Saturday night was Legends Night at the Valley. A number of past racers at Lebanon Valley returned for a reunion, complete with classic race cars.
The Modified feature saw John Ruchel start from pole after winning his heat race. His advantage did not last long as Kyle Armstrong, racing his backup car after his primary was destroyed last week, swept past on the first lap.
The early portion of the feature was a start and stop affair. First, Ricky Davis hit the wall in turn 2 to bring out a yellow. Shortly after the restart, a crash in turn 4 collected Andy Bachetti, Marc Johnson, L.J. Lombardo and Eddie Marshall. Marshall was forced to retire, while the others were able to continue.
Very quickly, the race became a four-man duel between Armstrong, Brian Berger, Kenny Tremont Jr. and Peter Britten. Both Tremont and Britten started outside the top 10 and quickly put themselves in position. Armstrong and Berger raced side-by-side for multiple laps before Berger was able to get the lead on lap 12.
Shortly afterwards, Matt Pupello slowed on the frontstretch to bring out the caution. During that caution, the engine failed on Berger’s car, ending his night. That gave the lead to Tremont.
On the restart, Tremont was able to gap the pack. Only Britten could keep pace. From there, Tremont pulled away to take his fourth win of 2019.
“It was humid and it had rained before we got here. That just locked all the cars down,” Tremont said afterwards. “Everyone was pretty quick and it got real racy there. The car was really good and we’re happy with it.”
Britten was second, followed by J.R. Heffner. Keith Flach was fourth and Armstrong fifth.
In the Small Block Modified class, the class is reeling from the news of fellow competitor Brandon Pitcher’s death in an ATV crash. In Pitcher’s memory, the Small Block Modified feature was 17 laps long instead of 24 laps to match Pitcher’s car number. In addition, Steve Hough put up extra money, resulting in a $1700 payday to the winner.
Alan Houghtaling claimed the pole for the race, but was unable to make the start. That gave the advantage to Brian Sandstedt.
The only caution in the 17-lap race came on the first lap when a crash broke out in turn 3 involving Olden Dwyer and Guy Sheldon. Sheldon climbed over a wheel and rolled a couple of times. While the car was hurt badly, Sheldon walked away unscathed.
The rest of the race was a swell duel between Sandstedt and Heffner. Heffner tried as hard as he could to get past Sandstedt for the remaining 16 laps, but could not do it as Sandstedt claimed an emotional win.
Timothy Davis finished third, followed by Frank Harper and Ricky Davis. Points leader Andy Bachetti ran as high as third before engine issues dropped him to a 13th-place finish.
The Pro Stock class paid tribute to Jimmy Langenback Saturday night with the Ol’ Buzzard 30, a 30-lap feature with extra money on the line. The race didn’t even get underway before the trouble started. Nick Hilt had contact on the start with Steven LaRochelle, resulting in LaRochelle hitting the wall. LaRochelle was very upset with Hilt and showed it by throwing garbage. A MoonPie, which is generally only available in the Southeast, was also in the mix.
Rob Yetman had another tough night. Once the race started, he cut a right front tire and stacked up the field. Luckily, the damage was minimal and Yetman was able to continue. He would eventually finish 10th.
Tony Markou started from the pole, but Nick Arnold once again showed his skill in getting past Markou early on. Arnold’s primary competition early was Canaan, Conn.’s Jay Casey. However, Casey was forced to pit to remove bodywork after some of it fell on-track and caused a caution. He would eventually finish seventh.
Rick Dempsey was in the hunt in his red Chevrolet, as was Chad Jeseo. Jeseo was forced to start in the rear after hitting Yetman after the checkered flag last week. He then made use of the cautions to move up from 22nd to fourth.
In making his way to the front, Jeseo ran afoul of Rick Duzlak. The two drivers made contact multiple times during the feature. Eventually, the breaking point was reached. During the race’s tenth caution on lap 23, they confronted each other on the frontstretch. Eventually, they were separated, but there are likely substantial penalties coming in the direction of both drivers.
Dempsey was able to keep the pressure up into the second half of the race. On a lap 18 restart, he was able to get the jump on Arnold and take the lead away. From there, Dempsey held on through a multitude of restarts to earn the victory.
Arnold was second for the second week in a row, followed by Jason Meltz. Jason Casey was fourth, while Rich Crane was fifth.
In Pure Stock Feature No. 1, Janai St. Pierre started from the pole and led early. However, this race had some trouble getting underway. On the first start, Jim Dellea spun in turn 2 and was hit by Zach Sorrentino to bring out a yellow. On the second attempt, Chris Murphy was clipped in turn 2 and spun before being hit by Clifford Booth. The contact ultimately ended Murphy's race.
