- Phil Allaway
Eddie Marshall Claims First Win of 2019; Kenny Tremont Jr. All But Clinches Modified Title
Saturday night was the final night of regular points for the Modifieds at Lebanon Valley. Kenny Tremont Jr. entered the night with a 30-point lead and needed to finish 13th or better to effectively clinch the title. Earning an extra $1000 from Bedell Racing Engines before even cranking his motor made things that much better.
Mike King started from the pole and ran well early on. Matt Pupello was also quick in his Grand Premier-sponsored No. 42P, but he went a little too fast into turn 3 on the first lap. Pupello drifted up and into the wall to bring out the first yellow. Pupello was able to coax the car back to the pits, but was unable to continue.
Once the race restarted, Eddie Marshall went to work on King. The two ran side-by-side for a couple of laps before Marshall was able to take the advantage.
Following another caution for a spin involving Denny Soltis, Marshall began to pull away from the pack. Ronnie Johnson was able to get past King for second on lap 9, but Marshall already had a couple of seconds on the pack by then.
Behind Johnson, Kyle Sheldon was quickly moving up the order from the 11th starting spot. By lap 11, he was already up to third and attempted to run down Johnson. Andy Bachetti was right behind him.
With 10 laps to go, the battle for second became a six-car affair before Sheldon made the pass stick. Bachetti followed past into third. Johnson’s car had faded a little, but he was still running fourth with five laps to go when he hit the wall in turn 1 to bring out the yellow.
On the five-lap sprint to the finish, Marshall was able to hold to take his first win of the year. He was pretty happy with his car afterwards.
“Keith [Flach] went by me in the heat and I knew that I was laboring some, so I knew that I had to work on [the car],” Marshall said in the pits. “We got the car better…but I wasn’t quite sure what I had. [The car] loosened up a little as we went. The caution cooled things off a bit, so we were pretty good after the last restart.”
Sheldon finished second, followed by a late-charging Keith Flach. Bachetti was fourth, while Peter Britten finished fifth. Tremont finished seventh, enough to all but clinch his 14th Modified championship.
The Small Block Modified feature saw Alan Houghtaling start from the pole and lead early. While a number of other drivers battled behind him, Houghtaling was able to open up a small lead. Bachetti, who has struggled recently, quickly moved up from the seventh starting spot to second.
Frank Harper blew his left rear tire on lap 5 to bring out the race’s only caution. He would spend a significant amount of time in the pits getting issues rectified, but would eventually return to the race.
On the restart, Bachetti made the move on the backstretch and got past Houghtaling to take the lead. Once out front, Bachetti ran off and hid from the field.
Meanwhile, Brett Haas, who entered the race only eight points behind Bachetti for the points lead, slowly made his way up the order from 14th starting spot. He managed to get himself into the top five at halfway and kept charging.
No one could catch Bachetti, who held on to take his seventh Small Block win of the year. Ray Hall Jr. finished in a season-best second, followed by Haas and Houghtaling. Olden Dwyer was fifth.
The Pro Stock feature saw Tony Markou start from the pole and lead early on. Trouble struck on lap 3 when Steven LaRochelle spun entering turn 1 to bring out the caution.
On the restart, contact in turn 2 cut a tire on Gary Silkey’s car. This stacked up the field and resulted in Nick Arnold and Tom Dean colliding in turn 4. Shortly afterwards, Silkey (still dealing with the tire issue) was hit from behind by Rick Duzlak, which spun Silkey into the wall. The rim dug into the track and flipped Silkey over. Silkey complained of a headache afterwards, but walked to the ambulance.
Points leader Jay Casey moved up to second early on and started pressuring Markou for the lead. On lap 9, Jay was able to make the move stick as he took the advantage.
Markou kept himself up front for much of the race and was in position for his best run of the year until he spun in turn 2 after contact from Rick Dempsey on lap 16. The crash ended up collecting Jason Casey as well. Markou was able to recover to finish ninth, while Jason Casey was seventh.
The crash moved Rob Yetman up to second. He tried to work on Jay Casey over the last four laps, but could not prevent the points leader from taking his first win of the year.
Yetman did come across the line in second, but was disqualified due to failing to make weight. Nick Hilt also got disqualified for weight. As a result, Nick Stone was credited with a second-place finish after starting 15th. Jon Routhier, driving in place of the injured Rich Crane was third, followed by LaRochelle and Doug Olds.
In the Pure Stock class, you had a split setup. Due to the heavy rains on August 17, those who were put into Feature No. 1 had double features Saturday. Those who were in Feature No. 2 on the 17th actually raced on the 17th.
In the re-scheduled Feature No. 1 from the 17th, Keri Vandenburg had the pole for the race, but trouble broke out before the green even flew. Janai St. Pierre smacked the wall coming to the start, resulting in the passenger door of the No. 18 falling off. Meanwhile, Craig Coons hit the wall in turn 1.
Once the race got back underway, it ended up being a battle between two purple No. 77s. Jim Dellea was able to snatch the lead away from Vandenburg on lap 2 and pulled out a gap. That gap was eaten up by Chris Stalker, driving the car that Dellea had raced earlier in the season (Stalker had crashed the car during the Pure Stock race at the Eve of Destruction).
Coming to the white flag, Stalker ran down Dellea and made a move for the lead. Contact was made, resulting in Dellea spinning out in turn 4 and the caution coming out.
Here, scoring got a little funky. Stalker was sent to the rear for causing the incident, giving the lead to Zach Sorrentino. However, Sorrentino had jumped the original start of the race, which earned him a two-place penalty.
That gave the lead back to Vandenburg with St. Pierre in what everyone thought was second. On the final lap, St. Pierre raced Vandenburg hard for what she thought was the win, but Vandenburg was able to hold on for the victory.
