Saturday, May 21, 2016

Ray Woodall Sr., Wins First Ever Sportsman Feature

MINERSVILLE, PA. -- It was 30 years in the making but Ray Woodall Sr., would have been happy with just his heat race win on Friday night.

Instead, the veteran modified campaigner who began his career at the famed Flemington Fair Speedway in the sportsman division in 1983, held off challenges from Doug Hendricks and then Tim Fitzpatrick to score his first-ever win in the 20-lap U.S.S. Achey sportsman feature on Friday night at Big Diamond Speedway.

Other winners on Friday night were Brett Arndt (ARDC Midgets); Kody Sites (roadrunners); and Eric Tripp (street stocks).

The speedway is back in action on Friday, May 27 with the Mark’s Service Center Night for the Gone But Not Forgotten Race featuring the CJ’s Tire & Automotive Services 358 modifieds, U.S.S. Achey sportsman, Savage 61 roadrunners, No Sweat Service Group street stocks and vintage cars.

It took two attempts to get the sportsman feature underway as rookie Skylar Sheriff experienced mechanical issues with this car, but once the green flew it was a battle between Woodall Sr., and Shawn Light in the opening laps.

Light would fend off the charge on the outside of Woodall Sr. on the opening lap as the two raced side-by-side down the backstretch.

In what would turn out to be a caution-filled race, Woodall Sr. took the lead on a lap 1 restart as he battled Light going into Turn 3.

Light would see his night come to an end when he was part of a three-car accident on the restart of lap 7 on the front stretch.

Woodall Sr., would lead the way on the restart as Fitzpatrick and Hendricks battled for second. Fitzpatrick would take over the runner-up spot just past the halfway mark and set sail after Woodall.

As Fitzpatrick closed in on lap 17, a lapped car came into play as Woodall and Fitzpatrick had to go to the high side in Turns 1 and 2, thus slowing Fitzpatrick for just a moment which allowed Woodall to open up his lead with two laps to go.

“To leave here tonight with a feature win, this is incredible,” Woodall Sr. Said. “I’m an old guy. I’m 57 and I am just starting to do this again and I am having such a good time.”

Fitzpatrick gave Woodall Sr., all he could handle while settling for second place with Craig Whitmoyer, Hendricks and Mike Lisowski rounding out the top five.

“Thank God Tim Fitzpatrick has patience, because I know I got squirly in front of him a bunch of times,” Woodall said. “With two to go and even on the white flag lap, I was thinking there is no way I was going to win this. I was waiting for Tim (Fitzpatrick) to go by. There’s no way this was happening. I was there for my son Ray’s first win at Big Diamond and he was there for mine. I ran big blocks at Flemington and I never qualified. I had garbage equipment and these new cars are so nice to drive.”

Sixth through 10th were Brandon Grosso, T.J. Lilly, Wayne Witmer, Cale Ross and Ryan Shupp.

Heats for the 23 sportsman were won by Light and Woodall Sr.

Lapped traffic would play a role in the outcome of the 20-lap ARDC midget feature at Trevor Kobylarz who had a healthy lead late in the race, bobbled going into Turn 1 on the final lap allowing Arndt to get a run on the high-side of Turn 2 and pass him for the win, his second of the season.

The lap before that, Arndt showed his nose to Kobylarz but Arndt pushed up the track and lost some momentum.

“I think that he kind of felt like the only place that I was going to run was on the bottom and lapped traffic gave us plenty of room and I was definitely better than him a lane up and luckily it was a clean grove and we made a pretty cool pass; it’s been a long time since we took a win from somebody,” Arndt said. "The track was in great shape and we had a great surface to run on from top to bottom. We always enjoy coming here with ARDC."

Kobylarz battled with midget veteran Danny Stratton in the early goings before the two made contact coming off Turn 4 on lap 6, sending Startton spinning into the infield.

Arndt was busy holding off Alex Bright for most of the race as they closed in on Kobylarz for the lead in the final few laps.

Kobylarz held on for second with Bright third while Billy Pauch, Jr., and Ryan Wilson completed the top five.

Sixth through 10th were Brenden Bright, Nick Wean, Ryan Greth, Kyle Spence and Justin Grosz. Heats for the 19 midgets were won by Danny Stratton and Greth.

Cody Site is beginning to assert himself as an early-season title contender as he scored his second win of the year in the Savage 61 roadrunners 20-lap feature.

Sites held off Jesse Kranitsky on a lap 13 restart and pulled away for the win.

“This thing was a rocket tonight,” Sites said. “We had a rough night in the second week, but I think we got it now. I have to thank my dad. He did a lot of work on the car over the winter.”

While Sites was pulling away, five cars were battling for the runner-up spot as Kranitsky held off Andy Fayash III by less than a fender at the line for second

Heats for the 23 roadrunners were won by Andrew Fayash III and Chuck Eckert

Tripp continues to lead the way in the No Sweat Service Group street stocks as he held on for a last-lap restart for the win.

“We were pretty quick off the starts tonight and I wanted to be down low (inside grove) and I don’t know what happened, but I got by him and Chris is a heck of a driver, we were pretty lucky to get the win,” Trip said.

Jasen Geeseman, Chris Derr, Jim Bossinger and Bobby Kupp completed the top five.

Sixth through 10th were Dustin Hollinger, Jimmy Combs, Leroy Long Jeremy Becker and Tyler Stump. Heats for the 20 street stocks were won by Deer and Jasen Geeseman.

In the Kim’s Kreation’s Mechanics race, Andrew Walls (street stocks) and Shawn Marshall (roadrunners) took home the wins.

The gates will open at 5 p.m. on May 27 with warm ups at 7:45 and racing begins at 8:15. General admission is $15, seniors, $13, and kids 12-and-under and active military with a valid ID are free.

By Shawn Wood