Column By: TOM WENNER / RPW – MINERSVILLE, PA – Ryan Krachun has finished second several times in his career at the Big Diamond Speedway. He’s come close on several other occasions, but has never been able to close the deal in God’s Country.
On Friday night, Krachun did that by leading wire to wire and holding off Alex Yankowski and Brett Kressley for a crowd standing popular win.
Ryan picked the perfect race to punch his ticket on the Big Diamond Speedway historic feature winners list. The lucrative Fritz Roehrig Money in Mountains feature win was worth $12,000 to the #29 Krachun team.
Big Diamond Speedway was once again blessed with an exceptional car count. 42 Spec 358 Modified were pitside. Some notable invaders in the field Ryan Godown, Anthony Perrego, Richie Pratt Jr., Jared Umbenhauer, Jack Butler and Mad Max McLaughlin. The heat and consolation race action was worth the price of admission alone. The coveted 24 starting spots made qualifying very difficult for many teams. The consolation races were loaded with many stars and some high profile teams were forced to watch the event from the sidelines. A case in point, opening day winner Jeff Strunk was not able to gain entry into the field and Northeast Modified winner Ryan Godown was not able to qualify for the event either. Jake Smulley worked his magic on the new Big D clay and the track was once again super racy for all divisions.
Doug Manmiller and Richie Pratt Jr. led the 24 car starting field to the 35 lap A Main green flag. Ryan Krachun from his 3rd starting spot darted into the early lead as the yellow lights were quickly displayed for a lap 1 caution. Doug Snyder in the 27 stopped on the front stretch and Jared Umbenhauer was towed off on the business end of the wrecker in turn 4.
The field was reset after a lap scored and the green was displayed once again. Krachun took command again and Brett Kressley moved into 2nd from his 5th starting spot as the “The Threat” was showing some early race speed. As the field was coming for green Nate Brinker, Max McLaughlin and Billy Pauch Jr. tangled right in front of the flagman. Pauch Jr. pulled away and headed pitside. A red flag was displayed to clean up the accident. Max was sitting on top of Brinker’s 14. Both cars had sustained severe damage and were done for the night. The Pauch Jr. team was able to repair his car and return him to the field for racing action.
Once the front stretch was cleaned up, The field was reset for a lap 3 restart. At the drop of the green Krachun sped off with a nice lead as Kressley, Pratt Jr., Yankowski, Gular, Beach, Von Dohren, Buckwalter and Manmiller followed.
With 5 down and the field clicking off laps at a rapid pace Krachun was getting away from Kressley with an open track. Pratt Jr. was maintaining 3rd in a rare Big D appearance, Alex Yankowski in 4th, Mike Gular in 5th.
Ryan Krachun started to hit lap traffic by lap 12. Frank Cozze took the 401 pitside at this point.
As the field headed for lap 20, all racing was under green flag conditions and the pace of the race was fast and quick. Krachun was slicing through lap traffic quickly. Kressley was starting to run him down. Alex Yankowski was now in 3rd and starting to chase the top 2. Gular was now 4th with Pratt Jr. in 5th. Dillon Steuer 17z dropped from the event at this point.
With 15 to go Brett Kressley was reeling in Krachun. The bottom of the track was the preferred lane for racing. Lap traffic was not easy to navigate and Krachun now had the Kressley 19k Bicknell in his rear view mirror.
Lap 22 Krachun was still the leader, but Kressley was now at his rear bumper and Alex Yankowski was closing on both of them quickly. Laps were clicking off a rapidly and you could throw a blanket over Krachun and Kressley. Both racers vying for the bottom of the track. Krachun was now forced to be aggressive in choices of his moves with lap traffic while being defensive as Kressley was looking for a mistake and way to get by and speed off with 13 to go. Yankowski was only a few car lengths back at this point.
By lap 28 the leaders were bumper to bumper as Krachun led, Kressley was in 2nd and Yankowski was in 3rd followed by Gular and Von Dohren who were well back from the top 3. All of this action is under green flag conditions.
As the starter dropped his 5 to go hand, The top 3 remained the same. Krachun remained the leader but Brett Kressley was now looking for a way by. It was go time and the “The Threat” was testing the top of the track. Yankowski was right there looking to strike.
After a failed attempt at the high side in turns 1 & 2 for the lead Kressley made a strong run at the bottom of Krachun and had to check up, this move allowed Yankowski to sneak by into 2nd. While was going Krachun was able to open up some breathing room. The starter gave the 2 to go flags as the fans were standing on the feet.
Ryan Krachun was able to speed under the double checkered flags for his 1st career win at the Big Diamond Speedway, Alex Yankowski secured a strong 2nd, Brett Kressley finished 3rd, Mike Gular 4th, Craig Von Dohren in the 30 in 5th, followed by Pratt Jr. 6th, Buckwalter 7th, Buffalino 8th, Beach 9th, Reimert 10th.
Victory Lane was popular place after the win, Ryan Krachun is a very popular racer at Big Diamond and fans dumped into victory lane. Dino Oberto’s victory lane interview showed how emotional Krachun was as Ryan thanked his parents, Cody and the crew. Ryan thanked his friends in the Dog Pound. Ryan gave appreciation to Bicknell Racing Products, Morgantini Racing Engines, and Dig Race Shocks.