BECHTELSVILLE >> It was a spooky Halloween night, but there weren’t any tricks for Brett Kressley, as the 25-year-old scored his first NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series victory at the ‘Mods at the Madhouse Traffic Jam’ on Saturday night at Grandview Speedway.
“This felt like the longest race of my life,” an elated – and champagne-soaked – Kressley said in Victory Lane. “I had a really strong car tonight, and I can’t thank my crew enough for all their hard work.”
The Orefield driver couldn’t have had a better night, scoring the win in his qualifying heat race and picking the first position in the Modified redraw of top qualifiers. Known as ‘The Threat,’ Kressley took the lead at the outset of the 40-lap feature, and held off the best-of-the-best in Modified competition to score the $5,000 victory.
At the drop of the green flag, Kressley shot away from the 24-car field pulling a full-straightaway lead by the just the third circuit around the one-third-mile dirt oval.
The first yellow flag flew on the seventh lap when Oley, PA’s Duane Howard spun in turn four -- while running in the top-five -- after contact with Boyertown’s Ryan Watt. Both cars were sent to the rear of the field.
On the restart, Kressley rolled back into the lead with Danny Erb following closely behind, while Kenny Gilmore and Craig VonDohren challenged for the third position.
Kressley held control at the half-way mark with Erb and Gilmore holding in the top-three positions. The battle for fourth was heating up between 2017 track champion, Craig VonDohren and Freedom 76 winner, Jeff Strunk.
The action came to a stop on lap 26, when Dan Bouc, of Pipersville, flipped his No. 32 Modified in turn 2.
It was all Kressley in the final stretch – but it wasn’t easy for the young racer as a group of veterans were hot on his heels. Danny Erb would finish in the second position, Kenny Gilmore in third aboard the Bailey No. 81, Jeff Strunk finishing in the fourth position and Billy Pauch Jr. finishing in the fifth spot.
Ringoes, N.J.’s Ryan Godown brought the Searock Fabrications No. 26 home in sixth, Ryan Watt rallied back to finish in seventh, Mike Gular in eighth, Billy Pauch in ninth and Jared Umbenhauer rounding out the top-ten finishers.
Initial fourth-place finisher Craig Von Dohren was found light at the scales and was penalized to the 24th position.
2017 Grandview Speedway Sportsman champion, Brian Hirthler picked up the $1,300 win in the Madhouse Sportsman event, starting on the pole and holding off a hard-charging Matt Stangle at the conclusion of the 25-lap main event. Hirthler bookended his 2017 racing season with a win on opening night and a win to conclude the season.
Neshanic, N.J.’s Matt Stangle finished in second, Mark Kemmerer in third, Jim Houseworth finished in fourth, and Brad Brightbill finished in fifth.
Despite a busted radiator, Ryan Stillwaggon of Burlington, NJ scored his first career Grandview Speedway win in the Mid-Atlantic Sprint Car Series. Stillwaggon dominated the 25-lap feature event and scored the victory despite slowing drastically in the closing circuits. Tim Tanner Jr. came home in the second position, 2017 MASS Series Champion Eddie Wagner finished in third, Austin Bishop in fourth, and Dave Brown in fifth.
