Mahoning Valley Speedway celebrated the 2016 season in grand style as a crowd of 300 gathered at the Northampton Community Center in Northampton to pay tribute to this year’s class champions as well enjoy a wonderful evening of a great dinner, a number of special awards and fun and dancing afterwards. For a third time in his storied career Eric Beers was crowned Modified track champion. “The Master of Faster” scored a division best seven feature wins which included the “Break the Ice 75” RoC Tour event on April 23. Beers actually began the year with three straight wins which gave him the momentum to hold the point lead throughout the 23 events that made up the season for the Modifieds. Along the way he reached a milestone by becoming the first driver to achieve 50 career wins with the class. Beers also tied for most heat wins (8), was the leader in top-5s (19) and led a division high 165 feature laps. He had only one finish outside the top 10. After several seasons of coming close to the Late Model crown, Mike Sweeney was not to be denied his very first track championship.
Consistency was his calling card as he began the year by reeling off one top-five after another, most of them coming in the form of 1st or 2nd place finishes. Despite a slight faltering heading into September, Sweeney regrouped and hammered down when it counted most and wrapped up the year with back-to-back wins which included his second straight victory during Octoberfast. He completed the year with eight wins, which was the best in class and picked up 11 heat wins that played a key role to championship point tally. Sweeney, who races the only Ford, was a runner-up a year ago and has regularly been a top five point finisher. He also amassed enough wins also to be named the overall top asphalt Late Model winner in the Northeast.
The 2016 Street Stock campaign was a see-saw battle that was waged between champion Jon Moser and Zach Graver as well as Randy Ahner Jr. Moser, who won the title back in 2008, returned to racing fulltime this past season and never missed a beat despite having the past few years off. He scored three wins, was the top lap leader and also relied on his division leading 17 top-10 finishes to carry him to the title.
For the second straight Ricky Yetter has claimed the Dirt Mod championship. It what was a knock-down-drag-out fight to the finish between him and runner-up Billy Lasko. Yetter did not clinch the crown until the last lap of the last race when he beat out Lasko for his fifth win and eked out the number one spot by a mere two points. Yetter had a record setting season also as he moved to the top of the all-time wins leader list in Dirt Mod with 21.
When Josh Scherer began the season he had a goal in mind which was to win at least seven races and make a run at the Pro 4 championship. Done and done! Scherer took over the point lead by late July and once there never looked back. When he crossed the finish line on the final day as the winner, it was his seventh of the season and just as important it was the crowning moment to his first ever title.
The Hobby stock division saw a record 14 different winners in 20 events and a record 46 different drivers race in at least one feature but despite all that competition, Cody Geist showed who the boss was once again as the driver of the No. 44 Honda roared to his second straight championship. Geist was pretty much in control of the points for the entire year and along the way parked in Victory Lane three times which was tops in class. He also was a 10-time heat winner. Geist then concluded his great year by proposing to his girlfriend Tori Dimmig and without hesitation she said yes.
Top rookie honors where bestowed on Jack Ely, Chris Anderson, Mark Martini, Shawn Hoffman and Avery Arthofer in the Modified, Late Models, Street Stocks, Pro 4s and Hobby Stocks respectively. _________________________________________________________________________________________
16-year old Kyle Strohl tops impressive Mahoning Valley Speedway RoC field in Octoberfast 150
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 10-22-16) Mahoning Valley Speedway’s season finale Octoberfast 2016 almost became “Octobersplash” as rain was dominating much of the day but thanks to the dedicated effort by track crew, the race went off albeit two hours over the original start time, and fans who braved the brisk autumn night were treated to a thrilling 150 lap feature for the Ferris Mowers Race of Champions Modified Series Fueled by Sunoco Tour. And, with a star-studded field on hand the included a host of premier asphalt Modified talent, it would be a 16-year old that stood proudly in Victory Lane when all was said and done. Kyle Strohl of nearby Palmerton, bested a strong contingent of RoC steadies as well as home track regulars along with other invaders to claim a defining moment in his budding career. “This is by far the biggest accomplishment of my career. I can’t thank my crew enough for how much effort they put into the car this year and to win against all these guys is unbelievable,” said Strohl, who earned a hefty $5000 for the win. Strohl, who started fifth in the field of 26, would inherit the lead after a lap 112 restart. He then stayed up front the rest of the way and pretty much in dominating fashion as he showed no signs of faltering considering the fact that he and runner-up Lou Strohl (no relation) were the only two that did not make a pit stop. Matter of fact Strohl was so strong that at one point he held as much as a half-track lead. Even though he was only a car length ahead at the checkers, it was only due to late race cautions that kept the field in tack with him. He stayed in the top five nearly the entire race, drove keenly past much of the heavy traffic and showed seasoned veteran like skills against drivers with as much as 30-plus years of experience over him. “I really hadn’t run a long distance race like this before and I wasn’t sure how the car was going to work out. I just went with my gut decision to not pit and it worked out,” said Strohl. After a crowd pleasing 4-wide parade lap, Calvin Carrol and Don Wagner brought the field to the green. Wagner wasted no time in darting out the lead while Austin Kochenash took hold of second with Carrol, Strohl and Jimmy Zacharias embracing down the top five. The race settled into a steady pace as Wagner and Kochenash ran a close 1-2. On lap 20 the first caution waved when Daryl Lewis Jr., slowed. On the restart Kochenash got a great jump on Wagner to assume the lead. At the helm Kochenash looked very strong as he paced the pack with confidence. Behind him Wagner was fending off Earl Paules and Zacharias while Strohl was shadowing in fourth and Tyler Rypkema a stout fifth. After string of 26 green flag laps the second caution was out when Lewis again slowed to a stop. When the action resumed there was no change to the top five as Kochenash continued on his sturdy jaunt. The race then went into a torrid run as the ensuing 76 laps went incident free. During that span Strohl was able to work his way up to second but once behind Kochenash he was stalled as the leader showed definite strength over everyone.Throughout the rest of the pack there would be loads of two-wide action which also meant the leaders had to play wisely when coming upon the heavy traffic. It was really tough to get around all those cars. I just tried to stay clean and pass when I could and not over-drive the car and make any dumb moves,” said Strohl. Rypkema moved to third and was keeping within reach of the front two while holding off Chuck Hossfeld and Patrick Emerling. The fast-paced action came to a halt on lap 112 for a multi car incident. Included in the turn four melee was Emerling who was towed from the scene but was able to return. It was at that juncture that most of the field took that opportunity to head pit side for a tire change and adjustments. Strohl, elected to stay on track and would restart as the new leader when the field was reset. The upstart showed the way over Hossfeld, Darren Scherer, who came from 23rd starting spot, Zacharias and L. Strohl. On lap 120 Hossfeld was nudged from behind and got became loose which caused several others to scatter. The skirmish would gobble up a host of cars in the process. L. Strohl and Zane Zeiner had been running the inside and were able to sneak by which landed then in second and third for the restart. When the action resumed it was all K. Strohl the rest of the way. Even though he was able to run away from there on many wondered about the no pit strategy and how his tires would hold up. By hitting his marks and utilizing his track experience as well as negotiating lapped cars, the kid was the class act. “My tires were starting to fade away as the race went on but I just stayed focused and tried not to worry about that. We had talked some about a game strategy coming in tonight but it was really uncertain for us because no one knows how it all plays out,” admitted Strohl. “It was hard but really great to race against some of the top rated drivers and I couldn’t be more proud to have pulled it off and beat them. So what does a 16-year old do with $5000? “I don’t know yet – I’ll go back over the car so we can rebuild it and come back next year with top notch equipment and that check will help a ton.” Over most of the final 25 laps the battle for second went back and forth between L. Strohl and Zeiner. Zeiner had passed with 17 laps to go but lapped traffic helped L. Strohl regain the spot with 10 circuits remaining.“What a great race car (owner) Matt Higgins put under me. That was a fun run and we needed long runs to get the car going. There was a few cautions at the end that didn’t help us but I’m very happy with the results,” said L. Strohl. “Kyle (Strohl) did a great job and it was fun battling with Zane (Zeiner). You can race with either of those guys hard and clean any day of the week.”; Zeiner was on the rear bumper of L. Strohl at the finish. He was looking to score his second Octoberfast but time ran out on his effort. “We sort of used the car up late in that first run before we pitted for tires. We charged to second (spot) but used that car again trying to pass Louie but that’s what we had tonight, a third place car,” offered Zeiner. Wagner was fourth while Hossfeld took fifth. Paules, Emerling, Kris Graver, Scherer and Mike Leaty rounded out the top 10.
In timed hot lap sessions K. Strohl set the quick time of the day with a 9.912-second lap at 90.799 mph. Heat wins went to K. Strohl, Wagner, Zeiner and first time Mahoning starter Blake Barney. DJ Wagner annexed the b-main.
Feature Finish (150 Laps): 1. Kyle Strohl, 2. Lou Strohl, 3. Zane Zeiner, 4. Don Wagner, 5. Chuck Hossfeld, 6. Earl Paules, 7. Patrick Emerling, 8. Kris Graver, 9. Daren Scherer, 10. Mike Leaty, 11. Tyler Rypkema, 12. Blake Barney, 13. John Markovic, 14. Joey Jarowicz, 15. TJ Potrzebowski, 16. Jimmy Zacharias, 17. Todd Baer, 18. Bryan Sherwood, 19. Calvin Carroll, 20. Terry Markovic, 21. Brain DeFebo, 22. Jack Ely, 23. Eric Beers, 24. Austin Kochenash, 25. DJ Wagner, 26. Daryl Lewis Jr. DNQ: Shawna Ingraham, Eric Mauriello, Tommy Rought, Chris Risdale
Mike Sweeney, Justin Mooney, Devin Schmidt, Seth Spayd are Mahoning Valley Speedway
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 10-22-16) Newly crowned Mahoning Valley Speedway Late Model champion Mike Sweeney of Nesquehoning capped off his season with a decisive victory during the 60-lap/$1500-to-win feature in Saturday’s Octoberfast 2016.Also notching Octoberfast verdicts were Justin Mooney in the Street Stocks, Devin Schmidt with the Hobby Stocks and Seth Spayd in the All-Star Slingshots.Sweeney, who was the reigning Octoberfast champion, drew the pole position for the start of the race with 13-year old sensation Broc Brown alongside.However, at the drop of starter Bobby Stull’s race commencing green, Sweeney quickly made it his to loose. Jumping out to the lead he was able to put everyone far enough behind and let them sort out those positions. Brown was near to Sweeney in the early going but once Frankie Althouse came upon him to battle for second, it allowed the leader an added advantage in gaining distance on them and the pack. When the race reached the midway point Sweeney was now in his own league with as much as a five second lead. Meanwhile there remained a close battle for second. Althouse had taken over runner-up with Paul Koehler Jr., Brown and Don Wagner all under a blanket. With 20 laps to run a caution was out which would erase a nice lead of Sweeney. On the restart Wagner, who had just run 150 laps in his Modified, was second and as the resumption he was able to give Sweeney a nice battle, not for long, however. Sweeney soon kicked in the after burners and ran away to his class leading eighth win of the year. “We were here today for one reason and one reason only and it was mission completed said Sweeney after scoring his 46th overall career win. “The car was really good and with the luck of the draw we started on the pole but I feel we had a decent car to win no matter where we started.” Brown came on strong to finish second with Wagner, Chris Anderson an Althouse completing the top five.In the 75-lap Street Stock main Justin Mooney inherited the lead when front runners Jason Kuhn and Zach Graver collided on lap 52. Once in front he was smooth and steady as he held off a hard charging Mark Martini and Jason Frey for his first win of the season. Jon Moser scooted out to the early lead and set a good pace while holding off Aaron Kromer who was glued to his rear bumper. Just prior to lap 50 the caution was out and Kromer used that restart of motor inside Moser for the lead. However, Moser stayed right with him and would rebound back to the front on the next go-around. Running near side-by-side, they made contact and went spinning. Officials then sent both to the rear for the restart. 15th starting Graver was now at the lead with Kuhn alongside and it would soon become a fierce battle. On lap 52 Kuhn edged into the lead from the outside lane. Not giving in Graver was working feverously to regain the spot back. As they made their way into turn two Graver suddenly veered into Kuhn and both cars ended up crashing into the wall. Graver said he had a cut tire that caused his car to slide into Kuhn, however, there was an altercation afterwards as he left his car and headed into the driver’s window to confront Kuhn.At this time track officials are closely reviewing the matter to determine the outcome which could ultimately cost him the class championship. Graver was DQ’d as per track rules for exiting his car while on the race track. Mooney, third at the time, advanced to number one where he then fought hard the rest of the way. Moser and Stacey Brown rounded the top five. “I feel bad for Jason Kuhn because that’s who should have won this race,” said Mooney. “It should have been him here and not me. One guy just seemed to turn right and put the other guy in the wall for no reason. That’s what I saw.”; This was the 13th career win for Mooney but first since 2011. The victory netted him $1500. It was also the second year in a row that a Mooney won the Street Stock portion of Octoberfast as his brother, Josh Mooney won last year’s show. “It was a great race and it’s been way to long since we last won. Mark (Martini) ran me real clean which he always does. This was the best the car was all year and I have to thank my family for all the help and it’s good to keep our name as Octoberfast winners,” added Mooney.In the Hobby Stocks Devin Schmidt put on a vigorous duel with Travis Solomon for the better part of 30 of the 40 lap run as they went side-by-side over most of that span. Schmidt, who was racing on the topside, finally eked ahead for good with 10 laps to go and went on to score his second win of the season and $500 plus contingencies in the process. Avery Arthofer came on strong in the final laps and scored runner-up honors while Solomon, Michael Wambold and Corey Edelman completed the top five.In the All-Star Slingshots event there was no denying the impressive performance of first time Mahoning starter Seth Spayd who led every lap of the Roundy-Round 20. Despite an impressive field of cars, Spayd showed he was the one to beat from the get-go after winning a set of heats that included him setting a new track record. In the main he started P-1 and would never look back. Dakota Kohler was second with Chris Kurtz third.Late Model
