Not The Night Brian & Team 60 Were Looking For

WEST LEBANON, NY – Saturday night saw the Modifieds run double features in order to make up the race postponed due to lighting issues on May 6.  Trouble here affected the rest of the night.

Denny Soltis started on pole, but quickly lost the advantage to Kyle Hoffman.  Meanwhile, Brett Hearn started in fourth and wasted no time pressuring Hoffman’s Cyclone for the lead.  On lap 6, Hearn took the lead and began to open up the advantage.  Hoffman was able to hold off Eddie Marshall for second.

Kolby Schroder suffered a right front suspension issue and stopped entering turn 1 to bring out the yellow on lap 10.  That bunched the field back up.

After the restart, all heck broke loose.  Marshall went wide exiting turn 4 and hit the wall at the crossover gate.  The hit shot Marshall back out into most of the field.  Mike King, Kyle Sheldon, Matt Pupello, Rob Pitcher, Kyle Armstrong, Chad Jeseo, Elmo Reckner, Wayne Jelley and Andy Bachetti were collected.

Naturally, with the frontstretch blocked, the red flag was thrown.  Everyone was able to walk away from the crash, but the EMT’s checked over Pitcher in the ambulance as a precaution.  The cars of Marshall and Pitcher were outright done for the night.  The others attempted repairs with varying degrees of success.

Matt Pupello was able to get his damaged No. 42P back on track, but he hit the wall in turn 3 shortly after the restart to bring out another yellow.  After a debris caution, Brian Berger suffered a mechanical issue that ended his night all together.  At the same time, Kyle Sheldon slowed on track and Bachetti blew a right rear tire to bring out another yellow.

After the restart, the three leaders (Hearn, J.R. Heffner and Kenny Tremont Jr.) pulled away from the pack and attempted to settle the race among themselves.  Further back, Hoffman remained in fourth.  Late in the race, Keith Flach caught Hoffman and battled for a couple of laps.

With three laps, Hoffman and Flach encountered the slower No. 6 of Ken McGuire.  Hoffman ended up getting stuck behind the slower car for a bit, then tried to go to the inside.  Unfortunately, Flach was there.  Hoffman spun exiting turn 2 and hit the inside wall to bring out the sixth and final caution of the night.  Hoffman was ok, but he was done for the night.

Hoffman’s crash resulted in a Green-White-Checker restart, but Hearn would not be denied his first Lebanon Valley win of the year and the 896th career feature victory of his long career.

For Hearn, this win was necessary.

“We had to get involved with a DNF in the first event to get the [fourth] starting spot, so it was a [must-win] situation for us,” Hearn said after the race.

J.R. Heffner was second, followed by Kenny Tremont Jr., Keith Flach and L.J. Lombardo.

The second feature saw Soltis start on pole and led handily early on.  Unlike the first feature, the primary stars of the class were further back. Tremont started ninth and quickly made his way towards the front.  Heffner and Hearn were 14th and 15th at the start and took longer to get in the hunt.

On lap 11, Tremont took second from Paul Gilardi and ultimately made quick work of Soltis to take the lead a couple of laps later.  The race’s sole caution flew just after halfway when Matt Pupello slowed on course.

Once the race went back to green, Tremont pulled out to a big lead as the battles continued further back.  Elmo Reckner continued his great recent form with a run up to second in the closing laps, but no one could do anything with the Sand Lake Slingshot.  Tremont pulled away to take his 128th career Big Block win at Lebanon Valley.

Afterwards, Tremont was very pleased with his equipment.

“In the second race, the car was perfect,” Tremont said.  “It was as good as I’ve had a car here in years.  What I really hope is that we can repeat this.”

Reckner was second, followed by Keith Flach.  Hearn and Heffner rounded out the top five.

Contractor Sales/Boomer’s Performance Modified Feature Results (30 laps, held over from May 6): 1) Brett Hearn, 2) J.R. Heffner, 3) Kenny Tremont Jr., 4) Keith Flach, 5) L.J. Lombardo, 6) Wayne Jelley, 7) Steve Hough, 8) Andy Bachetti, 9) Kolby Schroder, 10) Denny Soltis, 11) Kyle Armstrong, 12) Kyle Hoffman, 13) Elmo Reckner, 14) Olden Dwyer, 15) Ken McGuire, 16) Mike Keeler, 17) Brian Berger, 18) Kyle Sheldon, 19) Eddie Marshall, 20) Paul Gilardi, 21) Matt Pupello, 22) Mike King, 23) Rob Pitcher, 24) Chad Jeseo.  DNS: Stewart Friesen, Kenny Aanonsen Jr.

Madsen Overhead Doors/Mark’s News & Variety Modified Feature Results (30 laps): 1) Kenny Tremont Jr., 2) Elmo Reckner, 3) Keith Flach, 4) Brett Hearn, 5) J.R. Heffner, 6) Paul Gilardi, 7) Wayne Jelley, 8) Andy Bachetti, 9) Chad Jeseo, 10) Steve Hough, 11) Kyle Armstrong, 12) L.J. Lombardo, 13) Matt Pupello, 14) Kolby Schroder, 15) Ken McGuire, 16) Denny Soltis, 17) Kyle Sheldon, 18) Olden Dwyer, 19) Mike Keeler, 20) Mike King, 21) Brian Berger, 22) Rob Pitcher, 23) Eddie Marshall, 24) Kyle Hoffman, 25) Dave McFeeters