MINERSVILLE, PA. — A chamber-of-commerce night gave race fans in the coal region an excellent opportunity to pack to the track at Big Diamond Speedway on Savage 61 $6 night and the racing didn’t disappoint.
Hellertown’s Rick Laubach became the first repeat winner in the CJ’s Tire & Automotive Services 358 modified division as he took control of the 25-lap feature on lap four and went on to score the win.
After missing last week due to attending the prom, Brandon Grosso wasted no time in returning to victory lane for the fifth time this season in the U.S.S. Achey sportsman division while Shon Elk won his first Savage 61 roadrunner feature since 2013.
The United Racing Company 360 sprint cars make their lone appearance of the year next Friday for the Schuylkill Mall ‘Night of Wings’ which also features the 358 modifieds sporting sail panels. Rounding out the four-division card will be the roadrunners and an Enduro Dash 60.
While Laubach was setting the pace in the 358 modified feature, Doug Manmiller moved into second on the lap-four restart.
Manmiller was closing in on Laubach as the leaders were beginning to approach lapped traffic when the caution flew on lap 11 for Jon Willman who stopped on the backstretch.
Laubach maintained the lead on the restart, but the top five saw a shuffle as Ryan Godown and Duane Howard drove by Brett Kressley as the top five began to stretch out from the field.
Two laps later, the caution flew again for Ryan Grim. On the restart, Manmiller, Howard and Godown went three wide as Manmiller held on for second while Laubach began to open his lead.
The final yellow came out on lap 22 but as was the case during the race, Launach was good on the restarts and went on to score the win.
“I knew that we had to get to the front early as I saw other good guys up front so I knew we had to beat them to the lead, and we did,” Laubach said. “The track is changing and it’s only going to get better. Top was better tonight, but some nights the top is going to get pushed up too far and the bottom will be the shorter and faster way around the track.”
Manmiller, held on for second while Craig VonDohren, Duane Howard and Ryan Godown rounded out the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Jeff Strunk, Ryan Watt, Ray Swinehart, Bobby Trapper and Dale Hart. Heats for the 358 modifieds were won by Laubach, Brett Kressley and Godown.
Grosso, who started 11, took the lead on lap six of the 20-lap sportsman feature and went on to score the win, his 10th overall of the season as he saw a half-lap lead erased by a caution just past the half-way mark.
From there, he held off the challenges of Ray Woodall, Jr., and Mike Lisowski.
“I have to thank my dad and the crew for giving me another great car tonight,” Grosso said. “I have to thank the track for giving us another good surface and for all of you fans for coming out tonight and showing your support for the track.”
Lisowski held on for second with Woodall, Jr., Shawn Light and Doug Hendrick rounding out the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Ken Eckert, Jr., Ray Woodall Sr., Matt Clay, Jeff Bubori and Kyle Gruber. Heat winners were Skylar Sheriff and Light.
Elk took the lead on the opening lap of the roadrunner feature from his outside pole position and led every lap in scoring the win.
In a caution-filled race, Elk had to hold off Jesse Krantisky and then survive a fierce last-lap battle with Kody Sites.
“It was really nerve racing with all of the restarts,” Elk said. “I saw on the scoreboard that Sites was in third and then in second so I knew he coming on strong late in the race.”
On the last lap going into Turn 1, Sites got under Elk momentarily, but Elk maintained the high-side and used that moment to drive off of Turn 2 and go on to score the win.
It was his fifth career win at Big Diamond Speedway.
Sites held off Krasnitsky for second with Andrew Fayash III and Terry Kramer, rounding out the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Jeremy Becker, Jim Kost, Tim Fitzpatrick, Jr., Kyle Wingle, and Shawn Mulhall. Heats were won by Chuck Eckert and Elk.
-Big Diamond Speedway Press Release
-Photo Credit: Big Diamond Speedway Facebook