Winged 410 sprint cars set to return to Big Diamond Speedway on Friday night

·3 min read

Aug. 11—For just the second time since 2013, winged 410 sprint cars will be turning laps at Big Diamond Speedway.

The three-eighths mile dirt track located outside Forestville in Schuylkill County will host the cars on Friday night at 7:45, with $5,000 going to the winner of the 30-lap feature.

"We're going to have a really good field of good competitors," Big Diamond race director Kasea Bauscher said. "Getting ourselves back on the map in Pennsylvania as a place that 410 sprint cars can compete, and enjoy competing at, is definitely on our agenda."

Several of the top sprint car drivers from across the state, including Freddie Rahmer, Ryan Smith and Mark Smith, are expected to compete on Friday night. Cory Haas, who won last year's race, will try to defend his title against the talented field, and will try to become the first back-to-back 410 sprint car winner at the track since the late Greg Hodnett won in 2004 and 2005.

In addition to the 410 sprints, the modified, crate 602 sportsman and roadrunner divisions — all of which compete regularly at the track — will be in action. The race will be the third-to-last point event for the modifieds this season.

Big Diamond originally was set to hold two winged 410 sprint car races this season, but the first race scheduled for June 7 was canceled due to rain. Friday's race comes one year after the powerful cars made their return to the track last August for the first time in more than eight years. The reappearance was celebrated by fans and drivers alike, and led to the decision to welcome the division back in 2022.

"We had a lot of positive feedback from the drivers that were there, the teams that were there, the car owners, and most importantly, the fans," Bauscher said about the 2021 event. "They were absolutely thrilled to see us making moves to get 410s back on the track."

The race showcased the cars on Big Diamond's new racing surface for the first time, as a thick layer of fresh clay was laid down between the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The new surface led to less dust and better traction, allowing the facility to better accommodate the 900-horsepower machines.

"It changed the dynamic of how racing is at our facility," Bauscher said about the resurfacing. "It's heavier, and produces a lot of fast racing. 410 sprint cars were definitely at the top of our list of a visiting division we wanted to (host)."

Prior to the resurfacing, Big Diamond hosted 410 sprint cars from 1998-2005 and from 2012-13 as part of the Pennsylvania Sprint Speedweek series. After the inaugural race in 1998 was canceled due to rain, the track hosted nine Speedweek events, with Hodnett winning five times.

This year, the Speedweek series featured 10 scheduled races at seven other tracks across Pennsylvania and Maryland, including the annual Thunder on the Hill Racing Series Hodnett Cup at Grandview Speedway in June. The annual series has grown to attract several NASCAR Cup Series drivers, who compete alongside some of the best sprint car drivers from North America and Australia.

After nearly a 10-year absence from the popular series, Bauscher said he hopes Friday's race will help build momentum for Big Diamond to one day make its return to the Speedweek schedule.

"In any business, you're always shooting for that next level of something you want to obtain," Bauscher said. "The end goal for us right now is to put on great 410 sprint car races in hopes that it'll put a spotlight on our facility."