Story By: MICHELINA FRISS / DIRTCAR – WEST LEBANON, NY – Nick Hilt battled around the high banks of “The Valley of Speed” to bring home his first DIRTcar Pro Stock Series win of the season in front of his home track fans Saturday night.
After starting on the outside pole position, Hilt shot out in front of his competitors at the drop of the green flag for the 30-lap, $1,000-to-win, showcase, pacing the rest of the field. His initial momentum was short lived, as two multi-car collisions plagued the first two attempts at completing the first lap. Once back to green, Frank Twing Jr. and Devin Camenga followed behind him in second and third place.
The top three runners battled nose-to-tail until Lap 12, when Twing Jr. attempted his first play at sneaking around Hilt on the inside of Turn 3 and 4, but was unsuccessful. Hilt surged off the cushion on the outside and retained his lead down the front stretch, and the top three fell in line as they approached lapped traffic for the first time.
There was no change in positions for the top three as they easily maneuvered around traffic. But after a restart on Lap 18, current track points leader Chad Jeseo decided to apply some pressure from fourth place. He dove low into Turn 3 and 4, moving up two positions as he powered around Twing Jr. and Zach Sorrentino. Jeseo followed Hilt by a car length as Lap 19 ticked off the counter.
Hilt kept steady out in front running his own race. Jeseo, the defending event champion, was not going to go down without a fight, as he powered down the back stretch three times seeing if he could take over the lead. The #17 machine did not panic, riding the same smooth lines he had, making up the speed around the turns. After one last burst on Lap 29 from Jeseo trying to pass him on the outside of Turn 3 and 4, Hilt drove around Turn 4 to take the checkers for his first DIRTcar Pro Stock Series win of the season.
“I knew Chad (Jeseo) was next to me,” Hilt said. “The last three weeks I came up here, those are the only three weeks Chad won…I’m excited because not being here every week, being a DIRTcar race and everything, we try so hard. It’s nice to get out here when you can and enjoy it, because a lot of time and work goes into it.”
Jeseo, who came into tonight with three track victories, was satisfied with his runner-up finish after his aggressive challenges to Hilt’s lead.
“I raced Nick for a lot of years,” Jeseo said. “This isn’t the first time we’ve done this. It’s awesome when you both know the dance. There’s a little bit of give and take in racing and there wasn’t much else to do.”
Twing Jr. held off to finish the night in third place to round out the podium.
“It was a good run. We had that long run going there, but then it went away. (Hilt) needed that caution. You just make the bottom work. I got the restarts down pretty good.”
Zach Sorrentino finished fourth and Pete Stefanski finished fifth to complete the top-five.
The DIRTcar Pro Stock Series will hit the track on Sunday, Aug. 27 at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park in a 30-lap, $1,000-to-win, showcase event.
RESULTS: (30 LAPS)
1.) Nick Hilt 2.) Chad Jeseo 3.) Frank Twing Jr. 4.) Zach Sorrentino 5.) Pete Stefanski 6.) Devin Camenga 7.) Luke Horning 8.) Slater Baker 9.) Fred Lee 10.) Shawn Perez 11.) Dave Stickles 12.) Shane Planford 13.) Johnny Rivers 14.) Tom O’Connors 15.) Phil Defiglio 16.) Tom Dean 17.) Ken Griffin 18.) Dave Kokindo 19.) Shawn Perez 20.) LaRochelle 21.) Brian Keough 22.) Dave Depaulo 23.) Jay Fitgerald