Big Diamond set for weekend opener
Coming off a successful mall show, Schuylkill County's Big Diamond Speedway, under the new ownership team of Jake and Jasmine Smulley, looks forward to opening on Sunday afternoon, marking the 41st consecutive season of racing at the 3/8th mile dirt oval.
Gates open at 1 p.m. and racing will begin at 4 p.m. for the popular three-division show that has been the staple in recent years at the Forrestville track.
The 358 (small block) modifieds, sportsman and roadrunners are on Sunday's slate. The modifieds will compete in a 30-lap feature paying the winner $3,000, while the sportsman and roadrunners will each have 20-lap features. A complete program of qualifying events will set the field for the respective feature events of each division.
Big Diamond will return to its typical Friday night time slot, next Friday, March 29, with the three divisions being joined by the street stock class.
As of press time (Thursday p.m.), Lincoln Speedway and Port Royal Speedway are still scheduled to be opening, while Williams Grove Speedway has canceled its season opener of 358 and 410 sprint cars tonight.
Selinsgrove Speedway, following its 410 season opener on March 10 won by Greg Hodnett and last Friday's Race of Champions 358 modified feature, which was won by Duane Howard, lost the Saturday portion of the "Icebreaker Weekend" to bad weather and has already canceled Saturday's regular-season four-division opener.
Lincoln Speedway is scheduled to have the 410 sprint cars, limited late models and thundercars in action with a 6 p.m. starting time at the Abbottstown oval, while Juniata County's Port Royal season opener at 5 p.m., finds the 410 sprint cars, late models and enduro dash races on the program.
Following last weekends "Icebreaker Weekend" at Selinsgrove Speedway, the New York based, Race of Champions dirt modified series heads south to the New Egypt Speedway for the "Cabin Fever 60" for the modifieds along with a 40-lap feature for the RoC Sportsman Series. Pit Gates open at 10 a.m., grandstands at 2 p.m. and racing action starts at 3 p.m.
Maryland's Hagerstown Speedway continues to kick off its racing season with an attempt to complete the 2012 racing season. The "Brawl in the Fall" fell victim to Hurricane Sandy last October after the qualifying action was completed, and the features only program was once again canceled last Sunday due to weather issues. Sunday is the new rain date featuring the 410 sprint cars, big block modifieds, late models and 358 sprint cars. Gates open at 11 a.m. and racing begins at 2 p.m. at the Hub City half-mile.
Following the 44th annual Amalie Oil Gatornationals last weekend at the Gainesville (Florida) Raceway, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has a few weekends off before returning to action April 5-7 at the Strip at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the 14th Annual summitracing.com Nationals.
Winners of last weekend were Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Johnny Gray (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (P/S Bike).
(Kaminski covers auto racing for The News-Item)