DUANE HOWARD TAKES 1ST BIG DIAMOND '05 NASCAR MODIFIED WIN; GIBSON TAKES 1ST CAREER SPORTSMAN MAIN, HABLETT REPEATS IN ROADRUNNERS Minersville, PA -- June 24, 2005 -- Duane Howard of Oley, PA has used consistency in his return to Big Diamond in...
DUANE HOWARD TAKES 1ST BIG DIAMOND '05 NASCAR MODIFIED WIN; GIBSON TAKES 1ST CAREER SPORTSMAN MAIN, HABLETT REPEATS IN ROADRUNNERS
Minersville, PA -- June 24, 2005 -- Duane Howard of Oley, PA has used consistency in his return to Big Diamond in '05 to be in the thick of the race for the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series point championship and he stepped it up Friday night at Big Diamond Raceway to take his first feature win of the year in the Norm Hansell-owned, Norm's Save Station/MariAl Auto Body/Davis Insurance 357 Bicknell Modified.
A pair of Schuylkill Haven residents also found the Hoover Chevrolet Winner's Circle on Friday night. Rob Gibson took his first career Sportsman-Modified feature win while Tom Hablett repeated in the Roadrunner 15-lapper.
Duane Howard started 13th in the 27-car Modified 25-lap feature and took the lead from Jeff Sechrist (Wernersville) on lap 15 to take the win over his chief rival for the Modified track championship, Doug Hoffman (Allentown). Craig Von Dohren (Oley) finished third followed by Sechrist, Jeff Strunk (Bethel), Keith Hoffman (Whitehall), early leader Sean Merkel (Gilbertsville), John Willman (Birdsboro), Rick Laubach (Richlandtown) and Doug Manmiller (Wyomissing).
Bobby Gunther Walsh (Allentown) led the opening lap of the Modified 25-lapper but Sean Merkel went on top on lap two with an outside move off turn two. Jeff Sechrist followed Walsh into second and the two racers battled side-by-side for several laps before Sechrist got credit for taking the lead on lap 8 and for three more laps until Sechrist secured the position. Duane Howard got by Merkel on lap 10. He caught Sechrist a lap later but it took him four more laps until he finally moved around Jeff on lap 15 in turn two.
It was a night for the new wave at Big Diamond in the Sportsman as Rob Gibson was the third of three feature race leaders along with Ray Deemer, Jr. (Phillipsburg, NJ) and Joe Masiado (Easton), all who were looking for their first win. Gibson took charge on lap 14 and took that first win over Masiado, Ray Woodall, Jr. (Pen Argyl), Craig Whitmoyer (Hamburg), Rich Stankiewicz (Reading), Brad Brightbill (Shillington), Brad Force (Sellersville), Tom Brennan (Pottsville), Gary Wagner, Jr. (Womelsdorf), and Greg Weiland (Pottsville).
Deemer led the first two laps of the 20-lapper but Masiado was on his tail from the opening lap. Following a red laps with two complete when Jason Kohler (Mertztown) rolled his 59 without injury, while battling for fourth with Rich Stankiewicz and Gibson. Masiado took the lead on lap three with an inside turn two pass of Deemer following the restart. Stankiewicz took second on lap six from Deemer but Gibson went two second on lap ten. Four laps later Gibson powered around the outside of leader Masiado to go on to his first career win in the Pioneer Pole Buildings 221.
Tom Hablett put his Buck Rubs 22 into the lead on lap two from Downingtown's Rob Pyle and never looked back in the roadrunner feature. Dave Schultz (Llewellyn) took second trailed across the line by Jake Smulley (Phoenix Park), Kevin Beach (Llewellyn) and Kevin Holland (Pine Grove).
Qualifying heat winners were John Willman, Jeff Sechrist, and Duane Howard in the Modifieds; Luke Wagner (Hershey), Ray Masiado and Lowell Snyder (Upper Black Eddy) in the Sportsman; and Tom Hablett and Joe Hendricks (Auburn) in the Roadrunners. Freddie Fisher (Wernersville) took the Sportsman consolation.
Action returns to Big Diamond Raceway in short order as the Cindy Rowe Auto Glass 410 Sprint Speedweek runs the third event of their week long series at Big Diamond on Tuesday night, June 28 at 7:30 pm. Among the expected stars are past Big Diamond Modified champion and nationally recognized Fred Rahmer (Salfordville); the newest driver for the leading Big Diamond sprint car winning Apple Motorsports Team, Brian Leppo (York); past Big Diamond winners Keith Kauffman (Mifflintown) and Greg Hodnett (Memphis, TN); the driver of the Tower City-based Zemco Team, Mark Smith (Newville); former Big D modified winner, Don Kreitz, Jr. (Fritztown); past Big D 358 Sprint winner Chad Layton (Harrisburg); Jason Johnson (Eunice, LA): Lance Dewease (Fayetteville) and others.
