WEST LEBANON, NY – On Saturday night, Lebanon Valley Speedway hosted the fifth annual J.C. Flach Memorial, run in honor of J.C. Flach, a former full-time Modified racer who died in an unfortunate accident at his house in 2012. Flach was remembered with a proper celebration capped off by the release of balloons.
Rob Pitcher started from the pole and staked out to a small lead. Kyle Sheldon was able to get past Denny Soltis for second and began to stalk Pitcher.
Unfortunately for Soltis, his night ended early. On lap 5, Soltis collided with Matt Pupello entering turn 1. Both cars spun and hit the wall. Chad Jeseo was also collected. All three drivers were done for the night.
Once the race restarted, Pitcher opened up a decent advantage on the pack. Meanwhile, Olden Dwyer and Kyle Armstrong were fighting for third. J.R. Heffner and Kenny Tremont Jr. were mired back in traffic and could not make much in the way of inroads.
Despite damage from the lap 5 crash, Hearn continued moving forward. By lap 11, he was ninth after starting 15th. Seven laps later, he was seventh, making steady progress.
At the front, Sheldon began to track down Pitcher in the final few laps. It appeared that Sheldon was faster, but he couldn’t quite reach Pitcher. The Chatham-based racer held on to take his first win in five years.
Pitcher was pleased with his night, but would have preferred that J.C. Flach were still out there racing with him.
“Tonight’s win has been a long time coming,” Pitcher said in Victory Lane. “We think about J.C. all the time when we’re out here. He’s really missed.”
Sheldon was second, followed by Kolby Schroder. Hearn ended up in fourth, followed by Brian Berger.
Key Bank J.C. Flach Memorial Results (30 laps): 1) Rob Pitcher, 2) Kyle Sheldon, 3) Kolby Schroder, 4) Brett Hearn, 5) Brian Berger, 6) Keith Flach, 7) J.R. Heffner, 8) Eddie Marshall, 9) Olden Dwyer, 10) Paul Gilardi, 11) Steve Hough, 12) Kenny Tremont Jr., 13) Elmo Reckner, 14) Andy Bachetti, 15) Wayne Jelley, 16) L.J. Lombardo, 17) Chase Dowling, 18) Mike King, 19) Kyle Armstrong, 20) Denny Soltis, 21) Matt Pupello, 22) Chad Jeseo, 23) Kenny Aanonsen Jr., 24) Mike Keeler