Eric Beers wins battle of Mahoning Modified title contenders; Mike Sweeney by inches over Paul Koehler Jr., in Late Models

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Aug. 22 Xcel 600 Mods + all regular divisions

Aug. 29 All regular track classes + Small Car Enduro

Sept. 5 Mike Krempasky Memorial Street Stock Triple 19s ARSSGS Race #2, #3 & #4 + all regular track classes

Eric Beers wins battle of Mahoning Modified title contenders; Mike Sweeney by inches over Paul Koehler Jr., in Late Models

By DINO OBERTO

 

(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 8-15-15) Eric Beers won his third feature of the season Saturday night at Mahoning Valley Speedway in a race that was flat out thrilling between himself and fellow title contenders Earl Paules, Don Wagner, Austin Kochenash and Kris Graver.

All five drivers ran the majority of the race in a tight pack until late in the going when Beers turned up the wick on his No. 45 Horwith Freightliner mount and eased away to a two car length margin of victory over Wagner.

Beers, who is coming off two woeful weeks of racing that saw him finish 14th and 13th respectively and fall from second to fourth in points, was in top form on this night but so too where his peers which made for some amazing action.

Starting third, Beers went by John Markovic on lap three and then needed only one additional circuit to pass leader Eric Kocher. Markovic would also get around Kocher and was able to stay in check with Beers.

Kocher was holding steady over the first half until point leader Paules stepped up to confront him. It would take Paules until lap 15 to secure third and not laying back he soon moved ahead of Markovic, but when it came to getting Beers it was not so easy and making things just as hard was the fast moving Wagner who joined in the on the lead battle following a lap 19 caution.

As Beers handled the lead Paules and Wagner went back and forth for second, each looking for any chance at the lead car. At the same time Graver and Kochenash crept into the top five and stayed very close to the front trio.

At any given time Paules or Wagner looked as though they could take over from Beers but the “Master of Faster” was upholding his spot with precision and poise in otherwise forceful conditions.

Keep in mind that Graver and Kochenash where in striking distance. Graver actually got scored in third over Paules under side-by-side racing. That also allowed for Wagner to breakaway and to alone battle with Beers but despite repeated efforts, Beers held the line and rolled on to his third win of the season.

He then dedicated the victory to his late friend and racer John Blewett III who passed away in a racing accident eight years ago on this same weekend.

Beers also leaped back up to second in the standings, tied with Wagner. They are only eight points behind Paules while Kochenash and Graver also remain very close.

In what may have been thus far the most thrilling Late Model feature of the year and overall amongst all classes, Mike Sweeney got under Paul Koehler Jr., and within a few feet of the finish he eked his way into the lead and claimed his sixth win of the year.

The race began with Jeremy Miller jumping out front at the outset and then setting a good pace over George Ramos and Koehler. With five laps in the books Koehler replaced Ramos and began to set his sights on Miller.

It would take quite a bit of time but with four laps to go he finally executed the pass for the lead. However, all the while Koehler was chasing down Miller, Sweeney was swiftly maneuvering through traffic and was running third with 10 laps to go.

After Koehler made his pass to the front Sweeney had already motored into the path behind the top two and was able to go by Miller the ensuing circuit. With two laps to go Sweeney was on the rear bumper of Koehler but it appeared a getting around him was inevitable.

Sweeney clearly thought otherwise. With a go for broke move he forced his way underneath Koehler heading into turn three.  It was now a drag race to the checkers as both went side-by-side towards the finish line. It would be mere inches that the verdict would go to Sweeney.

15 races and 14 different winners in the Street Stocks. That was the outcome after Stacey Brown added his name to the ongoing list of division winners this season.

Brown moved to the lead after early leader Joe Stangle was forced to pit due to his car smoking. After inheriting the lead there was no looking back as Brown fended off Jason Frey and Brian Labar en route to the win.

JP Curry was perfect for all 25 laps of the Dirt Mod feature as he raced in the lead from the drop of the green and remained solid over Mike Stofflet and his car owner Ricky Yetter.

In the Pro 4’s it was point leader Cody Kohler winning for the third time and in doing so put a slight buffer between him and current point’s runner Bobby Kibler Sr. who was third. In between them at the conclusion was Nick Baer.

Harry O’Neill doesn’t race often but when he does you can always count on him going for a win. That he did, too, and as he scored a big victory in the special 35-lap Hobby Stock main. O’Neill hadn’t raced since Opening Night, a race that he also won.

 

Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Eric Beers, 2. Don Wagner, 3. Earl Paules, 4. Kris Graver, 5. Austin Kochenash, 6. Kyle Strohl, 7. Lou Strohl, 8. Roger Heffelfinger Jr., 9. Eric Kocher, 10. John Markovic, 11. Chip Santee, 12. Kevin Rex Jr., 13. Terry Markovic

 

Late Model Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Mike Sweeney, 2. Paul Koehler Jr., 3. Jeremy Miller, 4. Frankie Althouse, 5. Darryl Bruenig, 6. Jacob Nemeth, 7. Troy Bollinger, 8. Broc Brown, 9. Jacob Kerstetter, 10. Kenny Hein, 11. Barry Kutz, 12. George Ramos, 13. Josh Oswald, 14. Rich Cooper, 15 Tony Hilliard

 

Street Stock Feature Finish (30 Laps): 1. Stacey Brown, 2. Jason Frey, 3. Brian Labar, 4. Zach Graver, 5. Jonathan Tracey, 6. Corey Edelman,  7. Randy Schlenker, 8. Todd Ahner, 9. Gene Bowers, 10. Lonnie Behler Sr., 11. Randy Ahner Jr., 12. Aaron Kromer, 13. Jason Kuhn, 14. George Ramos, 15. Bernie Uphold, 16. TJ Gursky, 17. Kristy Arthofer, 18. Jared Ahner, 19. Joe Mooney, 20. Joe Stangle DNQ: Jillian Long, Jamie Smith, Logan Boyer

 

Dirt Mod Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. JP Curry, 2. Mike Stofflet, 3. Ricky Yetter, 4. Jack Ely, 5. Ray Deemer, 6. Aleia Geisler,  7. Dave Gorbatuk, 8. Scott Adams, 9. Lorin Arthofer II, 10. Billy Lasko

 

Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Cody Kohler, 2. Nick Baer, 3. Bob Kibler, Sr., 4. JD Light, 5. Shawn Kistler, 6. Bobby Kibler Jr., 7. Johnny Bennett, 8. Josh Scherer, 9. Kailyn Beers, 10. Joe Stangle 11. Jake Kibler

 

Hobby Stock Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Harry O’Neill, 2. Shayne Geist, 3. Michael Wambold, 4. Kyle Krempasky, 5. Jeff Biegley, 6. Rich Mutarelli, 7. Cody Geist, 8. Seth VanFossen, 9. Kyle Scisco, 10. Daniel Hargan, 11. Lyndsay Buss, 12. Ken Reeder, 13. Thomas Hunsicker Jr., 14. Ron Heeter, 15. Devon Schmidt, 16. Jacob Oswald, 17. Bob Azarowitz, 18. Tim Oswald

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