Kressley holds on for Big Diamond Title, Rochinski wins modified race. Jordan Henn (Crates) and Chuck Fayash (Roadrunners) are champions.

BY KEN BRUCE – What a great way to finish off the point season at Big Diamond Speedway – close racing, points titles coming down the wire, and a great racetrack – you couldn’t ask for anything more, and when it was all said and done the champions were crowned.

In the Quandel Concrete Modified division, it was Nick Rochinski winning his second feature of the season, but this night was all about Brett Kressley winning his ever Quandel Concrete Modified title. In the USS Achey Inc Crate 602 Crate Sportsman division, it was Jordan Henn winning the points title while Kevin Olenick took the checkered in the main event. The Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunner title race changed hands lap after lap, and when it was all over, it was Chuck Fayash winning the crown with Kris Ney coming up just short but winning the night’s feature. Tyler Bartik was the Xcel 600 winner.

Coming into the final title race, Brett Kressley led Mike Gular by a mere 58 points, with all eyes being on those two title contenders. Kressley started the race in the 18th spot while Gular went from the 14th starting spot. At the drop of the green flag, it was Wayne Witmer taking the initial lead of the race over Kenny Eckert Jr. After one lap, the yellow was out for Jim Bobbitt, who spun and pulled off the track on the backstretch but was too close to the racing surface for the race to continue. While under yellow, Rick Laubach pulled his No. 20 into the pits.

Witmer and Eckert Jr led the field back to racing with Kevin Beach Jr moving from third to first to take the lead, while Nick Rochinski worked his way up to third. Another yellow halted the flow of the race when Doug Smith Jr slowed, which provided track workers to remove some debris on the front stretch. The green came back out and Beach was the leader with Rochinski moving past Eckert to second, but the yellow was quickly put back out on lap four as title contender Jeff Strunk slowed and went pitside ending his title hopes. When racing resumed it was Rochinski taking over the lead as Craig Von Dohren was moving into the picture taking over third.

Meanwhile, points leader Kressley was mired back in traffic as Gular worked his way towards the front making the point race a lot closer. Von Dohren worked his way past Beach Jr and into second as the field was working on lap nine. As the field was about to take the halfway sign from starter Warren Alston, the yellow flag was waved once again with Mike Lisowski slowing with a right front flat tire. At this point, it was Gular up to seventh with Kressley still stuck back in 12th . Nick Rochinski’s big lead was wiped out with the caution, and he now had track’s all-time leading feature winner, Craig Von Dohren, alongside of him.

The first start was called back after Von Dohren went a little too early. The following restart saw Rochinski power his No. 20R out to the lead with Von Dohren all over him for the lead. Once Rochinski established himself as the leader, he started to distance himself from Von Dohren. With Rochinski pulling away in the lead, all eyes were on the points battle as Gular was now up to fourth with Kressley starting to pick cars off one at a time. Duane Howard was on the move on the outside and went by Reimert, Gular and Beach Jr in a span of two laps to move into third. Lap 20 saw Kressley move past Reimert for sixth and one lap later was by his rival Gular for fifth. Kressley kept up his assault using the
Kressley line to go by Beach Jr for fourth. That would be where Kressley finished the race giving him the 2023 Quandel Concrete Modified title. Not to be overshadowed on this night was the performance of Rochinski who went on to win his second feature of the year in dominating fashion. Von Dohren would finish second with Howard, Kressley and Beach Jr  in the top five.

“We had to work for that one starting eighth,” said a smiling Rochinski in Red White and Blue Autos victory lane. “After the heat race we didn’t think we had a good shot at winning tonight and I said to my brother that I didn’t think we were in good enough shape and what are we going to do. Next thing I know, he has the shocks ripped off the car and doing his normal and he really had this car on a rail, I just had to drive it. I didn’t really want to see him (Von Dohren) alongside me there on the restart but then I saw my brother signal that I had a pretty big lead and I figured I just needed to keep doing what I am doing he wasn’t going catch us. We had two stinky weekends here in the past and nothing is better than to ride this momentum into Sunday.”

