Snyder, Grim, Watt victorious on opening night
BECHTELSVILLE » A full card of regular season NASCAR points paying events Saturday night at Grandview Speedway got the 2018 racing season underway on a very exciting note, as Danny Snyder, Brad Grim and Ryan Watt, all, took home Opening Night wins at the popular high-banked third-mile clay oval in Bechtelsville.
The 25-lap Late Model triumph by Snyder was his first victory at the raceway since July 20, 2013 and the tenth win of his career.
Watt dominated in the 30-lap NASCAR T.P.Trailers 358 Modified main event, winning his third career feature race at the track and his first since September 3, 2005.
Grim netted his third career victory in the 25-lap Sportsman division feature and scored his first since July 29, 2017.
Through the luck of the draw, the Green Lane native Snyder started from the pole position in the 13-car starting field and quickly moved out to a full straightaway advantage as the race leader by lap 4. A caution a lap later bunched up the field, however, Snyder once again was lightning quickly with the new green, grabbing the top spot on the restart and stretching it to a full straightaway advantage again after nine circuits.
Caution again on lap 17 closed up the field, with Snyder playing the role of the rabbit again on the restart, with the competition chasing. Yellow flags waving again after lap 20 and lap 22 slowed things, but Snyder again just held onto that top spot each time and easily went on to victory by a safe margin over the fourthplace race starter from Shoemakersville veteran Brian Shuey, Green Lane chauffeur Kyle Merkel, who started from fifth, Reading racer Drew Weisser, the seventh-place starter, and Pottstown racer Jordan Knepp, who took the initial feature green from tenth, at the checkered, earning an additional $100 bonus from TP Trailers and Truck Equipment out of Limerick, as the race winner.
In the 30-lap NASCAR T.P.Trailers 358 Modified headliner, the heads-up start showed Doug Manmiller, from Shoemakersville, racing out in front with the initial green flag after starting from the pole, but all eyes were on Ryan Watt, from Boyertown, who started fourth in the 28-car starting field and quickly powered his way around the outside to move up to the runner-up position after one tour. Watt fought it out with Manmiller wheel-to-wheel and made the pass to become the new race leader down the back part of the speedway and racing into turn three on lap four.
With six complete it was Watt, Manmiller and second-place starter Steve Swinehart, of Perkiomenville, running as the top three. A caution quickly bunched up the field at that point.
On lap seven, tenth-place starter Duane Howard, from Oley, powered his way into third, followed by Mike Gular, out of Harleysville, and Kevin Hirthler, of Boyertown, who started from seventh. Howard started to work his way under Manmiller by lap nine and, eventually, squeezed by on lap 12 to take second. With 13 circuits in the record books, Watt was now out in front by a full straightaway.
Watt started to get slowed by lapped traffic, as Howard began to reel the leader in. With 18 down, Howard was now right on Watt, working through the lapped traffic, as Manmiller brought out a caution due to a badly smoking motor after 21 rounds were completed.
On the restart Watt powered out in front again over Howard, fourteenth-place starter Frank Cozze, of Wind Gap, and Gular. After 23 circuits, Watt again pulled out to a safe advantage. On lap 25, Oley’s Craig Von Dohren climbed into the top five, after starting in twenty-first.
Watt easily claimed the first-place pay check, with Howard, Cozze, Gular and Von Dohren in tow.
Doug Manmiller (44) and Ryan Watt (14) duel during action at Grandview Speedway on April 21.