Howard Hustles At Grandview
BECHTELSVILLE, Pa. — Five-time track champion Duane Howard, rebounding from a horrendous front stretch flip two weeks ago and elimination from competition the previous week, wheeled the Petruska-owned Atlas Paving No. 66 past Jeff Strunk on the 24th lap restart and went on to win his fourth 30-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series 358 Modified feature on Saturday night at Grandview Speedway.
“It’s fun to race here, but it’s not easy coming from 13th or so every week,” said Howard. “The Petruska team is great and they provide me with a good car every week and I apologize for my actions last week.” Howard and another competitor had a confrontation in the pits the previous week for which Howard was apologizing. He also picked up an additional $250 from T.P. Trailers, Limerick.
Chuck Schutz recorded his second win of the season in the 20-lap BRC NASCAR Late Model feature by a healthy margin over runner-up Jason Miller in the event that went non-stop. Schutz received $100 from T.P. Trailers.
The Jared Umbenhauer domination in the Sportsman division continued as he won his eighth 25-lap NASCAR Sportsman feature with Ryan Lilick a distant second. He too received $100 from T.P. Trailers.
Ronnie Peck, former late model champion and modified stand-out, was the winner of the 15-lap Blast From The Past Vintage Car feature.
Bobby Gunther-Walsh led one lap before he bounded off the second turn wall for the caution after contact with another competitor. This put Mike Laise in the lead when action resumed with pressure from Jon Kellner, Kyle Borror, Terry Meitzler and Nate Christman.
Kellner put Vince Gagliardo No. 41 at the front of the pack on the eighth lap, but Laise stayed with him trying to retake first.
At the Dan’s Deli ½-way leader mark Kellner was in lap traffic and now the order behind him consisted of Laise, Strunk, Howard and Borror.
Strunk overtook second on the 16th lap and took off after Kellner.
Just as Strunk reeled Kellner in, Kevin Hartnett stopped in the second turn bringing out the caution with 18 laps in the books. Kellner managed to hold onto the lead with heavy pressure from Strunk, Howard, Craig VonDohren and Doug Manmiller giving him no room to error.
Racing side-by-side with Kellner on the outside and Strunk inside, Kellner found himself in the third turn wall in a hard racing incident and the yellow unfurled on the 21st lap. It was a tough break for Kellner, who was finally having a decent run. Strunk and Howard were door handle to door handle on the restart with Strunk having the edge.
Tommy Scheetz III and Mike Gular spun between turns one and two for the next caution on the 23rd lap. The restart was void when Laise and John Willman were in the second turn facing the wrong direction. This time it was Kevin Hirthler accused of triggering the mishap and he was sent to the rear. On this restart Howard charged past Strunk and into the top spot to be the fifth different leader.
Howard continued his pace until he pulled into the winner’s circle for his 63rd career win followed by Strunk, VonDohren, Manmiller and Ryan Grim, for his best run of the season. Sixth through tenth were Jordan Umbenhauer, Christman, Terry Meitzler, Frank Cozze and Borror. Don Norris Jr. received the Cargo Trailers product certificate.