Matt Pupello Scores Flag-To-Flag Victory At Lebanon Valley
Matt Pupello led all 30 laps from the pole Saturday night to win the Dave Prime Jr. MAC Tools Modified feature. It is Pupello’s first victory since he returned to full-time racing at Lebanon Valley after he stepped away in order to take care of his family.
“I knew that [Kyle Armstrong] was there. He pushed me down the backstretch one time,” Pupello stated afterwards. “I really haven’t had any results this year, but we’ve really started getting rolling the last couple of weeks. Took me a little while to really get comfortable running the top.”
Pupello won by just a couple of car lengths over Kyle Armstrong. L.J. Lombardo was third, then Andy Bachetti and Mike King.
Kenny Aanonsen Jr. started from pole after winning his heat race, but Pupello was able to take the lead in turn 1 on the first lap. Brandon Lane followed past into second. Once in the lead, Pupello quickly pulled out a decent advantage.
That advantage was erased when Olden Dwyer stalled in turn 4 to bring out the yellow with six laps complete. On the restart, Armstrong was able to get past Lane for second, then went after Pupello for the lead. In doing so, the duo pulled away from the rest of the pack.
Further back, Lombardo started seventh and slowly made his way forward. By lap 10, he was third. When Pupello and Armstrong started battling for the lead, Lombardo was able to close in. Armstrong got side-by-side for the lead on lap 11, but was not able to get past. That allowed Lombardo to make it a three-man fight.
Eventually, Pupello was able to pull back out a little bit on Armstrong. Lombardo attempted to get past Armstrong for second, but couldn’t do so. Further back, Bachetti was moving up from 14th on the grid with an extra $1000 on offer. He was seventh at halfway and progressing.
Once he got to fourth, he was able to break free of the pack and set out towards the leaders. He was lapping a full half-second faster than Pupello at one point, but couldn’t make inroads once he got into lapped traffic. That was all Pupello needed to hold on for the win.
In Small Block Modified action, Kevin Petrucci started from pole after winning both his heat and a four-lap Dash sponsored by Cordova Heating & Plumbing. It was a race that had trouble getting underway.
First, Ryan Heath spun in turn 1 on the first lap to bring out a yellow and complete restart. Then, a pile-up occurred on the next attempt in turn 2 when Lorne Browe spun. He was collected by Bachetti, Mark Pullen, Jeff Watson and others. Watson and Pullen were out on the spot, while Bachetti made multiple stops for repairs. He would eventually charge back to finish seventh.
Much of the feature consisted of a continuation of a battle that had been waged all evening, through the heats and the Dash. Petrucci versus Ray Hall Jr. The two drivers ran each other hard but fair in the race. Later on, Petrucci was able to pull away to take his second career Small Block win by 2.793 seconds over Hall. Joey Coppola was third, then Jason Herrington and Lombardo.
In Sportsman action, Bob Fachini started on the pole, but suffered a mechanical issue on the start that stacked up the field. Whitey Slavin was able to avoid the stricken Fachini and take the lead.
Following a spin for Frank Twing Jr. that drew a yellow, Tim Hartman Jr. slowly entered the picture. He was able to take second on lap 13 and slowly began gaining on Slavin. However, Hartman ran out of time as Slavin took his first win of the year.
Hartman was second, then Brady Cordova, Gary O’Brien and Kevin Ward. Harold Robitaille led flag-to-flag to win the Limited Sportsman feature.
Pro Stock action saw Fred Lee start from the pole, only to have Tom Dean immediately pressure him. Within a couple of laps, Dean was able to take the lead and drive away.
Jay Casey was running well Saturday night until he spun out on lap 6 in turn 3. No caution was thrown and Casey was able to continue. An unscheduled pit stop resulted in Casey finishing two laps down.
Chad Jeseo was able to move up to second in the closing laps, but Dean was too far gone by then. Dean held on to win by 2.616 seconds over Jeseo. Rick Duzlak was third, followed by Steven LaRochelle and Dave Stickles.
In Street Stock, Jeff Meltz Sr. was able to lead flag-to-flag to pick up the victory over Chris Stalker and Rocco Procopio. Dave Streibel beat his son Dave Jr. for fourth.
Dave Prime Jr. MAC Tools Modified Feature Results (30 laps): 1) Matt Pupello, 2) Kyle Armstrong, 3) L.J. Lombardo, 4) Andy Bachetti, 5) Mike King, 6) Keith Flach, 7) Marc Johnson, 8) Kolby Schroder, 9) Brian Berger, 10) Brett Haas, 11) Kenny Tremont Jr., 12) John Virgilio, 13) J.R. Heffner, 14) Brandon Lane, 15) Ryan Darcy, 16) Kyle Sheldon, 17) Eddie Marshall, 18) Wayne Jelley, 19) Ryan Charland, 20) Josh Marcus, 21) Dave McFeeters, 22) Olden Dwyer, 23) Kenny Aanonsen Jr., 24) Timothy Davis
Small Block Modified Feature Results (24 laps): 1) Kevin Petrucci, 2) Ray Hall Jr., 3) Joey Coppola, 4) Jason Herrington, 5) L.J. Lombardo, 6) Kim LaVoy, 7) Andy Bachetti, 8) Brian Sandstedt, 9) Ryan Larkin, 10) Ryan Charland, 11) Peter Carlotto, 12) Jeff Reis, 13) Donny Travaglin, 14) Ryan Heath, 15) Montgomery Tremont, 16) Alan Houghtaling, 17) Lorne Browe, 18) Jeff Watson, 19) Mark Pullen, 20) Olden Dwyer
Small Block Modified Cordova Heating & Plumbing Dash Results (4 laps): 1) Kevin Petrucci, 2) Ray Hall Jr., 3) Alan Houghtaling, 4) Kim LaVoy, 5) Ryan Larkin
Sportsman Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Whitey Slavin, 2) Tim Hartman Jr., 3) Brady Cordova, 4) Gary O’Brien, 5) Kevin Ward, 6) Rob Maxon, 7) Karl Barnes, 8) Cody Cordova, 9) Kevin Ames, 10) Bob Fachini, 11) Alan Houghtaling, 12) Chris Lynch, 13) Jim VanZandt
Note: Scott Zehnacher, Frank Twing Jr. and Alex Palmer-Sawyer were tacked onto the back of the Sportsman feature, but were not scored.
Limited Sportsman Feature Results (15 laps): 1) Harold Robitaille, 2) Alex Palmer-Sawyer, 3) Anthony Maxon, 4) Frank Twing Jr., 5) Scott Zehnacker, 6) Brian Walsh, 7) Owen Lewis, 8) Mike Engwer, 9) Kent Clark, 10) Craig Coons, 11) Matt Jordan, 12) Jason Manchester, 13) Becky Belisle, 14) Billy Brandt
Pro Stock Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Tom Dean, 2) Chad Jeseo, 3) Rick Duzlak, 4) Steven LaRochelle, 5) Dave Stickles, 6) Zach Sorrentino, 7) Fred Lee, 8) Jason Casey, 9) Frank Twing, 10) Brian Keough, 11) Tom O’Connor, 12) Mike Dianda, 13) Dave Kokindo, 14) Jay Casey
Street Stock Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Jeff Meltz Sr., 2) Chris Stalker, 3) Rocco Procopio, 4) Dave Streibel, 5) Dave Streibel Jr., 6) Ed Hatch, 7) Ray Royals, 8) Milo Campbell, 9) Keri VanDenburg, 10) Lou Gancarz, 11) Don Kennedy, 12) Peter Huntoon, 13) Franklin Smith, 14) Jim Dellea, 15) Mike Dianda