Feature Finish (60 Laps): 1. Mike Sweeney, 2. Broc Brown, 3. Don Wagner, 4. Chris Anderson, 5. Frankie Althouse, 6. Jeremy Miller, 7. Geno Steigerwalt, 8. George Ramos, 9. Jacob Nemeth, 10. Mitch Hawk, 11. Lorin Arthofer II, 12. Jacob Kerstetter, 13. Rich Cooper, 14. Paul Koehler Jr., 15. Kenny Hein, 16. Travis Fisher
Street Stock Feature Finish (75 Laps): 1. Justin Mooney, 2 Mark Martini, 3. Jason Frey, 4. Jon Moser, 5. Stacey Brown, 6. Todd Ahner, 7. Corey Edelman, 8. Josh Mooney, 9. Jared Ahner, 10. Greg Long, 11. Aaron Kromer, 12. Dan Freundt, 13. Randy Ahner Jr., 14. Chip Wanamaker, 15. Logan Boyer, 16. Jonathan Tracy, 17. Jamie Smith, 18. Dennis Buss, 19. Rick Reichenbach, 20. Steve Hoffman, 21. Jason Kuhn DQ: Zach Graver DNQ: Eric Danyluk, Justin Morgan, Alan Miller
All Star Slingshots Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Seth Spayd, 2. Dakota Kohler, 3. Chris Kutz, 4. Brett Bieber, 5. Anthony Raisner, 6. Dale Kober, 7. Tyler Peet, 8. Cody Kline, 9. Austin Silfee, 10. Dylan Hoch, 11. Bobby Jones, 12. Kyle Herve, 13. Chris Gall, 14. CJ Fritz, 15. Henry Anderson, 16. Alex Yankowski, 17. Joe Toth, 18. Matt Mertz ___________________________________________________________
Paul Mercante claims career first Enduro win in Sunday run at Mahoning Valley Speedway; Austin Beers picks up victory in Jr. Enduro
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 10-9-16) Paul Mercante has been a solid supporter of Small Car Enduro racing at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway and finally his dedication paid off as he notched his career first win Sunday afternoon. Mercante used patience and keen driving to take the lead with just under 40 laps complete in the 1-hour event. He made his lead pass over Shayne Geist while negotiating heavy traffic. There would be more of that to contend with rest of the way but Mercante did a good job of steering clear of trouble although keeping Geist at bay as well as Dan Cascioli, who had led the early laps, was a whole different story. Cascioli was able to take up the fight with Mercante but not long after he saw his day come to an abrupt end when he and Bob Snyder crashed hard on the front straight. Afterwards Geist once again had second and was working his tail off to remain on the lead lap. Any chance of him looking to win went by the by the wayside when he made an unexpected pit stop and would fall off the pace by a few laps. Over the second half of the race Mercante was able to keep a one lap lead and more ahead of Randy Ahner Jr., and Devon Schmidt. However, over the final two minutes Schmidt, who was second at that time, found himself running next to the leader and the pair did make contact at least twice. Each time Mercante got loose and nearly spun but his focus remained ahead of him and he would go on to score the victory which was completed in a distance of 197 laps. Schmidt and Ahner finished second and third two laps back. Rick Kirkendall and John Rose rounded out the top five. In the Jr. Enduro run there was host of lap leaders who did well but in the end it was 13-year old Austin Beers who came out on top. Beers was running a lap down in second place when then leader Hunter Italese got a flat tire and had to pit. Beers was able to un-lap himself as well as move to the lead. With the clock winding down Lauren Gimbi was zeroing on Beers and just about to make a bid for the top spot when the race was stopped when Kassidy Altemose was put into the wall. On the restart Beers was much better and would hold off Gimbi the rest of the way. Altemose, despite being banged around several times, came back to finish a solid third. Gimbi, Altemose, Italese and Tucker Muffley all took shares at the lead. Gary Woodring was the winner of the Big Car Demo and Trisha Connolly took the win in the Small Car Demo. Small Car Enduro Feature Finish (197 Laps): 1. Paul Mercante, 2. Devin Schmidt, 3. Randy Ahner Jr., 4. Rick Kirkendall, 5. John Rose, 6. Shayne Geist, 7. Chase Carywiter, 8. Jack Ely, 9. Stacey Brown, 10. Ed Reeder, 11. Darryl Herman, 12. Kevin Behler, 13. Kory Stevens, 14. Tony Rispin, 15. Todd Geist, 16. Josh Scherer, 17. Hunter Italese, 18. Dan Cascioli, 19. Bob Snyder, 20. Steve Mooney, 21. Matt May, 22. Ricky Kirkendall, 23. Jay Kaner, 24. Kip George, 25. Cody Geist, 26. Nick Baer, 27. Brandon Oltra, 28. Corey Edelman, 29. Ron Haring Jr., 30. Fred Gimbi, 31. Jesse Ehret, 32. Anthony Drochowiski, 33. Greg Warden DNS: Matt Cascioli, Nick Bollinger Jr. Enduro Feature Finish (104 Laps): 1. Austin Beers, 2. Lauren Gimbi, 3. Kassidy Altemose, 4. Hunter Italese, 5. Nick Bollinger, 6. Tucker Muffley, 7. Shane Aster, 8. Emily Doltry, 9. Collin
Todd Baer scores Mahoning Valley Modified win; Mike Sweeney is best again in Late Models
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 10-8-16) After Todd Baer passed Terry Markovic on lap three, he then kept his foot planted on the gas and held on the rest of the way for his first win of the year while giving car owner Robert Wagner his first ever victory in Saturday night’s Modified feature at Mahoning Valley Speedway. What was even more adding to the night’s win was the fact that Baer’s son, Nick, was his main opponent for most of the race and they were in a position to make track history as the first father/son dual to finish one-two in a Modified main at Mahoning. However, on the final lap N. Baer got a nudge from behind and slipped out of line. That opening allowed Kyle Strohl to sneak in and take the runner-up spot while Eric Beers, who had clinched the 2016 class championship, third. N. Baer rebounded to finish fourth, which was his best finish in a Modified, while Don Wagner rounded out the top five. T. Baer, once in front, was not only engaged in a torrid fight with his son but likewise with Jack Ely. Those two rookies put much pressure on the leader while swapping back and forth for second spot. Although they each tried numerous times to wheel around T. Baer, the veteran stayed on course to the checkers. “We were getting a little nervous because we are going on 20 years of winning at least one race a season and we got in right down to the end,” said Baer. “I felt someone behind me and I never knew it was Nick (Baer). The car was great and this was awesome to get the win for Robert Wagner in such a short period of time.”; For much of the race it resembled pack style racing as the entire front group was huddled closely together. As T. Baer did his part in protecting the lead, side-by-side and at times 3-wide action was going on in plentiful amounts which made for a white-knuckle race. It was that in part that allowed Strohl his runner-up spot. “It was a very hard fought race,” admitted Strohl. “Had it not been for Nick (Baer) getting a little squirrely coming out of that final turn on the last lap I would have never been here.” The evening’s racing marked the final day of points although for some classes there will be an additional 100 show-up points to be awarded on October 22 for the season finale Octoberfast 2016.
Josh Scherer capped off his run to the Pro 4 title in style by winning for a seventh time. Scherer took the lead after front runners Bobby Kibler Jr., and Jake Kibler collided on lap 13. Scherer, who was in the thick of the battle with that pair, narrowly escaped that wreck. He then held off Cody Kohler the rest of the way en route to his career first title. 13-year old Avery Arthofer proved herself yet again as the talented rookie driver won her second Hobby Stock feature of the season. Arthofer grabbed the lead at the outset and then held off a determined Shayne Geist. Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Todd Baer, 2. Kyle Strohl, 3. Eric Beers, 4.Nick Baer, 5. Don Wagner, 6. Jack Ely, 7. Earl Paules, 8. Terry Markovic, 9. John Markovic, 10. DJ Wagner, 11. Joey Jarowicz, 12. Bobby Jones, 13. Ed Simon
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Josh Scherer, 2. Cody Kohler, 3. Johnny Bennett, 4. Jake Kibler, 5. Bobby Kibler Jr., 6. Chris Kuronya, 7. Kailyn Beers, 8. Joe Stangle
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Avery Arthofer, 2. Shayne Geist, 3. Rich Mutarelli, 4.Ken Reeder, 5. Jesse Strohl, 6. Michael Wambold, 7. Cody Geist, 8. Austin Beers, 9. Kevin Behler, 10. Jeff Biegley, 11. Ryan Berger, 12. Tiffany Wambold, 13. Nicholas Kerstetter, 14. Robert Yelsits, 15. Travis Nothstein, 16. Travis Solomon
Eric Beers continues to show everyone he is the man to beat: 13-year old Broc Brown becomes youngest driver to win a Late Model feature
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 9-24-16) During the drivers meeting prior to the start of the Saturday’s meet, Mahoning Valley Speedway race director Tim Santee indicated to all that there will be 100 show-up points awarded to all those who come to the season ending Octoberfast. And, although the final points race is listed as October 1, that incentive for the October 22 big stakes event could have major implications for both title hopefuls and throughout the finishing order of the top-10 rundown. Eric Beers, however, may be the exception to all that as the season-long point leader racked up his seventh win of the year and easily extended his ranking at number one, so much so that he is virtually untouchable heading into those final two races.Beers used a lap 23 restart to overtake John Markovic and then cruised over the final 11 tours for 18th top five in 21 starts.“We got lucky on that restart. There was a little bit of speedy dry down in turn two and I knew Johnny (Markovic) was going to hit it first. He wiggled up the track and gave me just enough room,” said Beers, who registered his 52nd Mahoning Modified win.The race was not just about Beers by no means. When the action got underway Terry Markovic, who was driving a second car for Earl Paules, darted quickly into the lead and was shadowed by his brother John and it was indeed a crowd pleasing showdown between the two class act drivers.After several close laps of side-by-side, J. Markovic eased into the lead on lap 15 but T. Markovic was still flanking along. Also in on the action was Kris Graver while lucking not far back were Beers and Zane Zeiner.“It brought back a lot of memories for me seeing the Markovic’s racing up front. Johnny was leading and Terry was second and I was thinking back to when I was a little kid watching them winning races down at Dorney Park and I was holding off for a couple minutes until I realized I had to get up front and see what we got,” said Beers.Once Beers got focused he then made his charge and was running third by lap 20. Then when Nick Baer smacked the wall in turn one that brought out the caution on lap 23, it would be that restart were Beers would make the race winning move.“Terry (Markovic) ran a great race and it was good to see him running up front and Johnny (Markovic) alongside battling for the lead made it a great show,” said Beers.“It’s been a wonderful year and we want to finish out strong and keep it going. That Octoberfast race is my Achilles heel, I got to win that one.”;Beers has led in each of the past three Octoberfast races but ended in third place at the finish.J. Markovic took second spot for his best effort of the year while Paules had a great late race dogfight with Graver to secure third. Rounding out the top five was Austin Kochenash.
Pro 4 point leader Josh Scherer passed Kailyn Beers on lap three and then stayed the course the remaining distance en route to his sixth win of the season. The victory gives him a solid lead heading into the final point race next Saturday as Scherer looks to sew up his career first championship. Cody Kohler gave Scherer a nice run for his money in taking runner-up honors.
Austin Beers started out the night by winning his heat race. He then carried that momentum into the feature by leading all 20 laps and earned his career first stock car win in a hard fought battle over Ryan Berger.Beers, who is the son of Modified kingpin Eric Beers, had a handful of Berger lap after lap but the young lion hit his marks perfectly each time by and held on for a the unforgettable victory. He also extended the record number of different winners to 14.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Eric Beers, 2. John Markovic, 3. Earl Paules, 4. Kris Graver, 5. Austin Kochenash, 6. Zane Zeiner, 7. Kyle Strohl, 8. Lou Strohl, 9. Jack Ely, 10. Don Wagner, 11. Joey Jarowicz, 12. DJ Wagner, 13. Nick Baer, 14. Terry Markovic, 15. Wes Gilbert, 16. Robert Wagner, 17. Todd Ahner, 18. Rob Shultz, 19. Bobby Jones, 20. Ed Simon
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Josh Scherer, 2. Cody Kohler, 3. Jake Kibler , 4. Bobby Kibler Jr., 5. Chris Kuronya, 6. Kailyn Beers, 7. John Bennett, 8. Ryan Graver, 9. Shawn Hoffman, 10. Chase Hoffman DNS: Lou Strohl
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Austin Beers, 2. Ryan Berger, 3. Tiffany Wambold, 4. Jesse Strohl, 5. Rich Mutarelli, 6. Cody Geist, 7. Kevin Behler, 8. Michael Wambold, 9. Shayne Geist, 10. Avery Arthofer, 11. Travis Solomon, 12. Darin Arthofer, 13. Nicholas Kerstetter, 14. Mike Karol, 15. Jesse Strohl, 16. Travis Nothstein, 17. Ken Reeder _________________________________________________________________________________________ Earl Paules and Frankie Althouse romp to Modified and Late Model wins at Mahoning Valley Speedway
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 9-10-16) With just two regular season point races to go most of the Modified contenders at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway are conceding to Eric Beers who has a considerable lead in the standings.
But, as far as runner-up there remains a tight battle amongst several drivers and in Saturday night’s 35-lap feature those in the hunt all contended for spots and precious points. At the conclusion of the run it was Earl Paules who was victorious over Kyle Strohl and Don Wagner. The aforementioned trio along with Kris Graver are all within 30 markers of each other and fighting hard for second place honors. “We never give up and we’ll try to run for second in points. We won’t give up and if you did give up may as well stay home,” said Paules who won for a third time this season. Sixth starting Paules was running second to Brian DeFebo by lap seven. Three laps later he slipped to the inside and powered into the lead. It was a then a race for second as he drove effortlessly from there to his 25th win in a Modified and 56th overall at Mahoning Valley. “It was a good run. I took my time getting around Brian (DeFebo) because he’s been having a lot of bad luck here and I certainly didn’t want to get into him and he gave me the room and the respect,” said Paules, who now sits just eight points behind Graver for second in points. “All year I’ve been driving around with a right-front bent spindle and finally broke down and put on a new one on and that really brought the car around. It was amazing and I really couldn’t believe a spindle would mean that much but it did. Everyone here at Mahoning Valley does a great job and this is a great place to race.”; While Paules was running away with the race there was a very close duel that waged between Strohl and Wagner. Both cars ran beside one another in a thrilling clash and it wasn’t until five laps to go that Strohl finally shook free and drove on to second spot. “My car was tight all night and there was no catching Earl (Paules) once he got the lead so we just made the best of it and here we are with another second place,” said Strohl, who for the second straight week claimed the runner-up position. “We worked for the spot too. Donny (Wagner) was very tough and it was a great battle and he made me work for it but that’s the way it should be. We’ll take second any day to a guy like Earl.”; Beers was fourth and John Markovic, who led the first three laps, took fifth.
Making an 8-hour drive from North Carolina to race on Saturday night paid off in a big way for reigning Pro 4 champion Cody Kohler as he took his third win in the special $400 to win 35-lap event and kept his hopes of a title repeat alive in the process. Kohler, who is in his first year of college thus the long haul to the track, took the lead from Johnny Bennett on lap nine and then was locked in a crowd pleasing three car battle to the finish that included Jake Kibler. Holding a solid line of defense on each passing lap, Kohler was able to take the verdict by a slim margin as Kibler and Bennett were all over him at the finish.
