LEHIGHTON, PA — It had been five years since veteran Lou Strohl last won a Modified race at Mahoning Valley Speedway but on Saturday night his long overdue visit to Victory Lane came to an end as he posted his 33rd career win at the Lehighton paved quarter mile oval and first since May 9, 2009.
And oh what a race it was. In the final 10 laps Strohl would battle intensely with another well-experienced hand, John Markovic, trying every way possible to get by. With two laps to run Strohl finally snuck underneath and would hold on for one more lap, earning the very popular win.
“That was one awesome race and Johnny (Markovic) and I had one hell of a race. He did what he had to do to protect the lead and I did what I had to do to pass him,” said Strohl.
Markovic was leading after eclipsing Scott Meckes from the head of the pack on lap 23. Eighth starting Strohl would follow suite and from then on the dogfight was in motion.
Be it high or low Strohl attempted to drive around Markovic but it was no doing as the multi-time champion was
steadfast in his protection of first place. Strohl would not give up, however, and showed that he still had the knack of how to win a race, finally gaining the lead with two to go.
“Wow what a car I had tonight. That was awesome,” explained Strohl who got his third top five in four races since getting behind the wheel of a second Earl Paules owned car.
“There is a lot of talent here and I have to thank Earl Paules for putting me in his car. He still believed in me and I wanted to show him that his decision wasn’t the wrong one.”
Markovic had worked his tail off running with Meckes and then dealing with Strohl. He was just a half car length from a third ’14 win, yet it was a race that had so much excitement and thrills that second place was just as rewarding.
“Scott (Meckes) ran me tough and my car was just so tight by the time I got the lead. My hat’s off to Louie (Strohl). He was faster than me and deserved to win. I just gave him the bottom and it’s something I should never have done. I’m glad to see him win.”
Chip Santee ran in the lead group throughout the race and scored third at the finish with Eric Beers and Nevin George completing the top five.
Mike Sweeney has been fighting adversity for several weeks. Spins, wrecks and just a victim of circumstance. But the resilient racer always bounced back with solid finishes.
This week there would be no such worries to slow him down. By taking the lead on lap five, Sweeney then proceeded on an authoritative drive with his Ford powered No. D11 and with no trouble held off last week’s winner Paul Koehler Jr., for his third victory this season.
With his third place tally Frankie Althouse has assumed the point lead over Earl Paules by one.
In Street Stock action it was Zach Graver wheeling to a second win. After his pass of Brian Labar for the top spot there was no stopping his initiative to win as he remained unchallenged to the checkered flag.
When Billy Lowden Jr., won the Dirt Mod feature on June 7, it marked his career first time at victory with a Modified in 26 years of racing. Win number two didn’t take nearly as long, nine weeks to be precise.
Lowden was third on the grid when the race took the initial green but after lap one went into the books he was showing the way.
There would be no opposing the rest of the way as the likeable Lowden brought his A-game to the table and led every lap en route to win number two. JP Curry was a solid second over Mike Stofflet.
Pro 4 point leader Nick Baer, after making an exciting inside pass on Cody Kohler at lap 14 for the lead, then having to do the same type move on lap 19 over Jake Kibler, went on to score a big 35-lap win. It was his sixth win of the season.
Once, twice and now three times for Rich Mutarelli in the Hobby Stocks. Three wins that is. Mutarelli continued on his winning roll by taking the lead from Tim Oswald on 11 and then held off point leader Corey Edelman for the third straight win.
It was a very smooth run program. With minimal cautions to slow the action the entire six division show was completed by 9:30.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Lou Strohl, 2. John Markovic, 3. Chip Santee, 4. Eric Beers, 5. Nevin George, 6. Scott Meckes, 7. Kyle Strohl, 8. Roger Coss, 9. Kris Graver, 10. Eric Kocher, 11. Earl Paules, 12. Terry Markovic, 13. John Bennett, 14. Joe Mooney, 15. Brain Romig, 16. Mike Quinn, 17. Don Wagner, 18. Jarred Nace, 19. Roger Heffelfinger Jr., 20. Joe Stamm
Late Model Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Mike Sweeney, 2. Paul Koehler Jr., 3. Frankie Althouse, 4. George Ramos, 5. Earl Paules, 6. Danielle Paules, 7. Jacob Kerstetter, 8. Paul Effrig, 9. Jeremy Miller, 10. Jacob Nemeth
Street Stock Feature Finish (30 Laps): 1. Zach Graver, 2. Jonathan Tracey, 3. Justin Mooney, 4. Brian Labar, 5. Dan Freundt, 6. Steven Steigerwalt, 7. Randy Ahner Jr., 8. Jason Kuhn, 9. Todd Ahner, 10. Gene Bowers, 11. Stacey Brown, 12. TJ Gursky, 13. Jared Ahner, 14. Jillian Long, 15. Josh Mooney, 16. Aaron Kromer, 17. Jamie Smith, 18. Matt Wentz, 19. Troy Bollinger, 20. Chip Wanamaker, 21. Jon Smith, 22. Bernie Uphold
DNQ: Lonnie Behler Jr., Randy Schlenker, DJ Wagner, Paul Morgan Jr., Tiffany Wambold, Rich Emel
Dirt Modified Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Billy Lowden Jr., 2. JP Curry, 3. Mike Stofflet, 4. Jack Ely, 5. Kevin Graver Jr., 6. Aleia Geisler, 7. Jeff Parker, 8. Dave Gorbatuk, 9. Ricky Yetter, 10. Joe Stangle, 11. Billy Lasko, 12. Ray Deemer
Pro 4 Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Nick Baer, 2. Jake Kibler, 3. Dave Chapman, 4. Bobby Kibler Jr., 5. Kevin Hoffman, 6. Cody Kohler, 7. Jesse Snyder, 8. Barry Christman Jr., 9. Chad Miller, 10. Kailyn Beers, 11. TJ Kemmerer, 12. JD Light, 13. Bobby Kibler Sr.
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Rich Mutarelli, 2. Corey Edelman, 3. Cody Geist, 4. Mike Azarowitz, 5. Tim Oswald, 6. Peter Verwys, 7. Ron Heeter, 8. Gunner Yost, 9. Alton Snyder Jr., 10. Daniel Hargan, 11. Justin Martison, 12. John Reppert, 12. Devin Gibson, 13. JR Moyer
-Mahoning Valley Speedway Press Release