By DINO OBERTO
(LEHIGHTON, PA. 6-8-19) Kyle Strohl raced to a thrilling win over Lou Strohl for his second Modified win of the season Saturday night at Mahoning Valley Speedway. Both drivers displayed amazing car control while going double-wide over most of the later stages of the 35-lap contest.
At the outset L. Strohl jumped out to a descent lead over Nick Baer but coming through swiftly was K. Strohl who by lap 10 was running second. There was still a sizable gap between first and second at that point but K. Strohl continued to chip away with each passing lap and when the 18th circuit went into the books the lead changed hands with an inside pass in turn four.
On a restart with 10 laps remaining L. Strohl powered back to the lead but the ensuing tour K. Strohl regained the spot. From there to the finish it remained exceedingly close.
“He (Lou Strohl) was on his set-up tonight and we were getting a little loose as he night went on and he really contested me for the victory but I wasn’t giving an inch,” said K. Strohl.
“The track was really good tonight. That last restart helped him and I was nervous but luckily we got back on top. I want to say thanks to Lou for a running me clean and giving me a great race.”
Interestingly for L. Strohl he almost thought about packing up and not racing after coming out to early practice and being completed unsatisfied with the results of that session. However, car owner Matt Higgins swayed him to stick around and with minimal adjustments when the night got underway, he won his heat and then drove to the near feature win.
“We were honestly debating about loading up and going home that’s how bad the car was,” admitted L. Strohl. “But after we put on a different set of tires for the heat everything clicked and the car was just amazingly fast from that point. We tried and it wasn’t for the lack of effort on my part.”
Not to be undone by the close action between the front pair, there was just as much of a tight battle for third between Austin Kochenash and Josh Scherer who raced to the wire for the spot. Brian DeFebo came from 13th to fifth at the end.
Mike Sweeney picked up his second Late Model victory of the year but it came at the cost of Matt Wentz.
Wentz was holding a slim lead ahead of Sweeney and Frankie Althouse. However, with five laps to go the trio came upon the slower car of Mike Seneca and when the leader reached him in turn two there was contact that suddenly sent Wentz hard into the wall.
Sweeney and Althouse narrowly escaped being the melee and for the restart they went toe-to-toe. Althouse would make Sweeney earn every bit of this one too as on the final go-around he gave him a shooter in turn three. Sweeney nearly broke loose but amazingly held tight on the wheel, coming out of turn four nearly sideways. His heads up diving netted the verdict and his 60th career feature win.
It may be a while before Bobby Kibler Jr., gives up his wide smile that he had after climbing from car and for good reason. The second generation driver had just won his career first Street Stock feature in a hard fought affair.
Kibler had been struggling since the season began but slowly he and the team worked out the bugs and on this memorable night everything came to fruition. He started second to early leader Tucker Muffley and by lap five of 30 he was out front.
After taking the lead his night was far from over as a host of top guns began to pressure him. Randy Schlenker most notably who picked his way to second eight laps from the end and was making it very tough on the young star. But despite the offensive from Schlenker and others, Kibler held his ground and relished winning for the first time with the class.
In the make-up Street Stock feature from May 4 Shayne Geist raced to a thrilling first win of the season in a nonstop affair. Each lap Geist had to fend off Johnny Bennett and Jared Ahner. Keeping a tight inside line as his avenue of defense Geist was able to cling to his lead and hold on for a close win. Ahner was second with Bennett a narrow third.
Ricky Yetter and Mike Stofflet seem to be the regulars who week after week take the headlines in the Dirt Mod. Of late, though, there is reason for concern from another as Cory Edelman has emerged a worthy opponent.
Edelman showed his talents against the aforementioned duo yet again with an action-packed race long battle that saw him lead all the way but in tight quarters throughout. By picking up his second win Edelman also stepped to the top of the point standings.
Jake Kibler’s previous win with the Pro 4’s set the new bar for the class as he became the all-time victories leader at 34.
Kibler now added to the total with a season leading fourth win in eight starts, scoring the verdict over point leader Bobby Kibler Sr. And, not only was it another class win but a person mark as well as he has reached 40 overall wins.
