Buckwalter in Business at Big Diamond, Opener Notes – DTD Exclusive

By KEN BRUCE

It hasn’t been the start to 2021 that Timmy Buckwalter had envisioned. The Douglasville, Pa. driver has struggled so far this season no matter where he has raced. Driving the Dan Sommeling No. 51 in Florida and up north on the Short Track Super Series trail the team has shown some speed but has been plagued with breakdowns or bad pill draws that have hampered their efforts.

Friday night, back in the Norm Saxton No. 23X that he drove at Big Diamond last season, Buckwalter made it known to the weekly competition at Big Diamond that they will be a team to be reckoned with in 2021 as Buckwalter drove to a convincing victory in the season opener to collect the $4,000 prize.

“Man, we needed that,” said a relieved Buckwalter while standing in the tech shed next to his winning hotrod. “My confidence hasn’t been the greatest and this definitely helps cure that for sure. We have a new team there with the No. 51 and we have been struggling some with the set-up. We are finally starting to get some speed in that car, but just cannot get through the feature.

“I brought Norm’s car out to Grandview last week and even though we went from starting 18th to finishing 8th, I just left too much on the table. I missed on the set-up and we ran the last 20 laps on a flat. I know this car here has speed and tonight it showed.”




Buckwalter made this race his own. Starting from the pole, it was no doubt who had the car to beat on this night. Buckwalter led all 25 laps and was never seriously challenged except on a mid-race restart when Alex Yankowski got alongside of him, but Buckwalter just powered the Bicknell chassis, Morrison powered No. 23X by Yankowski coming out of turn two and was gone. Without anymore cautions to slow his pace, Buckwalter walked away from the rest of the field to take the dominating win.

“This car has been so good to me since we brought it out last year,” cited Buckwalter. “We got a few wins with it early on and then I had my injury.  After that it just sat until we started getting ready for this year.”

With most of the Modifieds switching to a coil over set-up, Buckwalter went with the tried-and-true torsion bar set-up on the No. 23X and it paid off for him on this night.

“A lot of these guys are on coils,” explained Buckwalter. “Over the winter, I bolted coils on this car, but at the last minute before Grandview I took it all back off and went to my bar package. I’m not saying I won’t do the coils in the future, but right now it’s tough to get off what I got and what seems to work on this car.”

Big Diamond Gems:

28 Modifieds were on hand for opening night at Big Diamond with the three heats going to Timmy Buckwalter, Billy Pauch Jr & Dominick Buffalino. The consi was won by Craig Von Dohren

Danny Bouc made his Big Diamond debut with the Norm Hansell owned Norm’s Save Station No. 357 on Friday night. Bouc showed a lot of speed all night and was running near the top five most of the feature until the late laps when the car started to fade with Bouc posting an eighth-place finish. The team thought there was maybe a suspension issue late in race causing a problem…

The Glenn Hyneman owned No. 126 also came to Big Diamond with a new wheelman for 2021 in Dominick Buffalino. Buffalino, who was coming off two consecutive wins at New Egypt and Bridgeport, has only ran at Big Diamond a handful of times in the past.  On this night Buffalino looked right at home winning his heat race easily and finishing a strong sixth in the feature race. Look for good things from this team this season in God’s country…

Duane Howard and Butch Getz are yet another new team that made it’s first start on Friday and showed good speed all night coming home with a solid fourth place finish. This combination was also coming off a big win last Saturday night at Grandview Speedway…

Reunited with his good friend Dave Zubikowski, Jeff Strunk returned to the seat of the Zubi’s Racing No. 88Z. Strunk looked strong in his heat and again in the feature until a mechanical issue cropped up early in the race forcing Strunk to pull into the infield and out of the race…

Kyle Merkel made his Big Diamond debut in the beautiful KAM Fueled Racing No. 291 and showed promise for the upcoming season…

Ryan Krachun showed a lot of speed on Friday night aboard the Bicknell chassis No. 29K. Krachun who started fourth in the feature had an issue early in the race and found himself outside the top ten but eventually worked his way back up to finish third passing some high quality modifieds along the way. Congratulation to Ryan and the No. 29K team on getting their first career win on Saturday night at Bridgeport…

Defending track champion Mike Gular had a rare off night at Big Diamond. Gular struggled throughout the night with the Terry Fastnacht No. 2A finishing the feature in a dismal 12th

Rick Laubach and his wife Tara launched their “Shaker Motorsports” over the offseason with plans to compete weekly at Big Diamond. Laubach struggled with their new TEO Pro-Elite car all night but look for the Quaker Shaker to get that No. 20 dialed in soon…

Last year’s Open Sportsman champion Brad Brightbill hopped in the Vince Gagliardo No. 41 for Friday night. The team qualified for the feature but suffered a DNF…

Tim Fitzpatrick totally dominated the USS Achey Open Sportsman feature leading all 20 laps for his first Big Diamond Sportsman win with former Sportsman champion Doug Hendrick finishing second…

Steve Lyle was the winner of the Crate 602 feature over Doug Snyder…

Shoutout to my little buddy Logan Watt who made his first ever start at Big Diamond Speedway in the Crate 602 division. Watt ran a nice steady race and finished his first race with a solid third place finish aboard the No. 4M (aka Stitch)…

Next up for Big Diamond Speedway is the annual “Money in the Mountains” race scheduled for this Friday night April 16th. Unlike previous years which were run under the Brett Deyo Short Track Super Series rules, this year’s race will be a spec small block/big block race only. DirtTrackDigest.com will be sponsoring a $400 to win cash dash for the modifieds on this night…

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