By DINO OBERTO
Walt Smith Photo
(LEHIGHTON, PA. 9-21-19) Saturday night’s 50-lap Modified feature at Mahoning Valley Speedway won by Brian DeFebo served as a prelude to the marquee Octoberfast 150 on October 12 and the indication for the $5000-to-win event will be an outstanding display of racing evidenced by the great exhibit of competition throughout the field.
DeFebo withstood a throng of pressure from runner-up Kyle Strohl, newly crowned champion Bobby Jones and Austin Beers before pulling away late for a two car length margin of victory worth $2000. It was his third win of 2019 and 105th overall.
DeFebo took the reins of the race on lap nine from a very impressive running BJ Wambold. Afterwards he began to check out on the pack. Wambold stayed strong holding onto second before Strohl unseated him 21 laps in. Still at that point DeFebo was the dominant car as Strohl was several lengths back.
It wouldn’t be until a restart on lap 32 that DeFebo was under the gun as Strohl and Jones stepped up their game and stayed hot on the leader’s tail and it shortly thereafter Beers hitched along and made it a close four car battle.
DeFebo had no choice but to guard both high and low lanes as the trio continued coming on strong against him. Strohl was able to secure second spot within the closing laps while Beers was ever-so-close to unseating Jones. By that point, however, DeFebo wasn’t having any parts of that as he pulled slightly ahead by the time the checkers waved.
“This is really exciting and I love racing here,” said DeFebo.
“I didn’t want to lead that early on and I knew the car was very good but you have to take advantage of it when can to get out front and set your own pace. This is definitely a warm-up for that 150 (lapper) and we are hoping for the same results.”
Runner-up Strohl, who locked the Sportsman Modified title the week prior when rain cancelled that show, was the only other driver that had a shot at Jones for the Modified crown.
Jones’ third place earned him his first track championship in 25 years and first here in a Modified.
Beers was advancing nicely before the race ended and is a pre-race favorite for Octoberfast where he was second to Matt Hirschman a year ago.
Wambold meanwhile turned plenty of heads with his fine drive as he recorded his first top five with a Modified.
In the Late Models it was Frankie Althouse not only winning the race but his second consecutive championship as well.
In what was nothing short of the thrilling battle between he and Jeremy Miller who ran in side-by-side formation for a many laps, Althouse didn’t have full control of the race until the final circuits.
In taking his class leading eighth win of the season it sealed a year long fight between him and point runner-up Mike Sweeney.
“Last year my son Cash had some real bad health issues and we were to the point this year where he was getting worse and at that point I about had the car sold,” explained an emotional Althouse.
“But my wife talked me out of it and said he’s not going to be sick forever. So going from selling the car to this is pretty damn sweet. We now have to come back and win Octoberfast.”
Todd Ahner is a classy, respected veteran racer so when he won the Street Stock feature it was understandable that so many well-wishers greeted him in Victory Lane.
After running up-front all season long but falling short on one to many occasions for victory, the all-time careers wins leader in Street Stocks took the top spot from Josh Mooney on lap seven and once there never looked back, winning for the first time since Octoberfast 2017.
Mooney, for the second time in as many races settled for a solid second. With his third place tally Jon Moser claimed the division championship, his third with the class.
In the Pro 4s Bobby Kibler Sr., not only won for an unparalleled seventh time but in doing so also finished atop the point standings and won his career first track championship after nearly 40 years of racing.
Kibler dashed his way by Kadie Pursell on lap seven and then powered to his class leading verdict. Jeremy Guerra runner-up with Cody Kohler third.
Perhaps the most anticipated race of the night was the Hobby Stocks as five drivers where mathematically eligible for the title and after all was said and done Al Arthofer was that driver, winning the battle by a mere one point over Devin Schmidt. Arthofer didn’t secure the crown until the final lap when he passed Schmidt for fifth spot.
The race was won by another of the contenders, Travis Solomon who won the caution free affair over Kassidy Altemose. Solomon ended a close third in the final standings rundown.
After further review of issues, the Dirt Modified feature on June 22, 2019 will be scored as the competitors finished on the track, a race that was won by Mike Stofflet over Ricky Yetter, who finished second. With the Dirt Modified division no longer racing, Ricky Yetter ends the season in the top spot of the division’s points standings for a record third time.
Modified Feature Finish (50-laps): 1. Brian DeFebo, 2. Kyle Strohl, 3. Bobby Jones, 4. Austin Beers, 5. BJ Wambold, 6. John Markovic, 7. Earl Paules, 8. Lorin Arthofer, 9. Josh Scherer, 10. Eric Kocher, 11. Stacey Brown, 12. Jarred Nace, 13. DJ Wagner, 14, Terry Markovic, 15. Corey Edelman, 16. Austin Kochenash, 17. Nick Bear, 18. Anthony Sesely, 19. Heath Metzger, 20. Don Wagner, 21. Todd Bear
Late Model Feature Finish (25-laps): 1.Frankie Althouse, 2. Jeremy Miller, 3. Dylan Osborn, 4. Samantha Osborn, 5. Avery Arthofer, 6. Mike Sweeney, 7. Kenny Hein
Street Stock Feature Finish (30-laps): 1. Todd Ahner, 2. Josh Mooney, 3. Jon Moser, 4. Eric Kocher, 5. Randy Schlenker, 6. Jared Ahner, 7. Jamie Smith, 8. Matt Deysher, 9. Mark Martini, 10. Aaron Kromer, 11. Randy Ahner, 12. Kevin Weierbach, 13. Brennen Coulter, 14. Jill Long, 15. Louie Horvath, 16, Dennis Buss, 17. Rick Reichenbach
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20-laps): 1.Bobby Kibler Sr., 2. Jeremy Guerra, 3. Cody Kohler, 4. Jake Kibler, 5. Randy Schaffer, 6. Josh Kuronya, 7. Tucker Muffley, 8. Matt Clark, 9. Tyler Stangle, 10. Kadie Pursell DNS: Bobby Kibler Jr.
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (25-laps): 1.Travis Solomon, 2. Kassidy Altemose, 3. Cody Kohler, 4. Peyton Arthofer, 5. Al Arthofer, 6. Devin Schmidt, 7. Jacob Boehm, 8. Trisha Connolly, 9. Rich Mutarelli, 10. Cody Boehm, 11. John Petro, 12. Eddie Jones, 13. Tad Snyder, 14. Tyler Nemeth, 15. Ralph Borger Jr., 16. Sam Ryan, 17. Mallory Kutz DNS: Jesse Bollinger, Todd Geist