WEST LEBANON, N.Y. — Kenny Tremont Jr., who clinched his 15th Lebanon Valley Speedway modified championship by taking the green flag, celebrated with a convincing win in Saturday night’s 101-lap Mr. Dirt Track USA event on the high banked half-mile.
The Super DIRTcar big block series win, worth some $25,500, was Tremont’s second consecutive score in the event. It came at the expense of polesitter Ronnie Johnson, who got the best of front row companion Brett Hearn n the initial start and prevailed through a handful of restarts that saw Hearn get even but not quite by before Johnson’s momentum off the banked turns put him back in command.
As the duo battled, Tremont was clawing his way forward from the eighth starting position, surviving especially hard battles with first Wayne Jelley and then Danny Johnson. As the race neared the halfway point, he finally got by Johnson to take over fourth, then had a back and forth tussle with Andy Bachetti for third that saw Tremont finally prevail on a lap 48 restart.
That put Tremont on arch-rival Hearn’s bumper and after another set of side by side laps, he put Hearn away on lap 53 and set out after Johnson.
A yellow for a Mike King spin on lap 65 that collected J.R. Heffner and series leader Matt Sheppard saw Bachetti and Hearn swap third back and forth on the restart while Tremont started working on Johnson, using the low groove to attack in the turns but not quite getting by.
“I was working hard there and decided I had to start moving around on the track because I knew I couldn’t do what he was doing,” said Tremont. “I finally got so I could hit the turns in the middle, then cut down under him and it paid off.”
Pay off it did, as Tremont, Lebanon Valley’s all-time leading winner, ran even with Johnson on lap 92, then pulled off a slide job the next time they hit turn three to take command. From there he pulled out to a turn lead before the checkers flew.
“Losing one to Kenny Tremont here is nothing to be ashamed of,” said Johnson. “I was good, but he’s got a lot more laps here than I do. We got beat by experience tonight.”
Hearn, who rounded out the podium finishers, tipped that he “was trying to play possum and be ready to go at the end but to do that, you have to have your tires at the end. I had a tire that chunked off and I thought that Kenny’s right rear was coming apart too but when it was time to go, he went.”
Bachetti was fourth, with Mat Williamson turning in a strong run to claim fifth.
Jelley led the second five, trailed by Eddie Marshall, Stewart Friesen, Pete Britain and Marc Johnson.
When asked about Hearn’s observation about his tire, Tremont said “I worked it hard getting to the front and it’s used up, but it felt good the whole way. I should probably get a medal for working so hard to get by Wayne (Jelley) and Danny (Johnson). Danny and I may have touched once there but nothing serious.”
Notable events that changed the complexion of the race included fast timer Keith Flach hitting the turn three wall on lap 44 while climbing through the field and a frontstretch melee caused by Mike Mahaney’s crippled car that slowed on the frontstretch, then turned sharply, collecting Jack Lehner and Brian Berger.
In supporting action, Jason Casey claimed the track Pro Stock championship with a win over Chad Jeseo and Nick Arnold while Whitey Slavin prevailed over Jeff Watson and Rob Maxon in the crash-filled sportsman finale.
Feature (101 Laps): 1. 115-Kenny Tremont [$]; 2. 2-Ronnie Johnson [$8,000]; 3. 20-Brett Hearn [$3,000]; 4. 4-Andy Bachetti [$1,800]; 5. 88-Mat Williamson [$1,600]; 6. 45-Wayne Jelley [$1,400]; 7. 98-Eddy Marshall [$1,300]; 8. 44-Stewart Friesen [$1,200]; 9. 21A-Peter Britten [$1,100]; 10. 33-Marc Johnson [$1,000]; 11. 111-Demetrios Drellos [$800]; 12. 9s-Matt Sheppard [$700]; 13. 25-Erick Rudolph [$600]; 14. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [$575]; 15. 91-Billy Decker [$550]; 16. 55-Mike King [$525]; 17. 26-Ryan Godown [$500]; 18. 74-JR Heffner [$500]; 19. 99L-Larry Wight [$500]; 20. 27j-Danny Johnson [$500]; 21. 11A-Kyle Armstrong [$500]; 22. 43-Keith Flach [$500]; 23. 37-Paul StSauveur [$500]; 24. 99-Kolby Schroder [$500]; 25. 35-Mike Mahaney [$500]; 26. 2L-Jack Lehner [$500]; 27. 606-Brian Berger ; 28. 35L-LJ Lombardo ; 29. 97-Bobby Hackel