Chad Jeseo Claims King of the Track Feature and $5,000
On Saturday night, $5,000 was up for grabs as Rifenburg Construction presented the annual King of the Track feature. However, rains forced a hurry-up procedure. Chad Jeseo was just fine with that.
Jeseo earned the pole in his No. 25 and held off Mike King to get out in front. On the second lap of the race, there was contact exiting turn 4 as Brian Berger and Kyle Sheldon were balked. Mike Keeler ended up with a big dent in his right side, but everyone continued. No caution was thrown.
The stack-up allowed Jeseo to pull out a big lead. Brett Hearn, who started 15th, was able to make up a number of spots as a result. So was Andy Bachetti, who once again had a very fast car.
Jeseo continued to expand his advantage to nearly a straightaway over the rest of the field as Bachetti moved up. By lap 11, Bachetti was already fourth after starting 14th.
From there, Bachetti began making inroads. He took third from Olden Dwyer on lap 13. A few laps later, he ran down and passed King for second. Then, he zeroed in on Jeseo.
However, all the charging had taken a bit out of Bachetti’s tires. By the time he got to Jeseo, there simply wasn’t much left. On the other hand, Jeseo had saved a little bit and was able to exploit that. That extra oomph allowed Jeseo to hold off Bachetti for his second career Modified win.
After the race, Jeseo talked about his late-race strategy.
“With about ten [laps] to go, I saw that Bachetti had broke[n] into second and I knew we were going to have our hands full,” Jeseo said. “That’s when we really started picking the pace up. I saw [Bachetti] beneath me a couple of times, but the car was spot on.”
Behind Jeseo and Bachetti was King in a season-best third, just beating out Matt Pupello. Kyle Armstrong beat out Hearn for fifth.
In the Small Block Modifieds, the big story of the week was that officials added 50 pounds to Kenny Tremont, Jr.’s No. 115 as a result of his domination of the class (six wins in eight races). While Tremont did show speed on Saturday night, he was ultimately not a factor and finished eighth after starting 15th.
Brian Peterson started from the pole, but the real star of the race was Alan Houghtaling. Houghtaling quickly moved up from the third starting spot to take the lead away from Peterson on lap 2. From there, no one could do much with the Poughkeepsie native.
A caution was thrown on lap 6 when Joey Scarborough spun on the backstretch. That bunched the field up, but once the green was displayed, Houghtaling drove off into the distance. Meanwhile, J.R. Heffner was on the move. Starting 11th, Heffner methodically made his way forward. By lap 10, he had entered the top 5.
Matching Houghtaling’s lap times, Heffner passed Peter Carlotto for second on lap 18 and tried to run down Houghtaling. Heffner was just a little bit faster on some laps, but would then lose that time back on the next lap.
Ultimately, Houghtaling was able to pull out the victory by just over three seconds. For Houghtaling, he entered the race 11th in points and had struggled a fair amount, but he had finished fourth two weeks ago and brought a little bit of momentum into the race.
For Heffner, he moved up to second in points after Brett Haas was unable to move forward and finished 12th. Tremont now holds a 68 point lead in the standings.
Behind Houghtaling and Heffner was Carlotto in a season-best third. Steve Hough and Peterson rounded out the top 5. For Peterson, Saturday night’s fifth-place finish was his best finish of the year as well.
The Pro Stock race was the feature of the night. Joe LaFlamme started on pole, but Ray Hall, Jr. quickly took the lead away and claimed a decent advantage over the pack.
The feature had a fair amount of bumping and banging, but nothing intentional. On the second lap, LaFlamme brushed the wall exiting turn 2 and caused a brief stack-up. Luckily, everyone continued without incident, but LaFlamme lost a number of positions.
Later on, Rick Dempsey’s hood flew off to bring out the first caution on lap 7. Dempsey pitted for repairs, but was able to continued.
On lap 9, a big crash occurred on the frontstretch when LaFlamme and Paul LaRochelle collided. Victor Hopkins was also involved. Tim McCarthy, who was running near the rear of the field in his No. 3 could not get stopped in time and piled in. LaFlamme’s car briefly caught fire, but the flames were extinguished quickly. Everyone was ok, but LaFlamme, LaRochelle and McCarthy were done for the night.
Jay Corbin and Rob Yetman, the top 2 drivers in points entering Saturday night, charged up through the field from the sixth row. By halfway, Corbin was already second from 11th and putting the pressure on Ray Hall, Jr. for the lead. However, Hall Jr. had other plans. His Gary O’Brien-owned Chevrolet was quite fast and Hall Jr. did not intend to go down lightly.
Unfortunately, Hall Jr.’s excellent run came to an end after he suffered issues on his car with seven laps to go. That allowed Jay Corbin into the lead with Rick Duzlak giving chase.
After a caution due to Dempsey spinning and hitting the wall in turn 3, Duzlak ran down Corbin in the closing laps and staged a great side-by-side battle.
On the final lap, Duzlak got a great run off of turn 2 and was able to get past for the lead. Rob Yetman, who got off to a slow start but made a serious run in the second half of the feature, followed Duzlak past Corbin into second.
However, Yetman wanted more. Exiting turn 4, Yetman made a move for the win. In a drag race to the line, Duzlak was able to hold off the points leader by less than two-tenths of a second to take his second win of the year.
Right behind the top 2, Corbin finished third in a three-wide battle to the line over Nick Hilt and Daniel Sanchez.
