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