Grandview Results 1999-09-11

BECHTELSVILLE, PA SEPTEMBER 11, 1999 . . . For the third time in his career Duane Howard was able to drive to victory in the rich T.H. Properties Freedom 76 Modified Classic at Grandview Speedway on Saturday night. In front of a huge throng of...

BECHTELSVILLE, PA SEPTEMBER 11, 1999 . . . For the third time in his career Duane Howard was able to drive to victory in the rich T.H. Properties Freedom 76 Modified Classic at Grandview Speedway on Saturday night. In front of a huge throng of fans the veteran driver wheeled the Cary Duncan owned, WEEU-AM/Hutts Glass/Reading Eagle-Times sponsored modified in front of the pack on the 66th lap and used all the talents he possessed to hold off Billy Pauch, Jeff Strunk and Terry Meitzler to pick up more than $20,000 for the victory. "With Pauch on our bumper and trying everything to get around us we had to make some changes late in the race (going to the low groove)," said Howard in victory lane after holding off the late race charge of five time Freedom 76 winner Billy Pauch who came from 24th starting spot. He gave a lot of the credit for the victory to engine builder Larry Lombardo, his car owner Cary Duncan and the crew. "This win (the third Freedom 76 victory) was special to us. We have had such a great season. This just topped it all off," Howard commented. The Oley, PA racer is the 1999 track champion at Big Diamond, finished in the thick of the point chase at Bridgeport Speedway and won the rich Coalcracker 100 at Big Diamond just one week earlier. Forty cars went to the starting line in the 76-lap classic with Tracy Readinger putting the D&S Archery modified in front of the pack on the second lap after Randy Laird set the pace on the start. Readinger was in front until the 21st lap when Jeff Strunk, coming from 11th took the lead after battling with Readinger for several laps. Strunk, driving the Kenworth/Cummins Harring Motorsports entry, was in front of the pack and looked as if he was on his way to a first victory in the T.H.Properties Freedom 76. Howard, Pauch, Meitzler and Tom Mayberry, even Craig VonDohren, were in the chase. At 60 laps it was Jeff Strunk and Pauch in a heated battle for the top spot. On the 66th lap Howard stormed off the fourth turn and took control of the event as Pauch and Strunk settled in behind. However with just two laps to go Strunk and Pauch, in the heat of battle trying to get to leader Howard, seemed to "bump" on the main straightaway with Strunk flipping in the first turn. For the second week in a row Strunk was out of a big money event (he ran out of fuel the previous week in the Coalcracker 100 at Big Diamond while running second, challenging for the win on the final lap) while in a contending position. Strunk was not injured. And the final two laps saw Howard using all the talent he could muster holding off Billy Pauch (Frenchtown, NJ), he tried the inside and the outside, and Terry Meitzler (Kutztown) to grab the victory. Fourth spot went to Glenn Strunk(Bechtelsville) followed by Meme DeSantis (Reading). Both Craig VonDohren (starting 27th) and Tom Mayberry (from 37th) were in the thick of the chase going into the final laps only to be eliminated with tire problems. Qualifying heats for the more than 80 cars on hand to try for 40 starting spots went to Kenny Gruber, Craig VonDohren, Kevin Hartnett, Larry Solomon, Cliff Quinn, Donny Erb, Doug Pannepacker and Keith Hoffman. Consolation victories were earned by Larry Kelleher, Kyle Weiss and Tom Pompei. The Cheers Tavern Minuteman 20, sending three top finishers to the main event, had Glenn Strunk wheeling the Kenworth Cummins Harring Motorsports entry to victory. Second spot was earned by Harry Neiman while Randy Stoudt, a late model racing talent moving to modifieds, made his first Freedom 76 by finishing third. Donny Erb picked up $1148 for his winning efforts in the 13 car Keystone Pretzel Bakery Cash Dash.

The season finale will be presented at Grandview Speedway on Saturday, September 18 starting at 5 p.m. Featured will be the modifieds, late models and sportsman stock cars. This is an "open competition" format event. For information on the final show telephone 610.754.7688 or visit their website at PIT NOTES: There are a few copies of the 60-page, color covers, T.H.Properties Freedom 76 Program/Yearbook remaining. Copies may be had by sending $8.00 (includes postage and handling) to Ernie Saxton Communications, 1448 Hollywood Avenue, Langhorne, PA 19047. Included is over 100 photos, season wrap-up, history of the speedway and the Freedom 76, loads of statistics, stories on the champions and more. Bobby Gunther Walsh, the WAEB-AM (Allentown) morning personality, was able to start his first Freedom 76 after five tries. He finished 20th running at the end. Randy Stoudt, moving from the NASCAR Late Models to modifieds, qualified for the Freedom 76, his first try, and had an impressive 16th place finish. He has sold his late model racing equipment to Dave Conover and will run a full season of modified competition in 2000. Impressive was the run to the front by Terry Meitzler, the NASCAR Winston Racing Series Modified champion, who started 32nd in the field of 40 and was able to gain a third place finish. $1,675 was paid out in 50/50 money with local charities benefitting from the sale of the 50/50 tickets. T.H.Properties Freedom 76 Modified Classic (top twenty finishers)..Duane Howard, Billy Pauch, Terry Meitzler, Glenn Strunk, Meme DeSantis, Randy Bailey, Ray Swinehart, Bob Trapper, Dave Faust, Chip Slocum, Mike Bailey, Tracy Readinger, Steve Folk, Jeff Seichrist, Randy Stoudt, Kerry Kratz, Ron Haring, Cliff Quinn, Bobby Gunther Walsh.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Billy Pauch