By Dino Oberto Photo/Walter Smith
(LEHIGHTON, PA 6-20-20) Defending Mahoning Valley Speedway champion Bobby Jones raced to a hard-fought win over his protégé Josh Scherer, earning his 35th career Modified victory in the process, 28 of them taking place here.
Jones used a lap 20 restart to overtake Scherer, however, from there on they battled tooth and nail to the checkers as both cars where equally fast.
And, while Jones did what he does best, racing to the front and winning, one could not deny the impression that Scherer has made in just two short weeks. For the second time in a row he has been in contention for the win, settling for the runner-up spot on Opening Night to Jimmy Blewett.
This time around he looked stronger yet, keeping very close with Jones after losing the lead. He was able to make several runs alongside but unfortunately the crafty veteran used his skill to safeguard his spot and hold on for the verdict.
“I don’t think people give him (Scherer) enough credit for just how good he is. As far as some of the younger drivers I see right know Josh is one the best. He has untapped potential,” a very complimentary Jones said afterwards.
Since moving into a Modified three years ago, Jones has continued to mentor Scherer in both driving and car set-ups.
“When he was alongside me I knew where he was but when he was behind me I needed to slow down and protect and I think my experience kind of got me this win over him but in some small sense I hope I taught him something too. I try to always teach him,” added Jones.
There was a restart in which Scherer acknowledged missing a shift and he felt in the long run that was a big part to not recovering the lead back when it counted most.
“It was real tough especially when I missed a shift on the one restart and I feel that cost me all of it. It didn’t help with the yellows either that kept coming out because I felt we would have definitely had something for him at the end. On the outside I was on a roll. I think the car was even better than last week,” said Scherer.
“It’s difficult to hold your head high. I’m a person that just believes in giving it your all and hopefully the way we’re running we’ll eventually come out on top. We’re pretty much even, everything he has I have except for motor.”
While the front pair raced hard there waged just as intense a battle behind them. Lou Strohl would hold on for third but it would be under a blanket as Brian DeFebo and rookie Sean Verwys diced for positions three, four and five. Verwys, making his first Modified start, showed plenty a flare as he run amongst a pack of seasoned veterans with solidness throughout.
For Jones this also marked the fourth consecutive year that he won on the second week of the season.
The Sportsman Modifieds made their first start of 2020 and as expected the class has made a substantial bump in cars. After some struggles the first two seasons a much improved field of 13 cars signed in and it made for perhaps the best feature to date.
When the checkers waved on the 25-lap contest it would be Earl Paules, Mahoning Valley’s all-time career wins leader, chalking up his 62nd overall victory.
Two-time and defending Late Model champion Frankie Althouse drew the pole and at the drop of Ken Golden Jr.’s race commencing green he darted to the lead with Randy Ahner Jr., Jared Ahner and Paules all in tow.
R. Ahner and Paules then went side-by-side while hovering directly behind Althouse. Despite a few cautions that slowed the pace, the front trio continued their stirring clash for the lead.
When the race reached the mid-way point Paules, who had been riding on the outside, finally burst past R. Ahner then Althouse for the lead and from there on cruised the rest of the way.
R. Ahner got by Althouse with five laps to and scored an impressed runner-up debut with the class. J. Ahner and Louie Horvath rounded out the top five.
In Street Stock action it was young Johnny Bennett who withstood a host of veterans to score his third career win.
Bennett started from the pole but despite that he had to continually fend off the likes of Opening Night winner Eric Kocher and defending champ Jon Moser who gave the teenage talent all he could handle and that he did. Bennett kept focus on a solid line of defense in keeping the latter two at bay.
In winning the Hobby Stock main Trisha Connolly and the entire field accomplished a rare fete, going caution free flag to flag.
While Taylor Schmidt would lead early, Connolly was making haste toward the front. Driving the outside lane she made quick work of Rich Mutarelli and Tad Snyder before setting her sights on Schmidt.
By lap five she had zeroed in on him and three laps latter completed the race winning pass. From there on she negotiated heavy traffic perfectly and went on to score a two car length margin of victory over Schmidt who had a career best finish in second. The race was competed in a time of 5-minutes, 16-seconds.
For the second time in as many weeks Cody Kohler proved unstoppable in the Pro 4s.
Kohler needed only four laps to drive by Jake Kibler for the lead and once in front he steadily pulled away from the pack en route to the rousing win.
In the Rookie Hobby Stocks 14-year old Tobie Behler would be the third and final leader, netting the second generation racer his first ever win with a stock car in only his second time out.
Corey Gulich and Paul French, Jr., where second and third respectively.
Great runs were also turned in by Mia Frey and Elia Tito who each led but had unfortunate mishaps that thwarted their otherwise great efforts.
Modified Feature Finish (35-laps): 1. Bobby Jones, 2. Josh Scherer, 3. Lou Strohl, 4. Brian DeFebo, 5. Sean Verwys, 6. Heath Metzger, 7. Earl Paules, 8. Terry Markovic, 9. BJ Wambold, 10. Jason Arthofer, 11. Todd Bear, 12. Kyle Strohl, 13. Jacob Kerstetter
Street Stock Feature Finish (30-laps): 1. Johnny Bennett, 2. Eric Kocher , 3. Jon Moser, 4. Mark Deysher, 5. Jill Long, 6. TJ Gursky, 7. Todd Ahner, 8. Randy Ahner Jr. 9. Mark Martini, 10. Josh Mooney, 11. Bobby Kibler Jr. 12. Frank DelNero Jr., 13. Cody Geist, 14. Tucker Muffley, 15. Jamie Smith, 16, 17. Rich Moser, 18. Thomas Flanagan, 19. Brandon Christman, 20. Shayne Geist
Sportsman Modified Feature Finish (25-laps): 1. Earl Paules, 2. Randy Ahner Jr., 3. Frankie Althouse, 4. Jared Ahner, 5. Louie Horvath, 6. Brian Rygielski, 7. Payton Arthofer, 8. Teddy Crammer, 9. Gunner Zeiner, 10. Kassidy Althouse, 11. Lorin Arthofer, 12. Stacey Brown
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (25-laps): 1. Trisha Connolly, 2. Taylor Schmidt, 3. Rich Mutarelli, 4. Tad Snyder, 5. Al Arthofer, 6. Cody Boehm, 7. Kassidy Altemose, 8. Jacob Oswald, 9. Travis Solomon, 10. Justin Merkel, 11. Jacob Boehm, 12. Clem Underwood, 13. James Tout, 14. Lyndsay Buss, 15. John Petro, 16. Mallory Kutz, 17. Micah Adams, 18. Doug Dehaven, 19. Nicolas Kerstetter, 20. Ralph Borger Jr., 21. Kevin Behler, 22. Tobie Behler DNQ: Brandon Covert, Tucker, Corey Gulich
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20-laps): 1. Cody Kohler, 2. Jake Kibler, 3. Josh Kuronya, 4.Kadie Purcell, 5. Tyler Stangle, 6. Randy Schaffer, 7. Jacob Boehm, 8. Jeremy Guerra
Rookie Hobby Stock Feature Finish (12-laps): 1. Tobie Behler, 2. Corey Gulich, 3. Paul French Jr., 4. Elia Tito, 5. Hallie Muffley, 6. Mia Guy, 7. Zoe Kuchera, 8. Mikayla Koehler, 9. Kevin Nee, 10. Maggie Yeakel, 11. Jaden Brown, 12. Micah Adams