Kyle Sheldon is King of the Track for 2020
Saturday night was a hot night for racing at Lebanon Valley. Temperatures were around 90 degrees when the racing began. It was much cooler than that when the Modifieds came out to play, but the on-track action was hot.
Steve Hough had the pole for a feature had trouble getting underway. Ken McGuire was unable to come up to speed, bringing out the first yellow before a lap was complete. Once the event finally got underway, Kyle Sheldon immediately went to the front from the second row. He was able to get past Hough on Lap 2 to take the lead. Shortly after that happened, a crash in Turn 4 involving J.R. Heffner, Kenny Tremont Jr., Kyle Armstrong and Bobby Hackel, IV brought out another yellow.
Rob Pitcher quickly moved up to second and looked like he could challenge for the win. Brett Haas moved up to third early on and had similar pace. However, he made a driver error and hit the wall in Turn 4 to bring out another yellow on Lap 4. Haas would continue after a stop and eventually finished 10th.
For much of the rest of the race, Sheldon and Pitcher dueled for the lead with Brian Berger giving chase. Pitcher would try to get underneath Sheldon, but never could get all the way alongside. The trio, along with Ronnie Johnson, were able to pull away from the pack. Unfortunately for Johnson, his chances at winning ended when he spun on Lap 18 to bring out the final yellow.
Over the final 12 laps, Pitcher tried his hardest to get the drop on Sheldon, but he could not do it as Sheldon held on take home the $5000 and the 2020 King of the Track crown.
Behind Sheldon and Pitcher was Berger in third. Eddie Marshall finished fourth, while L.J. Lombardo charged up from 20th on the grid to finish fifth.
The Small Block Modified feature saw Brandon Lane start from pole with Kim LaVoy alongside. Lane’s goal was to get into a rhythm early on and he managed to do so. Haas, who started third, stalked the two leaders.
Five laps in, he took second away from LaVoy. A couple of laps later, he had the lead from Lane. A caution for Ryan Charland spinning in Turn 2 kept the field bunched together for the moment, but once the green came back out, Haas began to pull away. Only Guy Sheldon was able to keep pace with Haas.
A couple of more yellows set up a four-lap dash to the finish. Haas, using a backup engine after a failure two weeks ago, held on for his first win of the year. Guy Sheldon was second, then Timothy Davis, Ray Hall Jr. and Jason Herrington.
The Sportsman class had a bumper crop of 36 cars sign in. Through various issues during the evening, 33 took the start of the feature. Shane Henion earned the pole for the race and proceeded to have the race of his life.
Henion’s No. 39 was out front early and often with Pat Jones giving chase. Rob Maxon moved up to third and tagged along. After an early caution due to a spin for Ryan Larkin, the field settled into a groove for much of the race.
Jones tried to get down to the inside of Henion to challenge for the lead, but Henion would keep his foot on the accelerator and hold Jones back. The field closed back up with five laps to go when Kevin Ward crashed in Turn 4, setting up a shootout.
Henion jumped back out in front on the restart and was still running hard with three laps to go when he got too high in Turn 4. Henion clipped the outside wall and climbed it, flipping end over end and landing upside-down. Luckily, Henion walked away from the crash and even had a smile on his face afterwards.
At the same time, Joey Coppola spun out after hard contact from Maxon. Officials determined that the contact was intentional, so Maxon was parked and disqualified.
Jones inherited the lead and drove to his first Sportsman win at Lebanon Valley, despite admitting afterwards that he didn’t have the best car. Chris Lynch was second, then Tim Hartman Jr., Gary O’Brien and John Virgilio.
Pro Stock saw Tom Dean start from the pole and lead early. Meanwhile, there was some chaos behind. On the second lap of the race, Steve LaRochelle clipped the wall exiting Turn 2 and was hit by Phil Arnold. Doug Olds, Zach Seyerlein and Johnny Rivers piled in, causing a red flag. Everyone was ok, but LaRochelle, Arnold and Seyerlein were done.
Dean ran a steady race with drivers such as Jason Casey pressuring him. A caution for Nick Stone’s spin set up a six-lap shootout. From there, Dean was able to hold off the pack to claim the win. Nick Hilt was second, followed by Rick Duzlak. Jason Casey fell back to fourth, while Chad Jeseo was fifth.
In Pure Stock, an increased car count led to the re-introduction of a third feature. As compared to previous years in which the first two features were eight laps while the third was 12, all three features were 10 laps in length.
Pure Stock Feature No. 1 saw Keri VanDenburg start from pole, but quickly lose her advantage to Chris Stalker. Meanwhile, Mitch Bombard spun to bring out an early caution.
John Devine was quickly on the move and got past Stalker for the lead. Stalker was not done as he was able to get back past Devine and re-take the lead.
Spins for Craig Coons and Colby Kokosa slowed the field a couple of more times. On the restart after the Kokosa spin, Devine was able to get the jump on Stalker and take the lead for good. From there, he pulled away to take his third win of the year.
Stalker held on for second, while Dave Streibel was third. Clifford Booth was fourth, while Dylan Fachini was fifth in his 2020 debut.
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 saw Brian Walsh start on the pole and lead early. Meanwhile, Rob Partridge and Jim Dellea collided in Turn 1 and spun out to bring out an early caution.
