“We have been struggling,” was the first comment from DIRT Hall of Famer Frank Cozze as he celebrated his first NASCAR 358 Modified feature win on Saturday night at Grandview Speedway. “I hate to win this way but we finally got a break. The competition is tough here and you got to be up on the wheel as soon as you come through the pit gate.”
The Wind Gap, PA racer, in his first full season of competition at Grandview, picked up $2,750 for his win in the 30 lap Whelen Engineering Night Modified feature including the TP Trailers $250 bonus. Jared Umbenhauer of Richland, Pa. was able to wheel the Eastern Rigging No. 5 to victory in the 25 lap NASCAR Sportsman feature coming from 21st starting position. No events were run for the NASCAR Late Models due to a more than two hour rain delay that forced officials to reschedule the Late Models for next Saturday giving them a double feature program.
Bobby Gunther Walsh took control of the 29 car starting field for the Modifieds at the drop of the green. Two early race incidents sent Meme DeSantis to the pits out for the night and Craig VonDohren was now at the back of the pack. With four laps in the record book Walsh had Andy Ressler and Todd Smith applying pressure.
The top three remained the same through the first half of the race. At 17 laps Ray Swinehart stopped in Turn 4 with a flat tire bringing out the caution. On the restart Walsh still was in front but now had six feature winner Duane Howard to contend with. At the 20 lap marker Doug Manmiller spun coming of the fourth turn and ended up facing the wrong direction on the main straightaway. On the restart, after the caution, Howard was able to take the top spot with Walsh, Todd Smith, Cozze and Mike Gular rounding out the top five.
Walsh who was headed to his best finish ever at Grandview Speedway suddenly slowed with mechanical problems sending him into the infield on the 25th lap giving Frank Cozze second spot behind Howard.
With three laps remaining Howard had a comfortable edge over Cozze but on the 28th lap the defending Modified champion coasted around the track pulling in on the backstretch out of action giving the lead and the victory to Frank Cozze in the Harry’s U-Pull-It/Norm’s Save Station No. 357. Second spot went to a hard charging Kyle Weiss (Hamburg) followed by nine time track champion Jeff Strunk (Pottstown) coming from 16th starting position. Craig VonDohren (Oley) took over the Modified point lead as he finished fourth after going to the rear of the field early in the race. Mike Gular (Green Lane) grabbed a fifth place finish.
Veteran racer Jamie Undercoffler set the pace for the 17 laps in the 25-lap Sportsman feature race with Jared Umbenhauer working his way through the field after starting 20th to challenge with 60% of the race completed. At the 18 lap marker Umbenhauer was able to charge to the front of the field and held off a strong challenge from Paul Kline, coming from 21st starting spot.
At the finish Undercoffler (Richland) took the top spot followed by Kline (Muhlenberg), Jordan Henn (Kutztown), Craig Whitmoyer (Hamburg) and Kenny Gilmore (Kutztown). The victory allowed Umbenhauer to increase his point lead as he seeks his second straight NASCAR Sportsman title.
Qualifying heat winners for the NASCAR 358 Modifieds, each 12 laps, were won by Mike Gular, Bobby Gunther Walsh, Andy Ressler and Mike Laise. The two 10-lap consolation races had Ron Seltman and Kyle Weiss as winners. In the Sportsman qualifiers, each 8 laps, the wins were earned by Jamie Undercoffler, Ron Krex and Erik Renninger while the consolation, also 8 laps, was won by Brett Kressley.
The Hard Charger award for the Modifieds sponsored by Bobby Gunther Walsh and sponsors went to Frank Cozze who came from 28th starting spot to win The Searock Lawn Care Hard Charger award for Sportsman was earned by Paul Kline who charged from 22nd starting spot to finish second.
Cargo Trailer Sales of Lansdale had $50 gift certificates for 10th place finishers in each feature while Dan’s Deli has their special hoagies for the leader of each feature at the halfway point. VP Racing Fuels has a $150 product bonus for the first NASCAR 358 Modified feature finisher using their fuel, $100 product bonus for the first Late Model feature finisher using their fuel and $75 product bonus for the first Sportsman feature finisher using their fuel and carrying VP decals on the race car and VP patch on uniform.
Coming up on Saturday, July 20th, 7:30 p.m. will be Hatfield Quality Meats Night featuring the NASCAR 358 Modifieds, Late Models (two 25 lap features) and Sportsman stock cars. Hatfield’s Smiley shoots hot dogs and shirts into the audience.
As gates open AT 5:30 p.m., there will be drivers doing a meet-and-greet along with having their race cars on display. Adult admission is $15 while youngsters 12 and under are admitted free.
WHELEN ENGINEERING NIGHT NASCAR 358 MODIFIED FEATURE - 30 LAPS: 1.Frank Cozze 2.Kyle Weiss 3. Jeff Strunk 4. Craig VonDohren 5. Mike Gular 6. Todd Smith 7. Kevin Hirthler 8. John Willman 9. Glenn Strunk 10. Ryan Grim 11. Jarred Miller 12. Doug Manmiller 13. Don Norris Jr. 14. Andy Ressler 15. Ron Seltman 16. Duane Howard 17. Bobby Gunther Walsh 18. Mark Kratz 19. Ray Swinehart 20. Jason Clauss 21. Terry Meitzler 22. Ron Haring Jr. 23. Mike Laise 24. Addison Meitzler 25. Justin Grim 26. Tommy Scheetz III 27. Shawn Reimert 28. Meme DeSantis 29. Brian Houseknecht
WHELEN ENGINEEING NIGHT NASCAR SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 25 LAPS 1. Jared Umbenhauer 2. Paul Kline 3. Tom Miller 4. Craig Whitmoyer 5. Kenny Gilmore 6. Brian Hirthler 7. Jamie Undercoffler 8. Erik Renninger 9. Kevin Beach 10. AJ DeSantis 11. Ryan Beltz 12. Guy Germano 13. Mike Lisowski 14. Ron Krex 15. Scott Davis Jr. 16. Joe Funk 17. Joe Fanelli 18. Michael DeMedio 19. Dean Beachman 20. Sean Weiss 21. Jordan Henn 22. Brett Kressley 23. Ken Eckert 24. Ryan Lilick.