Sixteen-year-old Kyle Strohl finally broke into this season’s win column by holding off a hard-charging Austin Kochenash in the Modified feature while Paul Koehler Jr. battled with a hungry Mike Sweeney in the closing laps for his 50th Late Model win at MVS.
Strohl started fourth and ran side-by-side with Nick Baer until grabbing the lead from the No. 41x on lap 14. Right after he took the top spot, a six-car crash ensued behind them involving “The Hurricane” Earl Paules and Brian DeFebo as 2014 Modified track champ Kris Graver moved into second.
Graver then took the lead from Strohl on lap 19 and appeared to have the race in hand until he spun on the feature’s final restart and lost the top spot to Strohl in the process.
Once Strohl took the lead, he never looked back to score his first Modified victory of the season.
“I thought I was done, but I got that run on the outside and I just held it flat and hoped for the best from there and I came home with the win,” Strohl said.
Mahoning Valley Speedway Press Release: Kyle Strohl Picks Up First Modified Victory of 2016; Paul Koehler Jr. Joins 50-Win Club at Mahoning Valley Speedway “It’s a big relief. We were struggling with this car since day one off the trailer. I can’t thank all my crew guys enough and Eric Beers for all his help. It really means a lot, I can’t thank them enough. This win means a lot to me.”
Graver’s slip on the restart caused misfortunes for others, including runner-up Austin Kochenash and third-place finisher Eric Beers. Kochenash started 13th in the Brent and Gary Wentz-owned No. 72 machine and just fell short of putting his Modified into victory lane.
“It was going to be tough to win with the amount of good cars that were up front,” Kochenash said. “Kyle ran a good race, a smart race. Coming from 13th is tough. There was an outside tonight, but there was one car that didn’t want to be passed on the outside and that slowed me up a little bit, but that’s racing and it’s nice.”
Beers narrowly missed victory lane a week ago, but this week got trapped behind Graver’s No. 01 in Saturday’s feature, making “The Master of Faster” halt his march towards the front.
“When he didn’t get going there on that one restart when he got sideways, it let Kyle (Strohl) get around him into the lead and let Austin (Kochenash) get around the outside of us. If that wouldn’t have happened, we would’ve been ahead of the 72 and possibly would’ve got the win out of it, but it is what it is.”
In the Late Model feature, Paul Koehler Jr. snatched the lead from Frankie Althouse on the first lap and held off a late-race charge from Mike Sweeney in the final laps for career win No. 50 at the Lehighton track.
Sweeney looked inside and outside the No. 00 machine to take the lead, but settled for second as Koehler celebrated the milestone win.
“I think this is the toughest feature I’ve ever ran,” Koehler said. “I pulled into Victory Lane and I was breathing so heavy, I thought I was going to pass out. 50 for here is a big deal. I think it’s my 70th-overall, but Mahoning Valley, 50 wins here – one’s an accomplishment. This track is really, really tough to run.”
Hobby Stocks kicked off the night with their 20-lap feature as Jesse Strohl scored his first-career win in that division.
Zach Graver won the Street Stock feature for a third time this season after passing Chip Wanamaker who was later disqualified in post-race tech. Justin Mooney and point leader Jon Moser took second and third respectively.
For a second straight week Ricky Yetter scooted to a comfortable victory for the Dirt Modifieds. Ray Deemer, who led early in the event, took runner-up honors.
Josh Scherer won his second Pro-4 feature of the season. Scherer inherited the lead after an opening lap dust up took out several cars ahead of him. Afterwards he would hold off point leader Bobby Kibler Jr. and then Cody Kohler over the final three laps.
The night capped off with a half-hour timed race for the Small-Enduro Car division won by Tony Rispin. 111 cars showed up for the June 11 show.
Racing returns to Mahoning Valley Speedway Saturday, June 18 as the Dirt Mods go for $1200 in a 50-lap feature along with all the regular divisions taking to the track plus the first ever Jr. Small Car Enduro.
-Mahoning Valley Speedway Press Release
-Photo Credit: Dino Oberto