bailey, Keith Hoffman, Kenny Gilmore, Craig VonDohren, Kyle Weiss, Dave Faust, Chip Slocum, Glenn Owens, John Willman, Jason Smythe, Smokey Warren, Bob Trapper, Kenny Gruber, Tom Mayberry, Jeff Strunk, Jack Hartnett, MeMe DeSantis, Rick Schaffer, Dennis Fisher, Chuck Schutz, Todd Marburger, Steve Folk, Kevin Hirthler, Donny Erb, Donny Schwab, Warren Kohler, Jim Bagley, Junior Mikosz, Danny Erb, Paul Koch, Larry Solomon, Randy Bailey (all forty starters listed in their finishing positions.
Dennis Fisher led laps one through nine, Ray Swinehart on top (10 through 68), Billy Pauch (lap 69), Ray Swinehart ( lap 70) and Billy Pauch (laps 71-76).