By DINO OBERTO
(LEHIGHTON, PA. 6-15-19) For 32 of the 35 laps in the Modified feature at Mahoning Valley Speedway, respected veteran Terry Markovic was holding his own, albeit under immense pressure from Lou Strohl and Josh Scherer who tried lap after lap to unseat him.
Markovic was not letting up as he was looking to win for the first time in 20 years and there was a good feeling that was about to happen too as he stayed on the defensive with the laps winding down, never allowing Strohl or Scherer to get the better of him. There was a sense of this being something special for a driver who has been part of many great nights and whose talent is still as good as ever. It gearing up for a thrilling end.
Regrettably, as the checkers where within reach, things took a turn for the worse for Markovic with just three laps to go. After crossing the start/finish line to complete lap 32 he was just ahead of Scherer and Strohl who ran side-by-side. Then approaching turn one the No. 92 broke loose and spun, bringing to a heartbreaking halt a great effort that so many in attendance were pulling for.
Scherer had just been ahead of Strohl and was the new leader when the race restarted and over the remaining laps he narrowly held off Strohl for his second win of the season. For Strohl, who has been very fast of late, it was his second close runner-up and both coming by less than half-a-second.
Brian DeFebo was a solid third with Kyle Strohl and point leader Bobby Jones rounding out the top five. Markovic was scored a disheartened ninth after putting in such a crowd pleasing run.
The race was red flagged on lap 16 for a very ferocious three car accident involving Tyler Haydt, Earl Paules and John Markovic. It unfolded in turn four when Haydt and Paules made contact. That sent Paules sideways into the wall at top speed. Under tight conditions J. Markovic had nowhere to go and was drawn into the chaos. His car got airborne after hitting Paules and then slammed to a pounding stop. Thankfully no one was hurt. Paules’ and Markovic’s cars however sustained extreme damage.
For the second time in as many weeks Mike Sweeney raced to victory with the Late Models and once again it was under strong pressure from Frankie Althouse.
Sweeney took the lead only after a very stout effort came to a spinning end by Kenny Hien on lap 15. Afterwards Sweeney, who had been second, and Althouse began a torrid fight. Included in the thick of things was Jeremy Miller who stayed tucked in behind the front pair.
Despite constant attempts by Althouse, Sweeney never quivered and held his ground to score his third win of the year. Miller held on for third which made for a rousing top three that completed the event under a blanket.
The noticeably improving Samantha Osborn, who was fourth, notched her sixth straight top five and attaining a career best fifth with a Late Model was top rookie Avery Arthofer.
Lorin Arthofer II scored his second straight Sportsman Modified win in what was another close run against Kyle Strohl.
Arthofer took the lead on lap two from Joe King Jr., and from then on it was he and Strohl going 1-2 in close formation. Earl Paules stepped into Kassidy Altemose’s No. 8K and gave the front pair a run towards the end. For Arthofer it was his 38th overall win at Mahoning.
Cody Kohler took the lead on the opening lap of the Pro 4 main and refused to let up from there as he would lead every lap in a tight battle waged with runner-up Bobby Kibler Sr., and third place finisher Jake Kibler.
Devin Schmidt worked determinedly to overtake Kassidy Altemose for the lead in the Hobby Stock feature and once he did he cruised to his second win of the season and in the process added to his point lead.
Altemose did a great job, leading laps and taking a strong runner-up which was a career high in the class.
Round 4 for the 2019 Mahoning Valley Speedway/Evergreen Raceway Small Car Enduro Series took place and it was very rewarding for Harry O’Neill who took the lead fifth and final time on lap 126. He then powered away to the win, his first in the Series’.
Steve Brooks was second and the only other car to finish on the lead lap which ended at 163 total laps. Point leader Don Rogers was third. The race saw the lead change hands 11 times.
Modified Feature Finish (35-laps): 1. Josh Scherer, 2. Lou Strohl, 3. Brian DeFebo, 4. Kyle Strohl, 5. Bobby Jones, 6. Austin Kochenash, 7. Nick Baer, 8. Terry Markovic, 9. Jacob Kerstetter, 10. Ron Haring Jr., 11. Earl Paules, 12. Tyler Haydt, 13. John Markovic
Late Model Feature Finish (25-laps): 1. Mike Sweeney, 2. Frankie Althouse, 3. Jeremy Miller, 4. Samantha Osborn, 5. Avery Arthofer, 6. Matt Wentz, 7. Geno Steigerwalt, 8. Kenny Hein DNS: Jacob Kerstetter
Street Stock Feature Finish (30-laps): 1. Johnny Bennett, 2. Shayne Geist, 3. Mark Martini, 4. Todd Ahner, 6. Jon Moser, 7. Randy Ahner Jr., 8. Rick Reichenbach, 8. Randy Schlenker, 9. Tucker Muffley, 10. Brennen Coulter, 11. Mark Deysher, 12. Bobby Kibler Jr., 13. Jamie Smith. 14. Dennis Buss, 15. Jillian Long, 16. Eric Kocher, 17. Austin Santee, 18. Beau Drobot, 19. Jared Ahner, 20. Cody Geist DNQ: Anthony Tombasco
Sportsman Modified Feature Finish (25-laps): 1. Lorin Arthofer II, 2. Kyle Strohl, 3. Earl Paules, 4. Joe King Jr., 5. BJ Wambold, 6. Danielle Paules, 7. Joe Edinger
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (25-laps): 1. Devin Schmidt, 2. Kassidy Altemose, 3. Travis Solomon, 4. Tad Snyder, 5. Shawn Kistler, 6. Rich Mutarelli, 7. Al Arthofer, 8. Daryl Rex, 9. Peyton Arthofer, 10. Cody Boehm, 11. John Petro, 12. Peter Maier, 13. Ralph Boger Jr., 14. Mallory Kutz, 15. Eddie Jones, 16. Ken Reeder, 17.Jacob Boehm, 18. Trisha Connolly, 19. Terry Peters, 20. Mackenzie Adams DNQ: Scott Adams
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20-laps): 1. Cody Kohler, 2. Bobby Kibler Sr., 3. Jake Kibler, 4. Randy Schaffer, 5. Tyler Stangle, 6. Tucker Muffley, 7. Jeremy Guerra, 8. Kadie Pursell, 9. Matt Clark
Small Car Enduro Feature Finish (163-laps): 1. Harry O’Neill, 2. Steve Brooks, 3. Don Rogers, 4. Tony Rispin, 5. Jake Oswald, 6. Kassidy Altemose, 7. Clem Underwood, 8. Richard Petty, 9. Paul Mercante, 10. Dave Imler Jr., DNS: Randy Parsons
Walt Smith Photo