Category Archives: Mahoning Valley Speedway

Brian DeFebo reaches 99th career win with another Mahoning Modified win

By DINO OBERTO

 (LEHIGHTON 7-14-18) Brian DeFebo wrapped up a great weekend, winning his second Modified feature in two days. Fresh off a Friday night verdict at Evergreen Raceway, DeFebo was able to continue on his winning ways Saturday evening at Mahoning Valley Speedway.

The seventh starting DeFebo would make quick work of Joey Jarowicz in taking the lead on lap 15. From there on he remained smooth as he held off Bobby Jones for his third win of the season and registered his 99th overall career win.

“We’re at 99 (wins) now and it’s exciting. I love racing here at Mahoning Valley. For years it was a struggle but these past two years it’s been nothing but fun,” said DeFebo, who continues to maintain the class point lead and seeks a second straight championship.

“I can’t thank (crew chief) Gary Slusser enough. He’s the brains behind this deal. He spends countless hours and from that we have good race cars.”

At the onset Ron Haring Jr., jumped into the lead but had unceasing pressure coming from Jarowicz. Haring also had to contend with Jones who was giving him much of the same opposition on his outside.

For Haring it was full defensive mode as several times Jarowicz was able to stick his nose inside the leader while at the same time doing whatever necessary to fend off Jones. Unfortunately it all came to a head on lap 13 when the No. 85 got tripped up just past the start finish line and went spinning from the lead.

On the restart Jarowicz was shown as the new leader over Jones and DeFebo. Just one lap after the race restarted, DeFebo made his race winning move by going to the low side in whizzing to the front. Jarowicz and Jones continued a great dogfight to the end with Jones getting the runner-up spot. John Markovic and Gene Bowers rounded out the top five.

“There wasn’t much racing on the outside tonight so we had to adapt and take down low,” said DeFebo. “Once you get into the lead you then have to go into a defensive style of driving. We have good group of drivers down here and they all race you hard and clean.”

Up until last evening, two-time and defending Late Model champion Mike Sweeney had led just a single feature lap and was winless in the process. With a big 50-lap race on tap Sweeney was looking to turn the tides and did just that.

After a great lead battle with Frankie Althouse that began on lap 20, the Ford powered No. D11 of Sweeney was able to plant himself at the helm by the halfway mark and from there on never looked back, scoring his first win of 2018 and 55thoverall.

“First of all I have to thank my crew who work their tails off week in and week out to get this car right,” said Sweeney.

“Frankie is has been fast and we’ve been trying to catch him and there is bunch of other guys who are all coming on strong this year so we have to go and do our homework in order to win and finally tonight it paid off.”

In actuality Sweeney has been having a good year, finishing each race in the top five which included three runner-ups. It was just the big prize that until now eluded him. That now done he also took control as the new class point leader.

The race started out with Kenny Hein showing the way and doing a great job of holding back Althouse and Sweeney. Through the first 19 laps the race was all in his hands then Althouse was able to get by and took Sweeney with. That dual would then run hard amongst themselves with Sweeney winning out by lap 25.

For Althouse, who came into the night as the point leader, his night came to an sudden end when he was caught up in an accident six laps from the end. Jeremy Miller, Paul Koehler Jr., Hein and Brandon Turbush would complete the top five.

In the Winner’s Circle for the Sportsman Modified feature it became a very emotionally charged scene as 15-yeat old Avery Arthofer had just notched her first win with the class and was greeted by her entire family with hugs and tears of joy.

A previous winner in Hobby Stocks, Arthofer is in her first season with the Sport Mods and in the race was able to fend off track kingpin Earl Paules for the memorable victory and caring on a family legacy of winning at Mahoning Valley.

Corey Edelman ran side-by-side with BJ Wambold over the first half dozen laps off the Street Stock main and then used the next time by to advance into the lead and go on to record his second win of the season.

