Ryan Watt and Jeff Strunk modified winners at Big Diamond

It was modified madness night at the Big Diamond Speedway on Friday night with Ryan Watt winning the make-up Thaw Brawl Quandel Concrete modified feature postponed from April 19th. In the regularly scheduled Quandel Concrete modified feature event, it was Jeff Strunk returning to Big Diamond victory lane after a two-year absence. The Mid Atlantic EMod feature was dominated by Ray Kable. Also gracing victory lane on Friday night were Jax Yohn, who made it two in a row in the USS Achey, Inc. 602 Crate division and Alex Schoffstall who was the winner of the Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunners feature.

The Thaw Brawl Quandel Concrete modified makeup feature was the first race on the docket on Friday night with Ryan Watt and Louden Reimert the front row starters. At the drop of starter Warren Alston’s green flag, it was Ryan Watt aboard the Fitzpatrick Racing No. EZ102 taking the lead over Reimert with Logan Watt in third. The yellow was out on lap two for a slowing car on the track. Jeff Strunk and Billy Pauch Jr would head pit side at this time. Ryan Watt would take the lead on the restart with Reimert right there. Going into turn one the leader Ryan Watt bobbled allowing both Reimert and Logan Watt to make the pass, but Ryan Watt was saved when the yellow was out for a tangle in turn one and two involving the cars of Brett Kressley, Brandon Edgar, Heath Metzger and Aleia Geisler. Kressley and Edgar headed to the pits at this time, with only Edgar returning.

When racing resumed, it was Ryan Watt once again out front, but racing was slowed once again for debris in turn two before a lap could be completed. It was Ryan Watt again taking charge on the restart with Reimert all over the Boyertown, PA driver for the lead. Lap five saw the caution fever continue for more debris on the racetrack. The car on the move was the No. 942 of Timmy Buckwalter, who was now up to fourth from his sixth starting spot. Racing again and the battle for the lead was heating up with Reimert all over Ryan Watt for the lead. Reimert worked the inside lane but just wasn’t able to make the pass and take the lead. Reimert continued to pressure Ryan Watt for the lead as the yellow was out for Dave Dissinger who stopped while trying to go to the pits.

Ryan Watt again pulled the field on the restart with Reimert again trying to work the inside for the lead with Logan Watt and Buckwalter right in tow. As the laps ticked off, Ryan Watt was able to put a one to two car length between himself and Reimert with the yellow coming out again on lap 16 for Metzger stopping in turn four. On this restart, Reimert tried something different and went to the outside entering turn one, but Ryan Watt drifted up the track causing Reimert to make contact with the back bumper of Ryan Watt, which slowed his momentum allowing Logan Watt to takeover the runner up spot. It was now a father-son duel for the lead as the younger Watt was starting to reel in his father, looking for the lead as the laps wound down. With five laps to go Ryan was about five car lengths in front of Logan, but the young protégé was gaining on his more experienced father as Eddie Strada got past Reimert for third.

The younger Watt did all he could to catch his father, but to no avail as Ryan Watt streaked under the checkered flag for the $4,052 Thaw Brawl win over his son Logan Watt, Eddie Strada, Louden Reimert and Rick Laubach.

“This is pretty awesome,” said the happy Ryan Watt. “I got lucky with that one caution coming out, we were having a problem with the front nose digging and it bottomed out hard there and the car shot up the track with both Louden (Reimert) and Logan (Watt) getting by there and after that I was determined not to let that happen again and just take it easy getting in there. I saw on the scoreboard that Logan was in second and I wasn’t going to let him get by me. Logan has been pretty impressive driving his modified and I knew he would tough if he got out front. I have to thank Shawn and Tim Fitzpatrick for giving me this ride and hopefully Tim can heal up and get back behind the wheel soon.”

