Jeff Strunk Dominates “Prelude To The Coalcracker” At Big Diamond

Prelude to the Coalcracker - Big Diamond Speedway - 88z Jeff Strunk

MINERSVILLE, PA – New year, new team, more money, same result as Jeff Strunk leads all 50-laps to win the 2021 “Prelude to the Coalcracker” and take home the big $10,000 payday in the Insigner Performance Modified division. Jonathan Swift (Savage 61 Crates) and Mike Burrows (U.S.S. Achey Open Sportsman) both win their third features of the year and Andrew Fayash III continues his dominance in the Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunners.

A very strong field of twenty-four Insigner Performance 358 Modifieds lined up for the highest paying race of the season so far Friday night at Big Diamond Speedway with Matt Stangle in the family-owned No. 6 and Jeff Strunk in the Zubi’s Racing No. 88z leading the field to the green flag. Jeff Strunk outgunned Stangle to the lead-to-lead lap one. Yellow slowed the race after lap one was completed when Cole Stangle coasted to a stop in turn two. Once again Strunk took off as the race restarted as Stangle tried to hang with veteran but to no avail as Strunk started to open his advantage as the field battled behind him.

John Willman spun to bring out the yellow on lap 15 thus erasing Strunk’s advantage over Stangle, Craig Von Dohren and the returning Ryan Godown aboard the Dan Sommeling owned No. 51. The race resumed with Strunk darting back to the front over Stangle. Timmy Buckwalter had the Norm Saxton No. 23x on the move and took fourth away from Godown and got around Von Dohren the next lap for third and immediately set sail for Stangle. Strunk was starting to open his advantage but not as quick as he had before.

Matt Stangle and Buckwalter were waging a great battle for second as the yellow was displayed on lap 21 for Willman once again. The race was back underway but only for a lap as Dominick Buffalino slowed in the Glenn Hyneman No. 126 to bring out last caution of the race. Buffalino headed to the pits and returned. 

Strunk once again proved he was the class of the field on this night as pulled out to an advantage over Stangle and Buckwalter. As Strunk was out front, the racing behind him was fantastic as invader Max McLaughlin wheeling the Norm Hansell No. 357 and points leader Duane Howard aboard the Butch Getz owned No. 15G were putting on a show as they were moving through the pack at a quick pace. McLaughlin and Howard were clearly the fastest cars on the track at this point but were being held up trying to get by Godown for fourth. Meanwhile Strunk was starting to have to sift through the tail end of the field and lap cars while Stangle and Buckwalter started to move in on him. It was too much too late for everyone as Strunk led all 50 laps and win the big $10,000 check. Great run for Matt Stangle who finished second with Buckwalter third. The fast-closing duo of Howard and McLaughlin finished fourth and fifth.




“I can’t thank my guys and Dave Zubikowski enough, we have a great team here and winning ten grand here is awesome,” said the victorious Strunk after his big win. “Thanks to Jake (track owner Smulley) for a great track tonight and to all the fans for coming out. It seemed like the humidity set in there right before the feature and we made a last-minute tire change and that worked out for us. We hadn’t had much luck here the past two weeks, but we have a fast car thanks to Dave and a tip of the hat to Pat Morrison who builds our engines for the great job he does.”

“It was just a great night for us, we had track position and I knew Matt (Stangle) was going to be tough and I think I saw him there at the end, but I was trying to save my tires earlier and it worked out, we ran a good race. These young guns are tough, they push everything to the limit there on the restarts and Matt did what he had to do. Matt’s a tough racer and he is going to be good, he’s good already. This is the toughest field we’ve ever had here as far as the competition and some of the greatest crowds as well so thank you all for that. Once again, I want to thank Jake for the great track he gave us tonight especially with all the rain and weather we had this week.”

Jonathan Swift raced to his third win of the season in the Savage 61 Crate division. Swift took control of the race from his pole starting spot with Daryl Dissinger chasing the leader. Dissinger ran Swift down and pulled up on the leader’s bumper but eventually Swift was able to open a lead over Dissinger. While Swift led the way, Logan Watt was coming on strong from his tenth starting spot moving into third and starting to pressure Dissinger for second. Swift went on to take the win with Dissinger, Watt, Kyle Kania and Doug Smith completed the top five.