The Hobby stock class at Mahoning Valley continues to amaze as yet again another winner emerged. Jeff Biegley went into the lead with seven laps in and then held off Michael Wambold for his first victory in over two years. Biegley is the 13th different driver to win a race in 17 events held thus far.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Earl Paules, 2. Kyle Strohl, 3. Don Wagner, 4. Eric Beers, 5. John Markovic 6. Kris Graver, 7. Brian DeFebo, 8. DJ Wagner, 9. Joey Jarowicz, 10. Matt Higgins, 11. Nick Baer, 12. Brian Labar, 13. Todd Baer, 14. Terry Markovic, 15. Puda Heintzelman, 16. Daniel Paules, 17. Tommy Flanagan, 18. Jack Ely, 19. Jon Moser DNS: Rob Shultz
Pro 4 Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Cody Kohler, 2. Jake Kibler, 3. Johnny Bennett, 4. Bobby Kibler Jr., 5. Bryan Ahner, 6. Josh Scherer, 7. Chris Kuronya, 8. Kailyn Beers, 9. Tyler Stangle 10. Ryan Graver, 11. Bobby Kibler Sr., 12. Gary Shock
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Jeff Biegley, 2. Michael Wambold, 3. Nicholas Kerstetter, 4. Cody Geist, 5. Kevin Behler, 6. Jesse Strohl, 7. Travis Solomon, 8. Austin Beers, 9. Ryan Berger, 10. Tiffany Wambold, 11. Rich Mutarelli, 12. Shayne Geist, 13. Avery Arthofer, 14. Randy Sicher, 15. Ken Reeder, 16. Kyle Krempasky ______________________________________________________________________________ Success keeps coming for Eric Beers and Paul Koehler Jr., at Mahoning Valley Speedway
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 9-3-16) Two of Mahoning Valley Speedway’s iconic stars, Eric Beers and Paul Koehler Jr., have forged a legacy of winning races and championships in the Modifieds and Late Model classes respectively at the paved quarter-mile oval in Lehighton and Saturday night they showed that same style of racing superiority that has elevated them to the top of the winners list in each division after pulling away to decisive victories.
Beers sailed to his sixth main of the season while Koehler notched a second straight and fifth of 2016, giving the two veterans a combined 150 wins. In the Modified contest Nick Baer took control at the drop of the green. Earl Paules was keeping things close and on a 10 lap restart he got a jump on Baer to assume the lead. Kyle Strohl also moved by and would soon be giving Paules a terrific fight. Their battle was quite exciting to watch as they run two-by-two. Strohl had the inside line and by lap 17 had taken the lead. By lap 20 Beers was now third and had a close eye on the front pair as well. On lap 21 the caution waved and on the restart Paules blasted back to the front. Beers likewise got by Strohl, although he wasn’t settling in there. On the very next circuit He dropped to the bottom of turn three and came out ahead of Paules. There was no looking back from there on as he cruised home to the victory. In the meantime Paules and Strohl reassumed their encounter and would battle to the wire. Strohl would win at the finish by a slim margin. John Markovic and Jack Ely completed the top five.
In the Pro 4 race it was a another impressive run turned in by point leader Josh Scherer who drove away to his fifth win of the season. Scherer had a great side-by-side duel with Bobby Kibler Sr., before acquiring the lead with nine laps to go. He then pulled firmly away for eighth top-two finish in the last nine starts.
Ken Reeder was a career first winner in the Hobby Stocks and in doing so became the 12th different driver to collect a feature victory this season. Using a restart on lap four to take the lead from Jesse Strohl, Reeder then fought the race of his life as he withstood from Kevin Behler and Shane Geist in achieving memory making win.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Eric Beers, 2. Kyle Strohl, 3. Earl Paules, 4. John Markovic, 5. Jack Ely, 6. Don Wagner, 7. Kristopher Graver, 8. Brian Labar, 9. Brian DeFebo, 10. Nick Bear, 11. Todd Bear, 12. Danielle Paules, 13. Terry Markovic, 14. Kevin Rex, 15. Joey Jarowicz
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Josh Scherer, 2. Jake Kibler, 3. Bob Kibler Sr., 4. Bobby Kibler Jr., 5. Briggs Danner, 6. Cody Kohler, 7. Tyler Stangle, 8. Brian Ahner, 9. Shawn Hoffman, 10. Chris Kuronya, 11. Kailyn Beers, 12. Cory Edelman, 13. Chase Hoffman
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Ken Reeder, 2. Kevin Behler, 3. Shayne Geist, 4. Tiffany Wambold, 5. Travis Solomon, 6. Michael Wambold, 7. Cody Geist, 8. Randy Sicher, 9. Avery Arthofer, 10. Nicholas Kerstetter, 11. Jeff Biegley, 12. Austin Beers, 13. Ryan Berger, 14. Jesse Strohl
__________________________________________________________________________________________________ Don Wagner uses patience to score his second Mahoning Modified win: Paul Koehler Jr., ekes out a thrilling win in Late Models
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 8-27-16) In a matter of a week’s time Don Wagner went from worst to first, as he bounced back from a last place finish to number one, taking his second Mahoning Valley Speedway Modified victory of 2016. Wagner was lined in behind Jack Ely by lap 11 and then was a constant pressure to the upstart Modified rookie. Bidding his time and waiting for just the right opportunity to make his move, Wagner rode to the outside of Ely on lap 27 and then kept his focus onward to the checkers.Kyle Strohl stayed within reach of the front two and was third while last week’s winner Kris Graver registered yet another top five with his fourth place tally. Bobby Jones rounded out the front five in fifth.It was indeed a very close run race with the lead pack and a bit of a contrast of late from what fans have been seeing which was some rough and tumble action from some of the principal runners that have had quite a bit of flared tempers afterwards.“That’s what we’re here to do is put on a good show. Jack (Ely) is a great young racer and he’s got a lot of years ahead of him and I just love racing with the kid,” said Wagner, who was actually in Victory Lane for the second straight time as he won the Late Model feature a week earlier.The race got underway with Nick Baer leading with Ely in tow and Wagner holding down third. By lap three Ely was able to take over as the front man while Baer was busy keeping Wagner at bay.After a lap 10 restart, Wagner jumped up to second and would then patiently wait for the right moment to grab the lead. Once he did there was no looking back as he drove on to his 37th career Modified win.“I just had to wait him (Ely) out. I saw he was a just a little tight and he was really free coming off the corners,” said Wagner.Last week Ely was leading and within feet of the checkers but was pinched from behind and spun. Although he fell short of winning, the run was no doubt a nice bit of redemption.“The car just got a tick to tight near the end. Donny (Wagner) raced me clean and that’s all I can ask him for, congratulations to him,” said Ely.“We got robbed last week and I know how it felt. I did get a nose on him a couple times but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to pass him clean and wasn’t going to drive down in the corner and risk spinning him out. We’ll take second.”;
Bobby Kibler Jr., got back to his winning ways as he led every lap of the Pro 4 main and held off point leader Josh Scherer. It was his third in of the season and first since April and also keeps him close in the battle for the class championship.
With his second win of the season, Michael Wambold let it be known that he is very much in the Hobby Stock title hunt as the victory helped keep things tight between him and the Geist brothers, Cody and Shayne, who are first and second respectively in the standings.
For the second straight time Kassidy Altemose raced to an inspiring victory in the Jr. Enduro feature. Taking the lead from Brayden Spencer by lap six, Altemose then ran away from the rest of the pack and was five laps ahead of runner-up Hunter Iatalese when the 30-minute raced ended. Spencer was third.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Don Wagner, 2. Jack Ely, 3. Kyle Strohl, 4. Kristopher Graver, 5. Bobby Jones, 6. Brian DeFebo, 7. Matt Wentz, 8. Eric Beers, 9. Todd Baer, 10. Lou Strohl, 11. Rob Schultz, 12. Earl Paules, 13. Danielle Paules, 14. Terry Markovic, 15. Wes Gilbert, 16. Kevin Rex, 17. Nick Baer, 18. John Markovic stino
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Bobby Kibler Jr., 2. Josh Scherer, 3. Jake Kibler, 4. Tyler Strangle, 5. Brian Ahner, 6. Briggs Danner, 7. Chris Kuronya, 8. Kailyn Beers, 9. Bob Kibler Sr. 10. Cody Kohler, 11. John Bennett, 12. Ronald Barlow, 13. Chase Hoffman
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Michael Wambold, 2. Cody Geist, 3. Rich Mutarelli, 4. Shayne Geist, 5. Devin Schmidt, 6. Ken Reeder, 7. Ryan Berger, 8. Travis Solomon, 9. Jeff Biegley, 10. Avery Arthofer, 11. Tiffany Wambold, 12. Nicolas Kerstetter, 13. Austin Beers, 14. Jesse Strohl DNS: Arland Moyer Jr.
Lady Luck shines on Kris Graver after wild last lap Mahoning Modified finish;
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 8-20-16) As the saying goes, “If it wasn’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all,” could best describe the type of season that standout Kris Graver has been going through.But for a change good luck helped get Graver his first Modified win of 2016 in a wild last lap finish that saw him go from fourth to first.After a restart with one lap to go Jack Ely was leading over Austin Kochenash while Lou Strohl and Graver sat third and fourth respectively.Once the race resumed Ely was doing all he could to hold back Kochenash as both drivers were goal-minded on the checkers. Entering turn three, however, Kochenash pinched the rear of Ely in his attempt to take over the lead. That in turn caused Ely to lose control and go into a spin just a few feet from the finish line. Likewise Kochenash spun to but was able to finish the race fourth.Staying alert to the mayhem, Graver lucky had the inside line and hurried his way to the finish over Lou Strohl and Kyle Strohl. Eric Beers was fifth.Kochenash, though, was placed on the tail end of the lead lap cars as officials sited him for the incident, which allowed Earl Paules to move to fifth in the final run down.“Those guys were beating and banging on each other and I was waiting for something to happen the whole time. I was just in the right place at the right time there,” said Graver, who notched his 10th career Modified win and 43rd overall.“When we got that single file restart I figured I would at least get third (place) over Lou Strohl and then all of a sudden I saw them (Ely, Kochenash) two get into it.”;Lou Strohl had taken control of the lead on lap eight and then had to endure a blitz from the likes of Kyle Strohl and Ely while Graver and Kochenash hovered close by.With Ely on the low lane, he and Kyle Strohl ran in two-wide formation while Lou Strohl guardedly kept both at bay.A few times Ely was able to put a wheel to the inside of Lou Strohl but got could not get enough forward bite to make the pass complete.Then with two laps to go he went for broke and lunged by coming off turn two. Following him in the route was Kochenash. The same lap saw the caution wave for a minor incident and the showdown stage was now set.Ely did his best to keep his car on the bottom while Kochenash saw an opportunity from his vantage point heading into the final two corners. The outcome, however, went the way of Graver who luckily avoided the spinning cars.“This whole year, anything that could go wrong would go wrong. I’ve been getting so frustrated lately and tonight luck was finally on our side. I can’t thank my whole crew enough for all the hard work they’ve put into this effort and I also want to dedicate this win of my lap pappy Gruber, he passed away on Friday and this goes to him,” added Graver.“Hopefully luck will now stay on our side and we can get another win before the year is up.”;
In June Mahoning Valley Speedway ran the first Jr. Enduro and winning the memorable event was third generation driver Avery Arthofer, who is also a rookie in the Hobby Stock class.On Saturday night during the special 35-lap contest, the 13-year old backed up that win with her first career division victory and in an impressive fashion.After taking the lead from Tiffany Wambold on lap 10, Arthofer then left everyone else to battle for second spot and beyond as she pulled ahead to a huge lead and went across the finish line by nearly six seconds. Ryan Berger held off Harry O’Neill for the runner-up spot. Arthofer’s win also marked the 11th different winner in 14 races this year with the Hobby Stocks.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Kristopher Graver, 2. Lou Strohl, 3. Kyle Strohl, 4. Eric Beers, 5. Earl Paules, 6. Nick Baer, 7. Kevin Rex, 8. John Markovic, 9. Jack Ely, 10. Terry Markovic, 11. Austin Kochenash, 12. Bobby Jones, 13. Daniele Paules, 14. Tommy Flanagan, 15. Brian DeFebo, 16. Tommy Rought, 17. Cody Kohler, 18. Don Wagner DNS: Joey Jarowicz
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Avery Arthofer, 2. Ryan Berger , 3. Harry O’Neill, 4. Shayne Geist, 5. Michael Wambold, 6. Tiffany Wambold, 7. Austin Beers, 8. Travis Solomon, 9. Randy Sicher, 10. Cody Geist, 11. Jeff Biegley, 12. Ken Reeder, 13. Carl Altemose, 14. Nicolas Kerstetter, 15. Rich Mutarelli, 16. Dean Strohl Jr., 17. Jesse Strohl, 18. Dean Strohl
__________________________________________________________________________________ Bobby Jones and Eric Beers thrilled Mahoning Valley Speedway fans with close Modified duel
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 8-6-16) Respect – it’s what Bobby Jones and Eric Beers share closely with one another. They are great friends off the race track and great competitors on and they clearly displayed that on Saturday night at Mahoning Valley Speedway as they battled within inches of one another in a thrilling contest between two elite veterans who know the value of what a good race should be.Both drivers ran wheel-to-wheel over the final 10 laps, giving each other just the right amount of space while electrifying the fans with their dazzling duel that ended with Jones taking a scant margin of victory, which was his second of the season.“It shows what type of guy Eric Beers is. He seen what was happening there and he let me have the room I needed. He could have pinched me down several times but he’s a classy guy and you won’t get anyone better or nicer to race against then him,” said Jones, who scored his 26th career Mahoning win.Part of what Jones was referring to was the lapped car of Earl Paules who was making things a bit on edge when the leaders came upon him. As Jones and Beers were in their fierce two-wide battle, they also had to tip-toe past Paules in order to avoid a mishap of sorts. Once cleared they again drove hard and clean and as they reached starter Bob Stull’s waving checkers, Jones was a mere .052-seconds better over Beers.“We’re still tweaking on this car and haven’t found that little bit that I’d like it to be. We’re sure improving on it though and making gains,” noted Jones. The race began with Todd Bear jumping to the early lead over Jack Ely. Jones, who started fifth, was soon alongside Ely and they ran together directly behind Baer.Seeing that the leader’s car was tight, Jones made a diving move off turn two on lap three and was about to take over until a spinning Roger Heffelfinger Jr., negated his effort. On the restart Jones again new the inside would be the key for passing only this time Baer was a bit more cautious and defended his spot much better. By lap nine, however, his car began to step up and Jones took that at his moment to overrun him.“I knew he (Bear) was trying to stay tight and I waited and waited because I felt that was going to be the way. The lane opened up for me and we seized it,” said Jones.A hard-charging Kris Graver was then on Jones’ rear bumper while Beers had moved up to third. Graver had a very strong car and kept right in line with Jones but at the same time he was also busy fending off Beers.Beers, the current point leader, then made haste with 11 laps reaming rushing past Graver and soon after began the intense fight to the finish with Jones.“Bobby (Jones) ran a great race and we were side-by-side and banged rub rails and wheels once or twice and man what fun that was,” explained Beers.“I thought I could get a good run off (turn) four but it got to the point where it wasn’t worth wrecking the car to get there. We were just a tick off tonight and we’ll come back next week and get ‘em.”;Don Wagner held off Austin Kochenash for third while John Markovic completed the top five.
