Big Diamond make up report 2002-05-31

Minersville, PA - May 24 (updated May 31) - Duane Howard powered the Big Spring Car Wash 126 to his second win of the season at Big Diamond Raceway on Friday night in the Spring 50 worth $4000 in NASCAR Weekly Racing Series action presented by ...

Minersville, PA - May 24 (updated May 31) - Duane Howard powered the Big Spring Car Wash 126 to his second win of the season at Big Diamond Raceway on Friday night in the Spring 50 worth $4000 in NASCAR Weekly Racing Series action presented by Dodge. Howard's win moved him into a tie with Craig Von Dohren for the top spot on Big Diamond career modified feature win charts with 44 wins.

Andy Fayash, Jr. of Mary-D, PA thought he started to work on his all-time win total in the Big Diamond sportsman class with his first career win in the 20-lap main event. But he was later found to have a component within the engine of his 157 which, although not performance enhancing, did not conform to the rulebook. So Ed Scott of New Tripoli, PA was awarded his first feature win of the year.

Doug Hendricks of Auburn, PA took his fourth win of the season in the roadrunners to move him into the lead on the Big Diamond roadrunner win list with 17, just ahead of the retired Rich Korn and Dave Miller who have 16 wins each.

Howard took the 50-lap Modified win over Keith Hoffman (Whitehall), Rick Laubach (Quakertown), Meme DeSantis (Temple), Terry Meitzler (Kutztown), Doug Manmiller (Wyomissing), Kevin Hartnett (Perkasie), Todd Bashore (Bethel), Todd Burley (Spencerport, NY) and Bruce Williams (Pottsville). The 50-laper turned into a real marathon with numerous cautions actually forcing a fuel stop during the event.

"It was a long race out there but it's just the guys driving real hard," commented Howard in victory lane. "It's real competitive here and you need to run hard, but we know you also need to stay out of trouble. They gave me a real run tonight and I'm just glad I could get back up front after getting a little confused on that (lap 14) restart."

After being told he tied for the all-time win lead and discussing his start in the Taulker Racing 43 at Big Diamond many years ago Howard commented, "You know, I have been in a few cars but I really never left Big Diamond over all those years. I really enjoy racing here and I've been successful with a lot of teams but these guys (the Glenn Hyneman 126 crew) are giving me some of the best cars I've ever driven."

Barry Readinger (Fleetwood) started outside the front row for the Modified feature and completed the first lap just in front of pole man, Bobby Gunther-Walsh (Allentown). Walsh was all over Barry until lap five when Jim Hauer (Lebanon) slipped into second. With six laps in, the caution barrage started as Jack Hartnett (Telford) while battling for fourth, collecting Keith Hoffman and Kyle Weiss.

Reading continued to lead on the restart and began pulled away from Hauer who fell into the clutches of Rick Laubach and Duane Howard, who started 8th and 18th respectively. Howard took third on lap nine and then passed Hauer on lap 11 for second. With 12 circuits in the books, a pair of yellows closed the field and on the restart Howard went around Readinger in turn one for the lead. One lap later the yellow flew again and on the restart Readinger and Hauer tangled in turn three battling for second, causing a major pile-up sending several cars to their trailers and numerous other contenders in and out of the pits for repairs including eventual top finishers Meme DeSantis and Doug Manmiller.

On the restart Rick Laubach surprised as confused Howard and powered into the lead on the outside on turn one. Laubach, in the new Nazareth-based Flurer Racing Team 16, seized the opportunity to take command through cautions on lap 15 which included Readinger, Hauer, Todd Burley and Brian Johnson. Meanwhile Keith Hoffman, after going to the rear on lap 6, returned to the front and took second on lap 16 passing both Howard and Todd Bashore. Tim Fitzpatrick (Minersville) also made a bold move to pass Bashore for fourth starting a battle that lasted for five laps before Bashore secured the spot.

The high number of yellow laps combined with the laps completed and the pace laps put many teams in fuel jeopardy for the completion of the 50-laps, so track officials elected to break for a fuel stop on lap 19 following a turn two tangle.

On the lap 20 restart, Keith Hoffman slipped under Laubach to take the lead while Howard followed through to take second on a lap 21 restart. On lap later Howard charge up beside Hoffman on the outside of turn two and they headed side-by-side into turn three. Howard set the car hard and then dove under Hoffman coming off turn four to regain the lead. After all the early cautions the laps 29 laps were caution free and Howard went on to the win.

Modified heat wins went to Jim Hauer, Keith Hoffman and Barry Readinger while Todd Burley captured the consolation.

Apparent Sportsman feature winner, Andy Fayash of Mary-D, PA did not have a sealed engine so it was torn down later in the week and found to be outside of engine guidelines but not performance enhancing. Fayash was fined a portion of his payoff which will be added to the next Sportsman feature payoff. But more importantly, Ed Scott was officially awarded points for his first win of the year in the Devine Transport 002. Billy Moyer, Jr. (Pine Grove) finished second Donn Edgar (Lehighton), John Heckler (Hatfield), Tom Cremer (Sinking Spring), Scott Singley (Milford, NJ), Lance Hoch (Topton), Luke Wagner (Hershey), Craig Whitmoyer (Hamburg) and Carl Lieber (West Lawn).

