Big Diamond report 2001-07-20

Minersville, PA - July 20 - Duane Howard of Oley, PA powered the Big Spring Car Wash 126 to his fifth win of the year in the $2100-to-win Big Diamond Raceway NASCAR Weekly Racing Series 25-lap feature. It was also Howard's second straight win in...

Minersville, PA - July 20 - Duane Howard of Oley, PA powered the Big Spring Car Wash 126 to his fifth win of the year in the $2100-to-win Big Diamond Raceway NASCAR Weekly Racing Series 25-lap feature. It was also Howard's second straight win in the Glenn Hyneman owned, Larry Lombardo powered, Troyer 4-Coil #126.

It appeared to be 'New Jersey Night at Big Diamond' in the NASCAR ShorTrack Series Sportsman as Scott Singley of Milford, NJ and Gary Hager Of Stewartsville, NJ taking the first and second wins of the year respectively in the Twin-15 program. In the roadrunners, the a wide scramble over the final laps, John Ulsh of Summit Station, PA stole his third win of the year with a final lap pass.

Jeff Bomgardner (Annville, PA) put his Tobias 7L into the early lead in the Modified 25-lap feature. Last week's feature went wire-to-wire without a yellow but that was far from the case tonight as the yellow flag flew for five separate incidents before two laps could be completed including an eleven-car pile up in turn one on the opening lap involving most of the cars starting from 14th through 28th. Point leader Keith Hoffman (Whitehall, PA) pitted during the first yellow and missed the next restart only to get a reprieve as the yellow flew again before a lap could be completed. He was able to return in time and, after two additional quick in and out pit stops for adjustments, was able to finish the event and maintain his point lead.

Second place point man, Craig Von Dohren (Barto, PA) was less fortunate as his Mrs. T's Pierogies #114 lost power under the final lap one yellow flag condition. The car would not restart forcing Craig out of the event, yielding a 22nd place finish and dropping him to third in the point standings.

Shawn Reimert (Oley, PA) charged past Bomgardner to lead lap two with Jeff Strunk (Bethel, PA) and Steve Bottcher (Lehighton, PA) right behind after starting seventh and ninth. Strunk wasted little time taking the lead from Reimert with an inside pass off turn two on lap four but Duane Howard, who started 12th, was also on the move. Howard took third on lap four and second on lap five. He followed Strunk for only two laps before charging under the Strunk W9 in turn two on lap seven.

While Howard was walking away from the field, Terry Meitzler (Kutztown, PA) and Steve Bottcher but on a great show battling for third. In the closing laps Keith Hoffman was able to work back through the field to get a glimpse of this battle at the checkered flag. Duane Howard took the win over Jeff Strunk (who may have finally shaken the monkey off his back with the solid run), Terry Meitzler, Steve Bottcher, Keith Hoffman, Scott Albert (Fredericksburg, PA), Ron Mawson, Jr. (Pittston, PA), Kyle Weiss (Hamburg, PA), Barry Readinger (Fleetwood, PA) and Craig Whitemoyer (Hamburg, PA). Heat winners in the 35-car field were Shawn Reimert, Whitmoyer, and Kevin Graver, Jr. (Lehighton, PA), while Jim Hauer (Lebanon, PA) won the consolation.

Rookie Dale Hartz (Hamburg, PA) started on the pole in the first NASCAR ShorTrack Sportsman 15-lap main event. Hartz held off John Heckler (Hatfield, PA) until lap three when the Heckler took charge. Scott Singley, who finished fourth in his most recent Big Diamond appearance four races earlier, moved his Flemington Refrigeration/Gary Bouc Racing Engines 7x '94 Troyer from 13th starting spot to third on lap six. Singley took second from Hartz on lap seven and set his sights on the leader, Heckler. Meanwhile rookie Mike Schane (Hamlin, PA), Hartz, Terry Bensinger (Schuylkill Haven, PA), Tom Brennan (Pottsville, PA) and Ricky Rutt (Phillipsburg, NJ), in a former Tanner/Laureno 36 instead of his usual 57, battled for top five spots.

Scott Singley powered into the lead on lap 11 to take his first win in his 7X over John Heckler, Terry Bensinger in his best run of the year, Dale Hartz, Mike Schane, Tom Brennan, Joe Biasi, Jr, (Tamaqua, PA), Shawn Fitzpatrick (Branchdale, PA), Gary Hager and Randy Mohn (Fredericksburg, PA). Heat winners were Heckler, Hartz and Schane with Fitzpatrick and Dave Dissinger (Mohrsville, PA) grabbing the consi checkered flags.

The top 12 finishers in the first 15-lap main were inverted for the second 15 and Ed Scott (New Tripoli, PA) took the early lead over Randy Mohn and Chris Clemens (Coopersburg, PA). Gary Hager was struggling most of the evening but a fourth place start seemed to cure things. Hager moved the Johnny's Truck Stop #44 Troyer into second on lap two while Mohn had his hands full for third with Shawn Fitzpatrick and Joe Biasi Jr. Hager charged around the outside of Scott on lap 7 in turn two and the was content to see the others battle for second.

