Strunk powers strange ride to $5,000 victory at Big Diamond, Owings wins 358 Sprint feature

Jeff Strunk became the first driver to win multiple features this season on Quandel Concrete night at Big Diamond Speedway by winning the third installment of the May Month of Money Quandel Concrete Modified aboard the Rochinski Racing Enterprises No. 20R in place of Nick Rochinski who is sidelined for health reasons. Strunk took the lead from Jack Butler with only two laps remaining to win the $5,000 feature. Steve Owings was the winner of the 358 Sprint Car Summer Series feature with Mike Schneck Jr winning his first ever Big Diamond USS Achey, Inc. 602 Crate Sportsman feature. CJ Ferguson was the winner of the Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunner feature.

Scott Albert and Jack Butler brought the 24-car Quandel Concrete modified field to starter Warren Alston’s green flag with Albert taking the lead on the start with Butler tucked in behind him. A strong Matt Yoder was by Shawn Fitzpatrick for third. Brandon Edgar was on the move early as he was quickly up to fourth on lap three. Albert continued to lead over Butler as the yellow was out on lap seven for the cars of Eddie Strada and Coleby Frye spinning in turn one with Brett Kressley heading to the pits.

Butler used the outside line to get around Albert on the restart to take the lead with Edgar also going by Albert and into second as the big guns were starting to work their way towards the front with Strunk moving into the top five on lap 11. Out front, it was Butler with a two-car length lead over Edgar with Yoder, Strunk, and Albert as the field took the crossed flags. Butler was starting to pull away from Edgar as the yellow was out on lap 17, as Frye stopped on the backstretch. On the restart it was Butler asserting himself in the lead as now there was a three-way battle going on for the runner-up spot between Edgar, Yoder and Strunk. The yellow was out again before a lap was scored with multiple cars getting together between turns one and two.

Once again, it was Butler asserting himself on the restart with battle resuming for second but again the race was slowed due to the yellow for cars getting together. Butler maintained his lead on the restart with Edgar, Strunk and Yoder going three wide through turns one and two, all looking for second. No one was giving an inch and as the trio came off of turn two, disaster struck Edgar as he hopped the right front wheel of Strunk sending him off the backstretch and losing multiple positions. Yellow again slowed the race on lap 18 as Heath Metzger slowed with a flat tire. Butler was doing a good job on the many restarts to be able to keep the lead and once again fired off quickly to stay in front with Strunk going by Yoder for second as Mike Gular and Duane Howard now entered the top five. Butler had himself a three-car lead as he took the two to go flags and was looking good until Craig Von Dohren spun in turn three giving Strunk an opportunity.

The restart saw Butler choose the inside and when the green flag flew the two leaders went into turn one side by side with Strunk on the outside. Butler and Strunk raced clean through the turns with Strunk able to inch ahead as the duo raced off of turn two. Still alongside each other thru turn three, Strunk was able to wrestle the lead away from Butler as the white flag was displayed. Strunk went on to take the $5,000 win over a disappointed Butler, Gular, Howard and Strada.

“You have to be lucky some nights and good on others and tonight we had a little bit of both,” said the victorious Strunk. “It didn’t feel good in warmups, so we made a bunch of changes and this TEO car and Morgantini power was spot on in the feature. I can’t thank these guys enough; we won here two weeks ago and for them to give me the opportunity to come here tonight is great. I feel sorry for Nick (Rochinski), he is a true racer and the whole family are true racers. I met these guys and we helped Stewie Friesen win Syracuse in 2010 or 2011, whatever year it was, and they were just kids then. Thanks to all the fans for coming out, a good crowd tonight and supporting us, thanks to Jake for all he does for the community with the meals and everything and thank you to all of the officials.”

After being rained out twice in 2023, the 358 Sprint Car Summer Series was finally able to make an appearance at Big Diamond. Steve Owing took the lead from the onset from his outside pole starting spot and went on to lead all 25 laps to take the win. Seth Schnoke started to make a run at Owings just past the midway point of the race but Owings was never really challenged as he sped away for the victory over Schnoke, Andy Best, Doug Hammaker and Chris Frank.

It was a first ever career win in the USS Achey, Inc. 602 Crate Sportsman division for Mike Schneck Jr. Schneck took the lead from Logan Starr with five laps remaining to take the win. Wes Brady and Nick Hamm brought the 24-car field to the green flag with Brady taking the lead at the start but not before a multi-car tangle on the backstretch stopped the race causing the race to be restarted. It was Brady once again out front with Starr moving into second.  A strong running Logan Starr was able to take the lead from Brady with five laps in the books and was able to put some distance between himself and the field. Schneck was starting to make his towards the front, and moved into second on lap 10 to set his sights on the front running Starr. Lap 16 saw Schneck rundown Starr and start to apply pressure for the lead. Two laps later, Schneck was the new leader as he muscled himself by Starr. Defending 602 Crate Sportsman champion Jordan Henn also went by Starr and was now in second, but there was no denying Schneck on this night as he powered to his first ever Big Diamond win over Henn, Starr, Ryan Conrad and current points leader Jax Yohn.

The Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunner feature saw CJ Ferguson jump to the lead from his second place starting spot to hold off a strong challenge from Andrew Fayash III to win his second career Roadrunner win. Completing the top five were Fayash III, Jarod Bassininsky, Chuck Fayash and Kris Ney.