MINERSVILLE, Pa. – Ryan Godown dominated Sunday’s Money in the Mountains big-block/small-block modified challenge event at Big Diamond Speedway.
“We came here saying we would be content if we could go home with a top five finish,” Godown said. “But this car is a rocket ship. It’s a rocket ship at Syracuse, it’s a rocket ship at New Egypt, and it was a rocket ship here today. My guys worked hard on the car and the effort paid off.”
Jeff Strunk drove into the lead from his outside pole position, leading the first nine laps while Godown was quickly moving forward from his sixth place starting position. On lap 10 Godown made his move, powering around Strunk in turn two to take a lead he would never give up.
Godown continued to lead lap after lap, while behind him a fierce battle had developed between Strunk and Erick Rudolph, making his first ever visit to Big Diamond Speedway. Rudolph managed to wrestle second position away from Strunk on lap 17, only to have Strunk wrestle it back away from him on lap 21.
Billy Pauch Jr. all of a sudden appeared to take third away from Rudolph on lap 24, but as quickly as he gained the spot, mechanical woes forced Pauch Jr. to retire from the event just one lap later. The remaining 16 laps saw Godown, Strunk and Rudolph keep a stranglehold on the top three spots, while Keith Hoffman, Billy Pauch Sr., and Billy Decker had a great battle going for the next three positions.
The last five laps saw Godown get into some lapped traffic, but he was not to be denied and drove home to the $7,500 first place payday.
Strunk held on for second, followed by Erick Rudolph, Keith Hoffman in the Steve Searock-owned No. 26 and Billy Decker, in a great ride from his 16th starting spot.
Sean Merkel was victorious in the 20 lap 358 Late Model feature, taking the lead from race long leader Andy Haus on lap 16 and leading the rest of the way for the $1,000 payday. Tom Hablett, in his new No. 555 ride, captured the roadrunner feature ahead of Jeremy Becker.