Brett Haas Wins Maiden Lebanon Valley Modified Feature
As compared to two weeks ago, Saturday night’s racing card was relatively brisk, complete by 9:30 p.m. For Pittsfield, Mass.’ Brett Haas, it was a career night.
By virtue of winning his heat race, Haas started from the pole for the 30-lap feature with Mike King alongside. When the green dropped, Haas was able to move out to a small lead. Kyle Armstrong was able to get past King at the start and moved into second.
Once again, the man on the move was Andy Bachetti. Starting 14th, Bachetti slowly but surely moved up the order. Unlike recent weeks, passing was at a premium as a number of drivers were sticking to the inside.
Haas pulled out to a substantial lead by the one-third mark of the race and was in position to cruise. Meanwhile, Wayne Jelley snatched second from Armstrong on Lap 9 and tried to run down Haas. J.R. Heffner was able to get into third a few laps later. Jelley didn’t make much in the way of progress until Haas caught the rear of the field.
Struggling to get past slower traffic allowed Jelley to reel in the Big Block rookie in the final laps. The final couple of circuits saw Jelley within striking distance, but he could not prevent Haas from taking his first career Modified win.
“I don’t think it could have gotten much better tonight,” Haas said after the race. “To go from playing with Matchbox [cars] when I was five years old while my dad raced to putting my car in victory lane in the biggest class they race here, I don’t think it’s really hit me yet.
“Tonight is the kind of night that you can only dream of,” Haas continued. “This is truly a huge accomplishment for my entire family and I can’t thank them enough for sacrificing so much to get us to this point.”
Jelley settled for second, followed by Heffner. Peter Britten finished fourth, while Brian Berger was fifth. Andy Bachetti was in the top five until a mechanical failure ended his night with four laps to go. That boosted Kenny Tremont, Jr., who finished 15th, into the points lead.
The Sportsman class saw Matt Burke start from pole, but he immediately lost the advantage to Robbie Colburn. Joey Coppola and John Stowell followed past.
Trouble started on Lap 8 when Pat Jones, Keith Johannessen and Jim Cronk had contact in Turn 4. On the restart, Gary O’Brien hit the wall in Turn 1 to bring out another yellow. Shortly afterwards, Burke and Bobby Chalmers hooked bumpers and went into the wall exiting Turn 2, creating a multi-car incident involving Keith Patnode, Kyle Inman and Dave DiPietro. Everyone was ok, but the race was briefly red-flagged.
Coppola was able to get the lead away from Colburn on Lap 10, but he had new threats coming up from behind. These drivers were points leader John Virgilio and Tim Hartman Jr. Following a caution on Lap 12 when Whitey Slavin crashed in Turn 4, Hartman pounced on the following restart to take the lead.
From there, Hartman was able to pull away to take the win, his third career victory at Lebanon Valley. Virgilio finished second, followed by Coppola. Robbie Knipe was fourth, while Peter Carlotto was fifth.
The Pro Stock feature was a very different affair as compared to last week. Rookie Zach Seyerlein started from the pole and maintained the advantage with a heavily-repaired car after a crash last week. Steven LaRochelle, who was eliminated last week in the same crash as Seyerlein, moved up to second and attempted to pressure Seyerlein for the lead without success.
As the race continued on, it became a four-car race between Seyerlein, LaRochelle, Rick Duzlak and Chad Jeseo, who started 10th. To get to second, Jeseo tapped Duzlak entering Turn 1 on Lap 9. This pushed Duzlak up the track into LaRochelle. That allowed Jeseo to get by both drivers and take second.
From that point on, it was a two-man race between Seyerlein and Jeseo. Much of the final five laps of the race was spent side-by-side. On the final lap, Seyerlein got a little bit too high. That was all Jeseo needed to pull ahead and take the win.
Seyerlein was second, followed by Duzlak and LaRochelle. Phil Arnold finished fifth.
