Tag Archives: Mahoning Valley Speedway

Late race pass nets Matt Hirschman $5000 Mahoning Valley Octoberfast win over impressive upstart Austin Beer


Noah Watts Photo

(LEHIGHTON 10-13-18) To fans of eastern Pennsylvania short track asphalt racing the names of Hirschman and Beers are synonymous when it comes to the ranks of Modified competition. For years the two iconic racing families, who both hail from Mud Lane in Northampton, have shared countless headlines, many of those coming in one-two finishes between Mahoning Valley, Dorney Park and Evergreen Speedway’s.

Tony Hirschman had gone up against numerous cars owned by the late Dale Beers. Eric Beers and Matt Hirschman took the battle to new heights over the past two decades and on Saturday night at Mahoning Valley during the annual Octoberfast the torch was passed on the next generation as 15-year old Austin Beers showed that he is ready to carry on the duel.

In the 150-lap contest M. Hirschman made his racing winning move with four laps to go over A. Beers and claimed the $5000 first place prize. It would be Hirschman’s sixth consecutive victory, 14th of 2018 and 16th at Mahoning, three of them coming in the Octoberfast.

But make no mistake all eyes were on the younger Beers who clearly was in route to a monumental victory had it not been for the late caution that dramatically changed the outcome.

While most everyone pitted at some point Beers was one of only three others, (Josh Scherer/DJ Wagner), who stayed out the entire race gambling with the same set of tires and it almost paid off. However, when Joey Jarowicz spun four laps from the end Hirschman would use that restart to make his race winning pass with an inside pass off turn two.

“That last caution won me the race otherwise Austin Beers was going to win this thing. It was an incredible run that he had. When he was leading and I was second and the race was going on I knew I was settling for runner-up – I wasn’t going to pass him,” bottom-lined Hirschman.

“I kept thinking back to my first big win I had at Evergreen (Raceway) at the King of the Green and his dad finished second to me. It was at that moment I thought that how awesome this is and how this kid is going to win this big race just like myself and his dad did in 2001.”

Hirschman has been a dominant force everywhere he has run this year and when he brought that winning momentum to Mahoning Valley, his first time at the track in two seasons, the thought was on everyone’s mind as to would his streak go on or could one of the always tough-to-beat Mahoning regulars put it to a halt.

For quite some time it seemed as though that would be the case. Pole sitter Austin Kochenash led the early going with Lou Strohl keeping in a close second. Hirschman, who started fifth, joined the front pair by lap eight and thus began a torrid three car battle.

After 20 laps Hirschman barely shook off Strohl for second and would then latch on to the back end of Kochenash while Gene Bowers moved to third.

Still under tight conditions, Hirschman attempted an inside move for the lead on lap 30 but fell short and made contact with the leader, sending him spinning and several other scattering. He had felt the move was merited at that time as Bowers was looking to get by from the outside. In hindsight, though, he comprehended that it may have been too soon for the endeavor.

“I didn’t need to but there was a car that came up alongside me on the outside and it looked like he was going to go by us both. The 66 (Kochenash) was holding me up some and I thought ‘Well it might be time to get ahead of him with other faster cars breathing down my neck,” said Hirschman.

“I made an inside move down the front straight and I thought I was in but we don’t race with radios here and that’s kind of how it goes. It was probably not the right move at that time and what the end result was but had I just passed him I might have stayed out the whole race like Austin (Beers) did.”

Afterwards Kochenash and Hirschman both pitted while Bowers took control of the race. Scherer and Beers would swap back and forth for second. Kyle Strohl entered into the fray with 50 laps complete.

Bowers, who lost in this same race last year by a whisker to Bobby Jones, was looking for redemption and had it going nicely despite that Beers and Strohl where fixated on his rear tail.

After numerous two-wide laps with Beers second place fell to Strohl and he began an all-out run at the Bowers, successfully taking over the front spot on lap 94. On the same tour Beers followed and was runner-up. 10 laps later a caution would wave and on that re-go Beers would overtake Strohl for the lead.

