Lebanon Valley championships to be decided
WEST LEBANON, N.Y. — Following "the longest program of the year" on Saturday, including six feature events over three racing divisions, the 2017 season at Lebanon Valley Speedway is roaring toward a finale.
Track owner Howard Commander said the final races in the points championships and some special events remain on tap at the Valley of Speed, which concludes its season on Sept. 9.
A flurry of features Saturday marked a crowded night of racing, with double features in the big block and small block modified divisions and in the pro stocks. That double scheduling resulted from a partially rained out program the previous weekend.
Rain again threatened the final few races, Commander said, "and it started raining 15 minutes after the last checkered flag."
In fact, he said, "This has been the wettest, rainiest season ever" for the speedway, which is marking its 65th year.
"We had to scrape mud from the pits 15 of 20 races," he said, adding, "We lost just two races but got all the others in by hook or by crook. What we had Saturday was by crook."
But the long racing program, which ended well after 10 p.m., provided a spectacular night at the half-mile, high-banked clay track, he said.
"We had a lot of great racing," he said, "with the fastest cars, the big block modifieds, reaching 140 to 150 mph on the straightaways."
Also on the remaining LVS schedule is a 101-lap Mr. Dirt USA race, with a $17,500 prize to win, on Thursday, Aug. 31.
And fireworks planned for the Fourth of July, which were rained out, will be held on Sept. 2, Commander said.
There also are King of Dirt series races on the calendar this month, for small blocks, pro stocks and sportsman class racers. And on Aug. 26, the speedway will host a Halloween in August event, with kids in costume admitted free.
Championship point races
For the 2017 season, there are two features remaining for the big blocks and for the pro stocks, races that will count in the season points standings. Those are set for Aug. 26 and Sept. 2.
For the small blocks, sportsman and pure stock divisions, there are three more races each, on Aug. 26, and Sept. 2 and 9.
Some familiar drivers lead the big block and small block division points races — Brett Hearn and Kenny Tremont Jr., respectively.
Hearn, who recently won his 901st career feature, including 101 big block wins at LVS, has won five consecutive big block championships.
Tremont is the all-time big block feature winner at the speedway, with 130 wins, and he also holds multiple big block points titles, most recently winning in 2011.
In the small block division, Tremont has won the past two LVS championships and has a 24-point lead after the Saturday races.
In the big block modified division, the leaders through Aug. 19 were Hearn, 736 points, Keith Flach, 689, Andy Bachetti, 636, Tremont, 622, Eddie Marshall, 593, Wayne Jelley, 586, J.R. Heffner, 572, Kolby Schroder, 571, Brian Berger, 556, and Chad Jeseo, 545, making up the top 10.
The small block modified leaders are Tremont, 668, Heffner, 644, Demetrios Drellos, 577, Brett Haas, 553, Frank Harper, 512, and Jason Herrington, Brian Sandstedt, Alan Houghtaling, Frank Hoard III, and Tim Davis completing the top 10.
In the sportsman class, Michael Sabia has 370 points, Chris Lynch, 344, Whitney Slavin, 344, John Virgilio, 342, Kevin Ward, 324, with Frank Hoard Jr., Cody Ochs, Rob Maxon, Robbie Knipe and Houghtaling rounding out the top 10.
Pro stock leaders are Rob Yetman, 754 points, Jason Meltz, 682, Chuck Towslee, 680, Jon Routhier, 659, Steven LaRouchelle, 577, and Rick Dempsey, Nick Hilt, Rich Crane and Jay Corbin in the top 10.
Pure stock leaders are Ed Hatch, 690 points, Bill Deak Jr., 656, Gary O'Brien, 634, John Devine 630, Jeff Meltz Jr., 628, and Jeff Meltz, Ray Hall Sr., Jeff Kreutzinger, Lou Ganczar, and Tim Thompson in the top 10.
Leaders in the 4-cylinder class are Chris Vandeputte, 364 points, P.J. Bleau, 356, Shawny Hazel, 312, Jake Gomm, 312, Kenny Stager, 294, and Tomm Gomm, Jim Guertin, Mike Duncan, Matt Thompson and John Wright in the top 10.
More photos of racing on Saturday can be found at https://mng-nenivt.smugmug.com/Lebanon-Valley-Speedway-081917/
Information on the race track is available at https://www.lebanonvalley.com
Jim Therrien writes for New England Newspapers in Southern Vermont and VTDigger.org. @BB_therrien on Twitter.
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