Pauch Jr. wins ‘Pre­lude to the Coal­cracker’ mod­i­fied race; Von Dohren, Stan­gle win season ti­tles at Big Di­a­mond

The Boyertown Area Times - - SPORTS - Staff re­ports

In what has be­come a rare oc­cur­rence this season at the Big Di­a­mond Speed­way the mighty 358 Mod­i­fieds were able to get a Fri­day night race in the com­pleted and in the books. This Fri­day night the dirt oval nes­tled up in the moun­tains pre­sented the an­nual “Pre­lude to the Coal­cracker” race pay­ing a cool $4600 to the win­ner and when all was said and done it was none other than Billy Pauch Jr.. stand­ing in vic­tory lane hold­ing the big check.

The track cham­pi­onships were also crowned in both the Mod­i­fied Divi­sion and the Sportsman Divi­sion on Fri­day night. Con­grat­u­la­tions to Craig Von Dohren in the Mod­ifeds and to Matt Stan­gle in the Sportsman for win­ning season-long points ti­tle.

With the night’s fea­ture start­ing lineup de­ter­mined by the luck of the draw, it was Ray Swine­hart and Jeff Strunk lead­ing the Steel and Metal Ser­vice 358 Mod­i­fieds to green flag. Billy Pauch Jr. who has been win­less so far this season at Big Di­a­mond didn’t waste no time as­sert­ing him­self from his third start­ing spot as Pauch Jr. was able to charge un­der the both Swine­hart and Strunk to take the lead go­ing into turn one.

The race went non-stop for the first 11 laps be­fore the first cau­tion flag of the race was dis­played. When the race re­sumed it was Pauch Jr. still in com-

mand but the field was close in tow as Strunk, Ryan Watt, Rick Laubach, John Will­man and a hard charg­ing Ryan Godown all bat­tle right be­hind the leader. Un­for­tu­nately for Godown, his strong run came to end after he had made his way up to fourth on lap 23 when he coasted to a stop on the back stretch with me­chan­i­cal prob­lems.

While the ac­tion was hot and heavy at the front, many eyes were on the 20th place started Craig Von Dohren who was in an in­ci­dent in his race forc­ing him to qual­ify through the consi. Von Dohren was on the move and had worked his way up into the top ten when the cau­tion for Godown was thrown.

Pauch Jr. was still lead­ing the way when Brett Kress­ley who was run­ning in the top five brought out another yel­low when he spun his #19. Chaos en­sued on the next restart when the sec­ond place run­ning Strunk went high com­ing out of turn four on the restart leav­ing a big open­ing which was im­me­di­ately filled by Duane Howard. Strunk can’t get back down and makes con­tact with the wall caus­ing the #126 to slow down with field on the gas right be­hind him. With nowhere to go cars start to pile into Strunk with the end re­sult of Strunk go­ing over and land­ing on his side. Once the car was put back onto four wheels Strunk was able to fire it back up and make his way to the pits al­though done for the night.

Pauch Jr. leads the field back to green with Watt putting the pres­sure on him for the lead with Howard and Von Dohren right be­hind the two lead­ers. The race was slowed by one more cau­tion flag on lap 33 and on the restart it was the same thing with Watt try­ing to force Pauch Jr. into a mis­take. But it was all for naught as Pauch Jr. was driv­ing a flaw­less race. Watt was forced to give up his charge to the lead as the surg­ing Von Dohren was now mak­ing a move on Watt for the run­ner-up spot. Von Dohren was able to get un­der­neath Watt go­ing into the turns but Watt was able to keep his mo­men­tum up ex­it­ing the turns to hold off Von Dohren.

The bat­tle for sec­ond al­lowed Pauch Jr. to put a cou­ple of car lengths be­tween him­self and his chal­lengers as he raced un­der the check­ered flag for the big win. Ryan Watt who was de­but­ing a new Bick­nell chas­sis fin­ished sec­ond with Von Dohren, Howard and Laubach round­ing out the top five.

In the U.S.S. Achey Sportsman divi­sion it was once again New Jersey’s Matt Stan­gle who was stand­ing in vic­tory lane.

Shon Elk took the check­ered flag in the Sav­age 61 Road Run­ner divi­sion. Elk and Devin Trexler would go at it early for the lead with Elk get­ting by Trexler when he got loose on lap 10. Once in front Elk was able to build up a big lead and take the win over Kody Sites, Shawn Mul­hall, Jim Kost and Devin Trexler.

The No Sweat Ser­vice Group Street Stocks once again put on an ex­cit­ing bat­tle with Chris Derr tak­ing the win after an hard bat­tle early on with Jesse Kras­nit­sky, Joey Bren­nan, Eric Tripp and Elvin Bren­nan. Derr would end up tak­ing the lead for good on lap eight and grab the vic­tory over Eric Tripp, Elvin Bren­nan III, Jason Geesaman and Joey Bren­nan.

The Steel & Metal Ser­vice Cen­ter Mod­i­fied divi­sion was won by Billy Pauch Jr.. fol­lowed by Ryan Watt, Craig VonDohren, Duane Howard, Rick Laubach, John Will­man, Frank Cozze, Kevin Beach, Mike Lisowski, Ray Swine­hart, Brett Kress­ley, Tim Buck­wal­ter, Frank Por­recca, and Jimmy Rep­pert. Did not fin­ish were Bobby Trap­per, Mike Gu­lar, Jeff Strunk, Danny Bouc, Doug Man­miller, Andy Burkhart, Frank Yankowski, Ryan Godown, Tim Fitz­patrick and Jared Um­ben­hauer. Did not qual­ify were Cliff Quinn, Justin Grim, Ryan Beltz, Bobby Gun­ther Walsh, Heath Met­zger, Dan Waisem-pacher, Jim Bob­bitt, Dan Hine­line, Scott Al­bert and Billy Lasko.

The Mod­i­fied Chal­lenge races were won by Ryan Godown on the last round over Kevin Beach who won all the pre­ced­ing races un­til that point.

RICK KEPNER - FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Craig VonDohren (88) bat­tles with Duane Howard (357) dur­ing the mod­i­fied fea­ture at Big Di­a­mond on Aug. 25. Von Dohren shored up track points ti­tle on the night.

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