Kolby Schroder Snags Double Points Victory on Solemn Night
Lebanon Valley Speedway celebrated the memory of Steven LaRochelle Saturday night. LaRochelle was commemorated in a roughly 25-minute ceremony where there were prayers, memories, well wishes to the LaRochelle family, and countless embraces.
In a rare 50-lap feature for double points. Kolby Schroder took the lead when Kenny Tremont Jr. slowed with engine issues, then held off Brett Haas to take the victory.
“I seem to always [run well in] the extra distance races with keeping the car underneath me and saving some stuff,” Schroder said in victory lane. “I really wish I could have run with [Kenny Tremont Jr.] at the end. That was going to be really cool at the end.”
Schroder won by .608 seconds over Haas, followed by J.R. Heffner, Andy Bachetti and Keith Flach. With one regular Modified feature to go, Bachetti has a 48-point lead, meaning he’ll clinch the title by showing up next Saturday.
After rain cut the racing program short on Aug. 12, track officials made the decision to run a 50-lap Modified feature for double points instead of two 30-lap Modified features for regular points. This was due to the expected significant length of the racing card, which also included double features for both the Sportsman and Limited Sportsman classes.
Timothy Davis started from pole and swept into the lead. Meanwhile, Ryan Darcy cut across the front of Brandon Lane entering turn 1. Lane spun out and triggered a multi-car crash that involved 10 cars. Marc Johnson, Olden Dwyer and Ryan Charland were out on the spot.
On the restart, Kenny Tremont Jr. was able to snatch second away from Darcy and set off in search of Davis. He got there by lap 6. What followed was a 10-lap back and forth between the young Davis and the veteran Tremont. Eventually, Tremont was able to take the lead definitively on lap 16.
Following a debris caution, Tremont was able to pull away while Darcy took second away from Davis. Schroder and Haas followed past, then continued to move forward. By lap 23, they were second and third.
Tremont continued to lead until he suddenly pulled into the pits at the end of lap 36. He drove through the pits and seemed fine at first, but the smoke started shortly after he left the pits. He would spend the remainder of the race limping around to finish four laps down in 16th.
Tremont’s issues resulted in Schroder and Haas having a battle for the lead. With five laps to go, Haas got to Schroder’s inside on the backstretch, but the slower Mike King forced Haas to back off. That was the best chance Haas got as Schroder held on for the win.
In the Small Blocks, contact between Joey Coppola and Olden Dwyer in turn 2 on the first lap resulted in Dwyer backing into the wall and blocking the track. The stack-up was on from here as five cars were collected. Points leader Jason Herrington got the worst of it as he hit Dwyer and nearly got on his side. Everyone was ok, but Herrington was done for the night. The 21st-place finish dropped him to third in points.
On the restart, Ryan Larkin was able to get up to Brian Sandstedt. Once there, he made short work of the Chatham native to take the lead.
While points leader Harrington was eliminated early, Bachetti wasn’t safe either. He ended up crashing with Joey Coppola in turn 1 on lap 6. Despite the incident, he still had a lot of speed.
In the final 10 laps of the race, Larkin had to deal with L.J. Lombardo. The Danbury, Conn. racer was able to run down Larkin in lapped traffic and attempted a dive bomb for the lead on the final lap. Larkin was able to hold him off to take his first win of the year. Bachetti recovered from his crash to finish third, then Kim LaVoy and Jeff Watson.
The Sportsman class had double features Saturday. Race No. 1 saw Cody Cordova start on pole alongside Karl Barnes. Barnes proceeded to spin in turn 2 on the first lap after contact from Ricky Davis. Chris Crane Jr. and Alan Houghtaling were also collected.
Cody Cordova led from the pole, but had to do battle with points leader Tim Hartman Jr. Just after halfway, Hartman dove to the inside of Cody entering turn 1 to take the lead. From there, Hartman held on to take his fourth win of the year. Rob Maxon was second, then Cody Cordova, Gary O’Brien and Brady Cordova.
