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Sunday, April 8 – It was Easter Sunday and in addition to church, Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies there was also Big Diamond. Yes, Big Diamond Raceway was running a big block/small block modified race with the sportsman also on the card. We drove up to my fathers after church, changed clothes, ate at a local diner and pulled onto the parking lot of Big Diamond Raceway at 3:05. It was a sunny day with temperatures in the low 60’s but once again there was a stiff constant wind blowing. Today we were lucky as the wind was blowing across the track from turns one and two toward three and four and we did not get dirty. The track crew dug up the surface and watered and watered but it was no use. Sunny windy days and daytime racing do not make for an ideal surface. The start was delayed for ½ hour as they worked the surface and the first race hit the track at 4:36.
The field was a bit sparse but then it was Easter Sunday. The crowd, although not overwhelming, was decent considering again it was Easter Sunday. The modifieds numbered 27, while the sportsman and road runners numbered 16 and 14 respectively. There was no need for consolation races and all cars qualified in the heats. In all, 7 qualifying heats were run in less than 45 minutes and then it was back to manicuring the track. During this 45 minute break the top 4 finishing drivers in the modified heats drew for starting positions. Usually this is drawn on the track but today the track crew was busy watering the wind burnt track.
The 40 lap modified feature, paying $4,000 to win, started out a bit rocky. The caution waved 7 times in the first 8 laps. A restart on lap 7 brought out the yellow when a 14 car pile-up occurred as the cars approached the green flag. I did not see what happen but Billy Pauch Jr. and Duane Howard did exchange a few words. Both were through for the day as well as MeMe DeSantis and Doug Manmiller. Two cautions later Billy Pauch Sr. decided to make the start three wide when he did not agree with his starting position. This caused another multi car crash prior to reaching the green. This race was going downhill real quick. They decided to restart the race single file and for the next 28 laps they ran caution free. There was some passing but the daytime surface turned black and slick. Rick Laubach had a nice lead that was slowly diminishing as the race was coming to a close. Gary Hager was starting to close in and we were anticipating a run for the lead in the final laps. Unfortunately the caution came out on lap 36 and lap 37 putting an end to the challenge. Laubach picked up the win with Hager second, Ryan Godown third, Jeff Strunk fourth and Billy Pauch Sr. fifth.
Even though the weather was starting to turn cold we stayed for both the road runner and sportsman features. Jimmy John Kott ran a fine race to win the road runners while Brad Brightbill took top honors in the sportsman.
All things considered the sportsman feature was the best event of the three. The racing was not bad but you cannot compare daylight racing with night time racing. I got to spend an Easter Sunday afternoon with the men in my life, Bruce and my father. So I am not complaining. At 7:55 we were in the car and on our way home.
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