|Date: 9/8/2015 8:39:14 PM|
Jeseo Wins First Modified Feature, Hearn and Corbin Crowned Champions
by Phil Allaway
Saturday night was the final night of racing for the Modified and Pro Stock classes, both of which had close championship chases. Both events turned out to be hard fought events with somewhat unexpected winners.
In the Modifieds, Brett Hearn entered the race with a 15-point lead over Kenny Tremont, Jr. A sixth-place finish guaranteed the title.
Averill Park, NY’s Chad Jeseo started from the pole and opened up a nice gap on Mike King early on. Meanwhile, Tremont benefited from Jeff Watson switching to a backup car due to engine woes. Watson dropping to the rear allowed Tremont to get in front of Hearn, an advantage that he would hold all race long. Both drivers spent much of the race charging up through the field. Tremont stayed in front of Hearn, but Hearn kept pace and followed in his footsteps.
Kolby Schroder stated before hot laps that he thought he had a winning car. Schroder started third and was able to maintain that advantage. However, he began to slow a little after halfway. After Eddie Marshall took third away on lap 18, the No. 98s had mechanical woes that led to an early retirement.
Schroder’s retirement boosted Hearn into the position to win the title regardless of what Tremont did. Hearn admitted after the race that he drove conservatively, knowing what needed to be done to take home the hardware.
Late in the race, Marshall was the man on the move. After passing Schroder, he ran down and passed King for second. In the final laps, he was making time on Jeseo before an exhaust part broke off of King’s car and cut his right rear tire, bringing out a caution.
Marshall, JR Heffner and the championship duo were right on Jeseo’s tail on the restart, a fact that really blew Jeseo’s mind at the time. However, he got himself back on task and managed to hold off over the final three laps to take his first career Modified victory.
Afterwards, Jeseo graciously thanked crew chief Bobby Gile and car owner Scott Hamlin for all the work they do (seven days a week) to make his effort possible. He also thanked another man who is not affiliated with the team, for his quiet assistance.
“I really gotta thank Eddie Marshall tonight,” Jeseo said. “He came out tonight in both the [warm-up] and Hot Laps sessions and pulled out in front of me, giving me the idea of ‘here’s the line you want to run’. A big thanks goes to him. He never came down and said anything to me, but to have these guys come out and do this, that’s big.”
Marshall, who stated that his car was better on long runs, finished second and took third in points away from Andy Bachetti. JR Heffner was third, while Tremont was fourth. Hearn’s fifth-place finish gave him his fourth consecutive Modified championship.
The Pro Stock class had a dead heat between Jay Corbin and Jon Routhier for the championship going into the final race (the Langenback Classic, rescheduled from August 16). Quite simply, whoever finished the highest after 25 laps would take home the title.
Early on, the action was fast and furious. Routhier started fifth and got an excellent start, so much that he tried to take the lead away from pole sitter Nick Hilt, Jr. in turn 3 on the first lap. Hilt was able to hold off Routhier and Pittsfield, MA’s Rick Duzlak, but not for long. A couple of laps later, Duzlak was able to get past and take the lead away. Routhier followed into second and Corbin into third.
While Duzlak drove his own line and opened up a small gap, Routhier and Corbin fought tooth and nail for second with Chuck Towslee close behind. The hard racing continued until Glen Meisenhelder hit the wall in turn 4 after what appeared to be a mechanical failure to bring out the first yellow.
When the green flew, the battle resumed as Duzlak drove into the distance. With seven to go, the two contenders made a little contact in turn 2. That tap was just enough for Corbin to get into second.
The championship was decided due to a late yellow that had nothing to do with the contenders. Tom Dean spun in turn 2 to bring out the yellow with one lap to go. Routhier stomped on the brakes to avoid Dean and spun while Corbin just avoided the stopped car. As a result, Routhier had to go to the rear while Corbin maintained second.