NOTES >> Heat races were won by Jared Umbenhauer, Ryan Watt, Brett Kressley, and Duane Howard. Last chance consolation events were won by Ryan Godown and Scott Albert. ... Kressley became the 26th different NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series Modified winner in 68 races. Jeff Strunk holds the most wins with 12. ... The Mods at the Madhouse 40 marked the 18th House of Thunder Halloween events and the conclusion of the 28th season of NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series action. ... For more information about NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series visit www.thunderonthehillracingseries.com or follow along on Facebook.com/ThunderontheHill
ModifiedsHeat 1 (10 Laps) – 1. Jared Umbenhauer 2. Billy Pauch 3. Meme DeSantis 4. Rick Laubach 5. Ryan Grim
Heat 2 (10 Laps) – 1. Ryan Watt 2. Craig VonDohren 3. Danny Erb 4. Kevin Beach 5. Kevin Hirthler
Heat 3 (10 Laps) – 1. Brett Kressley 2. Billy Pauch Jr. 3. Kenny Gilmore 4. Jeff Strunk 5. John Willman
Heat 4 (10 Laps) – 1. Duane Howard 2. Dan Pannepacker 3. Danny Bouc 4. Addison Meitzler 5. Mike Gular
Consi 1(10 Laps) – 1. Ryan Godown 2. Ray Swinehart
Consi 2 (10 Laps) – 1. Scott Albert 2. Doug Manmiller
Mods at the Madhouse Traffic Jam (40 Laps) – 1. Brett Kressley 2. Danny Erb 3. Kenny Gilmore 4. Jeff Strunk 5. Billy Pauch, Jr. 6. Ryan Godown 7. Ryan Watt 8. Mike Gular 9. Billy Pauch 10. Jared Umbenhauer 111. Ray Swinehart 12. Ryan Grim 13. John Willman 14. Addison Meitzler 15. Kevin Beech 16. Scott Albert 17. Danny Bouc 18. Rick Laubach 19. Doug Manmiller 20. Kevin Hirthler 21. Meme DeSantis 22. Duane Howard 23. Dan Pannepacker DQ: Craig VonDohren (light at the scale)
SportsmanHeat 1 (8 Laps) – 1. Mark Kemmerer 2. Brian Hirthler 3. Steve Young 4. Jim Housworth 5. Roger Manning 6. Lex Shive
Heat 2 (8 Laps) -- 1. Jim McGovern 2. Kenny Bock 3. Brad Grim 4. Matt Stangle 5. Jordan Henn 6. Louden Reimert
Heat 3 (8 Laps) -- 1. Joe Funk 2. Craig Whitmoyer 3. Derrick Smith 4. Billy Osmun 5. Brad Brightbill 6. Nathan Mohr
Consi (8 Laps) – 1. Kyle Lilick 2. Mike Lisowski 3. Brad Arnold 4. Caleb Ross 5. Ryan Lilick 6. Andy Clemmer
Feature (25 Laps) – 1. Brian Hirthler 2. Matt Stangle 3. Mark Kemmerer 4. Jim Housworth 5. Brad Brightbill 6. Miek Lisowski 7. John McGovern 8. Louden Reimert 9. Brad Arnold 10. Cale Ross 11. Derrick Smith 12. Steve Young 13. Lex Shive 14. Tom Princiotta 15. Kyle Lilick 16. Brad Grim 17. Andy Clemmer 18. Nathan Mohr 19. Jordan Henn 20. Kenny Bock 21. Roger Manning 22. Billy Osmun DQ: Joe Funk (light at the scale), Ryan Lilick (light at the scale)
MASS Sprint CarsHeat 1 (8 Laps) -- 1. Austin Bishop 2. Ryan Stillwaggon 3. Jeff Geiges 4. Tommy Carberry, Jr. 5. Zack Burd
Heat 2 (8 Laps) -- 1. Eddie Wagner 2. Stefanie Carberry 3. Tim Smolenyak 4. Dave Brown
Heat 3 (8 Laps) -- 1. Dave Bonner 2. Tim Tanner 3. Tom Carberry, Sr. 4. Scott Frack 5. Brandon Poff
Feature (25 Laps) – 1. Ryan Stillwaggon 2. Tim Tanner 3. Eddie Wagner 4. Austin Bishop 5. Dave Brown 6. Stefanie Carberry 7. Tom Carberry, Sr. 8. Tommy Carberry, Jr. 9. Scott Frack 10. Jon Haegele 11. Jeff Geiges 12. Zack Burd 13. Dave Bonner 14. Tim Smolenyak 15. Dan Leper 16. Bryant Davis 17. Brandon Poff 18. Chad Connor