Fireworks Night at Lebanon Valley is traditionally one of the more exciting nights on the calendar. Lots of great on-track action and a nice light show to boot.
Andy Bachetti had other plans. To spoil the party.
Bachetti clearly had the fastest car on Saturday night, but he had to get to the lead first. He wasted no time in getting to second from fifth, then the incidents started. First, a pile-up involving J.R. Heffner, Wayne Jelley, Denny Soltis, the visiting Matt Janiak and more brought out a yellow. Then, another stack-up in turn 2 collected Steve Hough, Kyle Sheldon and Kyle Armstrong.
Both times, Bachetti was able to snatch the lead from pole sitter John Ruchel, but was forced to give it back. Once the race restarted for good, Bachetti made short work of Ruchel and drove off into the distance.
With the pace Bachetti was setting, he got into competitive lapped traffic before the halfway point of the feature. Brian Berger had moved up into second early on, but could only watch as Bachetti walked away from the field.
Point contenders Kenny Tremont, Jr. and Brett Hearn were progressing up the order, but the field was spread out enough that they couldn’t make gains. With four laps to go, Hearn cut a right rear tire. This brought out a caution and bunched together the nine remaining drivers on the lead lap. Once the green flew again, Bachetti drove away to take his third win of the year.
After the race, Bachetti seemed confident that his team had really found something.
“I think we’ve got our stuff on the right track,” Bachetti said. “Things are going good and we’ve got things in a rhythm. Can’t say enough about my team. They work real hard for me and that’s what this is about.”
Berger held on for second while Keith Flach was a quiet third. Tremont was fourth and Elmo Reckner edged Hearn for fifth.
In the Small Block Modifieds, Olden Dwyer was back in his car and started from the pole. He was able to outdrive Frank Harper on the start, but a complete restart was called for after Kenny Aanonsen, Jr. spun in turn 1, collecting Buddy Hencke and Brian Peterson.
On the second start, Dwyer pulled out a gap again over Harper. Meanwhile, Tremont was once again on the move. Tremont quickly moved up from the 15th starting spot to move into the top 10 in the first couple of laps. Then, Peter Carlotto hit the wall and broke his steering to bring out a yellow on lap 4.
Once the green came back out, it took six laps for Tremont to get up to second. It was another four laps for Tremont to take over the lead from Dwyer. From there, Tremont pulled away to take his sixth Small Block Modified win of the year in eight races. Dwyer finished in a season-best second, but was well off of Tremont’s pace. Harper was third, followed by Alan Houghtaling and Steve Hough.
In the Pro Stock division, a field of 25 took the green with Frank Twing and Steven LaRochelle on the front row. It did not take long for chaos to break out. Just after the completion of the first lap, Paul LaRochelle spun in turn 1 directly in front of Chad Arsenault. The Hudson native had nowhere to go but directly into the No. 78. While both drivers continued, the incident ruined both their nights. On the restart, a stack-up resulted in Paul LaRochelle destroying the front end of his car after running into another driver. This ended the night for the No. 78.
Later on, Matt Cross brought out a yellow when he spun in turn 4. On the restart from that yellow, a huge pile-up broke out in turn 1 that involved at least seven cars. The red flag was thrown as a result, but everyone was ok.
Once the dust cleared, the race came down t