On the final restart, Duzlak was able to pull away and take his second win of the season. Corbin’s second-place finish was good enough to take his third Pro Stock Championship. Towslee was third, while Rob Yetman finished fourth and claimed the Langenback Classic Hard Charger/Clean Racer Award. Robbie Speed finished fifth.
In the Small Block Modifieds, Tremont had the chance to lock up the championship a week early. However, his engine decided that it didn’t want to cooperate. A broken rocker arm forced him to miss his heat race and start in the rear for the feature.
Jason Herrington started on the pole and appeared to have a very quick car. However, a couple of incidents slowed the pace. First, Kenny Aanonsen, Jr. and Mark Pullen crashed in turn 2. Aanonsen Jr. took a hard hit on the wall and complained of leg pain afterwards, but was otherwise ok. Later on, Jason Tompkins went into the wall in turn 1 after a chain reaction stack-up.
David Schilling was Herrington’s closest competition early on, but Shane Jablonka came up from sixth to take second on lap 11. From there, Jablonka tried to put the moves on Herrington, but could not get past. Meanwhile, JR Heffner was on a charge of his own from 13th to the top 5, as was Tremont from the back. Unfortunately for Tremont, the engine woes returned as he broke a second rocker arm and putted to the finish down a cylinder in 18th.
In the last couple of laps, Heffner was able to run down Herrington and take the lead in turn 3. From there, Heffner opened up enough of a gap to allow him to win his fifth Small Block feature of the year.
A very disappointed Herrington had to settle for second, while Jablonka crossed the line in third. However, post-race inspection discovered an unapproved intake manifold. As a result, Jablonka was DQ’d, moving Brett Haas up to third. David Schilling and Jelley rounded out the top-5.
The King of Dirt Sportsman Series returned to Lebanon Valley for the Battle on the Banks, a 30-lap race as part of the six-race touring series. By virtue of a post-heat race redraw, Matt Pappa started from the pole, which put him in front of the issues that followed.
The 30-lap feature turned out to be a very physical one as nine yellows flew, eight of them for spins and crashes. The trouble started early when heat race winner Rob Maxon hit the wall on the first lap in turn 4. On the restart, Whitey Slavin made a move for the lead and managed to spin himself out. Slavin was then hit by Chad Edwards, ending both drivers’ nights.
With Slavin eliminated, Pappa’s biggest threats came from Lebanon Valley Sportsman points leader John Virgilio and Michael Sabia, who was looking for four wins in a row. Sabia charged up from the ninth starting spot and put pressure on Virgilio for second, but his car broke on lap 13, ending his night in a smoky, oily haze.
While Pappa continued to lead, the cautions kept Virgilio close. A late yellow set up a Green-White-Checker, but Pappa was able to hold on to take the win.
Afterwards, Pappa was joyful and triumphant in the pits…until post-race inspection ramped up. Inspectors discovered an illegal tapered spacer. As a result, King of Dirt Promoter Rob Hazer disqualified Pappa, giving the victory to Virgilio. Cody Hunt was second, followed by Frank Hoard, Jr., Kevin Arnold and Rocky Warner.
In Pure Stock, Bill Deak, Jr., Jeff Meltz, Jr. and Ray Hall, Sr. each won features.
