WEST LEBANON — Saturday night marked the Super DIRTcar Series’ annual visit to Lebanon Valley Speedway and $25,500 was on the line for the winner with more than 40 teams showing up to vie for the cash.
In the end, the Lebanon Valley regulars reigned supreme.
Mike Mahaney claimed the pole via the redraw and led early on with ease. Further back, the pace was slowed by a series of early incidents. First, Paul Gilardi spun in Turn 2 to bring out the first yellow on Lap 6.
Shortly after the restart, Peter Britten and Wayne Jelley got hooked together and slid into the wall in Turn 3. Both drivers had ran very well up to that point, but their nights came to an end.
After a spin for Rich Scagliotta and issues for Adam Roberts, teams settled into a groove. Mahaney continued to lead, while Kenny Tremont had advanced to second from seventh.
For the next 35 laps, Tremont shadowed Mahaney, just looking for a place to pounce.
On Lap 64, Tremont found that place. He was able to get alongside Mahaney exiting Turn 2 and make the pass entering Turn 3 to take the lead. Following Tremont past Mahaney was Brett Hearn.
Tires started to become a big issue late. Super DIRTcar Series point leader Matt Sheppard had a tire go down on Lap 84 to bring out a yellow. Stewart Friesen was running third when he blew a right rear with five laps to go to set up a shootout.
On the final restart, Tremont was able to get the jump on Hearn. From there, he held on to take his fifth career victory in Mr. Dirt Track U.S.A.
“The car really went well [all night] and got better towards the end of the race,” Tremont said afterward. “The car didn’t get loose; we were able to use the accelerator coming off the corner. It handled well and the motor ran great for all 101 laps.”
It was an excellent night for Lebanon Valley regulars.
Hearn ended up second, followed by Mahaney. Kolby Schroder finished fourth, while Eddie Marshall was fifth.
Primary support on the evening was the King of Dirt Sportsman Series with their 30-lap Mr. Crate Track U.S.A. event. Once again, Valley regulars were the class of the field.
Scott Duell started from the pole, but quickly lost his advantage to King of Dirt Sportsman Series point leader Connor Cleveland right before Jeff Highman spun out to bring out the first yellow.
Further back, Lebanon Valley regulars Michael Sabia, Chris Lynch and Rob Maxon were pulling themselves up into contention. As Cleveland pulled away, a large battle broke out that Maxon eventually won.
The field closed back up when Karl Barnes hit the inside wall on Lap 12. Cleveland continued to lead until a big wreck involving Lem Atkins, Scott McCoy and others broke out in Turn 4.
During that yellow, Cleveland made a courtesy visit to the pits. While he didn’t stop, he had to drop to the rear. That gave the lead to Maxon.
Once out front, Maxon pulled away from the pack to take his third Valley win of the year.
Lynch, who claimed that he had the best car he’d ever had at Lebanon Valley, was second, followed by Duell, Whitey Slavin and John Virgilio.
After the race, a protest was lodged on Maxon’s engine for the second time this season. As a result, the engine was removed from Maxon’s No. 96 and taken off-site for a complete tear down.
The Sportsman results are considered unofficial until the results of the tear down are released.
For Pro Stock teams, Saturday night was their final night of points for 2018. Jason Casey entered the night with a six-point lead over Jason Meltz. However, three other drivers were within 18 points.
The race started out with trouble.
Dave Stickles led the field to green, but broke a water pump almost immediately. Shortly afterward, a crash broke out in Turns 1 and 2 collecting Doug Olds, Don Collins, Nick Reilly and others to bring out a yellow.
Everyone was OK, but Collins and Reilly were done for the night.
By virtue of Stickles’ mechanical issue, Rich Crane assumed the lead. Another crash shortly afterward knocked a couple more drivers out of contention. That allowed Rob Yetman to move into contention.
Starting 14th, Yetman moved up to third by Lap 5. Once the field settled down, a pack of seven drivers broke away to settle things by themselves.
Crane was strong, but suddenly slid up the track in Turn 3 on Lap 17. That was all Yetman needed to get past for the lead.
From there, Yetman pulled away to take the victory. Yetman’s victory, along with Jason Casey’s sixth-place finish and Jason Meltz’s seventh-place gives Yetman the 2018 Pro Stock title by five points.
Jay Casey was able to get past Crane on the final lap for second. Jon Routhier was fourth, while Ed Bishop was fifth.
In Pure Stock Feature No. 1. Shawn Perez quickly assumed the lead at the start. It was a somewhat ragged start with plenty of trouble to go around
A spin in Turn 2 brought out the yellow. Then Don Kennedy spun out in Turn 4. Shortly afterward, Rob Partridge and Scott Morris came together on the frontstretch, eventually resulting in Morris spinning out.
On the restart, Clifford Booth was able to get past Perez for the lead before another yellow slowed the field. As the race continued, Evan Denue drove up into contention. Just after halfway, Denue was able to make the move to take the lead away.