In the Dirt Mods point leader Mike Stofflet once again was the car to beat. Stofflet got by the continuously improving Vince Fegley Jr., for the lead on lap four and then held off hard charging Billy Lowden Jr., for his fifth win in eight starts.

In both he Street Stock and Dirt Mod features Indy Car star Sage Karam raced and held his own nicely, especially in the Dirt Mod show where he was looking to secure a fourth place spot before a cut tire relegated him to seventh in the final run down.

Al Arthofer needed just one lap to hustle the lead from Tad Snyder and then stayed strong to the finish in picking up his second Hobby Stock win of the year over a close running Ryan Berger.

           Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Brian DeFebo, 2. Bobby Jones, 3. Joey Jarowicz, 4. John Markovic, 5. Gene Bowers, 6. DJ Wagner, 7. Don Wagner, 8. Kyle Strohl, 9. Earl Paules, 10. Josh Scherer, 11. Kristy Arthofer, 12. Jesse Strohl, 13. Lou Strohl, 14. Nick Bear, 15. Ron Haring Jr.

 Late Model Feature Finish (50 Laps): 1. Mike Sweeny, 2. Jeremy Miller, 3. Paul Koehler Jr,, 4. Kenny Hein, 5. Brandon Turbush, 6. Samantha Osborn, 7. Rick Smith, 8. Dylan Osborn, 9. Nick Kerstetter, 10. Jacob Kerstetter, 11. Frankie Althouse, 12. Matt Wentz, 13. Lorin Arthofer

 Street Stock Feature Finish (30 Laps) 1. Corey Edelman, 2. Cody Geist, 3. Todd Ahner, 4. Josh Mooney, 5. Jared Ahner, 6. Jon Moser, 7. Jill Long, 8. Mark Deysher, 9. Stacey Brown, 10. Shayne Geist, 11. Rick Reichenbach, 12. Jamie Smith, 13. Randy Schlenker, 14. Matt Schlenker, 15. Matt Kocher, 16. Jeremy Schlenker, 17. Ken Erney III, 18. BJ Wambold, 19. Sage Karam, 20. Devin Schmidt

 Dirt Modified Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Mike Stofflet, 2. Billy Lowden Jr., 3. Jeff Parker, 4. Ricky Yetter, 5. Ray Deemer, 6. Vincent Fegley, 7. Sage Karam, 8. Bill Sittler, 9. Colton Perry, 10. Corey Edelman, 11. Paul Martin

 Sportsman Modified Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Avery Arthofer, 2. Earl Paules, 3. Austin Beers, 4. Blair Culhane, 5. Richard Lapolt, 6. Jacob Balliet, 7. Kassidy Arthofer, 8. BJ Wambold

 Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1.Al Arthofer, 2. Ryan Berger, 3. Justin Merkel, 4. Michael Wambold, 5. Travis Solomon, 6. Peyton Arthofer, 7. Devin Schmidt, 8. Trisha Connolly, 9. Tad Snyder, 10.Todd Geist, 11. Rich Mutarelli, 12. Shawn Kistler, 13. Tyler Nemeth, 14. Lyndsay Buss, 15. Hunter Iatalese, 16. Peter Maier, 17. Colton Breiner, 18. Beau Drobot, 19. Arland Moyer Jr.  DNS: Jesse Ehert

Verizon IndyCar Series driver Sage Karam set to compete in Dirt Modified July 14 at Mahoning Valley Speedway

 (LEHIGHTON 7-4-18) The last time Sage Karam was strapped into a race car he was doing so at lap speeds in excess of 225 mph at the “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” running in the 2018 Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

At this year’s 102nd edition of the world’s most famous auto race, the 23-year old from Nazareth drove No. 24 WIX Filters/DRR Chevrolet to a 24th place finish. It would mark his fifth start in the 500.

            The next time he goes racing will be a bit extreme from Indy as he is set to run Ricky Yetter’s No. 5 Dirt Modified at the ¼-mile paved bullring Mahoning Valley Speedway in Lehighton on Saturday evening, July 14.

