Big Diamond race summary 2003-04-06

Kevin Hartnett tops strong Big Diamond ppening day Modified field; Dale Hammaker grabs KARS Sprint opener; Hendricks wins in Roadrunners. Minersville, PA - April 6 - Kevin Hartnett of Perkasie, PA replaced his brother, Jack, on the Fran Purcell...

Kevin Hartnett tops strong Big Diamond ppening day Modified field; Dale Hammaker grabs KARS Sprint opener; Hendricks wins in Roadrunners.

Minersville, PA - April 6 - Kevin Hartnett of Perkasie, PA replaced his brother, Jack, on the Fran Purcell Racing Team in the off-season and he made his Big Diamond Raceway debut for the team a good one as he captured the Opening Day NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Modified 25-lap feature on Sunday.

Dale Hammaker of Grantville, PA made sure history did not repeat itself as he held off Chad Layton of Harrisburg, PA in the closing laps to take his first Big Diamond KARS Doorways Unlimited 358 Sprint win. Just last season Layton stole a win from Hammaker at Big Diamond and Hammaker remembered it win.

Doug Hendricks of Auburn, PA took the 15-lap roadrunner feature.

Jimmy Horton, Jr. drew the pole starting position for the 25-lap Modified feature but Larry Solomon took the lead at the drop of the green from outside the front row. The strong winds dried the track surface that was also uncharacteristically a bit rough due to a breakdown of track preparation equipment during the heats, leaving drivers searching for the fast way around the oval. While Horton faded to fifth, Shawn Reimert powered from fourth to second by the end of lap two. After a yellow, Doug Hoffman, who started seventh, made a big inside move when the leaders bobbled to take the lead on lap three. Following Hoffman under the leaders was Kevin Hartnett, who took second.

Larry Solomon and Kevin Hartnett swapped second a time or two until lap 11 when Shawn Reimert lost the rear in his Sitler 55 and slowed dramatically on the backstretch while running fourth. Jimmy Horton, Jr., running fifth also made contact and slowed but those behind could not avoid each other resulting in a nine car pileup. Keith Hoffman, Keith Brightbill and John Willman appeared to see the worst damage to their cars but Kyle Weiss, Tom Mayberry, Shawn Fitzpatrick, Doug Manmiller, Mike Nicholas, and Ryan Watt were also involved.

Under the red for the cleanup the track crew elected to water the track to cut some of the dust and cars were permitted to refuel if they wished. Reimert was taken to the Good Samaritan for observations related to back pain from being struck by the drive shaft.

Doug Hoffman was again up front when the race restarted single file with ten laps complete but Kevin Hartnett was right on his tail. On lap 14, Hartnett got under Hoffman coming off turn two and took the lead. Jon Kellner moved under Solomon and Hoffman for second while Hartnett's teammate, Rick Schaffer, took fourth from Solomon. Although Kellner made a big run at Hartnett's 6jr, Kevin took the $2000 first prize.

At the finish following Hartnett were Jon Kellner, Doug Hoffman, Rick Schaeffer, Craig Von Dohren, Billy Pauch, Ray Swinehart, Meme DeSantis, Kyle Weiss, and Rick Laubach. Heat winners in the 44-car field were Von Dohren, Hartnett, Doug Hoffman and DeSantis while Jon Kellner, Jr. and Terry Meitzler were consolation winners.

The KARS 358 Main was the first feature run and Matt Beasley outgunned Mike Ressler at the drop of the green to take the early lead. Dale Hammaker wasted little time, moving from his third starting spot to the lead on lap two coming off of turn four. Jamie Schwartz rolled his 98 in turn four before lap three could be completed causing a red flag.

On the restart Hammaker continued to lead Beasley but now Brian Eichelberger, Adrian Shaffer and Rusty Pressley, who started sixth, eighth and 16th respectively, completed the top five. Eichelberger and Shaffer were up to second and third by lap ten while Chad Layton, in the Jim Layton 46 instead of his U1, moved to fourth. Layton made his big moved past both Eichelberger and Shaffer on lap 18.

Chad pulled right up on Hammaker's tail and made several moves to the inside and outside, but Dale Hammaker was not to be denied this time. Layton settled for second followed by Adrian Sheaffer, Kevin Nagy, Matt Beasley, Keith Prutzman, Dan Richcreek, Mike Ressler, Keith Wetzel, and Brian Eichelberger. Heat winners were Prutzman and Shaffer.

Doug Hendricks led all 15 laps of the roadrunner feature in a race that was much more exciting than a wire-to-wire win would seem to be. The race went without a yellow and Hendricks led Rodney Ulsh and Dave Winslow through traffic in very close quarters. Ulsh did hold on for second trailed by Winslow, Kevin Holland and Jason Heffner. Heat winners were Hendricks and Winslow.

Prior to the racing card as part of the driver's meeting, the drivers took time to pose in the winner's circle around American flags and yellow ribbons to salute our troops and the track's fourth turn official, Joe Carter, who is serving in the Persian Gulf, stationed in Qatar. With a forecast of a substantial snow on Monday and Tuesday and the fact that transmission problems sidelined the second of two graders (the first has parts on back order to repair engine problems encountered earlier in the week) used to prepare the track, the speedway has announced that the event scheduled for Sunday, April 13, has been canceled. The season will resume with the next scheduled race on Friday night, April 25, with a program featuring the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Modifieds, Sportsman-Modifieds and Roadrunners.

For more information on Big Diamond Raceway call (570) 544-6434 or drop in on the track's website at www.bigdiamondraceway.com.

-bdr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR , Sprint
Drivers Billy Pauch