J.R. Heffner Claims Victory as Brett Hearn Clinches Title
With only one more Modified race after Saturday night, it was time for everyone to put their best foot forward. Keith Flach and Kenny Tremont Jr. needed to put something together to prevent Brett Hearn from winning another title. They were unsuccessful.
John Ruchel started on pole and ran very well early on to keep the lead. J.R. Heffner started fifth and moved up to second within a mere couple of laps. Flach was right behind Heffner the whole time.
Heffner quickly caught Ruchel and raced him hard for a couple of laps before snagging the lead on lap 9. Flach followed past into second. Further back, Brett Hearn was quickly moving forward from the 14th starting spot. It did not take long for Hearn to poke his nose into the top five.
The weekend before Mr. DIRT Track U.S.A. usually brings drivers to town to shake down their mounts. Saturday night was no exception as a couple of non-regulars pressed their luck. Anthony Perrego had an excellent night, finishing sixth after starting 22nd.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East regular Tyler Dippel was also in the house to make his second start of the year. Unfortunately, Dippel and his brand-new Teo chassis were eliminated in a crash on lap 13 with Kyle Sheldon that brought out the first caution.
Flach was on the defensive immediately after the restart with Hearn hot on his tail. A small mistake in turn 4 resulted in Hearn taking the spot. The next lap, Flach spun in turn 4, creating a stack-up. Flach would continue, but he would finish 13th.
The second half of the race saw Heffner and Hearn running nose-to-tail and battling hard for the lead. However, Hearn could never get all the way alongside Heffner’s No. 74 as Heffner held on to take the win.
Heffner was quite pleased afterwards.
“[We] were solid,” Heffner said in the pits. “We had good horsepower, handled well. We had good traction. The car wanted to push the nose a little bit, but overall, it was everything it needed to be.”
Hearn finished second, which gives him a 71 point lead in the standings with one race remaining. As a result, Hearn has clinched another Modified track championship, his sixth in a row at Lebanon Valley. Kenny Tremont Jr. was third, followed by L.J. Lombardo and Rob Pitcher.
The Small Block Modified feature saw Bennington’s Timothy Davis get an excellent start from the pole
and pull away from the 19-car field. With a number of the primary challengers stuck back in traffic, Timothy’s No. 7T was able to simply run his own race.
Brian Sandstedt crashed on lap 12 to bring out the one and only caution of the race, bunching everyone up. That put Timothy Davis in a rather fierce battle with Arlington, Vt.’s Ricky Davis in the No. 43. Ricky and Timothy ran side-by-side for a couple of laps before Timothy was able to use the outside line to clear Ricky.
Further back, Heffner charged up from the 15th starting spot to run down Ricky Davis in the closing. While Heffner was able to get second with three laps to go, he could do nothing with Timothy Davis, who held on to claim the win.
Afterwards, Timothy Davis was thankful for his help.
"The car was really fast tonight," Timothy Davis said in the pits. "I want to thank all of our sponsors, my dad, my mom. Also Marcus and Jeff Reese. They gave me a good car tonight and we just took off from our great starting position."
Behind Timothy Davis and Heffner was Ricky Davis in a career-best third. Frank Hoard, III was fourth while Brett Haas was fifth.
The King of Dirt Pro Stock Series made their one and only stop of the year at Lebanon Valley Saturday night. That meant 30 laps of action and some slightly different rules.
By way of the redraw, Nick Stone ended up on the pole. However, Jon Routhier made short work of Stone at the start to take the lead.
The early portions of the race were of the start-and-stop variety. Frank Twing lost his hood to bring out a yellow. Shortly after the restart, Rich Crane and Tom O’Connor collided on the frontstretch. O’Connor spun out to draw another yellow.
Jay Casey quickly moved up to second and put pressure on his own neighbor (Routhier) for the lead. On lap 7, Jay Casey was able to move to the front. As the race continued on, Steven LaRochelle, Twing and Rob Yetman pulled away from the rest of the pack to settle things among themselves.
Jason Casey’s blown tire brought out a yellow and set up a four-lap shootout. On the restart, LaRochelle did not get up to speed and dropped back to ninth. Routhier tried to get past Jay Casey, but could not do it as Casey claimed the win.
Jay Casey acknowledged that the handling on his No. 322 was starting to go away towards the end of
the race and complimented his longtime competitor and more-or-less neighbor Routhier.
"[The car] started getting tight towards the end," Jay Casey explained. "I had to take it in high. [Routhier] was coming in underneath. I knew I had problems if I couldn't keep the car higher because he had more momentum. [Routhier] did a very good job.
Routhier was second, followed by Twing. Jason Meltz moved up to fourth on the final restart ahead of Yetman.
In Pure Stock Feature No. 1, Tim Thompson started from the pole and led early in his No. 144. Likely the fastest driver in the race was Tom Murphy, who charged up from the sixth starting spot to challenge for the lead.
On lap 3, Tom Murphy drove extremely hard into turn 3 and went way up the hill. That allowed Zach Sorrentino to move up and take the lead from third. Not even half a lap later, Tom Murphy and Sorrentino collided in turn 2. The resulting incident collected Dom Denue and brought out a yellow.
Joey Wilson, who was making his season debut Saturday night, assumed the lead as a result of the incident. From there, Wilson was able to hold off a resurgent Thompson to take the win on the track.