            By contrast, Karam will be introduced to a whole new style of speed and driving as there is little comparison between an Indy Car and Dirt Modified.

            Given his talented background however, it shouldn’t be hard to make the transition for the versatile Karam.

He is a National Karting champion with over 36 titles. Having started racing at age 7, he is the only driver to ever win the Indy Racing League Stars of Karting and the World Karting Association’s Triple Crown in the same year. He has a record of 29 National Championships and 9 Consecutive National victories.

In 2013 he raced to the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship.

Karam has also competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series.

            Yetter, who is the 2015-16 Dirt Modified division champion, made the deal with Karam just recently when his son was taking part in a wrestling camp being conducted by Karam’s father, Jody. Sage was also there serving as a coach.

            “I’m very excited for the opportunity to drive Rick’s car and look forward to racing at Mahoning Valley Speedway. The track is just a short drive from our house,” said Karam.

“I’ve seen some cool video of the races there and it’s definitely unique in its size. I’m looking to come out and have a fun evening.”

Karam plans to get a day of testing in prior to his July 14 Mahoning debut. Yetter will be tutoring him every step of the way.

“I think this is a great opportunity to have a driver of Sage’s caliber race at Mahoning Valley. He is a great talent that has raced all over the country and beyond. We’re very excited to put him in the seat of our Dirt Modified. To think that one of the stars of the stars of the Indy 500 will be racing with us will make for a special night for everyone,” said Yetter.

That same night Mahoning Valley will present a complete show of Modifieds, Late Models, Street Stocks, Sportsman Modifieds and Hobby Stocks plus the Flashback Stocks, vintage stock cars, will be in action.

The Late Models will be running in a special 50-lap/$1200-to-win main.

Adult grandstand admission is $16, $2 off for students, seniors 65+ and active military. Children under 10 are free. Front gates open at 4 pm, racing begins at 6:00 pm.

There is also a $2 discount with a Big Diamond Speedway wristband from the night before.

For additional information log onto www.mahoningvalley-speedway.com or Facebook. Mahoning Valley Speedway is located just a few miles west of Lehighton on PA 443 and is adjacent to the Mahoning Valley Farmers Market.

Kyle Strohl, James Pritchard Jr., Tyler Haydt and Joey Jarowicz are Teel Memorial winners.John Markovic is overall champion

By DINO OBERTO

            (LEHIGHTON 6-30-18) It came as no surprise that a season high 24 Modifieds came out to be part of the 2nd Annual Bill Teel Memorial Modified 4-16s. Teel, a past 3-time champion and car owner champion, made an indelible impression with so many people. It was evident by the wonderful turnout both in the pits and grandstands.

            The event is unique with four 16-lap features – that being the signature car number run by Teel throughout his career. The quick stints made for some thrilling action and outcomes which is exactly how the night panned out.

            After all was said and done Kyle Strohl, James Pritchard Jr., Tyler Haydt and Joey Jarowicz took respective checkered flags while John Markovic was declared the overall winner by virtue of his average finishing place across the four mains.

            In race number one Roger Coss drew the pole and was steadily maintaining the lead while Strohl stayed close behind. As the field crossed the line to complete lap 12 Strohl felt it was time to make a move and he did so by slipping underneath Coss in turn three. He would then take it home from there and collect his second straight win.

            “It was key to be aggressive in a short run like this. I just made sure of my tire wear and made my move at the right time. Roger Coss was very tough and he’s such a clean driver to run with,” said Strohl. “To win one of these races means so much to my family and I. Bill (Teel) was a great guy and a great racer.”

            A redraw of 18 for the next race would see Roger Heffelfinger Jr., and Todd Baer on the front row. Heffelfinger wasted no time in jumping out front while Pritchard and Lou Strohl were hard-hitting on him.

            Pritchard kept Heffelfinger on his toes over the first half until L. Strohl solidified second spot with six laps to go. He then began laying on all kinds of pressure to Heffelfinger. Looking repeatedly to the inside, Strohl tried to squeeze under Heffelfinger in turn two with two laps remaining. What transpired was contact and a spin that ended either drivers from a possible win.

