Larson lights up Independence Day at Grandview

Kyle Larson, center, celebrates in victory lane with promoter Bob Miller and track owner Kenny Rogers after winning the main event during the Thunder on the Hill racing series at Grandview Speedway on July 4 as part of Pennsylvania Speedweek.
Kyle Larson, center, celebrates in victory lane with promoter Bob Miller and track owner Kenny Rogers after winning the main event during the Thunder on the Hill racing series at Grandview Speedway on July 4 as part of Pennsylvania Speedweek. Doug Rothermel - For Digital First Media
Kyle Larson celebrates atop his No. 57 sprint car after winning the modified main event during Thunder on the Hill racing series action at Grandview Speedway on July 4.
Kyle Larson celebrates atop his No. 57 sprint car after winning the modified main event during Thunder on the Hill racing series action at Grandview Speedway on July 4. Doug Rothermel - For Digital First Media

BECHTELSVILLE >> On a Fourth of July celebration of speed, Kyle Larson wowed a jam-packed NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series crowd and claimed his third straight Pennsylvania 410 Sprint Car Speedweek victory, while Duane Howard scored the win in the NASCAR Modified 30-lap event at the Grandview Speedway on Tuesday Night in an event presented by Pioneer Pole Buildings.

Larson may have taken the checkered flag, but the region’s top Sprint Car aces — dubbed the Pennsylvania Posse — didn’t take it easy on the current NASCAR Cup Series point leader.

“I felt like I was playing defense all night, tonight,” Larson said in Victory Lane. “Ryan Smith had a great car. I definitely got a little lucky.”

Ryan Taylor and Greg Hodnett led the field to the drop of the fireworks filled 410 Sprint Car A-Main. On the initial start, Larson — who started in the third position — shot inside Taylor in a three-wide battle for the lead. Hodnett and Larson engaged in an expert duel for the top spot, until contact between the two sent Hodnett’s No. 27 machine spinning towards the outside guardrail.

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Larson set a rapid pace on the restart, with TJ Stutts challenging for the lead. A lap 8 caution stacked the field, and a three-wide battle for the second spot ensued with Stutts holding off Taylor and Rico Abreu. It would be Abreu and Stutts with the short straw after contact between the two left both cars spinning.

Maintaining the lead through consecutive yellows, Larson pulled away from the pack at Lap 11 with Taylor battling Ryan Smith for second place. The red flag flew for the first time on the 12th circuit when, three-time Thunder on the Hill winner, Tyler Walker got upside down in spectacular fashion, collecting Brandon Rahmer in the process.

While Larson held a comfortable lead on the restart, Ryan Smith began closing in — looking to end Larson’s five-race Sprint Car win streak.

A full-house of race fans leaped to their feet when Smith muscled around Larson exiting turn 2, carrying that momentum into turn 3 before clipping the wall, sending The Warko Group No. 94 of Smith flipping wildly into the third turn. A dejected — but unscathed — Smith exited the car to a standing ovation from race fans.

Inaugural Thunder Cup winner Danny Dietrich would restart in the second position — but Larson was too quick for ‘Double D’. Aside from the leader, Dietrich had his hands full with third-place runner Freddie Rahmer who maneuvered his way into the second spot with five laps remaining.

Larson held the lead for the remaining five circuits claiming his third consecutive Pennsylvania Speedweek win — and his first NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series victory. Freddie Rahmer finished in second — from an 18th-place starting position, Danny Dietrich in third, Ryan Taylor in fourth and Alan Krimes fifth.

Oley’s Duane Howard claimed his second consecutive NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series win steering the Norm’s Save Station No. 357 machine. Howard — who started in the fourth position — powered around the outside of Craig VonDohren on the 15th lap and went unchallenged throughout the remainder of the 30-lap NASCAR 358 Modified feature event.

Von Dohren brought the Dick Biever-owned No. 14s home in the second position, Ryan Godown of Ringoes, N.J., finished in third from a 12th-place starting position, popular N.Y. Modified driver Anthony Perrego finished in the fourth spot, and Mike Gular rounded out the top five.

The next NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series event at Grandview Speedway takes place on Thursday, August 17. The 3rd Annual Thunder Cup event features the Arctic All Star Circuit of Champions — with 3-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion, Tony Stewart and popular dirt-track driver, Rico Abreu competing in action.

NAPA Auto Parts continues their long run with the Thunder on the Hill Racing Series as the title sponsor joined by Pioneer Pole Buildings, Levan Machine and Truck Equipment and GALCO Business Communications.

Notes >> 25 410 Sprint Cars and 43 Modifieds were signed in for Thunder on the Hill Action.

NASCAR drivers Kyle Larson and Kasey Kahne greeted fans and signed autographs throughout the evening while competing in the 410 Sprint Car division.

TJ Stutts won the SprintcarUnlimited.com Quick Time Bonus worth $250.

