Schutz lights it up in Fire­cracker 40 win at Grand­view Speed­way

Whit­moyer, Gu­lar also win on busy night in Bechtelsville

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - SPORTS - By Ernie Sax­ton For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

BECHTELSVILLE » Fans that at­tended the rac­ing ac­tion on Satur­day night at Grand­view Speed­way cer­tainly got their money’s worth. All fea­ture events had side-by-side, three to four wide ac­tion through­out their re­spec­tive shows that pro­duced two re­peat win­ners, two sea­son first win­ners that in­cluded a first ca­reer win.

The high­light of the night was the Fire­cracker 40-lap BRC NASCAR Late Model fea­ture that was won by de­fend­ing point cham­pion and cur­rent point leader Chuck Schutz for a pay­day worth in ex­cess $2,000. Schutz, who last won the event in 2010, ded­i­cated the win to long-time sup­porter Carl Knauer who passed away. It was a long race com­mented Schutz in vic­tory lane and he’s

RICK KEPNER - FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

glad he could con­serve his tires and that they held up in the bat­tles with run­ner-up Ron Kline, who last won the race in 2011.

The 30-lap T.P. Trail­ers 358 NASCAR Modified fea­ture wasn’t de­cided un­til the drop of the check­ered. Brett Kress­ley ap­peared to be on his way to an­other win, but com­ing in for the check­ered he had to go high to get around lapped traf­fic. It was all Mike Gu­lar, who has been knock­ing on the door of vic­tory lane for sev­eral weeks, needed. Gu­lar took ad­van­tage of the sit­u­a­tion and dove un­der­neath Kress­ley and it was a drag race to the fin­ish line, but Gu­lar parked the Rich Stankewicz-owned No. 2 in vic­tory lane for the first time this year end­ing a six-year win­less drought.

In the 25-lap NASCAR Sports­man make-up fea­ture rained out June 24, Craig Whit­moyer over­took the lead from Ryan Higgs on the 12th lap and was able to hold off the late race chal­lenges of sec­ond-place fin­isher Brad Grim to chalk up his sec­ond win of the sea­son.

Brad Grim fin­ished one spot higher in the sec­ond Sports­man

fea­ture. He over­took Jack But­ler on the 16th lap and pro­ceeded to put the Mike Stringer-owned No. 23 in the win­ner’s cir­cle for his first ca­reer win at the 1/3mile banked clay oval.

All the reg­u­lar fea­ture event win­ners re­ceived mon­e­tary awards from T.P. Trail­ers and Truck Equip­ment and prod­uct cer­tifi­cates from VP Fu­els pro­vid­ing they met all the manda­tory re­quire­ments.

There have now been 22 different fea­ture win­ners this sea­son at Grand­view in the NASCAR sanc­tioned di­vi­sions of rac­ing.

Brett Peters won the Modified por­tion of the Blast From The Past 15lap fea­ture while Andy Cas­sel copped the Vin­tage Car sec­tion since all di­vi­sions were com­bined for their fea­ture.

Brian Shuey led five laps of the Late Model fea­ture be­fore Kyle Merkel charged to the front of the pack on the sixth lap restart needed when Drew Weiss spun along the home­stretch.

Within a few laps be­hind Merkel du­el­ing for sec­ond were Schutz and Kline trailed by Bryon Sipe and Danny Snyder, win­ner of the event in 2012 and 2013.

Ear­lier leader Shuey, who was grad­u­ally fall­ing off the pace, brought out the yel­low on the 14th lap when he stopped in turn four with a right rear flat.

Merkel main­tained his po­si­tion when ac­tion re­sumed, but now Kline was sec­ond chal­leng­ing for first.

Af­ter a while Merkel had a slight edge built up due to the fact that Kline and Schutz had their own bat­tle go­ing.

Schutz put the Ty Zei­gler-owned/PPB No. ONE in sec­ond and set off af­ter Merkel.

The lead changed on the 27h lap as Merkel hopped the fourth turn cush­ion and al­most hit the boil­er­plate. By the time he cor­rected the mishap Schutz was past him and quickly out-dis­tanced him­self and was run­ning away from his fel­low com­peti­tors.

Nu­mer­ous restarts were needed, but that didn’t de­ter Schutz and he went on to score an­other Fire­cracker 40 win and his sec­ond win of the sea­son. Chas­ing him across were Kline, Snyder, Merkel and Sipe.

