Kenny Tremont Jr. Claims KoD Win, Champions Crowned
The final night of the racing season at Lebanon Valley Speedway saw some great racing action, but also an incredible amount of feistiness. Drivers wanted to get all they could before the curtain came down.
By virtue of the redraw, Demetrios Drellos scored the pole for the 35-lap King of Dirt Small Block Modified feature. Once the green came out, Drellos used short-run speed to open up a gap on Brett Haas. Within a few laps, Haas began to turn the tables.
When Drellos reached the rear of the field, he could not get past the slower car of Randy Shantel. That allowed Haas to sweep past on the outside to take the lead on lap 13.
Shortly afterwards, Shantel spun out and brought out the first yellow of the race. That allowed favorites Kenny Tremont Jr. and J.R. Heffner, who started in row No. 6, into the fray.
On the restart, Tremont took third from Jason Herrington and set out to run down Haas and Drellos. The veteran racer and the Queensbury upstart spent lap after lap side-by-side in a pleasing duel for those in attendance. Despite battling for lap after lap, Tremont’s speed was not enough to get past Drellos.
With seven laps to go, Haas ran up on Bryan McGuire and had trouble getting past. Haas attempted to pass on the inside, but McGuire wanted the inside line for himself. Contact was made and McGuire spun, bringing out a yellow. At the same time, Drellos cut a left front tire and was forced to pit, moving Tremont up to second. Drellos would resume and eventually finish 13th.
Tremont’s strength on Saturday night was his restarts. It took only turns 1 and 2 for Tremont to get past Haas and take the lead. Heffner followed into second.
With just a couple of laps to go, the yellow flew due to a crash in turn 2 involving Brandon Pitcher and Jessey Mueller. Pitcher was done for the night, but Mueller continued and finished 11th.
On the restart, contact entering turn 1 resulted in the cars of Brian Sandstedt, Chad Pierce, Brian Peterson and Jack Lehner crashing into the wall and drawing another caution. All four drivers were ok, but only Pierce was able to continue.
On the final restart, Heffner got a terrible start, allowing Tremont to pull away and take a clear victory. He also took the spoils as Lebanon Valley’s Small Block Modified champion for the third straight year. It is Tremont’s 17th overall championship on the high banks.
Afterwards, Tremont was very pleased.
“I’m not sure how things would have gone if we didn’t have [the lap 29] restart,” Tremont said. “Thankfully, [the caution] grouped everyone back up. We were able to get after it then. [The car] would take right off.”
On the restart, Herrington was able to move up to second, but Haas got past him on the final lap for to take the runner-up position. Heffner had to settle for fourth, while Allison Ricci finished in a strong fifth.
In Sportsman, Michael Sabia simply had to finish sixth or better to claim the championship. For much of the race, that looked like it was going to happen.
Lem Atkins started on pole, but quickly lost the advantage to Cody Ochs, who had dominated his heat race earlier in the evening.
Pro Stock veteran Jon Routhier made a rare Sportsman start in a car normally campaigned by Chris Curtis. However, Routhier’s appearance did not last long as he got wrapped up in a crash with Mike Gramolini, Carmon Carnibucci and Gerard LeClair.
On lap 12, the whole season got turned upside down. Rob Maxon was able to run down Ochs and take the lead. Ochs, trying to get the lead back, dove hard to Maxon’s inside in turn 3. Contact was made and Maxon spun in front of the field. Everyone scattered and one driver made contact with Maxon. That driver was Sabia, who was running fifth and was on the move. Sabia would finish a lap down in 14th.
Ochs was sent to the rear for causing the crash. As a result, John Virgilio assumed the lead with Atkins back up to second and Whitey Slavin, who entered the night 16 points behind Sabia, in third.
From here, Virgilio was able to pull away from the pack to take the win on-track. However, Virgilio’s No. 14 came up underweight at the scales. As a result, he was disqualified and Atkins claimed his first win in quite a few years.
Slavin finished and unofficially claimed the Sportsman title. However, his engine was protested. The title will not be official until the engine is independently inspected, which has not happened as of press time.
Nikki Ouellette finished third, followed by Frank Hoard Jr. Chris Lynch was fifth.