Modified Feature Results (30 laps): 1) Chad Jeseo, 2) Eddie Marshall, 3) JR Heffner, 4) Kenny Tremont, Jr., 5) Brett Hearn, 6) Kyle Sheldon, 7) Keith Flach, 8) Brian Berger, 9) Matt Pupello, 10) Andy Bachetti, 11) Kyle Hoffman, 12) Olden Dwyer, 13) Jeff Watson, 14) Dave McFeeters, 15) Kyle Armstrong, 16) Mike King, 17) Paul Gilardi, 18) Kolby Schroder, 19) Steve Hough, 20) Rich Salisbury, 21) Denny Soltis, 22) John Ruchel, 23) Wayne Jelley
Small Block Modified Feature Results (24 laps): 1) JR Heffner, 2) Jason Herrington, 3) Brett Haas, 4) David Schilling, 5) Wayne Jelley, 6) Brian Sandstedt, 7) Buddy Hencke, 8) Frank Hoard, III, 9) Frank Harper, 10) Ryan Charland, 11) Chad Pierce, 12) Ryan Darcy, 13) Demetrios Drellos, 14) Steve Hankle, 15, Art Collins, 16) Alan Houghtaling, 17) Mark Pullen, 18) Kenny Tremont, Jr., 19) Peter Carlotto, 20) Kim LaVoy, 21) Olden Dwyer, 22) Jason Tompkins, 23) Kenny Aanonsen, Jr., 24) Timothy Davis. DNS: Ray Hall, Jr., Bryan McGuire. DQ: Shane Jablonka
King of Dirt Sportsman Battle on the Banks Results (30 laps): 1) John Virgilio, 2) Cody Hunt, 3) Frank Hoard, Jr., 4) Kevin Arnold, 5) Rocky Warner, 6) Jon Miller, 7) Tim Hodge, 8) David Schilling, 9) Cody Bleau, 10) Matt Burke, 11) Ricky Davis, 12) Chris Schaffer, 13) Jason Gray, 14) Alissa Cody, 15) Connor Cleveland, 16) Chris Lynch, 17) Ryan Heath, 18) Christopher Delfino, 19) Michael Sabia, 20) Nikki Ouellette, 21) Jim Boardman, 22) Angelo DiCarlo, 23) Whitey Slavin, 24) Chad Edwards, 25) Rob Maxon. DNS: Chris Curtis, Brandon Lane, John Miller. DQ: Matt Pappa
Pro Stock Feature Results: 1) Rick Duzlak, 2) Jay Corbin, 3) Chuck Towslee, 4) Rob Yetman, 5) Robbie Speed, 6) Steven LaRochelle, 7) Daniel Sanchez, 8) Frank Twing, 9) Victor Hopkins, 10) Nick Hilt, 11) Joe LaFlamme, 12) Tom Harkins, 13) Sparky Reilly, 14) Tom O’Connor, 15) Jon Routhier, 16) Dan Madigan, 17) Tom Dean, 18) Chad Arsenault, 19) Matt Cross, 20) Hugh Page, 21) Glen Meisenhelder. DNS: Mark Dupuis, Jeff Kelmel, Chris Lunn
Pure Stock Feature No. 1 Results (8 laps): 1) Bill Deak, Jr., 2) Jeff Kreutziger, 3) John Devine, 4) Joe Walcott, 5) Aaron Fachini, 6) Bill Deak, Sr., 7) Mike Arnold, 8) Wuggie Burdick, 9) Harold Robitaille, 10) Keri VanDenburg, 11) Raymond Royals
Pure Stock Feature No. 2 Results (8 laps): 1) Jeff Meltz, Jr., 2) Phil Sherman, 3) Terry McNamara, 4) John Tisko, 5) Dennis O’Connor, 6) Travis Hengen, 7) Zach Sorrentino, 8) Martina Martin, 9) Joe Cheneil, 10) Pete Wiegand, 11) Scott Morris. DNS: Gary VanDenburg
Pure Stock Feature No. 3 Results (12 laps): 1) Ray Hall, Sr., 2) Ed Hatch, 3) Jeff Meltz, Sr., 4) Jason Meltz, 5) Gary O’Brien, 6) Larry Perez, 7) Clifford Booth, 8) Dan Cote, 9) Shawn Perez, 10) Jim Groncki, 11) Brian Walsh, 12) Doug Olds, 13) Dave Stickles, 14) Lou Gancarz, 15) Tim Thompson
For more information, the 2015 schedule, and links to what's on tap for 2015, visit our website at www.LebanonValley.com, and click on “Speedway”, or call the LVAR Offices during regular business hours at (518) 794-9606 or (518) 794-9965
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