RPW Column: Duane Howard’s The Diamond Cutter; Scores COOL $4000 Win On Big Diamond’s Topless Night

Column By: TOM WENNER / RPW – MINERSVILLE, PA – Duane Howard is known as the Diamond Cutter at the Big Diamond Speedway and on Friday night, Howard cut through the Spec 358 Modified 30 Lap field like a Diamond Cutter scoring the Topless $4,000 win.

Once a season Jake Smulley and the Big Diamond staff schedule the Spec 358 Modifieds to go Topless and it is a fans treat to watch the PA’s Modified best go wheel to wheel in God’s Country on the Diamond Red Clay for extra laps and extra money. The Big Diamond Topless Night paid a cool $4000 to win and ran an extra 5 laps for the big money.

The Big Creek Concrete Butch Getz #15g has made this Topless event their showcase as Duane won the event in 2021 and Friday night left no doubt that this is something that the Getz 15g race team is well prepared for. Howard unloaded a bullet from the Getz Hauler on Friday, 3rd fastest in warmup.

Duane won the heat race by 2.3 seconds, Started P9 in the 30 lap Insinger Performance A Main and drove to the front passing Brett Kressley for the lead on Lap 13 and never looked back scoring the popular win.

Ken Eckert Jr. and Ryan Krachun led the 21 car Insinger Performance Modified field to the green flag. Ryan Krachun nosed into the lead at the start with Ryan Watt and Kevin Beach Jr. in tow quickly behind. The caution lights came on quickly as the field headed for a lap when Kevin Beach and Ryan Watt got together on the backstretch. Dan Hineline was involved and had to be towed to the pits. During this caution Ryan Krachun headed to the infield and pits. Ryan Watt headed to the pits for a quick visit and returned to the track. Big D track officials put Kevin Beach Jr. to the rear for aggressive driving for his involvement in the incident.

The field was restacked and set for racing action. Ken Eckert Jr. was the man out front now, Mike Lisowski in 2nd, Nick Rochinski 3rd, Brett Kressley was 4th from his 7th starting spot, and Point Leader Loudon Reimert 5th.

The green lights are turned back on and Corey Renninger spun the #3 in turn 3 a lap later when the caution lights were quickly turned back on. Renninger takes the #3 to the pit area for quick service. Shawn Fitzpatrick takes the T102 to the pits after driving off the backstretch berm on the restart. Rick Laubach takes the Shaker Motorsports #20 to the pits for service. Laubach and Fitzpatrick rejoin the field.

The field is again reset with Mike Lisowski now leading the field, Eckert is 2nd, Brett Kressley is now 3rd, Rochinski 4th, and Loudon Reimert 5th. The field heads back to green and another skirmish happens on the front stretch by the starters stand. This time Cliff Quinn’s #69 is sitting heavily damaged and Kevin Beach Jr.’s 17b needs assistance to the pits. Corey Renninger was involved with the #3 and Kenny Hildebrant in 181. All 4 went to the pits. Rick Laubach visits the pit again for service. Laubach, Renninger and Hildebrant rejoin the field for racing action.

After the cleanup and the field is reset, The Insinger Performance Modifieds get the green flag with Mike Lisowski taking the M&J Construction #15 to the lead once again. Brett Kressley moves into 2nd and is looking for back to back Big Diamond wins. On the next lap by, Brett “The Threat” Kressley drives the Kressley’s Auto & Truck Sales #19k to the lead while dropping Lisowski to 2nd, Rochinski and Craig Von Dohren are close behind.

As the field is coming for lap 4 the caution is displayed for Corey Renninger while Kenny Hildebrant takes the 181 to the pits. Brett Kressley is looking very strong at this point, Mike Lisowski in 2nd, Nick Rochinski 3rd, Craig Von Dohren 4th, Ken Eckert Jr. 5th.

The field is quickly reset and we are back racing as Kressley darts to the lead. Nick Rochinski moves into 2nd as the field drops 5 down, Craig Von Dohren follows to 3rd, Duane Howard moves into 4th and Mike Lisowski falls back to 5th.

The pace is quickly picking up as green flag laps are quickly turned. Kressley is out front and pulling away, Duane Howard moves into 3rd on Lap 8. Rochinski is in 2nd. Von Dohren is 4th and Eddie Strada is 5th from his 8th starting spot.

On Lap 9, Mike Lisowski pulls the #15 to the infield

At the 10 down circuit, Brett Kressley was in control, Duane Howard is continuing his race to the front as the Diamond Cutter was now 2nd, Nich Rochinski slides back to 3rd, Craig Von Dohren in 4th, and Ken Eckert Jr. in the X1 holding down 5th.

On Lap 13, Coming out of turn 4 Duane Howard had run down Brett Kressley and made the pass for the lead dropping Kressley to 2nd, Rochinski 3rd, Von Dohren 4th, and Eckert 5th.

At the halfway point of the event, Duane Howard was on mission pulling away from the field. Kressley and Rochinski in tow.

Ryan Watt who pitted and returned from a lap 1 accident was making the drive from the back as Watt was into the Top 10 in 9th. The Fitzpatrick 102 Team Car was running strong and Ryan would have been a contender for the race if he had not been taken out of contention early in the event.

As the field was scored for Lap 19, Joel Smith took the 555 to the pits. The caution lights then came on quickly for Brett Kressley who had stopped in turn 4 with a right rear flat tire. Kressley was running second at the time of the flat. Bobby Trapper Jr. took the #2 to the pits during this caution.

As the field circled the Big D Red Clay – Howard was the leader, Craig Von Dohren had now moved into 2nd, Nick Rochinski 3rd, Ken Eckert 4th, and Eddie Strada moved into the Top 5. Brett Kressley returned to the racing action with a new sneaker on the RR.

The green is dropped and Duane Howard takes the Big Creek Concrete Bicknell 15g back to the lead with Craig Von Dohren and Nick Rochinski in tow.

On Lap 20 the yellow lights are back on as Scott Albert and Shawn Fitzpatrick were collected on the backstretch. The field was reset and we are back to a 10 Lap race to the $4000 to win checkered flag. Howard is your leader, Von Dohren in 2nd, Rochinski 3rd, Strada 4th, Rick Laubach driving from the rear of the field to 5th, Reimert 6th, Watt 7th, Brett Kressley driving from the rear of the field to 8th.

The green is displayed for 10 to go. Duane Howard immediately drives to the lead. CVD in 2nd, Rochinski 3rd, Laubach drives to 4th in a very fast Shaker Motorsports 20, and Strada in 5th.

Duane Howard easily drives away from the field over the final 10 laps to score an impressive back to back Topless Insinger Performance Spec 358 Modified wins. Craig Von Dohren is 2nd, Rick Laubach who pitted several times early in the race and drove from the rear to an impressive 3rd place finish, Nick Rochinski 4th, Eddie Strada 5th, Brett Kressley 6th rebounding from a lap 19 flat tire to score an impressive 6th from a rear drive to the front, Ryan Watt 7th another driver who had to drive from the rear to the front, Ken Eckert Jr. 8th, Loudon Reimert 9th, and Heath Metzgar 10th.

Duane’s victory is career win number 86, Back-to-Back Topless wins in ’21 and now ’22. Duane commented that he does not know if they are going to put a roof back on this car again. The Getz #15 was a complete rocket ship. Duane immediately thanked the Getz family, Bob, Butch and the crew for battling through the early season. Duane said “The car frees up without the body on it and the air flows off the back deck allowing me to drive it much better”. Duane thanked Dave Reedy from Penske Shocks and Billy “The Kid” Racing Engines for their support of the Getz Racing Team.

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