Andy Bachetti Doubles Up On Opening Night
Saturday night marked the 69th season opener to be held at Lebanon Valley Speedway. Those in attendance were psyched to see some good racing. For Andy Bachetti, he wanted to start his year off right and he did exactly that.
By virtue of posting the fastest time in a time trial April 25 during the second warm-up day, Bachetti claimed the pole for the feature with Kenny Tremont Jr. alongside. When the green came out, Bachetti opened up a small lead on the pack.
An early caution due to a crash for Ricky Davis in turn 3 brought the pack back together at turn 3. Ricky, who has raced full-time at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in recent years, was done for the night.
Once the race restarted, an elite group formed at the front of the field. This was composed of Bachetti, Tremont, Marc Johnson, the visiting Mat Williamson and Brett Haas. These five drivers pulled away from the rest of the field.
Further back, Timothy Davis, who will run Big Blocks full-time in 2021, hit the wall exiting turn 4 on lap 17 to bring out a yellow. Another yellow a couple of laps later for issues involving Mark Flach Jr. kept the field bunched up.
When the race restarted with 11 laps to go, Williamson made his move. Shortly after the restart, he took third from Johnson and challenged Tremont. The move to take the spot was done with four laps to go, but Williamson could not run down Bachetti and prevent the Sheffield, Mass. native from taking the win.
“It was good,” Bachetti said afterwards. “We had pretty good race cars tonight, good performance. We had good starting spots for sure, but I’ll take [the wins] any way I can get them.”
Williamson ended up second, 2.668 seconds back. Tremont was third, then Johnson and Haas.
In the Small Block Modifieds, Frank Harper won the first heat and claimed the pole as a result. Bachetti started alongside and stalked Harper for the first couple of laps.
On lap 3, Bachetti made his move and took away the lead. From there, he slowly but surely pulled away from the remainder of the field. Harper ended up falling back into a battle with Ryan Charland. After a few laps of fighting, Charland cleared Harper on lap 10 and opened up his own.
On this evening, no one in a small block could run with Bachetti as he pulled away to a dominant victory by 7.108 seconds. Charland finished second, followed by Harper. Kim LaVoy finished fourth, while Ray Hall Jr. was fifth.
In Sportsman, Chris Lynch knew exactly what he needed to do Saturday night after the drivers’ meeting. He needed to win his heat race and go from there.
Sure enough, Lynch won the first heat race and led the 30-car field to green. Alongside was Michael Sabia, who ran Lynch hard in the early laps. The race ended up being fairly clean until Jim Boardman had a right front issue and slowed on track to bring out the yellow on lap 8. At the same time, Joey Coppola hit the wall in turn 2, ending his night.
Just after the restart was the scariest moment of the night. Walter Hammond Jr. spun on the frontstretch while running eighth. This led to a scramble as everyone dodged. Rob Maxon spun into the inside wall and Zack Granacker ended up hitting Hammond. Luckily, no one was injured, but the red flag was thrown to clean up the track.
One driver making a charge up the order was John Virgilio. The past Sportsman champ started 11th and moved into the top three behind Lynch and Sabia.
A crash involving Boardman, Angelo DiCarlo and Shane Powell set up a four-lap sprint to the finish. Virgilio was able to get past Sabia for second with a couple of laps to go, but he could not prevent Lynch from leading flag-to-flag to claim the win. Virgilio was second, then Sabia, Kevin Ward and Peter Carlotto.
The Pro Stock class saw Scott Towslee start from pole with the heads-up start. Early on, he showed that he had a lot of speed, pulling away from the pack. Chad Jeseo dropped back early on.
Around the midpoint of the race, Jeseo’s car came into it’s own. That good feeling allowed Jeseo to retake second from Steven LaRochelle. He then ran down Towslee, who was running well.
