Big Diamond race report 2001-06-16

Forestville, PA (June 15) - Craig Von Dohren of Barto, PA piloted the BRB Racing/Mrs. T's Pierogies 114 to his first Big Diamond Raceway feature win of 2001 in NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modified action on Friday night. It raised Von Dohren's ...

Forestville, PA (June 15) - Craig Von Dohren of Barto, PA piloted the BRB Racing/Mrs. T's Pierogies 114 to his first Big Diamond Raceway feature win of 2001 in NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modified action on Friday night. It raised Von Dohren's all-time win total at Big Diamond to a track-leading 43 feature wins.

Shawn Fitzpatrick of Branchdale, PA took his second win of the year in the NASCAR ShorTrack Sportsman while John Ulsh of Summit Station, PA got back on track for his second Roadrunner win of 2001.

Craig Von Dohren started 12th in the 28-car starting field in the 25-lap Modified feature and charged through the field while pole sitter Larry Kelleher (Scranton) set the pace. Jason Andrews (Palmerton) and Barry Readinger (Fleetwood) chased Kelleher until lap eight when Readinger made a pass for second in turn one only to see Andrews clip him in turn two causing both to tangle along with fourth place, Jim Hauer (Lebanon). This moved Glenn Strunk (Boyertown) to second followed by Kyle Weiss (Hamburg), Jeff Strunk (Bethel) and Von Dohren. In tight racing on the eighth lap, Von Dohren avoided a log jam overtook and charged from fifth to second. At this point Duane Howard (Oley) moved past Jeff Strunk for fifth but by lap 10 they both moved up a spot behind Kelleher, Von Dohren and Glenn Strunk as Weiss bobbled.

Von Dohren finally overtook Kelleher on lap 13. A yellow on lap 17 caused a restart problem for Kelleher on the outside yielding a false start and then a front stretch tangle which eliminated Tracy Readinger (Laureldale), Jeff Strunk and Barry Readinger. Finally when they settled down Glenn Strunk got by Kelleher on lap 18 and Howard took third one lap later. Howard muscled by Strunk on lap 22 and charged after Von Dohren and his Wide Open Technology powered Teo 114.

Howard caught Von Dohren with a lap and a half remaining but Von Dohren held off Howard's late charge for the win. Kelleher (Scranton) finished third followed by Glenn Strunk (Boyertown), Bob Trapper (Scranton), Ray Swinehart (Bechtelsville), Jack Hartnett (Telford), Kyle Weiss (Hamburg), Dennis Bailey (Kutztown) and Smokey Warren (Jonestown). Heat winners in the 36-car field were Kelleher, Von Dohren and Weiss with Tom Umbenhauer (Richland) taking the consolation. Keith Hoffman, last week's winner and track point leader, made several trips to the pits throughout the feature and finished 15th.

In the Sportsman feature, Shawn Fitzpatrick took the lead from John Deatrich (Pottsville) on lap 4 of 20. Deatrich took the early lead from his pole starting position as the yellow flew four times before two laps could be completed. Fitzpatrick, who started fourth in the Langtry powered T102 FM/Liberty Oil 102, worked by Jeff Paulson (Honeybrook) for second on lap two. After taking the lead, Fitzpatrick never looked back. Ed Scott (New Tripoli) grabbed second on lap 15 but, even with the help of two late yellows, he could not challenge Fitz.

Scott did take second,. behind Fitzpatrick, followed by Joe Biasi, Jr. (Tamaqua), Scott Singley (Milford, NJ), Deatrich, Bill Moyer, Jr. (Pine Grove), Paulson, Jeff Graby (Grantville), Ricky Rutt (Phillipsburg, NJ) and Dave Dissinger (Mohrsville). Heat winners were Jeff Ebersole (Palmyra), Lance Hoch (Topton) and Fitzpatrick (Branchdale) and Jimmy Reppert (Hamburg) took the consolation. 24 cars of the 35-car field started the main event.

Dave Dissinger, the division point leader, had problems throughout the feature, getting involved in several tangles, not of his own cause. Second in points, rookie Mike Schane, looked poised to take advantage of Dissinger's problems but encountered mechanical woes of his own while running ninth on lap 11 and he eventually dropped out to be credited with 20th finishing position.

John Ulsh's did not get the 15-lap Roadrunner feature lead until lap 14. Looking for their first career wins, Dave Winslow (Fleetwood) led the opening nine laps and Chris Bower (Minersville) led 10 through 13. Ulsh caught Bowers but could not get by and Barry Schrader (Orwigsburg) made it a three-car war for the lead in the closing laps. Just as it looked like Schrader might sweep by both Bower and Ulsh for the win, Bower slipped just enough to give Ulsh the edge, blocking Schrader's run in a very, clean battle. John Ulsh took his second win over Bower, Schrader, Cory Renninger (Llewellyn) and Dave Miller (Pine Grove). Heat winners were Winslow and Buck Crossley (Leesport).

The evening was the third Simpson Racing Products Contingency Night of 2001 for the NASCAR WRS Modifieds, Sportsman and Roadrunners. More and more of the racers are moving to Simpson helmets and driving uniforms to reap the benefits of cash back bonuses to the top three feature finishers six times a year in all three classes for their support and use of Simpson racing products.

Also the Diamond Dolls were on hand again for winner circle ceremonies but this night they numbered four instead of last week's two. Future appearances of the Diamond Dolls are uncertain and fan input may play a part in this management's decision.

This Friday, 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.

Fans are already talking about the Tuesday night, June 26, appearance of the powerful 410 Super Sprints as part of CARQUEST Penna. Sprint Speedweek 2001. The York-based Apple Motorsports Team is undefeated in Big Diamond 410 Sprint action as Fred Rahmer, Greg Hodnett and Tyler Walker have recorded wins in the red 12. Tennessee native, Hodnett, is back in the 12 after a year with the World of Outlaws and is ready to extend the streak. But stars like Fred Rahmer. Lance Dewease, Don Kreitz, Todd Shaffer, Keith Kauffman, Dave Ely and Len Thompson are expected to have something to say about the outcome. A strong contingent of Lincoln Speedway regulars, who have not come to Big Diamond in the past, is expected due to the similarities of the size and configuration of the two tracks.

The NASCAR ShorTrack Sportsman will also be on the June 26 card in a race that will carry track points. Big Diamond regulars will be required to run regular track tire to earn points but the event will also be a challenge to the Sportsman stars in New Jersey and Northeastern Pennsylvania. Those outsiders will be permitted to compete on their local track's tire as long as they meet the remainder of Big Diamond's Sportsman specifications. On Friday July 6, the NASCAR Modifieds, Sportsman and Roadrunners will be in action on Dairy Association Night. There will also be a very special Meet the Drivers/Big Diamond Be a Reader program. Between 6PM and 7:15PM, prior to racing, modified driver Duane Howard with his 126, Sportsman driver/school teacher/disk jockey, Shawn Fitzpatrick and his 102 and Roadrunner racer/police officer Mike Allar and his 22 will read a few books to their young fans as well as talk to them and sign autographs.

On Tuesday night, July 3, Big Diamond hosts the annual Georgie Stevenson Memorial 50 for Modifieds. With the new Tuesday night date, numerous invaders are expected to take on the already strong field of Big Diamond Modified stars. The Roadrunners will also be on the card that carries a 7:30 starting time. Both divisions will be running for Big Diamond NASCAR points in this event.

For more info on racing at Big Diamond call (570) 544-6434 or drop in at

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Drivers Tyler Walker