Jake Kibler held the point for all 20 laps in the Pro 4 event and notched his second win of the year.
Hobby Stock point leader Cody Geist annexed his third victory of the season thanks to a late race pass on Jesse Strohl.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Bobby Jones, 2. Eric Beers, 3. Don Wagner, 4. Austin Kochenash, 5. John Markovic, 6. Jack Ely, 7. Kris Graver 8. Kyle Strohl, 9. Lou Strohl, 10. Todd Baer, 11. Nick Baer, 12. Kevin Rex Jr., 13. Terry Markovic, 14. Earl Paules, 15. Roger Heffelfinger, 16. Jon Moser, 17. Tom Flanagan
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Jake Kibler, 2. Josh Scherer, 3. Tyler Stangle, 4. Cody Kohler, 5. Briggs Danner, 6. Shawn Hoffman, 7. Kailyn Beers, 8. Johnny Bennett, 9. Chase Hoffman, 10. Bobby Kibler Sr., 11. Bobby Kibler Jr., 12. Darren Woolf
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Cody Geist, 2. Michael Wambold, 3. Shaye Geist, 4. Rich Mutarelli, 5. Avery Arthofer, 6. Travis Solomon, 7. Austin Beers, 8. Jacob Kerstetter, 9. Ryan Berger, 10. Ken Reeder, 11. Randy Sicher, 12. Jeff Biegley, 13. Devon Schmidt, 14. Jesse Strohl, 15. Tiffany Wambold, 16. Travis Nothstein
Tempers were flaring after Earl Paules and Austin Kochenash won Bob “Heavy” Scherer Memorial twin-50s at Mahoning Valley Speedway
By DINO OBERTO
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 7-23-16) The late Bob “Heavy” Scherer was a hard-as-nails type of racer and there is no question he was looking down and beaming from ear to ear after a pair of twin-50 lap features run in his honor took place Saturday night at Mahoning Valley Speedway.
Earl Paules and Austin Kochenash scored the respective wins on a hot and steamy night of racing that was a classic rough and tumble short track show with intensely close action and tempers flaring afterwards. Yes, “Heavy” would have loved this.And most of the combating centered on Kochenash who drew plenty of cheers and jeers by night’s end.
In the first 50 Kochenash was tailing leader Brian DeFebo. It was looking as though a long winless dry spell at Mahoning would soon come to an end too for one of the premier talents of Pennsylvania pavement Modified racing as DeFebo’s car was perfectly getting around.Then on lap 24 Kochenash nipped the back of DeFebo in turn two and sent him spinning. For his part Kochenash was relegated to the rear.“I want to apologize for that. It was just racing. He (DeFebo) got a good start and then drove into the corner a little too hard. His car seemed a little tight and he came up a little bit and I went to cross him over. When I was coming back down my front bumper got into him and I got on the brakes but it was too late. I was getting pushed from the other cars behind me and it was just unfortunate for both of us,” said Kochenash.On the restart Bobby Jones and Earl Paules where at the front and by the time they completed the first lap under green, Paules was leading. He would hold there the rest of the way with Eric Beers, Don Wagner, Jones and John Markovic completing the top five.“That 72 (Kochenash) he is one aggressive driver I’ll tell you that. Man he will drive the wheels right off that race car. He got into the back of (Brian) DeFebo and turned him around and that put he to the outside of Bobby (Jones) on the restart,” said Paules, who won for the 45th time in a Modified.“He (Jones) was a little tight and was driving into my skid rail but that’s alright. He gave room too. This is a great memorial race we have for Heavy and a great track to race at.”;
Paules then picked the pill for the redraw of the second 50 and pulled the number 12 for the invert. That gave Lou Strohl and DeFebo the front row. Once underway Strohl took the lead but right alongside was DeFebo with Kochenash and Kris Graver going two-wide behind them.DeFebo worked hard to get by the leader by means of the outside lane and despite running even most of the time he could not muster enough to make a pass. Kochenash shook off Graver and would join the front two, making numerous attempts from to the inside. However, Strohl did a fine job of keeping both his pursuers at bay.That was until lap 29 when Kochenash got a burst of power and surged into the lead. DeFebo was still behind Strohl on the outside line and they would slide back while at the same time Jones grabbed second with Graver third.Paules was coming on strong as well and had just snagged third spot when the back end of his car broke loose and he spun in turn three, bringing out the caution that would set-up the showdown to the finish.On the restart Jones and Kochenash went wheel-to-wheel. Jones in fact eked his way to the lead on lap 41 but Kochenash responded back the next time around.Then in the final five laps the race hit fever pitch when Wagner made it a three car battle, applying pressure from the outside groove. He went by Jones with three laps to go and was now alongside Kochenash. Over the final two circuits he was thrusting hard to get the lead while being strained towards the wall as Kochenash was doing all he could to protect his spot.Amazingly with limited racing room the two never touched and they reached the finish line less separated by half a car length. The win also gave Kochenash a guaranteed starting spot for this year’s Sunoco Race of Champions 250 at Oswego Speedway later tis year.“He (Wagner) was beating on me and trying to spin me out for those last few laps. He got on the outside of me and I protected the lead. I gave him plenty of room out there,” explained Kochenash.Wagner was clearly upset afterwards and while they parked in Victory Lane he quickly unstrapped from his car and rushed over to Kochenash who was still in his mount. Heated words were being exchanged and a brief scuffle then took place between Wagner and members of Kochenash’s crew.“After the race he came into my window, pulling on my helmet and punching me and then he got hit. Every hero needs a villain and I guess I’m his villain. We’ll go on from this. I can’t thank Brent and Gary Wentz enough for giving me the opportunity to race their car and also the Scherer family for raising all the lap money and all that they do for this race in honor of Heavy,” added Kochenash.Wagner said he never touched Kochenash and was just letting him know of his displeasure for the way he felt he was being forced near the wall.“He’s (Kochenash) is a young driver and obviously he’s been taught some bad lessons by some people, I don’t know who but right now he’s making no friends in racing,” said Wagner. “This is a sport where your longevity is because of two reasons. You earn respect from your fellow drivers or you have a lot of money. This kid is gaining no respect,” he continued.
“We’re racing for the win and I understand if you’re the leader of the race you’ll do what you have to in order to protect the lead and not move over for anybody. But that doesn’t mean running to really block the guy next to you and trying to cause damage. That’s not the way we race. We’re all blue-collar working people that like their racing on a Saturday night. We all don’t want to be fixing our cars every week because of stupidity.”;
Kochenash opined his perspective afterwards while at his pit.“I was keeping the car on the bottom and he was hitting me in the bumper which was just racing. What I did to him is just racing. He’s not afraid to run anyone up to the wall but when he gets it done to him he doesn’t like it,” said Kochenash. “People just don’t like people that win, especially when they win and are half their age. He’s how old now and getting tired.”;
Kevin Graver Jr., has reached numerous feats during his career and Saturday night he entered one for the history books that may very well stand the test of time for years to come when he scored his record 33rd Pro 4 victory, which put him number one in class. Graver was engaged in a torrid battle for the lead that included a three-wide battle between himself, Tyler Stangle and Josh Scherer. It wasn’t until the final four laps that he secured the lead and then drove on to the historic win.
When rookie Travis Solomon crossed the finish line first in the Hobby Stock feature, it not only was his career first win but also marked a single season record for different winners with the class as he became the 10th driver to notch a win.
1st Modified Feature Finish (50 Laps): 1. Earl Paules, 2. Eric Beers, 3. Don Wagner, 4. Bobby Jones, 5. Jack Ely, 6. Kris Graver, 7. Chip Santee, 8. Austin Kochenash, 9. Brian DeFebo, 10. Lou Strohl, 11. John Markovic, 12. JP Curry, 13. Kevin Rex Jr., 14. Nick Bear, 15. Terry Markovic, 16. Joey Jarowicz, 17. Kyle Strohl, 18.Mike Quinn, 19. Todd Baer
16-year Kyle Strohl cruises to second Mahoning Modified win of ’16; Mike Sweeney picks up fifth win in Late Models
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 7-16-16) Once Kyle Strohl snagged the lead from Nick Baer on lap three he showed all kinds of power and speed and left everyone in his wake en route to his second Modified win of the season on Saturday night at Mahoning Valley Speedway. With the race going caution free the entire 35-laps, Strohl was kicking in the afterburners on his Paul’s Towing/Shear-N-Vee No. 44 long before the finish where he was four-seconds ahead of runner-up Austin Kochenash. “This was finally a good night for us and we hit the set-up just right. We had to overcome some bad weeks and tonight we had good luck on our side and we came up with the win,” said 16-year old Strohl. Nick Baer was the pole sitter and took the early lead but Strohl, who started second, pressured him from the onset and eased by with three laps complete. Brian DeFebo then followed into second spot with Kris Graver third, Kochenash fourth and Don Wagner fifth. The laps where soon clicking off in quick fashion as the pack did a great job racing each other clean. And, while there was numerous battles unfolding, none of them included Strohl who was in a league of his own. “This was an awesome race and I haven’t raced like this in a long, long time. It feels good to run a caution free feature and I know we can do it and it’s what makes for great racing and it’s what I come here for,” said Strohl, who competed the jaunt in a time of 5:54. “When I started lapping cars I thought maybe I had a good lead but my concentration was to stay steady and keep a clear mind. You didn’t know who’s coming behind you or when so I just ran every lap like it was my last. This is a real confidence booster heading into next week’s twin 50s. Hopefully this is the right set-up and it works for us again,” said Strohl. While Strohl was running away with the race the battle for second spot was quite intense. DeFebo was looking solid holding off Kochenash for a number of laps. Just past mid-race, however, Kochenash made it by and brought Wagner along. From there on those two would fight persistently to the finish. “Kyle (Strohl) starting second and getting the lead right away helped him out and we had to come through traffic. Donny (Wagner) was beating on me and I knew he wasn’t going to go around me and wasn’t fast enough. I just had to keep my line and hope for a caution but unfortunately there wasn’t one,” said Kochenash. “We know our car can start in the back and come to the front and we’ll come back next week even better.” Point leader Eric Beers and Graver completed the top five.
Everyone knows all too well the extent of success by Eric Beers. But on this memorable night there was celebration for another Beers, as Kailyn, his daughter, won her career first feature in the Pro 4 main. Starting from the pole, Beers took the early lead and would not let go. With the race remaining green until a caution with two laps to go, she showed that after three years of trying she wasn’t going to let this one slip away. On the restart Beers hit the throttle and remained in focus, crossing the finish line to a throng of cheers for her well-earned verdict over Tyler Stangle and Kevin Graver Jr.
Hobby Stock point leader Cody Geist picked up his second win of the season. After passing Devon Schmidt with seven laps to go he was good from there on, holding off Rich Mutarelli for the victory.
Kassidy Altemose was the winner of the Jr. Enduro over Avery Arthofer.
Moddified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Kyle Strohl, 2. Austin Kochenash, 3. Don Wagner, 4. Eric Beers, 5. Kristopher Graver, 6. Brian DeFebo, 7. Earl Paules, 8. Jack Ely, 9. John Markovic, 10. Nick Baer, 11. Todd Baer, 12. Bobby Jones, 13. Mike Quinn, 14. Zane Zeiner, 15. Joey Jarowicz, 16. Chip Santee, 17. Terry Markovic DNS: Brian Labar
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Kailyn Beers, 2. Tyler Stangle, 3. Kevin Graver, Jr. 4. Cody Kohler. 5. Johnny Bennett, 6. Jake Kibler, 7. Josh Scherer, 8. Bryan Ahner, 9. Shawn Hoffman, 10. Bobby Kibler Jr., 11. JD Light, 12. Chris Kuronya, 13. Latonia Barlow Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Cody Geist, 2. Rich Mutarelli, 3. Michael Wambold, 4.Ryan Berger, 5. Devin Schmidt, 6. Shayne Geist, 7. Ron Heeter, 8. Travis Solomon, 9. Randy Sicher, 10. Austin Beers, 11. Ken Reeder, 12. Dean Strohl Jr, 13. Avery Arthofer, 14. Jesse Strohl, 15. Tiffany Wambold, 16. Dean Strohl Sr., 17. Nicolas Kerstetter DNS: Jason Gould ___________________________________________________________________________________________
Bobby Jones returns to Mahoning Victory Lane; Mike Sweeney dominates en route to “Pineapple 50” Late Model win
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 7-2-16) Bobby Jones is easily considered one of the best racers Mahoning Valley Speedway showcases which makes it is hard to fathom that this classy veteran has not been a winner in over four years. A string of bad luck had a lot to do with it. Missed set-ups on his No. 1J more times than not can be taken into consideration for the Victory Lane absence too. No matter what the case may have been it is all behind him now after a solid drive brought him back to his winning ways in Saturday night’s 35-lap Modified feature.And this was classic Jones. Jumping out front early and holding a commanding lead then withstanding the late race charge by Eric Beers. Beers, who has been the class of the field, would put the pressure on but when you are a many time winner and have been shunned from victory as long as Jones, neither Beers nor anyone for that matter was going to get between him and those checkers. Jones did what was expected of him, protecting the bottom while Beers was compelled to do his bidding from the top lane. Try as he may, Jones would hold off the point leader and make his triumphant return to glory. “It’s been rough for us. We had a lot of good years where there was three or four years in a row we just couldn’t do any wrong and it went the other way the past few years,” said Jones. During the early stages of the race Jones was holding a comfortable lead over Terry Markovic and Brian DeFebo. Over a stretch of green flag laps 13th place starter and previous week winner Austin Kochenash had advanced through the pack and up to second. Tagging along with him was Beers. That duo soon went into a fierce two-wide battle for a number of laps while Jones continued to maintain a steady and smooth run. Then with nine laps to go a caution waved when Chip Santee had a spin in turn three. That allowed Beers to restart alongside Jones. When the race resumed Jones knew he had to be up on the wheel. Beers tried but Jones clamped down tight and would keep Beers in check the rest of the way.“I just wanted to keep on going and didn’t want to stop when that caution came out,” said Jones.“I was protecting the bottom and didn’t want to get up to high and have someone slip underneath me. This is a brand new car and you don’t come out and do this. I didn’t know the speed I have with the car yet or how well it was working. But when I saw Eric (Beers) there and I knew I had to get going.”;Kochenash settled for third with Don Wagner and Earl Paules rounding out the top five.