After Rochinski’s victory lane celebration, it was time to crown our 2023 Quandel Concrete Modified champion Brett Kressley. This was Kressley’s first ever modified championship and the Orefield, PA driver was very appreciative of the effort it took his team to get him there.

“This feels good, we worked hard all year,” said Kressley while accepting his accolades. “A couple of misfortunes that didn’t have to happen this year made it close. It definitely made it exciting. In the beginning, it seemed that no lane was my lane and then it got strung out there and then I just drove it as hard as I could to make up for it. We knew we had a good package coming into the year so we figured the results should be similar to last year. It is definitely a goal of mine starting the year off. This is definitely something special and it gets your name etched somewhere where in most places it’s not and it’s pretty important. Thank you to Big Diamond and all of the fans for coming out and see you on Sunday.”

The USS Achey, Inc. 602 Crate Sportsman feature saw Jordan Henn come into the race with a very small points lead over the surging Danny Buccafusca. At the drop of the green, it was Daryl Dissinger, in his last race as a driver, taking the lead. The race for the title would take a big turn early on when a huge crash took place on the front stretch involving title contenders Danny Buccafusca and Logan Watt. The incident started with Nick Desantis coming off of turn four on the outside and pulling up on Kevin Olenick. Olenick started to move to the outside and clipped the left front tire of Desantis, sending him into the outside wall as the field was coming off turn four. Logan Watt, with nowhere to go, ran into the back of Desantis with Buccafusca plowing into the back of Watt causing the No. 4M to go up and over bringing out the red flag. The cars taking the biggest blow were those of Watt and Buccafusca. Watt exited his car immediately and was okay. Buccafusca also was quickly out of his No. 20G but dropped to the track and to the attention of the medical team. Buccafusca was put in the ambulance but seemed to be okay.

After a long cleanup, it was Dissinger back to the lead and pulling away from second place Olenick. Just past the halfway mark, the No. 5 of Dissinger starts to show a little smoke as Olenick was now all over him for the lead. A lap 15 caution saw the leader Dissinger head to the pits with a right rear flat handing the lead over to Olenick. The remaining five laps it was all Olenick as he took the checkered flag over 2023 USS Achey, Inc Crate 602 Champion Jordan Henn. Xavier Sprague finished third with Logan Starr coming home in fourth with Matt Martino completing the top five.

“We’ll take it, but I don’t really want to win like that,” said Crate 602 Champion Jordan Henn accepting his championship. “I hope Danny (Buccafusca) is okay, I know we have our differences, but I hate to see anybody get hurt in a race car. I’ve been there and it is no fun. We definitely weren’t the best car like we were in the beginning of the season. I don’t know if I got points in my head and started points racing instead of racing for wins. We had a lot of fun this year racing with Logan (Watt) for the points and I wish we could’ve raced on the track for it tonight.”

Both Chuck Fayash and Kris Ney did what they had to do on Friday night in the Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunner feature. Fayash came into the race with the goal of just having to keep Ney in his sights to win his first Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunner championship. Ney knew he had to win the race and hoped that he would finish enough spots in front of Fayash to claim the title. Both drivers accomplished what they set out to do with Fayash finishing second and winning the title. Ney went on to win the race over Fayash, Joe Bassininsky, Tom Hablett and CJ Ferguson.

The Big Creek Concrete Crate 602 Rookie feature saw Danica Getz win her first rookie feature of the year over Brittany Edgar and McKenzie Smith. This race proved to be a historical one for Big Diamond Speedway with it being the first ever all girl feature race and podium finish.

The XCEL Chassis 600 Modified feature was won by Tyler Bartik over Ritchie Hitzler, Geoffrey Sutton, Korey Inglin and Craig Whitmoyer.

