- Phil Allaway
Hearn Claims "Surprise" Valley Modified Victory
Saturday night brought action back to Lebanon Valley Speedway after last weekend’s rainout. The Modified feature nearly ended up with Keith Flach in Victory Lane until a veteran pulled a surprise.
Mike Keeler started from the pole and quickly got away from inside-pole sitter Kyle Armstrong. Flach, who started sixth, quickly moved up into the second spot and pulled away from the pack to catch Keeler.
The two racers fought a back-and-forth battle for the advantage. Flach took the lead on lap 7, but Keeler got it back. Flach re-passed Keeler on lap 9 for good. Meanwhile, Andy Bachetti and Brett Hearn were charging towards the front. Bachetti had started 14th, but was already to sixth by lap 5. Flach and Keeler’s battle brought them back to the pack.
At halfway, Bachetti was right on Keeler’s tail for second when a mechanical failure ended his night and brought out a yellow. The caution put Hearn, who started 15th, up to second. On the restart, Hearn got by Keeler for second, then tried to run down Flach for the lead.
Flach appeared to have the pace to win, but was not all that great in lapped traffic. That allowed Hearn to close up to Flach’s bumper. On the last lap, Hearn was able to get inside of Flach in turns 3 and 4. Hearn then out-dragged Flach to the line to win his fourth of the year by just 0.033 of a second, shocking the crowd in attendance. Afterwards, Hearn was surprised. “I think [that] this time around, I’m as stunned as everyone else because Keith Flach was running so well,” Hearn said after the race. “The lapped traffic may have broken [Flach’s] rhythm, which allowed me to get that extra bite off of turns 3 and 4.”
Behind Hearn and Flach was JR Heffner in third. Kenny Tremont, Jr. was fourth and Eddie Marshall in fifth.
In the Small Block Modifieds, Art Collins made his season debut in the No. 68. Unfortunately, the Alligator’s first feature of the year lasted about eight seconds after he crashed in turn 1 to bring out a yellow on the opening lap.
On the restart, Kim LaVoy took the lead away from pole-sitter Joey Scarborough and pulled away from the pack, easily outdistancing Drellos. Meanwhile, Tremont started in 15th and methodically worked his way up the order.
Frank Harper ran well early in the feature, but dropped back before getting a little too high and hitting the wall in turn 1 to bring out a yellow on lap 13. On the restart, Tremont got past Drellos for second. Two more quick cautions kept Tremont on LaVoy’s bumper. On lap 16, Tremont pounced and took the lead away.
Drellos continued to run in third until he got out of the groove and smacked the wall in turn 3 on lap 20.
Drellos was ok, but the crash ended his night. On the final restart, Tremont pulled away to take his fourth win of the season. Afterwards, a teardown took place on Tremont’s engine to make sure that it was legal. Tremont did not seem too concerned about that after the race, but stated that it would give his competitors piece of mind.
Brett Haas passed LaVoy on the final lap for second. Heffner was fourth, while Elmo Reckner was fifth.
In the Bubba Tanner Pro Stock Classic, Steven LaRochelle was able to get by pole-sitter Joe LaFlamme on the restart from an early yellow to take the lead. Steven’s father Paul followed past and the two drivers ran nose-to-tail.
The man that was on the move early was Rob Yetman. Yetman started 14th and quickly moved up the order. By lap 8, he was all over the LaRochelles. Paul was looking to take the lead, but Yetman was all up on Steven’s rear end. That allowed Steven to keep the lead. Unfortunately, all the contact came to a head on lap 10 when a crash involving both LaRochelles, Yetman and others broke out in turn 1. Steven LaRochelle was out on the spot, while Paul tried to continue, but eventually pulled off.
Once the dust cleared, Jay Corbin ended up with the lead with Rick Dempsey in second with a damaged right front fender. Dempsey put the pressure on Corbin for the lead, but couldn’t get alongside. A late yellow involving Tom O’Connor and Rich Crane bunched the pack back up with four laps to go. On the first attempt at a restart, Corbin’s car refused to come up to speed. Dempsey ended up running into the back of him, further damaging the right front fender. Officials ended up calling this a false start.
On the second attempt, Corbin got a good start and pulled away to take his second win of the year over Dempsey, Chuck Towslee, Jon Routhier and Victor Hopkins. In Sportsman, Rob Maxon, driving a new chassis, started from the pole, but spent the first half under constant pressure from Timothy Davis. Nikki Ouellette then spun on lap 9 to bring out a yellow.
