Big Diamond race summary 2002-09-06

Desantis, Howard take final 2002 Big Diamond Modified wins; Hoffman captures NASCAR WRS Modified Track Championship. Minersville, PA - September 6 - Meme DeSantis of Temple, PA and Duane Howard of Oley, PA took the final NASCAR Weekly Racing ...

Desantis, Howard take final 2002 Big Diamond Modified wins; Hoffman captures NASCAR WRS Modified Track Championship.

Minersville, PA - September 6 - Meme DeSantis of Temple, PA and Duane Howard of Oley, PA took the final NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modified wins of the season at Big Diamond Raceway on Friday night. But the big prize went to Keith Hoffman of Whitehall, PA, who clinched his third straight Big Diamond NASCAR WRS Modified track championship.

Shawn Fitzpatrick of Pottsville, PA captured the final Sportsman point race of the season while Craig Whitmoyer of Hamburg, PA took the division title. Dave Winslow of Fleetwood took his second straight roadrunner feature win but Rodney Ulsh of Summit Station was crowned the roadrunner track point champion.

Meme DeSantis's modified win came in the feature event that was held over, due to rain, from August 23. DeSantis piloted the Norm's Save Station 357 to his fifth win of the year over Keith Hoffman, Craig Von Dohren (Barto), Tom Pompei (Sellersville), Steve Bottcher (Lehighton), Kyle Weiss (Hamburg), Todd Burley (Spencerport, NY), Rick Schaffer (Woxall), Kevin Graver, Jr. (Lehighton) and Kevin Hartnett (Perkasie).

Duane Howard used the second modified feature to pilot the Big Spring Car Wash 126 to his fifth win to share the honor of most wins on the season with DeSantis. DeSantis ran second in this feature followed by Kyle Weiss, Keith Hoffman, Craig Von Dohren, Kevin Hartnett, Terry Meitzler (Kutztown), Steve Bottcher, Rick Laubach (Richlandtown) and Jeff Sechrist (Womelsdorf).

In the Sportsman 20-lap main event, Shawn Fitzpatrick recorded his second win of the year in his Pioneer Pole Buildings T102. Shawn was followed at the finish by the champ, Craig Whitmoyer, Tom Brennan (Pottsville), Ed Scott (New Tripoli), Brent Boyer (Bloomsburg), Donn Edgar (Lehighton), Daryl Dissinger (Mechanicsburg), Billy Moyer, Jr. (Pine Grove), Kirby Sites (Hamburg), and Ricky Rutt (Phillipsburg, NJ).

Things may have been different in the point race if Dave Winslow had not missed two events late in the season, but Dave came back strong and took his second straight and fourth overall win of the season in the roadrunner 15-lap feature. The champion, Rodney Ulsh ran second on this night followed by Derek Bender (Tremont), Steve Fessler (Schuylkill Haven) and Elvin Brennan (Llewellyn).

Tom Pompei took the early lead in the opening 25-lap Modified feature with Tim Fitzpatrick, Bobby Gunther Walsh (Allentown), Jason Andrews (Palmerton), and Kevin Hartnett battling for second. A yellow with two laps complete involving Tony Dinatale, Craig Von Dohren, Duane Howard and Terry Meitzler changed the picture a bit as Fitzpatrick rode the outside around Pompei in turn two to lead lap three. Unfortunately for Fitzpatrick, Meme DeSantis also made a bold move to third on lap three, second on lap four and, under the leader coming off turn four, to lead on lap five. Kyle Weiss was flying in third when, on lap six, he spun in turn two and collected Hartnett, who was in a three wide battle for eighth.

DeSantis, who started ninth, led the way but Keith Hoffman now moved his Abdo Electric 1 to third after starting 21st as the consolation winner. Rick Schaffer was also on the moved from his fourteenth starting spot to third by lap nine. Craig Von Dohren was another driver on the march after going to the rear on lap 3 and he, Schaffer and Pompei pit on a thrilling was for third to the finish.

Hoffman made a few runs at DeSantis but each time Meme had the ability to shut him down. On the final lap DeSantis was cautious as he lapped Tim Fitzpatrick, allowing Hoffman on last run, but again DeSantis completed the pass in turn four and held on to win. A fine ride by Rick Schaffer went south on the final lap as mechanical woes dropping him to eighth and out for the rest of the evening.

The consolation events were also left from August 23 to be run as part of this show with Hoffman and Bob Trapper (Scranton) taking the wins.