On the second start attempt, John Devine was able to get past St. Pierre for the lead. Clifford Booth was able to give chase over the 10-lap distance, but could not prevent Devine from taking the victory. Booth was second, followed by St. Pierre in a career-best third. Ray Royals was fourth, while Sorrentino was fifth.
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 saw the strongest contenders in the class battle it out. After last week's crash-filled feature, this one was calmer. Ultimately, Ed Hatch came out on top for his fourth win of 2019. Zach Seyerlein was second, followed by Brian Walsh, Jeff Meltz Sr. and Jeff Kreutziger.
As part of the Legends of the Valley night, there was a vintage race scheduled. Then, roughly 25 cars showed up. As a result, they were split into Vintage Modified and Vintage Modified Replica features..
The Vintage Modified feature was a duel for much of the race between George and Bob Harliss. The two drivers ended up pulling away from the rest of the field to settle things themselves. At the white flag, Harliss made a move for the lead on the frontstretch and got past Palmer. Then, contact was made, resulting in Harliss hitting the wall. Palmer was declared the winner shortly afterwards. Harliss was ok after his crash.
The Vintage Modified Replica feature was a three-man race between John Flach Jr., Darryl Hulbert and Stan Wetmore. Once the green flag fell, those drivers ran away from the field. Flach and Hulbert had an excellent duel on the high banks while dealing with lapped traffic.
Flach, driving a 2005 car that his son J.C. had raced, rebodied as a car from his championship years in the late 1980s won the Vintage Replica Modified feature with Hulbert close in tow and Wetmore in third. Danny Wood, driving a 1986 race car painted up to resemble the 1987 car that Kenny Tremont Jr. raced, finished a lap down in fourth to win the Vintage Replica Sportsman class.
A-Verdi/DMC Modified Feature Results (30 Laps): 1) Kenny Tremont Jr., 2) Peter Britten, 3) J.R. Heffner, 4) Keith Flach, 5) Kyle Armstrong, 6) Kolby Schroder, 7) L.J Lombardo, 8) Kyle Sheldon, 9) Andy Bachetti, 10) Wayne Jelley, 11) Ronnie Johnson, 12) Paul Gilardi, 13) John Ruchel, 14) Josh Marcus, 15) Marc Johnson, 16) Denny Soltis, 17) Matt Pupello, 18) Brian Berger, 19) Mike King, 20) Eddie Marshall, 21) Ricky Davis, 22) Olden Dwyer
Small Block Modified Feature Results (17 Laps): 1) Brian Sandstedt, 2) J.R. Heffner, 3) Timothy Davis, 4) Frank Harper, 5) Ricky Davis, 6) Ray Hall Jr., 7) Jason Herrington, 8) Demetrius Drellos, 9) Brett Haas, 10) Chris Curtis, 11) Bryan McGuire, 12) Ryan Charland, 13) Andy Bachetti, 14) Olden Dwyer, 15) Guy Sheldon, 16) Alan Houghtaling, 17) Kim LaVoy, 18) Pete Carlotto
Pro Stock Ol’ Buzzard 30 Results (30 Laps): 1) Rick Dempsey, 2) Nick Arnold, 3) Jason Meltz, 4) Jason Casey, 5) Rich Crane, 6) Nick Hilt, 7) Jay Casey, 8) Tom Dean, 9) Doug Olds, 10) Rob Yetman, 11) Adam Schneider, 12) Gary Silkey, 13) Mike Baker, 14) Brian Keough, 15) Don Collins, 16) Chad Jeseo, 17) Phil Arnold, 18) Tony Markou, 19) Rick Duzlak, 20) Tom O'Connor, 21) Steven LaRochelle, 22) Jay Casey, 23) Dan Therrian
Note: There are two Jay Caseys in the race. The Jay Casey that finished seventh is from Connecticut, while the Jay Casey that finished 22nd is from Massachusetts.
Pure Stock Feature No. 1 Results (10 Laps): 1) John Devine, 2) Clifford Booth, 3) Janai St. Pierre, 4) Ray Royals, 5) Zack Sorrentino, 6) Ryan Brown, 7) Jim Dellea, 8) Chris Murphy, 9) Tom Gomm
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 Results (10 Laps): 1) Ed Hatch, 2) Zach Seyerlein, 3) Brian Walsh, 4) Jeff Meltz Sr., 5) Jeff Kreutziger, 6) Ray Hall Sr., 7) Rob Partridge, 8) Keri Vandenburg, 9) Shawn Perez, 10) Rocco Procopio