RPW Column: First-Ever Lebanon Valley Pure Stock “Feature” Now Official; Larkin & Rivers Are Ready; Boomer’s Remembers

Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – WEST LEBANON, NY – Saturday night at the Lebanon Valley Speedway, second-generation driver Dave Striebel Jr. crossed the line first in the 15-lap Pure Stock feature.

On Monday afternoon, the race finish became official.

For the first time in actual points-paying competition, speedway officials grouped the Pure Stock drivers into a new one 15-lap feature format that included the use of qualifying heat races.

Striebel made the pass of leader Jim Dellea with only a handful of laps remaining, went on to cross the finish line first and make history at the Valley of Speed.

However, after the race, the winner’s Crate Engine was protested by a fellow competitor which meant the finish wasn’t deemed official.

Monday, after putting the motor on the dyno, track management got word that the motor was actually a little underpowered compared to what a crate engine should be, so they deemed the race official with Striebel Jr. as the winner.

After starting 11th, the #73 worked his way through the field, taking the lead from Dellea with a few laps left on the board, and then fended off Jeff Meltz Sr. and Scott Morris to the line.

“I was a little nervous at the start,” Striebel said. “Being that far back at the beginning, I was a little worried but things cleared up when I got to the front and it was easy from there.”

Behind Striebel, Meltz Sr. & Morris were the two Hillsdale Repair cars, early leader Dellea and Chris Stalker, who finished fourth and fifth, respectively.


Ryan Larkin’s Ready For Opening Night For 358-Modifieds

Several 358-Modifieds were on hand Saturday night to get some hot laps on their rides in anticipation of the 2022 division opener this coming weekend.

Ryan Larkin was one of those drivers, getting some laps on his brand new 2022 Bicknell, and the Great Barrington, MA driver was happy with how things went.

“The car is pretty good,” Larkin said. “They didn’t have the transponders working for us, but my guys were timing our car. The range they had me at has me pretty confident that our car will be good on Saturday.”

Last year, Larkin made the switch mid-season from a PMC Race Car to a new Bicknell. He was able to capture two wins and finished sixth in points.

Is this car any better?

“I think we’re better than last year,” he said. “We’ve been working with Joe Matthews from JAM Performance on our shock program and we’ve found some improvements. I’m very happy with the direction we’re going.”

Is the second-generation pilot excited to get 2022 underway?

“I can’t tell you how pumped everyone on this team is to get the new year started,” he said. “If we can win on opening night, that’d be a big shot in the arm for us. I want to win opening night very badly.”

What would it mean for his team if that was to happen?

It’d mean a great deal for all of us,” he said. “Not everyone can win on opening night and that can really get our season off on the right foot. I’ve got great support behind me and the best crew out there. We’re ready.”


Boomer’s Always Remembers…

Saturday Night is Boomer’s Performance night, and that means Brian and Margaret Bedell will be putting a lot of extras into the night of action.

It also means fans will be able to remember several of those that we’ve lost along the way as the Bedell’s run each of the feature events in honor of someone very special to them.

This year, the family will remember six very deserving people who were taken from us too soon. They include:

• Big Block Modified Feature: In Memory of Robert “Fluff” Hagen
• 358-Modified Feature: In Member of Ma & Pa (Margaret & Walt) Bedell
• Sportsman Feature: In Memory of Rod Fifield
• Limited Sportsman Feature: In Memory of Claude Riley
• Pro Stock Feature: In Memory of Jimmy Langenback
• Pure Stock Clash: In Memory of Robert “Boomer” Bedell

Brian, Margaret along with Michelle Walter do an amazing job to put the Boomer’s night together each and every year, giving extra money to those putting on the show while keeping the memory alive of several who were instrumental in the history of the West Lebanon oval.

They are even putting together an $1,100 payout for their 20-lap Pure Stock Clash. Every single racer in the event will receive money. The regular class only pays the top three.

This just shows how supportive the Bedell’s are.


Johnny Rivers Is Ready For Whatever Comes At Him

Fans might have noticed on Saturday the 14J of Johnny Rivers wasn’t the car that was run on Opening night.

The car which the Rensselaer, NY native drove to a fifth place finish at the lid-lifter was a Chevrolet Camaro body. Last week’s fifth place machine was the team’s Ford Mustang body.

Was there a method to Rivers’ madness or did he have a problem with his car from week one?

“I just wanted to get the Mustang dialed in so we had two primary cars ready to do battle this season,” Rivers said. “I wanted to have two cars that were race ready so if need be, either could go out and win on any night and I’d be comfortable.”

Did he like the car this past week?

“The Mustang really moves,” he said. “With a few tweaks to fine tune it, I think it’ll be perfect.”

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