Through a series of pit stops and hard charging Kochenash had worked his way back to third with 50 laps to go. Likewise Hirschman had motored back into the front five by lap 118.

At the helm Beers was showing that he was going to make it tough for anyone to try and pass him. He was very confident in his car’s handling and even disregarded a pre-race team strategy to pit around lap 100.

With the laps wearing on Beers was looking closer to becoming an upset winner as Strohl and Kochenash could only watch from second and third. Then on lap 132 the action slowed the action for a minor incident and again three laps later for a spinning car.

By then Kochenash had advanced to second and Hirschman made some fancy moves to take third. The pair would then engage a in a dogfight for second and few laps back under green and Hirschman was there.

Heading into the waning circuits it was looking more and more as though Beers was on his way to victory until that ill-fated caution waved four laps from the end.

“I was definably going to be satisfied with second, no complaints. My experience probably paid off and all I can say is what a future that kid has. Things didn’t quite work out the way I had anticipated early but you never give up,” said Hirschman.

“It’s always exciting to be here at Mahoning and it’s never over until the last lap and its fun. I’ll be back that’s for sure.”

Strohl was very fast at the end and settled for third with an impressive Scherer taking fourth over Kochenash who rounded out the top five.

“My dad wanted me to come in at lap 100 but I was second then and just decided to stay out. The car was great tonight. To be leading one of these event was very humbling against such a stout field,” noted Beers afterwards.

“I just ran my own race and if I got beat then so be it. Finishing second to a gut like Matt Hirschman – we’ll take that.”

There were 22 cars on hand with Hirschman, Beers and Kevin rex Jr., annexing heat wins.

Modified Feature Finish (150 Laps): 1. Matt Hirschman, 2. Austin Beers, 3. Kyle Strohl. 4. Josh Scherer, 5. Austin Kochenash, 6. Lou Strohl, 7. Gene Bowers, 8. DJ Wagner, 9. Ron Haring Jr., 10. John Markovic, 11. Todd Baer, 12. Don Wagner, 13. Joey Jarowicz, 14. Terry Markovic, 15. Kristy Arthofer, 16. Cody Geist, 17. Jesse

National singing talent Tim Marchetto to preform National Anthem for Octoberfast

(LEHIGHTON 10-7-18) Mahoning Valley Speedway presented by Lehighton Ford and through the efforts of Future Motorsports is proud to announce that national singing talent Tim Marchetto will be preforming the National Anthem for the upcoming Octoberfast this coming Saturday, October 13.

A Penn State graduate and independent network consultant by day, Marchetto, a resident of Bethlehem, is no stranger to the stage and lights.

He has been performing for more than 20 years and has successfully competed in numerous nationally-themed contests, including the Talent Quest National Singing Championships in Las Vegas (NV). He’s performed throughout the tri-state area as lead vocalist of the legendary group Shake, Rattle & Soul.

An accomplished artist and published writer, Marchetto is an avid supporter of local charities such as the American Cancer Society, Toys-4-Tots, Dreams Come True, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Juvenile Diabetes to name a few. His talents have blessed him with the opportunities to perform throughout the United States and even as far as Europe.

Marchetto was also a contestant on American Idol during season 6 (2007) and was a Hollywood finalist.

Race fans will also be treated to a great intermission concert courtesy of the Lehighton High School Marching Band.

The 80-plus member ensemble will march out onto the front straight following qualifying and gather at the start/finish line. Under the direction of band leader Bryan Buffington, Director of Bands. Lehighton Area High School, the orchestra will present a 30 minute concert.

Also on hand will be the Lehighton High School Indian cheerleaders who will be selling 50/50 tickets, with all proceeds will go directly to the group.

Octoberfast 2018 will be Saturday, October 13. Race time is 4:00 pm.

The Modifieds will be going 150 laps with $5000 to win. The Late Models are contesting a distance of 75 laps and $1500 for first place. Street Stocks are running 75 laps and $1200 to win. As mentioned the Dirt Mods will compete in a 50-lapper paying $1000 to the victor. The Hobby Stocks will also race for 50 laps with the winner’s take being $500. The Flashback Stocks are also on the card.

