POTTSVILLE, PA – Duane Howard and the Getz Motorsports team took advantage of a late restart to make the winning pass of Timmy Buckwalter to win the Fritz Roehrig Memorial Money in the Mountains race at Big Diamond Speedway in the Quandel Concrete Modifieds in front of a massive crowd on a warm beautiful April night. Howard’s win was his 90th career modified win at the speedway. The No. 15G team took home $10,000 for their winning effort.
In the USS Achey Crate 602 Sportsman, it was win number two of the season for Logan Watt who held off the challenges of defending Sportsman champion Brandon Edgar for the $1,500 win. It was also double down time for Alex Schoffstall in the Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunners winning for the second time this season.
Invader Jack Butler and the track’s all-time feature winner Craig Von Dohren led the 24-car starting field to the green in the 50-lap Fritz Roehrig Memoria MITM race with Butler jumping out to the advantage as last week’s opening night winner Von Dohren uncharacteristically fell back to fourth as Timmy Buckwalter and Louden Reimert went by. The entire race was permeated by eleven caution periods with the first yellow coming out on lap three when Doug Smith Jr stopped in turn four. The restart saw Butler continue to lead with Buckwalter in tow. At this point, seventh-place starter Duane Howard moved past Von Dohren up into fourth. Yellow slowed the action once again on lap 13 when Ryan Grim dumped some fluid going into turn one with Rick Laubach and Ken Eckert Jr being caught up and spinning.
The race resumed with Butler out in front, but the race was slowed again on lap 14 for debris on the track. When the field got back to racing, it was once again Butler showing his strength on this night to pull out to a safe lead. Butler continued to lead until lap 17 when the leader abruptly slowed coming down the frontstretch and headed straight up the turn one pit entrance ending his strong race. Buckwalter managed to avoid the slowing Butler and was now the new leader with Howard now up to second. Brett Kressley was a driver on the move after starting 10th, now up to fourth behind Buckwalter, Howard and Reimert.
Starter Jeff Merkel displayed the yellow again on lap 23 when the No. 20R of Nick Rochinski stopped on the pit entrance. Green was back out with Buckwalter holding off a hard charging Howard. At the halfway mark on lap 25 it was Buckwalter still leading over Howard, Kressley, Jeff Strunk and Reimert. Buckwalter was holding a comfortable lead over Howard when the yellow flag came out on lap 32 when Mike Gular and Anthony Perrego came together. The green was back but only for two laps as Billy Pauch Jr slowed with a left rear suspension problem with Von Dohren also pulling to the infield with what appeared to be front end issues. After one restart was called back, it was back to racing with Buckwalter continuing to lead the way but unlike before Howard was not letting the leader get away and was starting to put pressure on Buckwalter.
Just as the battle for the lead was starting to heat up, Dylan Swinehart slowed on lap 42 to bring out yet another yellow with the top five consisting of Buckwalter, Howard, Reimert, Dillon Steuer and Strunk. After letting Buckwalter get the better of him on the previous restarts, Howard was ready this time. The two small block stars raced side by side down the entire front stretch before Howard was able to take it harder into turn one to take over the lead. Once in front Howard started to pull away but yet again another yellow was put out after Jared Umbenhauer slowed to a stop. Howard was ready for the restart and kept in front of Buckwalter and looked to be home free until Kressley spun off of turn two after smoke billowed from underneath the No. 19K on lap 48.
What proved to be the final restart found Howard able to hold off Buckwalter for the final two laps to win his first Big Diamond race of the season and continue the team’s great start to the year. Buckwalter would finish second with Reimert in third for the second time this year. Steuer and Eddie Strada would round out the top five.
“Hell, yeah man, we have a heckuva a season going on,” said an ecstatic Howard in victory lane. “I might be a little skinny, but I have a lot of fire in me, and we are going to have an outstanding year. Timmy was running me over the berm a little over there and I kind of returned the favor. It was tough to restart on the outside, Jake tried to get the track a little wider but it was really bottom dominant but that will change as the season goes on. We have such a strong race car; we focused all winter on making some changes on what we do and where we go, and I am telling you this team is clicking so good and I have a lot of fire in my butt. That was a tough one, the car could have been a little better, but we are $10,000 richer and we won the Money in the Mountains, that is great.”
The companion MITM USS Achey Crate Sportsman race was another caution filled race with Brandon Oleski and Jordan Henn on the front row at the start. Oleski was the leader as one lap was scored. Henn would take the lead on a lap two restart. Opening night winner Logan Watt moved past Oleski and into second place from his fourth place starting spot. A lap five yellow slowed the action just as Watt was making the pass of Henn for the lead. The yellow allowed Henn to regain the lead but on the restart, Watt was not to be denied and powered around Henn for lead. Multiple cautions plagued the remaining laps, but Watt was able to hold off his pursuers through them all. Edgar was finally able to work his way past Henn and into second. A lap 18 restart saw Edgar put the pressure on Watt, getting alongside the leader through the turns but Watt never wavered and was able to keep his momentum up to power back ahead off of the turns to take his second win in a row over Edgar, Henn, Mike Schneck and Talon Carter. Watt also became the first Crate Sportsman driver to win three races in a row dating back to him winning the Coalcracker Crate Sportsman race last September. Watt’s efforts paid off with a nice payday of $1,500.