However, post-race inspection found unapproved pulleys under the hood of the No. 57W. As a result, Wilson was disqualified, giving Thompson the win. Nick Reilly was credited with second, followed by Denue, Scott Morris and Sorrentino.
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 saw Jordan Miller start from the pole and lead early in his Chevrolet Malibu. However, Mike Eichstedt was the man on the move. He quickly moved up from the ninth starting spot to bring the battle directly to Miller.
Miller could not do much with Eichstedt, who blasted past on lap 4. Behind Eichstedt, Jesse Murphy was charging as well. On the last lap, the two leaders fought hard, but Jesse Murphy was able to get his nose ahead. From there, he held on to take the checkers on-track.\
Once again, technical inspection decided the race. In Jesse Murphy's case, his No. 013 was found to have an unapproved distributor. As a result, Jesse Murphy was disqualified and the win given to Eichstedt. Chris Murphy was credited with second, followed by Clifford Booth, Miller and Adam Schneider.
Pure Stock Feature No. 3 started off with points leader Ed Hatch being called to the pits for not having a hood. While the team was able to get the hood squared away, it put him behind the ball at the start.
A couple of laps into the race, Hatch spun in turn 2 and drew a caution. That yellow allowed him to catch up to the back of the field.
Mike Arnold noted prior to the feature that he had finally figured out how to loosen up his No. 76 car, something that he felt was necessary in order to have a good run. While he did have some extra speed, his car may have been a little too loose. An attempt to go to the inside of pole sitter Brian Walsh did not work out all that well as Arnold slid up the track and lost a good amount of track position. While his 10th-place finish was not what he was hoping for (he was aiming for a top five), it did show that he is finding the speed to be more active in the competitive third Pure Stock Feature.
Jeff Meltz Sr. seemed to have the best car on the evening. Starting sixth, the Ghent-based veteran moved up towards the front and was able to get the jump on pole sitter Brian Walsh to take the lead on lap 4.
By no means was Walsh taking that sitting down. Going into turn 3 a lap later, Walsh tried his hardest to get the lead back. Unfortunately, he went into the turn a little too fast and spun himself out to bring out the yellow.
The second half of the race saw Jeff Meltz Sr. dueling with Gary O'Brien. O'Brien did everything that he could, but he could not get to the No. 5X Camaro as Jeff Meltz Sr. took the victory.
O'Brien ended up a close second in the race. Third went to Hatch despite having to come from the rear of the field.
Bill Deak Jr. came across the line in fourth, but he was judged responsible for an incident on the last lap involving Ray Hall Sr. As a result, Deak was put back to the rear of the field in 14th. Al Relyea was credited with a fourth-place finish, while Larry Perez was fifth.
Finally, the night ended with the Boomer's Performance Purestock Classic, rescheduled from August 12. Jeff Kreutziger drew the pole for the race and fought with Al Relyea early on for the lead.
The two drivers had contact on lap 4, but kept right on trucking. However, Relyea's ability to contend ended when he spun on lap 7 following a bump from Hatch. No yellow was thrown for the incident, meaning Relyea was forced to continue from the rear. He would later retire from the race.
A spin for Larry Perez in turn 4 brought out the second and final yellow of the race with seven laps to go. That allowed Jeff Meltz Jr. to pull up to Kreutziger's rear bumper. However, no one could prevent Kreutziger from going flag-to-flag to claim the win and walk away with $950.
Jeff Meltz Jr. held on for second with Eichstedt third. Deak was fourth and Hatch fifth.
Benjamin Moore Paints/Ameripride Linen Modified Feature Results (30 laps): 1) J.R. Heffner, 2) Brett Hearn, 3) Kenny Tremont Jr., 4) L.J. Lombardo, 5) Rob Pitcher, 6) Anthony Perrego, 7) Brian Berger, 8) Eddie Marshall, 9) Kyle Sheldon, 10) Andy Bachetti, 11) Chad Jeseo, 12) Kolby Schroder, 13) Keith Flach, 14) Matt Pupello, 15) Kyle Armstrong, 16) Dan Humes, 17) Mike Keeler, 18) Elmo Reckner, 19) Denny Soltis, 20) John Ruchel, 21) Mike King, 22) Paul Gilardi, 23) Tyler Dippel, 24) Ken McGuire, 25) Demetrios Drellos, 26) Olden Dwyer, 27) Wayne Jelley
Small Block Modified Feature Results (24 laps): 1) Timothy Davis, 2) J.R. Heffner, 3) Ricky Davis, 4) Frank Hoard, III, 5) Brett Haas, 6) Brandon Pitcher, 7) Brian Peterson, 8) Kenny Tremont Jr., 9) Demetrios Drellos, 10) Jason Herrington, 11) Bryan McGuire, 12) Alan Houghtaling, 13) Allison Ricci, 14) Kim LaVoy, 15) Sean Mandel, 16) Mike Malloy, 17) Jason Tompkins, 18) Chad Pierce, 19) Brian Sandstedt, 20) Frank Harper
King of Dirt Pro Stock Series Feature Results (30 laps): 1) Jay Casey, 2) Jon Routhier, 3) Frank Twing, 4) Jason Meltz, 5) Rob Yetman, 6) Ed Bishop, 7) Kenny Martin, 8) Dan Older, 9) Steven LaRochelle,