17K Big Diamond Coalcracker Career Win for Kressley

By Ken Bruce

Go back to Friday night August 26th at Big Diamond Speedway and Brett Kressley was a very disappointed driver after losing the 2022 track championship to Duane Howard by a mere five points. Having not won a modified title in his young career, it was understandable for the young veteran wheelman to be disappointed. Fast forward ahead to Friday night Sept 9th and Kressley was in a totally different frame of mind.

Putting on a dominating performance the last 20 laps of the race, Kressley outraced archrival Craig Von Dohren to win the 2022 $17,000 to win Coalcracker 72. Winning the Coalcracker most definitely soothed the hurt of not winning the championship.

“It was definitely disappointing to not with the championship but this more than makes up for it,” said Kressley after his big win at his hauler. “Our car was good during the year on the 30-lap races, but I had a good feeling it was going to shine on this longevity deal. The car was excellent, and the track was good at the end.”

Starting back in the tenth starting spot, Kressley took his time working his way toward the front and as the field was approaching the halfway flags took second over from Dillon Steuer setting his sights on leader Von Dohren.




“There is not really much to talk about since the race went straight through,” explained Kressley. “We just took our time getting up there and settled into third there for awhile and let everything unfold up in front of us.”

Kressley then worked on Von Dohren for a couple of laps being able to take the lead, but Von Dohren is not one to give up as he used lapped traffic to gain the lead back until Kressley made his final pass for the lead on lap 51 after some hard racing between the two combatants.

“I think the best car definitely won tonight,” mentioned Kressley. He (Von Dohren) is just so smart and knows where to put his car in lapped traffic but once I was able to get some clean track there, our car just shined.”

Once in front, most drivers would just put it on cruise control and keep a safe distance between the second-place car but not Kressley. The No. 19K car was on a mission and just wanted to keep going forward as Kressley stretched his lead to a convincing margin.

“We did kind of press it a little bit at the end there and I know people were saying we were going at a pretty fast clip toward the end but when the car is kind of good like that it is hard to back off.” Commented Kressley. “If you start slowing down, you start making mistakes and getting out of your groove. I just wanted to keep hitting my marks and get through the lapped traffic. I tried to old lady it one time going into turn one and I hit a hole and pushed up, so I just ran it the way it wanted to be run.”

The driver known as “Brett the Threat” has now won the Forrest Rogers Memorial race at Grandview worth $10,000 and the Big Diamond Coalcracker 72 which paid $17,000 all within a month. Which now leads us to this Saturday’s Freedom 76 which will pay $30,060 to the winner. It would be a nice five weeks for Kressley if he could win the Freedom 76.

“That would be pretty spectacular if we could win that one as well,” said Kressley. “It is definitely a goal of ours at this point now. Years prior, I think it would be a long shot to win it but now we are starting to get to the point where you are kind of expected to be there and in the mix there at the end. Hopefully we can live up to that and see what happens.”

Over the past few seasons, Kressley has always been known as a hard charger which worked out for normal 25 or 30 lap features but when it came to the longer distance races his hard charging style has sometimes been a detriment where he has burned off his tires or just had his car go away in the latter stages of a race. This season has seen that go away with the proof being his aforementioned big wins.

“Yeah, once you get to a point that you are getting comfortable and confident in your equipment and also in yourself, you can attack your race plan different,” mentioned Kressley. “It is not always a race to the front in these kinds of races, you learn to save your equipment and figure out where your car likes to be on the track and then see you can do at the end. Knock on wood, we have been a little lucky on the long-distance races. We did have the motor go out a few weeks ago (during the running if the Big Diamond Prelude to the Coalcracker) which was unfortunate, and I think we would’ve had a top three there as well.”

“Realistically until you win some or lose some, you don’t really know. At this point, nobody is really here helping me out and it’s kind of like you learn as you go and make your own notebook. Earlier in my career some drivers would give me some input. Jeff Strunk is very nice, and he talks to me, and we share a little bit of stuff, but the other guys really don’t want to give you anything at this point but that’s okay. I am not going to tell them anything and they aren’t going to tell me anything.”

Coalcracker Nuggets:

22 of the 24 qualified drivers returned on Friday night to race the postponed Coalcracker 72. The Grosso brothers Brandon and Justin were the only two to not return…

With the Grosso’s not returning the first two alternates Ryan Watt and Nick Rochinski were added to the starting lineup for Friday’s race. Rochinski turned his unexpected start into the hard charger award for the race…

Matt Stangle was wheeling the Norm Hansell No. 357 at the Coalcracker and had a solid finish of ninth. Look for Stangle to be back in the car this Saturday for the Freedom 76 race at Grandview…

It was an unfortunate night for “The Hook” Craig Whitmoyer. Scheduled to start seventh in the big race, Whitmoyer unfortunately rolled his No. 99 in warmups but was able to get the car back together enough to take the green flag and collect his start money…

Kudos to young Sammy Martz Jr who finished a solid sixth in his first ever modified race at Big Diamond. Hopefully Sammy will grace us more next year…

It was very intense in the tech shed after the race as the top three cars of Kressly, Von Dohren and Howard underwent scrutiny. After a lengthy time, all cars were deemed legal, and the payouts were released…

Jordan Henn was the only driver to do double duty racing on Friday night racing in both the Modified and Crate 602 Coalcracker features…

Jeff Strunk brought out the only yellow of the race when his car bounced in turn one breaking a right rear shock. Quick work by the No. 88Z crew allowed Strunk to return to the race only to drop in the late stages…

Mark your calendars – Big Diamond Speedway will open the gate for the 2023 season on Friday night April 7th

I must thank promoters Jake and Jasmine Smulley for a great season in 2022. Most everyone knows of the health issues that Jake had in January, and it would’ve been very easy and honestly understandable if they decided to not race in 2022. They pushed forward and were rewarded with a great season and great crowds. The track had a couple of issues in April mostly due to weather but after being rained out for the entire month of May, the track was perfect for the rest of the season which was noted to be by several of the drivers I have spoke to throughout the year…

If you have any questions or comments. I can be reached at dirtracefan25@hotmail.com or on Twitter @dirtracefan25.