Kress­ley cap­tures his first Stevenson Memo­rial win

The Community Connection - - SPORTS - By Shawn T. Wood For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

For once, Mother Na­ture gave race fans at Big Di­a­mond Speed­way a break.

An early-evening shower could not stop Big Di­a­mond Speed­way from cel­e­brat­ing the 37th run­ning of the Stevenson Memo­rial on a night when the track re­mem­bered not only Ge­orgie and his fa­ther Ge­orge, but the loss of five of the speed­way’s rac­ing fam­ily mem­bers over the past few weeks.

Brett Kress­ley scored his first win of the sea­son and his first-ever win in the Stevenson Memo­rial in the Steel & Metal Ser­vice Cen­ter 358 mod­i­fied fea­ture which earned him a $4,000 pay day for the 30-lap event.

Other win­ners on Fri­day night were Shawn Light (U.S.S. Achey sports­man), Shawn Mul­hall (Sav­age 61 road­run­ners) and Chris Heller (No Sweat Ser­vice Group street stocks).

This Fri­day it will be Insinger Per­for­mance Night with the 358 mod­i­fieds, sports­man and road­run­ners along with an En­duro Dash 50. Also on the Fri­day will be the Lein­decker Race Engines Sports­man Chal­lenge and the Pro Shine Road­run­ner Chal­lenge.

The gates will open at 5:30 p.m. with warm ups at 7:30 and rac­ing start­ing at 8. Gen­eral ad­mis­sion for Fri­day is $15, se­niors $13 and kids 12-and-un­der and ac­tive mil­i­tary with an valid ID are free.

In the 30-lap 358 mod­i­fied fea­ture, Kress­ley took the lead at the start at the race from his pole po­si­tion as he and out­side pole sit­ter Ray Swine­hart jumped out to an early lead on the field.

On a lap 3 restart, Frank Por­reca’s car did not fire right away re­sult­ing in an 11-car pile-up on the frontstretch which brought out a 15-minute red flag as the track crew did an ex­cel­lent job in get­ting the race back un­der­way in a short time. All drivers in the ac­ci­dent were OK.

When the race re­sumed, Kress­ley once again took off from the field while a four­car bat­tle for the sec­ond was beg­ging to shape up be­hind him which in­clude two-time win­ner Craig VonDohren.

By lap 8, Kress­ley be­gan to ex­tend his lead over the field and five laps lat­ter he was work­ing lapped traf­fic.

VonDohren would track down run­ner-up Swine­hart dur­ing those laps and then worked to his in­side of Turn 4 by lap 15.

At this point, Kress­ley’s lead was more than a straight­away as VonDohren took over the sec­ond spot at the start of lap 16.

From there, VonDohren had clear track while Kress­ley worked lapped traf­fic, al­low­ing VonDohren to cut the lead down to a straight­away by lap 22.

Kress­ley would see his big lead erased when the cau­tion came out for Swine­hart on lap 26 who lost his right front wheel in Turn 2.

Kress­ley was able to main­tain the lead on the restart as Ryan Godown drove un­der VonDohren for sec­ond in the apex of Turns 1 and 2 be­fore VonDohren raced back un­der Godown for sec­ond on the back­stretch.

Kress­ley would go on to score the win and be­came the fifth dif­fer­ent win­ner of the sea­son by .540 sec­onds over VonDohren with Godown set­tling for third.

Jeff Strunk came from 18th to fin­ish fourth while 15th-place starter Duane Howard fin­ished fifth.

“The track was real nice and fast tonight and luck­ily we had a pretty good start­ing po­si­tion,” Kress­ley said. “The restarts are not al­ways my best thing and I’m learn­ing as we go race-by-race. I saw Ryan (Godown) and Craig (VonDohren) right be­hind me so I knew that I couldn’t make a mis­take.”

Sixth through 10th were Rick Laubach, John Will­man, Mike Lisowski, Shawn Fitz­patrick and Kevin Beach Jr.

Heat for the 29 358 mod­i­fieds were won by Swine­hart, Godown and Kress­ley while Frank Yankowski won the con­so­la­tion event.

