RPW Column: Kolby Schroder Holds Off Brett Haas For First DIRTcar Modified Win Of ’22 At Lebanon Valley

Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – WEST LEBANON, NY – Saturday night was Kolby Schroder’s evening to shine at Lebanon Valley Speedway, and he needed it.

Schroder bounced back from a lot of struggles recently and did so in a big way, holding off Brett Haas and the rest of the DIRTcar Big Block Modified field to record his first win of the 2022 season.

“We’ve struggle a bit this year,” Schroder said. “Our car’s been pretty good but just small things that have really kicked us in the butt. It’s great to finally make it back to victory lane tonight.”

The Staatsburg, NY driver started the 30-lap main event from the best seat in the house, the number one spot, but it was in no way a cakewalk. First he had to hold off the likes of John Virgilio, LJ Lombardo and Keith Flach before late in the race fending off several advances by Haas.

“I’m so glad that Brett ran me clean,” he said. “I didn’t expect him to run me dirty but it was just good racing. I thought he had me on one of those late restarts and I kind of pinched him down a little bit. I then slid across the track into the bite and was able to yank off the turn. It’s fun when you can do that kind of stuff.”

Several caution flags slowed Schroder’s pace including a grinding crash by John Virgilio into the third turn wall while running in the top five. He was okay, but the car will need extensive repair.

Another was for current point leader Andy Bachetti who was forced to a backup car for the feature after losing an engine in his primary in warm-ups just before the main. Bachetti’s luck didn’t look to be any better in the feature as a left rear tire went down on the #4 near the midpoint of the race.

However, in true Bachetti fashion, Andy charged from the rear of the field and when the race was complete, he was sitting in third…a truly remarkable rebound from what could have been a disastrous night.

With all that was going on, though, Saturday night belonged to the Schroder team.

“The car was pretty good but so was the track,” he said. “There were a couple different lanes you could go with but our car started to get a little hot with all the late restarts. I was struggling to get the car to fire right.”

Choosing when to go and when not to on restarts is key, especially when you’re the leader. Timing is everything and Schroder understood that.

“I was trying different speeds and different parts of the turn to fire,” he said. “I just couldn’t get it to go quite right but this car made up for it. It was awesome.”

Haas was able to come home with another solid finish and another second place run during the 2022 season. However, he only gained four points on leader Bachetti because of Andy’s rebound from the flat tire to finish third.

Marc Johnson came home in fourth with Eddie Marshall rounding out the top five.

Sixth through tenth were Mike King, Kyle Armstrong, Olden Dwyer, Kenny Tremont and Paul Gilardi.

Different car, same result in the Pro Stock division. Chad Jeseo in victory lane.

Due to a myriad of issues with the car as of late and having a commanding lead in the points at Lebanon, the 25 team decided to work on things to try and figure out their problems with the Albany-Saratoga machine.

It worked.

Jeseo worked his way towards the front and was working over leader Nick Hilt lap after lap as the race went on. Then, coming to two to go, Hilt slipped up the track going through turns three and four and that as all Jeseo needed as he went on to record his ninth win of 2022.

“After the troubles we had last night at Malta, trying to defend our title there, we got plagued with bad luck,” Jeseo said. “We couldn’t tell if it was ignition or fuel. Hats off to my guys they changed fuel pumps, carburetors, distributors, just about everything on this car and this morning I got the call that they found the problem.”

Jeseo just took his time in the 20-lap main event, waiting for the opening that he could take advantage. On many occasions this season, the 17 and 25 have raced wheel-to-wheel for victories and Saturday night was no exception.

“These cars are so close,” he said. “It was a good, tight race the entire distance. I was waiting for my chance and Nicky slid up and gave me the opening. All-in-all, it was just an awesome night.”

Hilt had to settle for second with Tommy Dean in third, Rick Duzlak in fourth and Zach Seyerlein coming home in fifth.

Jeff Meltz Sr. took home the Street Stock feature for his first win of the 2022 season and in turn put an end to the dominance that Chris Stalker has had on the class. Dom Denue finished in second with Stalker completing the podium in third.

Rob Partridge was fourth with “Big Jim” Dellea in fifth. Dellea captured the four-lap Street Stock Dash earlier in the evening.

Cody Cordova was victorious in the Limited Sportsman main event and the two Four-Cylinder winners were Bradley Batho (Single Cam) and Jon Sheppard (Dual Cam).

MODIFIED FEATURE RESULTS 1) Kolby Schroder* 99 2) Brett Haas 55H 3) Andy Bachetti**** 4 4) Marc Johnson** 9J 5) Eddie Marshall* 98 6) Mike King 55K 7) Kyle Armstrong* 11A 8) Olden Dwyer* 88JR 9) Kenny Tremont Jr.* 115 10) Paul Gilardi, 87X 11) Chris Lynch 42L 12) Dylan Gibson 22 13) Kyle Sheldon 42S 14) Brian Berger* 60 15) John Virgilio 74V 16) Keith Flach 43 17) L.J Lombardo 35 18) Josh Marcus 91M 19) John Ruchel 7

PRO STOCKS FEATURE RESULTS 1) Chad Jeseo********* 25 2) Nick Hilt* 17 3) Tom Dean 413 4) Rick Duzlak* 29 5) Zach Seyerlein 33 6) Zach Sorrentino* 54S 7) Brian Keough 311 8) Nick Rogers 77 9) Dave Stickles 55 10) Jason Meltz 51

STREET STOCK FEATURE RESULTS 1) Jeff Meltz SR.* 5X 2) Dom Denue** 145 3) Chris Stalker***** 177 4) Rob Partridge 22 5) Jim Dellea 77 6) Brian Walsh* 43 7) Kerri Vandenburg 89 8) Evan Denue* 245 9) Scott Morris 84 10) Chris Calabro 3C 11) Katarina Foster 10 12) Franklin Smith 76 13) Dominic Hilt 17H 14) Dylan Fachini 35 15) Lou Gancarz O8 16) Gary O’ Brien* 57 17) Rocco Procopio 62 18) Dave Striebel JR.*** 73 19) Daniel Coonradt 74 DQ) Craig Coons 133C

LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE RESULTS 1) Cody Cordova* 11 2) Kevin Ames** 43 3) Cody O’ Brien 27 4) Karl Barnes** 307 5) Dylan Grogan 34 6) Frank Twing JR.* 1T 7) Matt Jordan 5MJ 8) Adam Schneider 61 9) Justin Lily 44L

4-CYLINDER SINGLE CAM FEATURE RESULTS 1) Bradley Batho** O7s 2) Tim Meltz* 515S 3) Joey Batho, 7S 4) Joe Wolfe 777S 5) Wayne Russell 54S 6) Victor Duncan JR. 73S

4-CYLINDER DUAL CAM FEATURE RESULTS 1) Jon Shepard** 99D 2) Gary Malloy*** 69D 3) Steve Burbank 22D 4) Chris Danylieko 191D

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