MINERSVILLE, PA – Despite of all the adversaries that were presented to Big Diamond Speedway yesterday, promoter Jake Smulley was able to provide a very raceable track to the teams and drivers to compete on throughout the night. With rain all morning and cloudy damp conditions the rest of the day the track crew was able to get the dirt oval in racing shape for the night’s events.
It was “No Sweat Service Group” night at the speedway and when it was all said and done, the “Diamond Cutter” Duane Howard added his name to an already impressive list of winners of the annual “Money in the Mountains” race at the speedway. The driver out of Oley, PA took the lead early and went on to dominate the 40-lap feature event on Friday night.
John Willman and Shawn Fitzpatrick led the 24-car starting field to the green flag will Willman jumping out to the early lead. The fourth place starting Howard was on the move early and making his way to the front.
A caution on lap two for a tangle involving Fitzpatrick, Billy Pauch Jr and Ryan Watt halted the action temporarily. Opening night winner Pauch Jr and Watt headed to the pits with only Watt returning to the track to continue.
On the restart Howard continued his march to the front as he powered around Willman to take the lead. Invader Mike Gular also was able to get by the strong running Willman at the time to move in to the runner-up spot.
Howard continued to lead the way over Gular and Willman when heartbreak struck the #24 of Willman when he suddenly slowed and pulled off the track with engine troubles. The final caution of the night flew on lap 19 when Jared Umbenhauer slowed and headed to the pits with Howard leading.
On the restart Howard continued to lead with Gular right on his heels as a new player entered the action. The “Sensational One” Jimmy Horton making a rare appearance at the speedway was now on the move and up to third. Horton wasted no time getting by Gular for second now setting his sights of the leader.
Horton was making gains on Howard and with five to go had narrowed the margin to a couple of car lengths to the leader with lapped traffic looming ahead. Unfortunately for Horton that was as close as he was going to get as Howard zipped under starter Jeff Merkel’s checkered flag to take home the win and the big $6000 first place prize.
“I could hear him (Jimmy Horton) getting close there and I didn’t want to push the issue with the lapped traffic. The track was pretty narrow, and it had a heavy cushion and I was trying to stay off it as much as I could. They did a really good job with the track today considering the weather. It feels nice to finally get the monkey off our backs tonight and win a race. We’ve been consistent all year, but it feels really good to get this team in victory lane where the deserve to be and hopefully now we can get on a roll.”
Horton gave it all he could to reel in the leader but had to settle for well earned second place finish. Ryan Godown shook off problems earlier in the night to finish a solid third with the steady running Gular in fourth. Ryan Watt made a nice comeback after his lap three tangle to finish in the fifth spot. Finishing sixth thru tenth were Rick Laubach, Craig Von Dohren, Jeff Strunk, Kevin Beach Jr. and Frank Yankowski.
The 20-lap USS Achey Sportsman feature was won by semi Big Diamond regular Craig Whitmoyer as he outdueled track regular Doug Hendricks for the win. Michael Burrows and Shawn Light led the field to the start with Burrows taking the lead. Hendricks was on the move and went by Burrows for the lead on lap four with Whitmoyer also making his way to the front. Whitmoyer was able to take the lead from Hendricks on a lap seven restart with a tremendous battle going on behind the leaders between Burrows, Wayne Witmer, Light, Brad Brightbill and opening night winner Alex Yankowski.
After a couple of restarts that were called back Hendricks was able to retake the lead over Whiitmoyer but a bobble from Hendricks in between turns one and two by Hendricks was all that the Whitmoyer needed and he sped back by to take the lead. Whitmoyer went on to take the win over a disappointed Hendricks with Witmer, Burrows and Yankowski completing the top five. Dave Dissinger, Ray Woodall Jr, Daryl Dissinger, Mike Mammana and TJ Fitzpatrick all finished sixth thru tenth.
It was a photo finish in the feature event for the Savage 61 Road Runners as Mike Reichert pulled off the win over Chris Holland. It was caution fever early in the race as the boys tried to duke it out and gain spots. Once the action got going Reichert and Holland put on a battle as only the Road Runners can do as they battled side by side for over half the race with Kerry Fritz joining the fray. Reicher and Holland traded the lead numerous times throughout the last ten laps with Holland leading as the white flag was displayed. Reichert made a last lap move between turn three and four to try and grab the win and pulled it off as he edged out Holland by inches to take the win. Terry Kramer, Kerry Fritz and Shawn Mulhall completed the top five.
The Xcell 600 Modifed feature event was won by Richie Hitzler who dominated the event to take the win over Josh Pepe, DJ Hunt, Brian Blankenbiller and Hunter Deihl.
April 27th Results:
The Matteras Electrical Modifieds Money in the Mountains 40 lap feature was won by Duane Howard. He was followed by Jimmy Horton, Ryan Godown, Mike Gular, Ryan Watt, Rick Laubach, Craig Von Dohren, Jefft Strunk, Kevin Beach, Frank Yankowski, Brian Krummel, Jared Umbenhauer, Frank Cozze, Doug Manmiller, Jimmy Reppert, Shawn Fitzpatrick and Heath Metzger. Did not finish were Grant Hilfiger, Brett Tonkin, John Willman, Ray Swinehart, Frank Porrecca, Brett Kressley and Billy Pauch Jr.
Did not qualify were Brian Malcolm, Justin Grim, Billy Lasko, Jim Bobbitt, Bobby Trapper, Bob Trapper, Scott Albert , Matt Stangle, Mike LIsowski, Cliff Quinn and Brett Barrett.
Modified heat races were won by Craig Von Dohren, Rick Laubach and Ryan Watt. The consolation was won by Ryan Godown.
The USS Achey Sportsman division was won by Craig Whitmoyer followed by Doug Hendricks, Wayne Witmer, Michael Burrows, Alex Yankowski, Dave Dissinger, Ray Woodall Jr., Daryl Dissinger, Mike Mammana, TJ Fitzpatrick, Glenn Rowan, Nate Mohr, Mike Schneck, Ken Eckert Jr., Dakota Kohler and Ed Mrochko. Did not finish were Shawn Light, Brad Brightbill, Dylan Smith, Kris Lilick, Billy Osmum, Blaker Reber, Gary Grim and Matt Clay.
Sportsman heat races were won by Wayne Witmer, Doug Hendricks and Michael Burrows. Consolation was checkered, and Daryl Dissinger credited with the win.
Did not qualify were Tyler Reber, Nate Klinger and Kevin Brady.
The Savage 61 Road Runner division was won by Mike Reichert followed by Chris Holland, Terry Kramer, KerryFritz, Shawn Mulhall, Joey Brennan, Bruce Ditzler and Matt Ney. Did not finish were Cory Lindenmuth, Shon Elk, Kris Ney, and Jim Kost. Did not start was Fred Everly.
The Road Runner heat races were won by Jim Kost and Chris Holland.
The Xcel 600 Modifieds were won by Richie Hitzler and he was followed by Josh Pepe, DJ Hunt, Brian Blankenbiller, Hunter Diehl, Aaron Bowes, Jon Pepe, Cody Manmiller, Bobbi Meitzel, Geoffrey Sutton, Matt Warner, Scott Washburn, Shawna Schibilia, Blake Kraemer, Ray Gradwell