A mechanical failure for Rocco Procopio bunched the field up for a three-lap sprint, but Denue was able to hold on for the victory. Ray Hall Sr. finished second, followed by Booth, Kennedy and Perez.
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 was a rather rough affair.
The contact started out early when Zach Seyerlein hit the wall in Turn 3. That did not bring out the yellow.
Jeff Meltz Sr. was the man to beat in this race. He charged to the front and took the lead away from Zach Sorrentino on Lap 3.
Then, the spins began.
Officially, the first yellow was caused by debris, but an incident involving Seyerlein and Keri Vandenburg occurred before the field could get slowed down.
Behind Jeff Meltz Sr. and Dom Denue, Ed Hatch was putting himself into contention late in the race. Then, he spun in Turn 2 after contact from John Devine. Gary O’Brien was also collected. Devine was sent to the rear for causing the wreck.
Jeff Meltz Sr. was able to hold on through multiple restarts to claim his third win of 2018. Dom Denue was second, followed across the line by Devine. However, Devine was scored last after additional contact late in the feature. That elevated Seyerlein to third, followed by Sorrentino and Hatch.
Upstate GMC Dealers/Amsterdam Trailer Repair Super DIRTcar Series Mr. Dirt Track U.S.A. Results (101 laps): 1) Kenny Tremont Jr., 2) Brett Hearn, 3) Mike Mahaney, 4) Kolby Schroder, 5) Eddie Marshall, 6) Matt Sheppard, 7) Keith Flach, 8) Kyle Sheldon, 9) Brian Berger, 10) Billy Decker, 11) Anthony Perrego, 12) Stewart Friesen, 13) L.J. Lombardo, 14) Danny Johnson, 15) Chad Jeseo, 16) Jimmy Phelps, 17) Adam Roberts, 18) Mike King, 19) Tyler Dippel, 20) Erick Rudolph, 21) Matt Janiak, 22) Paul Gilardi, 23) Max McLaughlin, 24) Elmo Reckner, 25) Andy Bachetti, 26) Ronnie Johnson, 27) Denny Soltis, 28) J.R. Heffner, 29) Rich Scagliotta, 30) Wayne Jelley, 31) Peter Britten. DNQ: Kyle Armstrong, Ed Kitchell, Josh Marcus, C.G. Morey, Jessey Mueller, Dave Rauscher, John Ruchel, Rusty Smith, Butch Tittle, Mike Trautschold.
King of Dirt Sportsman Series Mr. Crate Track U.S.A. Results (30 laps, UNOFFICIAL DUE TO PROTEST): 1) Rob Maxon, 2) Chris Lynch, 3) Scott Duell, 4) Whitey Slavin, 5) John Virgilio, 6) Chris Curtis, 7) Chad Edwards, 8) Cody Ochs, 9) Nikki Ouellette, 10) Bobby Flood, 11) Alan Houghtaling, 12) Peter Carlotto, 13) Michael Sabia, 14) Joey Coppola, 15) Matthew Schultz, 16) James Fadden, 17) Ricky Quick, 18) John Brown, 19) Danny Carlough, 20) Lem Atkins, 21) Jeff Highman, 22) Jimmy Devitt, 23) Scott McCoy, 24) Ted Teal, 25) Billy Eggers Jr., 26) Connor Cleveland, 27) Marty Kelly, III, 28) Harold Robitaille, 29) Robby Knipe, 30) Daryl Nutting, 31) Karl Barnes, 32) Vinnie Visconti, 33) John Santolin, 34) Carmon Carnibucci
Pro Stock Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Rob Yetman, 2) Jay Casey, 3) Rich Crane, 4) Jon Routhier, 5) Ed Bishop, 6) Jason Casey, 7) Jason Meltz, 8) Steven LaRochelle, 9) Nick Hilt, 10) Rick Duzlak, 11) Nick Arnold, 12) Tom O’Connor, 13) Doug Olds, 14) Chuck Towslee, 15) Tom Dean, 16) Rick Spencer, 17) Brian Keough, 18) Adam Schneider, 19) Rick Dempsey, 20) Scott Kilmer, 21) Dave Stickles, 22) Don Collins, 23) Nick Reilly
Pure Stock Feature No. 1 Results (10 laps): 1) Evan Denue, 2) Ray Hall Sr., 3) Clifford Booth, 4) Don Kennedy, 5) Shawn Perez, 6) Rob Partridge, 7) Mark Dwyer, 8) Craig Coons, 9) Tim Meltz, 10) Ryan Brown, 11) Rocco Procopio, 12) Dave Fachini, 13) Scott Morris
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 Results (12 laps): 1) Jeff Meltz Sr., 2) Dom Denue, 3) Zach Seyerlein, 4) Zach Sorrentino, 5) Ed Hatch, 6) Keri Vandenburg, 7) Brian Walsh, 8) Gary O’Brien, 9) Jeff Kreutziger, 10) John Devine