Lebanon Valley Curtailed By Weather; Keri VanDenburg, Scott Kilmer, Lucas Ballard Claim Wins
After three days of struggles with the Eve of Destruction earlier in the week, race fans were hoping for a dry Saturday night at Lebanon Valley Speedway so that Fireworks Night could go off without a hitch. That was not meant to be. After an early rain delay, the precipitation set in for good during the Modified hot laps, ending the evening.
As a result, July 10 will be an incredibly busy night. There will be double features for the Modifieds, double features for the Small Block Modifieds and double features for Pro Stocks, in addition to regular features for Sportsman and Pure Stocks. The fireworks should be there as well. It will be a jam-packed evening of action at a reasonable price.
Before the rains caused an early end to the festivities, there was some racing to be had. A couple of Pure Stock features were completed, along with one 4-Cylinder feature.
Pure Stock Feature No. 1 saw Shawn Perez Jr. start from the pole and lead early. Keri VanDenburg quickly moved up from the second row to immediately battle with Perez for the lead. Perez was able to hold off VanDenburg on the first lap, but VanDenburg swept past into the lead in turn 2.
Later that lap, Rob Partridge spun in turn 4 to bring out what turned out to be the race’s only caution after contact from Don Kennedy. Kennedy was sent to the rear as a result.
Once the race restarted, Clifford Booth quickly moved up to second in his Monte Carlo-based pickup truck. Brian Walsh was in third. For the remainder of the race, the trio battled among themselves.
Booth got to the inside of VanDenburg going into turn 3 with a couple of laps to go, but VanDenburg was able to hold him off. From there, VanDenburg held on to take her first win of the year. Booth was second, then Walsh, Partridge and Scott Morris.
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 saw Colby Kokosa take the lead from Franklin Smith at the start and stake out to a small lead. A couple of weeks ago, Kokosa’s team sought the help of Pro Stock regular Steven LaRochelle to try their car out to see if anything was wrong with it. LaRochelle ended up being fastest that night in warmups and gave the team some pointers to work out setup issues. On this night, the pointers came good.
Kokosa led easily until he slipped in turn 4 on lap 3. That allowed Scott Kilmer to come past in his blue No. 007. Kokosa regained control after jumping the cushion and remained in second. Chris Stalker was in third.
These three drivers pulled away from the rest of the pack and attempted to settle things by themselves. Stalker ended up dropping back due to a cut tire late, but Kilmer held on to take the win. Jeff Meltz Sr. made a late pass on Kokosa for second. Janai St. Pierre was fourth, then Dave Streibel Jr.
The 4-Cylinder teams started the night out with a make-up event from June 19 that was rained out. Here, Jim Guertin started on pole in his Honda Prelude and held the advantage early.
Meanwhile, Joey Batho spun his Honda in turn 2 and was hit by his brother Bradley. Joey was unable to get his No. 7s painted like the Fitzgerald Glider Kits entry fielded by Team Penske in the Xfinity Series a couple of years ago restarted, which brought out the caution. Shortly afterwards, Tim Meltz stalled in turn 4, ending his night and shaking up the Single-Cam points.
On the restart, Lucas Ballard was able to quickly get the drop on Guertin and take the overall lead. From here, Ballard was able to pull away with ease.
Further back, Brandon Ely was charging up from the 15th starting spot to make a race of it. Jon Sheppard, back in his No. 99, quickly took the Single-cam lead from Gary Malloy Sr. and continued to charge forward as well.
The second and final yellow flew when Helina Yeno lost control of her Pontiac Sunfire and spun into the wall in turn 4. Yeno was ok, but her Sunfire was not.
When the green came back out, Ballard was able to pull out a gap on Ely and held on to take his second overall and Dual-Cam win of the year. Ely was second, followed by Sheppard, who claimed the Single-Cam victory. Garrett Biagiarelli was fourth in his Chevrolet Cobalt, while Doug Howe was fifth.
The 4-Cylinder class was scheduled to have double features Saturday night. The rainout means that the 4-Cylinders will have double features on their next scheduled race night, July 31.
Pure Stock Feature No. 1 Results (8 laps): 1) Keri VanDenburg, 2) Clifford Booth, 3) Brian Walsh, 4) Rob Partridge, 5) Scott Morris, 6) Don Kennedy, 7) Ryan Brown, 8) Christopher Brown, 9) Shawn Perez Jr., 10) Mike Dianda
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 Results (8 laps): 1) Scott Kilmer, 2) Jeff Meltz Sr., 3) Colby Kokosa, 4) Janai St. Pierre, 5) Dave Streibel Jr., 6) John Devine, 7) Franklin Smith, 8) Chris Stalker, 9) Rocco Procopio
4-Cylinder Dual-Cam Feature Results (15 laps): 1) Lucas Ballard, 2) Brandon Ely, 3) Garrett Biagiarelli, 4) Doug Howe, 5) Jim Guertin, 6) Steve Burbank, 7) Robert Miner, 8) Sean Boyer, 9) Helina Yeno
4-Cylinder Single-Cam Feature Results (15 laps): 1) Jon Sheppard, 2) Bradley Batho, 3) Gary Malloy Sr., 4) Joe Wolfe, 5) Austin McDonald, 6) Althea Roy, 7) Tim Meltz, 8) Joey Batho