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  • Bobby Chalmers

The 'Outlaw' Shoots Down The Big Guys Saturday At Lebanon Valley

WEST LEBANON, NY - During theoff-season,

I had the opportunity to talk with Connecticut campaigner LJ Lombardo and his father Lew on many occasions. They were going back and forth about the possibility of bringing their family-owned team to Lebanon Valley. Well, they decided it was a good idea, and on Saturday night, it paid off with LJ’s first career Modified win on the high banks. Lombardo started in the second row and passed leader Mike Keeler early in the feature and set sail, holding off the likes of Kyle Armstrong, JR Heffner and Brett Hearn enroute to the win. “Oh man, this is just awesome,” LJ said. “We came in after the heat with a little bit of carburetor issues and we just thrashed. We barely made it to hot laps but my hats off to my entire crew.” With track conditions different than previous weeks, LJ knew if he was going to get to the front and have a shot at the win he would need to do it in a hurry. “I know it was going to be hard to pass on this track, so I knew I had to get by (Mike) Keeler as fast as I could,” he said. “Mike’s good when he’s running the top but it slickened off and the bottom was the place to be.” In his third season racing Big Block Modifieds, Lombardo has recorded wins each year, but the one on Saturday night was the sweetest. “Coming here (to Lebanon Valley), we knew it was going to be the toughest battle we’ve ever had,” he said. “We’re definitely down a little on horsepower, but tonight it didn’t make too much of a difference. This is amazing” While LJ was quick to thank his sponsors, his crew and his friends for their support and effort, there is one person that this means a great deal to. “We won last year right around Father’s day for my dad,” Lombardo said choking back tears. “This one's for him and the entire dad’s out there.” JR Heffner was able to wrangle the second spot away from Kyle Armstrong on a lap 27 restart and brought the A. Colarusso #74 home in the runner-up position. Could he have gotten LJ with a few more laps? “I definitely feel like we had a car that could have run with him,” Heffner said. “We have to get the car better so we can get to the front faster. I fight with it every week and here we are the second week of June and still have no baseline.” Brett Hearn worked his way up from his 18th starting position to collect a hard-fought third place finish. This continues a string of top five finishes for the defending high point champion, stringing back to a 23rd on opening night April 22nd. Kyle Armstrong was up front hounding Lombardo for a good portion of the 30-lap feature only to lose two positions at after the last restart. He still brought he Newtown Pools #11A home in the fourth position. “We’re heading in the right direction, but we still need to find a bit more,” Armstrong said. “Our car started to run out of fuel late, so I’m glad the race ended and we were able to hold on for fourth.” Wayne Jelley brought the Ferguson Waterworks #45 home in the fifth position, and it was a great run for the Pittsfield, MA driver who has returned to weekly competition on the high banks this season. “Our car is getting better each week, but that was all we had tonight,” Jelley said. “We were too tight but this new motor we got from Kevin Enders is just awesome.” In 358-Modified competition, it looked like the “Flyin’ Farmer,” Jason Herrington, was on his way to his first victory of the season. That, however, was until lap 19, when the King of the Valley, Kenny Tremont, made his way by the Rifenburg Construction #1 in turns three and four and was never touched again. The Sand Lake Slingshot recorded his second straight win in the division. “This car is just phenomenal,” Tremont said. “Every time I get in this thing it just seems to work and work well. I’m very happy.” Second in the feature was, again, JR Heffner, with Herrington having to settle for third, followed by Frank Hoard and Demetrios Drellos. For Herrington, it was a good finish, but he knows he and his team still have some work to do. “I was a little too tight on entry of the corner,” he said. “That made me use the brakes to free the car up and that kind of slowed me down. We’ll figure it out though.”