Andy Fayash of Mary-D, PA had run the street stocks and pro-trucks at Big Diamond over the years before hooking up with 2002 Sportsman champion Dave Dissinger for a few runs last year. When Dissinger decided not to defend his crown and take his racing on the road to just have fun at several different tracks, Fayash, along with Craig Whitmoyer, benefited with equipment and advice received from Dissinger. Fayash jumped out on top ahead of pole-sitter Carl Lieber (West Lawn). Ed Scott charged into second as well and made several runs at Fayash. The strong cars of Shawn Fitzpatrick (Pottsville), Donn Edgar and Tom Brennan (Pottsville) quickly filled the remaining top five spots while the dominant duo of 2002, Craig Whitmoyer and Scott Singley battled through the field and with one another. Fifth was not the place to be as Brennan and Chris Clemens (Coopersburg) tangled while battling for fifth on lap 7 and then Singley, after gaining fifth, spun in turn two on lap 10. Also on lap 10 Shawn Fitzpatrick retired the 102 for the night leaving the top five reading as Fayash, Scott, Edgar, Whitmoyer and Billy Moyer, Jr.

Ed Scott made a big run on Fayash on lap 16 and came down the front stretch, on the inside, side-by-side with the leader but could not complete the pass and Whitmoyer capitalized to take second when Scott yielded. Following a restart on lap 17, when the 414 of sixth place Jesse Sterling (Lehighton) failed, Whitmoyer made his charge. As they came off four to complete lap 18, Whitmoyer drew up beside Fayash but fell just short, getting crossed-up and spun across the start-finish line in front of the pack causing the event's final caution.

Despite of all the late excitement, Fayash held on the take the apparent win only to loose it to Scott following an engine tear down later in the week. Sportsman heat winners were Brad Grim (Coplay), Fayash and Scott. Darren Dreher (Orwigsburg), returning after a stint in the military reserves, win the C-Main while John Heckler captured the B-Main.

After all the cautions in the Modified and Sportsman features, it was nice to look backs and see the Roadrunners ran their 15-lap feature with only one caution. Doug Hendricks once again took the win over Dave Winslow (Fleetwood), Steve Fessler (Schuylkill Haven), Barry Schrader (Orwigsburg) and rookie Kevin Holland (Pine Grove).

Fessler paced the first two laps of the main event before Holland took charge but the Hendricks was too much as he took command on lap 10 and never looked back. Hendrick started 11th and came through the field smoothly but Dave Winslow, who was a non-finisher in his heat and was handicapped to the rear, came through equally as well. It was just too little too late for Winslow, who started 13th, as he moved to second with two laps to go but by then, Hendricks was gone.

Roadrunner heat winners were Corey Renninger (Llewellyn) and Hendricks.

Racing continues this Friday night, May 31st, with NASCAR Winston Racing Series action presented by Dodge featuring the Modifieds, Sportsman and Roadrunners. Gates open at 6PM and racing starts at 8PM. For information call (570) 544-6434 or check out www.bigdiamondraceway.com on the web. FAN NOTES - For the second time, the new sportsman qualifying and race format was used. The same 26-car payoff is used for the feature event but the finish is determined a bit differently. Six cars qualified from each of three heats with four cars being handicapped followed by the fifth and sixth place finishers. The seventh and eighth place finishers transferred to the B while the remaining cars went to the C. Two cars transfer from the C-Main to the B. Then the top four from the B go to the A and the 5th through 8th finishers are listed and paid for 23rd through 26th inn the feature.

Another change on restarts, not initial event starts, give the leader the option to start on the inside or outside of the front row. The leader, no matter if he starts inside or outside, retains the right to set the pace and get the jump in the "start area" on the front stretch. No other cars have this inside/outside option only the leader.

Three weeks ago, event starts and restarts were moved from turn three to the front stretch between turn four and the starter's stand. There are marks on the outside wall visible to the drivers that coincide with a cone and barrel on the inside of the track visible to the fans. This is the "start area." The leader, on double file restarts, has the right to start the event anytime after he passes the barrel, But if he has not jumped out by the time the front row reached the cone, then the green flies and the second place man can take off.

On single file restarts, the cone it placed out on the track and all cars must pass single file on the outside of that cone before they may begin passing.

WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT?

There was some question as to why Duane Howard cut across the speedway infield during a feature caution period from the backstretch to the front stretch while running up front. Howard later indicated he was looking to come across and get an explanation from the starter as to the restart procedure regarding the new ability for the pole man to select inside or outside. Officials were unaware of his intent and first thought he was dropping out of the event, and then speculated he might have been trying to conserve fuel. He was immediately told to get back on the track over the in-car radio and not cut through the infield again.

Still assuming this may have been some type fuel conservation ploy, track officials elected to go with the fuel stop, required before the end of the race due to all the caution laps, at mid-race rather than later to insure Howard could have gained no advantage. Under that red, a track official confronted Howard and he explained his question and he was told the leader, no matter if he be on the inside or outside, still retains the right to set the pace and the start in the "start area."

-bdr-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Brian Johnson
Teams Williams