            For the restart Pritchard was at the point with Don Wagner on his tail. Not wavering, Pritchard would hold on for just his second Modified win and first since October 2012.

            “It was rough and we really had to work for this,” said Pritchard. “Roger Heffelfinger is one tough competitor and I was fighting him on the outside and then Lou (Strohl) got underneath me and I fell back to third. I felt the way they were racing something was going to happen and it was a case of being in the right place at the right time.”

            Once again the redraw number was 18 and with that Haydt and K. Strohl would bring the field to the green. This race quickly had a good time feel to it as Teel was a longtime friend, mentor, and business partner plus championship car owner of Haydt.

            Haydt’s ride for the night had come together just days earlier as he was called upon by car owner Robert Wagner to driver the Future Motorsports No. 29. It was only the second time in the past six years that Haydt was racing, making a comeback start in this event last year.

            Haydt would take the lead and engage in a hard fought battle fending off L. Strohl throughout the distance.

            “This is awesome. I never, ever wanted to win a race in all the years that we ran than one of these features tonight. Billy meant so much to me and I’m stoked,” an emotional Haydt said.

            “It was no cakewalk either. Lou Strohl was so tough but he ran me clean. We had struggles to get the car right but it all worked out,” he continued.

“I’m so happy to give Robert Wagner his first ever win too. I want to thank him for giving me the opportunity to drive his car and putting it in Victory Lane where it belongs.”

            In the final 16 Jarowicz shared the front row with Pritchard. The 17-year old made good on the pole start and darted quickly to the front. This young talent has had numerous flashes of glory in his short time in Modifieds and he certainly came of age on route to winning the night’s finale.

            Behind Jarowicz were Modified kingpins Markovic, Brian DeFebo and Earl Paules. Yet he handled them flawlessly with a solid line of racing. As the checkers waved the Glenn Slocum owned No. 02 had a well-earned career first victory.

            “There have been a couple times that we were close to winning but for whatever reason it just wasn’t to be. It was awesome to get that first win tonight and against guys like John (Markovic), Brian (DeFebo) and Earl (Paules),” said Jarowicz.

           “With the short distance there’s no holding back. Drawing the pole I knew I just had to run my race and I’d be fine. I didn’t know Bill Teel but heard so much good things about him and this was an honor to get my first win at his memorial.”

            Matt Wentz breezed easily to his first ever Late Model win. A seasoned veteran of Mahoning Valley and winner in various classes, Wentz grabbed the lead at the outset. He was then set on cruise control running fast, smooth and steady all 25 caution free laps.

            Mike Sweeney was second but never able to get close enough to mount a serious challenge.

            Jared Ahner has shown that when he’s on he is tough to beat. That was indeed the case in racing to his second Street Stock victory of the season.

            Ahner took the lead from pole sitter Ken Erney III as the race commenced and then let everyone in his dust as lap after lap he moved further ahead of the pack. The win also came with a bonus as an additional $200 was paid plus an American Racer tire went to the winner.

            Mike Stofflet showed lots of muscle in picking up his class leading fourth win seven 2018 starts.

            Stofflet outdueled Ricky Yetter for the opening lap lead and then put the hammer down to gradually pull away. However, a late race caution would erase his good lead and give Yetter a last chance shot to steal away the lead. Non doing though as Stofflet again showed the upper hand and scored his 35th class victory.

            In Pro 4 action Jake Kibler held off point leader Cody Kohler in a solid battle for his second win of the season.

            June 30, 2018 is a date that will long be remembered by Justin Merkel as he recorded his career first feature win with the Hobby Stocks. And he did it in fine fashion by sweeping the night leading every lap in his heat and likewise over the 20 lap main.

