Craig VonDohren scored his first career win at Big Diamond Speedway on Aug. 1, 1980 in a 25-lap sportsman-modified feature.
Thirty-six years later, he continues to add to his impressive career record as he won a back-and-forth battle with Duane Howard in the 30-lap, $4,000 George-Georgie Stevenson Memorial on B&H Landscaping Night at the speedway.
Other winners on Friday night were Chris Derr (awarded the win) in the Jasen’s Automotive Services Street Stock Summer Shootout 30; Shawn Light in the sportsman and Andy Fayash III in the roadrunners.
The speedway returns to action on Friday, July 15 for a three-division show of 358 modifieds, sportsman and roadrunners on Blyth Cleaning Service Night. The roadrunners will have their Crazy 8s races next Friday.
For VonDohren, who first won the Stevenson Memorial in 2008, it would be his fourth triumph in the event but it was one that he really had to work for.
VonDohren took the lead from Jon Willman on lap 2 and held the top spot until lap 14. That’s when Duane Howard passed him on the high side in Turn 2 after VonDohren had built a healthy lead over the opening 10 laps.
By lap 18, VonDohren was able to reel in Howard as the two battled for the point when the caution came out on lap 19 for third-place running Rick Laubach who slowed in Turn 4.
On the restart, VonDohren regained the lead only to have Howard drive under him and pull along side of him on the backstretch as they entered Turn 3. But VonDohren used the momentum on the high-side to his advantage as he went on to score the win over Howard with Billy Pauch, Jr., third, Ray Swineheart and Ryan Godown rounding out the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Jeff Strunk, Doug Manmiller, Kevin Beach, Jr., Ryan Watt and Gary Hager.
Heats for the 358 modifieds were won by Wilman, Justin Grim and Bobby Gunther Walsh while J. Grim won the Mark’s Service Center three-lap cash dash.
“I felt pretty good on the bottom and it didn’t look like there was much of a top (groove) there and Duane (Howard) got a run, I guess he started a groove up there or it finally came in,” VonDohren said. “Old Georgie was a pretty good guy and he did a lot for these kids and I appreciate everything he did for them over the years.”
The 30-lap summer shootout for the street stocks turned out to be a tale of almost two halves as the race went non-stop for the first 12 laps and then was a caution-filled race in the remaining 18 laps.
It was Greg Diehl and Kyle Martin who battled back-and-fourth during the race for the top spot and the $1,081 pay day as the race came down to the final two laps with Martin and Chris Deer closing in on race leader Diehl. But Diehl pulled away on the final lap to score the apparent win.
However, in post-race inspection, both Diehl and Martin, who came across the second, were disqualified for rule infractions as per the Big Diamond or Susquehanna Speedways street stocks rule and the win was awarded to Derr.
Jeff Hagg was second with Eric Tripp, Scott Thunberg and Elvin Brennan III rounding out the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Kory Sites, Walt Lemmon, Jeremy Becker, Kyle Saylor and Bobby Kupp. Tripp won the TK Embroidery hard charger award as he came from 23rd starting spot to finish third while Jasen Geesaman won the three-lap, $200 street stock cash dash.
Heats for the street stocks were won by Sites, Geesaman and Hagg.
It was ‘lights’ out in the sportsman $1,000 to win 20-lap feature as Light took the lead on lap 2 and went on at time to open a half-lap lead on the field to win his second feature of the year.
The final caution of the race came on lap 19, erasing his lead and then having to hold off Ray Woodall, Sr., on the restart to score the win.
The biggest move of the race came from former point leader Brandon Grosso who hit the Ute tire in his heat and started 17th in the feature and rebounded for a fourth-place finish.
Woodall Sr., was second with Doug Hendricks, third and sportsman point leader Tim Fitzpatrick, fifth.
Sixth through 10th were Mike Lisowski, Chuck Fayash, Wayne Witmer, Skylar Sherrif and Ryan Shupp.
“This is a new car for me and at the beginning of the year we had fuel problems, but now I think we figured them out,” Light said.
Heats for the sportsman were won by Light and Fayash.
In the 20-lap Savage 61 roadrunner feature, Andy Fayash III, the points leader, survived a four-wide battle for second on lap 12 as he took the lead on the outside groove going into Turn 3 and then held off a hard-charging Steve Gromis on the final lap for his second win of the year.
Gromis came home second with Kris Ney, third, while Cody Site and Jim Kost rounded out the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Chris Holland, Shon Elk, Terry Kramer, Tim Speasak and Kyle Wingle.
Heats for the roadrunners were won by Jesse Kranitsky and Gromis.