By DINO OBERTO
(Lehighton 6-5-21) In a matter of a lap’s time Kyle Strohl was able to come out on top of an intense three-wide battle between himself, Austin Beers and John Markovic that put him in place to collect his second Modified win of the season Saturday evening at Mahoning Valley Speedway.
It was on lap 17 of the 35-lapper that the race winning outcome took place.
The scene began two laps prior when a restart saw Markovic at the point with Beers second and Strohl third. When the race had resumed Markovic was on the inside of Beers and left enough of an opening for Strohl to take the inside lane. As the trio were about to conclude lap 16 Markovic squeezed Beers that caused him to smack the wall. At the same moment Strohl had a clear lane to drive into the lead.
From then on he was smooth and strong allowing him to score a one car length win over runner-up Austin Kochenash.
“These last couple of weeks we had been struggling and this week we really hit on the button and I felt we were going to be in good contention,” said Strohl, now an 18 time Modified winner.
“Honestly to me after we got the lead the car felt like a rocket ship and especially with so many good cars here and with the racing in the Modifieds here is top notch.”
At the outset Terry Markovic was the early leader but on lap three Carl Altemose powered his way to the front and started to set a solid pace while the Markovic brothers stayed in his tire tracks.
On lap 15 J. Markovic was able to slip inside of Altemose for the lead. However on the same circuit and under very tight conditions Altemose was collected up in a multi-car incident, putting an abrupt end to his impressive night as well as several others.
It was that restart that led to the dramatic outcome.
Kochenash, who was making his first Mahoning start of the season, was part of the lap 15 melee and had to pit. Afterwards he drove his way up to second only to run out of time as he was honing in on Strohl. J. Markovic held on for third with Bobby Jones and new point leader Brian DeFebo rounding out the top five.
The Sportsman Modifieds were running a pair of events, the first being the conclusion from May 8 when the race was stopped due to safety concerns and the latter as the regular scheduled feature and the emerging winners each having deep Mahoning roots.
For the make-up race Jared Ahner was the leader when the race resumed with nine laps complete. After having to duel with point leader Paulie Hartwig III following several restarts, Ahner late into the race was able to pull ahead just enough to keep Hartwig at bay and notch his first win with the class.
Ahner is the grandson of Russell “Bups” Ahner who was a popular winner during the track’s dirt days and again when the facility was paved. He runs the trademark No. 18 which is symbolic of his late grandfather.
The regular 25-lap feature ended with another track name all too familiar with winning at Mahoning as Peyton Arthofer scored a very emotional first class victory.
Interestingly it was her accident on May 8 that stopped the race when she slammed and busted through the front straight wall promoting the night’s remaining card to be postponed.
For this race she was seated on the pole and once the initial green waved there would be no looking back. At first a determined Troy Bollinger was challenging until Arthofer’s sister, Avery Arthofer roared into second spot.
From there a feel of a never before seen sister vs. sister one-two finish was beginning to take shape. But, A. Arthofer and Bollinger during this time had been battling closely. Unfortunately the elder Arthofer spun with seven laps to go, giving up second to Bollinger.
Yet for P. Arthofer by taking the win it meant coming full circle from the devastation of a car crushing wreck to the joy of victory in a matter of one race. And, like Ahner, her grandfather is legendary star Lorin Arthofer Sr.
When it comes to Street Stocks at Mahoning Valley Speedway the name Moser is commonly heard as first to the checkers.
That was again the case however not perennial champion Jon but rather his brother Rich. And for the elder of the pair it marked the end of a nearly 20-year dry spell.
Taking advantage of his pole starting spot R. Moser immediately took control, although he was contained under tight conditions with strong running rookies Jared Green and Jacob Christman.
Nonetheless R. Moser came fully prepared to make this a long overdue good run. Setting the pace over each passing lap he refused to waver as no one could make a serious bid at him other than on a few restarts.
Holding on perfectly until the end R. Moser parked in Victory Lane for the first time since a Factory Stock win in April 2002. Green in the meantime raced like a seasoned veteran, holding off none other than J. Moser for his career best effort to date.
For Hobby Stock driver Tad Snyder he won’t soon forget the night of June 5, 2021 as he finally landed his first feature win.
