Category Archives: Mahoning Valley Speedway

Dorney Park/Mahoning Hall of Fame enshrines newest inductees

By DINO OBERTO

 (ALLENTOWN, PA. 11-12-17) The 8th Annual Dorney Park Speedway/Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame induction ceremony held on Sunday afternoon at the America on Wheels museum in Allentown installed the latest entries with the class of 2017.

Don Weida, the late Bimpy Marx, Dave Schlenker and Paul Bauscher were the members of Dorney Park while the late Bups Ahner, Clarence Ruppert, Kevin Graver Sr., and Tim Santee had their names engraved with Mahoning Valley.

Weida was a very popular driver of the Park where he enjoyed a good amount of success until the track’s closing in 1986. Although he competed at Mahoning Valley as well as Evergreen Raceway, which were the three prominent asphalt short tracks of eastern Pennsylvania, Weida noted that he was most at home at Dorney, winning regularly and running as a title contender between 1980 and 1986.

Marx was considered one of the best when it came to Dorney Park. A two-time Sportsman Modified champion, (1961 & ’65), his 29 career wins is second only to George Wambold on the all-time winners list.

Marx dominated throughout the 1960’s decade. Accepting his award was daughter Stephanie who was very overcome with emotion as she fondly recalled the great times with her dad and the family during his career.

Dave Schlenker was an official at Dorney Park who did it all from announcing to scoring to handicapping and officiating. He remains a main figure at today’s races with sons Randy and Alan who compete in Street Stocks. Randy was the 2017 Evergreen champion.

“The Flying Farmer” Paul Bauscher was a fan favorite and a fierce competitor. Driver of the signature No. 91, Bauscher scored 23 career Modified wins between 1975 and 1986. When Dorney closed at the end of the ’86 season he then went over to Mahoning Valley where he raced to 13 more wins through 1990.

At Mahoning Valley, Bups Ahner had a long and storied history that dated back to the days of dirt and then asphalt. His son, Rusty Ahner was on hand to accept and represent the family which all stood proud in remembering the accomplishments of the patriarch. Bups’ grandson, Jared Ahner, has carried on the legacy as a top notch Street Stock driver.

Clarence Ruppert was just a teenager in the mid-60’s when he had the notion to become a race car driver. With a home built car he began at Dorney Park as well as several area dirt tracks. Although he raced well and won at the Park, winning in Modifieds, it wasn’t until he tried his hand at the circular Mahoning track that his stock began to rise.

His first win there came in 1971. 20 years later he picked up a Modified victory. But, when he put together a D/A Modified that wins began coming in earnest. His 27 victories stand in the history books as the all-time leader with that class plus he won three consecutive titles from 1993-’95.

His brother Carl Ruppert was also a popular wheelman and this past year Clarence became a car-owner champion after grandson Mike Stofflet captured the Dirt Mod title at Mahoning.

Kevin Graver Sr., was a Mahoning Pro 4 champion but that is only part of the story. The Graver family has been responsible for putting numerous championship level drivers behind the wheel of the infamous No. 01.

Graver Sr., served as crew chief on over 100+ wins and was responsible for championships won by his son, Kevin Jr., and grandson, Kristopher Graver.

Tim Santee first started winning races in the Pro 4 division then moved up to Modifieds where the success followed. Victories for Santee included both at Mahoning Valley and Evergreen.

 

Over the past six years he served as Race Director at Mahoning Valley where he help run a smooth and steady show.

Racing photographers Bob and Dale Snyder once again coordinated the affair which was attended by a great crowd. On display where many restored and contemporary race cars from Dorney and Mahoning.

Mahoning Valley closes out 2017 season with Sunday, November 5 show

Demo Derby, Enduro, Champ Karts, All-Star Slingshots and Micro Stocks

(LEHIGHTON, PA. 10-31-17) Mahoning Valley Speedway will close out the 2017 season this coming Sunday, November 5 with a program of Enduros, Demos, Karts and Slingshots.

            Scheduled for the 2:00 pm start will be a Big/Small/Jr. Enduro features. Additional feature events will be Champ Karts, All-Star Slingshots and Micro Stocks. A big Car and Small Car Demo Derby will take place in the infield.

If 20 or more cars are entered in each Demo Derby they will conduct heats with the payout being $800 to win, $400 for second and $200 for third. If there are features only with no heats run the winner’s share will be $600 with $300 and $150 respectively for second and third.

The cost to enter the Demo Derby is $25 per car which includes the driver. All Demo cars must have the fuel cell and battery mounted and secured behind the driver’s compartment and conform to proper safety regulations.

The Champ Kart race will pay $400 to win and be pro-rated from second spot back. Kart, Slingshot and Micro Stock entry fee is $25 plus $6 for transponder.

Pit gates will open at 11:30 am. Registration will be held from noon to 1:00. Cost to enter the pits is $20 per person. There will be a set of warm-ups for the Slingshots, Micro Stocks and Champ Karts. A driver meeting will take place at 1:30.

Admission to the grandstands, which opens at 1:00 pm, is $10 for adults. Kids 10 and under are free.