The regularly scheduled $5,000 to win Quandel Concrete modified saw Michael Burrows take the lead on lap one with Jeff Strunk quickly moving into second as the field completed lap two. Before another lap could be scored, Matt Yoder slowed to bring out the first yellow of the race. Burrows continued his strong run as he maintained the lead over Strunk on the restart. Strunk was all over Burrows for the lead with Billy Pauch Jr now moving into picture taking third from Ken Eckert Jr. The battle between Burrows and Strunk for lead was heating up with Jack Butler slowing to bring out the yellow on lap five.

Burrows was again able to hold off Strunk on the restart to stay in front, but now Strunk was on a mission for the lead with Kressley getting by Pauch Jr for third. Burrows and Strunk raced side by side for the lead lap after lap before Strunk was finally able to pull off the pass for the lead on lap 10. One lap later Kressley was by Burrows for second and started closing in on Strunk for the lead just as the yellow was displayed for Butler who slowed. The restart saw Strunk lead the way over Kressley as Pauch Jr, Duane Howard and Mike Gular battled behind the leaders for spots in the top five. Kressley was working the inside with Strunk running the middle of the track as the laps ticked off. Kressley got up under Strunk with five laps remaining, but Strunk kept his momentum up and continued to stay in front. After Kressley’s last bid, Strunk started to put a little distance between himself and Kressley and raced to the $5,000 win. The win was Strunk’s first win at Big Diamond since opening night in 2022. Brett Kressley, Mike Gular, Billy Pauch Jr and Louden Reimert completed the top five.

“It has been a long time since I have been in victory lane here at Big Diamond,” said a very emotional Jeff Strunk in victory lane who endured a very tough offseason. “I have to thank Norm (Hansell), Jay (Thomas) and my crew. I knew this was going to be a tough one after losing my brother and losing two really good friends in the last week in a half. He (Glenn Strunk) is with me all the time and has been driving with me all year and I have been driving good and that’s because of him. This one has been hard and this win is for Glenn. Jake (Smulley) gave us a great track tonight and thanks to him and all of the fans who came out tonight.”

The Mid Atlantic EMod feature saw Ray Kable III take the lead at the drop of the green and lead all 25 laps to take the win. Kable III was the driver to beat on this night as the only time anyone was able to get close was on lap five when the only caution of the race was displayed. When the feature resumed, it was Kable III streaking out to a big lead as George Dixon Jr. and Jason Cullum battled for second. This night was all Ray Kable III who went on to win by almost a half a track over Dixon Jr. and Cullum.

Make it two for two for Jax Yohn in winning the USS Achey Inc. 602 Crate Sportsman feature for the second week in a row. Tim Borror would take the lead as Matt Martino takes over second. A couple of quick yellows early on slowed the pace with Borror maintaining the lead. When we finally were able to get some continuous racing in, Borror was able to maintain his lead over Martino. While Borror led the way, it was Joe Toth and Jax Yohn ripping the lip and charging to the front. Toth was the driver to watch as he was passing cars at will on the top side and making quick moves to the front. After moving into third, Toth ran down the top two who had opened up a sizeable lead and was poised to make a move past second on lap 17 bringing Yohn with him. Disaster struck Toth as he suddenly slowed with mechanical issues ending his exhilarating run to the front.

Borror stayed in front on the restart but a big pileup on the backstretch put the field back under yellow before more laps could be scored. It was still three laps to go as Borror led the way looking for his first ever win. Yohn made quick work of Martino on the outside in turns one and two to take second setting his sights on Borror. Yohn was all over Borror as the field took the white flag. The two leaders entered turn one with Borror down low and Yohn up on the high side. Going down the backstretch, Yohn was able to get alongside Borror and kept his high side momentum going into turn three with Yohn able to make the pass coming out of turn four to win the exciting race over Borror. Matt Martino, Brandon Firestine and Nick Desantis rounded out the top five.

In the Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunner feature it was Alex Schoffstall returning to victory lane for the first time this season after a very exciting battle with Andrew Fayash III and Chuck Fayash. Schoffstall and Fayash III swapped the lead back and forth before Schoffstall was able to stay in front and take the win. Andrew Fayash III, Chuck Fayash, Jim Kost and Kris Ney completed the top five.