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Andy Bachetti Scores Lebanon Valley Lid Lifter Victory

Opening night at Lebanon Valley Speedway was adversely affected by rain.  There was a delay after the heat races were finished, then the remainder of the program was sped up in order to finish before heavier rains descended into the valley.

Under these cool and showery conditions, Andy Bachetti was able to get past Keith Flach on lap 14 to take the lead.  From there, he was able to pull away and claim the victory on Sayer’s Auto/L&M Motors Opening Night at Lebanon Valley Speedway.

“We just kept the pressure on [Flach] tonight,” Bachetti said after the race.  “We had a good starting spot tonight, so hats off to my team.”

Bachetti won by 2.150 seconds over Flach.  Brian Berger was third, then Marc Johnson and Kyle Armstrong.

Flach started from pole by virtue of winning the first heat.  He was able to hold off Bachetti early on.  Further back, Rob Maxon, who was making his Lebanon Valley Modified debut, struggled with a shock mount issue.  That resulted in him spinning out in turn 1 on lap 3.  Brandon Lane, Mike King and Joey Coppola were collected in the crash.  Maxon ended up out of the race.

Once the green came back out, Flach and Bachetti started to pull away from the rest of the pack.  Berger gave chase while the rest of the field fell away.

With the speed being shown, it wasn’t long before the leaders came up on slower traffic.  It was in this slower that Bachetti was able to pounce just before halfway.  It didn’t take long for Bachetti to take the advantage away.

Once out front, Bachetti pulled away from Flach, who dealt with vision issues from mud and rain spattering on his tear-offs. The race was clean after the first yellow as Bachetti took the win.

In the Sportsman classes, the straight up lineup resulted in Mike Arnold starting from pole as a result of winning the first heat.  Arnold was able to get a decent jump, but that went away almost immediately when Keith Johannessen spun out on the backstretch to bring out a caution that completely reset the race.

On the second attempt, Tim Hartman Jr. took the lead away from Arnold entering turn 1 on the first lap.  Once out front, Hartman opened up a decent advantage, while Kevin Ward gave chase.

On lap 9, Jimmy VanZandt ran into Fred Pravia in turn 4, spinning both cars out to bring out the yellow.  VanZandt continued and ultimately finished 16th.  Pravia was already a couple of laps down due to a mechanical issue, but this incident ended his night.

After an incident involving Mike Engwer in turn 4 brought out the third yellow of the race, Ward was able to take second from Arnold on the restart.  He sought to run down Hartman for the lead, but a caution due to Gary O’Brien stalling on the backstretch brought everyone together for a five-lap sprint to the finish.

Ward tried his darndest, but he couldn’t hang with Hartman, who held on for the win.  Ward was 2.881 seconds back in second, then Arnold, Ricky Davis and Whitey Slavin.

In Pro Stock, Tom Dean started from pole after winning his heat.  He led early, but the field bunched back up almost immediately due to Rocco Procopio stalling on the backstretch to bring out a caution.

Rick Duzlak made his way up to second on the first lap.  However, he was judged to have changed lines twice, first on a restart that was waved off, then on the subsequent one.  As a result, he was sent to the rear.

On the next restart, trouble broke out in turn 2 as Dean, Ryan Crellin and Frank Twing collided and spun.  Paul LaRochelle inherited the lead as a result, while Twing’s night came to an end.

The next restart saw Shawn Perez and Nick Hilt Jr. collide exiting turn 2.  Perez spun and hit the inside wall to bring out another yellow.  The crash ultimately ended his night.  The remainder of the race saw single-file restarts.

On the restart, Zach Sorrentino was able to get past LaRochelle to take the lead.  Hilt was able to move himself up to second and give chase.  An additional yellow for a Procopio spin allowed the rest of the field to keep close.

The scariest incident of the night occurred on lap 16 when Dean, Duzlak, Procopio and Richard Spencer piled up in turn 3 to bring out another yellow.  Dean and Spencer were done for the night after the crash, but everyone was ok.

Sorrentino was able to hold on to take the opening night victory by 1.503 seconds over Hilt.  Jeseo was third, then Dave Stickles and LaRochelle.

Saturday night marked the debut of the Super Street Stock class with a 15-lap feature. Ray Hall Sr., back at the Valley after being away for a number of years, started from the pole. Unfortunately, this was not the greatest track return for Hall.

A little more than a lap into the race, Hall had contact with John Devine in turn 2, then hit the wall and lost a wheel to bring out a yellow. That was ultimately the end of his night.

Dave Streibel Jr. avoided the incident and took the lead. He had Jeff Meltz Sr. right on his tail. The two drivers fought for the lead after the restart for a couple of laps before Meltz took over the lead on lap 4. From there, Meltz was able to hold on to take the win by .465 seconds over Streibel. Devine was third.

Sayer’s Auto/L&M Motors Opening Night Modified Feature Results (30 laps): 1) Andy Bachetti, 2) Keith Flach, 3) Brian Berger, 4) Marc Johnson, 5) Kyle Armstrong, 6) Kyle Sheldon, 7) Kolby Schroder, 8) Eddie Marshall, 9) J.R. Heffner, 10) Olden Dwyer, 11) Ryan Darcy, 12) Brett Haas, 13) John Virgilio, 14) Timothy Davis, 15) Wayne Jelley, 16) Matt Pupello, 17) Ryan Charland, 18) Montgomery Tremont, 20) Brandon Lane, 21) Joey Coppola, 22) Rob Maxon, 23) Jeff Watson, 24) Paul Gilardi, 25) Ryan Heath.  DNS: Kenny Aanonsen Jr., Dillon Gannon, Alan Houghtaling, Ryan Larkin, Kim LaVoy, Josh Marcus

Sportsman Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Tim Hartman Jr., 2) Kevin Ward, 3) Mike Arnold, 4) Ricky Davis, 5) Whitey Slavin, 6) Michael Sabia, 7) Justin Gozzi, 8) Brady Cordova, 9) Colby Kokosa, 10) Karl Barnes, 11) Frank Frasco, 12) Keith Johannessen, 13) Braxton Martin, 14) Mike Engwer, 15) Matt Jordan, 16) Jimmy VanZandt, 17) Anthony Maxon, 18) Harold Robitaille, 19) Owen Lewis, 20) Gary O’Brien, 21) Scott Zehnacker, 22) Nick Giardini, 23) Alan Houghtaling, 24) Joe Pravia, 25) Jeff Watson

Pro Stock Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Zach Sorrentino, 2) Nick Hilt Jr., 3) Chad Jeseo, 4) David Stickles, 5) Paul LaRochelle, 6) Rick Duzlak, 7) Chris Dyer, 8) Brian Keough, 9) Rocco Procopio, 10) Tom Dean, 11) Richard Spencer, 12) Ryan Crellin, 13) Frank Twing, 14) Shawn Perez

Super Street Stock Feature Results (15 laps): 1) Jeff Meltz Sr., 2) Dave Streibel Jr., 3) John Devine, 4) Doug Sterling, 5) Franklin Smith, 6) Ray Hall Sr.  DNS: Scott Morris

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