Andy Bachetti Defends Mr. DIRT Track U.S.A. Victory
Saturday night saw Andy Bachetti officially crowned as Lebanon Valley Speedway’s Modified champion for the third straight year. He capped that off by passing Peter Britten on lap 42 and holding on to defend his victory in the Super DIRTcar Series’ Mr. DIRT Track U.S.A. and taking home a check for $25,500.
“[My car] was ok. We had a decent race car, but we weren’t as good as last year,” Bachetti said after the race. “I don’t think I could conserve like last year and save the [right rear] tire. Got a little loose at the end, but the late cautions tightened us back up.”
Britten earned the pole for the 100-lap feature by drawing the No. 1 chip during the redraw. He started alongside Adam Pierson and opened up an advantage of nearly two seconds in the opening laps. Meanwhile, Bachetti drew the eighth starting spot and moved up to fifth in the opening laps.
Britten’s two-second lead held steady until he approached the rear of the field. It can be tough to pass at Lebanon Valley at times. That allowed Pierson to move back in. Bachetti moved up to third by lap 18 and proceeded to run down the two leaders.
The next 20 laps saw Britten, Pierson and Bachetti race each other for the lead while dealing with slower traffic. Pierson made a move for the lead on lap 37 exiting turn 4, but Britten was able to hold him off. A couple of laps later, Pierson’s car had a mechanical issue and retired from the race. That moved Bachetti up to second.
Bachetti wasted no time putting the pressure on Britten for the lead. He was on the Australian racer in a lap and past for the lead in turn 4 the lap after that. Once out front, Bachetti opened up a small lead. Meanwhile, while the leaders were battling, Keith Flach was able to make gains.
Flach was able to take second from Britten on lap 50, but could not make any real gains on Bachetti. Meanwhile, Britten continued to drop back.
The race’s first yellow flew on lap 71 when Britten and Kyle Armstrong were racing for fourth when the two had contact exiting turn 2. Britten then slid down and collected Brian Berger. Both drivers were able to continue.
Shortly after the restart, Armstrong and Brett Haas had contact exiting turn 4 while racing for position. The contact cut Armstrong’s right front tire and damaged some steering box components and brought out another yellow.
Armstrong was unhappy with Haas afterwards and showed his displeasure prior to retiring for the evening. During the yellow, Stewart Friesen stalled on-track with a mechanical issue. This issue could not be rectified. Friesen tried to go back out, but the car stalled again and brought out another yellow. This was the end of Friesen’s night.
The caution meant that there was a 23-lap sprint to the finish. Flach ran as hard as he possibly could, but could just barely hang onto Bachetti. The Sheffield, Mass. native was able to hold on to take his second straight Mr. DIRT Track U.S.A. victory and the fifth Lebanon Valley win of the year.
Flach finished second, while Haas was third after starting 14th. Billy Decker was fourth, while Kolby Schroder made it four Valley regulars in the top five.
Sportsman teams had a 15-lap feature to contend with. Ryan Heath started on the pole and led early over Bob Fachini. Meanwhile, Peter Lorenzo hit the wall on the first lap and ultimately had to retire for the night.
For much of the season, the class has been a two-driver race between Tim Hartman Jr. and Whitey Slavin. On this night, Slavin started ninth and Hartman 11th. While Slavin made some progress, Hartman was driving like his pants were on fire. He drove up from 11th to second in just six laps.
Hartman then spent the rest of the race running down Heath, who had opened up multiple seconds on the pack in the opening laps. Hartman ran Heath down and made the pass with a little more than two laps to go for the win. From there, Hartman pulled away for the win.
Hartman ended up 2.021 seconds ahead of Heath. Chris Lynch was third, then Slavin and Kevin Ward. Hartman will take a 12-point lead into the final night of racing.
In Pro Stock, Dave Stickles started on pole and immediately had to do battle with Zach Seyerlein. Seyerlein was able to get past briefly on lap 2, but Stickles was able to come back and retake the advantage.
Stickles was able to stretch out his advantage, but started to lose ground as his tires got hot. A caution with five laps to go when Tom Dean spun in turn 1 allowed Stickles to cool his tires.
When the green came out, Stickles was able to open a small gap while Nick Hilt Jr. and Chad Jeseo battled. That was enough for Stickles to take his second career win.
Stickles was a little under a half-second ahead of Hilt, who just beat Jeseo to the line. Zach Sorrentino was fourth, then Rick Duzlak.
In Street Stock, Chris Stalker wrapped up the championship with his sixth win of the year.
Super DIRTcar Series Mr. DIRT Track U.S.A. Results (100 laps): 1) Andy Bachetti, 2) Keith Flach, 3) Brett Haas, 4) Billy Decker, 5) Kolby Schroder, 6) Matt Sheppard, 7) Jack Lehner, 8) Max McLaughlin, 9) Peter Britten, 10) L.J. Lombardo, 11) Jimmy Phelps, 12) Mat Williamson, 13) Brian Berger, 14) Mike King, 15) Stewart Friesen, 16) Kyle Armstrong, 17) Eddie Marshall, 18) Adam Pierson, 19) Kenny Tremont Jr., 20) John Virgilio, 21) Marc Johnson, 22) C.G. Morey, 23) Kevin Root, 24) Josh Marcus, 25) Paul St. Sauveur, 26) Anthony Perrego
DNQ: Marcus Dinkins, Brandon Lane, Darren Smith, Dillon Steuer
Sportsman Feature Results (15 laps): 1) Tim Hartman Jr., 2) Ryan Heath, 3) Chris Lynch, 4) Whitey Slavin, 5) Kevin Ward, 6) Brady Cordova, 7) Shane Powell, 8) Bob Fachini, 9) Robbie Knipe, 10) Jeff Higham, 11) Colin Clow, 12) Karl Barnes, 13) Ryan Stortini, 14) Nikki Ouellette, 15) Keith Johannessen, 16) Nick Giardini, 17) John Miller, 18) Peter Lorenzo, 19) Matt Jordan, 20) Drew Boniface, 21) Robbie Colburn
Pro Stock Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Dave Stickles, 2) Nick Hilt Jr., 3) Chad Jeseo, 4) Zach Sorrentino, 5) Rick Duzlak, 6) Chris Stalker, 7) Zach Seyerlein, 8) Tom O’Connor, 9) Brian Keough, 10) Tom Dean, 11) Nick Rogers
Street Stock Feature Results (15 laps): 1) Chris Stalker, 2) Rob Partridge, 3) Dave Streibel Jr., 4) Jeff Meltz Sr., 5) Keri VanDenburg, 6) Scott Morris, 7) Lou Gancarz, 8) Gary O’Brien, 9) Katarina Foster, 10) Brian Walsh, 11) Rocco Procopio, 12) Ryan Brown, 13) Franklin Smith. DQ: Evan Denue