Big Diamond report 2002-08-16

Minersville, PA - Keith Hoffman of Whitehall took his third NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modified feature win of the season on AMSOIL Night Friday (Aug. 16) at Big Diamond Raceway. It was Hoffman's second straight feature win and extended his point...

Minersville, PA - Keith Hoffman of Whitehall took his third NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modified feature win of the season on AMSOIL Night Friday (Aug. 16) at Big Diamond Raceway. It was Hoffman's second straight feature win and extended his point lead in the Modifieds with the Abbi Electric/C&M Macinhe 1..

Shawn Fitzpatrick of Pottsville came back this week, after rolling his T102 last Friday night, to take his first Sportsman feature win of the season. Dave Miller (Pine Grove) appear to be the winner in the roadrunner 15-lap feature but a post-race inspection found his 1 outside of the rules and Steve Fessler of Schuylkill Haven was awarded his first feature win of the year.

In the Modified 25-lap feature Keith Hoffman took the win over Rick Schaffer (Woxall), Kyle Weiss (Hamburg), Steve Bottcher (Lehighton), Bruce Williams (Mahanoy Plane), Craig Von Dohren (Barto), Barry Readinger (Fleetwood), the returning Kevin Hartnett (Perkasie), Meme DeSantis (Temple) and Bobby Gunther Walsh (Allentown). Heat winners were Duane Howard (Oley), Walsh and Jeff Sechrist (Womelsdorf) while Tom Pompei (Sellersville) took the consolation win.

Shawn Fitzpatrick took the 20-lap Sportsman Feature win over Tom Brennan (Pottsville), Billy Moyer, Jr. (Pine Grove), Brent Boyer (Bloomsburg), Ed Scott (New Tripoli), point leader Craig Whitmoyer (Hamburg), Chris Clemens (Coopersburg), Tony Dinatale (Reading), Tom Cremer (Sinking Spring) and Darren Dreher (Schuylkill Haven). Fitzpatrick and Brennan were heat winners.

Fessler's roadrunner win came in the 713 normally driven by his father, Steve, Sr., and Eric Ankenbrandt. Rodney Ulsh (Summit Station) finished second followed by Marty Shappell (Pottsville), the returning Dave Winslow (Fleetwood) and Barry Schrader (Orwigsburg). Heat wins went to Dave Miller and Winslow.

When scheduled pole sitter for the modified 25-lap feature, Tom Benner (Allentown) needed to return to the pits before the start to repair an unattached front suspension component, Bobby Gunther Walsh started up front in his Mrs. T's Pierogies/Ironton Telephone TV2. Walsh jumped out to the early lead with Shawn Reimert (Oley) taking second from Billy Warren (Jonestown). With only one lap in the books, Duane Howard (Oley) got into Todd Biever (NY, NY) in turn one with Biever spinning and collecting Craig Von Dohren, Dale Roth (Womelsdorf), Ryan Beltz (Schwenksville), Joe Biasi, Jr. (New Ringgold) and Don Keefer (Jonestown).

With two strong point race contenders, Von Dohren and Howard restarting at the rear, Walsh again jumped away on top but veteran Rick Schaffer charged to second after starting fifth in the Fran;s Auto Repair 73. Reimert held third with Warren, Steve Bottcher, Kyle Weiss and Keith Hoffman quickly battling for fourth by lap 5. With all green flag racing Walsh opened up an eight-car length lead over Schaffer and Reimert by lap 13 when they started lapping cars at the rear of the field. On lap 16, Duane Howard retired the Big Spring Car Wash 126 went it apparently blew the engine, without causing a caution.

Walsh, who has vastly improved over the last two months at Big Diamond, found himself in the unfamiliar role of lapping cars rather than being lapped and he may have been a bit too cautious as his lead disappeared. Schaffer put the Fran Purcell 73 to the inside of Walsh coming off turn four on lap 17 to take the lead while Hoffman took third from Reimert at the same time. As they completed lap 18 Hoffman had overtaken Walsh and crossed the finish line near dead even with Schaffer as they encountered heavy lapped traffic.

