By DINO OBERTO
Walter Smith Photo
(LEHIGHTON, PA. 7-13-19) Three previous times this season Bobby Jones and Kyle Strohl had one-two finishes, all very close too with Jones winning twice and Strohl the other. However, none could match Saturday night’s 75-lap feature as they not only fashioned another 1-2 run which went in favor of Jones, but it was a thrilling white-knuckle duel that went done to the wire.
After Strohl had taken the lead from Earl Paules on lap 26, it wasn’t long after that Jones stepped into second spot and thus began a torrid battle of side-by-side racing. Each taken turns at the lead in the process and for Jones, he had an exhausting time when out front as Strohl attacked him relentlessly from both inside and outside lanes.
There was even a point when it became a three car battle for the lead when John Markovic made it a triple-wide attempt for the spot. He would later concede to the front pair and over the final dozen laps it was extremely hard fought with Jones doing everything possible to hold off Strohl.
“I’m really tired and I felt I didn’t have a car that could win tonight, maybe second or third place at best. But I never wanted to give up and I really wanted to win this race,” offered Jones who was slightly overcome from heat exhaustion. “I gave everything I had and this kid – he’s is something.”
Jones won $2500 in picking up his class leading third win of the season and remain firm in the points lead with the start of the second half underway.
On a few restarts Jones proved slightly better and that allowed him the advantage in embracing his lead at those times.
“I was good on some of the starts. I could heat that right front (tire) up and get the car a little tighter and stay out on front of him (Strohl). But I only had about three laps to stay there and cover him and I had to decide what line I wanted to run in order to defend because he was much faster,” explained Jones.
“Luckily for me I stayed the higher lane and it didn’t get us loose and it helped me keep enough momentum that he couldn’t fully make the pass and that’s what I needed to get this win.”
Strohl indeed gave it his all having to settle for close second. His car was working perfectly and it showed with his ability to change lanes at will and push Jones to the limit.
“Tonight we really hit it on the set-up. I just needed one little slip up from him (Jones) and this was mine,” bottomed lined Strohl.
“But he held his line prefect and congrats to Bobby. I like aggressive racing but I wasn’t going to wreck him for the win. He gives a lot of respect and despite to hard racing we both have clean race cars.”
Markovic placed a solid third. Eric Kocher had a respectable outing taking fourth with Paules rounding out the top five.
Frankie Althouse continued his amazing streak of either first or second place finishes in garnering his firth Late Model victory in 11 2019 starts.
Early in the day Althouse could be seen watching his top rival, Mike Sweeney, taking in early practice and getting a feel for what lie ahead for him, after all in the last six races alone he was second and of those four times it was behind Sweeney’s No. D11.
Not looking for another runner-up score, this night saw Althouse take the lead at the outset and then what has become a somewhat common scene, there was Sweeney on his tail. This time, though, there would be no denying him as he kept up his front running pace and confidently held back any and all advances from Sweeney in racing to his 31st career Late Model win. In the process he holds onto a slim lead in points.
Jon Moser raced to a third Street Stock win of the season and in doing so would deny a very strong running Jillian Long of her first.
Long roared past Austin Santee on lap two and then proceeded to keep firm in her first time leading a feature this season. When Moser finally came upon her with 10 laps to go, she never gave way and the two competed closely and cleanly.
However, a restart with six laps go would be the decisive moment for Moser as he used that moment to surpass Long for the lead and hold he back to the checkers. For Long it would mark her best finish to date.
Bobby Jones, Frankie Althouse and Jon Moser all won their respective features and all as class point leaders, so for Bobby Kibler Sr., it was much of the same during the Pro 4 main.
Kibler led from the outset and notwithstanding some late race pressure from Jake Kibler, held on to notch his fourth win and add slightly to a slim lead in the standings in his quest for a career firct championship.
In just her second season of Hobby Stock racing, Peyton Arthofer has developed into a highly competitive driver. She proved that statement soundly with a flag to flag run in front of the 20 car pack, at times with a significant distance over the rest.
Had it not been for a late caution that bunched the field her class leading third win of the year would have been considerably ahead of second place Jacob Boehm and third place Devin Schmidt, who were a car length behind at the conclusion.
Modified Feature Finish (75-laps): 1. Bobby Jones, 2. Kyle Strohl, 3. John Markovic, 4. Eric Kocher, 5. Earl Paules, 6. Lou Strohl, 7. Gene Bowers, 8. Kevin Rex Jr., 9. Ron Haring Jr., 10. Josh Scherer, 11. Brian DeFebo, 12. Todd Bear, 13. Heath Metzger, 14. Don Wagner, 15. Nick Baer, 16. Austin Kochenash, 17. Matt Hirschman, 18. Anthony Sesely, 19. Corey Edelman, 20. Jacob Kerstetter, 21. Terry Markovic DNQ: Beau Drobot, BJ Wambold
Late Model Feature Finish (25-laps): 1. Frankie Althouse, 2. Mike Sweeney, 3. Jeremy Miller, 4. Samantha Osborn, 5. Brandon Turbush, 6. Dylan Osborn, 7. Rick Smith, 8. Kenny Hein, 9. Avery Arthofer
Street Stock Feature Finish (30-laps): 1. Jon Moser, 2. Jillian Long, 3. Jamie Smith, 4. Randy Ahner Jr., 6. Josh Mooney, 7. Johnny Bennett, 8. Eric Kocher, 9. Mark Martini, 10. Mark Deysher, 11. Aaron Kromer. 12. Tucker Muffley, 13. Shayne Geist, 14. Dennis Buss, 15. Brennen Coulter, 16. Jeremy Scheckler, 17. Ruch, 18. Todd Ahner, 19. Austin Santee, 20. Bobby Kibler Jr. DNQ: Randy Schlenker, Cody Geist DQ: Steven Steigerwalt
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (25-laps): 1. Peyton Arthofer, 2. Jacob Boehm, 3. Devin Schmidt, 4. Travis Solomon, 5. Al Arthofer, 6. Shawn Kistler, 7. Trisha Connolly, 8. John Petro, 9. Cody Boehm. 10. Cody Kohler, 11. Tyler Nemeth, 12. Kevin Behler, 13. Ken Reeder, 14. Peter Maier, 15. Kassidy Altemose, 16. Austin Ahner, 17. Eddie Jones, 18. Josh Oswald, 19. Tad Snyder, 20. Taylor Schmidt DNQ: Rich Mutarelli, Mallory Kutz, Terry Peters
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20-laps): 1. Bobby Kibler Sr., 2. Jake Kibler, 3. Tucker Muffley, 4. Cody Kohler, 5. Tyler Stangle. 6. Jeremy Guerra, 7. Kadie Pursell, 8. Matt Clark, 9. Randy Schaffer DNS: Bobby Kibler Jr.