Von Dohren wins opener
FORESTVILLE - Sometimes you have to be lucky as well as good.
That was the case for Kyle Killian and Craig Von Dohren in Sunday's 41st season opener at Big Diamond Raceway.
Killian and Von Dohren each took advantage of other drivers' misfortune in the latter portions of the race to capture feature victories in front of a large crowd at the Forestville dirt track.
Killian captured his second career roadrunner victory, while Von Dohren, the 2012 track champion, earned a $3,000 prize by winning the 30-lap 358 modified feature.
Jared Umbenhauer was simply really good, dominating the 20-lap sportsman feature and garnering $1,000 by leading from start to finish.
Killian and Von Dohren each moved into the lead after the leaders in their respective races crashed.
In the roadrunner feature, Killian became the leader on Lap 16 of the 20-lap race when Shon Elk suffered a flat tire and Jim Kost wrecked in Turn 2.
The second-year racer led the final five laps to garner the $300 top prize.
"I didn't think I was going to get the lead back by the end, but then circumstances happened and I got it back," said Killian. "This feels amazing. I love it."
Killian led laps 5-11 before getting passed by Kost in Turn 2. As the cars headed into Turn 4, Killian nearly lost control, his car wobbling back and forth through the turn and nearly turning sideways in the middle of a large pack of cars.
Von Dohren went through a similar set of circumstances in the 358 modified feature.
The 49-year-old Oley driver started fourth and stayed among the top 7-8 cars as Kevin Albert Jr., Bobby Varin and Duane Howard exchanged the lead through the early laps.
Varin seemed to be in control of the race at the midway point, leading Laps 9-24. He caught up to the back of the 26-car field on Lap 19, allowing second-place Howard to tighten the gap.
On Lap 25, the two collided between Turns 1 and 2, with Howard spinning out Varin. Von Dohren, in third, nearly got caught up in the wreck, slightly running into the back of Howard.
Howard and Varin were sent to the back of the field, putting Von Dohren in the lead.
"I got the front end bent up there. I got into Duane," said Von Dohren, who has been racing at Big Diamond since the early 1980s. "I just luckily was able to keep going and didn't stall, or I would have had to go to the back. I was able to keep it rolling."
Von Dohren avoided a sticky situation to preserve his lead.
On the ensuing restart, Von Dohren's car hit a hole in the track between Turns 1 and 2, allowing the field to bunch up behind him and nearly wrecking him in Turn 2. He was able to escape the trouble, leading the final six laps for the win.
"Catching the leaders there when we were racing, that was the fast place to be," Von Dohren said. "There's a hell of a hole there, and as long as you miss it, you're OK. I didn't time it right on that restart and I bobbled. I had the lane going into 3 ... it's tricky."
Von Dohren, who won the 2012 points title despite winning only one race, hopes Sunday's opener is the first of several victories in 2013.
"We won the championship last year, but we only won one race here all year. We just had an average year. We were OK," Von Dohren said. "I want to win races. That's what pays the bills, winning races. Winning is everything to me."
Big Diamond Speedway Results
Modified Feature (30 laps) - 1. (1c) Craig Von Dohren, 2. (3a) Kevin Albert, 3. (41) Jon Kellner Sr., 4. (19v) Bobby Varin, 5. (11) Duane Howard, 6. (7) Kevin Smith, 7. (33) Ray Swinehart, 8. (21k) Kyle Weiss, 9. (74w) John Willman, 10. (61) Justin Grim, 11. (27) Brad Arnold, 12. (1) Keith Hoffman, 13. (17) Ryan Grim, 14. (46) Doug Manmiller, 5. (4*) Jeff Strunk, 16. (357) Frank Cozze, 17. (87) Eric Biehn, 18. (88d) Meme DeSantis, 19. (T102) Shawn Fitzpatrick, 20. (87) Andy Burkhart, 21. (5) Ricky Yetter, 22. (41m) Mike Kellner, 23. (99) Craig Whitmoyer, 24. (47) Gary Wagner, 25. (85) Ron Haring Jr., 26. (4K) Nathan Klinger.
Sportsman Feature (20 laps) - 1. (16d) Jared Umbenhauer, 2. (2) Mike Glass, 3. (72) Ray Woodall Jr., 4. (19) Brad Brightbill, 5. (80) Doug Hendricks, 6. (T102) Tim Fitzpatrick, 7. (17) Billy Moyer Jr., 8. (64) Wayne Whitmer, 9. (3) Corey Renninger, 10. (17x) Kevin Beach Jr., 11. (21k) Kirby Sites, 12. (73) Jason James, 13. (X5) Darryl Dissinger, 14. (13L) Robin Schultz, 15. (4) A.J. Gerhart, 16. (81) Heath Metzger, 17. (99) Brandon Whitmoyer, 18. (72c) Andrew Cozze, 19. (22) Charles Fayash, 20. (134) Mark Behm, 21. (1) Jared Seigfried, 22. (56) Josh Hertzog, 23. (97) Jason Neidlinger, 24. (15) Mike Lisowski.
Roadrunner Feature (20 laps) - 1. (4k) Kyle Killian, 2. (992) Terry Kramer Jr. 3. (8c) Chris Holland, 4. (97) Jeremy Becker, 5. (00) Glenn Rowan, 6. (126) Jim Kost, 7. (10X) Shon Elk, 8. (54) Kris Ney, 9. (181) Devin Trexler, 10. (18) Tim Spesak, 11. (101) Alan Renninger, 12. (17r) Tim Fitzpatrick Jr. 13. (105) Joey Brennan, 14. (102) T.J. Fitzpatrick, 15. (11j) Billy Wingle, 16. (13) Jesse Krasnitsky, 17. (11k) Kyle Wingle, 18. (40) Jon Schlauch, 19. (66k) Marc Berzowski. DNS: (69m) Marty Purcell, (98k) Chip Kennedy