Feature No. 2 started with a huge crash when Ricky Davis ran in the back of Joe Pravia and turned him into the wall on the frontstretch. The resulting crash wrapped up eight cars. While the 50/50 raffle ticket barrel has seen better days, all of the drivers were ok.
After the restart, Kevin Ward was able to get past pole sitter Kevin Ames to take the lead. Ames’ night came to an end on lap 6 when he crashed in turn 3 after contact with Gerard Leclair.
Ward had Hartman alongside for the restart, but he was able to put some distance on the Sportsman points leader. That was all Ward needed to take his third win of the year. Hartman was second, then O’Brien, Rob Maxon and Whitey Slavin.
The Limited Sportsman teams also had double features on the evening. The first 15-lap feature saw Mike Engwer start from pole, but immediately come into pressure from Mike Arnold. Arnold was able to sweep around the outside in turn 2 to take the lead on the second lap.
Owen Lewis tried to take second from Engwer shortly afterwards, but contact was made entering turn 1. Engwer spun while Lewis hit the wall hard, ending his race.
Later on, contact between Alex Palmer-Sawyer and Connor Crane resulted in Palmer-Sawyer spinning into the wall in turn 3 and rolling over once. Palmer-Sawyer was ok afterwards and quite upset with Connor Crane.
The crash did not end Palmer-Sawyer’s night. The team was able to repair the No. 61 and get back out for hot laps. However, Palmer-Sawyer crashed again during the hot laps session. That ended his night prior to the second race.
Once the green came back out, Arnold was able to pull away to take the win. Anthony Maxon was second, then Connor Crane, Fred Pravia and Craig Coons.
Feature No. 2 had Lewis on pole. He ran well early, but pressure from Connor Crane forced him into a mistake in turn 4. Hitting the wall on lap 3 allowed the young Crane to take the lead. From there, Connor was never seriously threatened en route to his first career Lebanon Valley win. Anthony Maxon was second, then Scott Zehnacker, Arnold and Coons.
A 24-car field, the largest Pro Stock field of the year, took to the track in memory of Steven LaRochelle. By virtue of winning his heat, Zach Sorrentino started from the pole. He led a feature that struggled to truly get going. First, Johnny Rivers crashed in turn 1 to bring out a yellow. A couple of laps later, a multi-car crash broke out in turn 1 that involved Shawn Perez, Jason Casey, Fred Lee and others.
A scary crash on lap 12 involving Fred Lee and Gary Silkey in turn 1 brought out the red flag. The two drivers collided and went hard into the outside wall with Silkey rolling over. Both drivers were able to exit their cars with assistance and appeared to be in a fair amount of pain.
On the restart, Chad Jeseo made a move to the inside of Sorrentino for the lead. Sorrentino was able to fight back briefly, but he jumped the cushion in turn 3 on lap 14 and dropped back to third. That was all Jeseo needed up to get the lead and pull away to take his third win of the year.
“We didn’t let [Steven] down tonight,” Jeseo said in victory lane. “We had a lot of good races over the years with Steven. Four weeks ago, we were fighting…but it feels more like we lost a friend.”
Tom Dean ended up second, then Sorrentino, Nick Hilt Jr. and Frank Twing.
In Street Stock, Jeff Meltz Sr. held off Chris Stalker to take the win. Bob Gibson was third, then Dave Streibel Jr. and Keri VanDenburg.
