All systems go for the 52nd year of racing at Big Diamond Speedway

With all preseason activities completed, it is now time to get it on as promoters Jake and Jasmine Smulley swing open the gates at Big Diamond Speedway for the 52nd year of competition. The Smulley’s have gone above and beyond to give the Big Diamond fans a schedule to be proud of in 2024 and it all begins this Friday night, April 12th with the second running of the Thaw Brawl.

Headlining opening night as always will be the Quandel Concrete Modifieds led by defending point champion Brett Kressley. Kressley will be looking to get his season off on a good note and take his first ever opening night win.

Kressley and the rest of the expected star-studded field will compete for the first-place prize of $4,052. This will be the 47th year the modifieds have competed at the Schuylkill Valley oval. Leading the way in opening night wins at Big Diamond are Duane Howard and Jeff Strunk who both have six opening night victories. Charlie Eckert, Kenny Brightbill, Doug Hoffman, Rick Laubach and Craig Von Dohren are all right behind with three opening night wins. Keith Hoffman is next in line with two wins with a slew of drivers having one win including Aaron Brommer, Pete Damiani, Paul Lotier, Roger Laureno, Fred Rahmer, Keith Carl, Rick Schaffer, Steve Bottcher, Ryan Bloom, Terry Meitzler, Kyle Weiss, Kevin Hartnett, Ryan Godown, Erick Rudolph, Doug Manmiller, Billy Pauch Jr, Jared Umbenhaurer and Tim Buckwalter.

The expected field for the Quandel Concrete Modifieds this year will be tougher than ever. Brett Kressley, Duane Howard, Rick Laubach, Nick Rochinski, Louden Reimert, Mike Lisowski, Kevin Beach Jr, Timmy Buckwalter have all indicated they will be back on a full-time basis. Drivers who expect to race often at Big Diamond but not necessarily every week include Jeff Strunk, Craig Von Dohren, Ryan Watt and Mike Gular.  Add to the mix Billy Pauch Jr, Ryan Godown, Anthony Perrego and others who are expected to show up periodically throughout the season for the big money shows and you have the makings of an incredible season ahead at Big Diamond.

There will be a few drivers moving up from the Crate 602 Sportsman to the modifieds in 2024 that have a ton of experience at Big Diamond. Included in that group are Brandon Edgar, Logan Watt, Matt Yoder and Mike Schneck. It is always exciting to see the youth of our sport move up the divisional ladder.

Not to be out done, the USS Achey Inc Crate 602 Sportsman will be racing for some extra cash as well on opening night as they will race 20 laps for a first-place prize of $1,052. The landscape of the Crate 602 sportsman will see a change in the upcoming 2024 season. Gone are perennial contenders Brandon Edgar, Logan Watt and Danny Buccafusca. Those three alone accounted for multiple wins last season. However, the 2023 points champion Jordan Henn will be back this season to defend his title. Henn will have to contend with drivers such as Keven Olenick, Nick Desantis, Daryl Dissinger, newcomer Colin Cox and rookie sensation in 2023 Jax Yohn if he wants to win back-to-back titles.

The most exciting division of racing on a weekly basis at Big Diamond is the Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunner class. This division puts on some of the best door to door racing you will see, and opening night will be more of the same. The winner on Friday night will receive $452 for their efforts.

Rounding out the opening night racing card will be the second season of the Big Creek Concrete Crate Rookie division. There are close to a dozen rookies signed up to compete in 2024 with more expected. This is a great way for new drivers to gain the experience needed to move up to the next level.

The racing action will get underway on Friday night at 7:15 PM with racing to follow.

Pit gates will open Friday night at 5:00 PM with the Grandstand gate opening at 5:30 PM

Pit admission is $35 for those with a Big Diamond License. Non-licensed Pit admission is $45.

General admission is $20, Kids under 16 are free.

If you cannot attend in person, Dirt Track Digest TV will have all the action live via Pay-Per-View.

Following opening night will be the annual Money in the Mountains race for the Quandel Concrete Modifieds paying a cool $10,000 to the winner.