LEHIGHTON, PA —  Todd Baer won Saturday night’s Modified feature a Mahoning Valley Speedway, his first of the season at the Lehighton paved quarter mile oval and it was quite the thriller as he squared off against hard charging Roger Coss in garnering the verdict.

Baer started third and by lap two pulled behind leader Chip Santee. He then took the lead on a lap six restart but was far from in the clear as Coss took over second on lap eight and from there to the finish they engaged in an exciting dogfight.

Coss was looking at every possible angle to wheel by but Baer was able to shield himself lap after lap. Even on the final lap Coss would make one last try by peeking inside through the final two corners but the effort would fall short and the victory was Baer’s in what was a good, clean hard fought race between them. The margin of victory was a mere .156-second.

“Roger (Coss) gave it a hell of shot there at the end and I can’t blame him for anything, we both had to do what we had to do,” said Baer. “He was giving me all kinds of pressure and I just figured I need to run my line and hope that this would be the outcome.”

That line meant trying to stay low but with Coss’ persistent attacking Baer required his car to ride in both high and low groove’s as his course of defense.

“We tried a couple new things with the setup. My crew chief Kevin Hoffman had a few ideas and I was strapping in the car and still disagreeing on what to do. He (Hoffman) won so I won. You come to this place and it’s all out to the end,” said Baer.

It was undeniably a tough loss for the affable Coss. In the previous event, a 100 lapper, Coss passed Baer for the lead and was cruising out front until 12 laps from the end when a power steering hose let go, yielding the lead to eventual winner Matt Hirschman. Although he has had regular finishes this season in the top five, he seems to be snake bitten when it comes to the elusive top spot.

“Other than wrecking him (Baer) which I wouldn’t do there wasn’t much else I could have done out there,” said Coss. “We were so close the last time we raced and then so close tonight, I don’t know what more we need to do to get a win. We’ll get there but it’s such a heartbreaker. Todd did a good job and we’ll come back and try again next week.”

With his third place finish Earl Paules has moved back into the point lead. Santee and Lou Strohl rounded out the top five.

Late Model veteran Paul Koehler Jr., was able to withstand the side-by-side duel behind him of Earl Paules and Frankie Althouse which then netted him his second win of the ’14 season.

Koehler started second and outdid Jeremy Miller at the drop of the race commencing green. Before long Paules was on his tail and soon after Althouse joined the battle. From then on it was all three running in tight formation.

Despite the closeness Koehler never let up and remained on top when the checkered flag waved, earning his 59th career win with a Late Model.

Paules and Althouse crossed the line virtually dead even with Paules getting the nod. However, earlier in the race there was an incident where Paules and Mike Sweeney got together. Sweeney was forced high on the track and stopped just short of the wall in turn four. Paules was on his inside and Althouse was low.

After a comprehensive analysis it was felt Paules was rough riding and for that was placed back two spots at the finish. That put Sweeney third at the payout window. After the race several cars were called to tech, including the No. 8 of Paules, but he was not happy with the put-back call and refused to be checked which led to a disqualification. Despite that he still holds the point lead by seven over Althouse.

Jamie Smith won for a second time in the Street Stocks in a race that was all action packed. Smith took the lead from the outset but was under a blanket as Steven Steigerwalt and Jillian Long had him well covered.

After laps of bumper-to-bumper racing, the race became intensified during the final five rounds. A restart on lap 25 saw Long take the lead. Next time by Smith was back at the helm and then clung to it the final laps to secure the win by mere inches. Second place was a three-wide affair at the finish as Steigerwalt edged Long who edged Justin Mooney. Jared Ahner was fifth and also part of the tight pack. A new season high 31 cars registered to race with the class.

Jack Ely’s breakout season in the Dirt Modifieds continued on as the 16-year old wheeled to his fourth win of the year.

Ely used a lap two restart to get by Mike Stofflet then cruised out front the rest of the way in another stirring performance by the talented upstart as he held off Jeff Parker for the victory. Stofflet came home third.

Jake “The Snake” Kibler steered away from a bevy of bumping and banging in the Pro 4 feature and won for a fifth time this season. Kibler took the lead after nipping Tyler Stangle at the conclusion of lap one. Although Stangle and Dave Chapman would stay in pursuit, Kibler was way too strong for them both as neither could step in mount a serious effort.

In the Hobby Stocks Rich Mutarelli may have led just one lap but it was for all the money as he nipped Corey Edelman just inches from the finish line and won for the second week in a row. Edelman had just taken the lead two laps earlier and Mutarelli was on the charge at the same time. He slipped to the inside of Edelman on the final lap and made it a drag race to the checkers.

Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Todd Baer, 2. Roger Coss, 3. Earl Paules, 4. Chip Santee, 5. Lou Strohl, 6. Kris Graver, 7. Kyle Strohl, 8. Nevin George, 9. Don Wagner, 10. Scott Meckes, 11. Brain Romig, 12. Chris Young, 13. Eric Beers, 14. Terry Markovic, 15. John Markovic

Late Model Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Paul Koehler Jr., 2. Frankie Althouse, 3. Mike Sweeney, 4. George Ramos, 7. Jeremy Miller, 8. Danielle Paules, 9. Jacob Nemeth, 10. Jacob Kerstetter, 11. Mark Tyson DQ: Earl Paules

Street Stock Feature Finish (30 Laps): 1. Jamie Smith, 2. Steven Steigerwalt, 3. Jillian Long, 4. Justin Mooney, 5. Jared Ahner, 6. Jonathan Tracey, 7. Chip Wanamaker, 8. Chip Wanamaker, 9. Josh Mooney, 10. Gene Bowers, 11. TJ Gursky, 12. Matt Wentz, 13. Paul Morgan Jr., 14. Stacey Brown, 15. Randy Schlenker, 16. Zach Graver, 17. Brian Labar, 18. Cody Roth, 19. Troy Bollinger, 20. Todd Ahner, 21. Logan Boyer, 22. Dave Chapman, 23. Jon Smith

DNQ: Jon Smith, Randy Schlenker, Mike Garris Sr., Dan Freundt, Rich Emel, Dennis Buss, Bernie Uphold, Lonnie Behler Jr., Shawn Kistler, Tiffany Wambold

Dirt Modified Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Jack Ely, 2. Jeff Parker, 3. Mike Stofflet, 4. Kevin Graver Jr., 5. JP Curry, 6. Bill Lowden Jr., 7. Aleia Geisler, 8. Ricky Yetter, 9. Ray Deemer, 10. Billy Lasko, 11. Dave Gorbatuk, 12. Joe Stangle

Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Jake Kibler, 2. Dave Chapman, 3. Tyler Stangle, 4. Bill Rooney, 5. Jason Muffley, 6. Bobby Kibler Jr., 7. Nick Baer, 8. Jesse Snyder, 9. Chad Miller, 10. Kailyn Beers, 11. Cody Kohler, 12. Eric Dandeluck

Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Rich Mutarelli, 2. Corey Edelman, 3. Harry O’Neill, 4. Bob Azarowitz, 5. Cody Geist, 6. Alton Snyder Jr., 7. Ron Heeter, 8. Justin Martison, 9. Tim Oswald, 10. Shayne Geist, 11. Gunner Yost

-Mahoning Valley Speedway Press Release. Photo Credit: Speed51.com

Baer Holds Off Coss in Tight Battle for Mahoning Win