Andy Bachetti Recovers From Penalty To Win Mr. DIRT Track U.S.A.
Andy Bachetti recovered from a late penalty to pass Stewart Friesen on lap 92. He held on through a Green-White-Checker to win Mr. DIRT Track U.S.A. for the fourth time, capping off his 2021 championship season.
“This team deserved to win the race tonight,” Bachetti said after the race. “We did the job. We fired in the same spot [on restarts] all night and Larry [Wight] didn’t fire. We got penalized. It is what it is.”
By virtue of the redraw, Mike Mahaney started from the pole. However, trouble was right around the corner for the King Ferry, N.Y. racer. On lap 2, Mahaney suffered a brake failure that pitched him into the wall in turn 4 before sliding across the track in front of the field to bring out the caution. Mahaney was done on the spot.
Larry Wight, who was up for an extra $5000 had he won, inherited the lead after Mahaney’s crash. Bachetti moved past Adam Pierson on the restart to take second. Bobby Hackel, IV followed into third a couple of laps.
Bachetti ran Wight hard for the next 12 laps before taking the lead for the first time on lap 20. Once out front, Bachetti opened up a healthy lead over the field. Bachetti expanded his advantage until he caught Wayne Jelley around lap 35. Jelley raced Bachetti hard to stay on the lead lap for a few laps before eventually succumbing. In that time, Wight and Matt Sheppard were able to catch up.
For the most part, the 101-lap Super DIRTcar Series race was clean. The cautions were mostly due to tire issues. L.J. Lombardo cut his right rear to bring out the second yellow on lap 45. Kenny Tremont Jr. had left rear tire problems twice, in addition to sparks.
Friesen was fastest in time trials Saturday night and kept himself squarely in the hunt. On the restart from the second caution, he passed Sheppard for third and went after Wight. Meanwhile, Bachetti slowly pulled away to a 2.65-second lead before Pierson stalled to bring out the fourth yellow.
Shortly afterwards, some rough stuff entered the discussion. Tyler Dippel made a wild move into turn 1 that resulted in Sheppard scrubbing the wall and dropping to sixth. Sheppard was very unhappy with this move and bumped Dippel under the next caution when Tremont had his second tire failure.
It was here where the race was changed significantly. The restart got waved off because officials determined that Bachetti jumped it from the lead. This got him sent back to third and put Wight back up front. Meanwhile, Dippel got spun out and after an attempted payback, was parked.
Friesen got by a fading Wight on the restart for the lead, while Bachetti wasted no time getting back to second. Demetrios Drellos stalling brought out another yellow. Bachetti made the pass to win on the restart here.
Wight’s night came to an end just after the white flag flew when he stalled on the backstretch. Bachetti held on during the GWC to win. Sheppard got past Friesen at the line for third, while Billy Decker and Hackel were fourth and fifth. Friesen was unhappy with how Bachetti raced him late, but also noted that he felt he had gone with the wrong tire for the 101-lap feature.
Sportsman teams had a much cleaner feature Saturday night. By virtue of winning his heat race, Michael Sabia started from pole and led early. There were a couple of minor spins early on for Hunter Ordway and Kevin Ames.
John Virgilio won Heat No. 4 and started from fourth. From there, he quickly moved up to second and pressured Sabia for the lead.
Ultimately, it was lapped traffic that helped to decide the feature. With a few laps to go, the leaders ran up on the back of the field. The first driver they caught was John Miller, making his second start of the year. Sabia could not get past Miller, allowing Virgilio to catch up.
With three laps to go, Virgilio was able to sweep past Sabia for the lead. Shortly afterwards, Miller stalled on the frontstretch to bring out a caution. Virgilio then held on to take the victory and clinch the Sportsman championship. Sabia was second, then Peter Carlotto, Robbie Colburn and Whitey Slavin.
In Pro Stock, Chad Jeseo had already clinched the championship on Aug. 28, so the final race of the season was a heads-up duel. Johnny Rivers drew the pole, but Steven LaRochelle once again had the car to beat. He was able to rise up from the third starting spot to claim the lead on the first lap. Jason Meltz followed LaRochelle into second.
