MINERSVILLE, PA – After a couple of tough weeks to open the season, Jeff Strunk aka the “Bechtelsville Bullet” is starting to find his stride at Big Diamond aboard the Dave Zubikowski owned Zubi’s Racing No 88Z. After a solid finish last week in the Money in the Mountains race, Strunk found the extra gear he needed last night to park the Zubi’s Racing car in victory lane in the Insigner Performance Modified feature. It was Strunk’s 55th win at Big Diamond. Mark Smith took the lead early to dominate the URC sprint car feature. Danny Buccafusca was the winner of the Savage 61 Crate 602 feature with Don Murphy winning the Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunner feature.
The 25-lap Insigner Performance Modified feature saw Kevin Beach and Shawn Fitzpatrick leading the field to the green flag with Beach outgunning Fitzpatrick at the drop of the green to take the early lead. Beach continued to lead the way with Jeff Strunk moving by Fitzpatrick to takeover the second spot on lap 10. With Beach setting a fast pace out front, Strunk started to reel in the leader and as leaders took the ten to go signal Strunk was there pressuring Beach for the top spot. Lap 17 saw Strunk make his move for the lead as he went by Beach only to have the caution come out immediately after thus negating the pass and putting Beach back out front.
On the restart, Strunk left no doubt who was in charge on this night as he rolled around Beach to take the lead bringing with him a strong running Louden Reimert aboard the No. 16. Duane Howard was on the move as well and moved by Beach to takeover the third spot with the No. 15G. Reimert was determined and was working hard on the inside to get by Strunk, Reimert was able to poke the nose of his car underneath Strunk a couple of times but never had the drive off to get by the No. 88Z. The final caution of the night was displayed on lap 23 when points leader Tim Buckwalter turned around and hit the wall coming off turn four.
Strunk was able to maintain his lead on the restart as Reimert was trying to hold off the advances of Howard and protect the second spot. Strunk went on to take the crowd-pleasing win over Reimert, Howard, Alex Yankowski and the Zubi’s Racing team car of Dillon Steuer.
“We had a good starting spot tonight,” said a happy Strunk amidst a throng of well wishers in victory lane. “I kind of owed my team and owner a win after I missed one earlier in the year when I hit a yuke tire. This should really be our second win, but we’ll take it and go forward. I have a great bunch of supporters and a great bunch of guys helping me and I can’t say enough about Dave Zubikowski who put this deal together for me. He’s a super guy and I can’t say enough about him. We had a good fast car all night, we got a little bit free there at the end and I was kind of skeptical there and I didn’t want to see that yellow at the end for sure. I am not sure it we could’ve won if we started further back so the good starting spot definitely helped. There is such a tough field of cars here and there are 12-14 guys that could win here any given night so to get one of these is important. And to get one early here for Dave is even more important. Thank you very much to the crowd for the awesome support and to Jake (owner Jake Smulley) has been giving us an awesome track so thanks to him and the Big Diamond staff.”
In the 25-lap Capital Renegade URC Sprint car feature, Joe Kata brought the field to the green flag. Kata jumped to the front, but it was short lived as Mark Smith raced from his fourth starting spot to take the lead before a lap could be completed. Once in the lead, Smith was never headed. Jason Schultz made a run at one point as Smith was navigating traffic but could never get close enough to put any sustained pressure on the leader. A caution on lap 13 gave everyone a chance at Smith but it was just a tease as once the race restarted Smith had a clean track and checked out on the rest of the field to take the win over current URC points leader Jason Schulz, Tyler Ross, Joey Kata and Ryan Kissinger.
The Savage 61 Crate 602 Sportsman race was crowd pleaser with the effervescent Danny Buccafusca taking the win. Grandson of the legendary Rags Carter, young Talon Carter would take the lead from his pole spot. A caution on lap three would slow the pace and when the green was put back out third-place starter Eric Kocher and seventh-place starter Danny Buccafusca are right on the Carters’ bumper. Carter and Buccafusca would race side by side until lap nine when Buccafusca would work his by to takeover the lead. Two mid-race cautions would slot the pace and when we returned to racing Buccafusca was bac out front leading the way. Ryan Graver who started second but dropped back at the start was starting to reassert himself and was back in the runner-up spot on lap 15. Buccafusca would go on to lead the remaining five laps over Graver who was right behind him at the finish. Buccafusca was your winner with Graver, Kocher, Steve Lyle and Eric Palmer completing the top five.
Veteran Don Murphy would take a very emotional win in the Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunner feature race. Kris Ney would lead lap one, but Murphy was on the move early and would takeover the top spot when lap four was scored. Murphy would go on to lead the remainder of the race holding off a determined Alex Schoffstall to take the checkered flag. After Murphy and Schoffstall, Kris Ney, Matt Ney and Andrew Fayash III rounded out the top five.
Full results from 5/21/21
INSINGER PERFORMANCE MODIFIEDS – 1. Jeff Strunk, 2. Louden Reimert 3. Duane Howard 4. Alex Yankowski 5. Dillon Steuer 6. Brett Kressley 7. Kyle Merkel 8. Kevin Beach 9. Rick Laubach 10. Nick Rochinski 11. Andy Burkhardt 12. Cole Stangle 13. Timmy Buckwalter 14. Scott Alber 15. Shawn Fitzpatrick 16. Corey Renninger 17. Steve Young 18. Craig Von Dohren 19. Jared Umbenhauer 20. Ryan Krachun 21. Mike Gular 22. Danny Bouc 23. Shawn Light 24. Billy Pauch Jr.
DNQ: Heath Metzger, Cliff Quinn
Modified Heat Winners: Shawn Fitzpatrick, Jeff Strunk & Louden Reimert
Modified Consi Winner: Timmy Buckwalter
CAPITOL RENEGADE URC SPRINT CARS Fin: 1. Mark Smith 2. Jason Schultz 3. Tyler Ross 4. Joe Kata 5. Ryan Kissinger 6. Josh Weller 7. Robbie Stillwagon 8. Dallas Schott 9. Adam Carberry 10. Troy Betts 11. Andy Best 12. Mike Thompson 13. Ryan Stillwagon 14. Jesse Pruchnik 15. Devin Gundrum 16. Joey Amantea 17. Ryan Taylor 18. Jake Hummel 19. Kyle Smith 20. Kevin Darling DNS Zack Burd, Ryan Smith
URC Sprint Heat Winners: Mark Smith, Tyler Ross, Joe Kata
SAVAGE 61 602 CRATE SPORTSMAN Fin: 1. Danny Buccafusca 2. Ryan Graver 3. Eric Kocher 5. Steve Lyle 6. Tyler Peet 7. Joel Smith 8. Talan Carter 9. Doug Smith 10. Logan Watt 11. Zane Roth 12. Josh Mooney 13. Brandon Firestine 14. Justin Lilick 15. Tim Fitzpatrick 16. Chuck Eckert 17. Daryl Dissinger 18. Craig Cuneo 19. Chad Putalavage 20. Bobby Kupp 21. Kevin Brady DNS Robin Wagner, Shon Elk
Crate 602 Sportsman Heat Winners: Eric Kocher, Ryan Graver
RED, WHITE, AND BLUE AUTOS ROADRUNNERS Fin: 1. Don Murphy 2. Alex Schoffstall 3. Kris Ney 4. Matt Ney 5. Andrew Fayash III 6. Jim Kost 7. Alex Ditzler 8. Tod Roth 9. Joe Bassininsky 10. Samantha Zipp 11. Jon Schlauch 12. Jesse Krasnitsky 13. Dave Schultz 14. Damian Duscheck