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
By DINO OBERTO
(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.
For Late Model winner Mike Sweeney, he is no longer the bridesmaid. After four straight runner-up finishes, Sweeney finally busted through for his first win of the ’16 season.
He started third and was lined up behind pole sitter Jeremy Miller after the first lap. Without the addition of cautions Sweeney had to get tough on Miller in his quest to for the lead.
He first tried the inside for a pass but Miller was quick to close up that lane. He then took his Ford powered No. D11 to the topside. Miller would do his best to hold off the charge, however, the top spot was securely in the hands of Sweeney by the conclusion of lap 16. From there on it was smooth sailing for Sweeney’s 29th Mahoning Late Model victory.
The Street Stocks contested the second leg of the 2016 American Rental Street Stock Gamblers Series with a 75-lap/$1000-to-win main and while a full and solid field of cars were on hand, none could match the stellar performance of Jon Moser who not only led every lap, but did so without any opposition as he stayed plenty of ahead of everyone. For Moser, it ended a nearly six year dry spell.
Stacey Brown notched second by a car length over Randy Ahner Jr.
In the Dirt Mods Mike Stofflet made a huge comeback in gaining his second win of the year. On week two Stofflet was involved in a grinding crash that left his mount badly damaged and himself quite sore.
He missed one race and then with no shows the past two weeks due to rain, that gave him the needed to time to get the car back to race trim.
Stofflet was placed into the lead after a lap seven caution when then leader Ricky Yetter was sent to the rear after race officials were displeased with his restarts that had previously been warned about.
Afterwards Stofflet was in a league of his own as he rocketed to a nearly two-second margin of victory. New Yorker Rich Coons, who raced here just one previous time, put on an impressive drive taking second over Frank Parastino.
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.
Berger started from the pole and was holding his line nicely over reigning champ Cody Geist. However, lapped traffic allowed Geist the opportunity to take the lead with four laps to go.
Berger, though, wasn’t ready to let this one slip away. On the white flag lap the upstart powered back to the front and eked out the memorable first win in thrilling fashion.
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
Late Model Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Mike Sweeny, 2. Jeremy Miller, 3. Frankie Althouse, 4. Paul Kohler Jr., 5. Kenny Hein, 6. Patrick Hargan, 7. Jacob Nemeth, 8. Paul Skodacek, 9. Chris Anderson, 10. Wayne Kerstetter, DNS, Lorin Arthofer
Street Stock Feature Finish (75 Laps): 1. Jon Moser, 2. Stacey Brown, 3. Randy Ahner Jr., 4. Jon Tracy, 5. Kristy Arthofer, 6. Corey Edelman, 7. Todd Ahner, 8. Jason Frey, 9. Justin Mooney, 10. Aaron Kromer, 11. Jason Kuhn, 12. Jared Ahner, 13. Mark Martini, 14. Greg Long, 15. Josh Mooney, 16. Chip Wanamaker, 17. Jamie Smith, 18. Rick Reichenbach, 19. Eric Danyluk, 20. Zach Graver DNQ: Logan Boyer, Kevin Weierbach, George Ramos, Dan Freundt, Dennis Buss, Jeremy Scheckler, Joe Stangle, Steve Hoffman
Dirt Mod Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Mike Stofflet, 2. Rich Coons, 3.Frank Parastino, 4. Aleia Geisler, 5. Ray Deemer, 6. Billy Lasko, 7. Paul Effrig, 8. Scott Hyland, 9. Bill Sittler, 10. Ricky Yetter, 11. John Cook
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Cody Kohler, 2. Bobby Kibler Jr., 3. Kevin Graver Jr, 4. Josh Scherer, 5. Tyler Stangle, 6. Jake Kibler, 7. Kailyn Beers, 8. Josh Bennett, 9. Shawn Kistler, 10. Shawn Hoffman
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