Story By: BOB MILLER / THUNDER ON THE HILL – BECHTELSVILLE, PA – On Thursday, August 22 the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car series returns to Grandview Speedway to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series.
Presented by Levan Machine and Truck Equipment, the Hodnett Cup combines the 410 Sprint Cars in their final 2019 Grandview Speedway appearance – and the NASCAR 358 Modifieds, in an exciting double-header. Gates open at 5:00 PM and racing starts at 7:30 PM.
While the Thursday night event marks the return of the 410 Sprint Cars, and the return of Tony Stewart’s All Star Series, it will also be the Grandview return of 410 racer Ryan Smith.
One of the most popular drivers among fans, ‘The Kunkletown Kid’ was sidelined after and early-July incident at the Selinsgrove Raceway – and consequently missed the Thunder on the Hill Speedweek event. Returning in fine form a few weeks later, Smith set second-fast time at his first event back and has racked up consistent top-10 finishes in subsequent weeks.
However, Smith is still searching for his first NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series win, after coming close multiple times. Most famously in 2017, when the driver challenged Kyle Larson for the top-spot before a late race attempted pass sent him flipping into turn three.
The August 22 event at Grandview is doubly important to the Kunkletown, PA racer. In late 2018, Smith was tapped to pilot the Mike Heffner-owned machine previously piloted by Greg Hodnett – the namesake of the event — who died in a racing incident in Central Pennsylvania.
“Greg was one of my idols growing up,” Smith said in a team release announcing his hiring. “I have huge shoes to fill.”
Smith holds eight wins with the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Stars, and hopes to lead the Red Robin Gourmet Burgers/Heffner Racing No. 72 machine to Grandview Speedway victory lane.
Tickets for Thursday, August 22 are $30 for adults, $10 for children age 6 to 11, and free for kids under 6. Pit admission is $35 and no license is required. Advanced ticket holder can access the general admission seating at 4:30 PM, thirty minutes before tickets go on sale.
Advanced tickets are available by calling 443-513-4456. Guests may pick-up their tickets and pay for them the night of the event after 3:30 PM. Please leave a message with your name, and the number of tickets you are requesting.
Grandstand gates open at 5:00 PM, with racing starting at 7:30 PM.
Greg Hodnett collected nine Thunder on the Hill Racing Series wins at the Grandview Speedway – sitting third on the all-time win list. The winner of the event will receive the Hodnett Cup — fabricated from one of Greg’s many trophies, a base was added where names of future event winners will be engraved. As a perpetual trophy, it will be available on race day for Victory Lane celebration, the winner’s name will be added along with the event date, and the trophy will be on display year-round at the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing at the Latimore Valley Fairgounds.