For the past few years Snyder has had flashes of respectable runs but trying to secure that elusive first win that was another story. However, on this night there was the feel it would all come to fruition after he scored a heat victory and the feel from there indicated that this could just be the night.
And indeed it was. Snyder took the lead after two laps in and then persisted from there on, holding off his teammate Travis Solomon en route to the memorable night.
In the Pro 4s Josh Kuronya somehow eluded all types of mayhem to win for the second time this season.
Kuronya was leading by lap three and it would prove to be the safest spot on the track too as behind him was a wild affair unfolding with all kinds of slamming and banging. Kuronya would stay focused on the job at hand and ably fend off Kadie Pursell for the win.
Hallie Muffley raced her way into the lead on lap three in the Futures/Rookie Hobby Stocks, doing so on a restart over early pace setter Gabrielle Steigerwalt and once in front she put the shifted into cruise control and sailed on to her first with of the season, coming in just her third start.
In the meantime Steigerwalt was able to hold solid in second and in doing so claimed the Rookie class win, which was her career first.
Modified feature finish (35-laps): 1. Kyle Strohl, 2. Austin Kochenash, 3. John Markovic, 4. Bobby Jones, 5. Brian DeFebo, 6. Roger Cross, 7. Cody Kohler, 8. Jacob Kerstetter, 9. Austin Beers, 10. Carl Altemose, 11. Nick Bear, 12. Rod Snyder Jr., 13. Terry Markovic, 14. Tommy Flanagan, 15. Paul Hartwig
Sportsman Modified 5/8 feature finish (25-laps): 1. Jared Ahner 2. Paul Hartwig III 3. Troy Bollinger 4. Randy Ahner Jr 5. Avery Arthofer 6. Kassidy Altemose 7. Jayden Brown 8. Peyton Arthofer 9. Al Arthofer 10. Mia Guy 11. Stacey Brown
Sportsman Modified regular feature finish (25-laps): 1. Payton Arthofer 2. Troy Bollinger 3. Randy Ahner Jr 4. Jayden Brown, 5. Jesse Strohl, 6. Avery Arthofer, 7. Kassidy Altemose, 8. Mia Guy, 9. Al Arthofer, 10. Paul Hartwig 111, 11 Jared Ahner DNS: Stacey Brown
Street Stock feature finish (30-laps): 1. Rich Moser, 2. Randy Green, 3. Jon Moser, 4. Mark Deysher, 5. Mark Martini, 6. Todd Ahner, 7. Brandon Christman, 8. Lonnie Behler, 9. Tucker Muffley, 10. Randy Ahner, 11. Jacob Christman, 12. Jamie Smith, 13. Jill Snyder, 14. Logan Boyer, 15. TJ Gursky, 16.Tobie Behler, 17. Tommy Flanagan
Pro 4 feature finish (14-laps): 1. Josh Kuronya, 2. Kadie Purcell, 3. Cody Kohler, 4. Tyler Stangle, DQ: Jake Kibler, Bobby Kibler Jr., Bob Kibler Sr. DNS: Terry Peters
Hobby Stock Feature finish (25-laps): 1. Tad Snyder, 2. Travis Solomon, 3. Nick Schaffer, 4. Justin Merkel, 5. Trisha Connolly, 6. Devin Schmidt, 7. BJ Wambold, 8. Cody Boehm, 9. Cody Geist, 10. Taylor Schmidt, 11. James Tout, 12. Kevin Behler, 13. Corey Edelman, 14. Kip George, 15. John Petro, 16. Dave Imler, 17. Nicholas Kerstetter, 18. Mallory Kutz, 19. Ralph Borger Jr., 20. Lyndsay Buss, 21. Ed Herman
Futures/Rookie Hobby Stock feature finish (12-laps): 1. Hallie Muffley, 2. Gabrielle Steigerwalt, 3. Deegan Underwood, 4. Reid Levengood, 5. Lexus Kutz, 6. Zoe Kuchera, 7. Greyson Ahner, 8. Adam Steigerwalt, 9. Mikayla Koehler, 10. Dave Kerr, 11. Maggie Yeakel, 12. Brody George