The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


August 22, 2013

Motorsports: Drivers gear up for Coal Cracker race


Last year's win in the Coal Cracker was something the 20-year veteran had been striving for.

"We've been close the last couple of years and with running at Big Diamond on a weekly basis, it's a race I've been waiting to win," he noted.

Manmiller, who grew up in Reading, took the lead on lap 21 of last year's race and led the final 51 laps of the 72-lap feature despite mother nature's attempt to rain out the final few laps.

"It got a little harried out there with the rain," he said. "We had a pretty good car and we were running second before we took the lead. Even after the mid-way fuel stop, the car was still very good."

Manmiller has one win at Grandview Speedway this season, his Saturday night track, where he is fourth in the point standings. He started his modified career in 1994 and Grandview was the first track he raced at.

Looking for his first win in the Coal Cracker is Shawn Fitzpatrick of Pottsville.

Fitzpatrick -- who is 13th in the 358 modified points -- appeared to be on his way to his first-ever win a few weeks ago when he jumped the cushion on the final lap and finished second.

It's not the first time that Fitzpatrick has finished second at Big Diamond in his career.

"I have the distinction of losing the closest racing in the history of the track by eight-thousands of a second back in 2006," he said. "It's been a pretty tough year as we built a new car at the beginning of the year and we switched from alcohol to gas. We qualified well for last year's Coal Cracker and ran in the top five for the better part of the race and finished seventh."

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