W. LEBANON, N.Y. — Brett Hearn’s Super DIRTcar Series victory Thursday night at the high-banked Lebanon Valley Speedway was his 106th overall and his ninth in the 100-lap, $17,500 to win Mr. Dirt Track USA event.
It has to rank near the top of his personal accomplishments, however, because not only did fast-timer Hearn start 23rd, he did so in his backup car after blowing the rear end in his “Lebanon Valley” car while leading his qualifier.
“I think this car is every bit as good as the other car and that one’s really good,” offered the beaming Hearn as he savored his first win since spending a few days in a Saratoga Springs, N.Y., hospital with a mysterious and debilitating infection. “I got a couple of cautions early when I needed them and then some help from Bachetti and Phelps when I got to them. Things couldn’t have fallen into place any better.”
Jimmy Phelps, a contender in this race in the past but always a victim of mechanical issues, drew the pole in the redraw and got the drop on front row companion Kenny Tremont Jr. when the green flew. Tremont almost got by on some early restarts but Phelps always prevailed in his Bob Bruneau-fired Troyer and on a lap-29 restart Tremont fell to the always-aggressive Bachetti, up from the third row.
The next restart saw Bachetti throw a huge slide job on the leader into turn one but Phelps crossed back under him to regain the lead and held it, despite constant pressure from Bachetti, until Hearn put his Enders powered TEO into second just before the three-quarter mark.
Hearn had fought his way by such luminaries as Stewart Friesen and Billy Decker but couldn’t put Bachetti away until he slide right to the turn three wall on lap 71, letting the “Jersey Jet” fly by on the bottom. He immediately closed on Phelps in lapped traffic but was still trailing him into the early 80s.
“I didn’t know how I was going to pass Jimmy, but then he began struggling,” said the winner, while Phelps added, “We just got too free there near the end. But Brett was obviously awesome to come from that far back. It’s really hard to come in here and beat the regulars. The draw helped but then I got run over three times by the 34 car.”
Phelps had climbed from his mount and immediately confronted Bachetti, sticking his head in his car and complaining loudly about his driving style. The latter had little to say about that, offering instead that he “got too high because I screwed up, otherwise the car was good.”
Decker was fourth with Donnie Corellis, Friesen, Tremont, 2010 and ’11 winner JR Heffner, Matt Sheppard and Eddie Marshall trailing, giving the Valley regulars six of the top 10 positions.
Robbie Knipe bested Michael Sabia and fourth-generation racer Bobby Hackel in the companion crate sportsman feature.