Modified entry fee is $100. Late Model entry fee is $70. Street Stock entry fee is $60. Dirt Mod entry fee $50. Hobby Stock entry is $30.

Pit entrance is $50 per person. There will be early paid practice from noon to 2:00 pm at $25 per car. Regular warmups will take place starting at 2:30 pm with the first round of heats beginning at 4:00 pm. Sign-ins take place from 1:00 – 2:15 pm. A compete purse breakdown will be released soon including contingencies.

For additional news and updates log onto www.mahoningvalley-speedway.com or Facebook.

Racing and Demo Derby Saturday afternoon at Mahoning Valley Speedway

(LEHIGHTON 9-26-18) Mahoning Valley Speedway presented by Lehighton Ford concluded its regular point season last Saturday evening with some dramatic and thrilling races that crowned the 2018 division champions.

Now the popular paved ¼-mile Lehighton oval turns attention to the post season beginning this Saturday, September 29 with a varied line-up of on and off track action. Dirt Mods, Small Car Enduro, Jr. Enduro and Vintage TQ Midgets will be running features while a Small Car Demo Derby will be held in the infield.

The Dirt Mods are running in a 40-lap/$700-to-win feature race. The race is open to all Dirt Modifieds including those with sail panels. Drivers will draw for heat starting spots and then a redraw will take place for the feature.

Much thanks to Mike and Cindy Warden for bolstering the winner’s share by $100!

The Vintage Division of the ATQMRA will be part of the program as they will contest in separate class heats and a combined feature. The Vintage ATQMRA Organization was formed to preserve the history of three quarter midget racing and is anticipating a respectable group of cars.

The Small Car Enduro will be a timed event paying a guaranteed minimum $600 to win, $300 for 2nd, $200 for third, $150 to fourth and $100 for fifth. Dependent upon the number of entrants that prize money can increase.

There has been much interest in this race as pre-entries have steadily poured in. The cost is $50 per car and $6 for transponder. Enduro rules can be found on the website.

The Jr. Enduro will be the undercard to the regular Enduro. The cars will run under the same rules as the current Small Car Enduro and most Hobby Stock cars are permissible to compete.

                Racers must be between the ages of 12-18. A driver who has more than a year of racing experience in a stock car is not eligible to race with the Jr. Enduros. While a driver of the Jr. Enduro can race on their own, they do have the option to have a passenger seat and an experienced tutor ride along for guidance.

Since Avery Arthofer raced to the inaugural Jr. Enduro victory in 2016, the class has turned out several up and comers. Arthofer went on to become a front runner and 4-time winner with the Hobby Stocks. This year she raced in the Sportsman Modifieds and won there as well. She also ran a handful of Late Model features.

Austin Beers claimed his career first win in the Jr. Enduros and then moved to the Hobby Stocks where he won the 2017 championship. He advanced to the Sportsman Mods this year and won 4 times and the title. 

The Small Car Demo is for “Stock” demo cars. The event will reward a guaranteed minimum of $500, to win, $300 for second and $100 for third. Demo rules will follow that of the West End Fair. The cost to enter the Demo Derby is $25 per car which includes the driver.

There will not be a Big Car Demo.

Gates open at 11:00. Racing starts at 2:00 pm. Grandstands, which open at 12:30, is $10 (no discounts). The pits are $25 per person.

For additional news and updates log onto www.mahoningvalley-speedway.com or Facebook. Mahoning Valley Speedway is located just a few miles west of Lehighton on PA 443 and is adjacent to the Mahoning Valley Farmers Market.

Demo enthusiasts can also log on to Old School Promotions at www.facebook.com/Old-School-Promotions-209768279162159/

Mahoning Valley will wrap up the 2018 season with Octoberfast on Saturday, October 13 beginning at 4:00 pm with a 150 laps Modified feature, 75-lappers for the Late Models and Street Stocks, 50 laps for the Hobby Stocks plus a special presentation by the Flashback Stocks.