Saturday night was a rather physical night of racing at Lebanon Valley. Eddie Marshall’s car was eliminated in a heat race crash with Chad Jeseo. Scott Hamlin Racing provided a backup for Marshall with the order to “drive it like it’s yours.”
In the Modified feature, Mike Keeler started from pole, but lost the advantage to Matt Pupello. Shortly afterwards, a big crash broke out in turn 3 that involved a number of big names. Kenny Tremont, Jr., Brett Hearn, J.R. Heffner, Jeseo, Brian Berger and more were caught up in it. Hearn’s car suffered a front-end failure and was forced to retire for the evening, along with Jeseo, Olden Dwyer and Kyle Armstrong.
After the restart, Kyle Sheldon made short work of Keeler and immediately put the pressure on Pupello for the lead. Sheldon was able to get to the inside of Pupello, but just couldn’t quite get by.
Meanwhile, Andy Bachetti was the man on the move. While he did get some contact in the big crash, he continued to move up in the order. A caution on lap 8 for Marshall spinning in turn 4 bunched the field up and allowed him to make more passes.
Eventually, the top 4 (Pupello, Sheldon, Kolby Schroder and Bachetti) were nose-to-tail, racing for position. Then, a yellow flew with eight laps to go for a collision between Keeler and Mike King. During the yellow, Schroder pulled off with mechanical issues. Shortly before that, Tremont pulled off with what turned out to be a burned piston.
Bachetti was able to get past Sheldon for second on lap 25 and took two laps of side-by-side racing to get past Pupello for the lead. From there, Bachetti pulled away to take his second win of the year.
Afterwards, Bachetti was thankful to get out of the evening unscathed. “We came out of the night pretty lucky,” Bachetti said. “Our damage was more cosmetic than anything. Other than that, the car was pretty decent. Still got some homework to do.”
Pupello held on for second, followed by Sheldon. Keith Flach finished fourth, while Heffner finished fifth.
The Small Block Modified feature saw Ricky Davis lead the field to green with Olden Dwyer giving chase. Meanwhile, Jeseo’s tough night continued with a crash in turn 3 with Peter Carlotto on lap 2, drawing the first yellow.
Olden Dwyer took the lead away from Ricky Davis on lap 5, but incidents kept the pack close. Brett Haas was jostled around in turn 2, leading to a caution. Shortly afterwards, Joey Scarborough and Steve Hough collided exiting turn 2, creating a crash that wrapped up Kim LaVoy and Jason Tompkins.
With all the incidents, plus moves on restarts, Tremont was able to get himself up to third from 15th by lap 7. A couple laps later, Tremont swept past Jason Herrington for second.
Another yellow for a spin for Ricky Davis on lap 12 bunched the pack back up. Once the green flew, Olden Dwyer and Tremont drove off from the pack to settle the race themselves. The two fought for a couple of laps before Tremont got past on lap 16. From there, Tremont pulled away to take his third win of the year.
Olden Dwyer finished second, followed by Herrington. Heffner finished fourth after starting 23rd, while Frank Hoard, III was fifth.
In Pro Stock, the night started off with the completion of last week’s feature. Last week, the race started with a couple of incidents. At the end of the first lap, a crash broke out on the frontstretch involving Steven LaRochelle, Chuck Towslee and Frank Twing. All three drivers continued.
Shortly after the restart, Nick Hilt and Jon Routhier collided while racing for the lead in turn 2. Both drivers lost control. Hilt ended up spinning out, while Routhier ended up on the apron, but kept going. The save ultimately gave Routhier the lead.
On the restart, Jay Corbin was able to get past Routhier for the lead as the rain started to fall. A couple of laps later, the yellow was thrown due to the rain making the track unraceable.
It was at that point that the race restarted on Saturday night with Corbin in front of Chad Arsenault, Rick Duzlak, Routhier and Paul LaRochelle. Once the green came out, Corbin was able to pull out to a decent lead. Routhier was able to get back into second, but could do nothing with the multiple-time Pro Stock championship.
A late caution for an incident involving Victor Hopkins brought the pack back together for a final run to the finish. Here, Corbin was able to hold on to take his first win of the year over Routhier, Rob Yetman, Duzlak and Paul LaRochelle.
The regular feature got off to a spectacular start when the field stacked up on the original start. Steven LaRochelle got hooked and turned into Yetman, then went into a series of barrel rolls. The crash collected Corbin, Paul LaRochelle and Victor Hopkins. Steven LaRochelle walked away from the crash after the rolls, however, both he and Corbin were done for the night.
The race continued to have trouble getting underway when Twing, Ryan Hosier and Rick Dempsey all got together in turn 1 to bring out another caution. Tom Dean also spun to avoid the incident.
Once the race finally underway, Rick Duzlak was able to take the lead on lap 2. However, shortly afterwards, the car gave up on him, allowing pole sitter Nick Hilt to regain the advantage. Despite his right side damage and a slight right rear tire rub, Yetman was the man on the move. By lap 5, he was already up to third and knocking on the door of the leaders. The very next lap saw Yetman take second from Chad Arsenault. Hilt put up a fight against him, but it didn’t take long for Yetman to take the lead.
After a brief yellow due to a spin for Paul LaRochelle, Yetman set sail and drove off into the distance. Towslee was able to take second from Hilt on lap 11, but could do nothing with Yetman’s pace. Yetman drove away to take the win by over five seconds over Towslee. Routhier finished third, followed by Hilt and Hopkins, who finished fifth despite his Pontiac missing the right front fender after his crash in the first feature.
In Pure Stock, Clifford Booth was able to take his first victory of the season in Feature No. 1 after dueling for much of the race with second-place finisher Kevin Paul. Dan Cote was third, followed by Jesse Murphy and Zach Sorrentino.
Feature No. 2 saw Larry Perez start from the pole and hold off a significant charge from Bill Deak, Jr. to claim his first win of the year. Dave Stickles was third, followed by Scott Morris and Bill Deak, Sr.
Feature No. 3 saw Jeff Meltz, Jr. come out on top after spending much of the race in an epic duel with teammate Jason Meltz, along with Al Relyea and Gary O’Brien. Ray Hall, Sr. rounded out the top 5.