In the Pro 4 feature it was another victory being chalked up by Josh Scherer. And just as his previous victories have come Scherer did not move to the lead until late in the race, this time taking the lead away from one very impressive Johnny Bennett. Once in front Scherer then held off Cody Kohler and Bobby Kibler Jr.
Shayne Geist became the latest driver to earn a Hobby Stock win. Geist was able to take the lead from Austin Beers with a swift inside pass off turn four on lap three. Not long afterwards Michael Wambold was challenging and doing everything possible to get by but Geist was able to keep it tight on the bottom which enabled him to hold his lead and go on to become the ninth different winner in 10 races.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Bobby Jones, 2. Eric Beers, 3. Austin Kochenash, 4. Don Wagner, 5. Earl Paules, 6. John Markovic, 7. Kris Graver, 8. Jack Ely, 9. Brian DeFebo, 10. Chip Santee, 11. Terry Markovic, 12. Sal Accardi, 13. Brian Labar, 14. Nick Baer, 15. Roger Heffelfinger Jr., 16. Billy Lasko, 17. Gene Bowers, 18. Kyle Strohl
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Josh Scherer, 2. Cody Kohler, 3. Bobby Kibler Jr., 4. Bryan Ahner, 5. Kevin Graver Jr., 6. Jake Kibler 7. Shawn Kistler, 8. Shawn Hoffman, 9. Tyler Stangle, 10. Mark Kohler, 11. Johnny Bennett, 12. Kailyn Beers
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Shayne Geist, 2. Michael Wambold, 3. Ryan Berger, 4. Rich Mutarelli, 5. Cody geist, 6. Randy Sicher, 7. Avery Arthofer, 8. Austin Beers, 9. Sam Ryan, 10. Tiff Wambold, 11. Nicholas Kerstetter, 12. Jason Gould, 13. Dean Strohl Jr., 14. Travis Solomon, 15. Jeff Biegley, 16. Devin Schmidt, 17. Jesse Strohl, 18. Dean Strohl Sr., 19. Brian Wambold DNS: Colton Perry ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Austin Kochenash survives to win Mahoning Modified slugfest; Frankie Althouse does the same for Late Model glory
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 6-25-16) At the bullring ¼-mile Mahoning Valley Speedway on a sizzling Saturday night, there was beating and banging, there was spins and dings and there was action galore, and that was just in the Modified feature. It was a race that was a slugfest in every sense of the word and after all was said and done standing tall in Victory Lane after a hard fought battle was Austin Kochenash, claiming his first win of the season. Kochenash, who was wheeling the Gary and Brent Wentz No. 72, held off point leader Eric Beers by less than a half car length while very close in third was Earl Paules. A more than usual number of cautions interrupted the 35-lap contest. Kochenash was involved in one such in a lap 10 pile-up. His keen skill was put to the test afterwards as he would need to maneuver accurately past ensuing incidents in in his march towards the front. One of those was a grinding crash by Gene Bowers who smacked the turn four wall head-on on lap 20. Although his car was badly damaged, Bowers thankfully walked away unscathed. Due to that calamity the track was in need of a major cleanup from all the liquid that was deposited from Bowers’ car. The good part was that the considerable amount of speedy dry that was put down was just high enough off the racing groove and allowed drivers two doable lanes of racing. Kochenash was in ninth when the race resumed and he meticulously drove the right lanes and did a perfect job of avoiding any further collisions, reaching the top five by lap 21. With 10 laps to go he would be handed first place due to a Don Wagner and Jack Ely scrape while battling for the lead. Kochenash had just made his way by Paules and Beers at the same time for third spot. He then kept his sights on maintaining his lead while Beers and Paules contested for second. Beers did shake free and soon zeroed in on the leader and made it a great dogfight to the finish. Kochenash had no choice but to push the issue with Beers in the closing laps too as he continued to force him high in order to stay protective of his spot. “I knew Eric (Beers) and Earl (Paules) were going to be real tough to beat especially with how bad the front of the car is. We were able to get the lead and it was a matter of just holding on the rest of the way,” said Kochenash. “There’s nothing straight on the car after that incident in the beginning. But once I got the lead I realized it’s a $900 difference from first to second and I needed the money to fix the car. I may have been a little rough but that was no different than anyone else would have run.”; Beers, who like nearly everyone else was caught up in a tangle, came up a few feet short from scoring another win. “That was a rough one tonight. We’d been pretty clean all year until tonight. Austin (Kochenash) did what he had to do in order to get the win. Both of our cars where a little damaged and my front end is all dinged up and Earl (Paules) is battle scorn too so we were all running around with roughed-up equipment,” said Beers. “We were on the edge all night and with the speedy dry over in turn four that made it a little leery but Austin gave me just enough room and hats off to him. It was fun.”; Kris Graver had another solid outing despite being gathered in a few caution scenes and was fourth. Likewise with John Markovic who bounced back several times on his way to rounding out the top five.
Josh Scherer worked his tail off to get around Kevin Graver Jr., but once he did there was not stopping him in gaining his third Pro 4 win of the season.
For the first time this year a repeat winner has emerged in the Hobby Stocks. Ryan Berger grabbed the lead from his front row starting spot at the get-go and held it the rest of the way, becoming the first to repeat after nine races.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Austin Kochenash, 2. Eric Beers, 3. Earl Paules, 4. Kris Graver, 5. John Markovic, 6. Brian Labar, 7. Don Wagner, 8. Jack Ely, 9. Nick Baer, 10. Terry Markovic, 11. Brian DeFebo, 12. Gene Bowers, 13. Bobby Jones, 15. Kyle Strohl, 16. Jon Moser
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Josh Scherer, 2. Kevin Graver Jr., 3. Bobby Kibler Jr., 4. Jake Kibler, 5. Johnny Bennett, 6. Shawn Kistler, 7. Cody Kohler, 8. Kailyn Beers, 9. Tyler Stangle
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Ryan Berger, 2. Avery Arthofer, 3. Rich Mutarelli, 4. Shayne Geist, 5. Austin Beers, 6. Randy Sicher, 7. Devin Schmidt, 8. Tiff Wambold, 9. Jesse Strohl. 10. Michael Wambold, 11. Cody Geist, 12. Colton Perry, 13. Nicholas Kerstetter, 14. Jeff Biegley. 15. Ken Reeder, 16. Trisha Connolly, 17. Dean Strohl Sr., 18. Travis Solomon ______________________________________________________________________________________
The Youth Was Good But Beers Was Better…“Master of Faster” Earns 50th Career Mahoning Modified Win
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 6-18-16) The youth movement was quite evident during Saturday night’s Modified feature at Mahoning Valley Speedway as teenagers Nick Baer, Jack Ely and Kyle Strohl all came close to winning but when it was all said and done the highly experienced Eric Beers showed the young talents that he is still the man to beat, winning for a fifth time. And, not only was Beers celebrating the night’s accomplishment, he was likewise basking in a milestone victory as he reached his 50th career Modified feature win at the Lehighton paved ¼-mile oval. “It’s really awesome. I have to thank the race track for having Modifieds here and staying with a great program and for the fans coming out every Saturday and watching us. If it wasn’t for the fans in those stands we drivers wouldn’t have anything to do,” said Beers. There was no doubt that the young guns are rising in the Modified division. Baer was the early leader through the first seven laps until Ely used a restart to work his way by. At that point he was holding off another veteran, classy John Markovic. In their shadows rode last week’s winner Strohl who would bide his time to get by Markovic. Once that took place Ely and Strohl began to duel closely for the lead. Ely was running the low lane and at times able to race ahead to a few car lengths advantage although Strohl was always within reach. A caution with 25 laps completed enabled Strohl to line up alongside the leader and when the race resumed he had great forward bite that allowed him to slip by Ely. At the same time another of the already proven young drivers, Austin Kochenash, was racing in third.Beers, who had started eighth, was in fifth behind Kris Graver but on the same restart he thrust by to grab third and was locked behind teammate Ely. One lap later he took over second. There would be a final caution with 8 laps remaining and it would also be Beer’s race winning move on that restart as he shot by Strohl and onto his fifth win in ten starts this season. “The future of Modified racing is very strong here. Kyle (Strohl) ran a heck of race. Just battling there with him, Jack (Ely) and Austin (Kochenash), we were side-by-side and it was amazing,” said Beers. “If Kyle wouldn’t have gave the room on the outside I wouldn’t have completed the pass. Hats off to him and of course my crew guys for once again putting a great car under me and my car owners for letting me have some fun.”; Strohl settled for second spot and his fourth straight top-5. “He’s (Beers) is one of the best out here and is tough to beat. When you’re behind him you can only hope for the best. I was a little tight entering the corners and I tried to run him clean as best I could. When that caution came out and Eric was next to me I kind of knew my luck ran out,” said Strohl. Kochenash, who has been fast every week and continuing to knock on the door of victory, was third. Don Wagner and Markovic rounded out the top five.
Jake Kibler took his first Pro 4 win of the season thanks to a restart pass on Kailyn Beers with five laps to go. He then held off fast approaching Josh Scherer and notched his 20th career class win.
For the eighth time in as many weeks a different winner emerged in the Hobby Stocks, this time with Michael Wambold.Wambold started second and had to withstand a rash of early cautions and then a very hard charging Rich Mutarelli on his way to the checkers.
In July of 1987, Lorin Arthofer Sr., won for the very first time at Mahoning Valley and began a legacy by his family of winning. That heritage has carried on as his granddaughter, Avery Arthofer, won the very first Jr. Enduro event and the 94th time her family name has been in Victory Lane at the track.Her first ever stock car win was run over a 30-minute distance, completing 116 laps. Avery had just come off a top-5 run in the Hobby Stock feature were she is a rookie driver.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Eric Beers, 2. Kyle Strohl, 3. Austin Kochenash, 4. Don Wagner, 5. John Markovic, 6. Gene Bowers, 7. Earl Paules, 8. Kris Graver, 9. Nick Baer, 10. Brian DeFebo, 11. Jack Ely, 12. Terry Markovic, 13. Lou Strohl, 14. Brian Labar, 15. Lee Sharpsteen, 16. Todd Bear, 17. Bobby Jones
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Jake Kibler, 2. Josh Scherer, 3. Kevin Graver Jr., 4. Bobby Kibler Jr., 5. Shawn Kistler, 6. Tyler Stangle, 7. Cody Kohler, 8. Shawn Hoffman, 9. Kailyn Beers, 10. John Bennett
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Michael Wambold, 2. Rich Mutarelli, 3. Cody Geist, 4. Tiffany Wambold, 5. Avery Arthofer, 6. Sam Ryan, 7. Travis Solomon, 8. Shayne Geist, 9. Devin Schmidt, 10. Randy Sicher, 11. Colton Perry, 12. Ryan Berger, 13. Jesse Strohl, 14. Kevin Behler, 15. Austin Beers, 16. Ken Reeder, 17. Dean Strohl Jr., 18. Kyle Scisco, 19. Waylon Speer, 20. Dean Strohl Sr. DNQ: Elmer Kennedy, Taylor Schmidt
Kyle Strohl Picks Up First Modified Victory of 2016; Paul Koehler Jr. Joins 50-Win Club at Mahoning Valley Speedway
By Kyle Magda
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 6-11-16) Two familiar faces at Mahoning Valley Speedway ended up in victory lane Saturday night.
16-year-old Kyle Strohl finally broke into this season’s win column by holding off a hard-charging Austin Kochenash in the Modified feature while Paul Koehler Jr. battled with a hungry Mike Sweeney in the closing laps for his 50th Late Model win at MVS. Strohl started fourth and ran side-by-side with Nick Baer until grabbing the lead from the No. 41x on lap 14. Right after he took the top spot, a six-car crash ensued behind them involving “The Hurricane” Earl Paules and Brian DeFebo as 2014 Modified track champ Kris Graver moved into second. Graver then took the lead from Strohl on lap 19 and appeared to have the race in hand until he spun on the feature’s final restart and lost the top spot to Strohl in the process. Once Strohl took the lead, he never looked back to score his first Modified victory of the season. “I thought I was done, but I got that run on the outside and I just held it flat and hoped for the best from there and I came home with the win,” Strohl said. It’s a big relief. We were struggling with this car since day one off the trailer. I can’t thank all my crew guys enough and Eric Beers for all his help. It really means a lot, I can’t thank them enough. This win means a lot to me.”; Graver’s slip on the restart caused misfortunes for others, including runner-up Austin Kochenash and third-place finisher Eric Beers. Kochenash started 13th in the Brent and Gary Wentz-owned No. 72 machine and just fell short of putting his Modified into victory lane. “It was going to be tough to win with the amount of good cars that were up front,” Kochenash said. “Kyle ran a good race, a smart race. Coming from 13th is tough. There was an outside tonight, but there was one car that didn’t want to be passed on the outside and that slowed me up a little bit, but that’s racing and it’s nice.”; Beers narrowly missed victory lane a week ago, but this week got trapped behind Graver’s No. 01 in Saturday’s feature, making “The Master of Faster” halt his march towards the front. “When he didn’t get going there on that one restart when he got sideways, it let Kyle (Strohl) get around him into the lead and let Austin (Kochenash) get around the outside of us. If that wouldn’t have happened, we would’ve been ahead of the 72 and possibly would’ve got the win out of it, but it is what it is.”;
In the Late Model feature, Paul Koehler Jr. snatched the lead from Frankie Althouse on the first lap and held off a late-race charge from Mike Sweeney in the final laps for career win No. 50 at the Lehighton track. Sweeney looked inside and outside the No. 00 machine to take the lead, but settled for second as Koehler celebrated the milestone win. “I think this is the toughest feature I’ve ever ran,” Koehler said. “I pulled into Victory Lane and I was breathing so heavy, I thought I was going to pass out. 50 for here is a big deal. I think it’s my 70th-overall, but Mahoning Valley, 50 wins here – one’s an accomplishment. This track is really, really tough to run.”;
Hobby Stocks kicked off the night with their 20-lap feature as Jesse Strohl scored his first-career win in that division.
Zach Graver won the Street Stock feature for a third time this season after passing Chip Wanamaker who was later disqualified in post-race tech. Justin Mooney and point leader Jon Moser took second and third respectively.
For a second straight week Ricky Yetter scooted to a comfortable victory for the Dirt Modifieds. Ray Deemer, who led early in the event, took runner-up honors.
Josh Scherer won his second Pro-4 feature of the season. Scherer inherited the lead after an opening lap dust up took out several cars ahead of him. Afterwards he would hold off point leader Bobby Kibler Jr. and then Cody Kohler over the final three laps.
The night capped off with a half-hour timed race for the Small-Enduro Car division won by Tony Rispin. 111 cars showed up for the June 11 show.
