Although it was a standard 35-lap feature for the Modifieds at Mahoning Valley Speedway last Saturday night, the division continued the next chapter on their weekly journey from April to October leaving a few more questions to be answered.
In the closing laps, Kris Graver powered by Lou and Kyle Strohl (no relation to each other) on the outside to take the feature win. It was his third victory at the Lehighton, Pennsylvania facility in as many weeks.
“I just had to bide my time, and wait for a hole to open and go,” said Graver.
Lou Strohl, one of the leaders in career victories at the track led a vast majority of the race, but ended the night in third.
“I knew I wasn’t the fastest car, but I knew I was pretty fast because obviously I led that many laps and nobody really contested me. (Kyle Strohl) stuck his nose in once or twice, but that was okay and I was just going as fast as what I had to, to keep the lead.”
What left Lou Strohl curious was the way that he was passed for the lead and it left him questioning how it could be possible.
“Two to go there (Graver) just drove by me like I shut the switch off, so he’s got something,” said Lou Strohl. “I don’t know what he’s got but they’re going to find it. I’ve won a lot of races, some on the outside, but not like that.”
All three of the top finishers went through a thorough post-race inspection as they do every week, and the machines continued to be surveyed all the way past the conclusion of the final feature of the evening. Each of them passed, and Lou Strohl commended the staff which has stepped up recently compared to a few years ago when technical inspection was almost non-existent at the track.
Graver did not comment regarding Lou Strohl’s allegations, but was beyond enthused regarding the streak that he has been on as of late.
“I can’t thank my crew, JRi Shocks, and all of my sponsors enough for getting me here week in and week out,” said Graver. “It was just an awesome night. I started 10th and to make my way up through this very competitive field like that; it’s awesome.”
The thrilling finish as well as post-race overshadowed the most notable fact that 2013 track champion and three-time winner in 2014, Eric Beers, was missing from the field after being involved in an accident the previous weekend. This allowed Earl Paules to extend his points lead even though he did not end up among the podium finishers.
“We got a right front flat, came in, and we still got sixth out of it,” mentioned Paules. “It’s tough out there.”
The next chapter will continue this Saturday and many additional contenders, hopefully including Beers, will be back for the 100 lap race at the end of the month paying $3,500 to the winner.
– By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Correspondent. Twitter: @Aaron_Creed