Mike Kell­ner grabbed the early lead in the Modified fea­ture and set the pace for eight laps be­fore he spun in the fourth turn. Kress­ley jumped the cush­ion, hit the wall, but was able to avoid the spun car of Kell­ner to be­come the new leader. John Will­man, who was third at the time, wasn’t as for­tu­nate and got in­volved in the mishap putting him out of con­tention along with Kell­ner. On the restart Kress­ley held on to the lead with Kyle Bor­ror, Ad­di­son Meit­zler, Kenny Gil­more and Ryan Grim in pur­suit.

Gil­more, who bat­tled with Bor­ror for sec­ond sev­eral laps, fi­nally broke free on the 14th lap and took chase Kress­ley who en­coun­tered lap traf­fic and had to thread his way through.

Com­ing through to the front of the pack from his 12th start­ing grid was Gu­lar. He ad­vanced to third with ten to go and was on the move.

Kress­ley was still ahead with three laps to go, but now Gu­lar was sec­ond and charg­ing with a full head of steam and lap traf­fic was in the pic­ture.

Com­ing in for the check­ered Kress­ley had to go up on the track to get around the cars, as did the oth­ers. Gu­lar dove down low for the drag race fin­ish and Gu­lar emerged a wellde­served crowd-pleas­ing win­ner. Kress­ley crossed the line sec­ond, how­ever af­ter tech was placed last due to a fuel is­sue. Sec­ond was awarded to Gil­more, for his best fin­ish of the sea­son fol­lowed by Duane Howard, com­ing off a Tues­day night win; Frank Cozze and Kyle Bor­ror.

Kell­ner, Meit­zler and Kress­ley won the heats. The consi was won by Ray Swine­hart.

In the make-up 25-lap Sports­man fea­ture, left from a pre­vi­ous rained out event, Der­rick Smith set the pace for one lap be­fore Ryan Shupp took over.

Shupp’s lead was short­lived as Ryan Higgs got by him on the third lap restart brought out by a ten-car fourth turn melee. Whit­moyer fol­lowed through as the same time to chal­lenge.

The lead changed on lap 12 when Whit­moyer mo­tored into first and Grim over­took sec­ond to be­gin the bat­tle.

Whit­moyer stuck to the high line and Grim ran the bot­tom in their side-by­side bat­tle.

Whit­moyer thought he was run­ning out of gas be­cause he felt he was los­ing power, but he still hung on for the win fol­lowed by Grim, cur­rent point leader Brian Hirth­ler, Jim Hous­worth and But­ler.

The June 24 qual­i­fy­ing event show win­ners were Grim, Higgs and But­ler while Hirth­ler scored the consi win.

Once the rained out fea­ture was com­pleted, qual­i­fy­ing events were held. Brad Arnold, Paul Houseknecht and Ryan Lil­ick won the heats. The consi win­ner was Louden Reimert.

In the sec­ond Sports­man fea­ture pole­sit­ter Shupp grabbed the early lead and held that spot for 11 laps be­fore But­ler took con­trol. No sooner did but­ler pass Shupp go­ing into the first turn, Joe Funk III, in third, made con­tact with Shupp and Shupp spun. Funk III was sent to the back of the pack for the mishap.

Lined up be­hind But­ler on the restart were Grim, Kyle Lil­ick, Mike Lisowski and Mark Kem­merer.

The lead changed on the 16th lap when Grim suc­ceeded to get past But­ler and im­me­di­ately be­gan open­ing some day­light.

Grim, who felt the car ran bet­ter on the dryer track, never looked back and went on to chalk up a well-earned win. Sec­ond went to But­ler for his best run, fol­lowed by Lisowski, Hous­worth and Ryan Beltz.

The Blast From The Past fea­ture saw Todd Lapp lead the first lap and Mike Kelly lead the sec­ond through fifth un­til the cau­tion came out for a first turn spin. On the restart Brett Peters took over first and never sur­ren­dered the po­si­tion to take the check­ered in the event in the Modified class. Doug Step­anchule was sec­ond with Andy Cas­sel third in the Vin­tage divi­sion trailed by Mike Gar­ris Sr. and Todd Lapp.

Chuck Schutz, along with fam­ily, friends and crew, cel­e­brates in vic­tory lane af­ter win­ning the Fire­cracker 40 on July 8 at Grand­view.

RICK KEPNER - FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ron Kline (3) and Chuck Schutz duel dur­ing the Fire­cracker 40 race on July 8 at Grand­view.

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