BRETT HEARN RETURNS TO LEBANON VALLEY VICTORY LANE
WEST LEBANON, NY – Saturday night was the fourth annual J.C. Flach Memorial, a special race to honor the former racer who won his only Big Block feature on this weekend in 2012, before passing away later that year. In a short time, it’s become one of the bigger races of the season.
Kyle Armstrong started from the pole and opened up a small gap on the field. Meanwhile, Rob Pitcher moved up to second early in the race, dispatching of front-row starter Mike King.
Meanwhile, points leaders Brett Hearn and Kenny Tremont, Jr. had to start back in the pack and deal with lots of traffic. Hearn was up to eighth by lap 12, but was about a straightaway behind the leaders. Tremont was tenth after starting 13th.
Pitcher ran down Armstrong after Armstrong had to check up behind the slower Jeff Sukup. What followed was a long-lived battle between the two racers for the lead. Pitcher would go to the inside, but Armstrong would use the outside to power past. The two continued to fight as Hearn and Tremont charged forward.
On lap 19, Hearn took third from King and set off to catch the leaders. With three laps to go, Pitcher made his move in turn 1. The Chatham racer appeared to get partially past the No. 11A, but contact was made and Armstrong broke as a result. Armstrong was very upset with Pitcher, who assumed the lead as a result.
On the restart, Hearn immediately put the pressure on Pitcher for the lead and managed to get past with a lap and a half to go. From there, the veteran pulled away to take his third win of the year.
Afterwards, Hearn indicated that he got lucky with the late yellow.
“We kind of caught [Armstrong and Pitcher], but we used a lot of car to get to them,” Hearn said. “The yellow let us cool off our tires a little bit and gave us a chance at [Pitcher]. I don’t know whether I would have gotten them under green, especially with two of them running together.”
Pitcher held on for second, while Eddie Marshall was third. Tremont finished fourth and King was fifth.
The Small Block Modified feature saw Ricky Davis start from pole and hold off Brian Peterson early. Shortly after the start, a stack-up occurred in turn 4 that resulted in Brian Sandstedt spinning after contact from Olden Dwyer. While Sandstedt continued, Dwyer had mechanical issues and was forced to retire.
Davis continued to lead, but had to deal with Chad Jeseo and Elmo Reckner running him down. While Davis was able to hold off Jeseo’s charges, Reckner just appeared to be much faster. Reckner dispatched of Jeseo, then made short work of Davis, taking the lead on lap 8.
From there, Reckner opened up a healthy gap on the field. Points leader Tremont had to come up from 15th, but the all-green stretch for the final 23 laps made it very difficult to put himself in the discussion, no matter how hard he tried.
Reckner was able to hold on to take his first career victory at Lebanon Valley. Tremont was second, followed by Jeseo. Davis held on for fourth, while Demetrios Drellos was fifth.
The Sportsman class had two features Saturday. In the first feature, a make-up from May 14th, Whitey Slavin took the lead from Carmon Carnibucci on lap 1 and maintained the advantage through a number of restarts. The scariest moment of the night came on lap 9 when Rob Maxon and David Schilling had contact entering turn 1, sending Maxon hard into the wall and upside-down. Maxon was ok, but done for the night.
Jeff Watson took the lead from Slavin on lap 12 and held on to take his second win in a row. Slavin was second, followed by Chris Lynch, Michael Sabia and John Virgilio.
Feature No. 2 saw Slavin take the lead from Cody Ochs on lap 2 and fight off advances from Virgilio. Despite a number of restarts, Slavin was able to pull away to take his first win of the year. Virgilio beat Watson in a photo finish for second, while Sabia and Kevin Ward rounded out the top 5.
The Pro Stock feature was full of incidents. Eight cautions were thrown for various incidents. Jon Routhier’s scorecard was pulled on lap 10 after he disobeyed the orders of officials. He would be credited with 19th.
In the wake of all the action, Chuck Towslee emerged as the fastest man on track. Towslee moved up from seventh and passed pole-sitter Ray Hall, Jr. for the lead on lap 7. From then on, Towslee held off a charging Rob Yetman to take his second win of the year. Hudson’s Chad Arsenault was third, followed by Victor Hopkins and Corbin.
In Pure Stock, Dave Stickles, Bill Deak, Sr. and Ray Hall, Sr. each won features.
KeyBank/Flach Family 4th Annual J.C. Flach Memorial Results (30 laps): 1) Brett Hearn, 2) Rob Pitcher, 3) Eddie Marshall, 4) Kenny Tremont, Jr., 5) Mike King, 6) Kolby Schroder, 7) Brian Berger, 8) J.R. Heffner, 9) Kyle Sheldon, 10) Andy Bachetti, 11) Keith Flach, 12) Steve Hough, 13) Chad Jeseo, 14) Matt Pupello, 15) Kyle Hoffman, 16) Kyle Armstrong, 17) Elmo Reckner, 18) Jeff Sukup, 19) John Ruchel, 20) Dave McFeeters, 21) Paul Gilardi, 22) Olden Dwyer, 23) Mark Chartrand, 24) Ed Kitchell, 25) Denny Soltis, 26) Mike Keeler