Tag Archives: Mahoning Valley Speedway

Testing done.Mahoning Valley Speedway ready to usher in 2016 season with RoC Modifieds

By DINO OBERTO

(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 4-3-16) 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.

For additional information please log onto www.mahoningvalley-speedway.com or on Facebook at Mahoning Valley Speedway. Likewise with the Race of Champions at www.rocmodifiedseries.com

Mahoning Valley Speedway adds Modified $800 to win B-Main to RoC Break-The-Ice-75

Mahoning(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 4-2-16) April 9 is fast becoming one of the most anticipated season opening days ever at Mahoning Valley Speedway as Modified teams from near and far will be converging on the paved quarter mile Lehighton oval for the Ferris Mowers Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series Fueled by Sunoco “Break-the-Ice 75.”

Both the Mahoning Valley racers and those chasing the RoC Tour open up their respective 2016 season’s in just one week’s time and after concluding Saturday’s second of three Test and Tune days, promoter Floyd Santee was not only excited as another solid group of Modified teams came out to test, but he also foresees how the Break-The-Ice-75 has the makings of a very impressive gathering of racers to his track.Dsc_a 4551_edited-1

Knowing that qualifying will be intense, 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.

“There are more guys who will not be here until next week and we’ve been getting calls all the time about the track and the race. By adding the B-main I feel it’s a great way to say thanks to all those drivers especially for the ones who may not qualify. We appreciate the support. I really feel we’ll get 40 cars. It’s good for the drivers and it’s good for our fans.”

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.

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.

For additional information please log onto www.mahoning-speedway.com or on Facebook at Mahoning Valley Speedway. Likewise with the Race of Champions at www.rocmodifiedseries.com

Austin Kochenash has sights set on Race of Champions Tour win at Mahoning Valley Speedway season opener

(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 3-30-16) When the green flag drops on the season opening Ferris Mowers Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series Fueled by Sunoco “Break-the-Ice 75” feature on April 9 at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway, fans will be treated to a wide-open field of amazing talent that will be lined-up, all with the main focus of collecting the $2800 top prize.

Of those drivers look for 20-year old Austin Kochenash to be among the likely favorites and for good reason. In just a five year span of racing a Modified, “Kid Kochenash” has risen to the ranks of probable winner each and every time he rolls out onto the demanding quarter mile oval.

Kochenash’s talents aren’t just limited to Mahoning Valley either where he has 22 career wins, 17 in a Late Model plus a championship. He also has five Modified victories at Evergreen Raceway.

And now he stands the chance to win a Race of Champions Asphalt Tour race and with this being at his home track, the Mahoning opener could very well be it.

“I was excited when they first announced that the RoC would be coming here because we are able to race an event like this so close to home and at a track that I’m really familiar with,” said Kochenash, who drives the Performance Driveline/M & T Repair/Fastenal of Lehighton/Circle 1 Designs No. 66 Troyer with power coming from Boardwick Racing Engines.

“A lot of the (RoC) Tour guys may have the advantage when we are in New York at most of those tracks but here at Mahoning I feel we definitely have a good shot at the win. We ran well in the extra distance races here last year and that’s where I seem to be at my best. It will come down to if you have the luck.”

Kochenash is coming off a great season that saw him loose a very tight point battle to champion Earl Paules. He clicked off three wins including a 100 lapper and finished all but one point race inside the top ten. He also came close to a victory in the marquee season ending Octobesfast 150 before being scooped up in a late race skirmish.

For two years, 2013-14, he was part of the Race of Champions Asphalt Tour where he was named Rookie of the Year and had a best point finish of third. Same goes for his best race finish.

Although he been close to a win on numerous occasions when he traveled the Tour, now that it’s on his home turf he feels poised to bring his first RoC checkered flag back to his nearby Danielsville home.

“We’ve been close at other tracks too but I feel that this race is our best opportunity to get that first RoC Tour victory. I have been racing here since I was a kid and there is no doubt I know this track better than any others that we go to,” said Kochenash.

As the race draws near the list of Modified teams continues to grow and that number is expected to exceed 40 come race day. Kochenash knows the job of winning won’t come easy but he is ready to put is expertise of racing at Mahoning to good use.

“75 laps could click off here in a hurry so getting a good starting spot will be important. If you’re set-up right then you won’t see a lot of tire fall off. You’ll pretty much have to jump out right from the green. I think starting anywhere beyond 12th will be tough to win that day,” admitted Kochenash.

“When I won Opening Night a couple of years ago that was the same thing. It was only 50 laps and you had to hammer down right from the start.”

Mahoning Valley is known for its two-wide racing and Kochenash stated that lane choice will be pivotal.

“If there’s someone on the outside that will drag you back then it’s best to get to the bottom in a hurry and wait it out. With the inside you always have the opportunity to drive underneath for the pass which works well here but for this race you’ll have to make that decision quick.”

The matchup among the weekly regulars is tough enough and then you add in a host of New Jersey aces plus all of the RoC Tour drivers and Break-The-Ice-75 has the components of one amazing must see race.

“There are going to be a lot of great teams rolling in here and you certainly can’t count any of them out. They’ll adapt and the fans are going to be in for a good entertaining race. If you have the right setup you should be able to run all 75 laps hard from start to finish,” said Kochenash.

On Opening Day 2016 will see race teams enter the pits starting at 11:00 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. Also on the card will be Late Models, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks.

For additional information please log onto www.mahoning-speedway.com or on Facebook at Mahoning Valley Speedway. Likewise with the Race of Champions at www.rocmodifiedseries.com