Category Archives: Mahoning Valley Speedway

RACE OF CHAMPIONS MODIFIED SERIES SET TO BEGIN SEASON ATMAHONING VALLEY SPEEDWAY

Photo: Noah Watts/Myracenews

Lehighton, Pennsylvania (April 11, 2021) – Race of Champions Modified Series competitors are gearing up to head to Mahoning Valley Speedway for the Series opener and so are race fans. If opening day at the 1/4-mile facility is any indication of what fans are in store for than Saturday, April 24, at 2:00pm will be one of the most anticipated start times on their 2021 schedules. 

Matt Hirschman of Northampton, Pa., narrowly edged out Austin Beers of Northampton, Pa., at the track’s weekly opener, part of their Hall of Fame Series. Hirschman’s win included a drive through the field to get back to the front. With less than 10-laps to go, it looked like Hirschman wouldn’t have a chance to win, but because of the passing opportunities and unique style of racing that Mahoning provides he was able to slip to the outside of Beers in the closing laps and edge out Beers in what looked like a photo finish. 

“Mahoning is fun to race,” offered Hirschman, who has become one, if not arguably the top-star in Modified racing during the 2000’s. “It has multiple grooves and because of the size of the track, it really levels the playing field. You have to be handling, but you also have to be patient and drive precisely to get the job done. It is a lot of fun for the driver and because of the size of the track, it’s right there in front of the fans.” 

Austin Beers, who finished second to Hirschman, has called Mahoning home and perhaps, if it wasn’t for Hirschman would have several more Modified victories, including in Race of Champions Series events. The duo has finished first and second on many occasions. 

“We were close again,” stated Beers, who was the first to congratulate Hirschman on opening day at Mahoning after the spirited late race battle. “Racing with drivers like Matt (Hirschman) definitely make you better. Hopefully we will be able to be in front of him on April 24.” 

Qualifying for the 75-lap Series opener will begin at 2:00pm on Saturday, April 24 along with a full card of Mahoning racing. 

Where: Mahoning Valley Speedway, Lehighton, Pa.

When: Saturday, April 24.

Directions: The track is located in Lehighton, Pa., (2522 Blakeslee Blvd. E., Lehighton, Pa.) just a few short miles (Southwest) off Interstate 476 (Pennsylvania Northeast Extension) and Pennsylvania 209.

What: Race of Champions Lid Lifter “75” for the Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series.

More Information: www.mahoningvalley-speedway.com/ (Track Phone: 570-386-4900) / www.rocmodifiedseries.com 

The Race of Champions is a sanctioning body presenting Modified and Stock Car racing on asphalt and dirt surfaces throughout the Northeast, with events in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey with primary marketing partners Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Upstate Waddell Communications, Image X Graphic Design, TDH Refrigeration, Sherwood Racing Wheels, PavedTrackDigest.com, Presque Isle Downs & Casino and the Erie Sports Commission. The 71st annual Race of Champions weekend will take place in 2021 at Lake Erie Speedway in North East, Pennsylvania and is the second longest consecutive auto-racing event in North America, second only to the Indianapolis 500. 

For more information, contact

Race of Champions Media at media@rocmodifiedseries.com

Follow us on Twitter; Instagram and Facebook; @RoCModSeries or visit our website: www.rocmodifiedseries.com 

Late Models join race card this Saturday at Mahoning Valley Speedway

(Lehighton 4-12-21) Mahoning Valley Speedway rolls into week three of the 2021 season this coming Saturday afternoon at 2:00 pm with a six division program of stock car racing which includes Modifieds, the first appearance of the season for the Late Models, Street Stocks, Pro 4s, Hobby Stocks and Futures/Rookie Hobby Stocks.

The Late Model division remains a staple among the great classes at the paved ¼-mile oval, second only to the Modifieds in the number of total features held, dating back to the days of dirt.

When Pete Lovell won the first Late Model feature on pavement on July 24, 1970 there has since been 710 features run and 127 different winners on the blacktop. And, with an unprecedented 56 class wins Mike Sweeney, a two-time champion, remains the all-time wins leader.

Geno Steigerwalt won the 2021 championship, his first ever.

The day’s action will consist of heats, last chance qualifiers and features.

