POTTSVILLE, Pa. – Ryan Watt took the lead early and ran away from the field to win the Coalcracker 72 for big-block modifieds Sunday night at Big Diamond Speedway, pocketing $17,000 in the process.
“It feels amazing,” Watt said. “With the cars that were here tonight we were just hoping to get into the show. We have not really ran here all year. We changed this whole car this morning in the shop. We had been running torsion bars on this car all year but we switched it to coils like I do on my big-block and it paid off.”
Watt started third and took the lead from early leader Tyler Dippel on his way to victory in the 72-lap event. As the race progressed there was a clearly defined line of rubber around the speedway, but it didn’t appear to be a problem for Watt.
“Even when I slid up to the middle the car felt like it had just as much grip,” Watt said. “Usually when it takes rubber like that if you just stay in it you should be alright as long as you’re not out of the throttle or tight. I knew I had to keep running the bottom and not let someone beat me on the top. I was not really pushing it and trying to keep the car as straight as I could to not wear out the right rear.”
A few late-race cautions kept things interesting, but Watt was able to maintain his place at the top of the leaderboard.
“I did not want to see those cautions,” Watt said. “I did not mind them when we got to traffic, it made it easier. With five to go I wanted to keep rolling. When you are leading you do not know whats going on, how fast everyone is.”
Many of the region’s top modified drivers were in the field, making Sunday’s race that much more of a challenge for Watt.
“(Matt) Sheppard is one of the best in the business.” Ryan Said. (Craig) Von Dorhen has won many races, championships and Coalcrackers here. (Mike) Gular has been pretty fast this year here. When you heard the lineup over the one-way (speaker) you knew they were coming. Everyone came down for this event, (Billy) Decker, Larry Wight, Max McLaughlin, including the regulars, it’s huge for us to win this event.”
Mike Gular chased Watt home in second, followed by Craig Von Dohren, Duane Howard and Matt Sheppard.