Category Archives: Mahoning Valley Speedway

Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series will be highlight of 2020 season

(LEHIGHTON, PA. 12-1-19) The wheels are in motion for rolling out the 2020 race schedule at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway and although there are a number of items still being worked out, one thing that is for certain in a new and exciting slate of races geared at honoring select accomplished greats while also paying rewarding dividends to the participants.

Being dubbed the “Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series” (MVSHoFS), this will be a special five race series held throughout the season and run amongst the Modifieds, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks.

The full soon to be released dates will see the Modifieds competing in extra-distance/higher dollar features with a very unique twist to the number of laps for each. They will all contest in a distance that was a signature car number to the particular honoree.

Race number one of five, which will be Opening Night, April 4, honors Doug Hoffman and his No. 60. Thus the feature will be 60 laps. Next will be a 77-lapper paying tribute to John ‘Peepers’ Yerger. That will be followed by an 81-lap affair which belongs to the revered George Wambold. The next feature will be 85 laps, the number made famous by Marvin Bartholomew and finally a 99-lapper that is associated with Hal Renniger, closes out the series on October 3.

“We’re very excited to bring the Hall of Fame Series to Mahoning Valley,” offered newly hired track promoter Keith Hoffman. 

“We wanted to honor all these important drivers for their contributions to the track. Our loyal fans and drivers will now have the opportunity to compete in meaningful ‘specials’ throughout the season.”

Even though the Hall of Fame Series is geared towards Mahoning’s history, these special events are also intended to bring in some outside competitors that will only enhance the five-race series. 

“I think with the point fund and good purse we’re offering, we’ll be able to pull some talented drivers from other tracks and states and showcase our product to everyone. Even though the off-season is just starting, I’m excited to say the least,” added Hoffman.

On those same nights the Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks will be taking part in the MVSHoFS and run regular distance features.

There will be a separate tally of points for each class and at the conclusion of the five events the top three will receive point fund monies. Drivers must compete in each of the five races in order to be eligible for the point fund money. There will be a nominal entry fee to run each of the specials.

And, while there will be separate points awarded, there is also 50-showup points as well that will be added towards that driver’s 2020 regular season standings amount.

Each class will draw for starting spots for both heats and features. Only feature points will count towards the MVSHoFS title of the respective divisions.

The point fund breakdown is as follows: $1500, $1000 and $500 to the top three in Modifieds. $1000, $600 and $400 for the Street Stocks and $500, $300 and $200 for the Hobby Stocks.

As an added incentive the Modifieds will be given the opportunity of a ‘gamblers fee.’ If a driver so chooses to take the gamble then he/she will win an additional $1000 for that feature. The gamblers fee is being sponsored by Gambler Transportation and Recovery of Whitehall.

More details on the MVSHoFS along with the complete schedule will be forthcoming.

Please log onto the official Mahoning Valley Speedway website at www.mahoningvalley-speedway.com or on Facebook at Mahoning Valley Speedway for updated info. Mahoning Valley Speedway is located on PA route 443 just a few miles west of Lehighton.

Mahoning Valley Speedway Small Car Nationals was light on cars but big on action

By DINO OBERTO Walter Smith Photo

(LEHIGHTON, PA. 10-19-19) Mahoning Valley Speedway closed out the 2019 season on Saturday afternoon with the Small Car Nationals and although the turnout was less than expected the action none the less was great.

There was a Pro 4/Hobby Stock open comp, Small Car Enduro, East Coast TQ Midgets and for the first time Junk Cars.

And while the latter classes where competitive, it was the Junk Car race that had those in attendance wide-eyed in a thrilling race that was conducted on a “modified” oval. Coming into the race no one knew just what to expect as it was the first time those type cars ran on asphalt or how would the course design work out.

The responses where quickly answered after the first heat lap as drivers began an intense slam bang affair and it would be Ricky Gardener claiming the initial Junk Car checker in the qualifier.

With a heads-up start for the 25-lap feature it was again a wild affair as cars swapped spots over the negotiation of the turns, narrow straights and even a chicane during their trip around the make-shift course.

Gardner and Mark Fister where the show stoppers as they traded the lead several times and the last lap proved to be the barnburner of all. Fister passed Gardner to start the final circuit. They then touched entering the chicane and Gardner edged ahead going into the slim back straight. Then in the final two corners Fester pulled slightly back ahead and with the checkers in reach it was now a drag race to the line. Both cars hit and banged with Gardner being turned sideways but was also pushed ahead of Fister to score the inaugural verdict going across the stipe in the opposite direction.

Dave Imler, although lapped, was third and played into the lead changes several times as the front pair had fits trying to crisscross around him.

In the Pro 4/Hobby Stock open comp Kadie Pursell began the day as a heat winner, taking her career first win with a stock car. She then led the early laps of the feature until Jake Kibler took control on lap seven and from there on he would be unopposed, cruising to a resounding win, his sixth of the season and extending his number one class wins ranking to 37.    

Pursell, a rookie this season, had her best ever effort in garnering second just ahead of Tyler Stangle.

Harry O’Neill has been the man to beat when it comes to Small Car Enduro’s and such was the case yet again as he sailed to his third straight victory in four starts at Mahoning this season. This was race number 8 of the 2019 Mahoning Valley Speedway/Evergreen Raceway Small Car Enduro Series.

O’Neill didn’t need much time during the 30 minute race to hurry to the lead. Series title contender Don Rogers showed the way at first then came Devin Gibson but his time out front was short lived as O’Neill sped by both by lap 25.

The rest of the way it would be a battle for positions behind the leader as O’Neill was superior, covering the timed distance in 129 laps and nearly three seconds ahead of Gibson. Jake Oswald, Clem Underwood and Steven Brooks rounded out the top five.           

