(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 6-11-16) Two familiar faces at Mahoning Valley Speedway ended up in victory lane Saturday night.
16-year-old Kyle Strohl finally broke into this season’s win column by holding off a hard-charging Austin Kochenash in the Modified feature while Paul Koehler Jr. battled with a hungry Mike Sweeney in the closing laps for his 50th Late Model win at MVS.
Strohl started fourth and ran side-by-side with Nick Baer until grabbing the lead from the No. 41x on lap 14. Right after he took the top spot, a six-car crash ensued behind them involving “The Hurricane” Earl Paules and Brian DeFebo as 2014 Modified track champ Kris Graver moved into second.
Graver then took the lead from Strohl on lap 19 and appeared to have the race in hand until he spun on the feature’s final restart and lost the top spot to Strohl in the process.
Once Strohl took the lead, he never looked back to score his first Modified victory of the season.
“I thought I was done, but I got that run on the outside and I just held it flat and hoped for the best from there and I came home with the win,” Strohl said.
“It’s a big relief. We were struggling with this car since day one off the trailer. I can’t thank all my crew guys enough and Eric Beers for all his help. It really means a lot, I can’t thank them enough. This win means a lot to me.”
Graver’s slip on the restart caused misfortunes for others, including runner-up Austin Kochenash and third-place finisher Eric Beers. Kochenash started 13th in the Brent and Gary Wentz-owned No. 72 machine and just fell short of putting his Modified into victory lane.
“It was going to be tough to win with the amount of good cars that were up front,” Kochenash said. “Kyle ran a good race, a smart race. Coming from 13th is tough. There was an outside tonight, but there was one car that didn’t want to be passed on the outside and that slowed me up a little bit, but that’s racing and it’s nice.”
Beers narrowly missed victory lane a week ago, but this week got trapped behind Graver’s No. 01 in Saturday’s feature, making “The Master of Faster” halt his march towards the front.
“When he didn’t get going there on that one restart when he got sideways, it let Kyle (Strohl) get around him into the lead and let Austin (Kochenash) get around the outside of us. If that wouldn’t have happened, we would’ve been ahead of the 72 and possibly would’ve got the win out of it, but it is what it is.”
In the Late Model feature, Paul Koehler Jr. snatched the lead from Frankie Althouse on the first lap and held off a late-race charge from Mike Sweeney in the final laps for career win No. 50 at the Lehighton track.
Sweeney looked inside and outside the No. 00 machine to take the lead, but settled for second as Koehler celebrated the milestone win.
“I think this is the toughest feature I’ve ever ran,” Koehler said. “I pulled into Victory Lane and I was breathing so heavy, I thought I was going to pass out. 50 for here is a big deal. I think it’s my 70th-overall, but Mahoning Valley, 50 wins here – one’s an accomplishment. This track is really, really tough to run.”
Hobby Stocks kicked off the night with their 20-lap feature as Jesse Strohl scored his first-career win in that division.
Zach Graver won the Street Stock feature for a third time this season after passing Chip Wanamaker who was later disqualified in post-race tech. Justin Mooney and point leader Jon Moser took second and third respectively.
For a second straight week Ricky Yetter scooted to a comfortable victory for the Dirt Modifieds. Ray Deemer, who led early in the event, took runner-up honors.
Josh Scherer won his second Pro-4 feature of the season. Scherer inherited the lead after an opening lap dust up took out several cars ahead of him. Afterwards he would hold off point leader Bobby Kibler Jr. and then Cody Kohler over the final three laps.
The night capped off with a half-hour timed race for the Small-Enduro Car division won by Tony Rispin. 111 cars showed up for the June 11 show.
Racing returns to Mahoning Valley Speedway Saturday, June 18 as the Dirt Mods go for $1200 in a 50-lap feature along with all the regular divisions taking to the track plus the first ever Jr. Small Car Enduro.
Modified Feature (35 Laps): 1. Kyle Strohl 2. Austin Kochenash 3. Eric Beers 4. Kris Graver 5. Gene Bowers 6. John Markovic 7. Don Wagner 8. Jack Ely 9. Brian Labar 10. Bobby Jones 11. Todd Baer 12. Terry Markovic 13. Mike Quinn 14. Mike Bednar 15. Nick Baer 16. Earl Paules 17. Lou Strohl 18. Brian DeFebo 19. Glenn Slocum
Late Model Feature (25 Laps): 1. Paul Koehler Jr. 2. Mike Sweeney 3. Jeremy Miller 4. Frankie Althouse 5. Paul Skodacek 6. Jacob Nemeth 7. Lorin Arthofer 8. Jacob Kerstetter 9. Kenny Hein 10. Troy Bollinger 11. Josh Oswald
Street Stock Feature: 1. Zach Graver 2. Justin Mooney 3. Jon Moser 4. Jason Kuhn 5. Jared Ahner 6. Randy Ahner Jr. 7. Jamie Smith 8. Stacey Brown 9. Greg Long 10. Kristy Arthofer 12. Mark Martini 13. Corey Edelman 14. Josh Mooney 15. Todd Ahner 16. Dan Freundt 17. Aaron Kromer 18. Jason Frey 19. Eric Kocher 20. Kevin Weierbach DQ: Chip Wanamaker DNQ: George Ramos, Mike Piechota, Dennis Buss, Logan Boyer
Dirt Mod Feature (25 Laps): 1. Ricky Yetter, 2. Ray Deemer, 3. Billy Lasko, 4. Aleia Geisler, 5. Scott Hyland DNS: Mike Stofflet
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Josh Scherer, 2. Cody Kohler, 3. Bobby Kibler Jr., 4. Kevin Graver Jr., 5.Tyler Stangle, 6. Joe Stangle, 7. Jake Kibler, 8. Shawn Kistler, 9. Johnny Bennett, 10. Kailyn Beers, 11, Shawn Hoffman
Hobby Stock Feature (20 laps): 1. Jesse Strohl 2. Cody Geist 3. Devon Schmidt 4. Tiffany Wambold 5. Travis Solomon 6. Randy Sicher 7. Ken Reeder 8. Colton Perry 9. Elmer Kennedy 10. Waylon Speer 11. Austin Beers 12. Rich Mutarelli 13. Michael Wambold 14 Dean Strohl Sr. 15. Kevin Behler 16. Shayne Geist 17. Taylor Schmidt 18. Ryan Berger 19. Travis Nothstein 20. Dean Strohl Jr. 21. Avery Arthofer DNQ: Arland Moyer Jr.