By DINO OBERTO
Walt Smith Photo
(LEHIGHTON, PA. 8-17-19) Brian DeFebo picked up his second win of the season Saturday night at Mahoning Valley Speedway in which battled under a shroud of intense pressure for most of the event, dueling alongside the likes of Lou Strohl and Nick Baer. It wouldn’t be until the closing laps that he was able to breathe enough to take the win, his 17th at Mahoning and 104th overall.
For the outset Strohl jumped to the early lead while Baer and DeFebo made haste in tagging behind him and thus began a thrilling clash. Strohl grasped to a narrow lead as Baer and DeFebo went side-by-side.
And if that trio wasn’t giving the crowd enough action there was Earl Paules and Kyle Strohl who were shadowing closely behind.
At the front the L. Strohl kept to the low line while fending off the hard-nosed offensive of Baer and DeFebo. Then in an instant his chance at winning was dashed when he spun going into turn one just as they completed lap 24.
When the field was reset DeFebo, who had nipped Baer for second the lap prior, was the leader and coming into play was point leader Bobby Jones who lined up alongside for the restart.
Once the race recommenced Jones stuck with DeFebo for a few laps but having a clear line ahead of him the front-runner found the bite that he needed to pull ahead for the victory over Jones. Paules outdid Baer for third with K. Strohl rounding out the top five.
In the Late Model main it was another dogfight between the division’s top guns, Frankie Althouse, Mike Sweeney and Jeremy Miller. And this round would go to Sweeney.
Miller took to the early lead and by the second lap Sweeney and Althouse were on him. By lap 10 Miller had a narrow advantage while the latter pair battled two-wide. From the outside Sweeney then surged to the front and would bring Althouse with him with 12 laps complete.
From there on it was nose-to-tail and a few times Althouse gave Sweeney a shooter yet neither driver would falter out of line. One last ditch effort to make a bid by Althouse fell short as Sweeney crossed the finish line nearly sideways for his second straight and sixth win of the season.
Lorin Arthofer II put his years of experience to the test and after all was said and done he passed with flying colors, checking in for his division best fourth Sportsman Modified win of the season and 40th at the speedway.
Arthofer started out as the leader but on the second lap but was pinched by Kyle Strohl causing both to spin. Dave Chapman, in his first start with the class, was then the lead car with hot pursuit coming from BJ Wambold.
However, everyone was watching the drive of Arthofer who soon caught them and after executing a breathtaking three-wide fight for the lead, reemerged at the top spot. From then on he was spot on and took his fourth win in six starts. Strohl rebounded as well and was second.
In the Street Stock feature Eric Kocher zigged and zagged through traffic until catching then leader Jamie Smith with nine laps to go.
After a torrid side-by-side run Kocher took control of the race on lap 23 and the sped off to his third win of the season. Smith held on for a season best second.
Point leader Jon Moser had a rare DNF as he crashed out on lap 13. That in turn tightened the standings between him, Mark Martini and Schlenker with five races to go.
With the regular season point races winding down, for Bobby Kibler Sr., winning the Pro 4 feature put him one step closer to his first ever track championship.
With Kibler taking the lead from Jeremy Guerra on lap nine of 20 and then going on to his fifth win, it padded his top ranking over Jake Kibler who unfortunately was towed off track after a lap one mishap.
The Hobby Stocks where slated to go at it in a 40 lap main but with a rash of cautions and consuming more time then expected to run, the race was called after 22 circuits.
Some may have been disappointed but not so for winner Austin Ahner as he took the $400 first place prize which would be his career first coming in just his 10th start.
Ahner led the first eight laps until Peyton Arthofer assumed control and it was clear that she was far and away the dominant car. However, on lap 17 the caution waved and Arthofer came upon a back-marker, crashing hard and inappropriately ending her night.
Ahner went back to the lead and withstood the numerous restarts and some stiff opposition in notching the unforgettable victory. Ahner is the fifth first-time winner this season with the Hobby’s.
Modified Feature Finish (25-laps): 1. Brian DeFebo, 2. Bobby Jones, 3. Earl Paules, 4. Nick Baer, 5. Kyle Strohl, 6. John Markovic, 7. Eric Kocher, 8. Terry Markovic, 9. BJ Wambold, 10. Lou Strohl, 11. Corey Edelman, 12. Heath Metzger, 13. Jake Kibler, 14. Wes Gilbert
Late Model Feature Finish (25-laps): 1. Mike Sweeney, 2. Frankie Althouse, 3. Jeremy Miller, 4. Avery Arthofer, 5. Samantha Osborn, 6. Kenny Hein, 7. Dylan Osborn
Sportsman Modified Feature Finish (25-laps): 1. Lorin Arthofer II, 2. Kyle Strohl, 3. Dave Chapman, 4. Kassidy Altemose, 5. Danielle Paules, 6. BJ Wambold, 7. Joe Edinger
Street Stock Feature Finish (30-laps): 1. Eric Kocher, 2. Jamie Smith, 3. Todd Ahner, 4. Randy Schlenker, 5. Randy Ahner Jr., 6. Jillian Long, 7. Jared Ahner, 8. Mark Martini, 9. Aaron Kromer, 10. Shayne Geist, 11. Josh Mooney, 12. Brennen Coulter, 13. Jeremy Miller, 14. Dennis Buss, 15. Jon Moser, 16. Tucker Muffley, 17. Ronald Herman, 18. Mark Deysher
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (22-laps): 1. Austin Ahner, 2. Travis Solomon, 3. Jacob Boehm, 4. Cody Boehm, 5. Devin Schmidt, 6. Jesse Bollinger, 7. Todd Geist, 8. Eddie Jones, 9. Phil Sabatine, 10. Tad Snyder, 11. Josh Oswald, 12. John Petro, 13. Trisha Connolly, 14. Terry Peters, 15. Rich Mutarelli, 16. Kassidy Althouse, 17. Cody Kohler, 18. Al Arthofer, 19. Peyton Arthofer, 20. Shawn Kistler DNQ: Ralph Boger Jr., Mallory Kutz, Mackenzie Adams
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20-laps): 1. Bobby Kibler Sr., 2. Jeremy Guerra, 3. Cody Kohler, 4. Tucker Muffley, 5. Randy Schaffer, 6. Matt Clark, 7. Josh Kuronya, 8. Kadie Pursell, 9. Jake Kibler, 10. Bobby Kibler Jr., 11. Tyler Stangle