Youth has been served in the Modified ranks at Mahoning Valley Speedway as 14-year old Kyle Strohl became the youngest driver to win a feature race in the division, capturing the checkers in Saturday’s 35-lap main. And he beat none other than the mentor who guided him through the first few weeks, current class champion Eric Beers.
Strohl showed his mettle the previous race when he went wheel-to-wheel with seasoned veteran John Markovic, only to fall short after his car lost power late in that event. Markovic went on to win the race.
He got a second chance to prove that run was no fluke. Starting from the pole Strohl jumped out front over Kris Graver and held the point with precise accuracy over each lap turned. Despite Graver giving him some stiff competition, Strohl never flinched.
In third was Nevin George, however, under a lap 17 caution he gave up the spot after having to pit. Beers was the benefactor and when the action resumed he began a great duel with Graver. As they ran two-wide Strohl was able to extent his lead.
For a dozen laps Graver and Beers battled and it wasn’t until six to go that the champ broke free to lay claim to the spot. With time of the essence he then charged towards Strohl but the fast-rising star wasn’t about to let Beers or anyone else steal away his thunder.
“This really is so amazing. I have to thank Eric Beers for helping us these past few weeks getting started,” said Strohl, who was making just his third start in a Modified.
“I knew he was coming too but I’m just trying my best to run my line and hope no one passes me. This feels great and it’s a dream come true.”
Graver settled for third with Markovic and Roger Coss completing the top five.
Frankie Althouse won the Late Model feature that was nothing short of exhilarating as he and Paul Koehler, Jr., swapped the lead three times in the last five laps.
Althouse first took to the front after a lap six restart. Attached to his rear bumper was Koehler who made the fight for the lead as tough as could be. By lap 19 the pair was in a side-by-side formation. At the 22nd tour Koehler got his nose ahead for the lead.
While under a blanket, that also included Paul Effrig, Althouse got the lead back on the next go-around and held on for the exciting win.
Gene Bowers pulled a late race pass on Matt Wentz with four laps to go and scored his first Street Stock win of the season.
Bowers came on strong over the late stages of the race. Gaining second on lap 20, he turned up the pressure on Wentz over the final 10 circuits until getting the chance to squeeze underneath for the lead with three to go.
He was solid the remaining laps and held off TJ Gursky and defending champ Chip Wanamaker en route to the win.
Jacky Ely rocketed to his career first Dirt Mod win. Starting from the pole he was fast from the get-go and never bothered to wait around with the rest of the pack. His car was so strong that by mid-race he had nearly two full corners of a lead on second running Ray Deemer. Point leader Kevin Graver, Jr., got to second with five laps to go but by then Ely was racing by himself.
Just as it seemed Ely was putting the race away, the caution flew for a hard crash in turn four that took out Deemer and defending champion Jeff Parker.
For the restart Ely stayed focused and never gave Graver an opportunity to make a pass. Career Dirt Mod win number one was firmly in the books.
In the Pro 4 main Dave Chapman won by giving Tyler Stangle a great run for his money. Stangle had led from the drop of the green but was under heavy weight the whole time by Chapman. With two laps to go the door opened and in went Chapman for the pass and the win.
Corey Edelman sped away to his second straight Hobby Stock win. Coming from fifth he was running behind early leader Cody Geist by the end of the first lap. Three laps later he went to the outside of Geist for the lead and never looked back.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Kyle Strohl, 2. Eric Beers, 3. Kris Graver, 4. John Markovic, 5. Roger Coss, 6. Terry Markovic, 7. Chip Santee, 8. Bobby Jones, 9. Nevin George, 10. Brian Romig, 11. Jarred Nace, 12. Earl Paules, DNS: Don Wagner
Late Model (25 Laps): 1. Frankie Althouse, 2. Paul Koehler, Jr., 3. Paul Effrig, 4. Earl Paules, 5. Kenny Hein, 6. Mike Sweeney, 7. Danielle Paules, 8. Jeremy Miller, 9. Jacob Nemeth, 10. Dave Imler, 11. Jacob Kerstetter, 12. George Ramos
Street Stock Feature Finish (30 Laps): 1. Gene Bowers, 2. TJ Gursky, 3. Chip Wanamaker, 4, Matt Wentz, 5. Jonathan Tracey, 6. Justin Mooney, 7. Jamie Smith, 8. Randy Ahner, Jr., 9. Todd Ahner, 10. Jason Kuhn, 11. Lonnie Behler, Sr., 12. Jillian Long, 13. Josh Mooney, 14. Cody Roth, 15. Stacey Brown, 16. Aaron Kromer, 17. Zach Graver, 18. Willie Knappenberger, 19. Jared Ahner, 20. Lonnie Behler, Jr., 21. Dan Freundt, 22. Tiff Wambold
Dirt Modified Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Jack Ely, 2. Kevin Graver, Jr., 3. Ricky Yetter, 4. Mike Stofflet, 5. Aleia Geisler, 6. Billy Lowden, Jr., 7. Ray Deemer, 8. Jeff Parker, 9. Billy Lasko, 10. JP Curry
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Dave Chapman, 2. Nick Baer, 3. Tyler Stangle, 4. Jesse Snyder, 5. Jake Kibler, 6. Chad Miller, 7. Kailyn Beers, 8. Cody Kohler, 9. Bobby Kibler, Jr., DNS: Jason Muffley
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (15 Laps): 1. Corey Edelman, 2. Cody Geist, 3. Steve McDonough, 4. Rich Mutarelli, 5. Scott Roth, 6. Shawn Hoffman, 7. Tim Oswald, 8. Todd Geist, 9. Alton Snyder, Jr., 10. Gunner Yost