Brenden Bright drove to his first win of the season with the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) in the twenty-five lap feature event at the Grandview Speedway in a rare Friday night racing event.
Not only was it Bright’s first win of the season but his first ever win at the Grandview Speedway – the track that is the closest to Bright’s Collegeville, PA home. “We’ve always struggled at Grandview,” Bright related. “We’ve been good this season on the heavy tracks or early in the night but we’ve struggled on the hard slick tracks.”
On this race night, Bright had some help. His Presidential HVAC #92 got some help from five time ARDC winner, Alex Bright and his crew chief, Eddie Heffline who made some suggestions to improve the younger Bright’s performance. He had some help from his brother in the feature line-up as well. When Alex drew the pole after winning the third heat race, he volunteered to start 12th for the twenty-five lap main – the last of the redraw positions. That moved Brenden up to a third place start. “I need all the help I can get,” Brenden stated as he looked over the starting grid.
Brett Wanner and Billy Pauch Jr. led the field to the green flag but Wanner fought for control as the rear wheel came off his #44 as the field headed into turn one. The inside row slid up for the complete restart, pitting Brenden Bright against Pauch Jr. on the front row. Pauch immediately took the lead as Brett Arndt slid under Brenden Bright to briefly take second.
Pauch had the Mike Heffner owned #27 on the bottom of the track as Brenden Bright and second year driver, Jim Radney battled for the runner-up spot. Radney like the high line around the track and took over second on lap four. Pauch led Radney, Brenden Bright, Tim Buckwalter and Brett Arndt with five complete.
Alex Bright had advanced to sixth but slid high and lost several positions. By lap seven, Radney was putting the pressure on Pauch for the lead. Radney ran the top with Pauch on the bottom as the two dueled for the top spot.
The field was three wide through turns one and two following a caution for Alex Bright just before half way.
Radney took a run on the outside of Pauch as the two drivers raced down the backstretch on lap thirteen with Radney becoming the race leader at the half way point. With ten laps to go, Radney led Pauch, Tim Buckwalter, Brenden Bright and Ryan Watt who was behind the wheel of the R/T Racing #20.
Austin Burke ran into trouble in turns three and four while moisture on the race track caused a tangle between Alex Bright and Bruce Buckwalter Jr. in turns one and two, bringing out what would be the race’s final caution. While the field circled under caution, race leader, Jim Radney came to a stop on the homestretch with battery failure. Radney’s bid for a first ARDC win would be postponed for another night. Pauch led the field back to the green flag for the final ten laps as the race leader.
Brenden Bright wasted no time taking his car to the outside to challenge Pauch for the lead on the back stretch. The race had a new leader as Brenden Bright led the way.
Watt challenged Tim Buckwalter and took over third with five laps to go. 2013 ARDC Champion, Trevor Kobylarz and Brett Arndt battled it out for fifth.
At the end of twenty-five laps, Brenden Bright headed for his first checkered flag of the season followed by Billy Pauch, Jr., Ryan Watt, Tim Buckwalter and Trevor Kobylarz.
This Friday night, ARDC heads west to race at the Path Valley Speedway Park – a return to the Central PA track after an absence of nearly twenty years.
Billy Pauch Jr. made his first start of the season in Mike Heffner’s #27 midget, wrenched by Sean Michael. Ryan Watt subbed for Carey Becker and drove Becker’s #20 to a third place finish. When electrical issues sidelined point leader, Steven Drevicki’s #19. DeGre Engineering car owner, Greg Fitzpatrick turned over his #28 to Drevicki for the night. The point leader raced his way to an eighth place finish at the end of twenty-five laps. Danny Stratton had the Steward #33 out in front of the first heat before rear end problems brought Stratton to a stop in turn four. Fast time of the night turned by Ryan Watt in the first qualifier when Watt turned the third mile track in 15.128 seconds.
Feature Finish (25 laps)
1. Brenden Bright 2. Billy Pauch Jr. 3. Ryan Watt 4. Tim Buckwalter 5. Trevor Kobylarz 6. Brett Arndt 7. Ryan Greth 8. Steven Drevicki 9. Kyle Lick 10. Tyler Brehm 11. Tony DiMattia 12. Tommy Kunsman 13. Austin Burke 14. Billy Courtwright 15. Jim Radney 16. Bruce Buckwalter, Jr. 17. Alex Bright 18. Justin Grosz 19. Brett Wanner 20. Nick Wean DNS – PJ Gargiulo