Big Diamond race summary 2002-09-01

Desantis' misforture gives Pauch $10,000 Coal Cracker 100 win. Minersville, PA - September 2 - Billy Pauch of Frenchtown, NJ led only three laps in Monday night's Coal Cracker Modified 100 but he earned the $10,000 first prize. Meme DeSantis ...

Desantis' misforture gives Pauch $10,000 Coal Cracker 100 win.

Minersville, PA - September 2 - Billy Pauch of Frenchtown, NJ led only three laps in Monday night's Coal Cracker Modified 100 but he earned the $10,000 first prize. Meme DeSantis (Temple) dominated the 23rd annual Coal Cracker event but a flat tire on lap 98 wiped out the impressive run.

Dave Winslow of Fleetwood took his third Roadrunner win in the Coal Cracker 20.

"We were there when we needed to be at the end," commented the elated Pauch in the winner's circle. "They really went wild charging to the front in the early event and we fell back a bit. They took off like they didn't know it (the Race) was 100 laps."

Billy Pauch took the rich win for the Mrs. T Pierogies/BRB Racing Team in their 114P over teammate Craig Von Dohren (Barto) in the 114, Duane Howard (Oley), Jeff Strunk (Bethel), Keith Hoffman (Whitehall), Rick Schaffer (Woxall), Kevin Hartnett (Perkasie) and Ray Swinehart (Bechtelsville). Completing the top ten, one lap down, were Steve Bottcher (Lehighton) and Kyle Strickler (Sinking Spring).

Bruce Williams (Mahanoy Plane) started on the pole for the 100-lap classic and led the opening three laps as second place starter Rick Schaffer faltered with the Purcell 73 and fell to fifth. Keith Hoffman had his Johnny Ray 1 up to fourth by the close of lap two but during the yellow with three laps in, he pitted with apparent tire problems. Kyle Weiss (Hamburg) moved from his fifth starting spot to the lead on a lap four restart. Weiss paced Williams and Shawn Fitzpatrick (Pottsville) until Kevin Hartnett flexed his muscle with his own 88 and moved from eighth starting spot to second by lap 13.

Weiss began lapping the tail end of the field on lap 14 while behind Hartnett, Williams and Fitzpatrick, there was a war going on between Schaffer, Meme DeSantis, Duane Howard, Craig Von Dohren, Doug Manmiller (Wyomissing) and Tom Mayberry (Sellersville). A pair of yellows with 17 laps complete closed the field and gave DeSantis the opportunity he sought. He powered the Norm's Save Station 357 into second with a daring inside move in turns one and two. On lap 18 DeSantis, who started ninth, drew even down the backstretch with Weiss and used the outside groove coming off four to make the move stick for the lead

Duane Howard moved the Hyneman/Big Spring Car Wash 126 into second on lap 26 after starting 19th proceeded to pressure DeSantis. After a yellow on lap 26, Howard ran the inside and lap after lap he would charge up even with DeSantis coming off turn four only to see DeSantis pull back in front down the front stretch. This continued right up through lapped traffic as the ran 24 straight green flag laps to the mid-race, red flag fuel stop.

Keith Hoffman was flying through the field from the rear and was back in the top ten by lap 21. Billy Pauch, who started 12th, made his first appearance in the top ten on lap 29. Tom Mayberry was running eighth in the Cozze 61 when he lost the rear axle and pitted on lap 39. This, along with the high number of cars being lapped, shuffled the top ten and by the midpoint of the race only eleven cars were on the lead lap. DeSantis was the leader followed by Howard, Hartnett, Von Dohren, Schaffer, Hoffman, Manmiller, Pauch, Ray Swinehart, Weiss and Jeff Strunk. While field stopped in turn two to refuel, Hoffman and Weiss pitted. This placed them tenth and eleven in the rundown on the restart but behind not only the nine lead-lap cars up front but all the lapped cars that refueled on the track.

The strongest of the lapped cars was Bottcher, got lapped on lap 48 simply because he started 25th and got trapped in traffic, just before the red. He charged up through the field to race with the leaders but was never able to regain the lost lap.

