- Phil Allaway
Rain Cuts Lebanon Valley Card Short, Jeff Meltz Sr., Chris Murphy Win Pure Stock Races
Rain descended into the Lebanon Valley Saturday night to end the racing card early. The Modified, Small Block Modified and Pro Stock classes all did not start their races, but completed their heats. As a result, they will have double features for these three classes on dates to be announced soon. We'll have updates for you both here at lebanonvalley.com and on Lebanon Valley Speedway's Facebook page.
The Sportsman class did get to start their feature. Nikki Ouellette started from the pole and led handily over Ted Teal.
Further back, John Virgilio quickly moved up from the 15th starting spot to move into the top 10 in the first few laps. On lap 8, he got loose in turn 1 and spun out. The remaining cars behind him managed to miss the No. 14, but the caution came out.
By this point, there were already some sprinkles falling. During the yellow, the rain picked up in intensity. The cars were kept on-track in an attempt to keep the track run in, but it was unsuccessful. The cars were brought to pit road and the night of racing concluded right there.
As of the moment of the red flag, Ouellette was still leading over Ted Teal, John Stowell, Gary O'Brien and Karl Barnes. The race will pick up from this point the next time the Sportsman teams will be at Lebanon Valley, which will be June 15th. The completion of this race will be run in addition to the regular Sportsman feature scheduled for that night.
Prior to the rains falling, the Pure Stock features were able to be completed as scheduled. The first feature saw Clifford Booth start from the pole and lead early. Further back, Janai St. Pierre and Craig Coons collided to bring out the caution.
On the restart, Chris Murphy was able to get a run on Booth and take the advantage away. John Devine followed past into second and stalked the purple and silver No. 011.
With less than two laps to go, Devine cut a tire, dropping him off the pace. That allowed Murphy to pull away to take his first win in his new chassis. Booth finished second, followed by Brian Walsh. Jim Dellea finished fourth in his season debut, while Wayne Mahar was fifth.
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 saw Shawn Perez start on pole and streak out to the lead. Further back, Don Kennedy spun exiting Turn 2 after contact from Rob Partridge. The incident brought out the caution and ended Kennedy's night. Further back, points leader Jeff Kreutziger had some early issues that necessitated a pit stop for a check-up. He would continue.
Perez led until lap 3, when he came under pressure for the lead from Jeff Meltz Sr. Meltz went to the inside in turn 3 for the lead, but couldn't quite get the advantage. Then, Ed Hatch ran in the back of Perez, putting Perez and himself into the wall in Turn 4.
The wall contact allowed Meltz to complete the pass and take the lead. Perez's No. 09 ground to a halt on the frontstretch to bring out the yellow. It was obvious that Perez was not pleased with Hatch's actions afterwards and relayed some words to him.
The race ultimately came down to Meltz and Kreutziger. Kreutziger ran down Meltz on the final lap and went to the inside exiting turn 4. The two rubbed each other all the way to the line, but Meltz held on for his first win of the year by four-hundredths of a second over Kreutziger. Hatch was third, then Partridge and Ray Hall Sr.
Lebanon Springs Excavating Pure Stock Feature No. 1 Results (10 laps): 1) Chris Murphy, 2) Clifford Booth, 3) Brian Walsh, 4) Jim Dellea, 5) Wayne Mahar, 6) Ryan Brown, 7) John Devine, 8) Craig Coons, 9) Janai St. Pierre, 10) Jim Fachini
Lebanon Springs Excavating Pure Stock Feature No. 2 Results (10 laps): 1) Jeff Meltz Sr., 2) Jeff Kreutziger, 3) Ed Hatch, 4) Rob Partridge, 5) Ray Hall Sr., 6) Zach Seyerlein, 7) Keri Vandenburg, 8) Shawn Perez, 9) Don Kennedy, 10) Rocco Procopio