This spin did not hurt Partridge's charge as he moved back up to the front and took the lead away from Walsh on Lap 5. Walsh kept the pressure on Partridge and was ultimately able to get the lead back two laps later.
A caution due to contact for Dellea in Turn 4 bunched everyone back up for a one-lap shootout, but Walsh was able to hold on for the victory. Rocco Procopio was second across the line, but was reclassified at the rear due to an incident in which he took out Dellea and Partridge.
As a result, Mike Arnold was given second-place. Christopher Brown was third, then Jethro Rossman and Dom Denue.
Pure Stock Feature No. 3 saw Shawn Perez start on the pole and run very well. Jeff Meltz Sr. was putting the pressure onto Perez, giving him a sense of urgency. Unfortunately, this led to trouble.
Perez had been flirting with the cushion for much of the race. With two laps to go, he entered Turn 1 a little too high and lost control of his No. 09. Meltz had nowhere to go but right into the side of Perez. The incident ended the race for both drivers and brought out the caution.
Scott Morris inherited the lead with Janai St. Pierre right behind. St. Pierre, sensing the chance that she could earn a victory, tried her hardest on the restart to get past Morris, but could not do it. The Fairfield, Conn. native held off a late charge from Chris Murphy to take the win.
Behind Morris and Murphy was Scott Kilmer in third. St. Pierre dropped to fourth, while Ryan Brown was fifth.
Modified King of the Track Feature Results (30 laps): 1) Kyle Sheldon, 2) Rob Pitcher, 3) Brian Berger, 4) Eddie Marshall, 5) L.J. Lombardo, 6) Keith Flach, 7) Kolby Schroder, 8) Kenny Tremont Jr., 9) Marc Johnson, 10) Brett Haas, 11) Mike King, 12) Kyle Armstrong, 13) Ronnie Johnson, 14) Peter Britten, 15) Bobby Hackel, IV, 16) J.R. Heffner, 17) Steve Hough, 18) Andy Bachetti, 19) Karl Barnes, 20) Paul Gilardi, 21) Olden Dwyer, 22) Wayne Jelley, 23) Ken McGuire
Small Block Modified Feature Results (24 Laps): 1) Brett Haas, 2) Guy Sheldon, 3) Timothy Davis, 4) Ray Hall Jr., 5) Jason Herrington, 6) Andy Bachetti, 7) Frank Harper, 8) Olden Dwyer, 9) Chris Curtis, 10) Brian Peterson, 11) Mark Pullen, 12) Brian Sandstedt, 13) Alan Houghtaling, 14) Brandon Lane, 15) Ryan Charland, 16) Kim LaVoy, 17) Kevin Petrucci, 18) Brandon Daley, 19) Steve Hough
Sportsman Feature Results (20 Laps): 1) Pat Jones, 2) Chris Lynch, 3) Tim Hartman Jr., 4) Gary O'Brien, 5) John Virgilio, 6) Jeff Watson, 7) Robbie Knipe, 8) Nikki Ouellette, 9) Angelo DiCarlo, 10) Whitey Slavin, 11) Bobby Chalmers, 12) John Stowell, 13) Robbie Colburn, 14) Joseph Coppola, 15) Ted Teal, 16) Peter Carlotto, 17) Nathan Johnson, 18) Brian Calabrese, 19) Jacob Perry, 20) Keith Johannessen, 21) Jim Cronk, 22) Karl Barnes, 23) Austin Smith, 24) Shane Henion, 25) Greg DeCamp, 26) Kevin Ward, 27) Del Liquori, 28) Rich Eggers, 29) Ryan Larkin, 30) Alan Houghtaling, 31) Shane Powell, 32) Rob Hallaback, 33) Gerard Leclair, 34) Matt Burke, 35) Matt Wescott. DQ: Rob Maxon
Pro Stock Feature Results (20 Laps): 1) Tom Dean, 2) Nick Hilt, 3) Rick Duzlak, 4) Jason Casey, 5) Chad Jeseo, 6) Nick Stone, 7) Scott Towslee, 8) Doug Olds, 9) Jay Casey, 10) Johnny Rivers, 11) Dave Stickles, 12) Shawn Perez, 13) Brian Keough, 14) Steven LaRochelle, 15) Phil Arnold, 16) Zach Seyerlein, 17) Ed Bishop, 18) Gary Silkey, 19) Tony Markou
Pure Stock Feature No. 1 Results (10 Laps): 1) John Devine, 2) Chris Stalker, 3) Dave Striebel, 4) Clifford Booth, 5) Dylan Fachini, 6) Keri Vandenburg, 7) Evan Denue, 8) Mitch Bombard, 9) Craig Coons, 10) Colby Kokosa
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 Results (10 Laps): 1) Brian Walsh, 2) Mike Arnold, 3) Chris Brown, 4) Jethro Rossman, 5) Dom Denue, 6) Rob Partridge, 7) Jim Dellea, 8) Wayne Mahar, 9) Rocco Procopio
Pure Stock Feature No. 3 Results (10 Laps): 1) Scott Morris, 2) Chris Murphy, 3) Scott Kilmer, 4) Janai St. Pierre, 5) Ryan Brown, 6) Jeff Meltz Sr., 7) Shawn Perez, 8) Dave Fachini, 9) Franklin Smith