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  • Phil Allaway

Valley Mods Rained Out; Dillon Steuer Claims Small Block Victory

The weather at Lebanon Valley Speedway Saturday was wild. First, it was incredibly hot and humid. Then, thunderstorms descended on the track. A drenching rain moved in from the north and wiped out the Modified feature just as they were about to go green.

That rain, plus additional torrential rains from another line of storms shortly afterwards, put an early end to the night. There will be double features for the Modifieds on July 27th to make up for the rain out.

Before the rain came, the Small Block Modified class had their regularly schedule feature. It was an interesting race to be sure.

Alan Houghtaling started from the pole and led early. However, the man on the move was Dillon Steuer. The Bohemia, N.Y. racer started in fifth and moved himself up to second on lap 2. On the third lap, he was able to take the lead from Houghtaling and set sail on the field.

Following Steuer past Houghtaling was Guy Sheldon, running a special No. 628 in honor of his late father Todd Sheldon. Sheldon was strong early on, but he could not run with Steuer early on.

Further back, Andy Bachetti and Brett Haas were moving up through the field after starting on Row 7. By the halfway point, they were up to fourth and fifth and still charging.

Olden Dwyer spun in turn 1 after contact from Frank Harper to bring out the first yellow of the race on lap 14. Harper was found by officials to have gone below the berm in turn 1 to make the move for position and hit Dwyer. That resulted in Harper being sent to the rear.

When the green came back out, Steuer pulled away while Bachetti and Haas were able to dispatch of Timothy Davis. The two Massachusetts natives then battled among themselves for third. Haas got past Bachetti for the position, then Bachetti made an aggressive move to the inside on lap 21. Contact was made as Bachetti took the spot back. This contact cut Haas’ left rear tire and brought out another yellow. The Brett Haas Racing team changed the left rear tire and returned to the track for the final restart. Haas would finish 12th.

On the Green-White-Checker restart, Sheldon got a good restart and tried to make a run on Steuer, but he could not prevent the youngster from taking victory.

“It definitely [feels] good winning here tonight,” Steuer said afterwards. “We were able to get to the front quick this time and we stayed there.”

The DIRTcar Pro Stock Series was on-site Saturday night for their annual visit to the high banks. 30 laps of action was on tap.

By virtue of the redraw, Canaan, Conn.’s Rich Crane started from the pole and led early. Nick Arnold moved himself up to second early and attempted to run in on Crane. A caution came out for the hood flying off of Jay Fitzgerald’s No. 56 on lap 8, bunching up the pack. Naturally, this was not the end of the cautions.

Shortly after the restart, Gary Silkey spun in turn 4 after contact from Frank Twing. Just as the yellow was coming out for that spin, Rick Demspey hit the wall in turn 3. Silkey was able to continue, but Dempsey was done for the night.

On the restart, Rick Duzlak was able to move up to second and begin pressuring Crane for the lead. That battle came to a premature end when Silkey was forced into the wall on the frontstretch before spinning out to bring out another yellow.

The restart brought a pile up on the frontstretch involving Jay Casey, Jason Casey, Dan Older, Tom Dean, Jocelyn Roy and others. Older, Jason Casey and Steven LaRochelle were eliminated in the crash.

On lap 14, Duzlak was able to get a run on Crane on the backstretch and made the pass for the lead in turn 4. Jason Meltz followed past into second.

As the race continued on, lightning closed in on Lebanon Valley. As a result, a red flag was thrown so that the stands could be cleared and the lightning monitored. After a brief delay, the race resumed.

Ultimately, the race came down to a Green-White-Checker after a late spin for Mike Baker. Duzlak was able to hold off the pack to take the victory.

“I got into Richie a little bit; I apologize for that,” Duzlak said in victory lane. “This car has been on rails. This is one of the best cars I’ve ever had. Everywhere I wanted to put it, [it would do it].”

Meltz finished second, followed by Jay Corbin. Crane ended up fourth, followed by a charging Jay Casey.

In Pure Stock, Clifford Booth and Ray Hall Sr. each won features.

NBT Bank/Andy’s Speed Shop Small Block Modified Results (24 Laps): 1) Dillon Steuer, 2) Guy Sheldon, 3) Andy Bachetti, 4) J.R. Heffner, 5) Timothy Davis, 6) Chris Curtis, 7) Brian Sandstedt, 8) Angelo DiCarlo, 9) Ricky Davis, 10) Olden Dwyer, 11) Frank Harper, 12) Brett Haas, 13) Brian Peterson, 14) Ray Hall Jr., 15) Brandon Pitcher, 16) Alan Houghtaling, 17) Steve Hough

DIRTcar Pro Stock Series Results (30 Laps): 1) Rick Duzlak, 2) Jason Meltz, 3) Jay Corbin, 4) Rich Crane, 5) Jay Casey, 6) Nick Arnold, 7) Rob Yetman, 8) Johnny Rivers Jr., 9) Tony Markou, 10) C.D. Beauchamp, 11) Dave Sequin, 12) Jay Fitzgerald, 13) Marc Lalonde, 14) Phil Arnold, 15) Brian Keough, 16) Pascal Payeur, 17) Mike Baker, 18) Brian Carter, 19) Jocelyn Roy, 20) Tom Dean, 21) Frank Twing, 22) Gary Silkey, 23) Steven LaRochelle, 24) Jason Casey, 25) Dan Older, 26) Rick Dempsey, 27) Doug Olds

Pure Stock Feature No. 1 Results (10 Laps): 1) Clifford Booth, 2) Scott Morris, 3) Keri Vandenburg, 4) Janai St. Pierre, 5) Ryan Brown, 6) Craig Coons, 7) Shawn Perez, 8) Dave Stickles

Pure Stock Feature No. 2 Results (10 Laps): 1) Ray Hall Sr., 2) Ed Hatch, 3) Jeff Kreutziger, 4) Zach Seyerlein, 5) Rocco Procopio, 6) Brian Walsh, 7) Rob Partridge, 8) Jeff Meltz Sr.

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