Big Diamond report 2001-08-17

Minersville, PA - August 17 - Keith Hoffman of Whitehall, PA and Duane Howard of Oley, PA split the Twin-20-lap NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modified features at Big Diamond Raceway on Nabisco's 'Nilla Night at the Races on Friday. It was Hoffman's...

Minersville, PA - August 17 - Keith Hoffman of Whitehall, PA and Duane Howard of Oley, PA split the Twin-20-lap NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modified features at Big Diamond Raceway on Nabisco's 'Nilla Night at the Races on Friday. It was Hoffman's third Big Diamond win of the year and Howard's sixth.

(This duo continues their war for the 2001 Big Diamond point championship as Howard gained 15 points on leader Hoffman with a win and a second to Hoffman's win and a fourth to close to win 69 points. Meanwhile third place Craig Von Dohren of Barto, PA recorded a fourth and a dead heat tie for second with Jeff Strunk of Bethel, PA and lost 5 points to Hoffman, now standing 118 points out of first.)

Rookie Jesse Sterling of Lehighton, Pa piloted his 414 NASCAR ShorTrack Sportsman to his second feature win of the year while dominant Dave Miller of Pine Grove, PA took his fifth Roadrunner 15-lap feature win.

In the first 20-lap Modified feature Laureldale's Rick Stankiewicz led the first seven laps before Hoffman took charge on lap eighth after starting 15th. Howard and Hoffman came through the field together but Howard got bottled up in traffic as Hoffman made the right move to take to lead. By the time Howard worked his way past the two cars between he and Hoffman, Keith was long gone.

Keith Hoffman won by a full straightaway over Duane Howard, Glenn Strunk (Bechtelsville, PA), Craig Von Dohren, Kyle Weiss (Hamburg, PA), Bob Ebersole (Hummelstown, PA), Jeff Strunk, Rick Stankiewicz, Jack Hartnett (Telford, PA) and Ron Mawson, Jr. (Pittston, PA).

The second 20 say the top 13 inverted putting Hoffman 13th and Howard 12th. Again this duo charged through the field as though they were tied together. Ryan Moyer (Schuylkill Haven, PA) paced the field through the first two laps that seemed like many more with numerous cautions interrupting the event's progress. Howard made a big move on a lap three restart to move under both Moyer and Jeff Strunk to take the lead while Hoffman, this time, got caught behind these two cars. Hoffman got by Moyer and battled with Strunk for second while Von Dohren, who pitted and restarted 28th on lap one, was blowing through the field. Von Dohren took fourth from a strong Glenn Strunk on lap 12 and actually passed Hoffman on lap 15. Craig edged in front of Jeff Strunk on lap 19 but at the finish line one lap later officials found it too close to call and declared a dead heat for second.

Duane Howard took the win over Jeff Strunk and Craig Von Dohren with both getting second place points and splitting the second and third place money. Keith Hoffman finished fourth followed by Glenn Strunk (his second top five of the night), Jim Hauer (Lebanon, PA), Terry Meitzler (Kutztown, PA), Kyle Weiss, Shawn Reimert (Oley, PA) and Todd Bashore (Bethel, PA).

Heat winners in the 46-car Modified field were Ron Seltmann (Pottstown, PA), Jason Andrews (Palmerton, PA), Craig Von Dohren and Bob Ebersole while Jim Hauer and Tim Fitzpatrick (Branchdale, PA) took the consolation wins.

The 20-lap NASCAR ShorTrack Sportsman feature saw Rusty Lesher of Reading, PA take the early lead. Lesher started his first year at Big Diamond with the Modifieds this year but found it wiser to begin with the Sportsman first after not qualifying for any modified mains. Lesher looks more competitive as a rookie in the Sportsman class and led until lap 3 when Tom Solderich (Bethlehem, PA) took over. But another rookie, Jesse Sterling, who started racing two months into this season, moved from his eighth starting spot to the lead on lap 13. Joe Biasi, Jr. of New Ringgold, Pa and point leader Dave Dissinger of Mohrsville, Pa got right up on Sterling's tail but they could not over-power or rattle the youngster.

Jesse Sterling took his second win over Joe Biasi, Jr., Dave Dissinger, Tom Solderich, Brent Boyer (Bloomsburg, PA), John Patchoski (Scranton, PA), Gary Hager (Stewartsville, PA), Mike Schane (Lake Arial, PA), Jeff Ebersole (Palmyra, PA) and Brad Force (Milford, NJ). Heat winners were Sterling, Boyer and John Heckler (Hatfield, PA), while Andy Fayash (Mary-D, PA) took the consolation win.

Dave Miller started 12th but blew into the lead by lap three and never looked back in the Roadrunner 15-lap main. Miller took the win over Marc Berzowski (Llewellyn, PA), John Ulsh (Summit Station, PA), Barry Schrader (Orwigsburg, PA) and Chris Bowers (Minersville, PA). Bowers was spun by Steve Fessler on the final lap and still finished sixth but was placed back in front of Fessler in the final order for the infraction. Heat winners were Miller and Kirby Schlappich (Temple, PA).

-BDS

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