LAUBACH TOPS STELLAR OPENING DAY FIELD FOR 1ST BIG DIAMOND MODIFIED WIN; WAGNER TOPS SPORTSMAN FIELD,SMULLEY OPENS WITH ROADRUNNER VICTORY Minersville, PA -- April 10, 2005 -- Rick Laubach of Quakertown took the Opening Day NASCAR Dodge Weekly...
LAUBACH TOPS STELLAR OPENING DAY FIELD FOR 1ST BIG DIAMOND MODIFIED WIN; WAGNER TOPS SPORTSMAN FIELD,SMULLEY OPENS WITH ROADRUNNER VICTORY
Minersville, PA -- April 10, 2005 -- Rick Laubach of Quakertown took the Opening Day NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Modified win at Big Diamond Raceway on Sunday evening. It was Laubach's first career win.
Gary Wagner, Jr. of Womelsdorf topped the Sportsman Modified 20-lap feature while Jake Smulley of Phoenix Park watched the leaders take each other out and snuck through to take the Roadrunner feature win.
"This is great," Laubach said. "The caliber of guys who race at Big Diamond is extremely competitive. It feels good to get a win this early in the year."
Laubach started third in the 25-lap NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Modified 25-lap main event. John Willman (Birdsboro) powered off the pole to take the early lead. A pair of crashes, involving 5 car and 7 cars respectively, interrupted the early action and eliminated defending track champion, Doug Hoffman (Allentown, PA). When they returned to racing, Laubach asserted himself and took the lead from Willman on lap two.
"That meant a lot to get the lead so early," Laubach said. "I didn't know what was going on behind me. I was only concerned with what was going on in front. You can't worry about the other stuff. I knew some of those other top guys would be coming."
They ran green until the yellow flew with 15 laps complete. During that time Laubach never looked back and saw his lead grow and then shrink and then grow again as he battled through the tail end of the field starting on lap 9. Meanwhile Willman and Rick Schaffer (Woxall), who started fourth, battled through the same slower cars and with one another for second spot. The lap 16 restart saw Schaffer get under Willman with Duane Howard (Oley), who started seventh following through into third.
The yellow flew one more time with 24 of 25 complete, but Laubach had enough to hold off Schaffer to take the win in Dick Biever's Van Horn Chevy powered, Werner's Auto Body Teo Pro #14. Schaffer finished second followed by Howard, Willman, Ray Swinehart (Bechtelsville), Doug Manmiller (Wyomissing), Jeff Strunk (Bethel), Meme DeSantis (Temple), Jeff Sechrist (Womelsdorf) and Jason Andrews (Parryville). Strunk and DeSantis were the drivers who made the biggest moves, coming from 15th and 17th staring spots respectively.
Heat winners were Howard, Manmiller, and Ray Swinehart while John Tschudy (Birdsboro) captured the consolation.
Gary Wagner went wire-to-wire from the pole position to take the 20-lap Sportsman Modified feature win, but it was anything but easy. Wagner held off Freddie Fisher (Reading) for the opening two laps before yellow fever struck. A lap three yellow for a one car spin was followed by three more sets of tangle and spin causing yellows. The second of those three aborted restarts saw Jason Hamilton (Orwinna), who had charged from sixth to third, got a nose under Fisher entering two. There was some contact with Fisher spinning and Hamilton taking second.
Hamilton tried every move in the book and a few times there was minor contact, but Gary Wagner was not to be denied. Wagner took his third career Big Diamond Sportsman win over Hamilton, Greg Weiland (Port Carbon), Andy Fayash, Jr. (Mary-D), Brad Brightbill (Shillington), Larry Lippencott (Riegelsville), Brad Force (Sellersville), Doug Hendricks (Auburn), Jason Kohler (Kutztown) and defending champion, Tom Brennan.
Sportsman heat winners were Hamilton, Craig Whitmoyer (Hamburg) and Jordan Umbenhauer (Richland) while the consolation honors went to Luke Wagner (Grantville).
The roadrunners met the track challenge to provide a 20-car or better field, so they were racing for $200 to win instead of the usual 4100. That brought out the best (or worst) in the competitors. Kevin Holland (Pine Grove) took the early lead while rookie Joey Hendricks (Auburn) chased him. On lap six Hendricks slipped under Holland but on lap 9 Holland was back on top. The war was on and as they exited turn four on lap 10 they tangled, bounced of the front stretch wall and took themselves out as well as collecting third place Marty Shappell (Pottsville) and Jason Sherman (Williamstown).
Rookie Dave Schultz (Llewellyn) assumed the lead but Kevin Beach (Llewellyn) moved by both Schultz and Jake Smulley (Phoenix Park) to take command on the restart. Smulley got by Schultz on lap 13 and pulled even with Beach as they completed lap 14. Smulley held the inside line and was able to pull ahead to take the win in the 15-lap event.
