The competitiveness of the CJ’s Tire & Automotive Services 358 modified division has been only display all season long at Big Diamond Speedway.
Nearly five months into the season, there hadn’t been a back-to-back winner in the division.
Until Friday night.
Craig VonDorhren raced to his second straight win and moved into second place in the point standings.
Other winners on Friday were Tim Fitzpatrick (U.S.S. Achey sportsman), Andy Fayash III (Savage 61 roadrunners) and Chris Derr (No Sweat Service Group street stocks).
This coming Friday, July 12, the speedway presents Prelude to the Coalcracker as the 358 modifieds race 30 laps for $4,000 to win and $400 to take the green with an open draw for the 358s and 50 show-up points for modified teams.
Also on the card will be the sportsman and roadrunners and a modified challenge race for the top 10 in points. The event carries an Aug. 19 rain date.
The gates open on Friday at 5:30 with warm ups at 7:45 and racing at 8:15. Admission is $22 and kids 12-and-under and active military with a valid are free.
VonDohren, who has won three of the last five features at the speedway, took the lead on the restart of lap 10 after Ron Haring, Jr. and Shawn Fitzpatrick had a spirited duel for the lead to the point of the 25-lap feature.
VonDohren passed Fitzpatrick for the runner-up spot on lap nine and then took the lead when Harding, Jr., slid high in Turns 1 and 2 on the restart.
From there, VonDohren would be challenged for the lead by two-time winner Rick Laubach as the pair opened up a lead over Fitzpatrick over the final few laps.
Laubach had one last shot at VonDohren after a late-race caution but VonDohren pulled away for the win.
“We have a good car and I got some breaks and I needed to be on the outside as it was the place to be and I just had to get their first,” VonDohren said.
Laubach held on for second with Fitzpatrick, third, Ryan Godown, who had a flat tire on lap three of the race, rebounded to finish fourth and Ryan Grim was fifth.
Sixth through 10th were Ryan Watt, Kevin Beach Jr., Haring, Gary Hager and Duane Howard. Heats for the 358 modifieds were won by Beach Jr., Haring Jr., and Godown.
Tim Fitzpatrick led the lap the counts as he took the lead from Wayne Witmer on the final lap, passing him on the inside of Turn 2 to win the 20-lap sportsman feature event. It was his first win of the year after going winless last year.
“I would have been happy with second as Wayne’s a tough competitor and he ran go and we were just going for the win there,” Fitzpatrick said.
Witmer took the lead of the race on the start and then held off the field as Fitzpatrick began to apply pressure to the leader starting on lap 8.
Witmer held on for second with a hard charging Shawn Light, third, while Doug Hendricks and Mike Lisowski completed the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Ray Woodall Jr., Brandon Grosso, Glen Rowan, Chuck Fayash, and T.J. Lilly. Heats for the sportsman were won by Rown and Lisowski.
Andy Fayash III continues his strong season with another win and this time it was a bit of luck that helped him add to his points lead.
“I was in a good position as I was on the outside on the second restart and the bottom lane just didn’t go out of two and it just all opened up in front of me,” Fayash said.
Fayash went from seventh to second on the opening lap of the feature as he would take the lead on lap 4 when leader Chris Holland broke.
Jim Kost, who was part of a five-car battle for the runner-up spot finished second while Steve Gromis, Kris Ney and Devin Trexler completed the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Nate Hill, Tim Spesak, Billy Wingle Jr., Jon Schlauch and Dave Long Jr. Heats were won by Wingle and Holland.
The No Sweat Service Group 20-lap feature proved to be a last-man-standing when it came to being the leading the event as four different drivers were on point at one time during the feature but it was Chris Derr who used the inside lane on the lap 15 restart to take the lead and go on to score his second win of the year.
Derr had a challenge for the lead on lap 18 fro Eric Tripp but Tripp was not able to complete the pass on the inside of Turn 3.
“I drove the wheels off this car,” Derr said. The 43 car (Tripp) was down their challenging me a litlle bit and there were some fast guys up front. I knew it was going to be a work out to get the win.”
Tripp would hold on to second with Bobby Krupp, Chris Heller and Mike Radocha rounding out the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Leroy Long, Tyler Stump, Justin Rhoads, Kyle Saylor and Dean Hine. Heats for the streets stocks were won by Tripp and Kupp.
This Friday, fans are encouraged to stop by and listen to HunttheGiant.com for live music beginning at 7 and presented by Jimmy Reppert Racing. All fans can enjoy free ice cream and activities at the tent by the band which begins at 6:30. Adults will have the chance to win VIP seating for the night and kids will have the chance to win a trip to victory lane and have their picture taken with the modified winners.
Modified driver Kevin Beach is holding their third annual bike give away also on Friday. Kids can pick up a packet as the winners, one boy and one girl in three age groups; up to 3; 4-6 and 7-10, will be determined by a coloring contest.
For the latest information, be sure to like the Big Diamond Speedway facebook page; www.facebook.com/Bigdiamondspeedway and on Twitter, @BigDSpdwy