Howard Goes ‘Topless’ to Win and Diamond Notes – DTD Exclusive

By KEN BRUCE

It seems like Duane Howard has taken a liking to the ‘topless’ racing! For the second season in a row, Howard and the Butch Getz No. 15G team have dominated the annual race at the Big Diamond Speedway. It was the first win for the Butch Getz Motorsports team in 2022 and hopefully the race that can get the team rolling.

Howard, who started the 30-lap race in the ninth position, wasted little time in getting himself to the front as he picked off cars one by one and by lap eleven had moved past Nich Rochinski and long time rival Craig Von Dohren to move into second. Brett Kressley who was the leader at the time was no match for Howard on this night as Howard made his move on the inside to take over the top spot on lap 14.

Once in front, it was all Howard and despite a couple of late cautions there was no doubt who the winner was going to be on this night as Howard and team took home the $4,000 first place prize. The win was just what the doctor ordered for Howard as they look to build up some momentum for the summer months.

“This feels really good to finally get a win for this team,” said a happy Howard after the race in the team’s trailer. “We have been working really hard and we have passed a lot of cars here but never really had the track position to show for it so it doesn’t show how good we have been here all season. But tonight, from the heat race to the finish, this car felt so good, and I could just roll the corners so good.”




Sometimes teams have a tendency to make numerous changes throughout the night to make their cars just a little bit better even if they thought they were good early on. Sometimes it works and other times it backfires but on this night the No. 15G team knew what they had to do come feature time.

“Believe or not, tonight we didn’t touch anything on this car after the heat,” explained Howard. “The only thing we did was adjust the air pressures for the feature but that was it. I am glad we didn’t because this car was on rails tonight. Dave Reedy of Penske Shocks has been working with us to get the car where we want it to be and that, along with the Billy the Kid motor, just made for a great race car tonight.

“I could drive this car into the turns so straight with the back end under me and as soon as I got on the gas, the car would just rotate so well to give me what I needed coming off the turns. I didn’t have to overdrive the corners at all. I think without the roof and side panels helped because you don’t trap the air on the deck, and it does make a little bit of a difference. I was able to settle the car down and keep it underneath me and it would do whatever I wanted it to do tonight.”

Drivers have had their thoughts on how track conditions have been so far this year at Big Diamond, but on this night, the track was in good shape to allow for some very good racing.

“The track has taken a beating for how the track has been this year,” said Howard. “It is difficult to pass most nights, but tonight it was much better. I still think the top groove needs to come in a little better so we can move up the racetrack. I know he is trying, and the weather has been very rough this year, but he is getting it.  With the hard weather it is just tough to get it right.”

This racing business is a tough enough deal but race driver and teams both have difficulties when the racing is so sporadic. Tracks all over have been hard with rain throughout April and May and it is tough to evaluate your team and get some momentum going when Mother Nature shows her ugly head.

“We need to get on a roll,” mentioned Howard. “No rainouts, get some week in and week out racing going here and through some specials in there to race. It is very hard to see where you are when want to try something after a night of racing then you don’t race again for two or three weeks. That not only helps us the racers, but it helps the tracks as well when it comes to preparing the racetrack. Look, we lost a whole month of racing here and we all complain about the racetrack or me running good but all we need is for some continuous weeks of racing and it will all come together and that will help everybody from the teams to the tracks. Having a car like I did tonight gives me some confidence and I have told you before that is important for me and I think we can get some more wins if we can just keep racing.”

Laubach gets first podium of the year at Big Diamond

2022 has been quite the struggle for Rick Laubach at Big Diamond, the driver known as the “Quaker Shaker” has only made it to a couple of shows this year and when he has been there the results were less than stellar. Friday night, we saw the Laubach who has many wins and a track championship in “God’s Country” as he raced to an impressive third-place finish which will hopefully get his season turned around at Big Diamond.

“The car was very good tonight, it makes me sick that it got banged up though,” said Laubach as the team was loading up the Shaker Motorsports No. 20. “This is really the first time I got to actually race the car here this year and I still had no brakes. Without brakes, I couldn’t charge into the corners and get under anybody to pass them because I didn’t want to hit them. Basically, some of them just let me go and once I cleared them, I was good.

“We’ll be back and I don’t mind racing here, but I just wish the track was better. Tonight, it was much better and hopefully he can keep making it better each week. I wasn’t happy with how the track was last week and just pulled it in but tonight the track was way better, and you could race on it.”

Diamond Nuggets:

It has been a while since I have done a story on Big Diamond, with all the rainouts and myself having to miss a couple of weeks it seems like forever, but hopefully we can get on a roll here and get some racing in…

Twenty-one Insigner Performance Modifeds were on hand Friday night with heat wins going to Ken Eckert Jr, Ryan Watt and Duane Howard…

This was the second season in a row where Duane Howard has won the ‘topless’ race at Big Diamond Speedway. For Howard it was his 86th career Big Diamond victory…

Missing from action on Friday night was Jeff Strunk who decided to take a Friday off to regroup after his hard encounter with a yuke tire last Friday night. Strunk indicated to me that he will be back but just needed a week to recover after injuring his shin and hurting his back last week. Strunk did run at Bloomsburg last Wednesday but was not himself afterwards and was hurting…

Ryan Watt and the Shawn Fitzpatrick owned No. T102 have seemed like they are starting to hit their stride. Last Friday the team was a DNQ when something in the driveline broke while running away with the consi. This Friday, the team won their heat going away and with a good starting spot had high hopes in the feature. Unfortunately, Watt got caught up in an early tangle which resulted in him spinning and getting a flat tire. Watt pitted and returned to finish 7th

Some tough luck for Money in the Mountains winner Ryan Krachun on Friday. Starting on the front row after some a couple of bad races, Krachun had high hopes for the feature.  Unfortunately, the No. 29K only lasted a lap or two as Krachun pulled into the pits with mechanical issues…

Brett Kressley had a tire go flat a few laps after losing the lead to Howard forcing him to go pit side. Kressley returned to finish sixth…

Impressive run for USS Achey Crate 602 Sportsman driver Danny Buccafusca in winning the crate feature event. Buccafusca has been coming on strong the past two weeks with a win and a second-place finish and not sits second in the race for the championship…

After the past two season when Alex Schoffstall and Andrew Fayash III have seemingly dominated the Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunner division, it seems we have a new player on hand now as Mike Reichert has won the past two feature races and sits atop the points…

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