Big Diamond offers purse incentives for 2014
FORRESTVILLE - More cars equals bigger money at Big Diamond Speedway this year.
Providing at least 33 cars attempt to qualify for the weekly modified feature, the purse for the 25-lap feature events will go up from last year's amounts.
Should the field of cars in any of the other regular divisions - sportsman modified, roadrunners and late models - exceed 33, there will also be a bump at the pay window for those drivers.
This could mean even more cars and harder racing for dirt-track fans traveling to the Schuylkill County oval.
Coming off the rousing success of the annual car show at the Fairlane Village Mall, Big Diamond fans can expect an action-packed season with 26 total race dates in Jake and Jasmine Smulley's second season of ownership.
Providing the weather cooperates, the season kicks off Sunday with the 358 modifieds, sportsman and roadrunners all in action.
From there, it's a frenzied Friday schedule through August, with old favorites and new races with big paydays.
The schedule also has special Tuesday races in both June and July, along with the annual Coalcracker 72 on Sunday, Aug. 31.
The first Friday of racing is slated for the second annual Money in the Mountains 40-lap event for big and small blocks. Payout is $7,500 and will also have roadrunners and the debut of the late models on the tab. Rain date is April 6.
Gates open at 5 p.m. and first heat hits the track at 8:15. Also on the card that evening will be the late models, making their 2014 season debut, along with the roadrunners. Each of these divisions will go 20 laps in their respective feature events. Over $750 in lap money has been collected.
That payout pales in comparison to the $8,000-to-win purse when the World of Outlaws late model series comes to town on Tuesday, June 24. The roadrunners are also on the schedule.
Another special show is the 34th Georgie Stevenson Memorial. It features $3,400 to win the 34-lap 358 modified feature. The sportsman, roadrunners and 600 modifieds will also take the track.
It all leads up to the last weekend in August. Friday features the Coalcracker 40 for late models and sportsman.
Two days later the Jack Rich Memorial Coalcracker 72 kicks off. Drivers of the 358 modifieds must navigate 72 laps for the $10,000 haul.
The inaugural Coalcracker was competed in the 1979 season with Bob Emerich scoring the win in the 50-lap event. As the years have passed, only 17 different winners have graced the Coalcracker victory lane.
The winningest driver in Coalcracker competitions is Duane Howard with six wins, while Jeff Strunk, Doug Hoffman and Charlie Eckert have scored three wins each. Craig Von Dohren has two wins in the Coalcracker, along with Kenny Brightbill, Billy Pauch Sr. and Ryan Godown.
Von Dohren is the returning champion in the 358 modified point race. He was followed by Meme Desantis, Doug Manmiller, Jeff Strunk, who won 2013's Coalcracker 72, and Frank Cozze. More than 84 drivers competed.
Jared Umbenhauer beat out Kevin Beach Jr. for the sportsman championship. Doug Hendricks, Ray Woodall Jr. and Wayne Witmer followed.
Marc Berzowski won the roadrunner division by 80 points over Jeremy Becker, with Chris Holland, Terry Kramer Jr. and Jim Kost rounded out the top five.