Saturday night brought some of the toughest Big Block Modified racers in the Northeast to Lebanon Valley for the annual visit for the Super DIRTcar Series. Mr. DIRT Track U.S.A. would prove to be a tough one for those who haven’t been regulars.
By virtue of the redraw, Ronnie Johnson started from the pole with Brett Hearn alongside. Hearn is a tough out on a regular basis, but Ronnie was able to get the jump on Hearn and settle into the lead.
The early portions of the race were run in a stop-and-start fashion. First, Mike Mahaney slowed in turns 3 and 4 with a mechanical issue. On the frontstretch, the car appeared to lock up. That created a situation where Brian Berger and Jack Lehner piled into Mahaney to bring out a yellow. All three drivers were ok, but done for the night. Immediately after the restart, Mike King spun in turn 4 after contact from Larry Wight. This was the beginning of a bad night for Wight, who later cut a tire and ran towards the rear for much of the race, eventually finishing 19th.
Further back, Kenny Tremont Jr. started eighth and slowly made his way forward, taking his time. It was rather difficult to pass Saturday night, so he had to take things as they came.
Tremont made his way into the top five by lap 34 when Kyle Armstrong had a tire issues and was forced to pit. Tremont later took third from Andy Bachetti following a caution for Keith Flach crashing in turn 3.
A few laps later, Tremont was able to run down Hearn and snatch second away. Once in second, he could simply match Ronnie’s pace.
The final yellow flew right after a restart with 35 laps to go when King, Matt Sheppard and J.R. Heffner crashed in turn 2. The Super DIRTcar Series points leader had a terrible night, but ended up finishing 12th.
Once the green came back out, Tremont stalked Ronnie Johnson for a few laps before making a run at him. With 10 laps to go, he caught the Duanesburg native. A couple of laps later, he made the move for the lead and took it in turns 1 and 2 after a short battle.
Once out front, Tremont pulled away to take his second straight Mr. DIRT Track U.S.A. victory. The victory netted Tremont $25,500 and a guaranteed starting spot in the Billy Whitaker Cars & Trux 200 at Oswego Speedway.
Ronnie Johnson finished second, 2.943 seconds back. Hearn was third, followed by Bachetti and Mat Williamson.
The Pro Stock class had their season finale Saturday night. Jay Casey entered the race with a 27-point lead over son Jason, but he wanted to do a little more than just coast to a title.
Gary Silkey, fresh off of his rollover last week, started from the pole and ran well early on. Nick Arnold, who had been right on the cusp of victory multiple times, snatched the lead early on and opened up a good advantage.
Unlike recent weeks, this was a calmer feature. Yes, there was contact, but nowhere near as many incidents.
Silkey continued to run in a strong second until Jason Casey and Chad Jeseo approached. On lap 15, the three drivers went three-wide for second. Silkey couldn’t hold it and hit the wall, ending his night.
Jason Casey was able to get the lead away from Arnold on lap 18 with Jeseo right there. Jeseo took the lead, then hit the wall in turn 4. That was all Jason Casey needed to get in front and take the win. Arnold was second, then Jeseo, Jason Meltz and Tony Markou. Jay Casey was sixth and won the championship.
Sportsman teams had their annual Mr. Crate Track U.S.A. Saturday night. 30 laps were on tap with $1,000 to the winner.
Chris Lynch felt that he had a winning car Saturday night. He was unable to show that pace because he crashed shortly after the start in turn 1, ending his night.
On the restart, Whitey Slavin was able to get past pole sitter Joey Coppola to take the lead just before another crash broke out in turn 4 involving Cody Ochs, Shane Henion, Matt Burke, John St. Germain Jr. and Alissa Cody.
Ultimately, Slavin pulled away while the fight was for second between John Virgilio and Jeff Watson. Contact was made between the two drivers at the white flag. That was all Slavin needed to take his first win in two years. Rob Maxon benefited from the contact to finish second, followed by Virgilio and Watson. Peter Carlotto was fifth.
The Pure Stock class held one 15-lap feature at the start of the card Saturday night. Brian Walsh started from the pole, but trouble started almost immediately. First, Rob Partridge hit the wall in turn 2. Then, Walsh spun in turn 4 after getting hit from behind. These incidents brought out the first caution of the race.
