Pauch, Schaffer invade Big Diamond

Minersville, PA - (Aug. 29) - Billy Pauch of Frenchtown, NJ and Rick Schaffer of Woxall, PA lead the list of invaders to take on the Big Diamond Raceway regulars in the quest for the $10,000 first prize in this Friday's Rieck's Printing/Post ...

Minersville, PA - (Aug. 29) - Billy Pauch of Frenchtown, NJ and Rick Schaffer of Woxall, PA lead the list of invaders to take on the Big Diamond Raceway regulars in the quest for the $10,000 first prize in this Friday's Rieck's Printing/Post Digital Graphics Coal Cracker 100. Pauch, who has never won at Big Diamond Raceway but has finished second in both modified and sprint car action, will be behind the wheel of a new car out of the D. A. Hansen stable built especially to PA Dual Track rules for the Coal Cracker 100 and the Grandview Speedway Freedom 76. "Well be there Thursday and Friday," stated Pauch on Tuesday night, "and we are coming to win. I wish we knew earlier they were permitting wide bodies as we built it totally to Dual Track specifications." (Pauch was referring to the announcement that wide bodied cars up to 60 inches wide will be permitted to compete provided they meet all other Dual Track rules and remove any spoilers they might have.) Schaffer, a past Coal Cracker winner, has limited his racing schedule to Grandview Speedway where he is the all-time leading career feature winner in the modifieds. His Philadelphia Inquirer 77 has visited the Grandview winner's circle once in 2000, just last Saturday. "I was hoping to hook up with a regular team at Big Diamond for the Coal Cracker," shared Schaffer after his win last Saturday night. "I've come up with nothing yet so we will be there with my car. We've not run there this year so we will be looking for a set-up very quickly and see what happens." The Coal Cracker Nationals get underway on Thursday night (August 31) with the NASCAR Exide ShorTrack Series Sportsman competing in a full racing program and the Modifieds and Roadrunners preparing for Friday's Coal Cracker Modified 100 and Roadrunner 20 in open practice sessions. The Thursday evening program will cost adults only $4 for admission to the stands and kids 11 and under will be free. Pit admission is only $10 with no NASCAR license required. Racing starts at 7:30 with practice sessions for the Modifieds and Roadrunners throughout the evening. The Sportsman will run in a heats, one or two consolations and a 20-lap feature event. The race will carry points and be the final NASCAR Exide ShorTrack Series point race. (The point races for the Weekly Racing Series Modifieds and Accel Roadrunners ended last Friday, August 25. The $10,000-to-win, 21st Annual Rieck's Printing/Post Digital Graphics Coal Cracker 100 for Modifieds and the Roadrunner 20 , will be the final event of the season at Big Diamond on Friday night, September 1. Should rain prevent the action from taking place on Friday, the event carries a Sunday evening, September 3 rain date. Earlier track officials announced that caution laps count in the Coal Cracker 100 to improve the race quality for fans and racers alike with the first lap and final two laps required to be run under green. The track has also initiated a new tradition for the Coal Cracker making past winners of the event since the initial run in 1979 guaranteed starters should they elect to compete. 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. Drivers in accidents on the track will not lose laps under yellow while they are waiting to get out of the tangle and are on the track surface or apron. If the driver takes the car to the pits or moves it into the infield, he will lose laps under yellow. Also if cars in accidents or slowing on the speedway will lose laps if they are passed by the leader under green before the yellow is thrown. The track elected to do this rather than detract from the attraction of a 100 lap race by interrupting it with a fuel stop. The initial lap of the event must be run under green before cautions will be counted and the race can not end under caution. It will go "green-white-checkered" to complete the race. For a past winner of the Coal Cracker to be eligible for a guaranteed spot, they must have competed regularly in a full-size class in 2000 like modifieds, sportsman, sprints or late models or must have competed in a modified or sportsman at least once during the year at Big Diamond. The list of past Coal Cracker champs includes three-time winners Jeff Strunk (Bethel, PA) and Charlie Eckert (Auburn, PA); double winners Duane Howard (Oley, PA), Kenny Brightbill (Sinking Spring, PA) and Doug Hoffman (Allentown, PA); and Tom Mayberry (Sellersville, PA), Rick Schaffer, 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). As Guaranteed Starters these drivers will be able to use their status to start at the rear of the 100 should they be unable to qualify, guaranteeing them a minimum of $325 payoff, if they decided to and/or are able to compete. Of these drivers Strunk, Howard, Schaffer, Von Dohren, and Koch are expected with others possible but not confirmed. Mayberry is seeking a ride as Grandview Speedway car owner, Mike Kelly, has elected not to run his 712 in the Coal Cracker 100 this year. Emerich, Schinkel and Eckert are retired and not eligible. Koch returned to action just last week in the back-up car to John Willman's 1T and will be in action. For more information on Big Diamond Raceway check out the speedway's web site at or call (570) 544-6434.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Billy Pauch , Mike Kelly