“To win on my dad’s birthday, especially after what happened on Wednesday,” cited Watt in victory lane. “I was really concerned and very happy I won for him. “I knew Brandon was fast and saw he came up from seventh to third and would probably use the outside to get around (Jordan) Henn. I knew he was going to try something, and I messed up down in one and missed the bottom and I felt him there and was able to run him down and we ran each other clean like we always do.”
In the 15-lap Big Creek Concrete Crate 602 Rookie feature it was Jax Yohn winning over Brennan Chapman, Danica Getz, last week’s winner Bryce Bashore and Chase Rehbein.
The Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunner feature saw Alex Schoffstall and Chuck Fayash wage a war for the win with Schoffstall coming out on top. Terry Kramer led the opening lap, but a red flag stopped the action on lap two as rookie Eric Buchinski got upside down in turn three, Buchinski was okay afterwards. Fayash took the lead on the restart with Schoffstall trailing in second. Lap 11 saw Fayash and Schoffstall make contact battling for the lead with Fayash staying on top. Lap 12 saw the two leaders make contact again as Fayash retained the top spot. Lap 17 saw Schoffstall return the favor and push Fayash out of the groove to move by for the lead. Schoffstall would go on to win over Fayash, Jim Kost and Kramer.
Full Results from April 14th, 2023 – Money in the Mountains
Quandel Concrete Mofieds (50 Laps): 1. Duane Howard 2. Timmy Buckwalter 3. Louden Reimert 4. Dillon Steuer 5. Eddie Strada 6. Alex Yankowski 7. Nick Rochinski 8. Anthony Perrego 9. Jeff Strunk 10. Mike Gular 11. Bobby Trapper Sr 12. Rick Laubach 13. Ken Eckert Jr 14. Brett Kressley 15. Jared Umbenhauer 16. Dylan Swinehart 17. Billy Pauch Jr 18. Craig Von Dohren 19. Jack Butler 20. Kevin Beach Jr 21. Ryan Grim 22. Shawn Light 23. Mike Lisowski 24. Doug Smith Jr
Did Not Qualify: Bryan Rhoads, Tim Fitzpatrick, Scott Albert, Corey Renninger, Shawn Fitzpatrick, Wayne Witmer, Heath Metzger, Josh Allen, Dave Dissinger, Frank Cozze, Hunger Metzger
Modified Heat Winners: Dillon Steuer, Louden Reimert, Ryan Grim & Ken Eckert Jr
Modified Consi Winners: Eddie Strada & Mike Lisowski
Penski Racing Shocks Gift Certificates: Duane Howard ($100), Timmy Buckwalter ($75) & Louden Reimert ($50)
$150 Hard Charger Award courtesy of The 4-Wide Salute: A Dirt Racing Podcast: Eddie Strada +16
$100 for the worst redraw spot (12th) courtesy of Richard East, LLC Mechanical Contractors: Mike Gular
USS Achey Crate 602 Sportsman: 1. Logan Watt 2. Brandon Edgar 3. Jordan Henn 4. Mike Schneck 5. Danny Buccafusca 6. Talan Carter 7. Paulie Hartwig III 8. Matt Yoder 9. Mike Stofflet 10. Decker Swinehart 11. Kevin Olenick 12. Daryl Dissinger 13. Mike Loney 14. Zach Steffey 15. Brandon Firestine 16. Marty Shappell 17. Kevin Kaplafka 18. Xavier Sprague 19. Nick Desantis 20. Brandon Oleski 21. Justin Lilick 22. John McGeoy 23. Matt Martino 24. Shon Elk
Sportsman Heat Winners: Jordan Henn, Paulie Hartwig III & Brandon Edgar
Penske Racing Shock Gift Certificates: Logan Watt ($100), Brandon Edgar ($75) & Jordan Henn ($50)
$75 Hard Charger Award courtesy of Dereka Mae Designs: Talan Carter +12
$50 for the worst redraw spot (12th) courtesy of Richard East, LLC Mechanical Contractors: Justin Lilick
Big Creek Concrete Crate 602 Sportsman Rookie Feature: 1. Jax Yohn 2. Brennan Chapman 3. Danica Getz 4. Bryce Bashore 5. Chase Rehbein 6. McKenzie Smith 7. Matt Fidler 8. Brady Shea 9. Alex Bartorillo 10. Hailey Eroh 11. Black Vidan (DNS)
Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunners: 1. Alex Schoffstall 2. Chuck Fayash 3. Jim Kost 4 Terry Kramer 5. CJ Ferguson 6. Samantha Zipp 7. Kris Ney 8. Joey Brennan 9. Blaine Fritz 10. Erick Buchinski
Roadrunner Heat Winner: Jim Kost