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Hirthler Brothers Competing in Local Racing Circuit
Written by Bradley Schlegel Correspondent
2015-08-12

Every Saturday night brothers Brian and Kevin Hirthler hit the high banks of Grandview Speedway  in Bechtelsville. Brian, left, races in the Sportsman Modified series while older brother Kevin, right, races in the Modified series.

                Following the biggest win of his racing career in the Forrest Rogers Memorial three years ago, Kevin Hirthler climbed out of his car feeling euphoric.  "I was so pumped up," he said. "I couldn't go to bed. I was so excited."

                Hirthler, who won $20,000 during the 50th annual race at Grandview Speedway in 2012, stayed awake until 7 a.m. the next morning. He ate dinner and entertained visitors early Sunday morning before falling asleep.

                The driver for Team 117, Hirthler has competed in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Dirt Modified Series since 1996. Every weekend from April through October, he races at the dirt oval track in Bechtelsville.

                Hirthler, 35, says he is addicted to the competition.  "I just like to drive," he said.

                Most weekends, his younger brother races there in another classification.  Since 2012, Brian Hirthler has competed in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Dirt Sportsman Modified series, a class that features slightly heavier and slower cars.

                Brian Hirthler, 33, has finished in the top 10 in points in each season. His team, Four Star Racing, posted one feature win last season and earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2012.

                The Hirthler family own the Green Lane William Penn Inc., a full service automotive auto body and mechanical shop on Route 29 in Green Lane, and has been involved with the local racing scene for several years.

                "This is what we do for fun," Kevin Hirthler said. "Some people have boats, others go to the shore. We race."

                According to the brothers, their father Craig competed in drag racing before their mother Joyce introduced her husband to the dirt oval north of Boyertown.

                Kevin Hirthler met his wife Stephanie at the track, and has raced against her father several times.

                Their kids, 8-year-old Jesse James, who currently races quarter midgets, and 6-year-old Kayla Lynn, never miss a race, according to Kevin Hirthler.  "They just love going to the track," he said.

                At the age of 12, Kevin Hirthler started racing quarter midgets, which he described as vehicles with lawn mower engines.

                Four years later, he graduated into his current class.

                Early on, Kevin Hirthler competed in several midweek races in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York. Recently, his racing has been limited to Saturday nights at Grandview. 

                In his racing career, Kevin Hirthler – part owner and vice president of the family business -- estimates that he has won in excess of $100,000, and that he has spent at least $500,000 in expenses building, repairing and transporting race cars.

                "You know the best way to make a small fortune in racing?" he asked. "Start with a large fortune."

                Feature winners receive approximately $2,500 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and $600 to $700 in the Sportsman Modified class, according to the brothers.

                Sponsors help subsidize both teams. Brian Hirthler, who has received $4,500 from sponsors this season, said he tries to spend no more than $10,000 of his own money.

                "I like to think of myself as frugal," said Brian Hirthler, who owns and operates his graphics business, 4 Star Lettering, at the auto service property.

                According to Kevin Hirthler, $15,000 annually from sponsors has helped defray the cost of maintaining two compete vehicles worth $50,000 each, rebuilding an engine for $6,000 and purchasing high-octane leaded race fuel for $11.50 a gallon.

                "This sport can get expensive" he said. "But we have a good time with it."


 

 

 

 

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