Big Diamond report 2001-08-17

Minersville, PA - August 17 - Keith Hoffman of Whitehall, PA and Duane Howard of Oley, PA split the Twin-20-lap NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modified features at Big Diamond Raceway on Nabisco's "Nilla Night at the Races" on Friday. It was...

Minersville, PA - August 17 - Keith Hoffman of Whitehall, PA and Duane Howard of Oley, PA split the Twin-20-lap NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modified features at Big Diamond Raceway on Nabisco's "Nilla Night at the Races" on Friday. It was Hoffman's third Big Diamond win of the year and Howard's sixth.

Rookie Jesse Sterling of Lehighton, Pa piloted his 414 NASCAR ShorTrack Sportsman to his second feature win of the year while dominant Dave Miller of Pine Grove, PA took his fifth Roadrunner 15-lap feature win.

In the first 20-lap Modified feature Laureldale's Rick Stankiewicz led the first seven laps just ahead of Bob Ebersole (Hummelstown, PA) and Jack Hartnett (Telford, PA). Glenn Strunk (Bechtelsville, PA) and Dennis Bailey (Kutztown, PA) began battling for fourth at the close of lap one but Keith Hoffman, who started 15th was flying with Craig Von Dohren (Barto, PA) and Duane Howard (Oley, PA) on his rear bumper. Hoffman took fourth on lap 4 and third on lap 7. Keith then took charge on lap eight with a bold inside move entering turn one to go from third to first. Howard and Von Dohren got bottled up in traffic as Hoffman made the right move to take to lead. By the time Howard worked his way past the two cars between he and Hoffman, Keith was long gone.

Keith Hoffman won by a full straightaway over Duane Howard, Glenn Strunk, Craig Von Dohren, Kyle Weiss (Hamburg, PA), Bob Ebersole, Jeff Strunk, Rick Stankiewicz, Jack Hartnett and Ron Mawson, Jr. (Pittston, PA).

The second 20 saw the top 13 inverted putting Hoffman 13th and Howard 12th. Again this duo charged through the field as though they were tied together. Ryan Moyer (Schuylkill Haven, PA) paced the field through the first two laps that seemed like many more with numerous cautions interrupting the event's progress. Jim Hauer (Lebanon, PA), Jeff Strunk, Dennis Bailey and Ron Mawson, Jr. were battling for second when Hauer and Bailey got together collecting Mawson while Jeff Strunk slipped through. Strunk was second to Moyer on the restart with Howard already third. Howard made a big move on the restart to move under both leaders to take the lead while Hoffman, this time, got caught behind these two cars. Hoffman got by Moyer and battled with Strunk for second while Von Dohren, who pitted and restarted 28th on lap one, was blowing through the field. Von Dohren took fourth from a strong Glenn Strunk on lap 12 and actually passed Hoffman on lap 15. Craig edged in front of Jeff Strunk on lap 19 but at the finish line one lap later officials found it too close to call and declared a dead heat for second.

Duane Howard took the win over Jeff Strunk and Craig Von Dohren with both getting second place points and splitting the second and third place money. Keith Hoffman finished fourth followed by Glenn Strunk, Jim Hauer, Terry Meitzler (Kutztown, PA), Kyle Weiss, Shawn Reimert (Oley, PA) and Todd Bashore (Bethel, PA).

Heat winners in the 46-car Modified field were Ron Seltmann (Pottstown, PA), Jason Andrews (Palmerton, PA), Craig Von Dohren and Bob Ebersole while Jim Hauer and Tim Fitzpatrick (Branchdale, PA) took the consolation wins.

Hoffman and Howard continue their war for the 2001 Big Diamond point championship as Howard gained 15 points on leader Hoffman with a win and a second to Hoffman's win and a fourth to close to win 69 points. Meanwhile third place Craig Von Dohren recorded a fourth and a second, losing 5 points to Hoffman leaving him 118 points out of first.

The 20-lap NASCAR ShorTrack Sportsman feature saw Rusty Lesher of Reading, PA take the early lead. Lesher started his first year at Big Diamond with the Modifieds this year but found it wiser to move to the Sportsman class after two months of not qualifying in the tough modified. Lesher looks more competitive as a rookie in the Sportsman class and led until lap 3 when Tom Solderich (Bethlehem, PA) took over. But another rookie, Jesse Sterling, who started racing two months into this season, moved from his eighth starting spot to fourth by lap three and overtook Lesher for second on lap 5. Solderich was running the race of his career but finally yielded the lead to Sterling on lap 13. In fact pressure from behind from Joe Biasi, Jr. (New Ringgold, PA) was likely forced Sterling to drive a bit harder and go to the front. Point leader. Dave Dissinger of Mohrsville, PA took third on lap 17 to join the chase but neither he nor Biasi could over-power or rattle the youngster.

Jesse Sterling took his second win over Joe Biasi, Jr., Dave Dissinger, Tom Solderich, Brent Boyer (Bloomsburg, PA), John Patchoski (Scranton, PA), Gary Hager (Stewartsville, PA), Mike Schane (Lake Arial, PA), Jeff Ebersole (Palmyra, PA) and Brad Force (Milford, NJ). Heat winners were Sterling, Boyer and John Heckler (Hatfield, PA), while Andy Fayash (Mary-D, PA) took the consolation win.

Dave Winslow of Leesport, PA led the opening lap of the roadrunner 15-lap main with Kirby Schlappich (Temple, PA) in tow. Dave Miller started 12th but blew into the lead by lap two as the leaders bobbled in anticipation of a caution that never occurred bottling up the field. Miller had Marc Berzowski (Llewellyn, PA) right behind from lap 2 on but he never looked back in the Roadrunner 15-lap main. Miller took the win over Berzowski, John Ulsh (Summit Station, PA), Barry Schrader (Orwigsburg, PA) and Chris Bowers (Minersville, PA). Bowers was spun by Steve Fessler (Schuylkill Haven, PA) on the final lap and still finished sixth but was placed back in front of Fessler in the final order for the infraction with Fessler dropping back to sixth. Heat winners were Miller and Kirby Schlappich (Temple, PA).

Racing continues this Friday night (August 24) at Big Diamond Raceway on J. R. Trucking Night featuring the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modifieds, NASCAR ShorTrack Series Sportsman and NASCAR Roadrunners.

-BDS

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