On lap 10, Towslee went a little high in turn 2. That was all Jeseo needed in order to snatch the lead. From there, Jeseo pulled out a small lead and held on to take the opening night victory. Towslee finished second, followed by LaRochelle, Jason Meltz and Johnny Rivers.
In Pure Stock, Chris Stalker, John Devine and Jeff Meltz Sr. each claimed victories.
Modified Feature Results (30 laps): 1) Andy Bachetti, 2) Mat Williamson, 3) Kenny Tremont Jr., 4) Marc Johnson, 5) Brett Haas, 6) Kyle Sheldon, 7) Bobby Hackel, IV, 8) Eddie Marshall, 9) J.R. Heffner, 10) Wayne Jelley, 11) Jackie Brown Jr., 12) Kyle Armstrong, 13) L.J. Lombardo, 14) Denny Soltis, 15) Kolby Schroder, 16) Rob Pitcher, 17) Mike King, 18) Brian Berger, 19) Mark Flach Jr., 20) Timothy Davis, 21) Josh Marcus, 22) John Ruchel, 23) Dan Humes, 24) Jeff Sukup, 25) Kenny Aanonsen III, 26) Paul Gilardi, 27) Ricky Davis, 28) Ken McGuire, 29) Olden Dwyer
Small Block Modified Feature Results (24 laps): 1) Andy Bachetti, 2) Ryan Charland, 3) Frank Harper, 4) Kim LaVoy, 5) Ray Hall Jr., 6) Ryan Larkin, 7) Brandon Lane, 8) Joey Coppola, 9) Michael Sabia, 10) Alan Houghtaling, 11) Brian Sandstedt, 12) Bryan McGuire, 13) Alissa Cody, 14) John Lutes Jr., 15) Jason Herrington, 16) Olden Dwyer, 17) Montgomery Tremont
Sportsman Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Chris Lynch, 2) John Virgilio, 3) Michael Sabia, 4) Kevin Ward, 5) Peter Carlotto, 6) Jeff Watson, 7) Walter J. Hammond, 8) John Stowell, 9) Whitey Slavin, 10) Jacob Perry, 11) Robby Knipe, 12) Karl Barnes, 13) Matt Burke, 14) Angelo DiCarlo, 15) Nick Plumstead, 16) John Santolin, 17) Robbie Colburn, 18) Shane Powell, 19) Keith Patnode, 20) Jim Boardman, 21) Kevin Ames, 22) Alan Houghtaling, 23) Walter Hammond Jr., 24) Rob Maxon, 25) Nikki Ouellette, 26) Jake Granacker, 27) Joey Coppola, 28) Rob Hallaback, 29) Keith Johannessen, 30) Frank Twing Jr.
Pro Stock Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Chad Jeseo, 2) Scott Towslee, 3) Steven LaRochelle, 4) Jason Meltz, 5) Johnny Rivers, 6) Zach Seyerlein, 7) Jay Fitzgerald, 8) Shawn Perez, 9) Tom O’Connor, 10) Ed Bishop, 11) Dave Stickles, 12) Tom Dean, 13) Nick Hilt, 14) Mike Slauson
Pure Stock Feature No. 1 Results (8 laps): 1) Chris Stalker, 2) Rocco Procopio, 3) Dave Streibel Jr., 4) Don Kennedy, 5) Rob Partridge, 6) Jim Dellea, 7) Shawn Perez Jr., 8) Craig Coons, 9) Jay Casey
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 Results (8 laps): 1) John Devine, 2) Brian Walsh, 3) Clifford Booth, 4) Janai St. Pierre, 5) Scott Morris, 6) Chris Murphy, 7) Jethro Rossman, 8) Ryan Brown
Pure Stock Feature No. 3 Results (8 laps): 1) Jeff Meltz Sr., 2) Scott Kilmer, 3) Colby Kokosa, 4) Zach Sorrentino, 5) Franklin Smith, 6) Christopher Brown, 7) Keri Vandenburg, 8) Peter Huntoon