(LEHIGHTON, Pa.) Todd Baer may have led every lap en route to winning Saturday night’s 35-lap Modified feature at Mahoning Valley Speedway, however, it was by no means a cake walk as he had a constant onslaught of pressure. First came Eric Kocher and then it was Earl Paules who would apply his force yet there was no wavering on the part of Bear who would stand his ground and hold on for the $1800 payday.
“It was pretty tough out here tonight and I knew there was some real good guys behind me,” said Baer who hails from New Tripoli. “I was a little tight on the bottom so I had to widen out the race track.”
Baer started the race in second and made quick work of pole sitter Terry Markovic at the drop of the initial green.
Kocher, Chip Santee and Paules also raced by Markovic by lap two and where right all over the rear of Baer. It stayed a close affair with that group until a second restart on lap 11 eliminated Santee.
The incident transpired when Kocher pinched Santee in turn four and the No. 5 car went around. In the process he collected Eric Beers and both had to rejoin from the rear.
When the race did get going Kocher was able to put his bumper out front for one lap. Baer came right back on the very next circuit but still had no room to breathe.
Paules, as well as point leader Don Wagner got around Kocher after his car began to tighten and once they hooked up at the back of Baer it was white-knuckle from there to the conclusion. Bear did what he needed too to keep his mount low, but also a tad high as well in order to hold back Paules.
“You have to do what works. There was so many good cars behind me and our car really got tight,” said Baer. “I felt real comfortable with Eric (Kocher) out there and we were both giving and taking. Then Earl (Paules) was there at the end and he let me know a few times that he was behind me but thankfully we kept it pointed in the right direction and here we are in Victory Lane.”
Paules had to settle for second with Wagner, Beers and Kris Graver rounding out the top five.
“He just wouldn’t move over. I was bumping him and bumping him and I thought for sure he would move out of the way but he wasn’t budging. He took all the race track away that I needed,” said Paules.
Paul Koehler of Northampton is celebrating his 25th year of racing and he is doing it with a quite a splash as the veteran ace sailed to his third straight Late Model win to remain undefeated in 2015.
Jacob Kerstetter would set the early pace until lap five when Jeremy Miller took control. Miller was then cruising ahead of Frankie Althouse while Koehler was hanging back in fourth behind Kerstetter.
By mid-race and no having no cautions at that point Koehler knew it was go time. Kerstetter did make him work for third but once he was past he went right after Althouse and likewise with Miller.
On lap 18 Koehler was on the rear bumper of Miller and the next time by made a slingshot move to advance into the lead. The final five laps went smoothly and Koehler took the win in a caution-free time of 4:32. It was his 62nd career Late Model win, 43 coming at Mahoning Valley.
Putting 20 cars on a track like Mahoning Valley for a 30 lap feature and you would think that at least several cautions would interrupt the action because of the tight confines. But not when it’s the Street Stock division.
Steven Steigerwalt of Lehighton led in a green to checker nonstop run in what was all out thrilling side-by-side racing from start to finish and completed in a matter of 6:04.
Stacey Brown raced for a good portion of the event alongside Steigerwalt and settled for second while Jonathan Tracey, Jason Kuhn and new point leader Justin Mooney completed the top five.
Ray Deemer of Easton steamrolled his way to a dominating victory in the Dirt Mod feature. At the initial green and from his outside the front row starting spot he quickly blasted past Bill Sittler for the opening lap lead and stayed there the rest of the way.
Early on he had a close run with Rick Yetter and Mike Stofflet but on a lap eight restart Yetter banged wheels with Deemer. Yetter then dropped from action after he spun.
No one was able to step-up to challenge Deemer afterwards as he built an insurmountable lead and pulled away to a half track win over Lorin Arthofer II.
Slatington’s Bobby Kibler Jr., won the Pro 4 feature. At the outset the race became the Kibler, Kibler and Kibler show as Bobby Jr., led over his dad, Bobby Sr., and Jake Kibler.
The race was looking to be a son/father 1-2 finish until point leader Cody Kohler charged his way up to second with five laps to go. Kibler Jr., however, would not back down and scored his first win of the season.
In the Hobby Stocks it was Rich Mutarelli of Nazareth notching his first victory of the season. Mutarelli took the lead from Lyndsay Buss on lap two and would not be headed the rest of the way. Buss remained second for her career best finish.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Todd Baer, 2. Earl Paules, 3. Don Wagner, 4. Eric Beers, 5. Kris Graver, 6. Eric Kocher, 7. Kevin Rex Jr., 8. Chip Santee, 9. Terry Markovic, 10. Jon Moser, 11. Kyle Strohl, 12. Mike Quinn, 13. John Markovic, 14. Austin Kochenash, 15. Paul Frantz, 16. Lou Strohl, 17. JP Curry
Late Model Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Paul Koehler Jr., 2. Jeremy Miller, 3. Frankie Althouse, 4. Jacob Kerstetter, 5. Mike Sweeney, 6. Kenny Hein, 7. Jason Zatsko, 8. Jacob Nemeth, 9 Geno Steigerwalt, 10. George Ramos
Street Stock Feature Finish (30 Laps): 1. Steven Steigerwalt, 2. Stacey Brown, 3. Jonathan Tracey, 4. Jason Kuhn, 5. Justin Mooney, 6. Zach Graver, 7. Randy Schlenker, 8. Aaron Kromer, 9. Gene Bowers, 10. Randy Ahner Jr., 11. Jared Ahner, 12. Jillian Long, 13. George Ramos, 14. Jason Frey, 15. Kristy Arthofer, 16. Todd Ahner, 17. Corey Edelman, 18. Josh Mooney, 19. TJ Gursky, 20. Brian Labar DNQ: Joe Stangle, Bernie Uphold, Cody Roth, Tiffany Wambold, Dave Chapman, Lonnie Behler Jr., Paul Morgan Jr., Logan Boyer
Dirt Mod Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Ray Deemer, 2. Lorin Arthofer II, 3. Dave Gorbatuk, 4. Billy Lasko, 5. Aleia Geisler, 6. Bill Sittler, 7. Drew Reinbold. 8. Mike Stofflet, 9. Rick Yetter
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Bobby Kibler Jr., 2. Cody Kohler, 3. Bobby Kibler Sr., 4. Jake Kibler, 5. Nick Baer, 6. JD Light, 7. TJ Kemmerer, 8. Alton Snyder Jr., 9. Kailyn Beers, 10. Johnny Bennett DNS: Tyler Stangle, Chad Miller
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (15 Laps): 1. Rich Mutarelli, 2. Lyndsay Buss, 3. Kyle Krempasky, 4. Cody Geist, 5. Shayne Geist, 6. Daniel Hargan, 7. Collin Bollinger, 8. Ryan Green, 9. Tim Oswald, 10. Jay Garris
-Dino Oberto Press Release. Photo Credit: Speed51.com