RPW Column: Two Days After Checkers Fly, Chad Jeseo “Officially” Wins ‘Old Buzzard 30’; Engine Examined Monday; Deemed Legal By Lebanon Valley

Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – OAKVILLE, CT & WEST LEBANON, NY – Nearly two days after the checkered flag flew and with technical inspections now completed, the 2021 edition of the ‘Old Buzzard 30’, a DIRTcar Pro Stock event in memory of legendary driver Jimmy Langenback at Lebanon Valley Speedway, is now official.

The winner is the driver who crossed the finish line first, division point leader Chad Jeseo.

After Saturday evening’s annual event honoring the memory of Legendary Pro Stock campaigner Jimmy Langenback was over, Jeseo, second place finisher Jason Meltz and third place’s Tommy Dean all celebrated in victory lane.

However, once the celebration ended, technical inspection by track officials began.

While Meltz car and that of Dean both passed tech, there was a discrepancy with the winner’s engine that officials wanted to examine further. The question was over cubic inch displacement of the crate engine that was done during a P&G test. The engine in Jeseo’s #25 came up higher than the allotted tolerance.

After multiple checks by Head Tech Inspector Mike Petrucci, it had been questioned by another official if the test could give a false reading with the motor still warm from racing. The answer was a maybe.

It was then that newly-appointed Track Manager & Pit Stewart Fred Lee made the decision to pull the engine out of Jeseo’s car and confiscate it for further review at an engine shop on Monday.

Purchased from Donath Motor Worx over a season before, the GM Crate motor was transported to Carlquist Competition Engines in Oakville, CT. Just after 11am on Monday, with Lee, Petrucci and Jeseo all in attendance, the official inspection began.

“Upon arriving, another P&G check was done with the engine completely cooled down,” Lee said. “All of the numbers were within spec. The Whistler test was then done to check compression and those numbers were good as well. Then, Mike used the Cam Doctor on multiple cylinders and everything was where it should be.”

Petrucci, who’s been learning about and working within the crate engine program for several years now, has determined the correct way to do the cubic inch test for the motors.

“In the past, we’ve all tried to use water temperature of the engine to come up with the ratio to compensate for heat when doing the P&G test,” Petrucci said. “We now know that you should use the temperature of the cylinder chamber instead.”

Monday, when the engine was cool, officials felt they’d get the best reading.

“The air and cylinder temperatures were exactly the same,” he said. “That made the test today (Monday) more accurate. We performed several other tests on Chad’s engine as well and the specifications were right where they needed to be.”

They did perform one final test on the motor. Lee and Petrucci decided to put it on the dyno to check horsepower and torque. Four pulls were completed on the engine the results came back right where they should. In fact, according to the numbers, the engine has less horsepower than newer ones.

“We, as a speedway, wanted to make sure the engine was legal,” Lee said. “The integrity of the class and the track is very important to me. That’s why I took this job. I want our racers to know that we want the playing field to be fair for all.”

After everything was complete, and his engine was deemed legal, Jeseo was obviously happy with the results.

“I really want to thank Mike Petrucci for doing the examination the right way,” Jeseo said. “To purchase a motor from one builder (Donath), teched by another (Petrucci) and have it classified as legal is the best feeling. Myself and our entire team appreciate how the track and Mike himself handled this entire situation.”

Jeseo said he understands why this happened, given how well he’s run at both Lebanon and Albany-Saratoga this season.

“We work hard to make our cars run as well as they do,” he said. “It shows in our results. I can’t be mad about being on the chopping block and having to answer questions. Hopefully this leads to more tech inspections and clarity for teams in every division.”

Now, on to the race Saturday night.

For most of the event, it looked like Massachusetts campaigner Doug Olds was set to capture his second career Pro Stock win. He had built up more than a half straightaway lead from his inside front row starting spot and looked to be on cruise control.

However, things were not meant to be as the #73 began to sputter heading into turn three just before the halfway mark. The car finally quit with what appeared to be an ignition issue.

That meant the tight battle for second had now become a battle for the lead. Tommy Dean and point leader Chad Jeseo were duking it out for position as they charged down the back chute.

Jeseo would get the upper hand on the #413 and, from there on out, nobody was touching him. For the second time in as many seasons, the current point leader was able to etch his name on the Jim Langenback trophy as winner of the “Old Buzzard 30.”

“This one slipped away from me back in 2012 but we got it done last year,” Jeseo said. “I thought to myself around lap 15, don’t mess up. Winning it last year was awesome and I wanted another. Man, this was just an awesome car tonight.”

Did he think he could catch the leader once he was fighting for second?

“I honestly thought I had misplaced Doug up front for a minute,” he said. “I was racing with Tommy and I thought the 73 had gone to a big lead. Then I saw he dropped out and honestly, I’m extremely thankful because then it made things a little easier. I don’t know if we would have been able to catch him.”

Second place on the night was Jason Meltz who was able to back up last week’s win with another strong finish. However, he came up one spot short.

“We had this thing dialed in tonight after being pretty good last week,” Meltz said. “I thought it could be a race between Chad and I to see who got ahead of the other. He got there first and I wouldn’t say I was faster than him, but we were close. I would’ve liked to have seen a restart late in the race, but congratulations to him.”

Dean was able to hold on for a well-deserved podium finish. What was he thinking when he saw the leader begin to slow and knew it was Chad Jeseo going door-to-door with him for what could soon be the lead?

“I knew Chad was right there,” Dean said. “He comes to the front every week from deep in the field and I figured it was a matter of time before he’d be up front racing with us.”

The Becket, MA driver didn’t leave anything on the table on Saturday night. He so badly wanted to capture the first crown jewel feature win of his career but it wasn’t to be.

“I threw everything I had at it out there,” he said. “Even though we didn’t win, I’m extremely happy with a third in this race for Jimmy.”

PRO STOCKS FEATURE RESULTS (20 LAPS) 1) Chad Jeseo,*** 25 2) Jason Meltz** 51 3) Tom Dean, 413 4) Nick Hilt** 17 5) Zach Seyerlein* 33 6) Dave Stickles* 55 7) Jay Fitzgerald* 56 8) Steven LaRochelle* 178 9) Shawn Perez, O9 10) Zach Sorrentino, 54S 11) Brian Keough 311 11) Johnny Rivers* 14J 12) Doug Olds 73