Big Diamond results 2001-05-04

Minersville, PA - May 4 - Duane Howard of Oley, PA surprised everyone, including the race leaders, to charge to the $2000 feature win in NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modified action at Big Diamond Raceway on Friday night (May 4). The win was...

Minersville, PA - May 4 - Duane Howard of Oley, PA surprised everyone, including the race leaders, to charge to the $2000 feature win in NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modified action at Big Diamond Raceway on Friday night (May 4). The win was Howard's second in three features run at the track this year.

Dave Dissinger of Mohrsville, PA took the $600 first prize in the NASCAR ShorTrack Series Sportsman while Bill McNeal of Williamstown, PA and Barry Schrader of Orwigsburg, PA split the twin Roadrunner feature events.

Duane Howard started 16th in the 28-car NASCAR WRS Modified feature line-up and his chances looked slim as past champion, Jeff Strunk of Bethel, PA started third. Big Diamond rookie, Johnny Ray of Reading, PA took the early lead but Strunk did not disappoint in the Kenworth-Cummins W9 as he took the lead from Ray on lap five. The early charger was Keith Hoffman of Whitehall, PA as he moved from his 13th starting spot past Bob Ebersole (Hummelstown, PA) on lap four for third. Hoffman passed Ray for second on lap eight and it looked like a classic Strunk-Hoffman showdown.

The event's third and final yellow flew with 11 of 25 laps complete and the top five included Jeff Strunk, Hoffman, Glenn Strunk (Bechtelsville, PA), Ray, and Ray Swinehart (Bechtelsville, PA). Duane Howard, Terry Meitzler (Kutztown, PA) and Jerry Higbie, Jr. (Slate Hill, NY) were now battling for sixth. Howard broke free and moved past Swinehart for fifth on lap 14. Ray fell to Howard on lap 15 and Howard stabilized in fourth until starter Joe Kaminski gave the field the "five-laps-to-go" signal.

Howard went by Glenn Strunk for third on lap 21 and rapidly closed in on Hoffman. He went into three hard and high, then dove under Hoffman in turn four on lap 22, apparently surprising the Whitehall racer who was looking to make his final run at the leader. Howard repeated this run at Jeff Strunk for the lead one lap later but Strunk closed the door and the two made contact and Howard fell back. But the Big Spring Car Wash 126 owned by Glenn Hyneman was very strong and Duane went to the outside at the opposite end of the track to power around Strunk coming off turn two to take charge on lap 24 with the Lombardo-powered Troyer rocket.

Duane Howard took his second win of the year over Jeff Strunk, Keith Hoffman, Glenn Strunk, Ray Swinehart, terry Meitzler, Jerry Higbie, Jr., Craig Von Dohren (Barto, PA), Tom Umbenhauer (Richland, PA), and Tim Fitzpatrick of Minersville, PA. Heat winners in the 42-car field were Hoffman, Jeff Strunk, Scott Albert (Fredericksburg, PA) and Ray. Ray crossed the line fifth in the 25-lap feature but was disqualified for being found underweight in a post race inspection.

Dave Dissinger made things look easy in the NASCAR ShorTrack Sportsman 20 as he started first and led every lap for his first win of the year in the Harmony Hill 88x. Ricky Rutt (Phillipsburg, NJ) looked to be Dissinger's biggest threat, but he appeared to blow the engine in his 57 as the field came down to complete the first lap triggering a tangle which included Brad Force (Sellersville, PA), Brent Boyer (Bloomsburg, PA), Paul Kline (Reading, PA) in the Symons 21S, opening night winner Ed Scott (New Tripoli, PA) and Joe Biasi, Jr. (New Ringgold, PA). John Heckler of Hatfield, PA moved from his 9th starting spot to second on lap 3 while John Patchoski (Scranton, PA) battled with Jeff Geake for third. Patchoski took second when Heckler developed mechanical problems with his 55 on lap 8. The apparent curse on second place runners continued as Patchoski had his 3X begin to fade shortly after the event's fourth and final yellow on lap 10. Scott Singley of Upper Dublin, NJ, making his 2001 season debut in his 7X, moved to second on lap 14 but was unable to do more than close up on Dissinger's rear bumper.

Dave Dissinger took the $600 first prize followed by Scott Singley, Tom Brennan (Pottsville, PA), John Deatrich, Jr. (Pottsville, PA), Randy Mohn (Fredericksburg, PA), Lance Hoch (Topton, PA), Shawn Fitzpatrick (Pottsville, PA), Jeff Graby (Grantville, PA), John Patchoski, and Mike Schane (Hamlin, PA). 33 Sportsman were on hand with Fitzpatrick, Dissinger and Heckler taking heat wins. Ed Scott won the consolation.

In the Roadrunner 15-lap main held-over from two weeks earlier, pole sitter Marc Berzowski (Minersville, PA) barely made it out in time to take the green at the rear of the field and Dave Miller (Pine Grove, PA) jumped out into the early lead trailed by John Ulsh (Summit Station, PA) and Buck Crossley. Miller led until lap nine when Ulsh took over but both the 5 of Ulsh and the 1 of Miller seemed to be developing problems. Meanwhile Bill McNeal and Berzowski moved the third and fourth spots. Ulsh dropped out with 12 laps complete and Miller followed him to the infield seconds later putting McNeal on top.

Bill McNeal held on to take his first career win over Marc Berzowski, Barry Schrader (Orwigsburg, PA), Mike Allar (Orwigsburg, PA), Willie Metz (Auburn, PA) and rookies Derrick Bender and Chris Bowers. There were no major tangles but only 7 of the scheduled 21 starters finished the event.

The second Roadrunner 15 saw Barry Schrader go wire-to-wire for the win in his 77. The apparent clean of the roadrunner crop so far this year Marc Berzowski, Dave Miller and John Ulsh got to second, third and fourth by lap 5 while Bill McNeal tried to first through traffic from his 11th starting spot.

Although he won once last season after a second place finish became a win by disqualification, Barry Schrader took his first win he could celebrate in the Pritz Dodge Winner's Circle. Marc Berzowski ran second followed by John Ulsh, Corey Renninger (Minersville, PA), Mike Allar, a fading Dave Miller, Kirby Schlappich (Temple, PA), Phil Levering, Bill McNeal and Chris Eckert. Heat winners were the two feature winners for the evening Schrader and McNeal.

On track action at Big Diamond continues this Tuesday night, May 8, at the track opens at 6 PM for an Open Practice Night starting at 7 PM. Competitors from any and all divisions of racing are welcome at the track to participate in the practice session. No pre-entry is required and the pit fee will be $15 for the session scheduled to last between 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Fans are also welcome and, as this is the inaugural practice night, admission to the stands will be FREE.

Next Friday night, May 11, it is Kreiser Fuels' Tremont Quick Stop Night at Big Diamond Raceway. The NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modifieds, the NASCAR ShorTrack Sportsman and The NASCAR Roadrunners will be on the card with complete programs. Additionally the Sportsman will open the card with their held-over consolation and feature from three weeks ago yielding a four feature card. Gates open at 6 PM and racing starts at 8 PM.

For more information call (570) 544-6434 weekdays or check out the track's internet website at For current weather updates and hour-by-hour forecasts check, enter the zip code 17954 and click on hour-by-hour forecast.


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Drivers Johnny R
Teams Williams