Further back, Jeseo started at the rear and quickly moved up to seventh. However, his forward progress was stunted there.
LaRochelle could not be touched as he held on through a late restart to claim his fourth win of the year. Jason Meltz was second, then Rivers, Jeseo and Nick Hilt Jr.
In Pure Stock, Rocco Procopio, Jeff Meltz Sr. and Clifford Booth each claimed victories. Jeff Meltz Sr. will clinch the Pure Stock championship when he signs in at the track on Sept. 11.
Super DIRTcar Series Mr. DIRT Track U.S.A. (101 laps): 1) Andy Bachetti, 2) Matt Sheppard, 3) Stewart Friesen, 4) Billy Decker, 5) Bobby Hackel, IV, 6) Peter Britten, 7) Kolby Schroder, 8) Kyle Sheldon, 9) Erick Rudolph, 10) L.J. Lombardo, 11) Jimmy Phelps, 12) Mat Williamson, 13) Kenny Tremont Jr., 14) Marc Johnson, 15) Wayne Jelley, 16) Brian Berger, 17) J.R. Heffner, 18) Adam Pierson, 19) Jack Lehner, 20) Chris Hile, 21) Chase Dowling, 22) Larry Wight, 23) Chris Curtis, 24) Demetrios Drellos, 25) Tyler Dippel, 26) Brett Haas, 27) Ronnie Johnson, 28) Eddie Marshall, 29) Max McLaughlin, 30) Mike Mahaney. DNQ: Kevin Root, Kyle Armstrong, C.G. Morey, Marcus Dinkins, Kenny Aanonsen, III, Keith Flach, Mike King, Tim Sears Jr., Olden Dwyer, Josh Marcus
Sportsman Feature Results (20 laps): 1) John Virgilio, 2) Michael Sabia, 3) Peter Carlotto, 4) Robbie Colburn, 5) Whitey Slavin, 6) Walter Hammond Jr., 7) Rob Maxon, 8) Jeff Gallup, 9) Joey Scarborough, 10) Walter J. Hammond, 11) Matt Burke, 12) Dylan Gibson, 13) Angelo DiCarlo, 14) Joey Coppola, 15) Bob Fachini, 16) Lem Atkins, 17) Peter Lorenzo, 18) Karl Barnes, 19) Kevin Ames, 20) Shane Powell, 21) Jimmy VanZandt, 22) Ryan Heath, 23) Dave Fachini, 24) Keith Patnode, 25) Shane Henion, 26) John Miller, 27) Rich Eggers, 28) Hunter Ordway, 29) Jared Powell, 30) Rob Hallaback, 31) Ed Arnold, 32) Chris Lynch, 33) Harold Robitaille, 34) Jeff Reis, 35) John Santolin
Pro Stock Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Steven LaRochelle, 2) Jason Meltz, 3) Johnny Rivers, 4) Chad Jeseo, 5) Nick Hilt Jr., 6) Zach Seyerlein, 7) Tom Dean, 8) Doug Olds, 9) Shawn Perez, 10) Tom O’Connor, 11) Brian Keough, 12) Zach Sorrentino, 13) Dave Stickles, 14) Dominique Hilt
Pure Stock Feature No. 1 Results (8 laps): 1) Rocco Procopio, 2) Colby Kokosa, 3) Chris Murphy, 4) Janai St. Pierre, 5) Jim Dellea, 6) Ryan Brown, 7) Ray Royals, 8) Mike Dianda, 9) Christopher Brown
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 Results (8 laps): 1) Jeff Meltz Sr., 2) Dave Streibel Jr., 3) Chris Stalker, 4) Shawn Perez Jr., 5) Katarina Foster, 6) Franklin Smith, 7) Peter Huntoon, 8) Jeremy Dodge
Pure Stock Feature No. 3 Results (8 laps): 1) Clifford Booth, 2) John Devine, 3) Dave Streibel, 4) Keri VanDenburg*, 5) Rob Partridge, 6) Scott Morris, 7) Brian Walsh
*- Zach Sorrentino drove the No. 89 in place of Keri VanDenburg Saturday night in a substitute role. VanDenburg will claim the points that Sorrentino earned for the fourth-place finish.