410 SPRINT CARS

Time Trials — 1. TJ Stutts — 11.812 2. Danny Dietrich — 11.822 3. Kyle Larson — 11.824 4. Rico Abreu — 11.841 5. Dale Blaney — 11.864 6. Ryan Taylor — 11.867 7. Ryan Smith — 11.886 8. Greg Hodnett — 11.893 9. Alan Krimes — 11.927 10. Tyler Walker — 11. 941 11. Lucas Wolfe — 11.947 12. James McFadden — 11.966 13. Jordyn Brazier — 11.967 14. Davey Sammons — 11. 977 15. Freddie Rahmer — 11.988 16. Kasey Kahne — 12.017 17. JJ Grasso — 12.030 18. Kyle Reinhardt — 12.052 19. Brandon Rahmer — 12.095 20. Gerard McIntyre Jr. — 12.153 21. Brock Zearfoss — 12.154 22. Sean Zemunik 23. Jared Esh — 12.282 24. Mitchell Wormall — 12.316 25. George Streaker Jr. — 13.669

Heat 1 (10 Laps) — 1. Rico Abreu 2. Ryan Smith 3. Tyler Walker 4. TJ Stutts 5. Kasey Kahne 6. Brandon Rahmer 7. Sean Zemunik 8. Jordyn Brazier DNF: George Streaker Jr.

Heat 2 (10 Laps) — 1. Greg Hodnett 2. Dale Blaney 3. Danny Dietrich 4. Lucas Wolfe 5. Davey Sammons 6. JJ Grasso 7. Jared Esh 8. Gerard McIntyre Jr.

Heat 3 (10 Laps) — 1. Ryan Taylor 2. James McFadden 3. Kyle Larson 4. Alan Krimes 5. Kyle Reinhardt 6. Freddie Rahmer 7. Brock Zearfoss 8. Mitchell Wormall

410 A-Main (35 Laps) — 1. Kyle Larson 2. Freddie Rahmer 3. Danny Dietrich 4. Ryan Taylor 5. Alan Krimes 6. James McFadden 7. JJ Grasso 8. Dale Blaney 9. Brock Zearfoss 10. Rico Abreu 11. Lucas Wolfe 12. Gerard McIntyre Jr. 13. Kasey Kahne 14. Mitchell Wormall 15. Jordyn Brazier 16. Sean Zeumunik 17. George Streaker Jr. 18. Ryan Smith 19. Davey Sammons 20. Tyler Walker 21. Brandon Rahmer 22. TJ Stutts 23. Kyle Reinhardt 24. Greg Hodnett 25. Jared Esh

NASCAR 358 MODIFIEDS

Modified Heat 1 (10 Laps) — 1. Brett Kressley 2. Danny Bouc 3. Tim Buckwalter 4. Dominick Buffalino 5. Kevin Hirthler 6. Ryan Grim 7. Ryan Beltz 8. Clay Butler 9. Ron Haring Jr. 10. Jeff Strunk

Modified Heat 2 (10 Laps) — 1. Ryan Godown 2. Anthony Perrego 3. Craig VonDohren 4. Doug Manmiller 5. Chris Esposito 6. Kyle Weiss 7. Jimmy Reppert 8. Heath Metzger DNF: Steve Davis, Rick Laubach, Frank Yankowski

Modified Heat 3 (10 Laps) — 1. Ray Swinehart 2. Duane Howard 3. Brian Hirthler 4. Kenny Gilmore 5. Craig Whitmoyer 6. Steve Swinehart 7. Mike Lisowski 8. Joe Fanelli 8. Briggs Danner 10. Kyle Lilick DNF: Bobby Trapper

Modified Heat 4 (10 Laps) — 1. John Willman 2. Frank Cozze 3. Billy Pauch, Jr. 4. Jared Umbenhauer 5. Mike Gular 6. Kyle Borror 7. Ryan Watt 8. Kevin Beech 9. Blaine Bracelin

Consi 1 — 1. Kyle Weiss 2. Ryan Grim

Consi 2 — 1. Kyle Borror 2. Ryan Watt

Modified Feature (30 Laps) — 1. Duane Howard 2. Craig VonDohren 3. Ryan Godown 4. Anthony Perrego 5. Mike Gular 6. Jared Umbenhauer 7. Brett Kressley 8. Kyle Weiss 9. Billy Pauch, Jr. 10. Dominick Buffalino 11. Tim Buckwalter 12. John Willman 13. Frank Cozze 14. Danny Bouc 15. Kyle Borror 16. Ryan Grim 17. Brian Hirthler 18. Chris Esposito 19. Ryan Watt 20. Doug Manmiller 21. Ray Swinehart 22. Craig Whitmoyer 23. Jeff Strunk 24. Kenny Gilmore 25. Kevin Hirthler.