The Rain Is Gone. Now, It’s Time to Race
Let’s try this once again. Last week was supposed to be the 71st Annual Season Opener at Lebanon Valley Speedway. Unfortunately, a series of rain storms and cool weather left the facility waterlogged and not particularly in the best shape. It was not even 9 a.m. Saturday morning before the opener was cancelled.
That was last weekend. This weekend, the 2023 season will in fact get underway under sunny skies and temperatures that will top out near 70 degrees.
Dwyer’s State Line Beer & Wine of Pownal, Vt. and Sysco will sponsor a swell night of racing with six classes on offer. The Big Block Modifieds were scheduled to race for $3500 to win.
Strike that. It’s now $4000 to win, courtesy of additional money being added to the pot by Hils Lawn & Property Care of Sheffield, Mass. They’ve also added $500 to the winner’s check for the Pro Stock class, which will be $1200 to win.
The Big Blocks will field all of your favorites doing battle. 14-time track champion Kenny Tremont Jr. is back for more in 2023, but he’ll have a different mount this year. He has changed to a PMC chassis, built in Schodack to do battle on the high banks.
Tremont has some experience with their current chassis. Just last September, Tremont won the Vermont 200 at Devil’s Bowl Speedway with one. He will still campaign a Bicknell chassis weekly at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
J.R. Heffner is still at the track and will be back out there on-track this year. He will drive a No. 74H as a teammate to John Virgilio. It is currently unclear what Heffner’s schedule in the car will be in 2023, but he will be there every week.
Also, both cars will look significantly different this year. Both Heffner and Virgilio will drive white and blue cars, courtesy of backing from Lance and Jill Sharpe.
Three-time defending champion Andy Bachetti will be back to defend both the Big Block and Small Block titles. For 2023, Bachetti has a Cyclone chassis from DKM Fabrication, a car that has not raced all that much at Lebanon Valley over the years. DKM Fabrication co-owner Kyle Hoffman raced one and Heffner did as well. Now, Bachetti will try to win his fourth straight title in the Hagaman-built chassis.
The Sportsman class in 2022 was dominated by Tim Hartman Jr. and Whitey Slavin. They will be back to do battle with each other for the full season and they’ll be joined by a steady cast of characters, many of whom did not turn up for the warmup days. For instance, Rob Maxon will be back full-time, but instead of the No. 96 that fans have gotten used to seeing him, he’ll drive the No. 143 for Milo Campbell.
The Limited Sportsman class is back for a second year. The class is designed to be a place for newer drivers to learn their craft before moving up into the regular Sportsman class. Brady Cordova moved up in the middle of last season after winning three features. That could be possible for anyone in the class at some point this year.
Pro Stock teams will debut as well. Last season saw Chad Jeseo dominate the class, winning 10 separate times en route to the championship. 2023 will see a number of contenders try to steal his crown.
The class did see some issues during the warmups, especially on the first day. Both Doug Olds and Tom O’Connor crashed their cars. In Olds’ case, he crashed in turn 4 after completing only a lap.
The Street Stock class will have a revolving door of sponsors that will be adding funds to the class payout from week to week. This week, Mobile Locksmith of Hudson is putting up some money.
Racing on Saturday night will start at 6 p.m. ET. The pit gate opens at 3 p.m., while the ticket booths and front gate opens at 5 p.m. General Admission tickets are $12, while kids are $2. Reserved grandstand seats are $14, Deck tickets are $15 and Roof/Tower seats are $20. GA Tickets can only be acquired at the ticket booth, but you can buy Tower and Reserved seats right here at LebanonValley.com.