            The East Coast TQ Midgets ran the Doug Craig Memorial, honoring the 4-time ATQMRA champion.

            Celebrating his 18th birthday, Tyler Wagner was victorious. Wagner snagged the lead from Jason Hentrich on lap five and then stayed strong and steady the rest of the way.

            Tom Arntz collected the win in the 2-cycles and Bud Routzhan won in the 4-cycle class.

Matt Hirschman bags fourth Mahoning Valley Speedway Octoberfast win.150 lapper worth $5000

By DINO OBERTO WALTER SMITH PHOTO

(LEHIGHTON, PA. 10-12-19) Octoberfast 2019 at Mahoning Valley Speedway showcased a talent laden field of Modified drivers that saw a number of top contenders in position for the $5000 win but when the checkers fell on the 150 contest it was yet another victory going to perennial favorite Matt Hirschman as he scored an unprecedented fourth Octoberfast in the eight year history of the event.

Hirschman took the lead from Austin Kochenash 25 laps from the finish and then stayed solid the rest of the way to earn his 14th overall win of 2019 and 18th at Mahoning Valley.

Kochenash made a great run back towards the front after a spin and pit stop with 13 laps to go for an impressive runner-up. Austin Beers showed lots of potential and was third, Earl Paules, who was a factor throughout notched fourth while Don Wagner completed the top five.

“Everything just worked out well for us tonight, being in the right spots at the right times. What a way to bookend the season here, winning the 100 lap opener and now back-to-back in the Octoberfast,” said Hirschman.

“This a good paying race and we really appreciate Mahoning Valley Speedway putting on the event. It’s a nice crowd that’s here, a nice day and very glad to be here.”

A redraw after qualifying heats saw BJ Wambold and Paules on the front row and when chief starter Bob Stull, who was flagging his final race at Mahoning, waved the race commencing green, it was Paules who hurried to the early lead.

Wambold settled into second with 2019 division champion Bobby Jones, Tyler Haydt and Brian DeFebo closely in tow.

As Paules was running a rapid pace he was also getting plenty of pressure from Wambold. Likewise Jones had his nose stuck in with the front pair which produced some very exciting action.

On lap 17 Wambold aimed to the inside of Paules and was able to grab the lead, but it would be short lived as Jones made his way to the front three laps later.

Unfortunately for the newly crowned champ his hopes for a second Octoberfast where dashed when he got caught up in a wreck on the back straight from cars from the tail end of the field.

At the resumption Paules was back in front and again had Wambold on his tail.

By lap 44 Kochenash and Hirschman had motored into second and third respectively, however, Paules pressed on as the leader despite the heavy company.

After a great 41 lap stint at the head of the pack, Paules gave way to Kochenash who drove to his inside on lap 72. Paules would not waver from second and stayed close with Kochenash while holding off the advances from Hirschman.

On lap 95 a caution waved for a spinning John Markovic and it would be at that period that most of the front runners opted to make a pit stop for new tires. Kochenash though remained on track.

“When I saw all of those cars pit I knew I was in trouble at that point because they didn’t have to use their cars as hard with the new tires on. But my tires where still good so we elected to stay out,” said Kochenash.

Indeed Kochenash was correct about those with fresh American Racer rubber. Paules was back to second 12 laps in and soon after Hirschman ran third and before long that trio was battling for the lead.

Hirschman and Paules where running side-by-side in the direct path of Kochenash. By lap 124 Hirschman, who was on the low lane, nipped Paules and on the ensuing circuit was able to complete the race winning pass on Kochenash.

There was no looking back from there on as the No. 60 showed the prowess that has become the trademark in win after win when it comes to high stake races.

“It was a good racing all night and guys raced clean and when you do that here you can always go side-by-side and run two grooves-plus and after we came back through I was able to make passes and do them clean and get to the lead and keep it to the finish,” said Hirschman.

Following a lap 134 restart Kochenash while fighting for second with Paules spun under tight conditions on the front straight. He then dove to the pits, changed tires and made an incredible charge back before time ran out and had to settle for runner-up.

“Right before that restart my tires began going away and I was running for second and then the spin happened and it was just racing hard at that point. We came back through though,” offered Kochenash who recorded his sixth second place tally of the year.

“We were here for the $5000 but still second is decent. We lost a real good friend this week, Mitch Green, and I really wanted to win this for him but second was the best we could do tonight.”

16-year old Beers had come from the back several times and was hoping to make up for the Octoberfast that got away from him last year when Hirschman passed him with six laps to go. He was as high as second with five laps remaining before Kochenash passed him for the spot.

“We just had a half inch too much stagger at the end and the car was really loose. It was a tough race coming from the back because of (pit) stops. I thought it would be pretty cool if I could have passed Matt for the win like he did to me last year but his car was really good and I had nothing for him,” said Beers.

            DeFebo, Todd Baer, Wambold, Gene Bowers and Haydt rounded out the top ten.     Annexing heat wins where Haydt, Kochenash and Jones.

Modified Feature Finish (150-laps): 1. Matt Hirschman, 2. Austin Kochenash, 3. Austin Beers, 4. Earl Paules, 5. Don Wagner, 6. Brian DeFebo, 7. Todd Bear, 8. BJ Wambold, 9. Gene Bowers, 10. Tyler Haydt, 11. John Markovic, 12. Lorin Arthofer, 13. Jake Kibler, 14. Kevin Graver, 15. Kyle Strohl, 16. Terry Markovic, 17. Eric Kocher, 18. Mike Sweeney, 19. Bobby Jones, 20. Ron Haring Jr.