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posted June 30, 2001 07:32 AM UIN: 16262997

JUNE 28, 2001
WEST LEBANON, NY - Winston Cup star Tony Stewart was the winner of the
100-lap DIRT 358 modified race at Lebanon Valley Speedway Thursday night. I
Love NY and CARQUEST Auto Parts presented the evenings event. It was two in a
row for Stewart fresh off his victory last Sunday in the Winston Cup race in
Sonoma, California. It was the first time Stewart has won in a DIRT-modified
style car. An overflow crowd saw Stewart take this historic victory. Dave
Blaney was also in competition Thursday night as well. Blaney won his heat
and finished the feature a very respectable fourth.
Tony Stewart and Jack Johnson led thirty-three cars to Matt Higgins green
flag. Stewart was able to take the lead, but the caution came out quickly on
lap one. Todd Wilkinson was the first casualty of the event as he made hard
contact with the frontstretch wall. John Finley came to a stop in turn three
and collected up Frankie Caprara on lap four. Finley was done, but Caprara
was able to continue. Problems for Jack Johnson on the restart as he went
spinning down the frontstretch. Johnson was able to continue after a quick
trip to the pits, but dropped from the race just passed the halfway point.
Blaney used the ensuing restart to take over second and tried to run down
The car on the move early in the race was Danny Johnson. He started the
race 20th and was all the way up to sixth by lap seven. Mike Benson went up
in a big ball of smoke on lap ten. It looked like he was finished for the
evening, but he was able to return many laps down. Stewart, Blaney and
Bachetti started to pull away from the field by lap 16. Another driver on the
move was Rich Ricci Jr. He started the race 28th and was battling his brother
Mike for eleventh by lap 22. Stewart first big challenge came on lap 23 as he
started to run up on the back of the field. The top ten just passed the
one-quarter mark were Stewart, Blaney, Bachetti, Danny Johnson, Jeff
Trombley, Kenny Tremont, Jerry Higbie, Mike Ricci, Rich Ricci and Vic Coffey.
Rich Ricci was up to seventh by lap 35th as the race for second started
to heat up. Bachetti tried to apply some pressure to Blaney, but Blaney was
strong to the challenge, for now. Rich Ricci made the pass around Danny
Johnson for fourth on lap 54. Dickie Larkin retired from the event on lap 57.
Blaney drifted high in turn one allowing Bachetti to slip on pass on lap 63.
Rich Ricci would make his way around Blaney as well on lap 67. Twenty-three
cars were still running at lap 70. Alan Johnson dropped from the race as
smoke began to pour from his mount on lap 72. Stewart almost got turned into
the wall by a lapped car at the three-quarter mark.
Mike Benson went up in smoke for the second time on lap eighty. It was
near disaster for Rich Ricci as he was right behind Benson when he blew up.
J.R. Heffner and Vic Coffey made contact on the backstretch bringing out the
caution on lap 92. Coffey was able to continue for the last eight laps. Matt
Sheppard's car made hard contact with the turn four wall on the same lap. Bud
Christmann brought out the final caution of the race on lap 97 as he sat
parked the wrong way in turn one. Tremont dropped from the race while under
the caution just three laps from the end.
Bachetti was not able to make a charge and Stewart was able to lead from
start to finish. Rich Ricci Jr. was third, Blaney was fourth and Danny
Johnson was fifth.
Seventy-five cars attempted to make the field Thursday night. Heat
winners were Stewart, Jack Johnson, Jerry Higbie, Blaney, Finley, Wilkinson,
Mike Ricci and Jeff Trombley. Consolation winners were Matt Sheppard,
Christmann, Benson, Johnson, Alan Johnson and Steve Paine.

- 1) Tony Stewart, 2) Andy Bachetti, 3) Rich Ricci Jr, 4) Dave Blaney, 5)
Danny Johnson, 6) Mike Ricci, 7) J.R. Heffner, 8) Brett Hearn, 9) Steve
Paine, 10) Pete Bicknell, 11) Todd Burley, 12) Pat Ward, 13) Vince
Quenneville, 14) Vic Coffey, 15) Chris Moore, 16) Kenny Tremont Jr, 17) Bud
Christmann, 18) Matt Sheppard, 19) Jeff Trombley, 20) Frankie Caprara, 21)
Jerry Higbie, 22) Alan Johnson, 23) Jeff Strunk, 24) Mike Benson, 25) Dickie
Larkin, 26) Ryan Baye, 27) Ron Constintino, 28) Tim Fuller, 29) Jack Johnson,
30) Wayne Jelley, 31) Alex Hoag, 32) John Finley, 33) Todd Wilkinson

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