At Lebanon Valley Speedway, heavy rains over the past couple of weeks made a mess of the property. The track had standing water all over the infield Saturday. By Sunday night, the lake in the parking lot across the street was mostly a memory. The infield had been pumped out and racing was on tap.
To win at Lebanon Valley in a sprint car requires putting together a complete evening. That can result in some surprises.
Paul McMahan earned the pole for the 25-lap feature by virtue of winning the Dash. From the drop of the green flag, the pressure was on from Aaron Reutzel. The Texas-based racer has family local to Columbia County, so a large rooting section was on Reutzel’s side.
No such luck for Jac Haudenschild. On the second lap of the race, Haudenschild hit the wall in Turn 4 and spun out in front of the field. Cale Conley was collected. Conley was out on the spot while the clock expired on Haudenschild in the work area.
On the restart, Reutzel continued his assault on McMahan. This time, Reutzel got to McMahan’s inside entering Turns 1 and 2. Contact was made, resulting in McMahan spinning and hitting the wall. Reutzel ended up with a flat right rear as a result. Reutzel got the tire and finished 10th, while McMahan was done for the night.
Reutzel and McMahan’s misfortune gave the lead over to Gettysburg’s Gerard McIntyre, a mechanical engineer by trade who doesn’t race full-time. McIntyre had the night’s fast qualifier, Sammy Swindell, breathing down his neck. Slammin’ Sammy, despite smoke coming from his car most of the night, pressured McIntyre extensively. McIntyre was able to hold back Swindell’s might.
Ultimately, the start and stop nature of the feature ended up taking a toll. There were six caution periods, three of which came in the final five laps. Since caution laps don’t count, it made fuel an issue. Coming to the white flag, Reutzel ran out of fuel to bring out the yellow. By this point, the entire field was sputtering. A red flag was called to allow teams to refuel.
Since the white flag had flown, a Green-White-Checker would have to settle things. McIntyre was able to get away from Swindell and Brock Zearfoss to take his first career Arctic Cat All-Star Circuit of Champions A-Main victory.
“Our car was working real good,” McIntyre said after the race. “Our motor’s getting really tired. It’s got a lot of races on it. We still timed good, won our heat race and ended up standing in Victory Lane. It’s just a testament to our motors that Tim at HP Engines builds and what Mark has going on here.”
Zearfoss was able to get past Swindell just before the red flag and finished second. Swindell was forced to settle for third for the second straight year. Tony Stewart was fourth, while Carson Macedo was fifth.
The Small Block Modified class served as the support division on the evening. The largest small block turnout of the year, a grid of 31 cars took to the high banks to duke it out.
By virtue of winning the first heat race, Jason Herrington started on pole in his Rifenburg Construction No. 1. Brian Berger, driving in place of Kenny Tremont Jr., was alongside, but was quickly dispatched by Ray Hall Jr.
With 31 cars on the track, traffic was rather thick. Matt Humes found that out the hard way when he hit the wall in Turn 4 to bring out the first yellow on Lap 4.
As opposed to Modifieds, momentum is everything in Small Block Modifieds. One driver that was on the move was Andy Bachetti. Bachetti started ninth and moved forward into the top five.
Lapped traffic played a big role Sunday night with the big field. As a result, Herrington ran into slower traffic just a few laps after the restart. One of those slower cars was Alissa Cody, who lost power right around the time Herrington caught her to bring out the second and final caution.
The second half of the feature saw attrition take hold. Just after the restart, Brett Haas broke a brake fitting and dropped out. Shortly afterwards, Berger had a different mechanical issue and dropped off the pace.
Meanwhile, Herrington continued to lead. Hall could only stick with the Flyin’ Farmer for a couple of laps after restarts before dropping back.
Herrington was ultimately not significantly challenged on the way to his first victory since 2016.
“The car was fantastic tonight and the track was amazing,” Herrington said in the pits. “My guys did a great job getting the car ready. We had an advantage winning the first heat and starting on the pole. It was a well-deserved win.”
Hall held on for second, his best run of 2018. Bachetti was third, followed by Olden Dwyer and Brian Peterson.
Advance Auto Parts presents the Arctic Cat All Star Sprint Feature Results (25 Laps): 1) Gerard McIntyre, 2) Brock Zearfoss, 3) Sammy Swindell, 4) Tony Stewart, 5) Carson Macedo, 6) Chad Kemenah, 7) Dave Blaney, 8) Anthony Fiore, 9) Ryan Smith, 10) Aaron Reutzel, 11) Brandon Spithaler, 12) Joe Kata, 13) Tyler Esh, 14) Paul McMahan, 15) Jac Haudenschild, 16) Cale Cooley, 17) Darren Schott, 18) Travis Esh, 19) Brett Wright, 20) Chad Miller, 21) Mark Sasso, 22) Rick Stone
Small Block Modified Feature Results (24 Laps): 1) Jason Herrington, 2) Ray Hall Jr, 3) Andy Bachetti, 4) Olden Dwyer, 5) Brian Peterson, 6) J.R. Heffner, 7) Dillon Steuer, 8) Frank Harper, 9) Brandon Pitcher, 10) Kim LaVoy, 11) Ricky Davis, 12) Timothy Davis, 13) Steve Hough, 14) Demetrios Drellos, 15) Ryan Charland, 16) Lorne Browe, 17) Alan Houghtaling, 18) Mark Pullen, 19) Nathan Johnson, 20) Kenny Aanonsen, 21) Dylan Scribner, 22) Chris Curtis, 23) Brandon Lane, 24) Brian Berger, 25) Brett Haas, 26) Alissa Cody, 27) Brian Sandstedt, 28) John Ferrier, 29) Frank Hoard III, 30) Matt Humes, 31) Emily Quinn DNS: Rob Pitcher