WEST LEBANON — As a result of rain on Aug. 12, the Modified and Pro Stock classes both had double features Saturday night at Lebanon Valley. Both races ended with drivers in need of pay dirt as Kenny Tremont and Kolby Schroder picked up important wins.
Modified feature No. 1 saw John Ruchel lead early from the pole. Schroder moved up from the third starting spot and proceeded to give chase.
Following a caution due to a Mike Keeler spin, Kenny Tremont Jr. was the man on the move.
Tremont quickly moved up from the ninth starting spot to fourth, then pressured the front runners. He made quick work of Schroder, who faded due to handling woes.
On lap 14, he took second from Wayne Jelley. Ruchel fell in less than a lap. Shortly afterward, a yellow flew for Kyle Sheldon cutting a tire.
Tremont pulled away from the pack once the green came out. Only a late yellow for Rob Pitcher blowing an engine made the race interesting. Regardless, a good restart allowed Tremont to take his 130th career big block win. Jelley was second, followed by Brett Hearn, Matt Pupello and Keith Flach.
Feature No. 2 saw Paul Gilardi start on pole and put a small gap on Schroder. Further back, the main contenders had a heck of a time trying to move up the order.
Things changed significantly when Denny Soltis blew a tire and brought out the yellow on lap 14. Everyone bunched up and it was like a brand-new race.
On the restart, Schroder was able to get past Gilardi for the lead. Hearn entered the picture, making a number of passes. Tremont was further back, but still on the move.
Hearn had the fastest car most of the evening and put that speed to use.
With a few laps to go, Hearn tracked down Schroder for the lead. A fierce battle erupted, however, Schroder was able to use the high line to hold off the multi-time champion to take his first win of the year.
Afterward, Schroder was overjoyed.
“We just had to keep our momentum going,” Schroder said in the pits. “I knew that if I stayed up high and kept running my line, I could pull on him on the straightaway.
“Anytime you can beat Brett Hearn for a win feels good,” Schroder continued. “He’s the best in the business hands down.”
Behind Schroder and Hearn was Eddie Marshall in third. Gilardi finished fourth, followed by Tremont.
In the Small Block Modifieds, Kenny Aanonsen Jr. started from the pole and quickly lost his advantage to Ryan Charland.
Charland had a pretty quick car that was good enough to finish seventh, but it was no match for Demetrios Drellos.
Drellos, who started sixth, quickly moved up to second and dispatched Charland for the lead on lap 3. From there, Drellos ran off into the distance.
The real battle was for second between Brett Haas and Tremont.
Haas gave Tremont plenty of room in the battle, but the Sand Lake Slingshot couldn’t get past. Haas admitted to bouncing off the rev limiter on the backstretch. He could not go any faster.
For Drellos, he pulled away to take his second win of the year. Haas was second, followed by Tremont, Frank Harper and J.R. Heffner.
Sportsman saw a rough and tumble beginning of the race with multiple incidents and one instance in which Lem Atkins ran over the right rear of Nikki Ouellette.
Chris Curtis was able to get the lead away from pole-sitter Zeb Catlin early, but Rob Maxon clearly had the best car.
Maxon moved up from sixth to snatch the lead away from Curtis on lap 11. From there, Maxon was gone. The No. 96 pulled out a big lead and won easily over Curtis, Alan Houghtaling, Lynch and John Virgilio.
Pro Stock Feature No. 1 saw Tom Dean start on pole and lead early. On the first lap, Steven LaRochelle spun in turn 4 to bring out a yellow.
Chuck Towslee got an incredible restart and was able to immediately put himself in the discussion for the lead. Jason Meltz took the lead briefly from Dean, but Towslee was able to get past both drivers.
From there, Towslee opened up a big gap on the field. A late yellow resulted in a three-lap dash, but Towslee held on to take the checkers over Meltz, Jon Routhier, Rob Yetman and Nick Hilt.
The second feature saw Rick Dempsey take the lead from Dean on the first lap. Cautions kept the field close, but it ultimately came down to Dempsey vs. Towslee.
Towslee took the lead on lap 15, but the two continued to battle. Eventually, Dempsey charged a little too hard into turn 3, made contact with Towslee and spun out.
Once the green came back, Towslee charged to his second win of the night. Rich Crane was second followed by Yetman, Rick Duzlak and Ed Bishop.
However, both of Towslee’s victories are still unofficial as of press time.
In Pure Stock Feature No. 1, Jordan Miller started from the pole and led early. A spin by Evan Denue brought out an early caution.
Chad Arsenault slid into the No. 245 Camaro and damaged his front end. Despite that damage, Arsenault continued while Denue’s car would not start back up.
On the restart, Dave Stickles was able to take the lead away from Miller, bringing Al Relyea will him. The veteran Relyea was not content with second and quickly made his move on Stickles the next lap to take the lead.
From there, Relyea pulled away to take the victory. Stickles was second, followed by Arsenault’s damaged No. 04. Mark Dwyer was fourth, followed by Adam Schneider.
In Pure Stock Feature No. 2, Wuggie Burdick started from the pole, but his race did not last long.
In turn 2, Burdick suddenly spun and went head-on into the outside wall to bring out a caution. Burdick was OK, but his No. 30 was clearly not.
Keri VanDenburg inherited the lead as a result, but quickly lost her advantage to Zach Sorrentino on the restart. Sorrentino had a decent car, but he could not hold off Larry Perez.
Perez, who started eighth, moved up the order quickly and made the move for the lead on lap 5. Once up front, he pulled away to take his fourth win of the season. Sorrentino was second, followed by Nick Reilly, Tom Murphy and Clifford Booth.
The 12-lap third Pure Stock Feature was a start-and-stop affair with six caution flags. Jeff Meltz Sr. got the action started by spinning on the first lap after being hit from behind.
On the restart, Shawn Perez was able to get past pole-sitter Brian Walsh, but Gary O’Brien was right there to capitalize in his orange No. 57.
Once again, Ed Hatch was the man to beat. Avoiding the on-track incidents, Hatch moved up from 11th starting spot to challenge O’Brien for the lead. It did not take long for the No. 50 to move into the lead.
O’Brien kept pace with Hatch, but his night ended up against the wall in turn 4 on lap 10. The final yellow created a Green-White-Checker situation. Hatch was able to get a decent restart and held on to take his third win of the year.
Jeff Meltz Jr. was second, followed by John Devine and Jeff Meltz Sr. Bill Deak Jr. rounded out the top 5.
After the race, Hatch’s engine was protested. As a result, the results of Pure Stock Feature No. 3 and the Pure Stock points are currently unofficial.