Big Diamond Sunday preview 2000-09-03

Minersville, PA - (Sept. 1) - The Rieck's Printing/Post Digital Graphics Coal Cracker 100 will close the 2000 racing season at Big Diamond Raceway on Sunday night, September 3, at 7 PM. The 21st Annual Coal Cracker 100, paying $10,000-to-win,...

Minersville, PA - (Sept. 1) - The Rieck's Printing/Post Digital Graphics Coal Cracker 100 will close the 2000 racing season at Big Diamond Raceway on Sunday night, September 3, at 7 PM. The 21st Annual Coal Cracker 100, paying $10,000-to-win, is the biggest race on the Big Diamond Raceway schedule every season and yields the sports headlines in Schuykill County to football, where fans shift their attention to high school football, in a very strong manner. The roadrunners will also compete in a non-point 20-lap championship feature on the Coal Cracker card which carries an 7 pm starting time. Gates will open at 4 pm. The event draws some of the best competitors from the Pennsylvania/New Jersey area, both weekly Big Diamond competitors and outside invaders, to the Forestville, PA oval just northwest of Minersville and Pottsville. And this year the track has initiated a new tradition which will stay with the annual Coal Cracker event. All past Coal Cracker winners since the initial run in 1979 will be guaranteed starters in the Post Digital Graphics/Rieck's Printing Coal Cracker 100 provided they are active racing competitors. Although not all eligible drivers will be on hand, those deciding to provide entries for the event will be able to use their "guaranteed" status to start at the rear of the 100 should they be unable to qualify, guaranteeing them a minimum of $325 payoff. The list of past Coal Cracker champions includes three-time winners Jeff Strunk (Bethel, PA) and Charlie Eckert (Auburn, PA); two-time winners Duane Howard (Oley, PA), Kenny Brightbill (Sinking Spring, PA) and Doug Hoffman (Allentown, PA); and single victors Tom Mayberry (Sellersville, PA), Rick Schaffer (Woxall, PA), Richie Tobias (Annville, PA), Craig Von Dohren (Barto, PA), Fred Rahmer (Salfordville, PA), Billy Schinkel (Llewelyn, PA), Paul Koch (Neffs, PA) and Bob Emerich (Hamburg, PA). Of those listed we can only confirm at this time that Strunk, Howard, Mayberry, Schaffer, Von Dohren and Koch have indicated they plan to be on hand. Among the others looking to stop Duane Howard's two year 100 winning streak are Keith Hoffman (Whitehall, PA), Meme DeSantis (Temple, PA), Billy Pauch (Frenchtown, NJ), Terry Meitzler (Kutztown, PA), Jim Hauer (Lebanon, PA), Doug Manmiller (Wyomissing, PA), Chip Slocum (Ewing Township, NJ), Glenn Strunk (Bechtelsville, PA), Ray Swinehart (Bechtelsville, PA), Shawn Reimert (Oley, PA), Kyle Weiss (Hamburg, PA), Dennis Bailey (Kutztown, PA), Kerry Kratz (Bechtelsville, PA), Jerry Higbie, Jr. (Slate Hill, NY), Tom Umbenhauer (Richland, PA), Tom Pompei (Sellersville, PA), Bob Trapper (Scranton, PA), Barry Readinger (Fleetwood, PA), Smokey Warren (Jonestown, PA), Gary Hager (Stewartsville, NJ) and more. To eliminate concerns regarding the ability of cars to make the full 100-lap distance on their fuel tank capacity without a pit stop, caution flag laps will count in the 100 upon completion of the opening lap under green. The track elected to do this rather than detract from the attraction of a 100 lap race by interrupting it with a fuel stop. "If we wanted to run Twin-50's, we'd run Twin-50s," stated promoter Fritz Roehrig. "There are many problems with a fuel stop. Do you limit the stop to fuel only? Do you stop them on the track or in the pits? If on track, how many crew members do you leave out? If in the pits, how do you get the cars back to the track promptly?" "The drivers and teams will know that they will be going 100 laps for the payoff listed, which should make the race more attractive to them," added race director, Jeff Gromis. "At the same time, we will make sure caution laps do not get excessive to assure the fans they will see racing, not a caution parade. We'll use the pace car to hold down the pace on caution laps. If we have an on-track incident that will take too long to clear, we'll throw a red. "Also while we will be counting yellow flag laps, drivers who get involved in on track tangles will not lose laps unless they move to the pits or to the infield behind the row of large heavy equipment tires," continued Gromis. "This will put an emphasis on clearing on track incidents safely and reduce dependance on the ability and priorities of track tow trucks, push trucks and officials to get cars going again. The only other way a car which causes a caution can lose a lap on the track is if it is passed by the leader under the green before the caution flies!" Also this season, wide-bodied 358 modifieds are eligible to compete in the Coal Cracker 100 provided they meet all other Big Diamond Raceway/Grandview Speedway Modified rules. A 60 inch maximum width is being enforced for these wider cars and spoilers will have to be modified to conform to Big Diamond/Grandview rules. For more information on Big Diamond Raceway check out www.bigdiamondraceway.com or call (570) 544-6434.

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