Column By: TOM WENNER / RPW – MINERSVILLE, PA – Duane Howard took the Butch Getz Motorsports Big Creek Concrete Bicknell 15g on an epic ride Friday night in the Georgie Stevenson Memorial by passing race leader Brett Kressley with five-to-go to score the PA Tri-Track Series race win.
Duane who is the Big Diamond Speedway point leader was on a mission and did an incredible job running down race leader Brett Kressley in the Kressley’s Auto Truck Sales Bicknell 19k late in the race to grab the feature win.
Kressley took over the race lead on lap 3 and was virtually walking away from the field with leads of a straightaway or more at times.
The race was slowed by only 3 caution flags and Kressley managed the pace out front with a large lead for most of the race. At the 10 to go mark, Duane Howard was reeling in the Kressley 19k and the fans were set up for an epic ending to the Georgie Stevenson Memorial.
As the race came to the 5 to go mark with the Big D fans on their feet Duane made a run out of turn 4 on the bottom with Kressley on the high side and lap car in traffic next to them, contact was made between Howard and Kressley as the 19k hit the wall. Kressley was able to keep the 19k under power while holding down the 2nd place spot in the race.
Duane Howard on the other hand had blasted into the lead and clicked off the last 5 laps for the Georgie Stevenson Memorial $3500 score, his 87th career Big Diamond Speedway victory.
Mother Nature finally allowed the gates of Big Diamond Speedway to open up and hold some outstanding racing action. Jake Smulley and the entire Big Diamond Speedway staff deserve kudos for pulling off a great night of racing under hot and humid conditions after the Georgie Stevenson Memorial Race night was cancelled on the July 4th holiday weekend due to weather.
The racing surface for all of the main events was outstanding all night long. Roadrunners raced in Twin-15 mains, Modifieds went 30 laps for $3500 and The Crate 602 Sportsman raced for $1000. The fans were treated to a nice 30 minute Fireworks display before the PA-Tri Track Modified main event.
Doug Manmiller and Jack Butler led the 24 car field to green.
Doug Manmiller took the Jason Miller Racing 44 into the lead at the green. With the field stacked behind Doug, It was go time immediately as the pace had a frantic feel right from the start. Jack Butler, Louden Reimert and Brett Kressley followed Manmiller at the start.
On lap 2 the caution lights were turned on as Eddie Strada was backed into the turn 3 wall and had to be towed off. Doug Manmiller was your race leader with Brett Kressley in 2nd, Jack Butler in 3rd, Louden Reimert 4th, Duane Howard 5th, and Craig Von Dohren in 6th.
The field was restacked and Doug Manmiller brought the field back to the green flag, Brett Kressley made a run on the top and took over the race lead on lap 3. Manmiller moved to 2nd, Jack Butler 3rd, Reimert 4th, Howard 5th, Buckwalter 6th and Craig Von Dohren 7th.
On lap 6 the caution lights were once again displayed as PA Tri-Track Series point Leader Timmy Buckwalter took the 23x off the backstretch and came to a stop. The Buckwalter 23x went to the pits and did not return. Brett Kressley was the race leader and controlling the pace out front, Doug Manmiller 2nd, Butler 3rd, Reimert 4th, Howard 5th, Von Dohren 6th, Gular 7th, Pauch Jr. 8th, Rochinski 9th, and Mike Lisowski 10th.
The field was restacked and the Kressley Northern Valley Erectors 19k was given the green light once again. Kressley took command out front. The Von Dohren Dissinger 88x was showing some smoke on the restart. Doug Manmiller was still controlling 2nd, Duane Howard had now moved to 3rd, Louden Reimert moved to 4th, and Jack Butler 5th.
On Lap 9 the yellow lights were flashing for the 3rd time on the night. Mike Gular’s Conestoga Valley Custom Kitchens 2A Bicknell had suffered a left front flat tire. Mike was running in 7th when this occurred. The Gular team changed the sneaker and Mike returned to racing action. Brett Kressley was still your race leader and he was not being challenged at the front for the lead. Doug Manmiller, Duane Howard, Louden Reimert, and Jack Butler were the Top-5.
The field was restacked and back to green flag the Georgie Stevenson Memorial we went. Brett Kressley raced back to the lead with Duane Howard moving to 2nd now, Manmiller slid to 3rd, Craig Von Dohren to 4th and Louden Reimert 5th.
At the halfway mark of the race Kressley was the race leader and had driven to a full straightaway lead over Howard in 2nd.
At the Lap 20 mark of the race Brett Kressley was now hitting lap traffic and Duane Howard had the Getz Motorsports Big Creek Concrete Bicknell 15g starting to reel in the Kressley 19k. Doug Manmiller was 3rd, Louden Reimert 4th and Craig Von Dohren 5th, Billy Pauch Jr. 6th, and Jeff Strunk 7th in his maiden voyage behind the wheel of the Keystone Racing #126 after winning the consolation race and starting 19th.
On lap 23, Duane Howard was closing in on Brett Kressley in lapped traffic.
On lap 25, with 5 to go it was time for Duane Howard to make his move. Kressley was on the top side and Duane made a move on the bottom coming out of turn 4. As both racers hit the starters stand with a lap car nearby, contact was made between Howard and Kressley and Kressley bounced off the front stretch wall. Duane Howard took command of the race and Brett Kressley lost the lead and as it appeared that the Kressley 19k was wounded from the wall contact.
Duane was not contested over the final 4 laps and drove off to a crowd standing 87th career Big Diamond Speedway victory and The 2022 Georgie Stevenson Memorial Champion. Brett Kressley was able to keep the Brett Kressley Racing 19k under power and finished 2nd, Louden Reimert 3rd, Billy Pauch Jr. 4th, and Jeff Strunk 5th from 19th starting spot in the Keystone Racing 126 maiden voyage, Craig Von Dohren 6th, Doug Manmiller 7th, Nick Rochinski 8th, Rick Laubach 9th, and Jack Butler 10th.
In victory lane Duane commented that Kressley was not a happy camper after the race and showed his displeasure to Duane post race. In the post race interview Duane showed how hungry he is after all these years to get that Getz Motorsports 15g to the front of the pack. Duane mentioned that the Getz team did something different with race setup tonight and at the beginning of the race it was not right, but at the end it was lights out fast. Duane praised the Big Diamond track crew for a great racing surface and dedicated the Georgie Stevenson victory to the entire Butch Getz Motorsports team, “They work their butts and deserve this one”.