Racing Around: Sheppard, Bachetti each have their moments

Thirteen-time modified track champion Kenny Tremont Jr. (115) challenges 2023 track champion Demetrios Drellos during a qualifying race Friday at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.

Thirteen-time modified track champion Kenny Tremont Jr. (115) challenges 2023 track champion Demetrios Drellos during a qualifying race Friday at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.

Article Audio:

Matt Sheppard wrapped up his third straight track championship Friday night at Utica-Rome Speedway, then set his sights on ending Andy Bachetti’s win streak in the Mr. DIRT Track USA race Saturday night at Lebanon Valley.

However, the 2023 Big Block track champion at the Valley was up to the task, leading all 100 laps to win his fifth and third straight Mr. DIRT Track USA title, collecting the $15,500 winner’s check and a guaranteed starting spot in the big block modified main event at Super DIRT Week 51 on Oct. 2-8 at Oswego Speedway.

“It feels awesome [winning the event three times in a row],” Bachetti said. “You can’t sneeze at that. Especially with the company of guys that come here and race. I mean, just your locals are really, really good here. To be able to do that three times is pretty awesome.”

Also collecting victories on the season-ending event at Lebanon Valley were Tim Hartman Jr. (602 Crate Sportsman), Anthony Maxon (Limited Sportsman) and Tom Dean (Pro Stock).

After a second-place finish to Brian Berger in his qualifier, Bachetti pulled the pole in the redraw for the main event. Kyle Armstrong drew the outside pole with Billy Decker, JR Heffner, Sheppard and Berger making up the first three rows in the 28-car starting grid.

Bachetti went to the front immediately with Armstrong, Decker and Sheppard settling in behind him.

A lap-25 restart shook up the running order behind Bachetti as Sheppard moved into second ahead of Decker, Heffner and Armstrong.

Decker’s strong run ended on lap 58 when he went to the pit area with mechanical issues moving Heffner to third.

Bachetti and Sheppard separated themselves from the pack and picked their way through lapped traffic in the final 20 laps. Sheppard remained within striking distance of the defending champion but could not get to the leader before the checkers dropped over his hood for the victory.

Heffner came home in third with Adam Pierson fourth and Eddie Marshall rounding out the top five. Keith Flach, Tim Sears Jr., John Virgilio, LJ Lombardo and Armstrong complete the second five.

Fourteen-time Big Block track champion Kenny Tremont Jr. competed for the last time at Lebanon Valley, finishing 17th. Tremont Jr. will retire at after the Malta Massive Weekend at Albany-Saratoga Speedway September 22nd and 23rd.


Mr. DIRT Track USA 100

1. Andy Bachetti, 2. Matt Sheppard; 3. JR Heffner, 4. Adam Pierson, 5. Eddie Marshall, 6. Keith Flach, 7. Tim Sears Jr., 8. John Virgilio, 9. LJ Lombardo, 10. Kyle Armstrong, 11. Jack Lehner, 12. Mike Mahaney, 13. Kolby Schroder, 14. Alex Yankowski, 15. Max McLaughlin, 16. Mat Williamson, 17. Kenny Tremont Jr., 18. Marc Johnson, 19. Larry Wight, 20. Chris Hile, 21. Jimmy Phelps, 22. Darren Smith, 23. Felix Roy, 24. Brandon Lane, 25. (DNF) Billy Decker, 26. (DNF) Wayne Jelley, 27. (DNF) Brian Berger, 28. (DNF) Marcus Dinkins.


While Marc Johnson picked up his first win of the season at Albany-Saratoga Speedway Friday night, the race-within-the-race for the track championship came down to dramatic charges by Demetrios Drellos and defending track champion Matt DeLorenzo.

On the second lap of the 35-lap modified feature, DeLorenzo was bumped off the backstretch, bringing out the caution and sending him to the rear of the field.

As DeLorenzo picked his way back through the field, Drellos kept his car straight and was poised to lock up his first track championship when disaster struck. With five laps to go, Drellos’ right-rear tire blew, bringing out the caution and sending him to the pits for a fresh tire. He rejoined the field in the 20th position.

Aided by a restart with two laps to go, Drellos made a charge to get enough spots back to make the 23-point lead he had coming into the night stand up.

DeLorenzo rebounded to finish third in the feature, but it was not enough as Drellos rallied to finish 11th and locked up his first Albany-Saratoga track title by seven points. It is the second track title for Drellos this season, as he picked up his first track title at Fonda Speedway in August.

For Johnson, patience was key as he took advantage of a lap 30 restart when contact between front-running Matt DePew and Neil Stratton opened a lane on the bottom. Johnson used the opening to win a three-wide drag race on the front stretch.

