WEST LEBANON, NY – J.R. Heffner was able to take advantage of Kyle Sheldon slipping up the track in turn 4 on lap 27 to take the lead. From there, he held off Andy Bachetti to win the Big Block Modified season opener Saturday night (May 6) at Lebanon Valley Speedway.
“Kyle [Sheldon] was running the top side and there was no going around him since he was right up by the wall,” Heffner said afterwards. “I just kept working the middle to the center [of the turn], then trying to get momentum off. We were able to keep the pressure going. We were right on the edge and we were able to get by in the end.”
By virtue of winning the first heat, Kyle Sheldon started from pole and led early. Kenny Tremont Jr. didn’t have the best night with his new PMC chassis, spinning out on the first lap to draw an early yellow. He would continue and eventually finish 14th.
When the green was out, Sheldon was able to open up a decent gap on Heffner. Meanwhile, Marc Johnson and Andy Bachetti gave chase.
Kevin Petrucci clipped some tires on the inside of turns 3 and 4 to draw another yellow and pull the field back together on lap 7. From there on, there were no more interruptions. Sheldon and Heffner pulled away from the pack from here.
Sheldon and Heffner were fairly evenly matched Saturday night. It wasn’t until Sheldon ran up on the back of the field that Heffner was able to make any real ground on him. Meanwhile, Bachetti took third from Johnson on lap 13 and slowly began gaining.
It was rather difficult to make passes, allowing Heffner to move in. Bachetti was also able to get into the act, making for a three-way battle. In the end, it was an unforced error that allowed Heffner to take the lead and the win.
Heffner won by 1.507 seconds over Bachetti. Sheldon was third, then Johnson and Olden Dwyer.
In Sportsman, opening night showed that things will likely look similar to last year. Cody Cordova started on the pole and led early. However, defending champion Tim Hartman Jr. was able to run him down and take the lead on lap 5.
Saturday night was a tough night for Owen Lewis. He was involved in two incidents more or less back-to-back. The first was a solo spin in turn 1. Shortly after the next restart, he was involved in an incident with Kevin Ward.
The race ultimately came down to a duel between Hartman and Whitey Slavin. Hartman had a lot of difficulty getting past Kevin Ames. That allowed Slavin to attempt a dive on the inside on lap 16 that was ultimately unsuccessful.
After a late crash for Peter Lorenzo, Hartman held on over the final two laps to win. Slavin finished second on track, but was penalized two spots for a restart violation.
As a result, Rob Maxon was classified second, then Chris Lynch, Slavin and Cordova.
In Limited Sportsman, Frank Twing Jr. led flag-to-flag to take his second career victory. Anthony Maxon was second, then Harold Robitaille, Craig Coons and Adam Schneider.
The Pro Stock feature saw Steven LaRochelle start his No. 178 from the pole and lead early over Zach Sorrentino. Unfortunately for Sorrentino, he lost control of his No. 54s on lap 5 and spun in turn 2, dropping him to seventh. At the same time, Katarina Foster came to a half to bring out the yellow.
Steve Hankle ended up in second as a result of Sorrentino’s spin. On the restart, he quickly lost that position to Rick Duzlak. Chad Jeseo, who started 10th, followed Duzlak past Hankle into third.
It was not long before Jeseo was in second and running down LaRochelle. The two drivers ran each other hard, but Jeseo was able to get a huge run on the outside exiting turn 2 on lap 12. LaRochelle had no defense as Jeseo blasted into the lead.
Once out front, Jeseo ran away from the pack to take the Pro Stock win. He ended up 3.373 seconds ahead of LaRochelle at the finish. Hankle ended up third, then Duzlak and Tom Dean.
In Street Stock, Chris Stalker took the lead on lap 9 and held on for the win. The 4-Cylinders saw Jon Shepard inherit the overall/Dual-cam win after Bradley Batho was disqualified. Tim Meltz won in Single-Cam.
Dwyer’s State Line Beer & Wine/Sysco Modified Feature (30 laps): 1) J.R. Heffner, 2) Andy Bachetti, 3) Kyle Sheldon, 4) Marc Johnson, 5) Olden Dwyer, 6) Kyle Armstrong, 7) Brett Haas, 8) Kolby Schroder, 9) Wayne Jelley, 10) L.J. Lombardo, 11) Keith Flach, 12) Eddie Marshall, 13) Matt Pupello, 14) Kenny Tremont Jr., 15) Mike King, 16) Brandon Lane, 17) Josh Marcus, 18) Kenny Aanonsen Jr., 19) Timothy Davis, 20) Ryan Charland, 21) Paul Gilardi, 22) John Virgilio, 23) Ryan Darcy, 24) Kim LaVoy, 25) Ray Hall Jr., 26) Alan Houghtaling, 27) Kevin Petrucci, 28) Ryan Heath, 29) Peter Carlotto.
DNS: Jeff Reis, Lorne Browe
Sportsman Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Tim Hartman Jr., 2) Rob Maxon, 3) Chris Lynch, 4) Whitey Slavin, 5) Cody Cordova, 6) Karl Barnes, 7) Brady Cordova, 8) Tom Princiotta, 9) Matt Burke, 10) Keith Johannessen, 11) Gary O’Brien, 12) Jim VanZandt, 13) Jay Havland, 14) Kevin Ames, 15) Peter Lorenzo, 16) Dillon Gannon, 17) Kevin Ward, 18) Tommy D’Angelo, 19) Alan Houghtaling, 20) Owen Smith
Limited Sportsman Feature Results (15 laps): 1) Frank Twing Jr., 2) Anthony Maxon, 3) Harold Robitaille, 4) Craig Coons, 5) Adam Schneider, 6) Scott Zehnacker, 7) Kyle Swartz, 8) Wesley Sutliff, 9) Alex Palmer-Sawyer, 10) Billy Brandt, 11) Brian Walsh, 12) Owen Lewis, 13) Kent Clark, 14) Aaron Mulready, 15) Matt Jordan, 16) Dylan Grogan, 17) Mike Engwer, 18) Becky Belisle
Pro Stock Feature Results (20 laps): 1) Chad Jeseo, 2) Steven LaRochelle, 3) Steve Hankle, 4) Rick Duzlak, 5) Tom Dean, 6) Nick Hilt Jr., 7) Zach Sorrentino, 8) Shawn Perez, 9) Dave Stickles, 10) Ryan Crellin, 11) Brian Keough, 12) Fred Lee, 13) Tom O’Connor, 14) Nick Rogers, 15) Katarina Foster, 16) Mike Dianda
Street Stock Feature Results (15 laps): 1) Chris Stalker, 2) Jay Casey, 3) Jeff Meltz Sr., 4) Dave Streibel, 5) Rocco Procopio, 6) Dylan Fachini, 7) Rob Partridge, 8) Katarina Foster, 9) Dave Streibel Jr., 10) Franklin Smith, 11) Mike Dianda, 12) Milo Campbell, 13) Jim Dellea, 14) Christopher Brown, 15) Keri VanDenburg, 16) Lou Gancarz, 17) Nick Giardini
4-Cylinder Dual-Cam Feature Results (15 laps): 1) Jon Shepard, 2) Jim Guertin, 3) Jason Peck, 4) Mike Duncan, 5) Bradley Batho
4-Cylinder Single-Cam Feature Results (15 laps): 1) Tim Meltz, 2) Joe Wolfe, 3) Joey Batho, 4) Dylan McCloud