Pit gates will open at 9:00 a.m. Pit entrance fees are $30 for members and $40 for non-members. Grandstands will open at noon. Adult admission is $14, $2 discount for active military, students and seniors 65+. Must have valid ID. Children 10 & under are free.

            A paid-practice is slated from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 pm. Regular warm-ups will begin at noon Sign-ins are from 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

            On Saturday afternoon, April 24 at 2:00 pm the Race of Champions Modified Series competitors are gearing up to head to Mahoning Valley Speedway for the Series opener. Also in action will be Street Stocks, Hobby Stocks and Futures/Rookie Hobby Stocks.

This will be the final 2:00 pm start of the early season before switching to 5:00 pm starts beginning on May 1.

Please log onto the official Mahoning Valley Speedway website at www.mahoningvalley-speedway.com , Facebook at Mahoning Valley Speedway or Twitter @MahoningSpeed for updated info and news. Mahoning Valley Speedway, owned and operated by Jack and Rebecca Carlino, is located on PA route 443 just a few miles west of Lehighton.

Matt Hirschman returns for a second week and repeats as Mahoning Valley Speedway winner

By DINO OBERTO PHOTO WALTER SMITH

(Lehighton 4-10-21) Matt Hirschman took advantage of a rare weekend off from his usual traveling the region to more high profile events, instead returning to his home base of Mahoning Valley Speedway and in doing so was able to claim a second straight win in the process.

Hirschman, who was fresh off of a thrilling Opening Day photo finish victory over Austin Beers in the Bill Teel Tribute, once again bested his fellow Northampton opponent only this time he would be the one in control rather than the week prior when he had to chase down leader.

Hirschman drew the pole for the 35-lap contest and would stay out-front the entire distance for his seventh win in 11 starts this season. 

“We really only had the option of racing closer to home. It’s been a busy early season and the plan was to not race at all this weekend and prep for the upcoming races but we made a last minute decision and I’m glad we did,” said Hirschman, who picked up his 24th career win at Mahoning Valley and sixth in as many starts.

“I think the longer the race went on we needed to improve a little on the handling. On a shorter run like today we were okay but I think if the race continued I feel we were going to struggle a little.”

At the outset Hirschman jumped to the early lead over Nick Baer and Earl Paules. Paules then took second spot on lap six and was able to stay very close to the leader. Bobby Jones, who had raced up to third on lap seven, was also running strong and remaining nearby the front pair.

The race was slowed for the first time on lap 13 when Kyle Strohl spun in Turn 3. Under that caution Paules was pulled to the side by officials to check for leaking and it was confirmed positive which then sent him pit-side.

On the restart Jones took aim at Hirschman but the No. 60 again had the upper hand. By lap 21 Beers propelled into second spot and it was yet again a familiar scene playing out between the two Mud Lane racers – running one-two while battling for the win.

Unlike the last week though when Beers led until the finish line and was overtaken by Hirschman, there would be no denying the Harry’s U-Pull-It No. 60 as he drove to a car length margin of victory.

“We’re not use to racing here in daytime conditions and last week during the opener I don’t think was a true reading on the track and out next show for us planned is the (April 24) RoC here in two weeks and it’s again a day show,” said Hirschman.

“I prefer the night shows and I think we have it dialed in but that’s why we’re here today to see if we can get a little bit better because I feel we need to for the 75-lap RoC race.”

Jones took third with Brian DeFebo and Baer rounding out the top five.

The Sportsman Modifieds ran their first race of the season with a mix of seasoned veterans and fresh talent and to put that into a better prospective 53-year old journeyman Don Wagner, who was making his first start with the class, held off 10-year old Paulie Hartwig III and 17-year old Kassidy Altemose in gaining his 40th overall career win. 

Another analogy to consider is Wagner’s first win came in 1989, 32 years ago, which is more than the combined age of Hartwig and Altemose.

            Wagner had the pole for the outset of the 25-lap affair and took charge immediately. Behind him was a bevy a close action with Jared Ahner, Hartwig and Peyton Arthofer all making Wagner stay sharp.

Then with three laps to go the pressure was turned up on Wagner which began when Ahner and Arthofer tangled and brought out the caution. On the restart Hartwig was second with Altemose third.