For additional information log onto www.mahoningvalley-speedway.com or on Facebook at Mahoning Valley Speedway. Mahoning Valley Speedway is located on PA route 443 just a few miles west of Lehighton.

Bobby Jones wins thrilling Octoberfast Mahoning Modified 200.3-wide last lap run to checkers worth $6000

By DINO OBERTO

 (LEHIGHTON, PA. 10-28-17) Mahoning Valley Speedway’s Octoberfast 2017 will be an event long talked about as the 200 lap feature went right down to the wire in an electrifying finish.

Bobby Jones won in a three-wide battle to the checkers and nipped Gene Bowers by just .007-seconds with Zane Zeiner right there as well.

There was much anticipation in the lead up to the race, being the longest distance in track history for the headline class and awarding the highest payout ever at $6000 to win.

With the never before run distance strategies were varied among on how to make a game plan. As expected, however, the first half of the race was a steady pace, most of it being headed by newly crowned track champion Brian DeFebo. It would not be until a lap 127 caution when DeFebo would take his No. 53 pit side for change of American Racer tires. Things from then on would get interesting.

That calculated move to pits by DeFebo was followed by those who were in chase including Earl Paules, Zeiner, Eric Beers, Jones and Bowers.

Todd Baer would assume the lead under the caution with Jack Ely and James Pritchard Jr., second and third. Ely, who had yet to pit, was leading within seven laps and looking strong in the process.

With 50 circuits to go Zeiner motored up to second and made use of the inside lane for a lead pass six laps later. At the same time a caution was out and Ely would duck to the pits for fresh rubber.

That put Beers to second but Jones was able to unseat him within a few tours. Beers then had to make an unscheduled pit stop while under a caution period at lap 165.

When the action would resume the stage was now set for the thrilling shootout to the finish. Zeiner was the leading over Jones, DeFebo and Bowers.

The lead battle was now in overdrive as Jones and Zener went side-by-side for several laps. Jones finally squeezed his way on the inside of turn three with 27 laps to go in gaining the top spot. Bowers and DeFebo where in their own double wide tussle as well keeping the excitement to a maximum.

With 15 laps remaining Ely was back in the fold making it anyone’s guess as who within the top five to would emerge the winner. The answer would soon come to light among either Jones, Zeiner or Bowers over the waning laps.

With the top two back in a neck-and-neck battle Bowers hovered closely in their tire tracks. When chief starter Bob Stull waved the white flag it was still anyone’s race. Jones was pushing Zeiner to the topside in order to protect his spot. Bowers quickly seized the opening from that as they entered turn three.

As the trio flatfooted out of the final corner Bowers was barely ahead but by the time they reached the checkers Jones had just enough momentum to eke forward for the spine-tingling victory.

“I really thought I was in trouble near the end because my right rear (tire) was shaking badly. I didn’t know if I was losing the tire or grip or what. But I stayed with it and figured if I’m going to go out it will be in a blaze of glory,” said Jones on the biggest win of his career.

“There was a lot of respect out there even in those final laps. It was for a win and $6000 and we did what we had to do. It was a great race and I was very happy with how my guys setup the car. This was for them,” he continued.

“My car just really turned so well on the bottom so that’s where I went all race long. I was very pleased with the tire wear. To run 200 laps there was really no issues.”

Ely and DeFebo rounded out the top five. Paules was making his first start of the season and never missed a beat. He was sixth at the end. John Markovic, Baer, Beers and Don Wagner completed the top 10. 13 cars completed the 200 lap distance.

For Bowers it was understandable to his dejection as he sat in his car trying to collect his thoughts afterwards.

“I’m good with it. I came second to Bobby (Jones) and he’s a good guy and to finish behind him, I’ll take it,” said Bowers, who collected $3000 for his hard fought effort.

“I knew that I could run the car as hard as anyone else. If I could have gotten out front I feel that we I could have pulled away but Bobby and Zane where just so hard to pass, they were very fast – what a race.”

Zeiner noted afterwards that trying to get around Jones was a tough deal as his car became tight.

“I just couldn’t get back ahead of him (Jones) in those final laps. We were both tight but I wasn’t able to keep him down in order to make a pass,” said Zeiner.

“It was just hard clean racing. We leaned on each other but we still gave each other room coming off the turns. That last lap was amazing.”

Heat races were won by Baer, DeFebo and Ely.

 

Modified Feature Finish (200 Laps): 1. Bobby Jones, 2. Gene Bowers, 3. Zane Zeiner, 4. Jack Ely, 5. Brian DeFebo, 6. Earl Paules, 7. John Markovic, 8. Todd Baer, 9. Lou Strohl, 10. Eric Beers, 11. Don Wagner, 12. James Pritchard Jr., 13. Nick Baer, 14. Joey Jarowicz, 15. DJ Wagner, 16. Kevin Rex Jr., 17. Matt Wentz, 18. Josh Scherer, 19. Kyle Strohl

 

Lap leaders: Todd Baer 1-6, Brian DeFebo 7-127, Baer 128-133, Jack Ely 134-156, Zane Zeiner 157-172, Bobby Jones 173-200