Kenny Tremont Jr. Wins Lebanon Valley Lid Lifter
Saturday night saw racing return to Lebanon Valley Speedway for the first time in 2020. For the drivers, it was a relief to get back out there, albeit with a slimmed down schedule and limited personnel on site due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
By virtue of winning his heat race, Marc Johnson started from pole in his newly-renumbered No. 3J for Scott Hamlin Racing. His time at the front was very short-lived as fellow front row starter Kenny Tremont Jr. swept into the lead in Turn 1. Brett Haas, who is running full-time in the Big Blocks for the first time, followed Tremont past Johnson.
What followed was an intermittent duel between Tremont and Haas, drivers who are familiar with each other from Tremont’s more recent campaigns in the Small Block Modified class. Haas tried multiple times to try to get past, but could not get ahead of the No. 115. Despite the racing for position, Tremont and Haas were able to pull away from the rest of the field.
A spin for L.J. Lombardo in Turn 4 brought out the first caution on Lap 11. Luckily, he was able to continue with minimal issues. The pack closing back up caused some additional issues.
Shortly after the restart, an incident on the backstretch between Josh Marcus and Mike King brought out another yellow. King’s car ended up retiring for the night, while Marcus continued and finished 12th. Just after the restart, Kolby Schroder’s No. 99 suddenly slowed in Turn 4. What followed was a pile-up when drivers simply could not get out of the way. Peter Britten, Eddie Marshall, Keith Flach and more were caught up in it as the yellow waved again.
Even those at the front of the field were not immune to trouble. Kyle Sheldon spun out of the top five and backed into the wall on Lap 16 to bring out another yellow. Luckily, the damage was limited to the bumper car, allowing for an easy repair.
Flach’s night came to an end on Lap 20 when Steve Hough suffered a brake failure in Turn 4. That shot Hough into the wall, taking Flach with him. Both drivers were out for the night.
The yellow set up a 10-lap run to the finish. Tremont was still out front with Haas giving chase. Andy Bachetti, who had to come from the rear of the field due to switching to a backup car, tagged along. Haas tried to get past on the restart, but couldn’t do it. With a couple of laps to go, Bachetti dropped back and Haas was able to make one last move. That came up as Tremont emerged victorious.
“[The car] was good tonight,” Tremont said. “It tightened up a bit and began to shove the nose late [in the feature]. Overall, we were good. To start off the season with a win is always good.”
Haas was second in his debut as a Modified regular. Johnson was able to come back up to third, while Wayne Jelley was fourth. Rob Pitcher ended up fifth while Bachetti faded to sixth.
The Pro Stock class started their season with the annual Bubba Tanner Classic, a 23-lap feature in honor of the former Pro Stock racer. The race was a swell event that came right down to the wire.
By virtue of winning his heat race, Albany-Saratoga regular Scott Towslee (son of former Pro Stock regular Chuck Towslee) started from the pole with Steven LaRochelle alongside. At the start, Chad Jeseo was able to get past LaRochelle and immediately brought the pressure to Towslee.
On Lap 2, Jeseo was able to get his nose in front of Towslee exiting Turn 4 and managed to lead the lap. However, Towslee was able to retake the advantage shortly afterwards.
Gary Silkey’s night came to an end on Lap 4 when he hit the wall exiting Turn 4 and slid to a stop. He was ok, but his No. 75 Chevrolet had seen better days.
For a number of the likely championship contenders, opening night was not a great night. Rob Yetman had issues with his car during his heat race. That resulted in him starting 16th. He was able to get up to sixth in the opening laps before the issues returned, ending his night early. Jason Meltz also dropped out early.
After fighting each other for the whole race, Towslee and Jeseo fought for the lead right to the end. On the final lap, Jeseo drove hard into Turns 3 and 4, getting to Towslee’s inside. He was unable to get the traction necessary to get a good run off of Turn 4. That was all Towslee needed in order to take his first career Lebanon Valley Pro Stock win.
Towslee's victory came on the wings of a victory during the Pro Stock Dash held June 6th as part of the final warm-up day. He indicated that while he will not run the full season at Lebanon Valley, he does plan on running the majority of the season, dependent on funding. He will race at Albany-Saratoga full-time.
Jeseo was second, followed by Jason Casey. LaRochelle was fourth, while Jay Casey was fifth.
DMC Racing Products Modified Feature Results (30 laps): 1) Kenny Tremont Jr., 2) Brett Haas, 3) Marc Johnson, 4) Wayne Jelley, 5) Rob Pitcher, 6) Andy Bachetti, 7) Kyle Sheldon, 8) L.J. Lombardo, 9) Eddie Marshall, 10) Peter Britten, 11) J.R. Heffner, 12) Josh Marcus, 13) Brian Berger, 14) Kyle Armstrong, 15) Kolby Schroder, 16) Bobby Hackel, IV, 17) Keith Flach, 18) Steve Hough, 19) Olden Dwyer, 20) Mike King, 21) Paul Gilardi, 22) John Virgilio, 23) Ronnie Johnson
Pro Stock Bubba Tanner Classic Results (23 laps): 1) Scott Towslee, 2) Chad Jeseo, 3) Jason Casey, 4) Steven LaRochelle, 5) Jay Casey, 6) Nick Hilt, 7) Tony Markou, 8) Zach Seyerlein, 9) Phil Arnold, 10) Tom O’Connor, 11) Shawn Perez, 12) Brian Keough, 13) Dave Stickles, 14) Tom Dean, 15) Jason Meltz, 16) Rob Yetman, 17) Gary Silkey, 18) Ed Bishop, 19) Johnny Rivers