Big Diamond race report 2002-06-16

Chad Layton steals thrilling Big Diamond/KARS Sprint main on last lap; Donn Edgar tops Sportsman, Winslow gets 2nd Roadrunner win. Minersville, PA - June 16 - Chad Layton of Harrisburg, PA showed why he is the hottest driver in 358 Sprint car ...

Chad Layton steals thrilling Big Diamond/KARS Sprint main on last lap; Donn Edgar tops Sportsman, Winslow gets 2nd Roadrunner win.

Minersville, PA - June 16 - Chad Layton of Harrisburg, PA showed why he is the hottest driver in 358 Sprint car racing in Pennsylvania as he captured the KARS Doorways Unlimited sprint car feature at Big Diamond Raceway Sunday with a final lap pass of leader Dale Hammaker.

Donn Edgar of Lehighton, PA took his first 20-lap Sportsman win in action under the banner of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge. Dave Winslow of Fleetwood, PA saw a second place finish turn into a feature win for the second straight race when, this week, apparent winner Doug Hendricks of Auburn, Pa was disqualified in a post race technical inspection.

Chad Layton's thrilling last lap pass, in his United Express Lines/Diversified Machine U1, gave him his ninth overall win the PA 358 Sprint action this year. Dale Hammaker (Grantville, PA) finished second followed by Adrian Shaffer (Mt. Wolf, PA), early leader Dan Richcreek (Enola, PA), Tony Smolenyak (Pen Argyl, PA), Tim Long (Lebanon, PA), Jeff Rohrbaugh (York, PA), Bob Beidleman (Walnutport, PA), Rick Horn (Dover, PA) and Cory Haas (Dallastown, PA).

Donn Edgar took the 20-lap Sportsman win over Shawn Fitzpatrick (Pottsville, PA), point leader Craig Whitmoyer (Hamburg, PA), Tom Cremer (Sinking Spring, PA), Brent Boyer (Bloomsburg, PA), John Heckler (Hatfield, PA), Luke Wagner (Hershey, PA), Chris Clemens (Catasaqua, PA), Daryl Dissinger (Mechanicsburg, PA) and Jeff Paulson (Honeybrook, PA). Following winner Dave Winslow in the Roadrunner 15-lapper were Rodney Ulsh (Summit Station, PA), Corey Renninger (Llewellyn, PA), Barry Schrader (Orwigsburg, PA), and rookie Jason Heffner.

"A lot of us have never seen this place (Big Diamond) before," commented KARS 358 winner, Layton after the race in the winner's circle. "I almost dumped when I got crossed up on the start (of the feature) but I gathered it up and here we are. It would be awesome if we could come and run here every week."

Dan Richcreek got away from the pole position into the early lead in the 25-lap feature. Dan pulled away from Tony Smolenyak and Tim Long in the early laps while Dale Hammaker and Chad Layton were trying to battle up through the field from their respective tenth and eleventh starting positions. Richcreek made a steady run and looked like he might take his first career win when the event's only yellow flew on lap 12 when Brian Allman's 11E stalled after going over the backstretch to try to retire to the pits.

Richcreek led over Smolenyak, Long, Hammaker and Bob Gutshall (Mechanicsburg, PA), with Layton in seventh behind Adrian Shaffer, when the green returned. Gutshall retired on the next lap and Hammaker took third from Long. Hammaker took second on lap 13 with Shaffer and Layton taking third and fourth one lap later. Hammaker chased down Richcreek to make an inside turn two pass for the lead on lap 21. On lap 22 Layton got by both Shaffer and Richcreek and the race was on. Layton and Hammaker battled inside and out starting on lap 23 with Dale holding on until the final lap. As the leaders came up on Keith Wetzel (Fleetwood, PA) Hammaker hesitated just briefly and Layton laid it out the line with an all or nothing charge on the outside. Layton passed Hammaker and Wetzel with the move to take the thrilling win.

Donn Edgar was a perfect Father's Day winner in the Sportsman. "I am so glad to be here. I can't run most of the Friday shows for the rest of the year because of my schedule and my son's new racing career," shared a well-spoken Edgar. "I must thank my dad for getting me involved in racing at a very young age, my father-in-law who owns Ahner Furniture and sponsors the car and Mr. Sterling at Sterling Performance. They all treat me like they are my dad and without them, I would not be here racing."

Daryl Dissinger got the jump on pole-sitter Dale Hartz (Hamburg, PA) on the opening lap but a lap 4 restart saw Hartz regain the lead. Craig Whitmoyer moved to third on lap 5 bur was lost the handle and spun his 99 in turn four causing a yellow and sending him to the rear along with Luke Wagner, Tom Brennan and Andy Fayash who also spun. Chris Clemens now moved to third but he and Dissinger tangled on lap 7 causing another yellow.

Edgar was now second, after starting eighth, and started inside and swept outside in turn two on lap 9 to overtake second-year racer, Dale Hartz. Shawn Fitzpatrick moved to second on lap 11 but he was unable to overtake the 30 of Edgar.

In the roadrunners, last time out Dave Winslow inherited his first career win when apparent winner, Dave Miller (Pine Grove, PA) was disqualified in a post race inspection. This week it was the same situation as Winslow was awarded the win when the first across the finish line, Doug Hendricks, was found to have his car outside of the rules.

Corey Renninger led the early laps in the 15-lap main and paced the field until lap 7 when Hendricks, who started tenth, took command. Hendricks cruised to what looked like an easy win but what actually was the pass for the lead came on the final lap as Renninger bobbled coming off turn four and Winslow powered by as they came down to take the checkered flag. What appeared to be a pass for second ended up being the move of the win for Winslow.

The red flag flew twice during the evening's action that started at 6:30 and ended by 9:30.

Royersford's Brian Buckwalter was battling for the lead of the second KARS heat with Rick Horn when they came upon the slow car of Dan Shadle. Buckwalter got his 24 sideways trying to beat Horn around Shadle only to catch the outside was and do a quick one over. He was uninjured and actually kept the car running, restarted at the rear and later qualified in the consolation.

During the Sportsman feature A few cars got bottled up with John Heckler (Hatfield) slowing and Jesse Sterling (Lehighton) got forced high into the wall. Sterling's 414 went into the wall hard, rear first, and tumbled between turns three and four. He was uninjured but his 414 was seriously damaged.

Prior to the racing card the 00 Sportsman and Modified cars of Mario and Nino Dinatale took to the speedway for several slow, side-by-side laps to honor their father Gino Dinatale who passed away early Sunday morning due to a massive heart attack. Gino was a fixture in the pits and stand at speedways all over the Northeast throughout the 43 years of his life and will be missed.

Racing returns to Big Diamond Raceway this Friday night, June 21, starting at 8PM featuring the Modifieds, Sportsman and Roadrunners in NASCAR Weekly Racing Series action presented by Dodge. It will be Kreiser Racing Fuels Night at the Minersville oval.

The speedway's next open practice falls on Tuesday, June 25, at 7:30PM. Any drivers are welcome to bring cars of any division to Big Diamond Raceway for an open practice session. No membership is required and the pit gate fee is only $15. Hot laps are run for cars by division with time on the track increasing by each rotation throughout the evening. Practice sessions last as long as drivers are interested in running but normally end around 10 to 10:30PM.

-bdr-

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Series NASCAR , Sprint