In Pure Stock, John Devine, Jay Casey and Scott Morris each claimed victories. The 4-Cylinder race saw Brandon Ely win overall and in the Dual-Cam class. Gary Malloy Sr. finished fourth and won in Single-Cam.
Modified Feature Results (30 laps): 1) Brett Haas, 2) Wayne Jelley, 3) J.R. Heffner, 4) Peter Britten, 5) Brian Berger, 6) Kyle Sheldon, 7) Eddie Marshall, 8) Rob Pitcher, 9) Olden Dwyer, 10) Keith Flach, 11) Kolby Schroder, 12) Ronnie Johnson, 13) Marc Johnson, 14) L.J. Lombardo, 15) Kenny Tremont Jr., 16) Mike King, 17) Josh Marcus, 18) Andy Bachetti, 19) Kyle Armstrong, 20) Karl Barnes, 21) Bobby Hackel, IV, 22) Denny Soltis, 23) Paul Gilardi
Sportsman Feature Results (30 laps): 1) Tim Hartman Jr., 2) John Virgilio, 3) Joey Coppola, 4) Robbie Knipe, 5) Peter Carlotto, 6) Ryan Larkin, 7) John Stowell, 8) Chris Lynch, 9) Nikki Ouellette, 10) Bobby Chalmers, 11) Pat Jones, 12) Matt Burke, 13) Tim Dwyer, 14) Keith Johannessen, 15) Robbie Colburn, 16) Ted Teal, 17) Gerard LeClair, 18) Karl Barnes, 19) Shane Powell, 20) Greg DeCamp, 21) Rich Eggers, 22) Whitey Slavin, 23) Gary O’Brien, 24) Kyle Inman, 25) Jim Cronk, 26) Dave DiPietro, 27) Keith Patnode, 28) Rob Hallaback
Pro Stock Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Chad Jeseo, 2) Zach Seyerlein, 3) Rick Duzlak, 4) Steven LaRochelle, 5) Phil Arnold, 6) Jason Casey, 7) Nick Hilt, 8) Jay Casey, 9) Johnny Rivers, 10) Tom Dean, 11) Dave Stickles, 12) Brian Keough, 13) Doug Olds, 14) Jason Meltz
Pure Stock Feature No. 1 Results (10 laps): 1) Scott Morris, 2) Dom Denue, 3) Mike Arnold, 4) Craig Coons, 5) Ryan Brown, 6) Franklin Smith, 7) Matt Cross, 8) Dave Fachini, 9) Chris Brown
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 Results (10 laps): 1) Jay Casey, 2) Chris Murphy, 3) Scott Kilmer, 4) Zach Sorrentino, 5) Jethro Rossman, 6) Don Kennedy, 7) Rob Partridge, 8) Janai St. Pierre, 9) Mitch Bombard, 10) Shawn Perez
Pure Stock Feature No. 3 Results (10 laps): 1) John Devine, 2) Brian Walsh, 3) Jeff Meltz Sr., 4) Clifford Booth, 5) Keri VanDenburg, 6) Rocco Procopio, 7) Dylan Fachini, 8) Evan Denue, 9) Dave Streibel Jr.
4-Cylinder Dual-Cam Feature Results (15 laps): 1) Brandon Ely, 2) James Street, 3) Jim Bleau, 4) Lucas Ballard, 5) Jim Guertin, 6) Mike Duncan, 7) John Wright, 8) Steve Burbank, 9) Rob Miner, 10) Gene Chariott
4-Cylinder Single-Cam Feature Results: 1) Gary Malloy Sr., 2) Matt Narzynski, 3) Doug Howe, 4) Luke Williams, 5) Althea Roy, 6) Chris Bierce, 7) Victor Duncan Jr., 8) Joey Batho, 9) Bradley Batho
Note: Yes, there are two Jay Caseys. The Jay Casey in the Pro Stock class is from Connecticut, while the Jay Casey in Pure Stock is from Massachusetts.