BECHTELSVILLE, PA March 14, 2003 . . . . Fans coming out for the Patriot Bank sponsored season opener on Saturday, April 5th at Grandview Speedway will have to invest in a track program book. There have been so many changes made amongst race ...
BECHTELSVILLE, PA March 14, 2003 . . . . Fans coming out for the Patriot Bank sponsored season opener on Saturday, April 5th at Grandview Speedway will have to invest in a track program book. There have been so many changes made amongst race teams.
Because veteran racer Doug Manmiller, a multi feature winner in 2002, is back with the same team, he is already touted by many as a favorite to win the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series Modified championship. Manmiller, second in the final standings last season, is back with Greg Sarangoulis' GMI Mechanical team. The team had a strong season in 2002 and since the team is intact for 2003 the odds makers are tabbing them as championship material.
"I don't know if that puts a lot of pressure on me, I manage to put enough pressure on myself. Last year at this time we were not even being considered top ten material and now people are talking about us winning the championship at Grandview Speedway. That is pretty neat," said Manmiller. "We are pretty excited about the new season. We are anxious to get it started and see if we can be as strong as or stronger than we were last season."
Defending Modified champion Jeff Strunk parted company with the Keith Harring Modified team at the end of the season and is now set with a brand new team. Strunk will be maintaining the team himself for first year car owner Chad Sinon. Strunk feels the team will be strong "right out of the box" this season.
Former champion Craig VonDohren, a multi time track champion, has moved to the Devine Transport #70D Modified team after a lack luster effort, no feature wins, with another team in 2002. The Devine team ran a couple of events late last season with VonDohren driving and was impressive. VonDohren finished third in the final standings and is looking forward to a new start with the Devine Transport team.
Meme DeSantis, another multi feature winner who was involved in the point chase finally settling for fourth in the standings, stays with the Norm Hansell #357 Modified team. And there are many who consider DeSantis and Hansell a strong favorite to march off with lucrative title.
Kenny Gilmore, the only driver to qualify for every feature and finish every feature in 2002, will be moving to the Freddy Hamm owned Modified team this season. He feels that he can win the opener on April 5. Ray Swinehart, a former champion and a feature winner in 2002, is hooked up with veteran car owner Don Schaeffer. A new number ( #327) and a new race car bodes well for the team as Swinehart makes a run for the championship.
Another former champion is Tom Mayberry and he is very excited about the new season. "We had a terrible season in 2002 and then Mike Kelly decided to get out of the sport. It was just a lot of things that went wrong and Mike just felt it was time to get out as a car owner. I could not blame him. We are still very good friends. I think he is going to miss it," said Mayberry.
This season Mayberry is hooked up with Neil Huber of Bethel, PA. The team has a 2002 Troyer race car and Mayberry has made some changes on the car that he thinks will help them find victory lane.
"Neil is really an enthusiastic car owner. He has a great shop. He comes from drag racing but is hoping to use the success with the modified team to help his fabrication business. And I am hoping that we can be a factor in the chase for the championship. I would love to come out with a strong performance and do well all season long," said Mayberry.
During the off season Mayberry had an operation on a shoulder that had been giving him problems and he is just finishing therapy.
On the disappointing side of all the news is the fact that talented Kerry Kratz, always a contender for feature wins and championships each year, is without a ride for the first time in many years.
"All the changes should make for some exciting racing in 2003. We think it is going to be a great season. And with the economy down, gas prices high, we think fans will be sticking closer to home and that could very well mean a strong season here at Grandview Speedway. It is hard to believe that we are starting our 41st season of stock car racing. And it is nice to have a respected business like Patriot Bank coming on board to be part of our marketing family of businesses that can see the benefit of marketing through motorsports at Grandview Speedway," said event organizer Bruce Rogers.
Again this season fans will have the opportunity to "tune in" to Grandview Speedway racing events by visiting the track website at www.grandviewspeedway.com. Fans can link up with the broadcast on the website and hear all the action live.
And plans are being finalized to again have a half-dozen or so racing events carried on RCN4 cable television. Final details will be announced shortly.
Admission prices for regular Saturday night events at Grandview Speedway, NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series Modifieds and Late Models, will remain the same. Adults will be admitted for just $12.00 and youngsters 6 thru 11 are admitted for just $3.00. Kids under 6 get in free when accompanied by a paying adult.
Grandview Speedway is located on Passmore Road, just off Route 100 in Bechtelsville, PA, 10 miles north of Pottstown. For information on racing telephone 610.754.7688 or visit their website at www.grandviewspeedway.com.