Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Georgie Stevenson Memorial Friday At Big Diamond

The prestigious B&H Landscaping George-Georgie Stevenson Memorial for the CJ’s Tire & Automotive Services 358 modifieds will take place this Friday after being postponed last week.

The 30-lap feature pays $4,000 to win and $300 to take the green along with the Mark’s Service Center cash dash for the 358 modifieds.

The U.S.S. Achey sportsman feature will pay $1,000 to win while the Savage 61 roadrunners and the Jasen's Automotive Night Street Stock Summer Shootout 30 which pays $1,081 to win and a cash dash will also take place for what is shaping up to be a tremendous night of racing in the coal region.

A great fireworks show is planned for intermission.

Admission for Friday is $25 while kids 12-and-under along with active military with a valid ID are free. The gates open at 5:30 p.m. with warm ups at 7:45 and racing gets underway at 8:15.

If needed, the Stevenson rain date will be July 15. If that date is lost to rain, then the new date would be Sunday, July 17, with the same show. The gates will open at 4, warm ups at 7:15 and racing starting at 7:45.

Georgie Stevenson was a young and avid Big Diamond fan who supported the track along with his family every week. Georgie battled cancer and sadly passed away at the age of 12. He worked hard to raise money for cancer research and at the same time loved the sport of auto racing. The first Georgie Stevenson Memorial event was contested at the speedway in 1980.

Georgie's father, George Stevenson, passed away unexpectedly in 2015. George’s presence at Big Diamond made a significant difference over the decades.

George was a champion for terminally ill kids and he worked tirelessly year-round to raise money and to present it to families to help defray the cost of treatment and expenses brought on by cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

One driver who is looking to pick up a win in the event is longtime modified campaigner Shawn Fitzpatrick, of Pottsville.

"It is always an honor for me to be a part of this event that had such significance and meaning," Fitzpatrick said. "I can't remember a time when George Sr., would walk by me without giving me a hug. He made you feel like the you were the most important person in the world."

This year's Georgie Stevenson Memorial will honor Dustin Rhoads from Wiconisco, PA.

Rhoads began battling stage 2 ductal cancer in 2012. He had a mastectomy in August 2012 followed by eight rounds of chemo. He was thought to be cancer-free for almost three years but on January 6, 2016, he went into the hospital for a routine hip replacement. Doctor came out and told him that they found more cancer. After more scans of his whole body they found out that he now has stage 4 madastsic breast cancer. The cancer is now in the bones.

On June 1, Dustin, who is 40, suffered a severe stroke and he is now paralyzed on his left side. He spent a week in Hershey Medical Center in the ICU Neuroscience unit and was then transported to Penn State Hershey rehabilitation center for intensive therapy.

The doctors have no clue how long he will be there. There will be a 50/50 on Friday to help him out as well as the drivers coming to the grandstands at intermission and taking donations in their helmets.

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