Shawn Light held off a hard-charging Brian Papiez to claim the 30-lap, $1,570 to win Andy Fayash, Jr., Memorial for the U.S.S. Achey sportsman on Friday night at Big Diamond Speedway.
Other winners on Friday included Brett Kressley (CJ’s Tire & Automotive Services 358 modifieds); Chris Holland (Savage 61 roadrunners) and Eric Tripp (No Sweat Service Group street stock).
This Friday, the track will wrap up the month of August and crown two of its four champions as the points come to an end for the 358 modifieds and sportsman. Joining the 358 modifieds and the sportsman will be the roadrunners and the Kim’s Kreations powder puff race.
On Friday, the gates will open at 5:30 with warm ups at 7:45 and racing getting underway at 8:15. General admissoin is $15, seniors, $13, while kids 12-and-under and active military with a valid ID are free.
Light took the lead on the start of the sportsman feature from his pole position and began to stretch his lead out by Lap 4.
Ray Woodall, Jr., and Chuck Fayash would battle for the runner-up spot early on when Papiez joined the frey to make it a three-car battle for second on lap 9.
After Light encountered lapped traffic on lap 10, Woodall, Jr., began to slowly reel in the leader while a five-car battle ensued for third place.
Papiez used the lapped traffic to his advantage and went to the outside of Turn 2 on lap 18 and took over second spot.
A lap later, Papiez was right there battling Light for the lead as the pair raced off into Turn 1.
Light continued to hold off the advances of Papiez when the lone caution of the race came out on lap 23 as Doug Hendricks slowed coming off of Turn 4 with mechanical issues.
Light opted to start on the inside on the restart and used that to his advantage as he and Papiez were on even terms going into Turn 1 but Light was able to keep the middle grove working and reclaimed the lead as they exited Turn 2.
Light opened his lead up to five car lengths late in the race while points leader Brandon Grasso moved into second on the restart as Papiez slid up the hill.
Papiez would come back to get around Grasso, but neither driver could catch Light at the end of the 30-lap feature.
“The car was loose from the start and it just wasn’t working,” Light said. “With about four laps to go, it seemed like it got some bite and got a hold of the track.”
Papiez finished second followed by Grosso with Chuck Fayash and Mike Lisowski rounding out the top five.
Sixth through 10th were T.J. Lilly, Tim Fitzpatrick, Sr., Woodall, Jr., J.R. Fulper, and Billy Moyer Jr. Heat races for the sportsman were won by Lilly and Papiez.
Kressley took the lead from the drop of the green flag in the 25-lap 358 modified feature and never looked back as he amassed nearly a half-lap lead and had lapped up to 14th place when the lone caution of the feature came out on lap 20 for Ryan Watt whose right rear tire exploded.
“They are never easy but luckily we got out front early and just picked our line and we stayed in the middle and rode it out,” Kressley said.
Kressley’s win, his second of the year, almost didn’t happen. On lap 12, he encountered slower lapped traffic on the backstretch. He made a split-second decision and swung the car to the high side of the backstretch to avoid running over the slower lapped car.
While Kressley was enjoying nearly a half-lap lead, Andy Burkhart and Shawn Fitzpatrick had a good battle for the runner-up spot going for the majority of the race.
Burkhart would hold off Fitzpatrick in the end for the runner-up spot with Ryan Godown, and Ray Swinehart completing the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Billy Pauch Jr., Craig VonDohren, Kevin Beach Jr., Duane Howard, and Rick Laubach. Heat races for the 358 modifieds were won by Kressley and Justin Grim.
Tripp took advantage of an opening with three laps to go and moved from third place to the lead to take the win in the 20-lap street stock feature and add to his points lead.
“If something was there I was going to take it and if something wasn’t there I wasn’t going to try and force it too much, but opportunities presented themselves and I took advantage of it,” Tripp said.
Tripp slid back in the early part of the race while Jeremy Becker led the majority of the race while having to fend off the charge of Bobby Kupp.
Kupp took several shots at the lead on restarts but Becker was able to maintain his lead. While that was happening, Tripp quietly moved into the top five and by lap 15 he was within striking distance of the leaders.
Late it the race there was a four-car battle for the lead but it was Tripp who would maintain the top spot over the final four laps as Becker held on for second with Jasen Geesaman, Justin Rhoads, and Tyler Stump, rounding out the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Leroy Long, Walt Lemmon, Mike Radocha, Dean Hine and Kupp. Heats for the street stocks were won by Chris Derr and Becker.
Holland took the lead at the start of the 20-lap roadrunner feature and then battled Terry Kramer who moved into the runner-up position on lap 4.
Fayash, who started 10th, was fourth on the second lap and passed Kramer at the completion of lap 4 for the runner-up sport.
From there, Fayash ran down Holland as the two were in lock-step for the remainder of the race which was slowed by just a few cautions.
The last caution produced a green-white-checker finish as Holland maintained his lead on the restart but Fayash got his nose by him on the backstretch on lap 18.
The pair would take turns momentarily getting a nose out in front of each other but as they came to the checkers, Holland had a little more momentum on the outside line and beat Fayash to the line by less than a half-car length.
“Andy and I were running neck-and-neck the entire race and I just want to thank Andy for running me clean,” Holland said. “I want to dedicate this win to his dad.”
Kody Sites would finish third with Jim Kost and Steve Gromis rounding out the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Devin Trexler, Kyle Wingle, Terry Kramer, Jon Schlauch, and Shawn Mulhall. Roadrunner heat races were won by Holland and Trexler.
It is also Purple Night next Friday at the speedway for Lupus Awareness night presented by Kim’s Kreastions and The Williams Family. Harley Williams is on ‘last resort’ medication and there will be Purple t-shirts, raffle baskets and a helmet driver taking place on Friday
Coming up on Friday, Sept. 2, it’s the start of the Coalcracker Weekend as the sportsman take center stage with a 40 lapper paying $1,600 to win and $160 to take the green. The roadrunners and street stocks will have their final points race of the year that night along with the non-winners modified race, vintage cars and an Enduro Dash 60.
The non-winners modified race on Sept. 2 will be for drivers who have raced four or more time this season in the modified division but did not win a feature. The winner gets a starting spot in the Coalcracker 72. No other positions will get paid.
Then on Sunday, Sept. 4, it’s the prestigious Jack Rich Inc., Coalcracker 72 paying $10,000 to win the 358 modified feature. Tenth place in the Coalcracker pays $1,000 and it’s $500 to take the green.The start time for Sept. 4 is 7:45 p.m. The roadrunners, 600 modifieds and fireworks will round out the night of racing on Sept. 4.
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