Story By: BIG DIAMOND SPEEDWAY – MINERSVILLE, PA – This Friday night, it will crown jewel race number two in 2023 for the Quandel Concrete 358 Modifieds when promoters Jake and Jasmine Smulley present the “Prelude to the Coalcracker” race at Big Diamond Speedway paying a cool $10,000 to the winner.
The USS Achey, Inc 602 Crate Sportsman will also race for some extra cash on Friday night with their feature paying $1,500 to the winner. Also, on the racing card for Friday night will be the Big Creek Concrete Crate Rookies, the Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunners and the Central PA Legends.
The history of the Prelude to the Coalcracker race is a little hard to list but since the race length was expanded in 2019, wins have gone to Ryan Godown (2019), Jeff Strunk (2020 & 2021) and Craig Von Dohren (2022). This year’s race will be 50 laps in length with $10,000 to the winner. Favorites have to be 2023 three-time winners at Big Diamond, Brett Kressley and Duane Howard. Two-time winner and one of the hottest modified drivers in the northeast Mike Gular also has to be considered a favorite on Friday night. Drivers with single wins this season at Big Diamond include Craig Von Dohren, Louden Reimert, Tim Fitzpatrick, Ryan Watt and Nick Rochinski who will all be looking forward to getting win number two. There are two drivers, both with a rich history at Big Diamond who are searching for win number one, Jeff Strunk and Rick Laubach who have both come close but just haven’t been able to close the deal.
With extra money on the line this week, it would be safe to assume that there will be some outsiders on hand looking to steal the cash from the Big Diamond regulars. Former track champion Billy Pauch Jr has indicated that he will be on hand as will Jack Butler who always seems to run well when he visits the track.
Brett Kressley still leads the 2023 race for the Quandel Concrete championship but the gap to second-place Mike Gular has tightened up after Kressley’s DNF last Friday night. Kressley’s lead has been cut to 60 points over Gular with Strunk sitting in third only 91 points out of first. Reimert and Howard sit fourth and fifth in the season-long standings.
The points battle in the USS Achey, Inc. 602 Crate Sportsman has gone back and forth between Logan Watt and Jordan Henn for most of the year. Watt came into last Friday night with the lead, but an early lap tangle left the young driver with his first DNF of the year. Henn took advantage of Watt’s misfortune to take the lead back as the season winds down and don’t look now but Danny Buccafusca has thrust himself into the mix. Buccafusca has been on fire lately with three wins in his last four races and has moved past Watt into second place only 44 points behind leader Henn. This week, the Crate Sportsman will be racing a 25-lap feature with $1,500 going to the winner.
After a week off, the Big Creek Concrete Crate Rookies will be back this Friday night. This division has proved to be what everyone had hoped for as the rookie drivers get to race amongst themselves as they aim to perfect their craft.
Week after week, the Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunners put on one of the best races of the night and this week should be no exception. Chuck Fayash remains atop the championship standings with Kris Ney showing in second. Alex Schoffstall, who is the all-time leader in career Roadrunner wins at Big Diamond leads the way in wins this season but has suffered some bad luck lately resulting in DNF’s. Schoffstall will be looking to rebound and get back to victory lane come Friday night.
Rounding out the racing card this Friday night will be the Central PA Legends who always seem to put on a good show when they visit Big Diamond.
*This will be a draw race for the Modifieds and the Crate Sportsman with show-up being awarded to all participants*
Pit gates will open at 5:00 PM, Grandstand gates will open at 5:30 PM
Warmups will get underway at 7:15 PM with racing to follow.
Pit admission is $35 with Big Diamond license, $45 without.
General admission for this Friday is $30, Kids 16 and under are free.