Kris Graver scores 4th Mahoning Modified win…Mike Sweeney’s 7th Late Model victory was close call
Story By: DINO OBERTO/Mahoning Valley Speedway
Photos By: Walt Smith/RacersGuide.com
(LEHIGHTON, PA. 8-5-17) A week ago Kris Graver took the lead from Kyle Strohl with five laps to go only to see his shot at winning slip away when Brian DeFebo passed him with two circuits remaining.
Fast-forward to this past Saturday night and the same scene was being played out only this time Graver was not letting neither Strohl nor fast closing DeFebo spoil his night as he raced to a division best fourth Modified win of the season.
“Last week I didn’t have the car to win and Brian (DeFebo) has been really fast this year,” said Graver.
“Tonight when I got near the front I could see that Kyle was pretty much checking out and was absolutely the car to beat. I was also lucky to restart double file on a late caution and I stayed right with him when we went back green. He was getting tight and that played in my favor.”
When the race got underway Kevin Graver Jr., took advantage of his pole starting spot to jump out front for the early lead. Lou Strohl and Bobby Jones had him well covered, however, and never allowed much breathing room.
While that threesome battled for the lead, K. Strohl was lurking in their shadow. He would first take care of business with Jones on lap 10 and then relegated L. Strohl back to third two laps later. Keeping that forward thrust of momentum going, K. Strohl zipped his way around Ke. Graver at the completion of lap 16.
At that point there was little question as to his maintaining the lead as he was strong enough to pull away from the pack.
After midway a handful of cautions kept the action tight and although he was still the persuasive car, K. Strohl had to handle the restarts in order to keep the race in his hands. Jones was one driver who sought to make the best of each of those re-goes as several times he saw the opportunity but each time K. Strohl turned him away.
Although he was running in the top five by lap 22, Kr. Graver was not a factor until a caution with six laps to go put an end to the fine run of Jones who was pinched by a Joey Jarowicz and went spinning.
It would be on that restart that Kr. Graver, now second, was able to make his race winning move. For K. Strohl all he could do was watch from behind as well as hold off DeFebo who came alongside him at the checkers.
“I thought to not try and push the issue after that restart. He (Kr. Graver) clearly had the better car,” said Strohl.
“We we’re really good and running strong but then the last six laps of the race we just got extremely tight and that’s been a problem for us the last few weeks.”
Jack Ely had his fourth straight top five in garnering fourth while Don Wagner raced from 19th to fifth.
“You can tell there was a full moon because it was a little crazy out there tonight and it was all about having patience definitely and luck on your side to try and make it through everything,” noted Kr. Graver.
“This year we just continue to work hard week in and week out. We wanted to sell the car at the beginning of the year and no one offered to but it so we are now trying to prove a point.”
Mike Sweeney may have picked up his seventh Late Model win of the year but it wasn’t without some debate in the process.
Lorin Arthofer II had been leading the event but was being heavily pursued by Sweeney. After several attempts to pass on the outside, Sweeney then changed to the low lane. With four laps to go he made a squeeze play on Arthofer that had had some questioning the motive as over aggressive.
As it stood Sweeney had the win while Arthofer had to settle for his fifth runner-up and third in a row.
“It kind of started a few laps before that on a restart,” explained Sweeney. “I knew following Lorin earlier in the race that he was tight and I thought that he was going to give me some room on the outside on the restart but the lane wasn’t there.
“So I figured to use the bottom to pass him and he kind of started throwing some blocks on me and I got into his quarter panel a little bit and loosed him up. We got together and both bobbled and both saved it and we went on to victory and he was second,” he continued.
“I sure he not so happy about it was a racing deal and this is bullring racing.”
It may have taken BJ Wambold years to get his first stock car win but only a few weeks for victory number two.
Wambold held off point leader Jon Moser and Cody Geist en route to his second Street Stock verdict in a month’s time.
Mike Stofflet raced to his 10th consecutive Dirt Modified win of the season with a strong run that saw him lead 19 of 20 laps. It also marked his 30th overall win.
Pro 4 point leader Kevin Stein ended a run of six runner-up finishes in the last eight starts with a stop in Victory Lane.
Stein took the lead on lap one and remained in charge the rest of the way, although Johnny Bennett was giving him all he could handle with each lap that clicked off. At the checkers Stein was not to be denied and collected up his second win of the year.
Devin Schmidt raced to his second Hobby Stock win of the season by holding off Ryan Berger in the process. Schmidt passed Berger four laps from the end en route to his first win since Opening Night.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Kris Graver, 2. Kyle Strohl, 3. Brian DeFebo, 4. Jack Ely, 5. Don Wagner, 6. Gene Bowers, 7. Brian Labar, 8. James Pritchard Jr., 9. Joey Jarowicz, 10. Ron Haring Jr., 11. Lou Strohl, 12. Brian Romig Sr., 13. Nick Baer, 14. Terry Markovic, 15. Roger Heffelfinger Jr., 16. Bobby Jones, 17. DJ Wagner, 118. Troy Bollinger, 9. Kevin Graver Jr., 20. Eric Beers DNQ: Paul Frantz, Mike Piechota
Late Model Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Mike Sweeney, 2. Lorin Arthofer II, 3. Broc Brown, 4. Jacob Nemeth, 5. Jacob Kerstetter, 6. Jeremy Miller, 7. George Ramos, 8. Eric Kocher, 9. Kenny Hein, 10. Paul Skodacek, 11. Brian Romig Jr., 12. Dylan Osborn, 13. Chris Anderson, 14. Frankie Althouse
Street Stock Feature Finish (30 Laps): 1. BJ Wambold, 2. Jon Moser, 3. Cody Geist, 4. Mark Deysher, 5. Corey Edelman, 6. Jamie Smith, 7. Steven Steigerwalt, 8. Todd Ahner, 9. Stacey Brown, 10. Alan Schlenker, 11. Shayne Geist, 12. Jared Ahner, 13. Jillian Long, 14. Rick Reichenbach, 15. Ken Erney Jr. DNS: Kevin Weierbach
Dirt Mod Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Mike Stofflet, 2. Frank Parastino, 3. Denise Devine, 4. Joe Corrigan
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Kevin stein, 2. Johnny Bennett, 3. Jeremy Guerra, 4. Jake Kibler, 5. Tucker Muffley, 6. Randy Schaffer
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Devin Schmidt, 2. Ryan Berger, 3. Michael Wambold, 4. Brayden Spencer, 5. Austin Beers, 6. Justin Merkel, 7. Shawn Kistler, 8. Tiffany Wambold, 9. Travis Solomon, 10. Paul Effrig, 11. Taylor Schmidt, 12. Avery Arthofer, 13. Trisha Connolly, 14. Nicholas Kerstetter, 15. Colton Perry, 16. Al Arthofer, 17. Mark Schwalm, 18. Colton Breiner, 19. Beau Drobot DNS: Rich Mutarelli DNQ: Arland Moyer Jr.