(Dino Oberto photo)
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 3-26-16) Mahoning Valley Speedway opened its gates to racers for the first time this season as the initial day of three Test and Tunes took place on a picture perfect Saturday afternoon.
With Opening Day less than two weeks away, a nice showing of cars took advantage of the afternoon in preparation of the April 9 lid-lifter which will be highlighted by the Ferris Mowers Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series Fueled by Sunoco “Break-the-Ice 75.” The $2800 to win feature is building momentum to be a huge gathering of Modified teams from throughout New York and New Jersey who are reading themselves to take on the hard-nose players of Mahoning Valley Speedway.
A sneak peek of that was evident on Saturday a several strong contending Modified drivers were on hand including 2015 track champion Earl Paules, points runner-up Austin Kochenash and others took to the track.
Also on hand was Race of Champions steady Tony Hanbury in the Dan Kurzejewski owned No. 21. Hanbury was making his first laps at Mahoning since Opening Day 2010. He, like most others on the Race of Champions Tour, was getting in pre-season laps on the unique quarter mile circle knowing that it will be a tough ordeal when it comes time to face off against the home track regulars.
Hanbury did very well throughout the day and should be ready to roll when he returns on April 9 for the Break-The Ice-75.
Five of six 2015 track champions came out which along with Paules included Paul Koehler Jr., Zach Graver, Ricky Yetter, and Cody Geist in the Late Model, Street Stock, Dirt Mod and Hobby Stocks respectively.
Mike Sweeney, who was second to Koehler in points and the overall top feature winner last year with 10 wins, unveiled a sharp looking new Ford Taurus Late Model that got plenty of second looks, being both fast and sharp.
Of the 50 total cars that were pit-side, Modifieds, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks showed the best numbers thus far.
Next weekend, April 2-3, Test and Tune continues with on track activity running from noon to 4:00 pm each day. The cost is $25 per car and $10 per person in the pits. Grandstands are free.
Also a Racers Flea Market will be held on Saturday, April 2 beginning at 10:00 am. There is no charge for anyone wishing to have a spot for the flea market that will be held in the parking lot alongside the pits.
On Opening Day 2016 race teams will begin entering the pits starting at 11:00 a.m. followed by Modified inspection at 11:30 a.m. Sign-in takes place from 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. Heat racing will begin at 4:00 p.m. Also on the card will be Late Models, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks.
Additional news can be found on the track’s official website at www.mahoningvalley-speedway.