Big Diamond season preview

Minersville, PA (March 17, 2002) - Opening day at Big Diamond Raceway is less than three weeks away and all is on schedule for the track's 31st racing season to get underway on Sunday afternoon April 7. The racing is scheduled to start at 2...

Minersville, PA (March 17, 2002) - Opening day at Big Diamond Raceway is less than three weeks away and all is on schedule for the track's 31st racing season to get underway on Sunday afternoon April 7. The racing is scheduled to start at 2 o'clock with the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series by Dodge kicking off for the Modifieds, Sportsman and Roadrunners.

Racing teams are at an even higher level of anxiousness for the opener this year due to the unseasonably warm and dry winter. The number of NASCAR Weekly Racing Series by Dodge Modifieds, Sportsman and Roadrunners already prepared for the opener is very high as demonstrated by the number of cars participating in area car shows and pre-season big block modified racing events.

Among the drivers anxiously awaiting the season opener is defending NASCAR WRS Modified Champion, Keith Hoffman of Whitehall, PA. Keith has already seen action in his own big block modified in Florida and Maryland. But on the NASCAR Modified side of things, Keith has parted with the Bashore Trucking Team that worked with him to achieve the 2001 Big D title. Keith will team with a new owner, Johnny Ray of Reading, PA, who was the 2001 Big Diamond Modified Rookie of the Year as a driver.

But among the drivers expected to seriously challenge Hoffman for the Modified title are some of the best in the sport today including Duane Howard of Reading, PA; Jeff Strunk of Bethel, PA; and Craig Von Dohren of Barto, PA; Ray Swinehart of Bechtelsville, PA, new regular, Steve Bottcher of Lehighton, PA and likely Terry Meitzler of Kutztown, Pa and Meme DeSantis of Temple, PA.

Big Diamond will operate on Sunday afternoons through the month of April and one week in May before shifting to the regular weekly Friday night schedule on May 10.. Racing on April 7 and 14 will start at 2 PM while the events on April 21, April 28 and May 5 will start at 4 PM. The Sunday events should attract the normal strong Big Diamond fields.

But stars from both New Jersey and New York are reported to be considering starting their Modified and Sportsmen season at Big D with five Sundays making it worth their while to prepare their mounts for the 3/8-mile oval, making the races even more interesting.

The Modifieds have 25 races on the schedule with special events including 50-lap championship events on Friday nights, May 24 and July 5, and the annual Coal Cracker 100 on Sunday night, September 1. The Sportsman Stocks have 28 events on the schedule culminating with a 50-lap Championship event on Sunday, September 29. The Roadrunners have 29 races set with two 20-lap title races.

Sprint cars are on the schedule four times. The 410 Super Sprints will make their annual PA Speedweek stop on Tuesday night, July 2. The 360 United Racing Club Sprints will visit the Minersville, 3/8-th mile oval on Friday night, July 19 while tentatively the KARS 358 Sprints are slated to share the spotlight with the track's Sportsman and Roadrunners on Sunday nights, June 16 and August 18.

Additionally Tuesday night open practices for any divisions with or without a NASCAR license are slated for May 21, June 25 and July 30 starting at 7:30 PM.

-bdr-

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Series NASCAR , Sprint , Stock car
Drivers Johnny R