DeSantis was hooked up and constantly selected the outside groove for all of his restarts in the second half of the event. Howard picked right up where he left off, pressuring the leader on the inside, while Hartnett fell to the charging trio of Von Dohren, Schaffer and Pauch to fall to sixth. Hartnett regained third with Schaffer fourth on lap 59 restart but Schaffer fell to Von Dohren again on lap 60. On lap 62, Pauch and Schaffer made contact and then either Steve Bottcher or Ray Swinehart contacted Pauch resulting the Schaffer spinning and collecting Swinehart and four lapped cars. Seventh place Doug Manmiller and ninth place Kyle Weiss had trouble at this time and retired on lap that same lap. It was now DeSantis, Howard, Pauch, Von Dohren and Hoffman in the top five, With the latter three shuffling their positions seemingly every lap. DeSantis began to pull away a bit from Howard and Howard fell to Pauch's inside charge on lap 81. Three laps later Von Dohren also went by Howard for third.

A lap 89 yellow closed the field but restarts were now single file. Pauch still managed to get even with DeSantis coming off four on laps 90 and 91 only to fall back and following the leader on the outside until he made another run on lap 94. This charge too failed and Von Dohren nearly went by Pauch on the outside. Pauch made another charge on lap 97 which was thwarted by DeSantis but suddenly in turn four on lap 98 DeSantis' 357 slowed near the outside wall with a yellow causing flat tire. While a disappointed DeSantis went pit side, Pauch restarted up front and never looked back to take the win.

When asked about the 114 team and his replacing of Craig Von Dohren in the car at Big Diamond in 2003, Pauch responded, "I guess we will be pretty good next year. We work together well but right now I'm just happy to win this one. When I got by Craig on that restart (lap 79) for third I really got a good run on Duane for second. Then we were there when we needed to be."

Heat winners were Glenn Strunk (Bechtelsville), Kevin Hartnett, Pauch, Shawn Fitzpatrick, Jeff Strunk and John Willman (Zionsville). The top five finishers from the 20-lap feature on Friday, DeSantis, Howard, Hoffman, Von Dohren and Weiss, qualified with out running heats. Winners of the C-Mains were Tom Fitzpatrick (Pottsville) and Larry Solomon (Birdsboro) while Barry Readinger (Fleetwood) won the B-Main to start 24th in the 100.

DeSantis, who fell way down to 15th on the pay list, did earn an additional $310 in lap leader money. Kyle Weiss took $90. Pauch earned $30 and Bruce Williams took $20.

After missing a pair of races which cost him the Roadrunner point lead, Dave Winslow returned two weeks ago and this week he showed he is back in for by taking the 20-lap Roadrunner 20. Steve Fesser, Jr. (Schuylkill Haven), who led the first eight laps, finished second followed by Rodney Ulsh (Summit Station), Bill McNeal, Jr. (Williamstown) and Jason Heffner (Pottsville).

Heat winners Ulsh and Fessler started on the front row while Fessler taking the lead in the Fessler Contracting 713. Winslow started fifth and watched Fessler hold off McNeal and Ulsh for several laps before entering the battle seriously on lap 5. He moved to second on lap 6 and then overtook Fessler on lap 9 for the win.

Racing continues this Friday, September 6, at 8PM, with the final point races of the season. The modifieds will complete the card they started on Aug. 23 with the first consolation. That program will be completed, culminating with a 25-lap main event. Then a complete card will be run for the NAS AR Weekly racing Series Modifieds, Sportsman and Roadrunners. On more event is on the Big Diamond card on Sunday afternoon, September 29. A special Sportsman Open 50 will culminate that day's complete card along with a Roadrunner 20. Also Powder Puff races will be run for the Modifieds, Sportsman and Roadrunners. Powder Puff registration forms will be available on Friday at the track or later this week on the track's website.

For more information on racing at Big Diamond Raceway check out the track web site at or call (570) 544-6434.


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About this article
Series NASCAR , Stock car
Drivers Billy Pauch , Johnny R
Teams Williams