Chuck Towslee was able to bring home the victory in the Pro Stock main event, but early on in the event, it didn’t look like he had the car to win. That honor belonged to Jay Corbin, who through bad luck got a pole starting position. Corbin looked like he was going to run away and hide from the rest of the field until mechanical woes knocked him out of competition. “Not really sure what happened to the car,” Corbin said. “Something in either the fuel or ignition system I think. We’ll figure it out when we get it in the shop and be back next week.” That left Towslee, who had worked his way to second before Corbin’s woes, in the top spot, a position he would not relinquish as the Vermont campaigner went on to the win. “This is a big shot in the arm for everyone on the team,” Towslee said. “Not sure if had anything for Jay. He’s very tough when he gets out like that, but I would like to think that we could have run him down.” The win moved Chuck to third in the season long point standings, just two markers behind second place Jason Meltz. Rob Yetman was second. Third was Jason Casey, followed by Steven Larochelle and Jon Routhier. For Casey, it was a good run, but he knows he needs a little bit more for the Valley. “I don’t have enough motor,” Casey said. “This is a crate motor and I put some gear to it and turned it more RPM’s than I wanted to, but we did what we could to be up with theses guys. I’m happy with the finish.” Both Jason and his father, Jay, were racing on Saturday night and will be back next week for the 12th annual Bubba Tanner Pro Stock Classic. The father / son duo also have plans to run the Old Buzzard 30 Jimmy Langenback Memorial and the Series races at the Valley this season. Pure Stock winners on the night were Dave Stickles, Larry Perez and Dom Denue. Ed Hatch took home the Meltz Lumber Pure Stock feature while Chris White (Single Cam) and PJ Bleau (Dual Cam) were victorious in the 4-Cylinder features. News & Notes Brian Berger had another solid run Saturday night with his Phaze3 Racing #60 Bicknell entry. The team was able to get their primary engine back for last week’s competition and brought the car home in fifth. Saturday night, the Castleton, NY driver started ninth and powered his way to a sixth place finish. “We’re gaining on it,” Berger said. “My team’s working hard and the car is working real well right now. Hopefully we can get another win in our column real soon.” Rob Pitcher was able to put his Teo Pro Car back into commission on Saturday night. It was the first run on the machine since the big accident as part of the double feature night on May 20th. Rob started the feature Saturday in the 19th position and kept his nose clean, bringing the #17 home in 14th. Paul Gilardi brought his #87 Superior Seamless Gutters home in 16th on Saturday night, but feels there may be an issue with the team’s AFR Spec-Head Big Block. The engine in the HigFab Chassis lost oil pressure and Gilardi feels something may have let go. He and his team will evaluate the problem this week and see what direction they plan to go. Making his first appearance of the season on the high banks was NASCAR K&N East driver Tyler Dippel. Dippel had his JAAP #1 Teo Pro Car outfitted with his Big Block for the night’s festivities. It was a very uneventful night for the former Sportsman track champion as he didn’t qualify in his heat and finished 22nd in the main event. Someone many at the track did not expect to see in competition was Kings Ferry, NY’s Mike Mahaney who had the Buzz Chew Chevrolet #88 Small Block. The car is the same machine that Mahaney ran at Oswego during Super DIRT Week last year outfitted with a new W16 358-Modified