By DINO OBERTO
Walt Smith photo
(LEHIGHTON, PA. 9-7-19) When Bobby Jones took the lead on lap four from Terry Markovic it would not only turn out to be the race winning move but also win number five and additional insurance towards his quest for the Modified championship as only two weeks of racing remain in the regular season.
And, even though he had to fend off Kyle Strohl who charged hard at the end and is chasing Jones from second spot in the standings, the victory became a tribute of sorts for the veteran chauffer who afterwards paid homage to a host of mentors.
When it was noted that he now has 27 Modified wins at Mahoning Valley and tied the great George Wambold with the tally, he turned his thoughts to those whom he admired and helped him nurture into the respected racer he is today.
“That’s an honor. Every week I come out here and I want to win and I want to say, ‘This win here is for guys like George Wambold.’ He’s one of the guys who made what we are today,” admitted Jones, who now owns 44 overall victories at Mahoning.
“There’s so many people that I’ve raced with over the years and I’ve taken a little bit of each one of them and combined that into my style of driving and that’s the way I am today,” he continued.
“There’s nights I say I have George Wambold with me, I’ve got Bill Teel with me, Keith Kocher Billy Dorshimer. Those people come out in me and I see them. This is for them, all those guys who taught me to race and race hard and never give up. This win is dedicated to them.”
Jones started fourth and quickly tucked in behind Markovic once the action began. On lap four Markovic was running just high enough for Jones to pull underneath him and complete the pass for the lead.
He then set sail and was comfortably ahead of the pack until the first of only two cautions waved 22 laps in for spin by Jake Kibler.
On the restart Strohl got the jump on Markovic and then hounded Jones closely the rest of the way. Jones stayed defensive all the while in taking a narrow margin of victory.
“Getting the lead early was the key,” noted Jones.
“We got a little tight after that restart and it was hard to get a rhythm after the first few laps and when you got someone alongside of you like Kyle (Strohl) you have to be on your game. He’s good and it shows every week,”
Brian DeFebo held of Anthony Sesely for third while Josh Scherer returned to action after a few weeks off and notched a solid fifth.
16-year Samantha Osborn outshined the veterans in a thrilling last lap dash to the finish and in doing so captured her career first Late Model win, becoming only the second female racer to win a feature with the class.
Osborn’s victory came at the hands of Mike Sweeney and Frankie Althouse who had been running 1-2 but with three laps to go the entire race took a fateful twist. Sweeney spun after being nudged by Althouse and both relegated to the rear for the restart.
When the action resumed Jeremy Miller was the leader over Osborn. As the white flag was waved Miller checked up enough for Osborn to squeeze low while Sweeney shot to his outside. They then went three wide into turn 3 and that’s when things really got wild.
Sweeney wound up sliding into the wall while Osborn worked the low line on Miller. As they came out of the final corner the young star was first to the line for the spine-tingling victory. Point leader Althouse was able to sneak by Miller for second.
“I was just hoping I could keep the inside and get by and hang on. This is such a competitive class and I love racing with these guys. It’s so hard to beat them and I can’t believe we just did that,” said an elated Osborn.
“It’s so amazing and I’m very grateful to everyone who helps us especially my family for all the help and support. I just can’t believe we did this to beat.”
This year Jared Ahner has had flashes of good runs but when all was said and done the always smooth and fast No. 18 closed out his nights with what seemed like more lows then highs.
On this night things finally came his way. He was engaged in a torrid duel with Josh Mooney for the lead and when he finally secured, it not only marked his first time leading a feature this season but he made certain he wasn’t about to relinquish it either. Ahner afterwards powered on to a decisive first win of the year. Mooney and Todd Ahner where second and third respectively but not near enough to make a run at the victor.
There was no stopping Cody Kohler in winning for the second straight week and sixth time this season with the Pro 4s.
Kohler snagged the lead on lap three and then absolutely dominated the rest of the way, winning by half a lap ahead of top point contender Bobby Kibler Sr.
In the Hobby Stocks Jacob Boehm accomplished something this year that no one else had been able to do, win back-to-back races.
Boehm made an outside pass on Cody Kohler to begin lap 19 and then remained solid and steady the rest of the way. Kohler settled for second. Al Arthofer was third and has pulled within three markers of Devin Schmidt for the division title with two races to go.
Modified Feature Finish (35-laps): 1. Bobby Jones, 2. Kyle Strohl, 3. Brian DeFebo, 4. Anthony Sesely, 5. Josh Scherer, 6. Nick Baer, 7. Earl Paules, 8. BJ Wambold, 9. Don Wagner, 10. Heath Metzger, 11. Terry Markovic, 12. Jake Kibler, 13. DJ Wagner, 14. Wes Gilbert, 15. Jared Ahner, 16. Matt Wentz
Late Model Feature Finish (25-laps): 1Samantha Osborn, 2. Frankie Althouse, 3. Jeremy Miller, 4. Mike Sweeney, 5. Avery Arthofer DNS: Matt Wentz
Street Stock Feature Finish (30-laps): 1. Jared Ahner, 2. Josh Mooney, 3. Todd Ahner, 4. Randy Ahner Jr., 5. Mark Martini, 6. Jon Moser, 7. Randy Schlenker, 8. Mark Deysher, 9. Jillian Long, 10. Shayne Geist, 11. Jamie Smith, 12. Jeremy Scheckler, 13. Dennis Buss, 14. Brennen Coulter
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20-laps): 1. Cody Kohler, 2. Bobby Kibler Sr., 3. Bobby Kibler Jr., 4. Jeremy Guerra, 5. Randy Schaffer, 6. Jake Kibler, 7. Tucker Muffley, 8. Josh Kuronya, 9. Matt Clark, 10. Kadie Pursell, 11. Tyler Stangle
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (25-laps): 1. Jacob Boehm, 2. Cody Koehler, 3. Al Arthofer, 4. Jesse Bollinger, 5. John Petro, 6. Travis Solomon, 7. Kassidy Altemose, 8. Rich Mutarelli, 9. Devin Schmidt, 10. Cody Boehm, 11. Trisha Connolly, 12. Peyton Arthofer, 13. Eddie Jones, 14. Mackenzie Adams, 15. Austin Ahner, 16. Tad Snyder, 17. Todd Geist DNS: Taylor Schmidt