WEST LEBANON, NY – Michael Sabia earned his first career King Of Dirt Racing DIRTcar East Sportsman tour win by claiming victory in one of the biggest races on tour at Lebanon Valley back in 2015. This week he became the first two-time Mr. Crate Track USA champion by earning his second career tour win besting a solid field of competitors.
Scott Duell and Chris Lynch led the 34 car starting field to Rodney Rescott’s green flag, with Duell taking the early lead. Behind the leader Lynch found himself three wide with Chad Edwards and Jeff Watson for top five running positions.
Not too far behind them Rocky Warner and John Virgilio were battling, while Michael Sabia was moving forward before a yellow flag flew for Brian Calabrese who tagged the turn four wall.
On the restart Duell went back to the top spot and Watson made a bid for second, when a two-car jingle in turn four slowed the field. Both Cody Hunt and Rob Maxon who were involved would return to the field.
Once again the restart would be a game changer as Sabia used the low line to take the top spot from the highflying Duell. Watson sat third with Edwards in fourth and Warner in fifth. Trouble in turn two, as early race favorite Chris Lynch slowed and came to a stop.
Sabia went back to the lead on the restart, but Watson was able to grab the runner up spot. Virgilio was making noise also, as he took over fifth from Warner and set his sights on Edwards.
Robby Knipe, Connor Cleveland, David Schilling, and Kevin Ward all battled for position inside the top 10. Another yellow flew for Brandon Lane and Harold Robitaille who came together in turn four. Pete Carlotto who was fast during the day also saw his evening end with mechanical troubles.
When the green flag flew on the restart Watson pressured Sabia hard for the top spot, while behind them Warner, Virgilio, and Duell were racing three wide for position. Connor Cleveland had a nice view tucked tight behind them battling with Edwards.
2016 Mr. Crate Track USA Scott Duell would see his evening come to an end when he entered turns one and two a little high tagging the wall, which caused front-end damage. He’d retire to the pit area.
While the action was hot and heavy up front, there were a few guys moving through the field and turning heads. Defending King Of Dirt Champion Connor Cleveland was moving forward after starting 21st on the grid. David Schilling started 18th and found himself inside the top 10 with five laps left. At the same time Cody Hunt who was involved in a tangle early on had charged back through the field from 31st to 13th.
With a handful of laps left Jeff Watson began to close in on Sabia for the top spot. On the final lap the front running pair approached lap traffic with Sabia diving low, Watson up high, but Sabia held on to win his second Mr. Crate Track USA title by a mere .081 hundredths of a second.
“I was thinking back to two years ago when it was Scott and I on the front row for this race on a restart. I pulled the same slide job I did then and it worked for us again. That was great,” said Michael Sabia in victory lane.
“Man it sucks. I do not like finishing second and we didn’t come to finish second, but hey we’ll go on to the next race. If this was a 100 lapper maybe we’d have had something for him,” said second place finisher Jeff Watson.
“We normally don’t run well here. Starting seventh we were just hoping for a top five, but hey we had a competitive car and I’ve never been so happy to not win a race before,” said third place finisher Rocky Warner.
KOD NOTES: 34 drivers signed in for the 1-800-GOT-JUNK? King Of Dirt Racing DIRTcar East Sportsman Mr. Crate Track USA event presented by Andy’s Speed Shop, Dodson Construction, and Dean’s Electrical Services at Lebanon Valley Thursday August 31st. Michael Sabia earned his second career KOD/DIRTcar East Sportsman tour win. As always tech saw the top three go through the ringer, including the cam doctor. 4th and 5th were also checked. All cars came out a-ok from tech. The next race is at Albany Saratoga for the 7th edition of the Northeast Crate Nationals. Drivers notably missing were Jack Lehner who has announced he’s moving up to Modified full time and Jeremy Pitts who rarely makes an appearance at the valley of speed.
