Column By: TOM WENNER / RPW – MINERSVILLE, PA – Duane Howard, Brett Kressley and Craig Von Dohren all entered Friday Night competition at Big Diamond Speedway with a mathematical chance to the win the championship.
The entire night of racing had a championship feel to it when you entered to the track. The heat racing action had a sense of urgency for all 3 drivers looking to grab an edge on points that are awarded in the heat races.
Brett Kressley was in heat race #1 and drove with a sense of urgency to the front and made a daring move to drive past Ryan Watt for the win in turn 2. Craig Von Dohren was in heat race #2 and he drove with a force to 2nd and was unable to run down leader Ken Eckert Jr. and ran out of time.
Duane Howard was in heat race #3 and gave the fans their money’s worth as he stood on the gas and drove that Getz Motorsports #15 like a Stars Wars Jedi. Howard at one point drove into turn 3 with so much power and momentum that he had the car on 2 wheels in his drive to the front of the pack.
Howard finished 2nd as well to Kevin Beach Jr. This set up an epic 25 lap Insinger Performance Championship feature to define who gets to place their name on the prestigious Big Diamond Speedway Championship trophy for 2022.
The Big Diamond Speedway Championship lineup showed Craig Von Dohren rolling off from 8th, Duane Howard from 9th and Brett Kressley from 10th for the 25 Lap A Main.
Corey Renninger and Ken Eckert Jr. lead the 24 car Insinger Performance field to the green flag.
At the drop of the green Corey Renninger took the lead with Kevin Beach Jr, Eckert Jr., Mike Lisowski, and Ryan Watt in his Roberts 14w Modified instead of the Fitzpatrick T102.
On lap 1 the yellow appeared for Louden Reimert who sustained rear end damaged from contact. Tom Solderich was spun off turn 4 as well. The field showed Renninger as your race leader with 1 down, Kevin Beach 2nd, Mike Lisowski 3rd, Ken Eckert Jr. 4th and Nick Rochinski 5th, Ryan Watt 6th, Shawn Light 7th, Duane Howard 8th, Craig Von Dohren 9th and Brett Kressley 10th.
On the restart Kevin Beach powered into the race lead with Renninger, Lisowski, Rochinski and Duane Howard in tow.
At the 3 down on the lap counter, Beach remained in race control out front with Lisowski now into 2nd, Rochinski into 3rd, Duane Howard racing to 4th, Brett Kressley chasing into 5th and Craig Von Dohren a close 6th.
On lap 4 the caution lights were displayed as Ken Eckert Jr. stopped in turn 4. Eckert rejoined the rear of the field. Kevin Beach remained your race leader with 4 down. Lisowski, Rochinski, Howard, Kressley, Von Dohren, Rick Laubach, Renninger, Whitmoyer, and Watt in chase mode.
The field was restacked and on the attempted restart Wayne Witmer and Ken Eckert Jr. got together to cause another yellow. Witmer was towed off. Eckert went to the pits and Heath Metzger visited the pits. Metzger returned to action.
The field was reset and green displayed again as Beach kept race control out front. Nick Rochinski was in command of 2nd while Brett “The Threat” took the Kressley’s Auto & Truck Sales” to the top around Mike Lisowski and Duane Howard for 3rd, Lisowski was 4th and Howard moved to 5th.
On lap 9 the caution lights were displayed again as #3 man in the points Craig Von Dohren had the Dissinger Motorsports #88 stopped in turn 4. Craig rejoined the tale of the field. Kevin Beach Jr. continued to set the pace out front, Rochinski, Kressley, Howard, Lisowski, Strada, Laubach, and Watt was the running order under caution.
We go back to green flag racing with Beach out front once again. On lap 10 Cliff Quin retired the 69 to the pits.
On lap 11 Nick Rochinski took the Rochinski Enterprises #20R into the race lead, Beach moved to 2nd, Duane Howard passes Brett Kressley for 3rd, Kressley 4th, and Eddie Strada was 5th.
On Lap 15 Craig Von Dohren retired the Dave Dissinger #88 to the pit area. Nick Rochinski remained the race leader with Duane Howard now coming alive in his move into 2nd. Beach, Kressley, Strada, Lisowski and Laubach all in chase mode.
On lap 20 with 5 laps to go Duane Howard was running down race leader Nick Rochinski. The Butch Getz Motorsports #15 was coming alive and Duane found speed down in the low groove and was rotating the bottom like a champ. Brett Kressley was solidly in 3rd, Kevin Beach Jr. 4th and Eddie Strada made up the Top 5 with 5 to go.
Lap 21 was the magical point of the race for Duane Howard as he snuck by Nick Rochinski for the race lead. Rochinski to 2nd, Kressley in 3rd, Beach, 4th,and Strada 5th.
The race remained caution free and clear from lap 22 to the end as Duane Howard drove away from the field while navigating some late lap traffic at the end of the race. Duane drove with authority and a sense of urgency over the last 4 laps to score the win.
Duane scored the feature win his 89th career win while securing his 9th Big Diamond Speedway championship. Nick Rochinski finished 2nd, Brett Kressley was 3rd, Kevin Beach Jr. 4th, Eddie Strada 5th, Rick Laubach 6th, Ryan Watt 7th, Mike Lisowski 8th, Craig Whitmoyer 9th, and Corey Renninger 10th.
Duane spoke in victory lane about missing out on last years championship with the extended season and the Getz Motorsports Team was not allowing this one to slip by. Duane credited the entire Butch Getz Motorsports team for one fast hot rod. He thanked Billy “The Kid” Racing Engines, Bicknell Racing Products and Penske Shocks for their support all year.
Howard referenced the “Old Timers” still having it as the young guns coming into the sport are challenging them every week. Duane shared that in the early part of the feature he needed the track to come to him, early on it did not but as the feature progressed forward his Bicknell #15G came to life and he was able to rotate the bottom like no other competitor was able and drive to the win.
The new champ mentioned that he had to be aggressive on his drive forward and thanked everyone for racing him clean, including Brett Kressley. He commented that Brett is a hell of a competitor and gave him a great run down the stretch while even mentioning that Brett will get his championships. 89th career win for Duane Howard and 9th Big Diamond Speedway championship.
Only one race weekend left for the Big Diamond Speedway, Friday September 2 and Sunday, September 4th. Friday action has MASS 305 Sprints, 602 Crates, Roadrunners, and Wingless Super Sportsman. Sunday the famed Jack Rich Coalcracker 72 paying a cool $17.500 to win + 602 Crates paying $1500 to win and Roadrunners paying $500 to win.