It all began in 1979 when Bob Emerich scored the win in the first-ever Coalcracker.
Since then, 18 drivers have won the prestigious event and the winners list reads like a who’s-who of 358 modified chauffers.
The Jack Rich Inc., Coalcracker 72 brings to a close the 2016 racing season at Big Diamond Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 4, with the 36th running of the Coalcracker for the 358 modifieds which pays $10,000. Tenth place pays $1,000 and it's $500 to take the green.
Action for the Coalcracker weekend gets underway on Friday night on Leindecker Race Engines Night with the Coalcracker 40 for the sportsman modified.
The 40-lap feature pays $1,600 to win and $160 to take the green.
Also on Friday, the track will crown its champions in the Savage 61 roadrunners and No Sweat Service Group street stocks divisions. Andy Fayash III has a 435-point lead over Steve Gromis in the roadrunner division while Eric Tripp leads Rich Bossinger by 198 points in the the street stocks.
Friday’s racing card includes the non-winners modified race, vintage cars and an Enduro Dash 60.
The non-winners modified race on Friday will be for drivers who have raced four or more times this season in the 358 modified division but did not win a feature. The winner gets a starting spot in the Coalcracker 72. No other positions will get paid.
Also on Friday will be the Pro Shine roadrunner challenge for the 10 drivers who earned the most votes on the Big Diamond Facebook page.
On Friday, the gates will open at 5:30 with warm ups at 7:45 and racing at 8:15. General admission is $13, seniors, $11 and kids 12-and-under and active military with a valid ID are free.
The gates for the Coalcracker will open at 4 on Sunday with warm ups at 7:15 and a start time if start time of 7:45 p.m. The roadrunners, 600 modifieds and fireworks will round out the night of racing on Sept. 4.
General admission is $27; Kids 6-11 are $10 while kids 6-and-under are free along with active military with a valid ID.
The rain date, if needed for the Coalcracker, is Monday, Sept. 5.
Duane Howard sits atop the list all-time event win list for the Coalcracker with six and all of those feature wins came in the 100-lap distance. He is the last driver to have won the event in consecutive years doing so in 1998 and 1998.
Fresh off capturing his first-ever Big Diamond Speedway 358 modified track title, Ryan Godown, of Ringoes, N.J., is hoping to make some history himself on Sunday.
The defending winner of the race was has won three of the last seven Coalcrackers and if he wins on Sunday, he’ll move into a tie with Jeff Strunk for second on the all-time event win list with four wins.
Sunday’s race will mark the 36th time the event has been run.
For the latest information, be sure to like the Big Diamond Speedway facebook page; www.facebook.com/Bigdiamondspeedway and on Twitter, @BigDSpdwy
Year Winners Laps
1979 Bob Emerich 50
1980 Charlie Eckert 50
1981 Paul Koch 40
1982 Charlie Eckert 40
1983 No Race
1984 Charlie Eckert 50
1985 Fred Rahmer 50
1986 Doug Hoffman 50
1987 Craig VonDohren 50
1988 Doug Hoffman 50
1989 Richie Tobias 50
1990 Jeff Strunk 50
1991 Ricky Schaffer 50
1992 Kenny Brightbill 50
1993 Billy Schinkel 50
1994 Kenny Brightbill 50
1995 Tom Mayberry 60
1996 Jeff Strunk 60
1997 Jeff Strunk 100
1998 Duane Howard 100
1999 Duane Howard 100
2000 Billy Pauch Sr. 100
2001 Duane Howard 100
2002 Billy Pauch Sr. 100
2003 Keith Hoffman 100
2004 Doug Hoffman 100
2005 No Race
2006 Duane Howard 100
2007 Craig VonDohren 100
2008 Duane Howard 100
2009 Ryan Godown 100
2010 Duane Howard 100
2011 Ryan Godown 100
2012 Doug Manmiller 72
2013 Jeff Strunk 72
2014 Matt Sheppard 72
2015 Ryan Godown
Duane Howard (6)
Jeff Strunk (4)
Doug Hoffman; Charlie Eckert; Ryan Godown (3)
Craig VonDohren; Kenny Brightbill; Billy Pauch Sr. (2)
Fred Rahmer; Bob Emerich; Paul Koch; Richie Tobias; Ricky Schaffer; Billy Schinkel; Tom Mayberry; Keith Hoffman; Matt Sheppard; Doug Manmiller (1)