But if it was not enough to have the headliners of the winged sprint warriors on hand, the second event on the Race of Champions Dirt Sportsman Tour will be on the Tuesday card as well. Big Diamond best will take on the best RoC has to offer. Brian Decker of Susquehanna, PA is the current RoC Dirt Sportsman point leader followed by Arnie Slade (Mt. Upton, NY), Kevin Bates (Lake Ariel, PA), and Big Diamond's Jason Hamilton (Erwinna, PA) and Kyle Weiss (Hamburg, PA). Other RoC stars expected, according to RoC officials, are Jessica Zemken (Sprakers, PA), Danny Creeden (Middletown, PA), Mike Ketcham (Otisville, NY), Rick Raisner (Easton, PA), Brad Grim (Coplay, PA), Jeremy Holt (Kirkwood, NY), Rick Mill (New Windsor, NY), Jeff Geiges (Lawrenceville, NJ) and many others.
After the field is set for the 40, from the non-qualifiers, the highest two drivers in Big Diamond NASCAR points will be added to the starting field.
The Sportsman 40 winner will earn $1,000 as well as a guaranteed starter's spot in Big Diamond's Hoover Chevrolet / GM Performance Parts 50 on September 2 which pays $2000-to-win.
For more information on action at Big Diamond Raceway call (570) 544-6434 or visit the track's website at www.bigdiamondraceway.com. Questions on the ROC Tour should be directed to their offices at (607) 238-0432. Their website, which includes entry forms, is at www.rocdirt.com.
NASCAR DODGE WEEKLY SERIES MODIFIEDS - 25-lap Feature, $2000 to Win: 1. 357 Duane Howard; 2. 77 Doug Hoffman; 3. 70d Craig Von Dohren; 4. 42 Jeff Sechrist; 5. 88 Jeff Strunk; 6. 1 Keith Hoffman; 7. 118 Sean Merkel; 8. 64W John Willman; 9. 14 Rick Laubach; 10. 11D Doug Manmiller; 11. 5 Paul Kline; 12. 102 Shawn Fitzpatrick; 13. 123 Dave Dissinger; 14. 83B Josh Biever; 15. 72 Jeff Ebersole; 16. 24H Justin Andrews; 17. 808 Dennis Horvath; 18. 21K Kyle Weiss; 19. Sq1 Bobby Gunther Walsh; 20. 99K Don Keefer; 21. W9 Colt Harris; 22. 29 Ray Swinehart; 23. 11 Meme DeSantis; 24. 178 Neil Huber; 25. 37X Tommy Sheetz, Jr.; 26. 87 Andy Burkhart; 27. 21T Jason Andrews. Non-Qualifiers: 85 Bobby Forsythe and 6 Dale Roth.
NASCAR DODGE WEEKLY SERIES SPORTSMAN MODIFIEDS - 20-lap Feature, $600-to --Win: 1. 221 Rob Gibson, 2. 43 Joe Masiado, 3. 72 Ray Woodall, Jr., 4. 99 Craig Whitmoyer, 5. 2 Rich Stankiewicz, 6. 19 Brad Brightbill, 7. 8 Brad Force, 8. 26 Tom Brennan, 9. 47 Gary Wagner, Jr., 10. 145 Greg Weiland, 11. 15 Jason Hamilton, 12. 25 Ray Deemer, Jr., 13. 144 Don Miller, 14. 95 Freddie Fisher, 15. 19U Jordan Umbenhauer, 16. 10 Lowell Snyder, 17. 3 Luke Wagner, 18. 147 Louie Mitchalk, 19. 17R Kevin Nolf, 20. 93 Ryan Moyer, 21. 157 Andy Fayash, Jr., 22. 71 Chris James, 23. 515 Larry Lippencott, 24. 12V John Deatrich, Jr., 25. 59 Jason Kohler, 26. 8Jr. Doug Hendricks.
Non-Qualifiers: KT3 Cory Renninger (scratched putting Don Miller in to feature), 27M Ken Eckert, Jr., 113 Jeff Sterner, 30 Carl Felty, 39B Barry Lippencott, 917 Jarrad Miller, 35 Ebby Ridge, 73 Darrell Herman.
NASCAR ROADRUNNERS - 15-lap Feature - $100 to Win: 1. 22 Tom Hablett, 2. 4 Dave Schultz, 3. 377 Jake Smulley, 4. 17 Kevin Beach, 5. 66 Kevin Holland, 6. 550 Elvin Brennan (replace Olenick in this car & scratched his 555), 7. 1 Dave Miller, 8. 93 Rob Pyle, 9. 20 Corey Sechrist, 10. 712 Jeremy Becker, 11. 8S Butch Solt, 12. 721 Jason Sherman, 13. 7T7 Andy Fayash, III, 14. 39 Phil Levering, 15. 37 Eric R. Pinkerton, 16. 11 Kirby Schlappich, 17. 11X Joe Hendricks, 18. 1E Charlie Eckert, Jr., 19. 555 Ryan Olenick (swapped with Brennan).