Reimert had just taken third from Walsh when his Sitler 55 developed problems in turn 3 causing the events second yellow with 18 laps complete. On the restart, Hoffman was to the outside of Schaffer and in turn one he over powered the leader to take charge. It was all Hoffman from there as he took the $2000 win.

"Johnny (Ray) and my brother, Dave, are really making my job easy," commented Keith in the winner's circle. "They are giving me an awesome car these days. With the new Gechter motor we put in for last week's race, we have the power to go with this great Troyer car."

Shawn Fitzpatrick had nothing but great things to say about the work his father, brother and crew did in preparing his T102 after he got the car on it's roof last Friday night. The incident did not rattle Shawn in the least and the car was repaired well. Fitzpatrick started second but took the lead from Tom Brennan at the drop of the 20-lap feature's initial green. Brennan stayed right on his tail until lap 5 when Andy Fayash, Jr. (Mary-D) slipped into second for a lap before problems on his 157 caused the event's third caution flag to fly. Brent Boyer held third while Billy Moyer, Jr. took fourth from Tom Cremer on the restart as Fitzpatrick held Brennan at bay.

Even though there were four more cautions before the checkered flag the only change with in the lead pack saw Moyer secure third spot from Boyer on lap 17. That pass put Moyer just 11 points behind Sportsman point leader Craig Whitmoyer, who finished sixth.

While in the midst of the roadrunner championship point race, Dave Winslow was inexplicably absent for past two point races. He returned with his 27X this week and took the early lead in the 15-lap Roadrunner main event. Perry Valariano (Reading) took the top spot on lap two but Winslow returned to the point on lap three. Steve Fessler moved to second as well on lap three but Dave Miller was flying in his red, white and blue 1. Miller blew by both Fessler and Winslow on lap seven to take the lead. Miller never looked back and appeared to have recorded his fourth win of the year. But a post-race inspection found Miller disqualified and Fessler the winner for the first time in 2002.

This Friday night (August 23) the United Racing Club Sprints make their return to Big Diamond Raceway to run their annual visit to the Minersville oval that was rained-out one month ago. The NASCAR Modifieds and NASCAR Roadrunners will also be on the card that starts at 8PM. Craig Whitmoyer will retain his 11-point lead in the Sportsman class over Billy Moyer, Jr. as the Sportsman get the week off.

Big Diamond will be in action on Friday, August 30, with the KARS 358 Sprint Cars joining the NASCAR Modifieds and NASCAR Sportsman on a special Checkered Flag Fan Club Night. CFFC members showing their membership cards will get a $2 discount on their admission to the spectator area only.

The Modifieds will run in a full program culminating with a 20-lap feature. The cash payout for the top five will be slightly less than a normal 20-lap feature at Big Diamond but these five drivers will also qualify for the Coal Cracker 100. The remainder of the feature run down will receive the normal 20-lap feature payoff. The Sportsman will go in a 20-lap feature card while the roadrunners get the week off.

Then on Sunday, Sept. 1, it is the 23rd annual Coal Cracker Championship 100 for Modifieds paying $10,000 to win. Gates will open at 4PM and racing will start at 7PM for the racing card on the eve of the Labor Day holiday. Heats, B-mains and the 100 will be run as well as a complete card for the roadrunners.

Coal Cracker 100 entry forms were just distributed for the first time Friday night and four entries were turned in within an hour. Those entries were for Jack Hartnett and Rick Schaffer in the Purcell 73 cars and for Craig Von Dohren and Billy Pauch in the Mrs. T's Pierogies/BRB Racing 114 cars. Entry forms are available at or by calling the speedway at (570) 544-6434. These same two resources should be used to obtain information on racing at Big Diamond Raceway by fans and competitors.

