Column By: BRETT HORLACHER / RPW – WEST LEBANON, NY – Lebanon Valley celebrated its 70th Birthday in true ‘high banks fashion’ with the Small Block Modifieds, Pro Stocks, Street Stocks, 4-Cylinders and the Mohawk Valley Vintage joining the DIRTcar Modifieds on the card.
With multiple retired drivers in attendance, an autograph session was held and awards given out on the front stretch. The evening was truly special, especially for Small Block Modified winner Kevin Petrucci, who notched his first career win on the historic night.
Petrucci and Jason Herrington won their respective heat races with the Connecticut racer Petrucci started on the pole of the 24-lap feature. He never looked back.
Leading wire-to-wire, and crossing the finish line first, Petrucci inked his first 358-Modified feature event win.
“This is definitely the best win I’ve ever had,” Petrucci said. “The last two seasons were really tough for us and we almost quit after last year. Thank god we didn’t because this was worth it.”
His good friend, and runner-up finisher, Ryan Larkin, congratulated Petrucci in Victory Lane. Keeping in the Track’s family theme for the 70th Birthday celebration, Petrucci thanked Larkin, his team and and the team of Kim LaVoy for helping him get his #24 on track for the feature.
“In warmups, we were having a steering issue and were having trouble getting it fixed,” he said. “His guys and some of Kim’s crew jumped in and really helped us out. That means a lot.”
Just before the start of the season, Kevin’s father, “Motor Man Mike,” Mike Petrucci, was inducted into the Lebanon Valley Hall of Fame. On a night honoring the history of the speedway, Kevin’s win has to be one of, if not the best, victory, his father ever had as an engine builder.
“My dad’s the heartbeat behind this whole deal,” he said. “He’s got some health issues right now and it’s not slowing him down one bit. He works at this harder than I do and that guy’s a machine so this one’s for him.”
Petrucci also didn’t forget someone really close to him.
“This win’s also for the memory of George Marcus,” he said. “George was a big part of me and my brother’s childhood here and we miss him greatly.”
Finishing third was Andy Bachetti with Jason Herrington and LJ Lombardo completing the top five.
The DIRTcar Pro Stocks had Steven LaRochelle and Tom Dean winning their respective heat races. Tommy O’Connor would lead the field to green in the 20-lap feature.
His time up front would be short lived with LaRochelle taking the lead on lap two.
After a Lap five caution, LaRochelle and defending champion Chad Jeseo would restart on the front row. The twowould run door to door, but never touch, for the next six laps with Jeseo eventually taking the lead on the backstretch just passed halfway.
Once out front, Jeseo would never be challenged again, leading the final nine laps to cross the finish line first, winning his sixth race at the Valley of Speed this season.
“A lot of work goes into this car every week and I’m glad we were able to win tonight,” Jeseo said. “I know these guys are getting tired of me winning, though.”
How much fun was it running wheel-to-wheel with LaRochelle for so many laps, side-by-side?
“It was fun but it just goes to show, you have to know your car,” he said. “It was great to run like that with Steven. He’s getting the hang of it and he’s going to have a ton of wins, but right now, I’m going to take as many as I can.”
LaRochelle would come home in second followed by Nick Hilt in third. Zach Sorrentino has a strong run to come home fourth and Zach Seyerlein came on late in the feature to round out the top 5.
The Street Stock Division saw Dom Denue, who started seventh in the feature, win the 15-lap main event, followed closely to the finish by current point leader Chris Stalker and defending champion Jeff Meltz Sr. Scott Morris and Dave Striebel Jr. were fourth and fifth.
John Sheppard won the 15-lap Four-Cylinder feature in the dual-cam division with Bradly Batho being the first single-cam car to cross the line, taking the win.
358 MODIFIED FEATURE RESULTS 1) Kevin Petrucci* 24 2) Ryan Larkin 39 3) Andy Bachetti*** 4 4) Jason Herrington* 1 5) L.J Lombardo* 35 6) Olden Dwyer 88JR 7) Jeff Watson 22W 8) Kim Lavoy 3 9) Frank Harper 25 10) Brian Sandstedt 12S 11) Montgomery Tremont 115 12) Peter Carlotto 12C 13) Ryan Charland 10C 14) Bryan McGuire 6 15) Dylan Gibson 22 16) Alan Houghtaling 250 17) Lorne Browe 14B
PRO STOCKS FEATURE RESULTS 1) Chad Jeseo****** 25 2) Steven LaRochelle* 178 3) Nick Hilt* 17 4) Zach Sorrentino 54S 5) Zach Seyerlein 33 6) Tom Dean 413 7) Chris Stalker 177 8) Dave Stickles 55 9) Tom O’Connor 52 10) Brian Keough 311 11) Nick Rogers 77 12) Tom Gomm 32 13) Rick Duzlak 29
STREET STOCK FEATURE RESULTS 1) Dom Denue** 145 2) Chris Stalker* 177 3) Jeff Meltz SR. 5X 4) Scott Morris 84 5) Dave Striebel JR.** 73 6) Jim Dellea 77 7) Rob Partridge 22 8) Evan Denue* 245 9) Brian Walsh* 43 10) Katarina Foster 10 11) Kerri Vandenburg 89 12) Chris Brown OO9 13) Franklin Smith 76 14) Rocco Procopio 62 15) Ray Royals 6 16) Craig Coons 133C
FOUR-CYLINDER DUAL CAM FEATURE RESULTS 1) Jon Shepard* 99D 2) Gary Malloy* 69D 3) Steve Burbank 22D 4) Chris Hall 4D 5) Garrett Biagiarelli 343D 6) Althea Roy 35D 7) Doug Howe 12D
FOUR-CYLINDER SINGLE CAM FEATURE RESULTS 1) Bradley Batho* O7s 2) Joe Wolfe 777S 3) Matt Tedrow 28S 4) Joey Batho, 7S 5) Victor Duncan JR. 60S DQ) Tim Meltz* 515S