Racing returns to Mahoning Valley Speedway Saturday, June 18 as the Dirt Mods go for $1200 in a 50-lap feature along with all the regular divisions taking to the track plus the first ever Jr. Small Car Enduro.
Modified Feature (35 Laps): 1. Kyle Strohl 2. Austin Kochenash 3. Eric Beers 4. Kris Graver 5. Gene Bowers 6. John Markovic 7. Don Wagner 8. Jack Ely 9. Brian Labar 10. Bobby Jones 11. Todd Baer 12. Terry Markovic 13. Mike Quinn 14. Mike Bednar 15. Nick Baer 16. Earl Paules 17. Lou Strohl 18. Brian DeFebo 19. Glenn Slocum
Late Model Feature (25 Laps): 1. Paul Koehler Jr. 2. Mike Sweeney 3. Jeremy Miller 4. Frankie Althouse 5. Paul Skodacek 6. Jacob Nemeth 7. Lorin Arthofer 8. Jacob Kerstetter 9. Kenny Hein 10. Troy Bollinger 11. Josh Oswald
Street Stock Feature: 1. Zach Graver 2. Justin Mooney 3. Jon Moser 4. Jason Kuhn 5. Jared Ahner 6. Randy Ahner Jr. 7. Jamie Smith 8. Stacey Brown 9. Greg Long 10. Kristy Arthofer 12. Mark Martini 13. Corey Edelman 14. Josh Mooney 15. Todd Ahner 16. Dan Freundt 17. Aaron Kromer 18. Jason Frey 19. Eric Kocher 20. Kevin Weierbach DQ: Chip Wanamaker DNQ: George Ramos, Mike Piechota, Dennis Buss, Logan Boyer
Dirt Mod Feature (25 Laps): 1. Ricky Yetter, 2. Ray Deemer, 3. Billy Lasko, 4. Aleia Geisler, 5. Scott Hyland DNS: Mike Stofflet
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Josh Scherer, 2. Cody Kohler, 3. Bobby Kibler Jr., 4. Kevin Graver Jr., 5.Tyler Stangle, 6. Joe Stangle, 7. Jake Kibler, 8. Shawn Kistler, 9. Johnny Bennett, 10. Kailyn Beers, 11, Shawn Hoffman
Hobby Stock Feature (20 laps): 1. Jesse Strohl 2. Cody Geist 3. Devon Schmidt 4. Tiffany Wambold 5. Travis Solomon 6. Randy Sicher 7. Ken Reeder 8. Colton Perry 9. Elmer Kennedy 10. Waylon Speer 11. Austin Beers 12. Rich Mutarelli 13. Michael Wambold 14 Dean Strohl Sr. 15. Kevin Behler 16. Shayne Geist 17. Taylor Schmidt 18. Ryan Berger 19. Travis Nothstein 20. Dean Strohl Jr. 21. Avery Arthofer DNQ: Arland Moyer Jr.
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 6-4-16) You couldn’t have asked for a more perfect night of racing at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway, coming on Baltimore Life Insurance Fan Appreciation Night as a packed house was treated to a thrilling night of stock car action. All seven classes provided excellent racing with extremely close finishes.
In the Modifieds it was as a good as could be. Leading from the outset Wharton, New Jersey’s Don Wagner was under enormous pressure from the get-go en route to posting a thrilling victory over Eric Beers, who started 17th and last. Kyle Strohl went after Wagner and showed great potential at first before Earl Paules stepped in to challenge. Both Strohl and Paules leaned heavy on the leader but he stayed solid.“It was a hard fought one and I just put it on the bottom and protected for 35 laps and man they were all over me. I hate to say that I protected the lead but that’s what I did. You have to do that here” said Wagner. “Kyle (Strohl) is a good young racer and I enjoy running with him and Earl (Paules) is as good as it gets. It’s just a tough field of cars this year,” While the racing was close at the front, Beers was in his own battle as he was quickly picking his way through the pack and within 15 laps had entered the top five. Paules and Strohl were still hounding Wagner while Beers just kept digging. Then three laps from the finish Beers had the energetic crowd on its feet after his amazing drive through the field as he was now bearing down on Wagner. The two stars then began a side-by-side duel over the final three circuits. Heading towards the checkers Beers was flat-footing on the outside but Wagner, who lost to him just the week prior, wheeled his way across the finish for his first win of the season by a mere .049-second margin of victory.“I had no idea he (Beers) was the car alongside me. The man is smart and he never showed his hand and I never knew he was there until I saw him to the outside on the last lap,” said Wagner. “There can’t be any margin for error at Mahoning. You got to be on the wheel every lap that you’re out there.”; Strohl bounced back over Paules to get a season best third while John Markovic completed the top five. For Wagner it was his 18th Mahoning win and fulfilling a comeback from a grinding crash on May 7.“We’ve done our homework and we put the car back together and it’s good and we’re still going to run for a championship here this year,” he added.
Mike Sweeney of Nesquehoning drove to his second straight Late Model win in what has thus far been a near perfect season. He reeled off four straight runner-ups and then got on the winning track over the past two weeks. Sweeney, driving the only Ford car in the class, went by early leader Loring Arthofer II at the completion of lap 10 and then made perfect turns the rest of the way, taking the victory over Jeremy Miller and Frankie Althouse.
In the Street Stocks Lehighton’s Dan Freundt qualified for his first feature of the season and having the benefit of starting from the pole, went on to lead every lap and notch his first win with the class. Josh Mooney and Zach Graver offered up plenty of opposition, especially from Graver who was making a serious bid for the lead and was on the cusp of working his way past when a caution flag waved and negated his effort. Then while under yellow his car lost power and he his night was done. When the action resumed Freundt still had Mooney on him and soon came Greg Long. Long was able to get around Mooney within the final 10 laps but Freundt was determined and held his ground for the well-earned verdict.
Defending Dirt Mod champ Ricky Yetter of Easton was back in the Winner’s Circle for the first time this year and he made it perfect from the start by leading every lap throughout the night. Yetter got things underway by scoring his heat win and then from the pole in the feature he quickly make it a race for second as the powered out front for all 25 caution free laps and his 17th career Mahoning victory.The much improved Billy Lasko finished second with Mike Stofflet third.
After a slow start to the season, Schnecksville’s Cody Kohler, the defending Pro 4 champ, is starting to hit his stride as he wheeled to his second consecutive win.Shawn Kistler had led the early laps before Josh Scherer unseated him. Kohler was in line with the then leader and under a lap10 caution Scherer dropped out. Kohler assumed the lead the rest of the way for the score over Tyler Stangle.
The Hobby Stock feature was a real nail bitter as Devon Schmidt of Lehighton eked out his career first and by a whisker. With a few laps to go Shayne Geist was lead with Schmidt riding his tail. Lapped traffic with a few laps to go allowed Schmidt to pull along Geist and over the final lap, after clearing all the back markers, they went two-wide heading to the finish. Schmidt, on the inside edged ahead as they reached the line and claimed the win by .008-second.
In the Micro Stock main Bobby Wagner of Roxbury, New Jersey squeaked out a close win over Alex Greenzweig.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Don Wagner, 2. Eric Beers, 3. Kyle Strohl, 4. Earl Paules, 5. John Markovic, 6. Austin Kochenash, 7. Kristopher Graver, 8. Nick Baer, 9. Jack Ely, 10. Bobby Jones, 11. Jimmy Zacharias, 12. Gene Bowers, 13. Terry Markovic, 14. Todd Baer, 15. Brian Labar, 16. Broc Brown, 17. Lou Strohl
Late Model Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Mike Sweeny, 2. Jeremy Miller, 3. Frankie Althouse, 4. Paul Skodacek, 5. Lorin Arthofer, 6. Kenny Hein, 7. Paul Koehler Jr., 8. Josh Oswald, 9. Chris Anderson, 10. Jacob Kerstetter, 11. Jacob Nemeth
Street Stock Feature Finish (30 Laps): 1. Dan Freundt, 2. Greg Long, 3. Josh Mooney, 4. Jon Moser, 5. Corey Edelman, 6. Kristy Arthofer, 7. Jared Ahner, 8. Todd Ahner, 9. Stacey Brown, 10. Justin Mooney, 11. Randy Ahner Jr., 12. Jason Kuhn, 13.Mark Martini, 14.Chip Wanamaker, 15. Jon Tracy, 16. Aaron Kromer, 17. Jamie Smith, 18. Logan Boyer, 19. Zach Graver, 20. Jason Frey, 21. George Ramos DNQ: Eric Kocher, Dennis Buss, Kevin Weierbach, Mike Piechota, Rick Reichenbach, Jacob Kerstetter, Jeremy Scheckler
Dirt Mod Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Ricky Yetter, 2. Billy Lasko, 3. Mike Stofflet, 4. Scott Adams, 5. Aleia Geisler, 6. Paul Effrig, 7. Scott Hyland, 8. Ray Deemer
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Devon Schmidt, 2. Shayne Geist, 3. Cody Geist, 4. Jesse Strohl, 5. Rich Mutarelli, 6. Randy Sicher, 7. Austin Beers, 8. Avery Arthofer, 9. Tiffany Wambold, 10. Nicholas Kerstetter, 11. Phillip Sabatine, 12. Taylor Santee, 13. Dean Strohl Jr., 14. Travis Nothstein, 15. Ryan Berger, 16. Michael Wambold, 17. Travis Solomon, 18. Colton Perry, 19. Ken Reeder DNS: Dean Strohl Sr. DNQ: Elmer Kennedy __________________________________
Eric Beers takes another Mahoning Modified win; Mike Sweeney finally lands Late Model laurels; Jon Moser dominates in Street Stock 75; Mike Stofflet, Cody Kohler and Ryan Berger also Victory Lane visitors
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 5-28-16) For the fourth time in seven starts Eric Beers parked his No. 45 Horwith Trucking car in Victory Lane at Mahoning Valley Speedway. Beers had a great duel not just with runner-up Don Wagner, whom he battled tooth and nail and did not pass until three laps to go, but he was in thick traffic from start to finish en route to the hard fought victory. Third place Earl Paules, Kyle Strohl, Jack Ely, Kris Graver and several others all waged a strong fight with Beers. Truth be told several cautions also helped Beers’ effort in his march to the front prior to him reaching third behind Wagner and Paules. Then the as the laps began to wind down he picked off Paules at circuit 27 and went after Wagner in a remarkable two-wide confrontation. Hard driving, hands up on the wheel, both titans worked the track with perfection and precise accuracy. Beers showed he just wanted it more and the current point leader would go on the win number four of 2016 and the 49th of his career Mahoning Modified win. “Donny (Wagner) was running hard out there and I was just waiting for an opportunity to nose by him. My car was just a little bit better than his just through the center of the corners and we were about even down the straightaways,” said Beers. “He wiggled his back end off (turn) two just a little bit and I got in underneath. We never touched and we ran two-three laps side-by-side. It was just great racing.”; Wagner may not have won but he can still be satisfied with the result. In his last race the car was bent up bad from and accident. He and his crew had to straighten and re-bend nearly every corner of the car. Back-to-back rainouts also helped with needed time to get the job done. Starting from the pole, Wagner had rookie Nick Baer keeping him in check. Likewise Glen Slocum showed some great strength before he spun from contention on lap nine. Strohl stepped in afterwards but he had to make way for the big guns as Paules, Beers and Graver stormed by to take on Wagner. Baer would give up his spot to Paules on lap 15 with Beers in tow while Graver tracked closely as well. Once Beers was able to get by for the lead, Wagner knew it was over. “He’s (Beers) the man to beat this year. We went out tonight to win the race and for all the damage we had from the last time here we’re pleased with a second place,” said Wagner. “The car is off just a little bit and that’s why he beat us. We’ll come back next week loaded for bear.”;While the veterans took the spotlight, there was clearly a look at what the future has to hold as Baer, Slocum, Ely and Gene Bowers all showed savvy against a group of distinguished talent. “I love running with young guys. They’re the future of our sport and someday I’m going to be sitting up in the grandstands watching all then race,” added Wagner.
Defending Pro 4 champ Cody Kohler cruised to his first feature win of the season while point leader Bobby Kibler Jr., continued his dominance of top two finishes.
Ryan Berger, a third generation racer, claimed his career first win in the 20-lap Hobby Stock main.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Eric Beers, 2. Don Wagner, 3. Earl Paules, 4. Kyle Strohl, 5. Jack Ely, 6. Kristopher Graver, 7. Glenn Slocum, 8. Gene Bowers, 9. Terry Markovic, 10. John Markovic, 11. Nick Baer, 12. Roger Heffelfinger
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Ryan Berger, 2. Cody Geist, 3. Shayne Geist, 4. Devon Schmidt, 5. Colton Perry, 6. Avery Arthofer, 7. Travis Solomon, 8. Tiffany Wambold, 9. Rich Mutarelli, 10. Waylon Speer, 11. Austin Beers, 12. Daniel Hargan, 13. Nicholas Kerstetter, 14. Ken Reeder, 15. Dean Strohl Jr., 16. Taylor Schmidt, 17. Dean Strohl Sr., 18. Jesse Strohl, 19. Randy Sicher, 20. Michael Wambold DNQ: Elmer Kennedy, Dean Strohl Jr., Jason Gould
5-7-16 The Modified Triple 25s at Mahoning Valley Speedway have always proved to be thrilling, flat out racing as drivers are put to the test in the relatively quick runs to the checkers. There is no time for taking one’s time. With the combination of high speed laps around the ¼-mile saucer and coupled with a very equal playing field of drivers, the features are more times than not all out action filled and it certainly was this night.
And while many come to expect some of the usual suspects in these events when the checker flag waves, there is also the unexpected as well and each of the $1000-to-win jaunts produce those results.
Rookie Jack Ely claimed his career first Modified win in race number one while a pair of veterans, Matt Hirschman and Earl Paules, drove to victory in races two and three.
For Ely, it would be safe to say that the 18-year old from Wall Township, NJ furthered his skill level in leaps and bounds. For a driver who was making just his fourth start in a Modified, Ely did a brilliant job of holding off an onslaught of journeymen racers.He jumped into the lead from his pole starting spot and then proceeded to hold a solid line in defense of his spot. After Nick Baer, another rookie who is soon to make his mark, was passed by John Markovic, Ely was then be put to the task.Markovic was riding on his outside and making every effort to pull by. Jimmy Zacharias and Paules where then running two-wide behind the leader. Ely, however, remained in concentrated, never once flinching.As the race was winding down Markovic was beginning to turn up the pressure and just as they were about to complete the five to go signal, he nosed ahead for the lead. Unfortunately it was for naught as the caution also came out at the same time for a spin between Baer and Kyle Strohl.This was a big break for Ely who was back on top for the restart but even with the few laps remaining there was no time to relax. Markovic once again pulled alongside and would use every bit of horsepower to get past but the young lion would not waver and held on for the memorable victory that was mere .014-second margin of victory.
