- Phil Allaway
L.J. Lombardo Claims Maynard Forrette Memorial Victory
Saturday night saw Sheldon Oil Services and Bulldog Concrete sponsor Lebanon Valley Speedway's annual race in honor of the late Maynard Forrette, a longtime competitor on the high banks. An extra $1000 was on the line in the Modified class for the evening.
Since the Super DIRTcar Series was racing Saturday night at Weedsport Speedway and the DIRTcar Pro Stock Series raced at Autodrome Drummondville, only appearance points were on offer in the Modified and Pro Stock classes. Despite that, there was still plenty of action on offer.
L.J. Lombardo designated his girlfriend Mikey Albreada as the person to draw in his stead for heat assignment and position. When asked why, Lombardo noted that he has terrible luck in those sorts of situations, claiming "If there was one to 100 in there, I'd draw 101."
Designating Albreada to do the draw worked out just fine as she drew the Heat No. 1 pole for Lombardo. A victory there gave him the pole for the feature. When the green came out, Lombardo was able to open up a small gap on Kyle Sheldon.
Last week’s winner Keith Flach scored the fifth starting spot via the heads-up start and quickly moved up to third as the field settled in. On lap 8, the first caution flew when Josh Marcus spun in turn 4.
On the restart, Flach was able to get past Sheldon (running a special scheme in honor of his grandfather Todd) for second. Once past, he joined up with Lombardo in order to run away from the pack.
Further back, it was rather tough to gain spots. J.R. Heffner and Kenny Tremont Jr. and points leader Ronnie Johnson attempted to move forward, but it was slow going.
Mechanical issues for Eddie Marshall brought out a yellow with 11 laps to go. The remainder of the race saw a five-way battle up front. Despite that, no one could keep Lombardo from taking the Maynard Forrette Memorial and the $3,000 winner's check. That said, it was far from easy.
“I had a bad vibration [start around] Lap 15 that scared me a bit,” Lombardo said in the pits. “But, I can’t really complain. At that point, [my team] gave me the best car they possibly could and I just had to drive it.”
When asked how he was going to celebrate, Lombardo indicated that his team was going to party hard. That said, they also designated a sober driver to get them back to Danbury, Conn. safely.
Flach ended up second, followed by Sheldon. Heffner was fourth, while Tremont was fifth.
In the Small Block Modified race, Olden Dwyer started on pole and led early. At the end of the first lap, Chad Pierce had a mechanical failure on the frontstretch and stacked up the field. Harold Robitaille spun to bring out the yellow while trying to avoid.
The man on the move was Andy Bachetti. Starting 13th, Bachetti quickly moved into the top five. By Lap 6, Bachetti was already up to third and still charging. Despite the charge, Dwyer was able to open up a big gap on the field.
Bachetti was able to take second from Brian Peterson on Lap 13 and immediately set out to catch Dwyer. With superior pace, Bachetti ran down Dwyer in the closing laps.
With a couple of laps to go, Bachetti attempted a three-wide move for the lead (while passing the lapped car of Matt Humes) in Turn 1. That didn’t work out, so Bachetti regrouped. On the final lap, Bachetti attempted a massive slide job on Dwyer, but came up short as Dwyer took his first win of the year. Bachetti was second, followed by Heffner, Tremont and Peterson.
In Sportsman, Harold Robitaille started from the pole in his No. 03, but the class of the field on this night was Rob Maxon. Maxon started fifth and was able to get to the lead on Lap 2. Shortly afterwards, front-row starter Joey Coppola stalled on the backstretch to bring out a yellow.
After another yellow due to Joey Carnibucci stalling in turn 4, Maxon began to run away from the field. Over the final 14 laps, Maxon drove away from the field at an average of nearly a half a second a lap to win by more than six seconds.
John Virgilio finished second, followed by Whitey Slavin, Chris Lynch and Chris Curtis.
After the race, a protest was quickly levied on Maxon’s engine. The crate motor was thus removed from the No. 96 and taken away for a teardown. Due to the protest, the results are currently unofficial. Any punishment that arises from the teardown will be announced later this week.
In Pro Stock, the class ran later than normal. As a result, the race was a bit different as well.
Chuck Towslee started on the pole with Jay Casey giving chase. What followed was a 20-lap duel without cautions.
By halfway, Towslee was still leading with Jay Casey constantly looking to his inside. Rick Dempsey, Ed Bishop and Jon Routhier were close in tow. These five drivers pulled away from the rest of the field and decided the race among themselves. Later on, Jason Casey joined the battle as well.
Jay Casey appeared to have the faster car, but Towslee was able to use the preferred line to hold Jay Casey at bay to claim his first win of the year. The older of the Caseys had to settle for second, followed by Dempsey. Bishop was fourth, followed by Routhier.
In Pure Stock Feature No. 1, Rocco Procopio started from the pole and seemed especially game for a good race. Scott Morris quickly rose up from the second row to challenge for the lead. The two drivers met in turn 4 and got hooked together. Both drivers spun out. Dennis O'Connor Jr. then hit Procopio hard, shearing a substantial amount of bodywork off of Procopio's No. 62, including the roof.
Despite the heavy damage, Procopio was still game to continue. He pitted to have his crew remove the offending bodywork, then attempted to rejoin the race. However, there was next to no bodywork left on his car after the repairs. While this move did get a big reaction from the crowd, it wasn't the right move to make. As a result, track officials pulled Procopio off the track for safety reasons.
