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  • Phil Allaway

J.R. Heffner Claims a "Must-Win" Lebanon Valley Victory

Once again, rain played a big role at Lebanon Valley Speedway on Saturday night. Rains moved in during the third Pure Stock Feature, forcing the red flag to fly. The showers only lasted for about 15 minutes before the sun came back out. The track crew made short work of the repacking so that the action could resume.

In the Modified feature, Olden Dwyer started from the pole, but was very quickly overhauled by J.R. Heffner, fresh off his 15th-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway Wednesday night. Heffner took the advantage and pulled out a slight lead.

Kyle Sheldon passed Dwyer for second a couple of laps into the feature and seemed to be able to match Heffner, but not really gain on him at all. Meanwhile, Brett Hearn and Andy Bachetti had some troubles moving forward in the midfield.

Kenny Tremont, Jr. failed to qualify for the handicapped spots in his heat race and had to start 18th. Tremont did make some progress during the feature, but slowed on lap 11 due to engine issues and retired.

With no cautions to close the pack up, Heffner and Kyle Sheldon were able to leave the rest of the field in the dust and settle things amongst themselves. Sheldon tried to close in on Heffner, but just could not put anything together to challenge for the lead as Heffner held on for his first win of the year.

For Heffner, Saturday night was a must-win. “We were in clean air. We had to do it. We had to win that race,” Heffner stated in the pits. “There was no other option.”

Sheldon finished 1.9 seconds back in second. Rob Pitcher had a great battle for third with Keith Flach and managed to hold off the Ravena Rocket. Kyle Armstrong was fifth after fending off the advances of Hearn for the entire second half of the feature.

In the Small Block Modifieds, Kim LaVoy started from the pole and was able to out drag Ricky Davis to turn 1 to assume the advantage. Meanwhile, back in the pack, Chad Pierce was hit from behind and spun out to bring out a quick caution.

Once the race restarted, the man on the move was Brett Haas. Haas started seventh, but was already up to fourth by lap 5. Haas had a quick car and took advantage of that speed to make moves.

Further back, Kenny Tremont, Jr. and J.R. Heffner were mired back in traffic and had significant trouble moving forward. Eighth was the best Tremont could muster on this evening.

With 11 laps to go, Haas took second away from Brian Sandstedt and set off in search of LaVoy, who was a couple of seconds ahead. It took only a few laps to run down LaVoy, but Haas burned up his stuff in trying to catch her.

Once there, Haas tried multiple times to get to LaVoy’s inside, but he could never get fully alongside. LaVoy was able to run her line on the outside and use that to hold off Haas and take her first win of the year.

Afterwards, LaVoy stated that running her own line was the key to holding onto the lead.

“The competition’s always tough in our class. So, I knew that someone would be right there,” LaVoy said after the race. “I just tried concentrating on my own line and hitting my marks on every lap and that let me bring it home in first.

Behind LaVoy and Haas was Sandstedt in third. Olden Dwyer was fourth, while Frank Harper rounded out the top 5.

The DIRTcar Pro Stock Series came to Lebanon Valley on Saturday. As a result, only appearance points were on offer for Valley regulars, but a large field of 32 took the green.

Jon Routhier started from the pole and was able to beat Nick Stone to turn 1 to take the advantage. Further back, Dan Older was tagged exiting turn 2 and spun into the inside wall to bring out the yellow. Older was ok, but his night was over.

Jay Corbin started fifth and quickly climbed the ladder towards the front. When Dean Charbonneau spun and hit the wall in turn 3 to bring out a yellow on lap 7, Corbin was already up to second. On the restart, Corbin was able to get past Routhier for the lead and began to drive away from the pack.

When the fourth yellow flew on lap 19 for Devin Camenga’s spin in turn 2, Corbin had a lead of nearly four seconds wiped out. Routhier and Chuck Towslee would get to close back up and try to take the advantage away.

The pack got two more chances on restarts to try to get past Corbin, but no one could prevent Corbin from taking his first career DIRTcar Pro Stock Series win. Routhier was second, followed by Towslee. Daniel Sanchez was fourth and Rob Yetman rounded out the top 5.

In Pure Stock Feature No. 1, Brian Walsh started from the pole and led early. However, the man to beat in the race was Bill Deak, Jr. Starting seventh, Deak Jr. charged to the very front, dispatched of Walsh and pulled away from the pack to take the win. Clifford Booth was second, followed by Mark Dwyer, Karen Verhagen and Dennis O’Connor, Jr.

Pure Stock Feature No. 2 saw Dom Denue start from the pole with Bill Deak, Sr. alongside. Deak wanted to follow in his son’s footsteps and claim a victory of his own, but he just didn’t have the car on this night.

The man with the quick car in this race was Zach Sorrentino. Sorrentino charged up from the sixth starting spot to pass Denue for the lead and pulled away to take his second career win. Shawn Perez was second, followed by Denue, Bill Deak, Sr. and Chris Stalker. Unfortunately for Stalker, that fifth-place finish came at a price. Coming to the finish, a large plume of smoke came out of the purple and silver Hillsdale-based No. 111. It looks like Stalker’s team has a lot of work ahead of them.

Zach Seyerlein led the 12-lap third Pure Stock feature to green, but Jeff Kreutziger quickly came up to the front. At this point, the skies opened up and brought out the red flag. Al Relyea, who was running fairly well, was sent to the rear because he pulled into the pits one lap too early.

Once the track was dried, Kreutziger took off again on the restart, but the action was short lived as Mike Arnold hit the wall on the frontstretch hard after bouncing off another car. Arnold briefly came to a stop on the apron of turn 1 before resuming once the caution flew.