Championship Night Full Results 9/01/23:

Quandel Concrete Modifieds:
1. Nick Rochinski, 2. Craig Von Dohren, 3. Duane Howard, 4. Brett Kressley, 5. Kevin Beach Jr., 6. Mike Gular, 7. Louden Reimert, 8. Ryan Watt, 9. Ken Eckert Jr., 10. Wayne Witmer, 11. Brandon Edgar, 12. Bobby Trapper Jr., 13. Scott Albert, 14. Aleia Geisler, 15. Tim Fitzpatrick, 16. Corey Renninger, 17. Dave Shirk, 18. Bryan Rhoads, 19. Mike Lisowski, 20. Jeff Strunk, 21. Jim Bobbitt, 22. Doug Smith Jr., 23. Rick Laubach, 24. Gunnar Pio (DNS)

Modified Heat Winners: Wayne Witmer, Tim Fitzpatrick & Ken Eckert Jr.
Modified Consi Winner: Ryan Watt
Penske Shocks Certificate Winners: Nick Rochinski ($100), Craig Von Dohren ($75) & Duane Howard ($50)

Quandel Concrete Final Modified Points Standings:
1. Brett Kressley (1976) 2. Mike Gular (1898) 3. Louden Reimert (1832) 4. Jeff Strunk (1784) 5. Duane Howard (1756) 6. Craig Von Dohren (1589) 7. Nick Rochinski (1579) 8. Ryan Watt (1567) 9. Mike Lisowski (1527) 10. Rick Laubach (1524)

USS Achey Inc. Crate 602 Sportsman:
1. Kevin Olenick, 2. Jordan Henn, 3. Xavier Sprague, 4. Logan Starr, 5. Matt Martino, 6. Alex Bartorillo, 7. Tyler Vidal, 8. Brady Shea, 9. Glenn Rowan, 10. Craig Cuneo, 11. Daryl Dissinger, 12. Tajae Adams, 13. Brennan Chapman, 14. Nick Desantis, 15. Logan Watt, 16. Danny Buccafusca, 17. Kevin Brady

Crate 602 Heat Winners: Nick Desantis & Daryl Dissinger
Penske Shocks Certificate Winners: Kevin Olenick ($100), Jordan Henn ($75) & Xavier Sprague ($50)

USS Achey Inc Crate 602 Sportsman Final Points Standings:
1. Jordan Henn (2039) 2. Danny Buccafusca (1884) 3. Kevin Olenick (1845) 4. Logan Watt (1833) 5. Brandon Edgar (1411) 6. Nick Desantis (1348) 7. Xavier Sprague (1338) 8. Mike Loney (1178) 9. Matt Yoder (1090) 10. Mike Schneck Jr (1085)

Big Creek Concrete Crate 602 Rookie Feature:
1. Danica Getz, 2. Brittany Edgar, 3. McKenzie Smith

Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunners:
1. Kris Ney, 2. Chuck Fayash, 3. Joe Bassininsky, 4. Tom Hablett, 5. CJ Ferguson, 6. TJ Fitzpatrick, 7. Jarod Bassininsky, 8. Eric Buchinski, 9. Jesse Krasnitsky

Roadrunner Heat Winner: Kris Ney

Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunners Final Point Standings:
1. Chuck Fayash (3301) 2. Kris Ney (3272) 3. CJ Ferguson (3043) 4. Alex Schoffstall (2526) 5. Jim Kost (2133)

Xcel Chassis 600 Modifieds:
1. Tyler Bartik, 2. Richie Hitzler, 3. Geoffrey Sutton, 4. Korey Inglin, 5. Craig Whitmoyer, 6. Mark Bressler, 7. Tommy Martocci, 8. Brandon Plunkert, 9. Dylan Cordier, 10. Chad Kreiser, 11. Christian Smith, 12. Doug Newbigging, 13. Tiffany Mays, 14. Bryce Smith, 15. Ray Gradwell, 16. Gerry Bressler, 17. Shjon Dove, DNS Andrew Hendricks

XCEL Chassis 600 Heat Winners: Tyler Bartik & Geoffrey Sutton