Big Diamond race report 2002-07-05

VonDohren takes Stevenson Twin-20s at Big Diamond. Moyer takes second Sportsman win, Hendricks again in Roadrunners. Minersville, PA - July 5, 2002 - Craig Von Dohren of Barto, PA snapped a personal slump at Big Diamond Raceway Friday night by...

VonDohren takes Stevenson Twin-20s at Big Diamond.
Moyer takes second Sportsman win, Hendricks again in Roadrunners.

Minersville, PA - July 5, 2002 - Craig Von Dohren of Barto, PA snapped a personal slump at Big Diamond Raceway Friday night by taking both 20-lap NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modified features in the BRB Racing/Mrs. T's Pierogies 114 in the track's Georgie Stevenson Memorial. Billy Moyer, Jr. of Pine Grove, PA was the winner in the Sportsman feature and Doug Hendricks of Auburn, PA captured his sixth roadrunner win.

Craig Von Dohren came from eighth starting spot in the first 20-lapper to win over Keith Hoffman of Whitehall, PA; Meme DeSantis of Temple, PA; Tom Pompei of Sellersville, PA and Shawn Reimert of Oley, PA. The second five were Barry Readinger (Fleetwood, PA), Rick Laubach (Richlandtown, PA), Steve Bottcher (Lehighton, PA), Kevin Hartnett (Perkasie, PA) and Dennis Bailey (Kutztown, PA).

Readinger started on the pole and led the opening ten laps. Brian Johnson (Quakertown, PA) offered Readinger early heat and then the duo of Smokey Warren (Jonestown, PA) and Tom Pompei threatened for the lead. But on lap 9 Von Dohren moved into second. On lap 10 Readinger and Von Dohren crossed the start/finish line nearly even but Von Dohren held strong on the outside to take command in turns one and two. Keith Hoffman, who started second, battled with Readinger and Pompei for several laps before finally securing second on lap 13 and Meme DeSantis did the same and took third on lap 16.

But there was no catching Von Dohren, who was a bit reserved in the winner's circle for the first time at Big Diamond in 2002. "We were good tonight and we really needed a win, shared Craig, "We'll take it. I knew it would slick up a bit and knew I had to cover the bottom on Keith (Hoffman)."

In addition to the $17000 first prize Craig split the lap leader money with Barry Readinger and each driver received $100 for leading 10 laps. In the second 20, Craig started 12th and came on to win over Terry Meitzler of Kutztown, PA; Jack Hartnett of Telford, PA; Kevin Hartnett and Ray Swinehart of Bechtelsville, PA. Sixth through tenth were Duane Howard (Oley, PA), Steve Bottcher, Rick Laubach, Dennis Bailey and Jim Hauer of Labanon, PA. Heat winners were Laubach, Howard and Hoffman with Jeff Sechrist capturing the consolation.

A coin flip called by winner, Von Dohren, resulted in the top 12 finishers from the first 20 being inverted for the second-20 line-up. Terry Meitzler took the early lead with pressure from Jack Hartnett. With Jack's brother Kevin and Rick Laubach closing in, Jack powered around the outside of Meitzler to take the lead. Von Dohren was sixth when the yellow flew on lap six and following the restart he grabbed three spots to be third on lap seven. Craig's 114 owned by Buddy Biever over took Meitzler's 14 owned by Dick Biever on lap 9 and set sail after Jack Hartnett.

As they complete lap 10 again they were side-by-side with Hartnett holding a slight edge on the outside of Von Dohren. But this time the inside worked for Craig as he powered off turn two to take charge. Terry Meitzler battled back to pass Jack for second on lap 14 but he could not catch Von Dohren while Jack Hartnett had his hands full just holding off his brother, Kevin, for third.

Craig was a bit more animated this time in the winner's circle. "We struggled a bit this year but we've just kept trying things, like changing shocks and things. We've been getting better and better and things were right tonight. I'm glad we could do thing on a night like this for the Stevenson Family. They just do so much for others. They are great people."

Billy Moyer came from seventh starting spot to take his second win of the year in the Sportsman feature which was shortened to 15-laps due to the later hour and the event's time limit. Ed Scott of New Tripoli, PA finished second followed by Lance Hoch of Topton, PA; Jesse Sterling of Lehighton, PA; Donn Edgar of Lehighton, PA; Andy Fayash of Mary-D, PA (in his 101), Tony Dinatale of Reading, PA; Dan Guinther of Reading, PA; Carl Lieber of West Lawn, PA and Shawn Fitzpatrick of Pottsville, PA. Heat winners were Joe Goerner (Hamburg, PA), Gary Wagner, Jr. (Womlesdorf, PA) and Daryl Dissinger (Mechanicsburg, PA) while Darren Dreher (Schuylkill Haven, PA) won the consolation.

Joe Goerner led the opening lap of the Sportsman main event but dropped out after leading two laps giving Gary Wagner the point. Wagner, far and away the most improved sportsman driver thus far at Big Diamond, led until a lap 4 restart when Billy Moyer, Jr. put his 117 into the lead. Wagner and Brent Boyer (Bloomsburg, PA) took turns challenging Moyer until Ed Scott overtook Wagner on lap 8 for second. Moyer took his second win of the year with Ed Scott second. But Scott's earnings netting him nothing as he donated the second place earnings to the Stevenson Family.

Eric Ankenbrandt led on lap before Doug Hendricks took charge on lap two and never looked back. Rodney Ulsh (Summit Station, PA) took second on lap two as well with point leader, Dave Winslow (Fleetwood, PA), right behind. Winslow moved up to second on lap five but had a left front tire go flat with four laps left and he faded to fifth. Doug grabbed still another 15-lap Roadrunner feature win over Ulsh; Steve Fessler of Schuylkill Haven, PA; Barry Schrader of Orwigsburg, PA; and Winslow.

It was a special evening for the Stevenson Family. And by "family" we mean all the children that have battled and are battling with serious childhood diseases and their families that the Stevenson Charities support in memory of Georgie Stevenson. On family, John and Irene Carrano, who benefited from the Stevenson Charities in their child's battle, gave back this night in a big way with a check for $9,561 to the Stevenson's raised at JDM Direct Mail, where John works.

As a way of supporting their efforts and thanking the Stevenson Family several drivers and teams, that have not been on hand in recent weeks or at all this season at Big Diamond, took part in the memorial racing card. Several of the drivers came through the stands to raise another $1000 and various raffle throughout the evening generated additional donations to the Stevenson Charities. A final total will be released next week.

This Friday night racing resumes at Big Diamond Raceway at 8PM with the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series by Dodge action featuring the Modifieds, Sportsman and Roadrunners. Then, coming on July 19, it is the URC 360 Sprint cars joining the NASCAR Modifieds and Roadrunners on the Friday night card.

Big Diamond is located in Forestville, PA just outside of Minersville, PA near Interstate 81. For more information call 570-544-6434 or check out the speedway's website at


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Drivers Brian Johnson