An invert by way of a pill draw would see the first 11 finishers’ flip-flop the grid for race number two and on the pole would be Hirschman. With that one would think that this would soon be a race for second given all the expectations of the very able first placer starter.This was not the case at all, however. While Hirschman did take the lead, he was soon joined by Bobby Jones and from there on it was another barnburner.Jones never let Hirschman pull to any length of a distance, keeping in step with him the entire time. The battle was very intense and although it rarely happens whenever Hirschman is in front, he would momentarily give up the lead to Jones after a lap 18 restart.In two previous appearances Hirschman had to settle for very close seconds and had no intention of settling there again. With five laps left he surged back on top and held on for a narrow win, his first of the season.
For the third feature the field was again inverted, this time the top 14. The front row would be comprised of Lou Strohl and Gene Bowers and when the action got underway that pair would control the early going while Paules was locked in behind. Strohl, who was driving a team car for Paules, was running the low line with Bowers tucked in tightly behind him. Paules then began to do his bidding from the outside lane but it would take some time and patience, something that is limited in a 25-lapper.Paules was able to get a half car by Bowers and at the same time use the other half of his mount to let Strohl know he was there.After easing by for second he continued to ride the high line and used a burst of momentum to overhaul Strohl at the start of lap nine.While Paules was now securely in first, Strohl and Bowers kept up their battle which would go to the rookie class driver by lap 12. Bowers would remain there to the finish as he could only watch as Paules had pulled comfortably ahead and took his first win of 2016.In the closing laps point leader Eric Beers stomped up through the front five and grabbed third at the line over Zacharias.
In Late Model action it was Paul Koehler Jr., picking up his second win of the young season. Koehler needed all of the first 10 laps in order to make a pass on early leader Lorin Arthofer II but once he did it was no contest as he cruised on to a significant margin of victory.Point leader Mike Sweeney was in a torrid battle with Travis Fisher the entire run and for the fourth time in as many starts had to settle for second at the finish.
Aaron Kromer was on the pole for the Street Stock main and would be there at the end as well, notching his first verdict of the year.Once the race began there would be no looking back for Kromer. Even though he was under an abundance of stress from Stacey Brown and Jon Tracey, Kromer just refused to back down. And there would be no rest for anyone either as for the second straight week the 30-laps were contested caution free.
The Dirt Mod field was a bit light on this night with just five cars but that did not deter in anyway the competition that saw Billy Lasko drive to his career first victory.
Defending champ Ricky Yetter got our front early on and was making it seem like a race for second, which was until a restart on lap 16 when point leader Aleia Geisler snookered him for the lead.
Keeping close tabs was Lasko and just a few laps later he was driving underneath Geisler and into the lead. Over the final tours the “Bethlehem Bandit” did what was evident from the start of the season, he held his ground and took a well-earned first ever stock car win.
In the Pro 4 feature it was Josh Scherer going to the head of the pack over Ryan Graver on lap three. Then when point leader Bobby Kibler Jr., showed up next to him it became be a nail-bitter the rest of the way. Scherer would win by .001-second margin.Rich Mutarelli passed Michael Wambold on a lap six restart and went on to top another full field of Hobby Stocks for his first visit to Victory Lane this season.
1st Modified Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Jack Ely, 2. John Markovic, 3. Austin Kochenash, 4. Jimmy Zacharias, 5. Gene Bowers, 6. Terry Markovic, 7. Eric Beers, 8. Kristopher Graver, 9. Bobby Jones, 10. Lou Strohl, 11. Matt Hirschman, 12. Earl Paules, 13. Glenn Slocum, 14. Kyle Strohl, 15. Don Wagner, 16. Calvin Carroll, 17. Nick Bear, 18. Todd Bear, 19. Anthony Sesely, 20. Brian Sones DNQ: Mike Quinn, Mike Bednar
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Josh Scherer, 2. Bobby Kibler Jr., 3. Shawn Hoffman, 4. Tyler Stangle, 5. JD Light, 6. Shawn Kistler, 7. John Bennett, 8. Kailyn Beers, 9. Ryan Graver, 10. Cody Kohler, 11. Latonia Barlow
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Rich Mutarelli, 2. Colton Perry, 3. Travis Solomon, 4. Michael Wambold, 5. Shayne Geist, 6, Seth VanFossen, 7. Avery Arthofer, 8. Waylon Speer, 9. Ken Reeder, 10. Tiffany Wambold, 11. Randy Sicher, 12. Dean Strohl Jr., 13. Nicolas Kerstetter, 14. Ryan Berger, 15. Austin Beers, 16. Brayden Spencer, 17. Cody Geist, 18. Jesse Strohl, 19. Sam Ryan, 20. Devon Schmidt DNQ: Dean Strohl Sr.,
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- APRIL 30, 2016 Eric Beers rolls to third straight Mahoning Modified win
(4-30-16) For the third time in as many weeks, Northampton’s Eric Beers has taken the checkered flag in the Modified feature at Mahoning Valley Speedway. In the first two events Beers was both lucky and good as his wins where produced after front row starts. This time however, he had to drive his way to the front, having to come from 13th on the grid. But thanks to a few cautions and sharp driving, Beers was able to get in behind leader Earl Paules by lap 13. He then hounded the defending champion over the next four circuits before dropping low off turn four and executing his race winning pass as they crossed the start/finish line to begin lap 17. Paules did try his best to regain the lead, including a last ditch effort on a restart with three laps to go, but the No. 45 of Beers was hitting his marks perfectly as he went on to take a third consecutive victory. “What really helped us is that we were in the right lane at the start of the race. We were on the outside lane and it went forward so we got some positions,” said Beers. “On a restart we were on the inside and that lane went forward and from there I just followed Kris Graver and before I knew we were up to third. I could have easily been in the wrong lane and went the other way.”; Paules, who started second, out-ran Nick Baer for the opening lap lead. Afterwards Jack Ely would pull even with Baer and the two rookies did a fine job of keeping up with the wily veteran. While passing cars under green, Beers was also able to take advantage of restarts to pick his way forward and one moment came during a lap 11 incident which was a bit breathtaking. Lou Strohl had spun between turns three and four. As cars began to find a way by, John Markovic wasn’t as lucky as he veered into the wall and then rode up along the concrete until coming to a grinding halt at the end of the fourth corner. Markovic was unhurt but his car through for the night. On the restart Paules had Jimmy Zacharias next to him. As the green waved Zacharias was making a charge at Paules but his throttle suddenly stuck and he skidded into the turn one wall. That afforded Kris Graver to now challenge Paules but it would be Beers instead on the restart who took control of second and then set his sights on Paules, eventually making the pass for the lead on lap 17. “We had that restart with Kris (Graver) on the outside of Earl (Paules). He (Paules) ended up going off turn two just a little high every lap and I was just testing the waters to see if I could go there without actually showing him the nose,” said Beers. “Once we had a few laps in that run I got a good run off turn two and set him up pretty well. I got the car where I needed it to be and without touching him I drove right on by.”; While Beers may be taking the headlines, it’s not to say that his opposition is not measuring up. That can’t be further from the truth by considering the facts.
Paules, in typical fashion, was very strong and made Beers work hard for his win. Third place finisher Austin Kochenash was able to shake off two weeks of tough luck and was nipping away at the lead duel most of the closing laps. Likewise Kyle Strohl, who was fourth, showed plenty of muscle. Then there is Graver who has been on a run of 10 top-5s over the past 11 starts dating back to last season and is a key factor each week. Other likely contenders such as Don Wagner, Bobby Jones, Markovic and others make up what can be considered one of the toughest weekly asphalt Modified fields anywhere. But for now those aforementioned must contend that Beers is the early season man to beat. “We’ve been lucky,” admitted Beers. “You look around the pits here and there’s no one easy to get by. There are all good race cars and lots of experience. To come out on top three weeks in a row is a testament to our team who gives me a good enough car.”
Defending Hobby Stock champion Cody Geist scored his first win of the season, even though he was the second car to cross the finish line.Reason being was that Michael Wambold, who had taken the lead from Geist, was cited for passing in the No Zone area and subsequently was placed back two spots after taking the checkers in first place. Rookie Colton Perry drove a great race in notching second place.
Bobby Kibler Jr., has stayed perfect in the Pro 4s, winning for a second time. Kibler inherited the lad after Jake Kibler, who led the opening lap, made contact with defending champ Cody Kohler on lap two. Kohler had to pit while J. Kibler was sent to he rear. That left B. Kibler in charge and there would be no looking back as he held off Shawn Hoffman en route to winning.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Eric Beers, 2. Earl Paules, 3. Austin Kochenash, 4. Kyle Strohl, 5. Kris Graver, 6. Todd Baer, 7. Anthony Sesely, 8. Don Wagner, 9. Nick Baer, 10. Lou Strohl, 11. Gene Bowers, 12. Bobby Jones, 13. Glenn Slocum, 14. Jack Ely, 15. Brian Labar, 16. Terry Markovic, 17. Jimmy Zacharias, 18. John Markovic
RoC opener “Break-The-Ice-75” goes to Eric Beers in a close one over Matt Hirschman at Mahoning Valley Speedway
The Ferris Mowers Race of Champions (RoC) Asphalt Modified Series Tour Fueled by Sunoco opened its 2016 season on Saturday night at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway with the “Break-The-Ice-75” and there was no question that the race, billed as the stars of RoC vs. the home track standouts, lived up to all it was touted to be as Eric Beers, a two-time track champion and leader in career wins withheld the reigning and multi-time RoC titlist Matt Hirschman in a down-to-the wire win that was a mere half-second margin of victory.Kris Graver, Don Wagner and Chuck Hossfeld rounded out the top five and ironically that was the same top finishers from a week ago for the Opening Night 35-lap feature.“This was huge. It’s been a long time since the RoC has been here and to be able to come out on top of the field of cars here from all the tough guys on the RoC Tour to the track regulars, it was a great race and an honor to have won it,” said Beers, who earned $2800 for his 75-lap journey.“I think it was great for the drivers and the fans that the (promoters) Santee family was able to bring in such a high class group like RoC. I’m sure everyone enjoyed this.”; The race closely mirrored the previous week as well. In that event Beers and Hirschman staged a terrific duel and that battle simply carried over to tonight with the identical scene of hard nose racing by two drivers with a long history of battling each other for wins, many of those coming at Mahoning Valley. A draw of the top heat winners set the 26 car starting grid with Beers and Calvin Carroll sharing the front row. Prior to the start the fans got a real treat as the field did a never before 4-wide parade lap that was quite impressive.As the race got underway there was concern about how drivers would handle the above average number of cars within the tight borders of the ¼-mile oval, but that was quickly dismissed as only three cautions waved during the first 50 laps. That meant plenty of flat out racing and with Beers at the helm along with all the hotshots in his mirror, the action was very intense.Hossfeld was the first to step up and challenge Beers then came Wagner. In the mix as well was Earl Paules while Carroll made a great impression by hanging with the lead pack over the first 40 laps.After starting eighth, Hirschman entered the top five and was engaged in some tight quarters before he could get to the leader.“I had to work past those guys to get into a position to contend with Eric (Beers). My car was good and I was able to pass cars,” said Hirschman.Running most of his race on the outside, Hirschman finally shook free of the Hossfeld, Wagner, Paules and Carroll juggernaut and made his way up to Beers with 30 circuits complete.The battle was now on between the two titans in much the same fashion from a week earlier. Beers was keeping his car in a tight line close to the bottom leaving no choice but for Hirschman to run outside. That didn’t seem to be a problem either as he was constantly pulling alongside and at other times in tow.While the pace was torrid there came the issue of lapped traffic. Both drivers knew the outcome of getting by the slower cars could the difference between winning and losing, especially Beers.“In the middle part of the race when Matt (Hirschman) got to second and we got into lapped traffic, that’s when I got on my horse and showed what I had,” said Beers.“The thing that concerned me was that when we got to the lapped traffic they were two-wide, three rows deep and I wasn’t sure which lane to go in. I waited about three laps and when I did Matt got to my bumper. I knew that if I picked the wrong lane he would pass me. So I went to the bottom and that started slowing down. After that I just went three wide down the back stretch and split a couple cars on the front stretch and we made it through.”;After the traffic issue was settled the attention once again turned to the pressure of Hirschman going after Beers. At one point it looked as though the end of leading was about to come too when Hirschman got a great run off turn two and was able to look to the inside of the next corner. However, in doing so they touched, slide a little but without missing a beat both drove on.“I wiggled once off of (turn) two and Matt tried to drive underneath us. We bumped a little bit but luckily he stayed in his lane and I stayed in mine and we kept right on racing,” said Beers.Added Hirschman, “We touched a little bit and it was enough to break my momentum and he was able to get back in the lead. I don’t know what I could have done differently.”In last week’s opener Beers also had concerns with late race cautions and the fact that his tires weren’t responding as he wanted after restarts. That was not near the worry as Hirschman was though.“Actually the car was a little better this week late in the race. We lost some forward bite near the end and I changed my line a little bit which helped,” Beers noted.That it did, going nose to tail the rest of the way and making it two straight wins to start the season. Beers has now led every feature lap thus far.“It’s a long season here and a long way to go and I’m going to ride this as long as it goes,” he added.Hirschman, understandably down, made the best of a tough situation as the Tour heads to Chemung this upcoming Sunday.“I’m disappointed that two weeks in a row it’s the same outcome for us. I just needed to pass one more car. We’re in a position to contend and luck of the draw was on Eric’s (Beers) side. But he’s good and not just lucky so it’s always tough to get him out of the lead when he’s in control,” said Hirschman.“We did our best two weeks in a row but unfortunately I’m disappointed that it’s the same results. We’ll go on to the next race and go from there.”; Break-The-Ice-75 was originally slated to run on April 9 but was postponed due to weather. 32 cars, came out to run with heats going to Beers, Paules, Wagner and Jimmy Zacharias. Austin Kochenash, who set the fast lap of the race at 9.966-seconds, won the consolation. Zach Graver once again showed his savvy of taking to the outside lane,
Modified Feature Finish (75 Laps): 1. Eric Beers, 2. Mat Hirschman, 3. Kris Graver, 4. Don Wagner, 5. Chuck Hossfeld, 6. Earl Paules, 7. Brian DeFebo, 8. Ton Hanbury, 9. Jimmy Zacharias, 10. Bryan Sherwood, 11. Bobby Jones, 12. Patrick Emerling, 13. Roger Coss, 14. Daren Scherer, 15. Tyler Rypkema, 16. Nick Baer, 17. Austin Kochenash, 18. TJ Potrzebowski, 19. Nick Pecko, 20. Terry Markovic, 21. Jack Ely, 22. Kyle Strohl, 23. Calvin Carroll, 24. Todd Baer, 25. Chris Risdale, 26. Lee Sharpsteen DNQ: John Markovic, Lou Strohl, Glenn Slocum, Levi Arthur
Mahoning Valley Speedway Late Model winner Paul Koehler Jr. zeroing in on milestone; Zach Graver, Tiff Wambold and Tom Arntz grab victories
Paul Koehler Jr., of Northampton bounced back from a dismal Opening Night and scored a thrilling win in the 25-lap Late Model feature that was a real nail-bitter.Koehler, who started fourth, snagged the lead from Jacob Kerstetter on lap three and then had a rear bumper full of Mike Sweeney. By lap 15 the previous week winner and point leader Travis Fisher was part of the fray, leaving no room for error among the trio.When it came time for the final lap, Koehler had to make his mount a bit wide as he had both sides occupied by the opposition. Sweeney from the top and Fisher charging low.As the group came off turn four and headed towards the checkers, Koehler eked out the win by a mere .129-second margin of victory over Sweeney and .226-second ahead of Fisher.The win moves the defending and four time champion one step closer to a milestone 50 Late Model wins. He is now just two shy of the mark.“It felt wonderful,” said Koehler, who has 68 overall Late Model victories. “Our car wasn’t perfect but we did what we had to and we came out on top. “The car wasn’t good in warmups and then in the heat so for the feature we made a big change with springs and wedge.”;For the second time in as many weeks Sweeney had to settle for second. Hs car has been very fast and it’s evident that his time to win is close at hand. Likewise Fisher came on like gangbusters in the closing laps to make the race a thriller.“I knew that Mike (Sweeney) was alongside me in (turns) one and two on the white flag lap so I kind of went a little high to protect my lead,” said Koehler.“Then I got a little shot at the end from Travis (Fisher) but I had to do what I could to protect my position. Luckily it all worked in the end.”; Loring Arthofer II and Frankie Althouse completed the top five.