There were then three attempts to restart. On the first try, Davis jumped Maxon, resulting in a false start. On the second attempt, Maxon stuttered and was hit from behind, hitting the outside wall, but keeping the lead as the yellow flew. On the third try, Davis jumped Maxon again. This time, Davis was sent to the rear, moving Chris Lynch up to second. Davis would eventually finish ninth.
A lap later, a crash involving Ouellette, John Miller, Alissa Cody and Christopher Delfino brought out another yellow. On the restart, Lynch was able to get past Maxon and take the lead. From there, Lynch was able to pull away to take his first career Sportsman win.
Afterwards, Lynch was very thankful to finally get the job done for his family. “My dad and I have been racing here for 15 years every Saturday night and never come home with a feature win,” Lynch said in the pits. “What a better way than to do it on Father’s Day weekend for the guy. Really got to thank my team. They put a front end on after the heat.
“To get out in front and race Rob Maxon, who had a really good car, is an accomplishment in and of itself,”
Lynch continued. “I’ve finished second nine times in this division in the past five years. We’ve lost to the Dippels, the Hackels and the Virgilios of the world. Those guys are really good drivers with great stuff. To run second to them is a great honor, but to finally visit Victory Lane is the best feeling in the entire world.”
Kevin Ward finished in second, followed by points leader Jeff Watson. Albany-Saratoga regular Jack Speshock was fourth and Frank Hoard, Jr. was fifth.
In Pure Stock Feature No. 1, Chris Murphy started on pole in his silver and purple No. 011 and drove away from Wuggie Burdick. Ultimately, Bill Deak, Jr. and Kevin Paul ended up being the primary challengers in the race. Brian Walsh appeared to have a fast car as well, but he got in the back of Keri VanDenburg, spinning out the No. 89. Officials penalized Walsh by sending him to the rear of the field.
Shortly after the restart, Deak Jr. and Paul collided in turn 4, resulting in Paul spinning out and causing a stack-up. The yellow did not fly for this incident, but it did shake up the field. Scott Morris, who had alternator issues, moved up to second and tried to run down Murphy. He was unsuccessful as Chris Murphy held on to take his first career win.
Morris held on for second, followed by Chris Streeter, Dennis O’Connor, Sr. and Walsh. Deak Jr. actually finished fourth, but was penalized three spots for spinning out Paul on lap 5. As for Paul, he ended up crashing into the outside wall on the backstretch on the final lap, heavily damaging his Chevrolet. He was ok, but the car was not.
In Pure Stock Feature No. 2, Mike Arnold started on the pole, but almost immediately lost the lead to Harold Robitaille. Behind Robitalle, Dave Stickles was on the move. Starting tenth, Stickles quickly moved up through the pack, taking the lead away from Robitaille on lap 4.
Shortly afterwards, the caution came out due to a couple of spins. One involved Nick Reilly spinning his Camaro in turn 2. The other was when John Devine spun in turn 4 after contact from Arnold. Both drivers continued. Once the green came back out, Stickles pulled away to take his second win of the year. Jesse Murphy finished second, followed by Robitaille. Bob Palmer was fourth in his first start of the year, while Bill Deak, Sr. was fifth.
In the third Pure Stock feature, Jeff Kreutziger started from the pole, but was quickly passed for the lead by Jay Casey. Shortly afterwards, a crash broke out in turn 4 involving Ray Hall, Sr., Dom Denue, Shawn Perez and Jeff Meltz, Jr. to bring out the yellow. Hall Sr. lost a wheel in the crash, but was able to make repairs in the pits. Jeff Meltz, Jr.’s No. 15 was eliminated in the crash, though.
On the restart, Jeff Meltz, Sr. was able to get past Casey for the lead. However, just after the first lap was completed, Shawn Perez spun and hit the wall in turn 2. Denue was unable to avoid the stricken No. 09 and ran into the Monte Carlo, ripping the passenger door off of Denue’s No. 145 and severely damaging Perez’s No. 09. Both drivers were ok after the crash, but Perez was none too pleased about the situation.
After the restart, Al Relyea moved himself up into second, but he could not do much with Jeff Meltz, Sr. The Meltz patriarch pulled away to take his second win of the year. Relyea was second, followed by Jason Meltz, Ray Hall, Sr. and Casey.