Beach held on for second followed by the long distance traveler, Phil Levering of Parkersburg, Schultz, and Ricky Bender (Joliett). Heat winners were Holland and Hendricks.
Action continues at Big Diamond on Tuesday night, April 12 with another open practice session at 7:15. The practice is open to any racing division with no membership required. The pit fee is $20 while spectators can watch the test and tune session for free.
Competition shifts to Friday night for the rest of the year on Friday, April 15, at 7:30PM. The NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Modifieds, Sportsman Modifieds, and Roadrunners will compete in their second event of the year.
For information on Big Diamond Raceway, call (570) 544-6434 or take a look at the track's web site at bigdiamondraceway.com.
NOTES -- Jason Hamilton was competing in both a modified and a sportsman modified today. He was a part-time Big Diamond sportsman rookie in 2004. As he is considering moving up to the modifieds, he will be allowed one more week to run both divisions. He will then be required to remain in the sportsman or move to the modifieds for the season. Whatever his choice, he will be able to run the other car in special events during the year as well.
RACE RESULTS - BIG DIAMOND RACEWAY, Minersville, PA April 10, 2005
NASCAR DODGE WEEKLY SERIES MODIFIED - 25-LAP FEATURE - $2000 TO WIN
1. 14 Rick Laubach, 2. 6sr Rick Schaffer, 3. 357 Duane Howard, 4. 64W John Willman, 29 Ray Swinehart, 11D Doug Manmiller, 7. 88 Jeff Strunk, 8. 11 Meme DeSantis, 9. 42 Jeff Sechrist, 10. 21T Jason Andrews, 11. 102 Shawn Fitzpatrick, 12. 15 Dale Hartz, 13. 72 Jeff Ebersole, 14. 118 Sean Merkel, 15. 117 Kevin Hirthler, 16. 2 John Tschudy, 17. 123 Roy Wiest, 18. 16 Jason Hamilton, 19. 83B Josh Biever, 20. 24H Justin Andrews, 21. 85 Bobby Forsythe, 22. 57 Bill Gensler, 23. Paul Kline, 24. 1 Keith Hoffman, 25. 70d Craig Von Dohren, 26. 66 Bob Trapper, 27. 87 Andy Burkhart, 28. 77 Doug Hoffman. DNQ: Sq1 Bobby Gunther Walsh, W9 Colt Harris, 808 Dennis Horvath, 18 Ron Myers.
NASCAR DODGE WEEKLY SERIES SPORTSMAN MODIFIED 20-Lap Feature, $600 to win
1. 47 Gary Wagner, Jr., 2. 15 Jason Hamilton, 3. 145 Greg Weiland, 4. 157 Andy Fayash, Jr., 5. 19 Brad Brightbill, 6. 515 Larry Lippencott, 7. 8 Brad Force, 8. 8jr Doug Hendricks, 9. 59 Jason Kohler, 10. 26 Tom Brennan, 11. 19U Jordan Umbenhauer, 12. 64 Andy Miller, 13. 39 Tom Cremer, 14. 73 Darrell Herman, 15. 95 Freddie Fisher, 16. 221 Rob Gibson, 17. KT3 Cory Renninger, 18. 25 Ray Deemer, 19. 144 Don Miller, 20. 35 Ebby Ridge, 21. 3 Luke Wagner, 22. 17R Kevin Nolf, 23. 71 Chris James, 24. 72 Ray Woodall, Jr. DNQ: 99 Craig Whitmoyer (Scratched), 58 Chris Eckert, 10 Lowell Snyder, 17 Billy Moyer, Jr., 30 Carl Felty, 93 Ryan Moyer, 43 Joe Masiado.J
NASCAR DODGE WEEKLY SERIES ROADRUNNER 15-LAP FEATURE - $200 TO WIN
1. 4 Jake Smulley, 2. 17 Kevin Beach, 3. 39 Phil Levering, 4. 5 Dave Schultz, 5. 29B Ricky Bender, 6. 550 Ryan Olenick, 7. 8 Pete Gettis, 8. 7T7 Andy Fayash, III, 9. 117 Marty Shappell, 10. 11 Kirby Schlappich, 11. 721 Jason Sherman, 12. 93 Rob Pyle, 13. 11X Joe Hendricks, 14. 66 Kevin Holland, 15. 22 Tom Hablett, 16. 20 Corey Sechrist, 17. 37 Eric Pinkerton, 18. 555 Elvin Brennan, 19. 38 Butch Solt, 20. 8M Ken Eckert, Jr.