Al Arthofer received the best medicine possible by winning the Hobby Stock feature. In the prior race he finished last after taking a very hard hit against the wall and a badly damaging his racecar.
Arthofer came back strong with an inspiring performance. Taking the lead on lap seven he was never headed the rest of the way, pulling away to a 3-plus second margin of victory over Cody Boehm. Arthofer becomes the seventh different winner in eight race to date.
Modified Feature Finish (35-laps): 1. Kyle Strohl, 2. Lou Strohl, 3. Austin Kochenash, 4. Josh Scherer, 5. Brian DeFebo, 6. Bobby Jones, 7. Gene Bowers, 8. Earl Paules, 9. John Markovic, 10. Terry Markovic, 11. Nick Baer, 12. Anthony Sesely, 13. Ron Haring Jr., 14. Jacob Kerstetter, 15. Kevin Rex Jr., 16. BJ Wambold, 17. Wes Gilbert, 18. Lorin Arthofer II, 19. Austin Beers DNS: Heath Metzger
Late Model Feature Finish (25-laps): 1. Mike Sweeney, 2. Frankie Althouse, 3. Jeremy Miller, 4. Kenny Hein, 5. Samantha Osborn, 6. Avery Arthofer, 7. Geno Steigerwalt, 8. Rick Smith, 9. Matt Wentz, 10. Dylan Osborn, 11. Mike Seneca
Make-up Street Stock feature finish from (26-laps) 1. Shayne Geist, 2. Jared Ahner, 3. Johnny Bennett, 4. Corey Edelman, 5. Bill Hunara, 6. Mark Martini, 7. Stacey Brown, 8. Randy Schlenker, 9. Todd Ahner, 10. Josh Mooney, 11. Eric Kocher, 12. Jillian Long, 13. Jon Moser, 14. Beau Drobot, 15. Randy Ahner Jr., 16. Mark Deysher, 17. Jamie Smith, 18. Rick Reichenbach, 19. Cody Geist DNS: Brennen Coulter DNQ: Bobby Kibler Jr., Ken Erney II,
Regular Street Stock feature finish (30-laps): 1. Kibler Jr., 2. Schlenker, 3. Kocher, 4. Jared Ahner, 5. Deysher, 6. Drobot, 7. Muffley, 8. Hunara, 9. Long, 10. Todd Ahner, 11. Randy Ahner Jr., 12. Reichenbach, 13. Martini, 14. Moser, 15. Smith, 16. Edelman, 17. Mooney, 18. Bennett, 19. Erney, 20. Cody Geist, 21. Brown DNQ: Shayne Geist DNQ: Coulter, Austin Santee, Ronald Herman, Jeremy Scheckler
Dirt Modified feature finish (25-laps): 1. Corey Edelman, 2. Mike Stofflet, 3. Ricky Yetter, 4. Colton Perry, 5. Bill Sittler Jr., 6. Frank Parastino, 7. Louie Horvath, 8. Larry Beers
Hobby Stock feature finish (25-laps): 1. Al Arthofer, 2. Cody Boehm, 3. Rich Mutarelli, 4. Trisha Connolly, 5 Devin Schmidt, 6. Taylor Schmidt, 7. Shawn Kistler, 8. Tad Snyder, 9. Peter Maier, 10. Tyler Nemeth, 11. Austin Ahner, 12. Kassidy Altemose, 13. John Petro, 14. Daryl Rex, 15. Peyton Arthofer, 16. Eddie Jones, 17. Ralph Boger Jr., 18. Mallory Kutz DNS: Travis Solomon, Jacob Boehm, Phil Sabatine DNS: Mackenzie Adams DNQ: Colton Breiner, Terry Peters
Pro 4 feature finish (20-laps): 1. Jake Kibler, 2. Bobby Kibler Sr., 3. Tucker Muffley, 4. Cody Kohler, 5. Jeremy Guerra, 6. Matt Clark, 7. Kadie Pursell, 8. Randy Schaffer, 9. Tyler Stangle