As a result of the wreck, Don Kennedy took the lead in his No. 89K with Shawn Perez close in two. Perez attempted to make a move on the veteran racer, but could not get past.
Cautions due to spins for Evan Denue and Tom Murphy Jr. (driving Chris Murphy's No. 011) kept the field bunched up. Perez was still trying to get by Kennedy when he lost control exiting Turn 7. When Perez hit the inside wall, the car was tipped into a roll before coming to rest on top of the wall. While Perez was done for the night, he walked away.
With just a couple of laps to go, Clifford Booth was able to make his way past Kennedy for the lead. Just after the pass, Kennedy spun in Turn 4 and nosed into the wall to bring out another yellow. Booth was able to hold the field back during a one-lap shootout to claim his second win in a row.
Evan Denue charged back after his early spin to finish second, followed by Tom Murphy Jr. Rob Partridge finished fourth, while Keri Vandenburg was fifth.
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 saw Brian Walsh start on pole with Dom Denue alongside. As soon as the green came out, Dom made the move to take the lead away. Ultimately, it was a good move to snatch the lead as quick as possible.
On the second lap, Walsh lost control in turn 4 to create a chain-reaction incident. Chad Arsenault, Zach Seyerlein, Al Relyea and others were wrapped up in the crash. Walsh's car ended up hitting the wall head-on and was significantly damaged, ending his night. Walsh walked away from the crash.
Behind Dom Denue, John Devine recovered from some issues during warm-ups to move up to second early on. However, no one had anything for Dom Denue's No. 145 on this night as he held on to take the win.
Devine was second, followed by Ed Hatch. Jeff Kreutziger was fourth, followed by Arsenault.
Sheldon Oil Services/Bulldog Concrete Maynard Forrette Memorial Results (30 laps): 1) L.J. Lombardo, 2) Keith Flach, 3) Kyle Sheldon, 4) J.R. Heffner, 5) Kenny Tremont Jr., 6) Andy Bachetti, 7) Kyle Armstrong, 8) Ronnie Johnson, 9) Kolby Schroder, 10) Wayne Jelley, 11) Mike King, 12) John Ruchel, 13) Dillon Steuer, 14) Paul Gilardi, 15) Josh Marcus, 16) Eddie Marshall, 17) Denny Soltis, 18) Brian Berger, 19) Steve Hough, 20) Olden Dwyer, 21) Chad Jeseo, 22) Mike Keeler, 23) Jeff Sukup
Small Block Modified Results (24 laps): 1) Olden Dwyer, 2) Andy Bachetti, 3) J.R. Heffner, 4) Kenny Tremont Jr., 5) Brian Peterson, 6) Ricky Davis, 7) Dillon Steuer, 8) Brett Haas, 9) Frank Hoard, III, 10) Timothy Davis, 11) Frank Harper, 12) Brandon Pitcher, 13) Brian Sandstedt, 14) Ryan Charland, 15) Steve Hough, 16) Matt Humes, 17) Alan Houghtaling, 18) Harold Robitaille, 19) Chad Pierce, 20) Brandon Lane, 21) Jason Herrington, 22) Lorne Browe, 23) Mark Pullen. DNS: Michael Sabia
Sportsman Feature Results (20 laps, UNOFFICIAL due to Protest on Rob Maxon's engine): 1) Rob Maxon, 2) John Virgilio, 3) Whitey Slavin, 4) Chris Lynch, 5) Chris Curtis, 6) Peter Carlotto, 7) Michael Sabia, 8) Cody Ochs, 9) Nikki Ouellette, 10) Vinnie Visconti, 11) Ted Teal, 12) Scott McCoy, 13) Matt Burke, 14) Harold Robitaille, 15) Karl Barnes, 16) Zach Lauster, 17) Alan Houghtaling, 18) Joey Carnibucci, 19) Joey Coppola, 20) Amanda Earl, 21) Mike Gramolini, 22) Jim Osgood
Pro Stock Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Chuck Towslee, 2) Jay Casey, 3) Rick Dempsey, 4) Ed Bishop, 5) Jon Routhier, 6) Jason Casey, 7) Jason Meltz, 8) Frank Twing, 9) Tom O’Connor, 10) Nick Arnold, 11) Joe LaFlamme, 12) Dave Stickles, 13) Rick Spencer, 14) Don Collins, 15) Rick Duzlak, 16) Dave Depaulo, 17) Nick Reilly, 18) Doug Olds, 19) Tom Dean, 20) Nick Hilt, 21) Steven LaRochelle, 22) Brian Keough, 23) Jay Casey
Note: The Jay Casey that finished second is from Connecticut, while the Jay Casey classified in 23rd is from Massachusetts.
Pure Stock Feature No. 1 Results (12 laps): 1) Clifford Booth, 2) Evan Denue, 3) Tom Murphy Jr., 4) Rob Partridge, 5) Keri Vandenburg, 6) Dennis O’Connor Jr., 7) Don Kennedy, 8) Scott Morris, 9) Shawn Perez, 10) Rocco Procopio
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 Results (12 laps): 1) Dom Denue, 2) John Devine, 3) Ed Hatch, 4) Jeff Kreutziger, 5) Chad Arsenault, 6) Jeff Meltz Sr., 7) Al Relyea, 8) Zach Seyerlein, 9) Zach Sorrentino, 10) Brian Walsh