(McAdoo, PA. 2-15-20) In a formal gathering of 2019 division champions and top point finishers of Mahoning Valley Speedway, a celebration was held on Saturday evening, February 15 at Caprioti’s Palazzo in McAdoo to pay tribute for their past season’s accomplishments.
Heading the list of title winners was Bobby Jones who earned the 2019 Modified championship, marking his first entitlement of such a feat at the paved ¼-mile oval since a Pro 4 crown 25 years ago.
Jones held off young hot-shoe Kyle Strohl en route to the top prize which came on the strength of five features wins, 10 heat wins, 13 top-5s and 19 top-10s in 23 starts.
2017-18 champ Brian DeFebo was a solid third with Earl Paules, who this past year became the track’s all-time career wins leader with 61 and counting and respected veteran John Markovic rounded out the top five in final points.
When Frankie Althouse won the 2018 Late Model championship it came after 15 years of trying and in that time it included a number or runner-ups. Althouse vowed that his second title wouldn’t take as long and he backed those words with a great, hard-fought effort, upholding the crown over his top rival Mike Sweeney.
Althouse led the class with 8 feature wins, 10 heat wins and 18 consecutive top-5 finishes, all of which were tops in class.
The always consistent Jeremy Miller was third while a pair of up-and-coming young lady talents, Samantha Osborn and Avery Arthofer rounded out the top five.
Jon Moser proved once again that when it comes to Street Stock racing at Mahoning Valley, he ranks among the all-time best. Moser scored his third career number one trophy and added his name alongside TJ Gursky and Mark Deysher as the only other 3-time Street Stock champions.
In a group that has an amazing amount of parity, Moser had a class leading four main event wins and division-tying 11 top-5s. He was able to hold off Randy Schlenker, Mark Martini, Todd Ahner and Jared Ahner down the stretch.
The Sportsman Modifieds concluded their second season of competition and it turned out to be a championship chase that came down to the wire between a pair of Mahoning standouts with Kyle Strohl just edging Lorin Arthofer II.
Between them they dominated the win column with Arthofer outdoing Strohl four wins to two. The difference came down to Strohl having a slightly better average finish, thanks to a run of first and seconds.
Bobby Kibler Sr.’s Pro 4 title was nearly 30 years in the making. In close to three decades of racing at Mahoning, Kibler finally ended the year as the top point getter.
Kibler put a near perfect season together as week after week he was fighting for wins and solid finishes with a strong showing where he produced six wins and 18 out of 19 top-5s.
2018 champ Jake Kibler and Cody Kohler, also a past champ, both kept Kibler Sr., on his toes along the way as they finished second and third respectively.
While all the title fights had excitement, none could compare to the Hobby Stocks as a mere one point decided the results that saw Al Arthofer taking the crown over Devin Schmidt.
Arthofer is part of a lineage of great family racers. Although he only won once, instead he relied on consistent finishes to get the job done. His title wasn’t decided until the final lap of the final race where he just nipped Schmidt at the line and secured his place in track history.
Travis Solomon, Jacob Boehm and Peyton Arthofer rounded out the top five and all had a legitimate fight for the title as well.
Rookie of the Year honors went to BJ Wambold, Avery Arthofer, Johnny Bennett, Kadie Pursell and John Petro in the Modifieds, Late Models, Street Stocks, Pro 4s and Hobby Stocks respectively.
Among those who received the Most Improved Driver Awards included Nick Baer, Modified, Samantha Osborn, Late Model, Eric Kocher, Street Stock, Jeremy Guerra, Pro 4 and Jacob Boehm, Hobby Stock.
The Checkered Flag Fan Club Service Appreciation Award fitting went to Ozzie Carlino who worked tirelessly throughout the year in upkeep and maintenance of the track.
All of the awardees where personally congratulated by track owners Jack and Rebecca Carlino. To conclude the program new appointed promoter Keith Hoffman spoke to the crowd about the soon-to-get-underway 2020 season and the encouraging response he has been receiving about the outlook for the track.
In one month cars will be on track starting with Test and Tune on Saturday, March 14 and again on March 21 and 28.
Opening Day 2020 will take place on Saturday, April 4 at 5:00 pm highlighted by race number one of the Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series.