In the 20-lap sports­man fea­ture, Ken Eck­ert would lead the first two laps of the $1,000-to-win event be­fore Chuck Fayash passed him in Turn 2 for the lead on lap 2.

On a lap 3 restart, Light would move around Eck­ert for sec­ond and then be­gin to work on race leader Fayash.

Light would bat­tle with Fayash for nu­mer­ous laps stay­ing within strik­ing dis­tance be­fore work­ing to Fayash’s out­side go­ing into Turn 1 on lap 17 for the lead.

Light would then have to en­dure three more cau­tions over the fi­nal few cir­cuits which al­lowed Doug Hen­dricks to close in.

Hen­dricks and Light were side-by-side the en­tire way around the track on the lap 18 restart be­fore Light man­aged to pull ahead as the pair raced off of Turn 4.

Light then held off Hen­dricks at the line by .342 sec­onds for the win with Wayne Wit­mer, Eck­ert Jr., and Fayash, round­ing out the top five.

Light said that he did not sec­ond-guess him­self by giv­ing Hen­dricks the in­side start­ing spot on the fi­nal restart.

“I knew that he was go­ing to go to the in­side and that he was go­ing to pinch me down so I fig­ured that I would get the op­tion of try­ing to pinch him down and he pushed me up,” Light said. “I fig­ured that when we went down to Turn 3 on that last lap that I would hold it (the throt­tle) wide open and hoped to God that it would stick and it did.”

Sixth through 10th were Matt Stan­gle, Ray Woodall Sr., Daryl Dissinger, Mike Bur­rows and Nate Mohr. Twin qual­i­fy­ing heat races were won by Eck­ert Jr. and Tyler Re­ber.

In the 20-lap road­run­ner fea­ture, Mul­hall would led wire-to-wire to score his first ca­reer win.

“It was about time that I got one,” he . “I didn’t look at the score­board un­til the check­ers fell so I didn’t know who was be­hind me.”

While Mul­hall was alone out front by lap 6, there was a tor­rid bat­tle go­ing on for sec­ond place which grew to seven cars in a pack vy­ing for the run­ner-up spot.

Kyle Win­gle was all over Mul­hall a few laps later for the lead when the com­plex­ion of the race change as Mike Re­ichert who was run­ning in the mid­dle of the seven-car pack got a bit out of shape which sent ev­ery­one scram­bling to avoid the al­most spin­ning car.

This opened the door for Kris Ney and Kody Sites to move for­ward.

Sites would pass Win­gle on the back­stretch for sec­ond on lap 18 but he was un­able to close the gap on Mul­hall who would go on to score his first-ever win with a non-stop time of 7 min­utes, 44.150 sec­onds.

Win­gle would hold on for third while Re­ichert re­cov­ered from his near spin to fin­ish fourth with Ney round­ing out the top five.

Sixth through 10th were Devin Trexler, Terry Kramer, Dave Long Jr., and Dustin Wolf­gang. Twin qual­i­fy­ing heat races were on by Jim Kost and Mul­hall.

In the 20-lap street stock fea­ture, sixth-place starter Heller took the lead on the fourth at­tempt at a start and then held off Ja­son Geesaman to score the win.

“I got help up by the lapped car a lit­tle bit and I fig­ured if I could run the mid­dle and make Ja­son pinch down to the bot­tom, that I could hold him off,” Heller said. “It’s hard to run out front and not know how hard to push it and I pushed it as hard as I can and I al­most wrecked 10 times.”

Chris Deer fin­ished third while Elvin Bren­nan III was fourth and Eric Tripp rounded out the top five.

Sixth through 10th were Bobby Kupp, Joey Bren­nan, Leroy Long, Dean Hine and Kevin Heck­man. Twin qual­i­fy­ing heats were won by J. Bren­nan and Geesaman.

For the lat­est in­for­ma­tion, be sure to like the Big Di­a­mond Speed­way Face­book page. Fol­low the lat­est on the track on Twit­ter, @BigDSpdwy.

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