engine. Mahaney was at the Valley shaking the car and engine down for some mid-week events that he has coming up. He ended the night 14th in the feature. Brett Haas has plans to run the entire King of Dirt 358-Modified Series this season, but will have to skip the season opener at Devil’s Bowl this coming Tuesday. Haas is in the process of becoming a Code Enforcement Officer for the State of Massachusetts and is within a few weeks of completing his time at the Academy. “We don’t have our engine ready for the car just yet,” Haas said. The Mildred Elley team plans to run the rest of the series that Rob Hazer has planned. Saturday June 10 , 2017 - West Lebanon, NY - ARG Trucking & Doherty Brothers Constuction Presents - Modified Results (30 Laps) -1) L.J Lombardo, 2) J.R. Heffner, 3) Brett Hearn, 4) Kyle Armstrong, 5) Wayne Jelley, 6) Brian Berger, 7) Kenny Tremont Jr, 8) Andy Bachetti, 9) Keith Flach, 10) Chad Jeseo, 11) Eddie Marshall, 12) Kolby Schroder, 13) Kyle Sheldon, 14) Rob Pitcher, 15) Mike King, 16) Paul Gilardi, 17) Elmo Reckner, 18) Mike Keeler, 19) Dan Humes, 20) Matt Pupello, 21) Ken McGuire, 22) Tyler Dippel, 23) Kenny Aanonson, 24) Steve Hough, 25) Olden Dwyer, Small Block Modified Results (24 Laps) -1) Ken Tremont Jr, 2) J.R. Heffner, 3) Jason Herrington, 4) Frank Hoard III, 5) Demetrios Drellos, 6) Brian Peterson, 7) Alan Houghtaling, 8) Olden Dwyer, 9) Frank Harper, 10) Brett Haas, 11) Bryan McGuire, 12) Sean Mandel, 13) Pete Carlotto, 14) Mike Mahaney, 15) Timothy Davis, 16) Brian Sandstedt, 17) Ray Hall Jr, 18) Jason Tompkins, 19) Dan Humes, 20) Chad Pierce, 21) Brandon Pitcher, Pro Stock Results (20 Laps) - 1) Chuck Towslee, 2) Rob Yetman, 3) Jason Casey, 4) Steven LaRochelle, 5) Jon Routhier, 6) Rick Duzlak, 7) Jason Meltz, 8) Tom O'Connor, 9) Hugh Page, 10) Rich Crane, 11) Tom Dean, 12) Brian Keough, 13) Dan Cote, 14) Jeff Kelmel, 15) Ed Bishop, 16) Jay Casey, 17) Jay Corbin, 18) Joe LaFlamme, 19) Don Collins, 20) Todd Hoffman, 21) Victor Hopkins, Pure Stock #1 Results (10 Laps) - 1) Dave Stickles, 2) Mark Dwyer, 3) Clifford Booth, 4) Adam Schneider, 5) Zach Seyerlein, 6) Joe Walcott, 7) Jordan Miller, 8) Wuggie Burdick, 9) Nick Reilly, 10) Karen Verhagen, 11) Dennis O'Connor, Pure Stock #2 Results (10 Laps) - 1) Larry Perez, 2) Mike Arnold, 3) Chris Murphy, 4) Lou Ganczar, 5) Brian Walsh, 6) Zach Sorrentino, 7) Tim Thompson, 8) Kerri Vandenburg, 9) Brian Vandenburg, 10) Tom Murphy, 11) Evan Denue, Pure Stock #3 Results (10 Laps) - 1) Dom Denue, 2) Bill Deek Jr, 3) Ed Hatch, 4) John Devine, 5) Jeff Meltz Jr, 6) Jeff Meltz, 7) Gary O'Brien, 8) Jay Casey, 9) Ray Hall Sr, 10) Jeff Kreutzinger, 11) Jesse Murphy, 12) Shawn Perez, 4 Cylinder Single Cam Results (15 Laps) -1) Chris White, 2) Jim Williams, 3) James Street, 4) Brett Horlacher, 5) Stephen Cameron Jr, 6) Brandon Ely, 7) John Sheppard, 8) Victor Duncan Jr., 9) Gary Malloy, 10) Bradlley Batho, 11) Jethro Rossman , 4 Cylinder Dual Cam Results (15 Laps) -1) P.J. Bleau, 2) Kenny Stager, 3) Chris Vandeputte, 4) Tomm Gomm, 5) Shawny Hazel, 6) Jake Gomm, 7) Mike Duncan, 8) Derek Quientaro, 9) Chris Calabro, 10) Willam Sass Jr, 11) Matt Thompson, 12) Jim Guertin, 13) David White,14) Pat Zimmer, 15) John Wright,

Meltz Lumber Pure Stock Feature Results (20 Laps)- 1) Hatch, Ed 2) Hall, Ray 3) Deak, Bill Jr.*4) Denue, Dom* 5) Stickles, Dave* 6) Devine, John* 7) Casey, Jay** 8) Seyerlein, Zach 9) Sorrentino, Zach 10) Walsh, Brian 11) Miller, Jordan 12) Dwyer, Mark 13) Perez,Larry* 14) Thompson, Tim 15) Arnold, Mike 16) Ganczar, Lou 17) O'Brien, Gary** 18) Verhagen, Karen 19) Schneider, Adam 20) Murphy, Chris 21) Walcott, Joe

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