1st Modified Feature Finish (16 Laps): 1. Kyle Strohl, 2. Roger Coss, 3. John Markovic, 4. Bobby Jones, 5. Austin Kochenash, 6. Tyler Haydt, 7. Ron Haring Jr., 8. Nick Baer, 9. Brian DeFebo, 10. Rick Kirkendall, 11. Earl Paules, 12. Don Wagner, 13. Joey Jarowicz, 14. Lou Strohl, 15. Zane Zeiner, 16. James Pritchard Jr., 17. Todd Baer, 18. Roger Heffelfinger Jr., 19 Austin Beers, 20. Terry Markovic

2nd Modified Feature Finish (16 Laps): 1. Pritchard Jr., 2. Wagner, 3. Paules, 4. Todd Baer, 5. DeFebo, 6. Kirkendall, 7. John Markovic, 8. Cross, 9. Haring Jr., 10. Kochenash, 11. Nick Baer, 12. Jones, 13. Zeiner, 14. Terry Markovic, 15. Lou Strohl, 16. Kyle Strohl, 17. Beers, 18. Haydt, 19. Heffelfinger Jr., 20. Jarowicz

3rd Modified Feature Finish (16 Laps): 1. Haydt, 2. Lou Strohl, 3. Kyle Strohl, 4. Jones, 5. DeFebo, 6. Zeiner, 7. Paules, 8. Nick Baer, 9. John Markovic, 10. Pritchard Jr., 11. Jarowicz, 12. Terry Markovic, 13. Beers, 14. Cross, 15. Todd Baer, 16. Haring Jr., 17. Kochenash, 18. Kirkendall, 19. Wagner, 20. Heffelfinger Jr.

4th Modified Feature Finish (16 Laps): 1. Jarowicz, 2. John Markovic, 3. DeFebo, 4. Paules, 5. Pritchard Jr., 6. Kyle Strohl, 7. Baer, 8. Haydt, 9. Lou Strohl, 10. Jones, 11. Cross, 12. Zeiner, 13. Wagner, 14. Kochenash, 15. Haring Jr., 16. Beers, 17. Gene Bowers, 18. Todd Baer, 19. Terry Markovic, 20. Heffelfinger Jr.

Late Model Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Matt Wentz, 2. Mike Sweeney, 3. Frankie Althouse, 4. Jacob Kerstetter, 5. Paul Kohler Jr., 6. Jeremy Miller, 7. Samantha Osborn, 8. Kenny Hein, 9. Taylor Schmidt

Street Stock Feature Finish (30 Laps) 1. Jared Ahner, 2. Ken Earney111, 3. Stacey Brown, 4. Cody Geist, 5. Mark Deysher, 6. Jon Moser, 7. Randy Schlenker, 8. Jill Long, 9. Josh Mooney, 10. Jamie Smith, 11. Rick Reichenbach, 12. Corey Edelman, 13. Shayne Geist, 14. Matt Schlenker, 15. Devin Schmidt, 16. Matt Kocher, 17. Todd Ahner, 18. BJ Wambold, 19. Eric Kocher, 20. Dennis Buss

Dirt Modified Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Mike Stofflet, 2. Ricky Yetter, 3. Jeff Parker, 4. Billy Lowden Jr., 5.Bill Sittler, 6. Corey Edelman, 7. Dave Chapman, 8. Vincent Fegley, 9. Colton Perry

Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1.Jake Kibler, 2. Cody Kohler, 3. Randy Schaffer, 4. Bobby Kibler Jr., 5. Tyler Stangle, 6. Jeremy Guerra, 7. Josh Scherer, 8. Jason Finken, 9. Josh Kuronya, 10. Tucker Muffley, 11. John Bennett

Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1.Justin Merkel, 2. Ryan Berger, 3. Travis Solomon, 4. Michael Wambold, 5. Cody Boehm, 6. Tad Snyder, 7. Peyton Arthofer, 8. Shawn Kistler, 9. Lyndsay Buss, 10. Jesse Ehert, 11. Colton Breiner, 12. Devin Schmidt, 13. Beau Drobot, 14. Hunter Iatalese, 15. Al Arthofer, DNS: Trisha Connolly