Ed Hatch was able to work his way through the scrum and take the lead. Following another yellow for a spin for Rocco Procopio, Zach Seyerlein was able to take the lead away from Hatch.
Seyerlein and Hatch proceeded to open up a gap on the pack until trouble broke out further back. Keri Vandenburg spun in turn 1 after contact from Rob Partridge. Partridge was judged responsible for the incident and was sent back to the rear.
Hatch’s chances of winning ended on lap 9 when he cut a tire. While it did bring out a yellow, he was way back.
An incident between Vandenburg and Janai St. Pierre set up a one-lap sprint for the win. Seyerlein was able to get the jump on Jeff Kreutziger and pulled off to take his fifth win of the year. Further back, Scott Morris was effectively forced into the inside wall by Ray Hall Sr. exiting turn 2 while fighting for fourth.
Kreutziger finished second, followed by Clifford Booth. Walsh avoided the incident exiting turn 2 to finish fourth, while Hatch came back for fifth.
Upstate GM Dealers/Abele Tractor Super DIRTcar Series Mr. DIRT Track U.S.A. Results (101 laps): 1) Kenny Tremont Jr., 2) Ronnie Johnson, 3) Brett Hearn, 4) Andy Bachetti, 5) Mat Williamson, 6) Wayne Jelley, 7) Eddie Marshall, 8) Stewart Friesen, 9) Peter Britten, 10) Marc Johnson, 11) Demetrios Drellos, 12) Matt Sheppard, 13) Erick Rudolph, 14) Jimmy Phelps, 15) Billy Decker, 16) Mike King, 17) Ryan Godown, 18) J.R. Heffner, 19) Larry Wight, 20) Danny Johnson, 21) Kyle Armstrong, 22) Keith Flach, 23) Paul St. Sauveur, 24) Kolby Schroder, 25) Mike Mahaney, 26) Jack Lehner, 27) Brian Berger, 28) L.J. Lombardo, 29) Bobby Hackel, IV
DNQ: Dan Humes, Rusty Smith, Josh Delea, Dillon Steuer, Marcus Dinkins, Matt Pupello, Paul Gilardi, Olden Dwyer, Josh Marcus
Sportsman Mr. Crate Track U.S.A. Results (30 laps): 1) Whitey Slavin, 2) Rob Maxon, 3) John Virgilio, 4) Jeff Watson, 5) Peter Carlotto, 6) Joey Coppola, 7) Gary O’Brien, 8) Pat Jones, 9) Ryan Larkin, 10) Cody Hunt, 11) Daniel Morgiewicz, 12) John St. Germain Jr., 13) Jeff Higham, 14) Josh Stowell, 15) Ted Teal, 16) Dave Manchester, 17) Nikki Ouellette, 18) Shane Henion, 19) Matt Burke, 20) Robbie Colburn, 21) Alyssa Cody, 22) Michael Sabia, 23) Jim Boardman, 24) Mike Talmadge, 25) Robbie Knipe, 26) Cody Ochs, 27) Jason Manchester, 28) Karl Barnes, 29) John Santolin, 30) Chris Lynch, 31) Kevin Arnold, 32) Matt Wescott
Pro Stock Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Jason Casey, 2) Nick Arnold, 3) Chad Jeseo, 4) Jason Meltz, 5) Tony Markou, 6) Jay Casey, 7) Steven LaRochelle, 8) Phil Arnold, 9) Rob Yetman, 10) Doug Olds, 11) Nick Hilt, 12) Mike Baker, 13) Don Collins, 14) Chris Crane, 15) Brian Keough, 16) Adam Schneider, 17) Tom Dean, 18) Nick Reilly, 19) Gary Silkey, 20) Bob Fachini, 21) Rick Dempsey
Pure Stock Feature Results (15 Laps): 1) Zach Seyerlein, 2) Jeff Kreutziger, 3) Clifford Booth, 4) Brian Walsh, 5) Ed Hatch, 6) Rob Partridge, 7) Ray Hall Sr., 8) Keri Vandenburg, 9) Ryan Brown, 10) Rocco Procopio, 11) Craig Coons, 12) Scott Morris, 13) Janai St. Pierre, 14)Tom Gomm