Three Alarms of Berkshire County/DMC Racing Products Modified Feature Results (30 laps): 1) Brett Hearn, 2) Keith Flach, 3) J.R. Heffner, 4) Kenny Tremont, Jr., 5) Eddie Marshall, 6) Mike Keeler, 7) Elmo Reckner, 8) Kyle Armstrong, 9) Tyler Dippel, 10) Kyle Sheldon, 11) Brian Berger, 12) Wayne Jelley, 13) Kolby Schroder, 14) Olden Dwyer, 15) Matt Pupello, 16) Steve Hough, 17) Chad Jeseo, 18) Mike King, 19) John Ruchel, 20) Paul Gilardi, 21) Andy Bachetti, 22) Rob Pitcher, 23) Mark Chartrand, 24) Denny Soltis, 25) Jeff Sukup, 26) Stan Frankenfield
Small Block Modified Feature Results (24 laps): 1) Kenny Tremont, Jr., 2) Brett Haas, 3) Kim LaVoy, 4) J.R. Heffner, 5) Elmo Reckner, 6) Wayne Jelley, 7) Ray Hall, Jr., 8) Ricky Davis, 9) Frank Hoard, III, 10) Joey Scarborough, 11) Brian Sandstedt, 12) Jason Tompkins, 13) Ken McGuire, 14) Chad Pierce, 15) Peter Carlotto, 16) Alan Houghtaling, 17) Demetrios Drellos, 18) Jason Herrington, 19) Chad Jeseo, 20) Steve Hough, 21) Brian Peterson, 22) Frank Harper, 23) Buddy Hencke, 24) Olden Dwyer, 25) Kenny Aanonsen, Jr., 26) Art Collins
Sportsman Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Chris Lynch, 2) Kevin Ward, 3) Jeff Watson, 4) Jack Speshock, 5) Frank Hoard, Jr., 6) John Virgilio, 7) Michael Sabia, 8) Whitey Slavin, 9) Timothy Davis, 10) Rob Maxon, 11) Dan Lyle, 12) Nikki Ouellette, 13) Kevin Arnold, 14) Alissa Cody, 15) John Miller, 16) Christopher Delfino, 17) Gerard LeClair, 18) Cody Ochs. DNS: Angelo DiCarlo
Pro Stock Bubba Tanner Memorial Results (23 laps): 1) Jay Corbin, 2) Rick Dempsey, 3) Chuck Towslee, 4) Jon Routhier, 5) Victor Hopkins, 6) Rob Yetman, 7) Chad Arsenault, 8) Daniel Sanchez, 9) Nick Hilt, 10) Ray Hall, Jr., 11) Frank Twing, 12) Joe LaFlamme, 13) Brian Keough, 14) Tom O’Connor, 15) Sparky Reilly, 16) Kyle Hosier, 17) Rich Crane, 18) Rick Duzlak, 19) Paul LaRochelle, 20) Steven LaRochelle, 21) Robbie Speed, 22) Rich Colasanti, 23) Aaron Bennett, 24) Tom Dean
Pure Stock Feature No. 1 Results (8 laps): 1) Chris Murphy, 2) Scott Morris, 3) Chris Streeter, 4) Dennis O’Connor, Sr., 5) Brian Walsh, 6) Keri VanDenburg, 7) Bill Deak, Jr., 8) Ray Royals, 9) Gary Malloy, 10) Wuggie Burdick, 11) Brian VanDenburg, 12) Kevin Paul, 13) Zach Sorrentino
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 Results (8 laps): 1) Dave Stickles, 2) Jesse Murphy, 3) Harold Robitalle, 4) Bob Palmer, 5) Bill Deak, Sr., 6) John Tisko, 7) Dan Cote, 8) John Devine, 9) Mike Arnold, 10) Zach Seyerlein, 11) Karen Verhagen, 12) Nick Reilly, 13) Rich Rogers
Pure Stock Feature No. 3 Results (12 laps): 1) Jeff Meltz, Sr., 2) Al Relyea, 3) Jason Meltz, 4) Ray Hall, Sr., 5) Jay Casey, 6) Jeff Kreutziger, 7) Larry Perez, 8) Tim Thompson, 9) Shawn Perez, 10) Dom Denue, 11) Gary O’Brien, 12) Jeff Meltz, Jr.