Joe Biasi, Jr. (New Ringgold) led the opening lap of the regularly scheduled 25-lap main for the modifieds but Jason Andrews took charge on lap two. Top runners Terry Meitzler and Duane Howard have suffered though a streak of rough luck recently, resulting in fourth and sixth starting spots in the feature. They quickly moved into second and third, behind Andrews, on lap two. The action was stopped by a red flag with five laps complete as Biasi lost the drive shaft on his B1 and had it strike his ankle. The ankle injury required him to be transported to the hospital for treatment.

On the restart Howard took second from Meitzler as Kyle Weiss and Tom Pompei challenged for third. It was another inside move in turn four that paid off as the move for the win, as Howard got by Andrews to lead lap eight. That was not the final story as Kyle Weiss powered from his third restarting spot on lap ten, following a caution, to go around Howard in turn two. A yellow followed one lap later and Howard got a good jump on the start to regain command on lap 11.

There was still no rest for Howard as Meme DeSantis, who started 16th, took second on lap 13. Although he tried, DeSantis was unable to complete the sweep as Howard held him at bay. Keith Hoffman got to fourth on lap ten but he stabilized there which was more than enough to earn him the track championship.

Heat winners were DeSantis, Craig Von Dohren, Hoffman and Rick Laubach. Consolation wins were taken by Dave Dissinger (Mohrsville) and Bruce Williams.

John Deatrich. Jr. (Pottsville) led the opening lap of the 20-lap Sportsman feature event from his pole starting position. Tom Brennan (Pottsville) charged by Andy Fayash (Mary-D) and Luke Wagner (Hershey) on lap one and went right by Deatrich on lap two to take command. Brennan has been a steady sportsman competitor since the division started at the track but has not enjoyed much luck lately. He looked like he would turn things around but Shawn Fitzpatrick quickly moved from his sixth starting spot to second as Brennan took the lead.

Fitzpatrick pressured Brennan without success until a caution with eight laps in the books. On the restart Fitzpatrick swept under Brennan in turn two and never looked back. Brent Boyer (Bloomsburg), who started eighth, slipped by Brennan for second on lap 11 but Tom regained it on lap 12. But Craig Whitmoyer came from his 14th starting spot to pass take second on lap 15. Whitmoyer looked like it took him too long to get to second as he slowly crept up on Fitzpatrick . On the final lap Fitzpatrick got conservative as he approached the tail of the field and ran behind a slower car through turns one and two enabling Whitmoyer to get to his bumper. Whitmoyer looked low coming off turn four for the checkered flag but Fitzpatrick had the power to hold on for the win.

Sportsman heat winners were Luke Wagner and Andy Fayash.

Dave Winslow started second in the roadrunner feature as his win last Monday was not in a point race and also did not count for handicapping. Winslow was the class of the field holding off Jim Somers, Jr. (Palo Alto) for the first three laps and then Rodney Ulsh for the remaining 12. It was Winslow's fourth win of the year.

There is only one race date remaining on the Big Diamond 2002 calendar. Well, actually, only one official date as a possible KARS 358 Sprint 2002 Championship race date is being discussed with Big Diamond officials.

On Sunday afternoon, September 29, at 2 o'clock, the first Pennsylvania State Sportsman Championship 50 will be held with the winner earning a cool $2000. The roadrunners will also be in action in a 20-lap Feature. Rounding out the card will be the first Big Diamond Raceway Powder Puff races for women who are not regular racing drivers.

Sportsman competitors will be required to meet basic Big Diamond race rules. Competitors must either run Big Diamond track tires or their home track tires but in no case will drag rubber be permitted. Also no aluminum wheels.

Competitors who are not regular Big Diamond competitors are requested to send entry information to the track via mail or facsimile. Include car number, driver name, address, owner's name, name and social security number of person responsible to earnings taxes, and name of home track. The track address is POB 298, Minersville, PA 17954 and the Fax number is (570) 544-6720. For information call (570) 544-6434.

Entries are being accepted and plans are to run Powder Puff events for the Modifieds as well as the Sportsman and Roadrunners. It is important that entries for all of these competitors be provided in order for the track to determine number of events and divisions to be run as there could be some question with the modifieds as the division is not on the regular racing card that day. The same data as above is requested except, instead of tax information, entries should include the name of the car's regular driver. Please clearly note that it is a Powder Puff entry.

-bdr-

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Series NASCAR , Stock car
Teams Williams