Craig Whitmoyer used a late-race restart to score the $1,600 pay day in winning his first-ever Coalcracker 40 for sportsman as Big Diamond Speedway kicked off its Coalcracker Weekend on Leindecker Race Engines Night on Friday night.
Also on Friday night two more track championships were handed out as Andy Fayash III won the 20-lap Savage 61 roadrunner feature and the track title while Eric Tripp took home the honors with his No Sweat Service Group street stock title.
They join Ryan Godown (358 modifieds) and Brandon Grosso (sportsman) as the four track champions for 2016.
The track wraps up the season on Sunday with the 36th edition of the Jack Rich Inc., Coalcracker 72 for the 358 modifieds. The 72-lap feature pays $10,000; $1,000 for 10th and $500 to take the green.
Sunday’s start time is 7:45 p.m with the gates opening at 4 and warm ups at 7:15. The racing card on Sunday will also feature the roadrunners in a non-points race, 600 modifieds and fireworks to close out the 2016 season.
General admission is $27 on Sunday with kids 6-11, $10, while kids under 6 and active military with a valid ID are free.
The rain date, if needed, for the Coalcracker, is Monday, Sept. 5.
Mike Lisowski was in control of the Coalcracker 40 for the sportsman from the drop of the green flag from his pole starting spot and by lap 6, he had opened a stratighaway lead on the field. Two laps later he began working through lapped traffic going both high and low on the track to maintain the top spot.
The first 21 laps of the feature went non-stop before the first yellow was displayed for a spin on lap 21.
While Lisowski was pulling away from the field, Matt Strangle was having a solid run in second but it was veteran Whitmoyer who was on the move as he took over third place on on lap 13 of the feature after starting ninth.
Lisowski, who fourth in the final point standings in 2016, once again pulled away to a sizeable lead on the lap 21 restart while Whitmoyer and Stangle, would battle for second.
It would take another six laps before Whitmoyer passed Stangle for the runner-up spot and then he set sail after Lisowski who continued to work his way through lapped traffic.
The second caution of the race came on lap 33 for two separate spins on the track.
This enabled Whitmoyer to start along side of Lisowski on the restart and using the outside lane, Whitmoyer took the lead on the backstretch for the first time.
Lisowski was not done as he battled back and was underneath Whitmoyer on the inside of Turn 3 as the pair battled for the top spot.
Whitmoyer pulled ahead by three car lengths when the third and final caution of the race flew on lap 38 for a spin.
This set up a gree-white-checker finish as Lisowski and Whitmoyer raced side-by-side into Turn 1 on the restart and they stayed that way until the hit the middle of the backstretch when Whitmoyer pulled ahead going into Turn 3.
From there, the veteran held off Lisowski for his first-ever Coalcracker 40 win with Lisowski coming home second and newly crowned sportsman track champion Grosso, third.
Stangle held on for fourth while Ray Woodall, Jr., was fifth.
Sixth through 10th were Shawn Light, Skylar Sheriff, Tim Fitzpatrick Sr., Glenn Rowan and Billy Moyer Jr. Heats for the 32 sportsman were won by Joe Funk, Ray Woodall Sr. and Lisowski while Brian Papiez won the consolation feature.
“I was glad to see the caution come out, I knew I had a good race car and I got caught in the back trying to pass guys clean and when we got a shot, we had a real good race car,” Whitmoyer said. “My hats off to Mike Lisowski and his whole family and crew, they are first class, I knew it was going to be a clean restart with Mike there.”
Thirty-two years after his late father, Andy Fayash, Jr., won the 1984 slide stock track championship, Andy Fayash III capped off his first-ever track title with his seventh win of the season in the 20-lap roadrunner feature.
“You never going into the season what is going to happen as last year we had five DNF’s and I missed a couple of races because of my work, and this year, I think we had just two DNF’s all year,” Fayash III said. “It’s great to bring a championship back to the Fayash name.”
The win for Fayash III didn’t come easy as once again the action in the roadrunner division was intense as three different drivers led at one point before Fayash III took the lead from Shon Elk on lap 10 but then had to hold of the charge of Steve Gromis on a lap 15 restart.
Gromis kept Fayash at bay over the final five laps and came home second at the line by less than a car lenght.
Kody Sites, Chris Holland and Elk rounded out the top five,
Sixth through 10th were Devin Trexler, Terry Kramer, Jim Kost, Kris Ney and Nate Hill. Heats for the roadrunners were won by Holland and Ney.
Jasen Geesaman took the lead from his outside pole starting spot and led all 20 laps of the street stock feature to claim the season-ending points race.
“The class is growing the cars and the cars are getting faster and we worked on the car a lot lately and I just glad that Jake (Smulley, track promoter) has our class here, this is awesome,” Geesaman said.
The 20-lap feature was slowed by just three cautions but it was all Geesaman in the end while Tyler Stump and Chris Heller having a torrid battle for second spot with Stump just holding off Heller for the runner-up spot as Heller finished third with Kyle Saylor and Rich Bossinger rounding out the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Leroy Long, Eric Tripp, Bobby Kupp, Mike Radocha and Chris Derr. Heats for the street stocks were won by Heller and Geesaman.
Tripp came into the feature with a 96-point lead and as was the case all year he maintained his top-10 finishes that led to consistency in winning the track title.
“After the second race, my son was talking about winning the championship and I was telling him to pump the breaks on that idea as there are a lot of fast cars here and we were able to navigate through the season and we stayed out of trouble all but one week,” Tripp said.
Also on Friday, Andy Burkhart earned a guarrented starting spot in Sunday's Coaclcracker as he won the non-winners 358 modified 15-lap feature. Kris Ney won the Pro Shine roadrunner challenge as the 10 drivers were chosen by a vote on the the Big Diamond Facebook page.
Rich Orth won the Blast From The Past Vintage sportsman feature while Ronnie Peck won the modified feature and and Tyler Lucas won the Enduro 60 feature.