Lehighton, PA. – Brian DeFebo found out that you never say never. As it turned out he found good fortune with a car that he had no plans to bring back to Mahoning Valley Speedway after its last appearance ended in the wall during a 2016 meet.
However, the previous week’s feature his regular mount had an engine problem and he was forced to bring out the car he reserves for touring events. The car proved worthy as DeFebo drove to his second win of the season, defeating fellow title hopefuls Eric Beers and Kris Graver in the 35-lap contest.
“My guys busted on me because I said this car would never see Mahoning Valley again because the last time it was here it ended up in the wall and needed a clip so I ate my words tonight and that’s okay,” said DeFebo, who also won on Opening Night.
“You take the good with the bad. It’s ironic because last week at this time we were down because we were good in the points. We suffered a setback after our bad finish but we bounced back this week. Racing here can be an emotional roller coaster. We won, it’s good and we just have to race every race as its own from here on out and let the points fall where they may.”
When the race began Ron Haring Jr., and Lou Strohl shared the front row. The pair would then head the pack. DeFebo, who started fourth, was right behind them while battling with Jack Ely. The front pack then got an added participant when Graver joined the fray by lap eight.
All this was taking place under a tight blanket with Haring keeping everyone in check. Ely and Strohl where side-by-side in the battle for second while Graver was just ahead of DeFebo.
The pace was moving along steadily with spots among the top five going back and forth, expect for leader Haring. That changed on lap 15 as DeFebo finally found a lane that he could execute from and squared up behind Haring. Three laps later he would be running the high groove to the lead.
The same lap Haring suddenly got loose on the back straight. As he tried to correct he bumped into the side of oncoming Beers. Others had to quickly back down and unfortunately for Kevin Graver Jr., he slid against the wall and prompted a caution.
“I was kind of biding my time and waiting for a lane to open up and then I saw (Kris) Graver go to the outside and it was at that point I knew I had to run defense and offense at the same time. Once a lane opened which was the outside I was able to go,” explained DeFebo.
When the action resumed DeFebo would have K. Graver and Beers chasing him the rest of the way. Graver was looking to use the same outside line that DeFebo utilized to the lead but each time he was turned away. In the final laps Beers was doing the same but neither he nor Graver could get the job done as DeFebo held on for the verdict.
“To win two races so far is a testament to my great crew. Gary Slusser lives at my shop and he makes these cars very good. I can’t thank him enough as well as Jim Yamelski and his daughter Genevieve. I’m having fun and it’s all thanks to the people I have around me,” said DeFebo.
Broc Brown was able to shake off several tough weeks of hard luck and stake claim to his first Late Model win of the season.
Having the benefit of starting pole he got off to a good start and hurriedly drove away from the pack to a comfortable lead.
That gap, however, was wiped away by a caution on lap six when point leader Mike Sweeney went around after contact with another car and was forced to pit for damage. He did return prior to the race restarting. Unfortunately Sweeney was right back in again when a lap later he was the victim of another incident.
As for Brown he was lined up along Eric Kocher when the action resumed. Back under green the lead went to Kocher but it was a short stint as Brown rebounded back to the front. He would also have Jeremy Miller on his tail and not long after Lorin Arthofer joined the fight.
The 14-year old though kept his focus, especially on the final laps when Arthofer was in second and tried a last ditch run on Brown but to no avail.
In Street Stock action you can now add Shayne Geist to the list of winners. A rookie in the division this season, Geist patiently bided his time in getting around Jillian Long and afterwards held his line which was the key to detaining a bevy of combatants that applied all types of pressure.
Notwithstanding the blitz of Jamie Smith, Jared Ahner, Jon Moser and Alan Schlenker, Geist drove perfectly to the checkers for the well-earned victory.
Mike Stofflet once again was the best of the Dirt Mods as he captured an unprecedented ninth straight win in as many starts. Stofflet gives all the credit to his grandfather and legendary Mahoning/Dorney Park ace Clarence Ruppert for his knowledge and expertise in car set-up which has reflected in the phenomenal year that has thus far been superlative.
In the Pro 4 feature it appeared to be a short night for Jake Kibler due to a mechanical failure. But by the end of the night there was celebration in the form of victory.
Kibler had his car on the trailer after a carburetor malfunction but luckily to the rescue came 2016 champion Josh Scherer who reached out with a spare. After making the switch Kibler then went out and led every lap of the feature, winning for a third time this season.
Avery Arthofer picked up her second Hobby Stock win of the season. After taking the lead from Nick Kerstetter on lap seven Arthofer then romped the rest of the way with a very solid outing.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Brian DeFebo, 2. Eric Beers, 3. Chris Graver, 4. Kyle Strohl, 5. Jack Ely, 6.John Markovic, 7. Lou Strohl, 8. Ron Haring Jr., 9. Gene Bowers, 10. Nick Bear, 11. Joey Jarowicz, 12. Kevin Graver, 13. Bobby Jones
Late Model Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Broc Brown, 2. Lorin Arthofer, 3. Frankie Althouse, 4. Jeremy Miller, 5. Eric Kocher, 6. George Ramos, 7. Jacob Kerstetter, 8. Kenny Hein, 9. Jacob Nemeth, 10. Dylan Osborn, 11. Mike Sweeney, 12. Robbie Kutz
Street Stock Feature Finish (30 Laps): 1. Shayne Geist, 2. Jamie Smith. 3. Jared Ahner, 4. Jon Moser, 5. Alan Schlenker, 6. Stacey Brown, 7. Todd Ahner, 8. Steve Hoffman, 9. Rick Reichenbach, 10. Eric Kocher, 11. Mark Deysher, 12. Steven Steigerwalt, 13. BJ Wambold, 14. Jill Long, 15. Bobby Kibler Jr., 16. Ken Erney, 17. Cody Geist, 18. Corey Edelman DNS: Lyndsay Buss
Dirt Mod Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Mike Stofflet, 2. Frank Parastino, 3. Bill Sittler, 4. Denise Devine, 5. Jack Ely
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Jake Kibler, 2. Kevin Stein, 3. Johnny Bennett, 4. Jeremy Guerra, 5. Tucker Muffley
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Avery Arthofer, 2.Trisha Connolly, 3. Devin Schmidt, 4. Tiffany Wambold, 5. Paul Effrig, 6. Austin Beers, 7. Rich Mutarelli, 8.Michael Wambold, 9. Nicolas Kerstetter, 10. Ryan Berger, 11. Justin Merkel, 12. Todd Geist, 13. Travis Solomon, 14. Al Arthofer, 15. Brayden Spence, 16. Taylor Schmidt, 17. Tyler Nemeth, 18. Joey Visnosky, 19. Colton Perry DNS: Hunter Iatalese
Mahoning Valley Speedway Press Release. Photo Credit: Mahoning Valley Speedway Facebook Page