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posted September 09, 2001 12:21 AM
CARQUEST RACE OF KINGS LAURELS TO BRETT HEARN AT LEBANON VALLEY
SEPTEMBER 8, 2001
WEST LEBANON, NY- Brett Hearn, from Sussex, New Jersey, took the victory in the prestigious 100-lap CARQUEST Race of Kings at Lebanon Valley. It is the fourth time the Brioschi sponsored driver has won this headline event. Bobby Knipe took the victory in the 30-lap sportsman feature. Danny Sanchez took the victory in the 20-lap Pro Stock feature. CARQUEST Auto Parts sponsored the event.
Thirty-five 358-modifieds took to the track for the 100-lap Race of Kings. Trouble for Andy Bachetti before the green flag even fell. Something on the right rear suspension collapsed forcing him into the pits. The crew was able to get it repaired and Bachetti was able to rejoin at the rear of the field. Kenny Tremont drew the pole for the race and took the lead on the start. Brett Hearn moved into the second spot right behind Tremont. Eddie Marshall dropped from the event and became the first retiree of the event. Tremont caught the back of the pack by lap ten and was trying to put Bobby Chalmers a lap down when Chalmers looped it in turn one. That brought out the first of only five caution flags flew as a result. The green flag came back out on lap 14 for one lap before disaster struck on lap 15. Something appeared to fail on Matt Quinn's car coming down the frontstretch sending the field scurrying. Donnie Corellis came out the worst of the cars involved as he turned over on his roof. Fortunately no one was injured
J.R. Heffner must really like time trials. For the second week in a row he was the fastest time trialer of the evening. Heffner drew sixth for the start and moved into third on lap 26. Heffner's night was short-lived however as he dropped from the event on lap 35. Steve Paine cracked the top ten for the first time on lap 36. The 358-modified track champion, Rich Ricci Jr, dropped from the event on lap 38. Heavy traffic in front of the leader once again and once again two cars spun in front of the leaders. The top ten at the halfway point was Tremont, Hearn, Danny Johnson, Todd Wilkinson, Alan Johnson, Heotzler, Paine, Todd Burley, Matt Shepard and Dickie Larkin.
Bachetti was steadily making his way through the field after his earlier misfortunes, he sat 12th on lap 58. Problems for race leader, Tremont, on lap 60 as his motor went south ending his chance for victory. Only twenty cars remained as of lap 63. Alan Johnson took over third from Wilkinson on lap 67. Vic Coffey suffered a right rear flat tire. Bachetti continued his charge to the front taking over seventh on lap 81 and sixth by lap 85. Heotzler ran a great race and was running fifth when heavy smoke started showing from the back of his racer. Heotzler would be able to hold on to his fifth place finish. After Tremont's early departure no one had anything for Hearn and he easily cruised home for the victory. Danny Johnson finished second, Alan Johnson was third and Todd Wilkinson crossed the line fourth. After post-race inspection, Wilkinson was disqualified for a carburetor infraction. The guaranteed starting spots for the Sunoco Race Fuels 150 at Super Dirt Week went to Heotzler, Bud Christmann and Dickie Larkin.
Thirty laps was the distance for the sportsman division Saturday night. Trouble right on the start for Lorne Browe, as he did not fire from the fourth starting spot. The field had to scatter to avoid his disabled racer. Scott Ferrier got turned around in the fracas and did not return to the race. Another serious incident on the restart saw second place runner Frank Harper spun around on the frontstretch. John Scarborough and Mike Keeler were also collected up in the melee. Keeler was the only driver that was able to return to the feature. Roy Bridge was sent to the rear by the flagger for his role in the incident. The field finally settled down on the next restart and Bobby Knipe assumed the race lead. Knipe set a quick pace early and started to catch the back of the pack by lap seven.
Art Collins started to apply pressure on Knipe as early as lap nine. Joe Bennett had a strong top ten run going when his right rear tire went flat. The second and final caution of the race came on lap 16 when a car came to a stop in the turn four wall. Hawley Smith moved into sixth on lap 19 and then into fifth on lap 23. Bridge had recovered nicely from his early race problems to move into third on lap 23. No one had anything for Knipe as he picked up his fourth win of the season. It is also the second consecutive year that Knipe has won this event. Collins came home second, Bridge third, Jay Casey fourth and Hawley Smith fifth.
Buddy Hencke was the early race leader in the 20-lap Pro Stock feature. There was a great battle from second to seventh by lap three. Hencke had opened a big advantage by lap five. Adam Haas dropped from the event on lap seven. Trouble just before the halfway mark as third through eighth all came together. Bob Duzlak took the lead on the restart with Danny Sanchez and Paul LaRochelle also getting around Hencke. The caution came out again on lap 15, which set up a five-lap battle to the finish. Sanchez put pressure on Duzlak and took the lead on lap 16. Duzlak came to a stop on lap 19, setting up one lap shoot-out. Sanchez took the victory followed by LaRochelle, Jim Lagenback, Hencke and Robbie Speed.
The Pure Stock races were won by Bill Hughes, Jamie Reutenauer, Pete Wiegand and Bruce Moffitt. The Rookie features were won by Dave Colwell and Bill Hammell.