Auto Racing: Hartz wins at Big Diamond

By Ken Johnson

Seven-time Grandview Speedway NASCAR Whelen All- American Series 358 Modified champion Craig VonDohren has finished fifth in the National standings and for the first time in his career the 50-year-old racer is the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Pennsylvania champion.

The Oley professional racer was able to win six feature races plus rack up consistent finishes to claim the track title. He is the all time leader in regular Saturday night feature wins with 87. VonDohren was the highest ranked driver in the National points who competed at just a single NASCAR track during the season.

VonDohren drove his self-owned Pioneer Pole Buildings/VP Racing Fuels No. 1c in gaining the impressive statistics. Finishing sixth in the standings was Duane Howard (Oley) who won an amazing nine feature races during the 2013 NASCAR 358 Modified season but still fell short in his quest to win a sixth track title. Jared Umbenhauer (Richland), winner of the NASCAR Sportsman title for the second year in a row, has earned the top spot in the national rankings for the NASCAR Finalist Division III Dirt standings. Umbenhauer drove the Eastern Rigging No. 5 Sportsman stock car. Sean Merkel (Boyertown), who competes in the Late Model division, finished second in the national NASCAR Finalist Division II Dirt points. Merkel was at the wheel of the Kochel Eqpt./Merkel Rebar No. 118 Late Model.

BIG DIAMOND

(Sept. 22)

Modifieds (25 Laps) Dale Hartz, of Hamburg defeated Ray Swinehart in the 25-lap Modified feature event. 1) Dale Hartz 2) Ray Swinehart 3) Frank Cozze 4) Craig Von Dohren 5) Jeff Strunk 6) Doug Manmiller 7) Shawn Fitzpatrick 8 ) Tom Umbenhauer 9) Brad Brightbill 10) Kevin Albert Jr. 11) Brad Arnold 12) Dan Hineline 13) Jason Neidlinger 14) Kevin Hartnett 15) Kevin Smith 16) Meme Desantis 17) Ricky Yetter

WILLIAMS GROVE

Sinking Springs Don Kreitz Jr. prepped for next weeks Williams Grove Speedway National Open by taking a convincing win in Fridays National Open Tune Up race for 410 sprints at the oval. Kreitz had to battle his teammate Ryan Smith, Kunkeltown, and Brian Montieth, Phonixville, to pick up his second oval win of the season, worth $4,000. Ryan Smith and Brian Montieth kept trading the spot back and forth until finally with two laps to go Smith took the spot for the last time. It was the first time that the Kreitz team cars finished one/two in a feature event at Williams Grove. Montieth ended the race third followed by Greg Hodnett and Alan Krimes. With Fred Rahmers misfortune ( dropped out on lap 15) and Hodnetts finish, Hodnett unofficially took over the season-long point lead by 35 markers over Rahmer. Sixth through 10th in the main went to Pat Cannon, Lance Dewease, Steve Buckwalter, Brent Marks and Paul McMahan.

BEDFORD SPEEDWAY

The track was fast and DJ Troutman was the fastest at Bedford on Sept. 27. DJ Troutman scored a drama filled last lap Late Model victory in the Fallfest action at the track.It was Troutmans first 2013 win at the track and came in the last Late Model event of the season.

Mike Altobelli, Dylan Yoder and Andy Haus, of Hamburg, trailed. Jeff Rine came from deep in the field to take fifth, ahead of Wayne Johnson, Matt Sponaugle, Dan Cornman, Jim Yoder and Derek Byler. Former multi-time track champion Scott Haus made a rare 2013 appearance at the track and had a huge lead before his car began smoking and he retired from heat two.

SELINSGROVE

TJ Stutts of Liverpool scored a convincing flag-to-flag victory in the Sept. 28 13th Annual Mach 1 Chassis National Open for 358-360 sprint cars at Selinsgrove Speedway. The win marked the third time Stutts won the prestigious race, having also won the Open in 2001 and 2003.The $8,000 victory in the 35-lap event was the 17th of Stutts career at the track and his second this season driving the Mountain View Travel No. 23M.

Mach 1 Chassis drivers Stutts, Blane Heimbach of Selinsgrove, and Brock Zearfoss of Jonestown finished in the top three positions.Stutts margin of victory was 2.9 seconds over Pat Cannon, whose car was five pounds light during the post-race inspection and disqualified. Heimbach was credited with finishing second, followed by Zearfoss, seventh-place starter Aaron Ott, and 18th-place starter Mark Smith.