Part-time racer Chad Arsenault predicted ahead of time that Pure Stock Feature No. 1 would be a wild and woolly affair with lots of action and the Murphys on top. He was partially correct.
Karen Verhagen started from the pole, but immediately came under pressure from Adam Schneider. Schenider was able to get past entering turn 3, but contact resulted in Schneider spinning out and collecting Tom Murphy. The initial contact cut Verhagen's left front tire and allowed Jesse Murphy to take the lead.
The man on the move was Al Relyea in his orange and black No. 14. Starting 10th, Relyea avoided
the contact to take the lead away from Jesse Murphy on lap 3. Shortly afterwards, Schneider spun to bring out another yellow, collecting Tom Murphy and Scott Morris in the process.
Later on, Joe Walcott brought out another yellow after running into Chris Murphy and spinning out. Another chain reaction resulted to bring out a third caution.
With all the chaos behind him, Relyea was able to hold to take the win. Jesse Murphy finished second, followed by Tom Murphy despite his spins. A penalty put Chris Murphy, who came across the line in fourth back to eighth. That elevated Clem Tuffolo, driving a car normally driven by Shawn Perez to fourth, while Jordan Miller was fifth.
In Pure Stock Feature No. 2, Brian VanDenburg started from the pole, but almost immediately lost his advantage to fourth-place starter Ray Hall Sr. Just as Hall took the lead, Evan Denue spun his Camaro in turn 1 to bring out the yellow.
Mike Eichstedt continued his recent form by climbing up from eighth starting spot to snatch second away from Tim Meltz. From there, Eichstedt started to reel in Hall.
A major mechanical failure for Clifford Booth brought out a yellow for track cleanup, which set up a three-lap dash to the finish. Eichstedt was right on Hall's tail until he blew a right rear tire on the final lap. That allowed Hall to pull away and claim victory.
Zach Sorrentino inherited second-place as a result of Eichstedt's failure. Nick Reilly was third, followed by Tim Meltz and Evan Denue.
Pure Stock Feature No. 3 saw Zach Seyerlein start from the pole and lead early. However, trouble
was not too far behind as a number of drivers including Jeff Meltz Sr. crashed in turn 2 to bring out an early caution. The leader of the Meltz clan was the only driver eliminated in the incident.
Shortly after the restart, Jeff Meltz Jr. was able to get past Seyerlein for the lead. Gary O'Brien and Ed Hatch were hot in pursuit. With five laps to go, O'Brien tried to get to the inside of the No. 15. However, Hatch took that as an impetus to go three-wide and try to take the lead for himself.
The result of that battle was that Jeff Meltz Jr. kept the lead. However, Hatch was able to get past O'Brien and move up to second.
A late caution for debris set up a Green-White-Checker restart. Jeff Meltz Jr. was able to hold off the Pure Stock champion for 2017 to take the victory.
Behind Jeff Meltz Jr. and Hatch was O'Brien in third. John Devine came from the rear to finish fourth, while Shawn Perez (driving the car normally raced by Larry Perez) was fifth.
The 4-Cylinder feature started off with fireworks. By turn 2, at least four cars had been wadded up in a couple of different crashes. Single-cam points leader Brandon Ely was included in this group.
The scariest moment of the night saw Victor Duncan Jr.'s Neon get launched into a series of barrel rolls on the frontstretch on lap 2 in a multi-car crash that brought out the red flag. Duncan was able to get out of the car under his own power, but his Neon was thrashed.
Through all the chaos, James Street emerged with the overall lead, but had the fastest of the Dual-Cam competitors breathing down his neck. It did not take long for Kenny Stager to take the lead away in his Honda Prelude.
From there, Stager pulled away to take the victory over P.J. Bleau. Despite damage to his Ford Escort in the lap 2 crash on the frontstretch, Chris Vandeputte finished third overall. That finish was good enough to give him the 2017 4-Cylinder Dual-Cam title.
Street finished fourth, good enough to give him the Single-Cam victory over Tim Meltz and Luke Williams. Luke Williams drove the No. 15s in place of his father, Jim.
Due to the chaotic nature of the 4-Cylinder feature Saturday night, the whole feature is under officials' review. As a result, there are no full results for the 4-Cylinder race and the Single-cam champion has not b