At Lebanon Valley Speedway, the night before the Arctic Cat All-Star Circuit of Champions is typically a light night of racing. The track took advantage of the schedule to add in the 20-lap Boomer’s Performance Pure Stock Clash that was rained out on Aug. 13. Even with only three regular classes racing, fans still saw some great action.
In the Modified class, Tyler Dippel made another of his infrequent visits to Lebanon Valley to have some fun. He definitely came to play.
Paul Gilardi started from the pole and despite his recent struggles, had a pretty fast car on Saturday night. He was able to hold off Olden Dwyer and keep the ascendant Rob Pitcher back. Meanwhile, Brett Hearn dealt with fuel pressure issues in his heat race and failed to qualify for handicapping. With a new fuel pump installed, Hearn was on the move early, moving up the order quickly from 16th.
The first caution flew on lap 4 due to a crash involving Dave McFeeters, Denny Soltis and Ricky Davis. Davis was eliminated in the wreck, but Soltis and McFeeters were able to continue.
On the restart, Dippel was on the move. Within only a couple of laps, the Wallkill native was up to third. By lap 10, Dippel was second and putting the pressure on Gilardi. Meanwhile, Hearn and Eddie Marshall were on the move as well. A couple of laps after Dippel took second, Hearn cracked the top 5.
Just before halfway, Dippel was able to get past Gilardi and take the lead. Shortly afterwards, Matt Pupello blew a right rear tire to bring out another yellow and close the field up.
A third yellow due to McFeeters hitting the wall in turn 1 bunched the field up for a 13-lap dash to the finish. On the restart, Dippel ran away while Hearn dispatched of Rob Pitcher for third. Three laps later, he got past Gilardi for second and set off after Dippel.
Once Hearn got to second, he was able to close the gap at a rate of two to three-tenths of a second a lap. However, Dippel had a three second lead when Hearn got to second. That was too much to overcome as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East took his second win of the year.
Afterwards, Dippel was very happy with his evening.
“It was really good. The car was really working in my favor,” Dippel said in the pits. “I was able to get through traffic pretty quick. We got lucky with a lot of holes opening up. [The car] got a little loose on me towards the end, but overall, it handled well.”
Behind Dippel and Hearn was Marshal in third with a second consecutive podium. Keith Flach was fourth, while Andy Bachetti was fifth. Hearn’s points lead is 41 points with two races to go.
The Pro Stock class saw more of the same kind of action that featured last week. Kyle Hosier started from the pole, but immediately saw pressure from fellow front row starter Rich Crane.
On the second lap of the race, Crane was able to get past Hosier to take the lead.
After an early yellow for Brian Keough spinning out in turn 3, Steven LaRochelle put the pressure on Crane for the lead. While it appeared that LaRochelle was quicker in turns 1 and 2, he couldn’t get all the way alongside.
The second half of the race became rather chippy. First, Ray Hall, Jr. spun in turn 4 in front of Jay Corbin. Nothing erupted from this incident, but the field was bunched up once again. Chuck Towslee, driving a car formerly raced by Tom Harkins, was able to move up and pressure LaRochelle for second. Towslee and LaRochelle went side-by-side on lap 15, but LaRochelle was able to maintain the advantage.
Rick Dempsey then spun and hit the wall in turn 3 on lap 16 to bring out another yellow. Dempsey then attempted to get revenge on Corbin, who he felt was responsible. That’s a no-no and Dempsey was parked for the night.
A couple of laps later, Joe LaFlamme stalled on the frontstretch to bring out another yellow. During that caution, Ray Hall, Jr. and Sparky Reilly collided. Both drivers were parked for the night.
On the restart, Crane was able to drive away from the pack and take his first career Pro Stock victory at Lebanon Valley. Towslee was able to get by LaRochelle on the final restart to finish second. LaRochelle was third, followed by Rob Yetman and Rick Duzlak.
In Pure Stock Feature No. 1, Ed Hatch took the lead away from Kevin Paul on lap 3 and pulled away to take his third win in a row over Dave Stickles, from whom he borrowed parts from in order to race. Aaron Fachini crossed the line in third, followed by Paul and Mark Dwyer. These results may change because Fachini did not submit his No. 128 to post-race technical inspection.
In Feature No. 2, Dave Fachini took the lead early from Karen Verhagen, but had to deal with the green "Sherman Tank," driven by Phil Sherman. Sherman ran down the No. 3D and took the lead on lap 3. Later on, Scott Morris and Bill Deak, Sr. collided and spun on the backstretch to bring out the race's one and only yellow.
Once the green came back out, Sherman pulled away to take the win. Bill Deak, Jr. was second, followed by Clifford Booth, Keri VanDenburg and John Devine.
The third feature saw Jeff Kreutziger charge up from the fifth starting spot to take the lead from Dan Cote. From there, Kreutziger was able to hold off moves from Jason Meltz, including on a one-lap shootout to claim the win. Jason Meltz was second, followed by Jay Casey, Gary O'Brien and Jeff Meltz, Jr.
In the Boomer’s Performance Purestock Clash, Al Relyea took the lead on the first lap from Bob Palmer. Gary O'Brien joined Relyea shortly afterwards. What followed was a back and forth battle between two evenly matched foes. The box score will say that Relyea led 19 of the 20 laps, but the two drivers were side-by-side for much of the race. O'Brien was able to put his nose out in front at halfway, but Relyea took the advantage back for good on lap 11. With a couple of laps to go, Relyea finally pulled away to take the victory and nearly sweep the lap money. O'Brien was second, followed by Jeff Meltz, Jr. Jason Meltz was fourth and Palmer fifth.