For a second week in a row Lehighton’s Zach Graver once again showed his savvy of taking to the outside lane on his way to winning the Street Stock main.Graver stormed from 14th on the grid and with just three laps to go zipped by race long leader George Ramos en route to securing the verdict.Ramos did an outstanding job in showing the way from the outset and by far had his best outing since entering the class last season. He was strong throughout only Graver was a tad more strength when it counted.Kristy Arthofer, Jason Frey and Josh Mooney rounded out the front five.
From the pole position Nazareth’s Tiff Wambold led all 20 laps of the Hobby Stock feature but by no means did it come easy.Heading into the final laps Devon Schmidt and Kyle Scisco each tried to make their way by. They were side-by-side and three wide at time. Nothing doing however as the determined Wambold would not give in and the granddaughter of legendary George Wambold won by the blink of an eye over Schmidt with Scisco right there as well.
Tom Arntz raced to victory in the All-Star Slingshot 20 lap feature. Arntz blasted right to the lead from his pole starting spot and stayed the course the rest of the way over fast closing Dakota Kohler and Cody Kohler.
Late Model Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Paul Koehler Jr., 2. Mike Sweeney, 3. Travis Fisher, 4. Lorin Arthofer II, 5. Frankie Althouse, 6. Jacob Kerstetter, 7. Troy Bollinger, 8. Geno Steigerwalt, 9. Josh Oswald, 10. JR Roth, 11. Jeremy Miller, 12. Kenny Hein, 13. Chris Anderson
Street Stock Feature Finish (30 Laps): 1. Zach Graver, 2. George Ramos, 3. Kristy Arthofer, 4. Jason Frey, 5. Josh Mooney, 6. Jason Kuhn, 7. Jared Ahner, 8. Jon Moser, 9. Corey Edelman, 10. Todd Ahner, 11. Justin Mooney, 12. Mark Martini, 13. Aaron Kromer, 14. Joe Stangle 15. Rick Reichenbach, 16. Randy Ahner Jr., 17. Greg Long. 18. Stacey Brown, 19. Jonathan Tracy, 20. Chip Wanamaker, 21. BJ Wambold DNQ: Jamie Smith, Logan Boyer, Mike Piechota, Kevin Weierbach, Dennis Buss
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Tiff Wambold, 2. Devon Schmidt, 3. Kyle Scisco, 4. Michael Wambold, 5. Jesse Strohl, 6. Rich Mutarelli, 7. Ken Reeder, 8. Seth VanFossen, 9. Avery Arthofer, 10. Randy Sicher, 11. Shayne Geist, 12. Austin Beers, 13. Colton Perry, 14. Nicholas Kerstetter, 15. Cody Geist, 16. Jeff Biegley, 17. Ryan Berger, 18. Dean Strohl Sr. DNS: Dean Strohl Jr.
All-Star Slingshot Feature Finish (20 Laps) 1. 1. Tom Arntz, 2. Dakota Kohler, 3. Cody Kohler, 4. Joe Toth, 5. Matt Mertz, 6. Henry Anderson, 7. Hunter Smith ____________________________________________________________________________________ APRIL 16, 2016 Eric Beers holds off Matt Hirschman in Mahoning Valley Speedway lid-lifter and prelude to RoC opener
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 4-16-16) Mahoning Valley Speedway played host to its 2016 Opening Night with a packed grandstand, a packed pit area that included 127 race cars and although the program may have extended a bit long due to some opening night glitches, it was a monies-worth night of entertaining stock car racing none the less.
And, with the Ferris Mowers Race of Champions (RoC) Asphalt Modified Series Tour Fueled by Sunoco set to kick off their season next Saturday evening, it gave race hungry fans a prelude to what the “Break-The Ice-75” has to offer as home track favorite Eric Beers held off defending RoC champion Matt Hirschman in a hotly contested showdown to claim his 46th career Mahoning victory. Past track champions Don Wagner and Kris Graver where third and fourth respectively while another of the RoC top guns, three-time champ Chuck Hossfeld, completed the top five giving a solid indication that next week’s race will produce some outstanding talent. “It was a great race for the fans and we had a lot of fun tonight running against Matt (Hirschman). We ran each other to the brink of taking each other out more or less but it’s good to be able to race with someone like that and race as hard as you can and not take each other out,” said Beers who hails from Northampton. After a trio of heats and consi for the 24 cars on hand, a redraw for feature starting spots took place with Wagner and Beers picking the front row and at the drop of starter Bob Stull’s race commencing green, Beers darted quickly by Wagner for the opening lap lead. “It was getting cold and I knew my only shot to get Donny (Wagner) was on the start. We got a good jump going into (turn) one and then going into (turn) two and that’s all we wrote there,” said Beers. Unfortunately caution flags soon began to interrupt the racing as numerous incidents, that included a red flag period would hamper the action. Beers then had to hold off the restart attempts of Wagner and then Hirschman, who was running second by lap 15. Once Hirschman was in contention he would throw everything at Beers. On restarts he kept even before Beers would slightly edge forward. He leaned on him from behind and even had a chance to take the low lane at one point. It was good, hard Mahoning style racing. “Every time we would go green and I got a rhythm going the caution would come out and that killed me and I may have overheated the left rear when I was trying to out run Donny when he was on my outside and then the same thing with Matt.” said Beers. “What really hurt was that red flag and our tires cooled off and my left rear never came back. I couldn’t touch the gas at the end and he (Hirschman) was a bit better towards the end and it just worked out in our favor that we were ahead.” The original opener with the RoC was planned for April 9 but weather postponed those plans. With last night’s race being just a regular 35-lap feature, Beers noted that it gave him and everyone else the needed prep time to ready themselves for what looks to be quite the battle in the Break-The-Ice-75. “It was good to have a tune-up for all of us and work all the bugs out of the cars. It was good to get here and just get acclimated to what’s going on again and I think just looking at the guys you had here tonight just coming to get ready for that next week that it will be a really good show,” said Beers.
Travis Fisher of Freeland was a winner in the Late Model main for the first time since his rookie season of 2008. Starting third, Fisher was able to avoid an opening lap skirmish between defending champ Paul Koehler Jr,, Lorin Arthofer II and Frankie Althouse who got together I turn two.Afterwards Fisher was at the point and from there on turned on his cruise control, making perfect laps and holding off Mike Sweeney en route to the checkers.
In 2015 there were 19 different feature winners with the Street Stocks, however, that group did not include champion Zach Graver. 2016 will.Graver, from Lehighton, put last year’s winless season behind him in a hurry as he won the 30-lap opener after making an outside pass over Josh Mooney with 11 laps to go. It was also race number one of the American Rental Street Stock Gamblers Series.
In the Dirt Mods it was Mike Stofflet of Mertztown leading every lap and authoring the most dominate race he has ever had, lapping all but one car, second place finisher Aleia Geisler.
Likewise Bobby Kibler Jr., of Lehighton also cruised out front for all 20 laps to win the Pro 4 feature.
The Hobby Stocks came out in full force as 24 cars signed in and besting them all was White Haven’s Sam Ryan who waged a thrilling dogfight with runner-up Rich Mutarelli.
Defending Micro Stock Racing Series champ Alex Greenzweig of Kunkletown held off Booby Wagner for his first win of the season.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Eric Beers, 2. Matt Hirschman, 3. Don Wagner, 4. Kris Graver, 5. Chuck Hossfeld, 6. Kyle Strohl, 7. Bobby Jones, 8. John Markovic, 9. Anthony Sesely, 10. Gene Bowers, 11. Jimmy Zacharias, 12. Terry Markovic, 13. Roger Cross, 14. Todd Bear, 15. Jack Ely, 16. Austin Kochenash, 17. Brian DeFebo, 18. Earl Paules, 19. Lee Sharpsteen, 20. Nick Bear DNS: Jason Zatsko DNQ: Brian Labar, Calvin Carroll, Roger Heffelfinger Jr.
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Sam Ryan, 2. Rich Mutarelli, 3. Michael Wambold, 4. Jeff Biegley, 5. Ryan Berger, 6. Ken Reeder, 7. Avery Arthofer, 8. Nicholas Kerstetter, 9. Daniel Hargan, 10. Cody Geist, 11. Devon Schmidt, 12. Dean Strohl Jr., 13. Ron Heeter, 14. Elmer Kennedy, 15. Randy Sicher, 16. Shayne Geist, 17. Jesse Strohl, 18. Tiffany Wambold, 19. Dean Strohl Sr., 20. Philip Sabatine DNQ: Austin Beers, Gary Lerch, Colton Perry, Lyndsay Buss
______________________________________________________________________ With the testing now over at Mahoning Valley Speedway, the attention turns to April 9 and the much ballyhooed season opening “Break-The-Ice-75” featuring the Ferris Mowers Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series Fueled by Sunoco vs. the Mahoning home track stars.On Saturday the final Test and Tune was held and by all indications with the impressive number of Modifieds that came out to practice, the upcoming opener will make Mahoning Valley Speedway the hotbed for asphalt Modifieds.Not only was there the usual show of the locals, but a strong group from outside the area pulled in to get all important track time in preparation for next week’s lid-lifter.“It’ll be a good show and I’m glad to have seen all these outsiders come down for Test and Tune,” said 2015 track champion Earl Paules.“It definitely makes it better for us regulars because we know we have an advantage with the race track and they’ll stir things up a little bit. They won’t be running exactly where they should be running and that will make it interesting.”;Over two days of testing Paules brought out four cars. He ran two of the four while Lou Strohl and SpeedSTR standout Mike Bednar took laps in the others.We’re ready and I worked all winter. It didn’t even feel like I stopped but when I know that the level needs to be stepped up I step up the level with them,” added Paules.“I never say, ‘OK that’s good enough.’ We weren’t good enough last year. We were fortunate enough to win the championship but we need to get better throughout each night, right from the heat races and right to the end of the feature.”; As Paules and a host of weekly regulars begin their season, the same goes for the RoC Tour and with Mahoning serving as their opener it brought many of them to the track for the first time during Test and Tune.“This was a lot different than anything that I am use to. It was very important for us to be here today because I feel had we not come down then it would have been a tough time making the show. I need all the seat time here I can get,” said RoC steady John Wilbur, who had legendary George Kent along to aid with the set-up.“Hopefully I get a good draw but it will be a very tough race that’s for sure. It’s a bullring and it’s going to be a great show. I’m excited about coming here for the opener.” Another newcomer to Mahoning was Ryan Rypkema. The New Yorker spent all day learning and getting acclimated to the circular quarter mile. The more laps the better too as steadily lowered his times nearly each time on track.“It was fun out there today and definitely different than anything else I’ve experienced but I like that. It’s something out of the norm,” said Rypkema.“I have mixed feelings about the RoC coming here to Mahoning Valley. Many of us on the RoC Tour have never been here before and I think that the home track boys definitely have a huge advantage. But I also think that will show just how good some of the guys on the RoC Tour really are and we can be competitive here.”;Roger Coss closed out 2015 with the biggest race ever held at the track, 150-lapper that paid a record $6000. It was also his biggest feat in racing. But, as the most recent winner Coss knows that this time around the odds will be tough to make a return to where he left off.“(Engine builder) Pete Morgantini always tells me you’re only as good as your last race. Once everyone shows up next week it’s a whole new season. I won here last year at Octoberfast but right now all the focus is on Opening Day and getting the job done,” offered Coss.However, after running most of last year on the RoC Tour, he sees Mahoning as a great shot to win with that group.“I do because I have a lot of laps here,” bottom lined Coss. “Last year was the first time I was at all of the RoC (Tour) tracks but here at Mahoning I’m a lot more comfortable and it’s home to me.“Like everyone has been saying it’s going to be tough just to get in and that’s going to be the first hurdle to get over. After that we have to see how the race plays out. 75 laps can go quick here but we’re ready to go.”; The “Break-The-Ice-75” is not only about the RoC going against the Mahoning guns. Modified hot-shoes from New Jersey are also coming in including stalwart Anthony Sesely and others who can easily play a spoiler.Knowing that qualifying will be intense, promoter Floyd Santee has decided that to be as fair as possible to all teams he has added a Modified B-main. In the likely event that 40 or more Modifieds are on hand, a 30-lap race will be held for the non-qualifiers and pay $800 to win and $100 to take the green. “With the turnout we’ve had just in the past two Test and Tunes plus another day of pre-season testing lined up for tomorrow, (April 3), we can foresee this first race on April 9 as being a smash hit,” said Santee. The winner of the Break-The-Ice-75 will earn $2800, $1500 for second and $200 to take the green. 26 cars will qualify for the feature. All others, provided there are 40 cars, will then compete in the $800 to win 30-lap B-main. In the event of inclement weather the make-up date will be on Saturday, April 23. Also on the program will be the Mahoning Valley Late Models, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks.
On Opening Day 2016 pits open 10:00 a.m. followed by Modified inspection at 11:30 a.m. Sign-in takes place from 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. Heat racing will begin at 4:00 p.m.