Big Diamond Sportsman 50 race summary

Van Horn takes Sportsman 50 win in 1st trip to Big Diamond. Minersville, PA - September 29 - Dave Van Horn of Harmony, NJ, made his first visit to Big Diamond Raceway pay off as he captured the Pennsylvania State Sportsman Championship 50 on ...

Van Horn takes Sportsman 50 win in 1st trip to Big Diamond.

Minersville, PA - September 29 - Dave Van Horn of Harmony, NJ, made his first visit to Big Diamond Raceway pay off as he captured the Pennsylvania State Sportsman Championship 50 on Sunday.

Doug Hendricks of Auburn, PA took the Roadrunner 20 while Kristine McVey took the 12-lap Sportsman Powder Puff win and Carrie Pyle won the 10-lap Roadrunner race for the women.

Dave Van Horn in his #71 Sportsman took the $2000 win in the Sportsman 50 over Big Diamond 2002 track champion, Craig Whitmoyer (Hamburg), Brian Godown (Frenchtown, NJ), Willy Osmun (Bridgewater, NJ), Tom Brennan (Pottsville), Donn Edgar (Lehighton), Bill Moyer, Jr. (Pine Grove), Rich Scagliotta (Flemington, NJ), Tom Umbenhauer (Richland) and Matt Papiez (Belle Mead, NJ).

"I never saw this track before but I really love it," commented Van Horn, who races regularly at Orange County Speedway in Middletown, NY and is second in that track's Sportsman points. "The track stayed great for a day race. They did a good job with it. I'd love to run here every week!"

Tom Brennan started second in the Sportsman 50 and took the lead on the opening lap from pole-sitter, Billy Moyer, Jr. G.R. Smith (Bridgewater, NJ), Craig Whitmoyer and Dave Van Horn, who started fourth, fifth and sixth respectively each moved up two spots by lap two to pressure the leader while Rich Scagliotta, who started 8th, overtook Moyer on lap four to solidify the top five.

Smith made his pass for the lead in turn two on lap 10 as the leaders lapped Bradley Brightbill (Sinking Spring) and Van Horn moved by Whitmoyer just prior to the races first yellow as they attempted to complete lap 11 for Matt Papiez in turn three. On the restart Van Horn got by Brennan as well and Whitmoyer got caught behind the lapped car of Brightbill allowing Scagliotta, Moyer and Donn Edgar to get by him. The yellow flew for a second time a Papiez tangled with Robert Schuster (Ewing, NJ) with 12 laps complete.

Van Horn continued to race on Smith's bumper while Whitmoyer returned to fifth on the restart getting by Edgar. With little fanfare, Brian Godown and Willie Osmun, who started back in 21st and 22nd, were now up to eighth and twelfth. Edgar, Moyer, Godown, Jack Swaim (Mt. Laurel, NJ), and Ed Scott (New Tripoli) filled the second five spots at the lap 15 mark.

Scagliotta overtook Brennan for third on lap 17 and, a lap later, leader G.R. Smith again began lapping the rear of the field. In traffic Van Horn drew beside Smith on several occasions but could not make the pass. Whitmoyer overtook Brennan on lap 28 in traffic for fourth, but there was little change until lap 30 when the yellow flew for the 002 of Ed Scott, which lost power.

On the restart Godown went by Brennan to crack the top five while Van Horn again continued to run right with Smith. No change occurred in the top five until lap 45. Smith momentarily got trapped lapping Brent Boyer (Bloomsburg) and Luke Wagner (Grantville) enabling Van Horn to take advantage and charge into the lead as they received the "five laps to go" signal from starter Mike Feltenberger.

Smith charged back to try to make a run at Van Horn and was on his tail as the leaders received the white flag. Smith went for it but ventured too low in turn one and looped the 2GR, causing the event's fourth and final caution and ending a fine run in his first appearance at Big Diamond. Whitmoyer had just taken third from Scagliotta on lap 49 and now found himself second but three lapped cars, Larry Lippencott (Hampton, NJ), Luke Wagner and Keith Fleming (Milford, NJ), were between he and the leader. Fleming elected to drop out but Whitmoyer was unable to over take Lippencott and Wagner to challenge Van Horn following the restart. Scagliotta's car faltered on the final lap as Godown, Osmun. Brennan, Edgar and Moyer were all able to get around his #8.

Heat winners in the 63-car Sportsman field were Tom Brennan, Andy Fayash, Jr. (Mary-D), Rich Scagliotta, Dave Van Horn and Larry Lippencott. Consolation winners were Brian Godown, Willie Osmun and Fred Fisher (Womelsdorf). Doug Henricks (Auburn) and Dave Miller (Pine Grove) have been idle from Big Diamond in recent weeks due to suspensions related to car specifications and refusal of track claim rules. They both returned to action and Hendricks took the 20-lap roadrunner over Miller. Steve Fessler ran third followed by Kevin Beach, Marty Shappell, Jason Heffner, Barry Schrader, Jason Neidlinger, Bob Pyle and Al Miles.

Rodney Ulsh (Summit Station) led the opening four laps over fellow heat winner Derek Bender, until Hendricks, who started 14th, took over. Ulsh's car lost power putting Bender back in second. Derek was unable to challenge Hendrick but Miller, who started 20th and took second from Bender on lap 10, did. Miller tried everything he had, going into the turns as hard as possible and throwing his #1 sideways but Hendricks held on to win.

Twenty sportsman/modifieds and 14 roadrunners registered for Powder Puff action to close out the program.

Carrie Pyle started near the rear of the roadrunner field in the 39 of Phil Levering and Bob Pyle but overtook leader Rebecca Delago (Steve Fessler's 713) on lap two and went on to take the 10-lap feature over Pottsville Republican writer Jodi Kuperavage (Dave Miller's 1), Lynn Kacelowicz (Rodney Ulsh's repaired 5), Amber Richardson (Marty Shappell's 117) and Pam Holland (Kevin Holland's 66).

Rich Scagliotta was able to make repairs to his #8 Sportsman in the infield while the women ran their roadrunner race and that was bad news for the competition. Kristina McVey started sixth in the 20 car field and took the lead from Judy Fitzpatrick (Shawn Fitzpatrick's 102) and ran like a pro in spite of the fact that she never raced the car before and only ran in one in the past in a Powder Puff stock class. The lead lap cars were restarted together at the front with four laps to go but McVey put in her application for a regular ride with a strong winning performance. Chris Dinatale finished second in the Tony Dinatale 14 followed by Veronika Guinther (Dan Guinther 97), Cindy Reed (Lowell Snyder's 10) and Judy Fitzpatrick.

Special thanks from the speedway go out to Veronika Guinther, who was instrumental in getting the Powder Puff races added to the schedule and who assisted in the organization of the very successful event.

The racing program closed out the 2002 season at Big Diamond Raceway. The 2003 schedule is being worked on now and will be released in the coming weeks.

The next event on the docket is the 2002 Awards Banquet on Saturday, November 9, at the Community Fire Company Social Hall in Landingville, PA. Doors open at 6PM and dinner is at 6:30PM. Ticket costs have been reduced to $28 per person, which includes a family-style dinner, beer, soda, and dancing as well as the awards presentations.


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Series Stock car
Drivers G.R. Smith