NOTEABLE RUNS: Michael Sabia earned his second Mr. Crate Track USA title using the same slide job pass in the same turn on the same competitor, as when he won back in 2015. Rocky Warner who typically struggles at Lebanon Valley looked strong all night and finished third. Chad Edwards held his own for a solid fifth place finish, while both Connor Cleveland and David Schilling drove from deep in the field to finish seventh and eighth respectively. One final note, Brian Pessolano who doesn’t have a whole lot of laps on the high banks drove to his career best finish at Lebanon with a twelfth place run.
AUGUST 31, 2017 1-800-GOT-JUNK? KING OF DIRT RACING DIRTcar EAST SPORTSMAN SERIES PRESENTED BY ANDY’S SPEED SHOP, DODSON CONSTRUCTION, & DEAN’S ELECTRICAL MR CRATE TRACK USA RESULTS AT LEBANON VALLEY SPEEDWAY (30 Laps) – 1) Michael Sabia, 2) Jeff Watson, 3) Rocky Warner, 4) John Virgilio, 5) Chad Edwards, 6) Robby Knipe, 7) Connor Cleveland, 8) David Schilling, 9) Rob Maxon, 10) Kevin Ward, 11) Alan Houghtailing, 12) Brian Pessolano, 13) Cody Hunt, 14) Andrew Buff, 15) Lem Atkins, 16) Cody Ochs, 17) Nick Heywood, 18) Jon Miller, 19) Mike DuBois, 20) Nikki Ouellette, 21) Chris Curtis, 22) Mike Block, 23) Jimmy DeVitt, 24) Frank Hoard Jr., 25) Scott Duell, 26) Bobby Deleon, 27) Peter Carlotto, 28) Chris Lynch, 29) Greg Catlin, 30) Brandon Lane, 31) Harold Robitaille, 32) Adam Pierson, 33) Whitey Slavin, 34) Brian Calabrese.
Heat Race Winners – Chad Edwards, John Virgilio, Michael Sabia, & Jeff Watson
DTD Lap Leaders – Scott Duell (1-6), Michael Sabia (7-30)
Hoosier Tire Hard Charger – Connor Cleveland (+14)
Andy’s Speed Shop $250 Bonus – Michael Sabia (1st)
Fast Axle Superior Sixth – Robby Knipe ($50 Certificate)
J-Tees Fast Timer – John Virgilio (21.690)
Killer Crate Newcomer Of The Race – Jeff Watson (2nd)
2017 KING OF DIRT RACING SMALL BLOCK MODIFIED SCHEDULE
06/13/17 Devil’s Bowl Speedway Marc Johnson (Winner)
07/09/17 Utica Rome Speedway Erick Rudolph (Winner)
07/30/17 Lebanon Valley Speedway JR Heffner (Winner)
08/20/17 Utica Rome Speedway Matt Sheppard (Winner)
09/09/17 Lebanon Valley Speedway West Lebanon, NY 35 Laps
09/15/17 Albany Saratoga Speedway Malta, NY 40 Laps
09/22/17 Fonda Speedway Fonda, NY 40 Laps
2017 KING OF DIRT RACING SPORTSMAN SCHEDULE (DIRTcar East Region)
05/28/17 Devil’s Bowl Speedway Chad Edwards (Winner)
06/18/17 Utica Rome Speedway Rocky Warner (Winner)
07/15/17 Lebanon Valley Speedway Jeff Watson (Winner)
08/15/17 Albany Saratoga Speedway Rocky Warner (Winner)
08/20/17 Utica Rome Speedway Rocky Warner (Winner)
08/31/17 Lebanon Valley Speedway Michael Sabia (Winner)
09/08/17 Albany Saratoga Speedway Malta, NY 100 Laps
09/22/17 Fonda Speedway Fonda, NY 30 Laps
2017 KING OF DIRT RACING PRO STOCK SCHEDULE
06/02/17 Albany Saratoga Speedway Kenny Martin Jr. (Winner)
06/18/17 Utica Rome Speedway Rob Yetman (Winner)
07/07/17 Albany Saratoga Speedway Robbie Speed (Winner)
08/20/17 Utica Rome Speedway Chuck Dumblewski (Winner)
08/26/17 Lebanon Valley Speedway Jay Casey (Winner)
09/17/17 Devil’s Bowl Speedway West Haven, VT 29 Laps
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