Marc Johnson’s Family of Sponsors Modified Feature Results (50 laps): 1) Kolby Schroder, 2) Brett Haas, 3) J.R. Heffner, 4) Andy Bachetti, 5) Keith Flach, 6) L.J. Lombardo, 7) Brian Berger, 8) John Virgilio, 9) Wayne Jelley, 10) Eddie Marshall, 11) Ryan Darcy, 12) Timothy Davis, 13) Mike King, 14) Brandon Lane, 15) Kyle Armstrong, 16) Kenny Tremont Jr., 17) Matt Humes, 18) Matt Pupello, 19) Kyle Sheldon, 20) Kenny Aanonsen Jr., 21) Olden Dwyer, 22) Marc Johnson, 23) Ryan Charland, 24) Dave McFeeters
Small Block Modified Feature Results (24 laps): 1) Ryan Larkin, 2) L.J. Lombardo, 3) Andy Bachetti, 4) Kim LaVoy, 5) Jeff Watson, 6) Ray Hall Jr., 7) Brian Sandstedt, 8) Ryan Charland, 9) Brian Peterson, 10) Joey Coppola, 11) Peter Carlotto, 12) Jeff Reis, 13) Donny Travaglin, 14) Ryan Heath, 15) Montgomery Tremont, 16) Alan Houghtaling, 17) Kevin Petrucci, 18) Mark Pullen, 19) Olden Dwyer, 20) Lorne Browe, 21) Jason Herrington
Sportsman Feature No. 1 Results (20 laps, delayed from August 12th): 1) Tim Hartman Jr., 2) Rob Maxon, 3) Cody Cordova, 4) Gary O’Brien, 5) Brady Cordova, 6) Whitey Slavin, 7) Ricky Davis, 8) Cody Bleau, 9) Kevin Ward, 10) Chris Crane Jr., 11) Gerard Leclair, 12) Alan Houghtaling, 13) Kevin Ames, 14) Joe Pravia, 15) Karl Barnes, 16) Chris Lynch
Sportsman Feature No. 2 Results (20 laps): 1) Kevin Ward, 2) Tim Hartman Jr., 3) Gary O’Brien, 4) Rob Maxon, 5) Whitey Slavin, 6) Ricky Davis, 7) Gerard Leclair, 8) Brady Cordova, 9) Chris Crane Jr., 10) Karl Barnes, 11) Cody Bleau, 12) Chris Lynch, 13) Cody Cordova, 14) Alan Houghtaling, 15) Kevin Ames, 16) Joe Pravia
Limited Sportsman Feature No. 1 Results (20 laps, delayed from August 12th): 1) Mike Arnold, 2) Anthony Maxon, 3) Connor Crane, 4) Fred Pravia, 5) Craig Coons, 6) Brian Walsh, 7) Kent Clark, 8) Harold Robitaille, 9) Scott Zehnacker, 10) Bella Pickard, 11) Mike Engwer, 12) Alex Palmer-Sawyer, 13) Owen Lewis. DQ: Ira Doull
Limited Sportsman Feature No. 2 Results (20 laps): 1) Connor Crane, 2) Anthony Maxon, 3) Scott Zehnacker, 4) Mike Arnold, 5) Craig Coons, 6) Owen Lewis, 7) Matt Jordan, 8) Mike Engwer, 9) Fred Pravia, 10) Bella Pickard, 11) Brian Walsh, 12) Harold Robitaille, 13) Kent Clark, 14) Alex Palmer-Sawyer
Limited Sportsman Cordova Heating & Plumbing Dash Results (4 laps): 1) Mike Arnold, 2) Scott Zehnacker, 3) Harold Robitaille, 4) Craig Coons, 5) Alex Palmer-Sawyer, 6) Owen Lewis
Pro Stock Steven LaRochelle Memorial (20 laps): 1) Chad Jeseo, 2) Tom Dean, 3) Zach Sorrentino, 4) Nick Hilt Jr., 5) Frank Twing, 6) Rick Duzlak, 7) Shawn Perez Jr., 8) Jay Casey, 9) Johnny Rivers, 10) Jason Casey, 11) Paul LaRochelle, 12) Rocco Procopio, 13) Brian Keough, 14) Dave Kokindo, 15) Mike Dianda, 16) Tom O’Connor, 17) Katarina Foster, 18) Doug Sheely, 19) Gary Silkey, 20) Fred Lee, 21) Shawn Perez, 22) Jay Fitzgerald, 23) Dave Stickles, 24) Rob Yetman
Street Stock Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Jeff Meltz Sr., 2) Chris Stalker, 3) Bob Gibson, 4) Dave Streibel Jr., 5) Keri VanDenburg, 6) Lou Gancarz, 7) Franklin Smith