After the race, it was determined that St. Pierre was actually a lap down after the first lap repairs took a little too long. As a result, Sorrentino finished second, followed by Ryan Brown, Dellea and Stalker.
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 back on the 17th was a little calmer. Ray Hall Sr. was able to get past Clifford Booth on the final lap of the race to take the spoils. Booth was second, followed by Zach Seyerlein, Brian Walsh and Rocco Procopio.
Saturday night's regularly scheduled Pure Stock Feature No. 1 saw Chris Murphy start from the pole and show excellent pace.
Any chance of additional shenanigans between Dellea and Stalker from the first race of the night ended almost immediately when Stalker was wrapped up in a crash on the opening lap along with Sorrentino and Wayne Mahar. Stalker's night was over after the crash.
When the green was out, no one could touch Murphy. A mid-race caution for an incident involving St. Pierre in turn 3 closed the pack up, but it did not change the ultimate outcome of the race. Murphy held on to take his third win of the season, followed by Dellea, Scott Morris, Sorrentino and Brown.
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 for Saturday night saw a lot of trouble just after the start. On the first lap, Rob Partridge spun in turn 4 and was unable to get back underway. This technically brought out the yellow.
Before he could get back going, another incident broke out in turn 2 involving pole sitter Rocco Procopio and Jeff Meltz Sr. Procopio was unable to continue after the crash.
Walsh assumed the lead as a result of Procopio's demise, but had Jeff Kreutziger on his tail. It did not take long for Kreutziger to take the lead away. From there, he opened up a small gap and held on for the remainder of the 10-lap race to take his fifth win of the year.
John Devine finished a strong second after starting 10th. Ed Hatch was third, followed by Booth and Ray Hall Sr.
Modified Feature Results (30 laps): 1) Eddie Marshall, 2) Kyle Sheldon, 3) Keith Flach, 4) Andy Bachetti, 5) Peter Britten, 6) Brian Berger, 7) Kenny Tremont Jr., 8) Kolby Schroder, 9) L.J. Lombardo, 10) Marc Johnson, 11) Mike King, 12) Kyle Armstrong, 13) J.R. Heffner, 14) Paul Gilardi, 15) John Ruchel, 16) Ronnie Johnson, 17) Denny Soltis, 18) Dan Humes, 19) Wayne Jelley, 20) Olden Dwyer, 21) Matt Pupello, 22) Josh Marcus, 23) Travis Billington
Small Block Modified Feature Results (24 laps): 1) Andy Bachetti, 2) Ray Hall Jr., 3) Brett Haas, 4) Alan Houghtaling, 5) Olden Dwyer, 6) Timothy Davis, 7) Ryan Charland, 8) Brandon Pitcher, 9) J.R. Heffner, 10) Allison Ricci, 11) Guy Sheldon, 12) Brian Sandstedt, 13) Brian Peterson, 14) Bryan McGuire, 15) Nathan Johnson, 16) Chris Curtis, 17) Matt Humes, 18) Frank Harper, 19) Jason Herrington, 20) Brandon Daley
Note: Rob Pitcher drove the No. 17 as a substitute for his late son, Brandon. Brandon Pitcher will receive the points for Rob’s eighth-place finish.
Pro Stock Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Jay Casey, 2) Nick Stone, 3) Rich Crane, 4) Steven LaRochelle, 5) Doug Olds, 6) Rick Duzlak, 7) Jason Casey, 8) Phil Arnold, 9) Tony Markou, 10) Zach Seyerlein, 11) Jason Meltz, 12) Adam Schneider, 13) Brian Keough, 14) Tom O’Connor, 15) Bob Fachini, 16) Chad Jeseo, 17) Rick Dempsey, 18) Tom Dean, 19) Mike Baker, 20) Don Collins, 21) Nick Reilly, 22) Nick Arnold, 23) Gary Silkey. DQ: Rob Yetman, Nick Hilt
Note: Jon Routhier drove the No. 711 as a substitute driver for Rich Crane. As per substitute rules, Crane will receive the points for Routhier’s third-place finish.
Pure Stock Feature No. 1 Results (10 laps, postponed from 8/17): 1) Keri Vandenburg, 2) Zach Sorrentino, 3) Ryan Brown, 4) Jim Dellea, 5) Chris Stalker, 6) Mitch Bombard, 7) Janai St. Pierre, 8) Chris Coons, 9) Chris Vandeputte, 10) Scott Kilmer
Pure Stock Feature No. 1 Results (10 laps, Regularly Scheduled for 8/24): 1) Chris Murphy, 2) Jim Dellea, 3) Scott Morris, 4) Zach Sorrentino, 5) Ryan Brown, 6) Wayne Mahar, 7) Mitch Bombard, 8) Jethro Rossman, 9) Janai St. Pierre, 10) Tom Gomm, 11) Chris Coons, 12) Chris Stalker
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 Results (10 laps, Run on 8/17): 1) Ray Hall Sr., 2) Clifford Booth, 3) Zach Seyerlein, 4) Brian Walsh, 5) Rocco Procopio, 6) Jeff Kreutziger, 7) Chris Murphy, 8) Rob Partridge, 9) Jeff Meltz Sr., 10) Jesse Murphy
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 Results (10 laps): 1) Jeff Kreutziger, 2) John Devine, 3) Ed Hatch, 4) Clifford Booth, 5) Ray Hall Sr., 6) Jeff Meltz Sr., 7) Rob Partridge, 8) Zach Seyerlein, 9) Brian Walsh, 10) Keri Vandenburg, 11) Paul Harding, 12) Rocco Procopio