Johnson survived a restart with two to go to post his first feature win of the season at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.

Also locking up track championships Friday night were Andrew Buff in the 602 Crate Sportsman division and Rich Crane in the Pro Stock division. It was the first track titles for both Buff and Crane.

The Limited Sportsman, Street Stock and 4-cylinder champions will be crowned this Friday.

Four-time defending 602 Sportsman champion Tim Hartman Jr. worked his way from his 16th starting spot to claim his third win of the season and the 39th of his career at Albany-Saratoga. Buff went to a back-up car after suffering engine trouble in his primary Malta car. He started scratch on the field and worked his way to a fifth-place finish to secure the 602 Crate Sportsman championship.

Kyle Hoard has been knocking on the door for a feature win all season at the Matla speed plant. Friday, he kicked that door in, posting the first career Pro Stock of his career at Albany-Saratoga.

Crane started 12th and finished third behind Jaxson Ryan to secure his first Pro Stock track championship.

Pat Miner chalked up his first career win in the 20-lap Limited Sportsman feature, while Matt Mosher took home his first Street Stock win of the season. Adam Montville won the dual cam and overall 4-cylinder feature, while Kyle Lanfear finished third overall to claim the single cam victory.



NAPA MODIFIEDS: MARC JOHNSON, Neil Stratton, Matt DeLorenzo, Jack Lehner, Matt Depew, Justin Stone, Ken Tremont Jr., Josh Hohenforst, CG Morey, Keith Flach, Demetrios Drellos, Robert Bublak, Jeremy Pitts, Adam Pierson, Rob Pitcher, Jack Speshock, Don Ronca, Garrett Poland, Brian Calabrese, Rich Ronca, Derek Bornt, Ryan McCartney, Ronnie Johnson, Mike Mahaney, Brandon Daley.

NORTHEAST PAVING AND SEALCOATING SPORTSMAN: TIM HARTMAN JR., Travis Witbeck, Scott Bennett, Craig Wholey, Andrew Buff, Elliot Lussier, Mike Benson, David Boisclair, Mike Coffey Jr., Tommy D’Angelo, Dylan Madsen, Jon Miller, Joey Scarborough, Floyd Billington, Chris Jakubiak, Dave Baranowski Jr., Eric Mack, Jim Osgood, Chad Edwards, Taylor LaPlante, Dan Grignon, Tyler Rapp, Mike Jeske, Brandon Darrah, Drew Cormie, Zach Buff, Taylor Wason, Cody Ochs, Michael Wagner Fitzgerald, Ron Proctor.

SARATOGA MASONRY SUPPLY PRO STOCKS: KYLE HOARD, Jaxson Ryan, Rich Crane, Jay Corbin, Chucky Dumblewski, Jay Casey, Jason Casey, Josh Bussino, Shane Henderson, Slater Baker, Kim Duell, Chad Jeseo, Beau Ballard, Pete Vila, Devon Camenga, Bob Sleight, Jordan Modiano, Jimmy Eaton, Brandon Emigh, Caden Dumblewski.

HAUN WELDING LIMITED SPORTSMAN: PAT MINER, Dylan Grogan, Steve Burch, Connor Crane, Dan Seguin, Nick Auspelmyer, Walter Cook, Cordell Younger, Nick Arnold, Mike Parodi, Steve Miller, Ron Delease, Dakota Green, Mike Baker, Chasse Zimmer, Zachary Graham, Phil Arnold, Mike Arnold, Chayton Young, John Santolin, David Zelker, Alex Smith, Kyle Swart, James Galarneau.

LAKE AUTO PARTS STREET STOCKS: MATT MOSHER, Jeff Meltz Sr., Jimmy Duncan, Jason Meltz, Nick Napoli, Dana Van Veghten, Josh Samrov, Dan Madigan, Josh Bussino (subbing for Chris Stalker), Mike Bussino, PJ Cram Jr., Ray Pierre Jr., Fred Shippee, Dan Buell, Josh Hemming, Mark Burch, Jason Samrov.

GREG’S TOWING FOUR-CYLINDERS: ADAM MONTVILLE, David Frame, Kyle Lanfear (first single-cam finisher), Josh Ramsey, John Mason, Tom Hill, David Mullineaux, Daniel Joubert, Andrew Palmer, Ashlynn Ramsey, Olivia Swinton, Brittany Ladd, Chris Danylieko.


Matt Sheppard registered his 10th feature win of the season Friday night and locked up his third-straight modified track championship at “The Home of Heroes.”

Alex Payne won the battle for second place over Willy Decker with JaMike Sowle fourth and Mike Trautschold fifth.