Gary Hager took his second win of the year followed by Joe Biasi, Jr., Ed Scott, Shawn Fitzpatrick, Randy Mohn, Mike Schane, Scott Singley, Tom Brennan, Dave Dissinger, and Terry Bensinger. Dissinger maintained the Sportsman point lead with his 13th and 9th place finishes but his lead has shrunk and his pursuers are many in a logjam including Mohn, Brennan, Schane and Biasi. Phil Levering (Parkersburg, PA) was slated to start seventh in the roadrunner main but the second and third starters chose to start at the rear and Willie Metz, Rick Bixler and Dave Winslow crashed in front of him on the initial start. So when the actually got the green Levering started second and he immediately took the lead. Looking for his first win of the year, Levering had his hands full early as John Ulsh, Dave Miller (Pine Grove, PA), Barry Schrader (Orwigsburg, PA) and Steve Fessler (Schuylkill Haven, PA) were in the next four spots by lap 2, also benefiting from the early elimination of the up front starters. Levering found Ulsh and Miller on either side of him as Miller squeezed through and into the lead on lap 3. Just as it looked like Miller was the winner and Schrader, Fessler, Chris Bower (Minersville, PA), Levering and Ulsh would finish second through sixth, Miller slowed as his left rear tire began to lose pressure and Ulsh, who spun to the rear on lap 8, was charging. By lap 13 the top six were in a tight side-by-side, bumper-to-bumper pack. Levering slipped back through and into the lead as the white flag flew. Ulsh was fourth but third place Fessler spun off the track on the backstretch withing a half lap of the finish line and Miller continued to slow. Ulsh charge past Miller and up inside of Levering off the final turn and edge in front. The two touched but John Ulsh took his third win of the year over Levering, Miller, Schrader and Bower. Heat winners were Rick Bixler and Marc Berzowski.

This Friday night, July 27, at Big Diamond Raceway will see the NASCAR WRS Modifieds, ShorTrack Series Sportsman and Roadrunners on the three-division card starting at 8PM. Several modified teams missing in recent weeks and a new "big name" driver are expected to join the modified ranks for this race night.

On August 3, West Side Wood Products and Hamburg's Dark 'n Go Tanning Salon will bring the Super Sportsman cars to Big Diamond on a card with the NASCAR Modifieds and Roadrunners. The list of Sportsman Tour stars expected includes Carmen Perigo, Frankie Herr, Ken Carberry, Howie Locke, Smokey Snellbaker, Rich Eichelberger, Russ Mitten, Danny Hager, Craig Morrow, Pat Cannon, and Donnie Beaver as well as local favorites like Bill Schoffstall, Pat Kelly, Chris Reed, Kirby Sites and recent Lincoln Speedway winner Keith Prutzman. Regarding the Super Sportsman at Big Diamond, the track has announced that, due to the fact that the Big Diamond back gate pit fee of $25 is higher that the super sportsman teams usually pay, all position including non-qualifiers money will be increased $20 over the usual Super Sportsman Tour payoff. It is hoped that this will be seen as a good faith effort by the track to listen to the concerns of the sportsman drivers and partially cover some of their added expenses.

The annual Big Diamond Raceway Coal Cracker Golf Outing has been scheduled for Sunday, August 26, at the Mountain Valley Golf Course off Burma Road in St. Clair, PA. The shotgun start will be at 1:30 PM for the four-man scramble that benefits the Georgie Stevenson Memorial Fund and the J. Smully Foundation. Golf shirts are included for each golfer and there will be door prizes in addition to awards provided to the top three in each of three flites determined upon completion of the golfing. A pig roast follows the round of golf. Entries are now being accepted for four-man teams. Cost is $65 per golfer and foursomes should include their name, address, phone number and shirt size to Big Diamond Raceway Golf Outing, PO Box 298, Minersville, PA 17954.

Art Bair and Bair Wheel Repair of New Ringgold, PA has awarded three racing wheels to feature winners in the Modifieds and Sportsman and will present racing wheels to both the Thursday night sportsman winner and the Friday night Modified 100 winner as part of the season ending Coal Cracker 100 leading into the Labor Day weekend. Finally Art will provide a racing wheel to the leading Sportsman heat winner at the end of the season and $250 to the leading modified heat winner.

Big Diamond Raceway is now accepting lap sponsorship money for the Modified Coal Cracker 100 to be run on the Friday night of the Labor Day weekend. Laps are $10 each and can be purchased from Mary Bagley at the track on race night in the officials' tower or by contacting Mary at (610) 327-2057.

For more info on racing at Big Diamond Raceway call (570) 544-6434 or drop in at the track web site, www.bigdiamondraceway.com.

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SIDE NOTES - QUESTION: How is the first alternate determined when two or more consolations are run?

ANSWER: The current point standings are used to determine who gets the 1st and 2nd alternate spots when two heats are run. The driver with the higher point total becomes the 1st alternate.

-BDS

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