Big Diamond race report 2002-07-02

Greg Hodnett sweeps Big Diamond Sprint Speedweek 30; Point leader Craig Whitmoyer tops NASCAR Sportsman Stock field. Minersville, PA - July 2 - Greg Hodnett of Memphis, Tennessee, piloted the Bob Stewart, Apple Auto Group 12 to a dominating win...

Greg Hodnett sweeps Big Diamond Sprint Speedweek 30; Point leader Craig Whitmoyer tops NASCAR Sportsman Stock field.

Minersville, PA - July 2 - Greg Hodnett of Memphis, Tennessee, piloted the Bob Stewart, Apple Auto Group 12 to a dominating win in the Carquest Auto Parts 30-lap PA Sprint Speedweek feature at Big Diamond Raceway on Tuesday night. It was Hodnett's second win in three nights of Speedweek action, having taken the series opener at Lincoln Speedway, and it was worth $4500 as he captured the Hank's Performance Products "Perfect Performance Award" of $500 by also setting fast time in time trials and winning his qualifying heat.

Current Big Diamond point leader Craig Whitmoyer of Hamburg, PA captured his third 20-lap NASCAR WRS ShorTrack Series Sportsman feature of the year.

Hodnett, who commutes between Memphis, TN and York, PA on a weekly basis to race, was ecstatic with the full week of racing just when his team is at it's hottest.

"Things are just going right for our team right now," commented Hodnett. "Bob (Stewart) gives us the best equipment available and Lee (Stauffer) has it working great right now. The competition is so tough here that when things are going right, you better take advantage of it.

The only other cars of the lead lap with Hodnett at the finish were last year's Big Diamond Speedweek winner, Keith Kauffman (Mifflintown, PA), Lance Dewease (Fayetteville, PA), Todd Shaffer (Millerstown, PA) and Mark Smith (Newville), who finished second through fifth. Completing the top ten, one lap down, were Fred Rahmer (Salfordville, PA), Don Kreitz, Jr. (Fritztown, PA), Brook Weibley (York Springs, PA), Todd Gracey (Brodbecks, PA) and Alan Cole (Bloomsburg, PA).

Elkhart Lake, Indiana invader, Brett Mann, started on the pole in the 30-lap feature but he tangled with Sean Michael (Allentown, PA) on lap one and spun over the turn two bank and into the tires backwards. This moved Todd Hestor (Middleburg, PA) and the Middleswarth BBQ Potato Chips 7M inside of Michael and the Zemco 1 on the front row. Like Mann, Hestor got the jump and Michael when to the inside but Hestor pulled out into the lead. The red flag flew as Billy Sims caught the turns three and four wall with his 55s and Billy Pauch (Frenchtown, NJ) launched his 55 over a competitor's wheel and once over into the tires beyond the turn one banking.

On the restart Hodnett, who already moved from sixth to third, was ready and he sailed around both Hestor and Michael on the outside cushion in turns one and two. Greg began lapping cars on lap six and he was relentless in his charge. Hestor and Middleswarth teammate, Keith Kauffman were a very distant second and third when the yellow flew on lap 15 as Fred Rahmer spun the Harz 88H in turn three while running seventh. They ran one lap before Hestor and Sean Michael tangled in turn three leaving Hestor up against the outside wall. Hestor retired and the field ran one more lap before Michael's Zemco 1 stopped in turn two, the result of the earlier contact.

Things settled down and Hodnett picked up where he left off and again rapidly lapping cars. Greg put sixth place finishing, Fred Rahmer a lap down on the white flag lap. In five 410 sprint car races at Big Diamond, Hodnett became the first two-time winner but the Bob Stewart/Apple Motorsports Team took their fourth win in five events at the Forestville, PA oval.

410 Sprint heat winners were Hodnett, Rahmer and Mark Smith with Smith's 10-lapper going non-stop for a time of 2:34.13 on the 4/10-mile. The 8-lap B-Main also went non-stop with Troy Whitesel (Selinsgrove, PA) winning with a time of 2:08.06.

Greg Hodnett set fast time in time trials at 13.784 seconds, just a tenth off Keith Kauffman's track record of 13.681 set last year. Kauffman was second fastest followed by Lance Dewease, Todd Hestor, Sean Michael and Brett Mann,

In the Sportsman 20-lapper, Whitmoyer took his third win followed by Shawn Fitzpatrick (Pottsville, PA), Tom Brennan (Pottsville, PA), a top "most improved driver" contender, Gary Wagner (Womelsdorf, PA) and Luke Wagner (Hershey, PA).

Fitzpatrick outgunned Lance Hoch (Topton, PA) for the early feature lead with Gary Wagner pressuring Hoch. Craig Whitmoyer, who started tenth, movrf to fourth by lap three. On lap four, Whitmoyer was by both Hoch and Wagner and closing in on Fitzpatrick.

Whitmoyer got the nose of his Reppert's Automotive/ELCO 99 under the 102 of Fitzpatrick in turn one on lap 13 and finished the inside pass off turn two. Gary Wagner, Luke Wagner, Tom Brennan and Donn Edgar battled behind the leader for position in the closing laps with Brennan getting third on lap 14.

Heat winners in the 25-car Sportsman field were Whitmoyer and Gary Wagner.

The first 1500 fans through the gates received a bag of potato chips from Middleswarth Potato Chips. A near capacity crowd was on hand for the only appearance of the 410 Sprints this seasin at Big Diamond.

This Friday, July 5, the Georgie Stevenson Memorial at Big Diamond will feature a Twin-20 format for the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modifieds and Fireworks. The winner's share of the 20-lap purse for each modified feature is $1700 and each feature will also pay a minimum of $150 to cars starting each of the 28-car features.

The Modifieds will be joined on the card by the NASCAR Sportsman and Roadrunners yielding three 20-lap feature events and a single 15-lap feature following qualifying events. And, if the fireworks on the track are not enough, Big Diamond officials have signed contracts for an awesome fireworks display that will light the July 5 skies over the track in celebration of Independence Day as part of the Stevenson Memorial.

For more information on this weekend's action, future events or rules, contact Joann Roehrig at (570) 544-6434. You can also visit the track's website on line at www.bigdiamondracewar.com.

-bdr-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR , Sprint
Drivers Billy Pauch