When the green came back out, Kreutziger had to deal with Jason Meltz and Jeff Meltz, Sr. on his rear end. However, Kreutziger was able to shake the double barreled Ghent offensive and held on to take the win. Jason Meltz was second followed by Jeff Meltz, Sr. Jay Casey was fourth, followed by Ray Hall, Sr.

Due to the earlier rains, the 4-Cylinder features were cut down to eight laps each. In the Single-cam race, Stephen Cameron, Jr. started on pole, but was quickly usurped by rookie Bradley Batho. However, Jim Williams was right there as well. On the second lap, Williams pounced and took the lead from Batho. From there, Williams made use of his Honda Civic’s power to pull away to take the win. Tim Meltz was second, followed by James Street, Chris White and Jethro Rossman.

In Dual-Cam, Jared Powell started from pole in his yellow Honda Prelude, but once again, P.J. Bleau was the story. Bleau ran down Powell and took the lead relatively early. Kenny Stager in a newer Prelude followed Bleau to the front. However, Stager could not run down the No. 92 as Bleau won his second Dual-Cam feature of the year.

Behind Bleau and Stager was Powell in third. Shawny Hazel was fourth, having raced his regular green car for the first time in months after completing repairs. Ammo Wright rounded out the top 5.

NBT Bank Modified Feature Results (30 laps): 1) J.R. Heffner, 2) Kyle Sheldon, 3) Rob Pitcher, 4) Keith Flach, 5) Kyle Armstrong, 6) Brett Hearn, 7) Tyler Dippel, 8) Elmo Reckner, 9) Andy Bachetti, 10) Eddie Marshall, 11) Brian Berger, 12) Mike King, 13) Chad Jeseo, 14) Kolby Schroder, 15) Matt Pupello, 16) Mike Keeler, 17) Justin Boehler, 18) Jeff Sukup, 19) John Ruchel, 20) Kenny Tremont, Jr., 21) Olden Dwyer, 22) Guy Sheldon. DNS: Paul Gilardi

Small Block Modified Feature Results (24 laps): 1) Kim LaVoy, 2) Brett Haas, 3) Brian Sandstedt, 4) Olden Dwyer, 5) Frank Harper, 6) Ricky Davis, 7) Ray Hall, Jr., 8) Kenny Tremont, Jr., 9) J.R. Heffner, 10) Jason Herrington, 11) Frank Hoard, III, 12) Joey Scarborough, 13) Alan Houghtaling, 14) Peter Carlotto, 15) Demetrios Drellos, 16) Chad Pierce, 17) Cody Ochs, 18) Brett Hearn, 19) Kenny Aanonsen, Jr.

DIRTcar Pro Stock Series Feature (30 laps): 1) Jay Corbin, 2) Jon Routhier, 3) Chuck Towslee, 4) Daniel Sanchez, 5) Rob Yetman, 6) Jay Casey, 7) Ray Hall, Jr., 8) Kyle Hosier, 9) Jason Casey, 10) Nick Stone, 11) Sparky Reilly, 12) Jocelyn Roy, 13) Scott Govertsen, 14) Dave Bissonette, 15) Joe LaFlamme, 16) Rock Aubin, 17) Gus Hollner, 18) Robbie Speed, 19) Jocelyn Chicoine, 20) Marc Lalombe, 21) Tom O’Connor, 22) Norm Loubier, 23) Stephen Lebrun, 24) Devin Camenga, 25) Brian Keough, 26) Tom Dean, 27) Frank Twing, 28) Steve Chaput, 29) Dean Charbonneau, 30) Bruno Cyr, 31) Dan Older, 32) Rick Dempsey. DNS: Paul LaRochelle, Steven LaRochelle

Pure Stock Feature No. 1 Results (8 laps): 1) Bill Deak, Jr., 2) Clifford Booth, 3) Mark Dwyer, 4) Karen Verhagen, 5) Dennis O’Connor, Jr., 6) Rob Miner, 7) Brian Walsh, 8) Keri VanDenburg, 9) Nick Reilly

Pure Stock Feature No. 2 Results (8 laps): 1) Zach Sorrentino, 2) Shawn Perez, 3) Dom Denue, 4) Bill Deak, Sr., 5) Chris Stalker, 6) John Tisko, 7) Gary Malloy, 8) Wuggie Burdick, 9) John Devine

Pure Stock Feature No. 3 Results (12 laps): 1) Jeff Kreutziger, 2) Jason Meltz, 3) Jeff Meltz, Sr., 4) Jay Casey, 5) Ray Hall, Sr., 6) Al Relyea, 7) Jeff Meltz, Jr., 8) Gary O’Brien, 9) Dan Cote, 10) Mike Arnold, 11) Larry Perez, 12) Chris Murphy, 13) Zach Seyerlein, 14) Dave Stickles, 15) Harold Robitaille

4-Cylinder Single-Cam Results (8 laps): 1) Jim Williams, 2) Tim Meltz, 3) James Street, 4) Chris White, 5) Jethro Rossman, 6) Bradley Batho, 7) John Sheppard, 8) Mike Verhagen, 9) Robert Martin, 10) Stephen Cameron, 11) Victor Duncan

4-Cylinder Dual-Cam Results (8 laps): 1) P.J. Bleau, 2) Kenny Stager, 3) Jared Powell, 4) Shawny Hazel, 5) Ammo Wright, 6) Daniel Hoag, 7) Mike Duncan, 8) Philipp Gomm, 9) Derek Quintero

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