Just like Swift did in the Crate division, Mike Burrows was also victorious for the third time this season in the U.S.S. Achey Open Sportsman division. Eric Gaugler led from his pole starting spot until a lap seven yellow allowed Burrows to take the lead on the restart. Burrows was off and running as teenager Tanner Vandoren and Brandon Edgar were coming through the field to move into second and third. Edgar was able to get past Vandoren for second with two laps to go and immediately started to put pressure on Burrows for the lead, Edgar was right on the leader’s bumper and made a move coming out of turns three and four on the final lap for the win but was only able to get up to Burrow’s numbers as the checkered flag flew. Burrows was the winner with Edgar, Vandoren, Mike Schneck and points leader Doug Hendricks the top five.

The Red White and Blues Autos Roadrunners feature race was dominated by points leader Andrew Fayash III who padded his points lead in the battle for the 2021 title. Fayash took the lead on lap six from a strong running Joe Bassininsky and went on to hold off a determined Don Murphy for the win. Matt Ney was third with Bassininsky coming back from a spin to finish fourth. Jim Kost rounded out the top five.

Full results from August 20th, 2021

Insigner Performance Modified / Prelude to the Coalcracker: 1. Jeff Strunk 2. Matt Stangle 3. Timmy Buckwalter 4. Duane Howard 5. Max McLaughlin 6. Ryan Godown 7. Craig Von Dohren 8. Billy Pauch Jr 9. Dillon Steuer 10. Alex Yankowski 11. Louden Reimert 12. Ryan Watt 13. Mike Gular 14. Ryan Krachun 15. Cale Ross 16. Dominick Buffalino 17. Craig Whitmoyer 18. Shawn Fitzpatrick 19. Jared Umbenhauer 20. Brett Kressley 21. Danny Bouc 22. Rick Laubach 23. John Willman 24. Cole Stangle

Did Not Qualify – Nick Rochinski, Brad Grim, Mike Lisowski, Kevin Beach Jr, Shawn Light, Scott Albert, Heath Metzger, Corey Renninger, Andy Burkhart, Mike Tyson

Modified Heat Winners: Jared Umbenhauer, Jeff Strunk, Alex Yankowski & Matt Stangle

Consi Winners: Ryan Krachun & Rick Laubach

Modified Penske Shocks Gift Certificate Winners: Jeff Strunk ($100), Matt Stangle ($75) & Timmy Buckwalter ($50)

Savage 61 Crate 602 Sportsman: 1. Jonathan Swift 2. Daryl Dissinger 3. Logan Watt 4. Kyle Kania 5. Doug Smith 6. Danny Buccafusca 7. Tyler Peet 8. Steve Lyle 9. Eric Kocher 10. Kevin Brady 11. Zane Roth 12. Zachary Merola 13. Bobby Kupp 14. Eric Palmer 15. Tim Vidal 16. Brandon Firestine 17. Steve Sterner 18. Shon Elk

Crate Sportsman 602 Heat Winners: Jonathan Swift & Doug Smith

Crate 602 Penske Shocks Gift Certificate Winners: Jonathan Swift ($100), Daryl Dissinger ($75) & Logan Watt ($50)

U.S.S Achey Open Sportsman: 1. Mike Burrows 2. Brandon Edgar 3. Tanner Vandoren 4. Mike Schneck 5. Doug Hendricks 6. Mike Toth 7. Ed Mrochko 8. Tyler Reber 9. Craig Cuneo 10. Mark Gaugler 11. Tajae Adams 12. Tim Fitzpatrick 13. Ken Eckert Jr 14. Gary Grim

Open Sportsman Heat Winners: Doug Hendricks & Mike Burrows

Open Sportsman Penske Shocks Gift Certificate Winners: Mike Burrows ($100), Brandon Edgar ($75) & Tanner Vandoren ($50)

Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunners: 1. Andrew Fayash III 2. Don Murphy 3. Matt Ney 4. Joe Bassininsky 5. Jim Kost 6. Kris Ney 7. Tod Roth Jr 8. Kyle Wingle 9. Tonya Lance 10. TJ Fitzpatrick 11. Alex Schoffstall DNS – Dave Schultz

Roadrunner Heat Winners: Kris Ney & Jim Kost