Big Diamond race report 2001-05-18

Minersville, PA (May 18) - Overcast skies and threatening weather did not stop Big Diamond Raceway or Duane Howard on Friday night as Howard took his third $2000 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modified win of the season. The evening of NASCAR action...

Minersville, PA (May 18) - Overcast skies and threatening weather did not stop Big Diamond Raceway or Duane Howard on Friday night as Howard took his third $2000 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modified win of the season. The evening of NASCAR action was Racing with Jesus Ministries Night and was also a Team Simpson Racing Products Contingency Night.

Shawn Fitzpatrick of Branchdale, PA took his first NASCAR ShorTrack Sportsman win of the year while Dave Miller of Pine Grove, PA used a final lap pass to steal his second straight roadrunner feature win.

Johnny Ray (Reading, PA) continued to impress the fans in his rookie season at Big Diamond and took the early lead in the 25-lap NASCAR WRS Modified main event. Ray paced the field through three cautions but Glenn Strunk (Boyertown, PA) moved the JL Davis Insurance/Mari-Al Auto Body/Norm's Save Station Troyer 357 into second on lap four while Keith Hoffman (Whitehall, PA), Duane Howard (Oley, PA) and Jeff Strunk (Bethel, PA), who started 14th, 13th and 15th respectively, completed the top five.

With Howard charging into third on lap 5, Glenn Strunk decided it was time and dove to the inside of Ray in turn two and completed his pass for the lead off turn two to lead lap 6 but Howard also followed him through for second. Glenn held off Howard until lap 10 when Howard took the lead with an inside move coming through turn four. Glenn Strunk saw an apparent second place finish slip from his grasp when the yellow flew with 20 laps complete. That put his brother Jeff Strunk on his tail in the Kenworth/Cummins/Motor Truck Equipment Olsen W9 and Jeff took second following the restart.

Duane Howard took the win in Glenn Hyneman's Big Spring Car Wash Troyer #126 followed by Jeff Strunk, Glenn Strunk, Keith Hoffman (who was testing Todd Bashore's #4), Johnny Ray, Jerry Higbie, Jr. (Slate Hill, NY), Jim Hauer (Lebanon, PA), Craig Von Dohren (Barto, PA), Terry Meitzler (Kutztown, PA), and Scott Albert (Fredericksburg, PA). Heat wins in the 37-car field went to Meitzler, Howard and Higbie while Ray Swinehart (Bachtelsville, PA) captured the consolation.

Rick Hendrick (Auburn, PA) moved to the point at the drop of the green in the Sportsman 20-lap feature. Shawn Fitzpatrick, who tore up his car last week, saw his rebuild work this week pay off as he took the lead on lap 5 and never looked back. The focus for most of the race was the battle for third between John Pachoski (Scranton, PA) Scott Singley (Upper Dublin, NJ) and Dave Dissinger (Mohrsville, PA), who was looking for his fourth straight win. Singley finally secured the position on lap 10 and then passed Hendrick for second on lap 12. As the leaders completed lap 14, Patchoski and Dissinger got together with Dissinger's streak ending with his 88X spinning and both cars going to the rear.

Shawn Fitzpatrick had what it took to hold on for his first win of the season in the Marv Lantry powered Schaeffer's Harley Davidson/Liberty Oil 102 over Scott Singley, a late closing Billy Moyer, Jr. (Pine Grove, PA), Rick Hendricks, and Brent Boyer (Bloomsburg, PA) in his finest run of the season. Completing the second five were Mike Schane (Hamlin, PA), Terry Bensinger (Schuylkill Haven, PA), Randy Mohn (Fredericksburg, PA), Dave Dissinger and Tom Solderich (Bethlehem, PA). Heat winners were Dissniger, Hendricks and Fitzpatrick while Luke Wagner (Grantville, PA) won the consolation.

Corey Renninger (Llewellyn, PA) took the lead at the drop of the Roadrunner 15-lap feature green and looked like he was going wire-to-wire for the win. Steve Fessler (Schuylkill Haven, PA), Marley Whitcomb (Tower City, PA), Marty Shappell (Pottsville, PA) and Kirby Schlappich (temple, PA) all took their turn in second spot but none of them had what was required to catch Renninger. But last week's winner, Dave Miller was coming hard moving from fourth to second on lap 13. As they raced off turn four to start the final lap, Miller got up on the inside of Renninger and he completed his pass for the lead coming off turn two for the win.

Dave Miller took his second win of the year over Corey Renninger, Mike Allar (Orwigsburg, PA), Bill McNeal (Williamstown, PA) and Marc Berzowski (Minersville, PA). Heat winners were Marley Whitcomb and Renninger.

Racing resumes next Friday, May 25, on True Value Hardware Night at Big Diamond Raceway. The NASCAR-sanctioned action gets underway at 8 PM featuring the NASCAR ShorTrack Sportsman and NASCAR Roadrunners as well at the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modifieds going in a 35-lap Spring Championship with the winner earning $2500.

As a special added benefit for the fans to insure the additional ten laps of the Modified 35 are as exciting as the first 25, all heat qualifiers will be eligible to be handicapped. That means the track top guns will be coming from three to five spots deeper in the field than usual.


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Drivers Johnny R
Teams Williams