Forestville, PA - (June 8) - Keith Hoffman of Whitehall, PA came to Big Diamond Raceway Friday night (June 8) with a brand new Troyer ...
Forestville, PA - (June 8) - Keith Hoffman of Whitehall, PA came to Big Diamond Raceway Friday night (June 8) with a brand new Troyer #5 out of the Bashore Trucking stables and captured his first NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modified 25-lap feature win in the cars maiden voyage. Joe Biasi, Jr. of Tamaqua, PA and Gary Hager of Stewartsville, NJ split the Twin 15-lap features for the NASCAR ShorTrack Sportsman for their first 2001 wins and Steve Fessler of Schuylkill Haven, PA made it a first-time-winner sweep by taking the Roadrunner 15-lap feature.
Craig Whitmoyer of Hamburg, PA got away on top at the drop of the feature green for the Modifieds and held off first Dennis Bailey (Kutztown, PA) and then, Jack Hartnett (Telford, PA). A restart, with four laps in the books, saw Kyle Weiss of Hamburg, PA rocket from third to first down the front stretch. Point leader Duane Howard of Oley, Pa was up to ninth from his 15th starting spot at this point but he spun with a flat tire to cause the yellow one lap later. Howard changed the tire and restarted at the rear.
Jim Hauer (Lebanon, PA) and Bob Trapper (Scranton, PA) powered by Hartnett for second on lap 6 only to see Hartnett and Trapper tangle causing another yellow. It was apparent the two weeks off due to rain left the drivers overanxious as the yellow fever continued. Keith Hoffman, who started 14th, moved by Hauer for second on lap 7 with Ray Swinehart (Bechtelsville, PA) and Jeff Strunk (Bethel, PA) completing the top five. Hoffman then charged under Weiss as they completed lap eight and the yellow flew again, this time for a tangle in turn two involving J. Strunk, Hauer and Swinehart.
This moved Steve Bottcher (Lehighton, PA), who was making his first appearance in the Graver 101 and started 16th, into third. Bottcher took second from Weiss on lap 10 and Duane Howard returned to the top ten.
Howard charged up to fifth by lap 13 but progressed no further as Craig Von Dohren (Barto, PA) was directly in front trying everything in the book to get by Kyle Weiss for third. The twelfth (yes 12) and final yellow flag flew with 20 laps complete but Bottcher was unable to challenge Hoffman in the closing laps. Von Dohren and Weiss swapped third four more times before Weiss took the spot by a bumper length at the line.
Defending track champion Keith Hoffman took the $2000 win trailed by Steve Bottcher, Kyle Weiss, Craig Von Dohren, Duane Howard, Terry Meitzler (Kutztown, PA), Glenn Strunk (Boyertown, PA), Jeff Strunk, Ray Swinehart and Shawn Reimert (Oley, PA). Heat winners were Bob Trapper, Swinehart, Howard and Jeff Strunk while Bob Ebersole (Hummelstown, PA) and Barry Readinger (Fleetwood, PA) took the consolation events.
Darren Dreher of Schuylkill Haven, PA took the early lead in the first Sportsman 15 with Ed Scott of New Tripoli, PA right on his rear bumper. Yellow fever continued in the Sportsman as well and after the event's third yellow for the spun car of point leader Dave Dissinger (Mohrsville, PA), Ed Scott edged in front on lap 4. Dreher fiercely defended his line and regained the lead on lap 5. Dreher blocked Scott lap after lap while Joe Biasi, Jr. settled into a close third to watch this war. On lap 11 Biasi saw his chance and shot under both the leaders coming off turn four to take charge. The Scott/Dreher war continued but now it was for second as the final two of eight yellow flew on lap 14.
At the finish it was Joe Biasi, Jr., Darren Dreher, Ed Scott, Mike Schane (Hamlin, PA), Jim Reppert (Hamburg, PA), Randy Mohn (Fredericksburg, PA), John Patchoski (Scranton, PA), Gary Hager (Stewartsville, NJ), Jesse Sterling (Lehighton, PA) and Dave Dissinger. The top 12 were inverted and the Sportsman field went back to racing for the second 15-lapper. Scott Singley of Milford, NJ took the lead with Dave Dissinger and Gary Hager right behind. Dissinger took the lead on lap four and looked ready to win. Following the fifth and final yellow of the event, Hager showed he had other ideas and he powered past his New Jersey rival for second. Defending Sportsman champion Hager was making his first Big Diamond Sportsman appearance of 2001 after taking a shot at the Modifieds here and New Jersey early in the season before multiple blown engines sidelined him for nearly a month. In classic Hager late race style, he powered around the outside of Dissinger in turn two on lap 12 and took his first 2001 win.
Gary Hager took the win followed by Dave Dissinger, Scott Singley, Randy Mohn, Joe Biasi, Jr., Mike Schane, John Patchoski, Ryan Bauer (Bethlehem, PA), Brad Force (Sellersville, PA) and Tom Brennan (Pottsville, PA). Jimmy Reppert was challenging for third on the final lap and locked wheels with Singley resulting in Reppert spinning off the track into the infield. Heat winners were Dissinger, Scott, Reppert and Rick Hendricks (Auburn, PA). Consolation winners were Ricky Rutt (Phillipsburg, NJ) and Terry Bensinger (Schuylkill Haven, PA).
Although not penalized, both Darren Dreher and Scott Singley are "on notice for observation" regarding possible over aggression in protecting their racing positions for the next three events.
The cleanest feature of the night was the Roadrunner 15 but that event had four cautions. Steve Fessler was slated to start third but Marty Shappell came out late and Ken Eckert scratched moving "Fess" to the pole. Fessler, who overcame a garage fire that destroyed all of his racing equipment over the winter, took charge only to see John Ulsh Take over on lap 3. A blown radiator by a back marker left just enough water on the track to catch Ulsh, who spun in turn two on lap 6. This put Fessler back on top but with 9 laps in Dave Miller (Pine Grove, PA) finally got by a stubborn Chris Bower (Minersville, PA) for second. Miller was all over Fessler but the racing was clean and Fessler held his line to take his first win. Miller ran second followed by Barry Schrader (Orwigsburg, PA), Chris Bower and Marc Berzowski (Minersville, PA). Heat winners were Bower and Buck Crossley (Leesport, PA).
Racing continues this Friday night, June 15, at Big Diamond Raceway on Simpson Racing Products Contingency Night for the NASCAR WRS Modifieds, Sportsman and Roadrunners. Now that the racers have gotten back in action after their two week layoff, it is hoped that the speedway can get back on track with the 3 to 3-1/2 hour shows which had been common up until this week's racing card.
On June 22, all three classes are back for Weikel Racewear Night, which now will also be Checkered Flag Fan Club Night at Big Diamond. For the Friday night events gates open at 6PM and racing starts at 8PM.
For more information on racing at Big Diamond Raceway call (570) 544-6434 or drop in on-line at the track's website, www.bigdiamondraceway.com. SPECIAL NOTE: On Friday July 6, there will be a special Meet the Drivers and Big Diamond Be a Reader program for the children. Between 6PM and 7:15PM, prior to the racing card, modified driver Duane Howard with his 126, Sportsman driver Shawn Fitzpatrick and his 102 and Roadrunner racer Mike Allar and his 22A will do a bit more than talk to their young fans and sign autographs. This trio will take time to read a few books to the children.