Over the remaining laps Wagner kept his car on the bottom in defense while the younger pair went into a torrid side-by-side battle. As the checkers waved for veteran it took time to determine second spot which went to Hartwig by a mere .001-second margin.

            “The young guys are our future and I’m so happy we got some young talent and that’s also why we built this car to support this division and I think it’s going to continue to get better and better and grow into an awesome division,” said Wagner.

            “Those young kids kept me busy for sure and it was really nice to park it in Victory Lane today. Myself and the team still try hard to put a lot of effort into all this and we’ll run this car and the Modified throughout the season.”

            TJ Gursky took the lead in the Street Stock feature at the drop of the race commencing green and from there on never looked back.

The strong running Gursky was picture perfect with each passing lap and while he was commanding the field Brandon Christman was holding onto second, however, on lap 13 Gursky’s teammate Mark Martini made the pass to run behind the leader and one lap latter came Opening Day winner Randy Ahner Jr., who is the third team member with the front two who all race for owners Rip and Vicki Ripkey.

When Gursky crossed the finish line it would mark his first victory since 2015 and the first time a three-car team took the top three spots in a feature at Mahoning Valley.

The Hobby Stock feature was a barnburner affair from start to finish and even though Al Arthofer won for the second week in a row it took him nearly all of the 25 laps to do so.

The race was filled with two and at times three-wide action beginning with Taylor Schmidt and Jacob Boehm for the better part of the race.

Then over the final eight laps Arthofer, who had just nipped Travis Solomon for third, made it a three car battle for the lead – three-wide as a matter of fact.

Arthofer ran the outside lane and with three laps to go powered into the lead which he would hold to the end. Schmidt held on for second over Boehm.

In the Futures/Rookie Hobby Stocks Greyson Ahner, a Rookie, led flag to flag for his first ever stock car win,

Closing in at a rapid pace was Brody George who notched the win in the Futures, his second straight.

Modified Feature Finish (35-laps): 1. Matt Hirschman, 2. Austin Beers, 3. Bobby Jones, 4. Brian DeFebo, 5. Nick Baer, 6. Cody Kohler, 7. Terry Markovic, 8. Jesse Strohl, 9. Kyle Strohl, 10. Earl Paules

Sportsman Modified Feature Finish (25-laps) 1. Don Wagner, 2. Paul Hartwig III, 3. Kassidy Altemose, 4. Randy Ahner Jr., 5. Carl Altemose, 6. Avery Arthofer, 7. Kevin Kromer, 8. Mia Guy, 9. Troy Bollinger, 10. Payton Arthofer, 11. Jarred Ahner, 12. Danielle Paules

Street Stock Feature Finish (30-laps): 1. TJ Gursky, 2. Mark Martini, 3. Randy Ahner Jr., 4. Earl Paules, 5. Brandon Christman, 6. Jill Snyder, 7. Thomas Flanagan, 8. Mark Deysher, 9. Jon Moser, 10. Tucker Muffley, 11. Jacob Christman, 12. Jeremy Scheckler, 13. Todd Ahner, 14. Randy Green, 15. Cody Geist, 16. Jaime Smith, 17. Toby Behler, 18. Logan Boyer, 19. John Bennett

Hobby Stock Feature Finish (25-laps): 1. Al Arthofer, 2. Taylor Schmidt, 3. Jacob Boehm, 4. Travis Solomon, 5. Devin Schmidt, 6. Nick Schaeffer, 7. Corey Edelman, 8. Cody Boehm, 9. Trisha Connolly, 10. Justin Merkel, 11. James Tout, 12. Lyndsay Buss, 13. Dave Imler Jr., 14. Jaden Brown, 15. Ed Herman, 16. Jake Oswald, 17. Ralph Borger Jr., 18. Mallory Kutz, 19. Kevin Behler, 20. Nicholas Kerstetter DNQ: Herman Neff, Kip George, Slade Darragh

Futures/Rookie Hobby Stock Feature Finish (12-laps): 1. Greyson Ahner, 2. Brody George, 3. Adam Steigerwalt, 4. Deegan Underwood, 5. Makayla Kohler, 6. Maggie Yeakel, 7. Josh Dise, 8. Gary Lerch, 9. Lexus Kutz, 10. Reid Levengood, 11. Gabrielle Steigerwalt, 12. Arland Moyer Jr. DNS: Zoe Kuchera