FORESTVILLE – At the age of 16, Alex Yankowski is already compiling an impressive resume at Big Diamond Speedway. He has bigger plans to come.
After the Throop-area resident on Friday won the modified 40 Money in the Mountains feature and his $ 5,000 purse, Yankowski wondered aloud if he had found the key to winning the track’s crown jewel, the Jack Rich Coalcracker 72, in September.
âWe should have won the Coal Cracker a few times by doing the same,â said the 2018 athletic track champion of using the track’s high groove. âHopefully we’ll get rid of the Coal Cracker this year. It was a thorn in the side, to be sure.
Taking the lead over defending champion Mike Gular in the ninth round, Yankowski won the Money in the Mountains by 1.142 seconds to start a parade of winners on Friday night.
In the track’s first schedule since April 23, Yankowski was joined in Victory Lane by Brandon Edgar of Lehighton in open sports, Eric Palmer of Cresco in 602 box sports and Alex Schoffstall of Llewellyn in roadrunners.
The American Racing Drivers Club midgets also started their 2021 program at Big Diamond, where Shawn Jackson of Bear, Delaware, won Friday’s 20-lap final.
Becoming the seventh different winner in eight Money in the Mountains races at Big Diamond, Yankowski started sixth after being the first of 15 drivers to pull the number during intermission. Yankowski was second in the eighth round. He passed Gular two laps later with an outward movement in the third and fourth corners.
From there, Yankowski resisted only a warning flag, waved for Rick Laubach’s stopped car on lap 19, en route to his third modified-based victory of his career at Big Diamond.
âIt’s huge. The pay is a big, big part of it,â Yankowski said. âWe spend a lot of money during the year to run forward. beat and you’re spending a lot of money sucks, to be honest.
Craig Von Dohren, the 2019 Money in the Mountains champion before last year’s race was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic, placed second ahead of Gular, Louden Rerimert and Tim Buckwalter.
Yankowski also beat other round winners Gular and Von Dohren to win the DirtTrackDigestTV.com Dash for Cash, a three-lap, three-car race that lasted 49 seconds, to win an additional $ 400.
Edgar outlasted Ken Eckert Jr. to win the open athlete function. The pair passed race leader Nico Flammer, then clashed side-by-side for several laps to take the lead in the 20-lap race.
âI think because the 41 (Nico Flammer) was so focused on parking down, he brought Ken up and Ken was good on the outside there,â said Edgar. “He could carry momentum, so he just made me hit my marks around the perfect bottom.”
A lap in Tajae Adams’ last lap set up a one lap sprint to the finish, but Edgar resisted Eckert during that lap to win. Wayne Witmer placed third ahead of Mike Schneck and Doug Hendricks. Flammer finished sixth at the checkered flag.
Starting the roadrunner function was a problem. Three accidents involving multiple cars reduced the field from 19 to 11 cars before a single lap was completed, and officials then ordered a restart in single file.
By then, attrition had taken the reigning two-time winner, Andrew Fayash III, from eighth to second. He led until Schoffstall passed him on lap six. Schoffstall never looked back from there.
âOn a track like this you really have to bide your time,â said Schoffstall after winning the evening’s final on a track that hosted more than 200 laps of the race on Friday night. âThere is no sense in giving everything. You just have to drive. “
Fayash took second place ahead of Jesse Krasnitsky, Kris Ney and Alex Ditzler.
Palmer led each lap of the 602 crate sports function after starting on pole. After three warning flags in the first two laps of the race, he drove the final 17 laps nonstop to victory.
Joel Smith, defending champion Cody Manmiller, Danny Buccafusca and Tyler Peet round out the top five.
In the ARDC Midgets’ first appearance at Big Diamond since July 20, 2018, Jackson led all 20 laps and finished 0.548 seconds ahead of Hanover’s Michael Markey. Jimmy Glenn, Jake Winters and Steve Craig rounded out the top five.
Big Diamond hosted 14 qualifying races ahead of feature films. In addition to the modified winners, the winners included Flammer and Edgar in the open sportsmen; Palmer, Buccafusca and Ryan Conrad in a sports cage; Don Murphy and Schoffstall in roadrunners; and Jackson and Glenn in The Dwarfs.
Edgar became the first driver with two qualifying wins this season. Von Dohren also had two qualifying victories, but one came to comfort.
Duane Howard won the Consolation of the Modified. Zane Roth called for the consolation of the athletes at the cash register.
Next Friday night, Big Diamond is expected to host 358 modified, United Racing Club sprints, 602 cruisers and road racers.