Jim Normoyle ended a long winless streak at Utica-Rome Friday, taking home the victory in the Pro Stock division over A.J. Walters,  Jason Morrison, Bret Belden and Andy Graves.

Matt Janczuk picked up the Crate 602 Sportsman win over Allan Hodge, Blaine Klinger, Payton Talbot and Willy Decker Jr.

Zack Welch won the 20-lap Limited Sportsman feature, while David Denova and Rudy King Jr. won the dual and single overhead cam 4-cylinder features respectively.

Brett Putnam claimed the 20-lap All-Star Slingshot feature, while Bodie Marks won the Junior Slingshot feature.


A-Verdi Storage Containers Night


3 Bastards Brewing Modified Feature Finish (30 laps): MATT SHEPPARD, Alex Payne, Willy Decker, JaMike Sowle, Michael Trautschold, Billy Decker, Alex Yankowski, Bobby Hackel IV, Alan Barker, Rocky Warner, Andy Bachetti, Alan Johnson, Pat Ward, Randy Shantel, Ron Holmes, Tim Mayne, J.R. Hurlburt, Aaron Jacobs, Jim Becker, Tanner Van Doren, Jason Reome, Jeremy Slosek, Jim Walsh, Justin Wright.

Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): MATT JANCZUK, Allan Hodge, Blaine Klinger, Payton Talbot, Willy Decker Jr., Jeremy Slosek, Seth Martin, Mike Richmond, Jim Rothwell, Matthew Richardson, Chip Constantino, Alex Hughes, Stephen Gray, Stephen Denton, Josh Amodio, J.J. Courcy, E.J. Gallup, David Hackett, Ed Downing, Connor Prokop, David Dickey, Mike Kalkbrenner, Michelle Courcy, Bobby Heintz, Brodie Davis, Kadon Hohensheldt, Blake Sarpriacone, Ed Lukas, Shawn Frost.

Did Not Start: Dale Corbett, Kyle Dingman

Next Generation Graphix Pro Stock Feature Finish (20 laps): JIM NORMOYLE, A.J. Walters, Jason Morrison, Bret Belden, Andy Graves, Luke Horning, Randy Cosselman, Hunter Keith, George Cushman, Ken Griffin, Mike Kazlauskas, Jerry Streeter, Mike Keith, Gus Gould, Ed Kotary, Michael Achzet, Matt Rose, Johnny Holmes, Ivan Joslin.

Did Not Start: Dalton Szewczyk

2023 Next Generation Graphix Pro Stock Champion: BRET BELDEN

Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman (20 laps): ZACK WELCH, Carson Rothwell, Johnny Feagles, Bobby Newman, Tyler Bobar, Nick Zielinski, Kolton Weiler, Hunter Tarbania, Dylan Piersall, Eric Jensen, Matt Bukovan, Kennedy Payne, Zach Falciani, Lance Hill, Maddy Broedel, Aaron Page, Mike Hill, Ernie Staelens, Chris Kugler, Brad Poppleton.

Did Not Start: Jeff Bobilin, Spencer Noyes

Fonda Fair Four Cylinder Feature Finish (12 laps): DAVID DENOVA (DOHC), Jeff Weeks, Jacob Kimball, Kamrin Krause, Kerrie Hollenbeck, Rudy King Jr. (SOHC), Ken Hollenbeck, Austin Weeks, Robert Burch, Sophia Denova, Kyle Coley, Hank Wedgren Jr., Dan Valade, Jacob Jipson.

Did Not Start: Hank Wedgren, T.J. Marlitt, Wayne Russell Jr.

2023 Fonda Four Cylinder Champions: RUDY KING JR. (DOHC) & WAYNE RUSSELL JR. (SOHC)

Senior Services Inc. All-Star Slingshot Feature Finish (20 laps): BRETT PUTNAM, Chris Darrow, Tadd Granger, Dan Slosek, Nicholas Jenkins, Kevin Loveless, Kyle Rogers, Corbyn White, Jason Dufel, Paul Holic, Bill Trexler Sr., Scott Sprague.

2023 Senior Services Inc. All-Star Slingshot Champion: BRETT PUTNAM

Junior Slingshot Feature Finish (15 laps): BODIE MARKS, Blake Banek, Chase Spoor, Sullivan Dickey, Trevor Houghton, Jayden Wust, Preston Trautschold, Ayden Goodier, Brody Janczuk, Ayna Sarpriacone.

2023 Junior Slingshot Champion: TREVOR HOUGHTON

Algonkin Motel Hard Luck Award: Paul Holic

Categories: Sports

Leave a Reply