Hearn Serves Notice; To Win LV Title, You Must Take ItColumn By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW
Published: August 14, 2016
WEST LEBANON, NY – If anyone had questions whether Brett Hearn was going to be up to racing at Lebanon Valley Saturday night, they were squashed by lap 15 of the Modified feature as the lightning filled the sky.
Hearn, who started in the 12th position, passed Olden Dwyer at the halfway point and never looked back. You’d never know that the Jersey Jet had been suffering from back pain since Tuesday night’s Hall of Fame 100 at the Weedsport Speedway.
For Friday evening, Tyler Dippel was tapped to substitute in the Madsen Motorsports #20 at Albany-Saratoga. The event was ultimately rained out.
On Saturday, the substitute roll was not an option, so Hearn strapped in and made the most of the night.
As the rain started to fall, the points were tallied and with the win, Brett extended his lead in the season long standings over Kenny Tremont and Keith Flach. He now leads the Tremont by 31 points and Flach by 36.
The Valley win was #892 unofficially for Hearn in his career as he chases the illustrious 900 win mark.
Tremont struggled all night in the S&S Asphalt Paving, Rifenburg Construction #115 with brake and handling issues. The Sandlake Slingshot busted his butt throughout the main event advancing thirteen positions to 8th at the finish.
The team worked hard to make the car comfortable for him, but the multi-time track champion couldn’t keep pace with the point leader Hearn.
Flach was another who worked hard to gather a good finish on the night. After starting in the 13th position, an early race miscue sent the Flach Companies #43 back as far as 17th.
The Ravena, NY driver rebounded very well, picking off several cars before settling in for a fine fifth place finish.
Second place went home with Ridgefield CT’s Eddie Marshall. The veteran driver of car #98 has not been having the year he had hoped, but Saturday’ runner-up finish surely helped.
Even with a few sub par evenings, the Marshall Oil #98 is now sitting 5th in points, only two markers behind fourth-place Andy Bachetti
Bachetti would battle to come home in the third spot followed by Kyle Armstrong and Flach.
Last week’s feature event winner Brian Berger had a solid run to back up his win from a week ago. The Phaze3 Racing Bicknell started in the 14th position but through hard work and a little luck, Berger brought the car home in sixth.
Not a bad way to follow up a visit to victory lane.
Olden Dwyer, who led from the drop of the green flag would end up pulling his Hico Fabrication, Eckert Construction #88Jr. into the pits on lap 18 and finished 19th.
Matt Pupello ran up front for a majority of the 30-lap event only to end his night in the turn four wall with one lap to go. The driver of the Capital Plumbing #42 was fighting for a top 5 spot when his night came to an abrupt end.
The struggles of Valatie, NY’s JR Heffner on the high banks continued on Saturday, as motor problems sidelined the former track champion before the race was finished. The engine in the car was an older piece according to the team’s engine tuner Dick Williams.
Heffner ended up 21st in the final rundown.
Mike Keeler looked to be continuing his good runs on the high banks as of late Saturday night only to have a left rear axle brake in his #55 machine. The Connecticut driver pulled in early and was credited with a 20th place finish.
For Keeler, even with the driveline issue, the night was still a step in the right direction. He was happy with the handling of the car as he and the team tries to finish out 2016 on a high note.
Mother Nature ended up winning the rest of the night, as the 358-Modified, 4-Cylinder Dual Cam and Boomer’s Pure Stock Classic were all rained out as a torrential downpour hammered the speedway.
News & Notes
Eddie Bishop was back in Pro Stock car on Saturday night for the first time since 2007. He ran a team car to Sparky Reilly, but did not make the call for the main event.
Ryan Darcy was back at the Valley again this week. The New Lebanon, NY pilot had engine woes with the team’s Chrysler 358-Modified powerplant a few weeks ago at Albany-Saratoga.
Since then, they are down to one bullet and are staying close to home the rest of the season. Wherever they run, the team will utilize their spec head DIRT legal Small Block Chevrolet.
The Darcy Construction #21 had brake problems all evening. The team changed master cylinders during the night, but never got to see if the changes were successful as the feature was rained out as they lined up.
The engine woes for Modified driver Paul Gilardi continued Saturday. The driver from Pittsfield, MA broke a brand-new lifter in his Big Block during early night hot laps.
If it wasn’t for bad luck, the 87x team wouldn’t have any as the Gilardi and crew have been working non-stop to get the car to the track, only to have problems recently. However, it isn’t for a lack of effort and hard work by the driver and crew.
The Chad Arsenault Pro Stock team has called it quits for 2016. Everything the team has is for sale as Arsenault states he doesn’t want to race anymore. This is a shame as the young driver has been making big gains since moving up from the Pure Stock ranks a few years ago.
Defending CRSA Sprint Car Champion Kyle Smith will miss the tour stop at Thunder Mountain on September 3rd. Currently sitting second in series points, Smith’s car owner has decided to take him to Eagle Raceway in Nebraska for Racesaver IMCA Sprint Nationals that weekend. To date, over 130 cars have entered that 305ci Sprint Car event with Kyle now being one of them.
Modified Results (30 Laps) –1) Brett Hearn,2) Eddie Marshall,3) Andy Bachetti, 4) Kyle Armstrong 5) Keith Flach,6) Brian Berger,7) Kolby Schroder,8) Kenny Tremont Jr,9) Kyle Sheldon,10) John Ruchel,11) Mike King, 12) Elmo Reckner,13) Chad Jeseo,14) Robert Dutton,15) Matt Pupello,16) Kyle Hoffman,17) Justin Boehler18) Rob Pitcher,19) Olden Dwyer,20) Mike Keeler, 21) J.R. Heffner,22) Denny Soltis,DNS) Paul Gilardi,DNS) Guy Sheldon, DNS) Ken McQuire,