In off-track action, the annual Big Diamond Raceway golf tournament will be held at the Mountain Valley Golf Course near St. Clair and Mahanoy City on Sunday afternoon, August 25 with tee time at 1 PM for the shotgun, four-man scramble format. Dinner and prizes are included in the $55 per person entry fee. Entries are still being accepted. Names of all four team members and at least one address and phone number may be faxed to Big Diamond Raceway at (570) 544-6720 to reserve your spot. Checks payable to Big Diamond Raceway in the sum of $220 per foursome may be mailed to the track at PO Box 298, Minersville, PA 17954 or brought to the track Friday, August 23. Check shall not be mailed after Tuesday to insure they are received prior to the tournament.


MODIFIED 25-lap Feature: 1. 1 Keith Hoffman, 2. 73 Rick Schaffer, 3. 21K Kyle Weiss, 4. 77 Steve Bottcher, 5. 901 Bruce Williams, 6. 114 Craig Von Dohren, 7. 70D Barry Readinger, 8. 88 Kevin Hartnett, 9. 357 Meme DeSantis, 10. TV2 Bobby Gunther-Walsh, 11. 42J Jeff Sechrist, 12. 21T Jason Andrews, 13. 54 Billy Warren, 14. 626 Tom Benner, 15. 102 Tim Fitzpatrick, 16. 101 Kevin Graver, Jr., 17. 309 Ron Solomon, Jr., 18. 100 Tom Pompei, 19. 15 Dale Hartz, 20. 55 Shawn Reimert, 21. 221 Ryan Beltz, 22. 14 Terry Meitzler, 23. 99K Don Keefer, 24. 10 Rick Wisdo, 25. 14S Todd Biever, 26. B1 Joe Biasi, Jr., 27. 126 Duane Howard, 28. 6 Dale Roth. Non-Qualifiers: 51 Rick Sitler, 51M Mark Stofflet, 1D Dale Bauer, 73A Jaack Hartnett.

10-lap Heat 1: 126, 73, 626, 77, 14s, 102, 21T, 1D, 51M, 73A. No Time.
10-lap Heat 2: TV2, 55, 21K, 1, 70D, 88, 357, 6, 15, 10. Time: 3:03.56.
10-lap Heat 3: 42J, 901, 14, 114, 54, 101, 221, 99K, 309, 51, B1, 100. No Time.
10-lap Cosni: 100, B1, 99K, 6, 15, 309, 10, 51, 51M, 1D, 73A. No Time.

SPORTSMAN 20-lap Feature: 1. 102 Shawn Fitzpatrick, 2. 26 Tom Brennan, 3. 17 Billy Moyer, Jr., 4. 19 Brent Boyer, 5. 002 Ed Scott, 6. 99 Craig Whitmoyer, 7. 21 Chris Clemens, 8. 14 Tony Dinatale, 9. 39 Tom Cremer, 10. 926 Darren Dreher, 11. 21K Daryl Dissinger, 12. 3 Luke Wagner, 13. 97 Dan Guinther, 14. 95 Fred Fisher, 15. 25 John Deatrich, Jr., 16. 23B Steve Zimmerman, 17. 157 Andy Fayash, Jr., 18. 35 Lance Hoch.

8-lap Heat 1: 102, 21K, 157, 99, 19, 002, 95, 97, 25. Time: 2:33.88.
8-lap Heat 2: 26, 21, 3, 39, 926, 17, 14, 23B, 35. Time: 2:37.28.

ROADRUNER 15-lap Main: 1. 713 Steve Fessler, 2. 5 Rodney Ulsh, 3. 117 Marty Shappell, 4. 27X Dave Winslow, 5. 77 Barry Schrader, 6. 39 Phil Levering, 7. 25M Kevin Beach, 8. 8M Ken Eckert, Jr., 9. 88V Perry Valariano, 10. 88 Jason Heffner, 11. 19W Derek Bender, 12. 23Jr. Jim Somers, Jr., 13. 3C Corey Renninger, 14. 415 Fraank Boris, 15. (by DQ) 1 Dave Miller.

6-lap Heat 1: 1, 77, 88V, 3C, 8M, 25M, 19W, 39. Time: 2:24.94.
6-lap Heat 2: 27X, 117, 5, 713, 88, 23Jr, 415.


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