The Sportsman feature saw Cody Ochs start on the pole and immediately end up in a battle for the lead with Rob Maxon. The two drivers began to open up a gap on the field until Carmon Carnibucci spun in turn 4 to bring out the yellow on lap 5.
On the restart, Maxon was able to make the move to take the lead away from Ochs. Ochs then had a moment in turn 4 that dropped him way back in the field.
Another yellow flew due to a spin for Ben Brownell in turn 4. Here, the racing started to get a little chippy. Shortly after the restart, Timothy Davis, who was running second, had contact with Michael Sabia. Davis was sent to the rear for what was viewed as rough driving. Sabia made a pit stop to change a flat tire and would eventually finish 12th. After being sent to the rear, Davis eventually pulled off with an issue and finished 21st.
Points leader Jeff Watson quickly moved up from the 11th starting spot to contend. Once in second, Watson stalked Maxon for the lead.
A series of incidents kept the field bunched up and made it difficult for Watson to get past. First, Brownell crashed on the frontstretch to bring out a yellow. Then, Nikki Ouellette spun in turn 2. Carnibucci spun and hit the wall in turn 2. Finally, Christopher Delfino spun in turn 4 to bring out the seventh and final yellow.
Maxon continued to lead through these issues with Watson giving chase. The last six laps were clean and Watson immediately started working on Maxon for the lead. It took a couple of laps for the Sportsman points leader to take the advantage away. From there, Watson pulled away to take his third win of the year ahead of Maxon.
A big scrum broke out with less than two laps to go that featured contact between John Virgilio and Whitey Slavin, who dropped back as a result. Frank Hoard, Jr. was the beneficiary and brought home a third-place finish, followed by Chris Lynch and Kevin Ward. Slavin and Virgilio ended up sixth and seventh.
In Pure Stock Feature No. 1, Wuggie Burdick led from the pole, but before he could complete a lap, Chris Streeter and Bill Deak, Sr. crashed on the backstretch to bring out a yellow. Streeter was able to continue, but Deak Sr. was done for the night.
On the restart, Joe Wolcott was able to get past Burdick to take the lead, but brought Bill Deak, Jr. along with him. Deak Jr.’s No. 86x had a lot of speed and took no time to take the lead and run off to hide.
Edwin Thomason hit the wall exiting turn 4 to bring out another caution and close the gap, but no one could catch Deak Jr., who held on for his second win of the year. Streeter came back from his early spin to finish second, while Shawn Perez finished third in his first race back after missing a couple of weeks due to a big crash. Karen Verhagen and John Tisko were fourth and fifth.
In Pure Stock Feature No. 2, Mark Dwyer started from the pole, but Jay Casey made short work of the No. 35Xjr to take the lead. Scott Morris, back at the track after his rollover two weeks ago, had a short night after he laid down fluid in turn 1. Zach Sorrentino spun in Morris’ fluid, but was able to resume.
Once the green came back out, Casey pulled out to a good lead and held on to take the win. Clifford Booth took second away from Phil Sherman coming to the white flag. Bob Palmer was third, followed by Dom Denue. The “Sherman Tank” was forced to settle for fifth after winning his first two starts of the year.
Finally, Pure Stock Feature No. 3 saw Zach Seyerlein lead from the pole with Mike Arnold and the rest of the pack giving chase. Given the tight action, it wasn’t long before trouble broke out. Harold Robitaille spun on the backstretch after being hit from behind to bring out a quick caution.
Later on, Dan Cote cut a tire and spun in turn 1 to bring out another yellow. However, the field bunched up after the yellow flew, leading to a chain reaction on the frontstretch that wiped out Gary O’Brien, Dave Stickles and Jeff Meltz, Jr. Stickles’ car hit Jeff Meltz, Sr.’s No. 5x and launched into the air before hitting the wall. Everyone involved walked away from their cars, but both Stickles and O’Brien were hobbling. Of those involved, only Jeff Meltz, Sr. was able to continue.
Shortly after the restart, Ray Hall, Sr. was able to snatch the lead away from Seyerlein. Once out front, the elder of the Halls had to hold off Jason Meltz, Al Relyea and Jeff Kreutziger.
A late yellow due to Jeff Meltz, Sr. audibly blowing a right rear tire and spinning in turn 1 brought out one more caution on lap 8. From there, Ray Hall, Sr. was able to hold off the pack to take his third win of the year. Jason Meltz was second, followed by Relyea, Kreutziger and Seyerlein.
Rifenburg Construction King of the Track Modified Feature Results (30 laps): 1) Chad Jeseo, 2) Andy Bachetti, 3) Mike King, 4) Matt Pupello, 5) Kyle Armstrong, 6) Brett Hearn, 7) Eddie Marshall, 8) Kenny Tremont, Jr., 9) J.R. Heffner, 10) Keith Flach, 11) Kolby Schroder, 12) Brian Berger, 13) John Ruchel, 14) Kyle Sheldon, 15) Elmo Reckner, 16) Steve Hough, 17) Mike Keeler, 18) Olden Dwyer, 19) Paul Gilardi, 20) Rob Pitcher, 21) Dave McFeeters, 22) Guy Sheldon
Small Block Modified Feature Results (24 laps): 1) Alan Houghtaling, 2) J.R. Heffner, 3) Peter Carlotto, 4) Steve Hough, 5) Brian Peterson, 6) Chad Pierce, 7) Demetrios Drellos, 8) Kenny Tremont, Jr., 9) Frank Harper, 10) Jason Herrington, 11) Ray Hall,