(LEHIGHTON, PA 9-27-14) When Roger Heffelfinger Jr., won the Bob
"Heavy" Scherer Memorial race Saturday night at Mahoning Valley
Speedway, there was so much meaning that went with it.
First of all
it had been over 27 years since Heffelfinger won a feature at
Mahoning Valley. If that wasn’t emotional enough there was the fact
of winning the 50 lap event named in honor of Scherer.
He was a
former racer who drove for the late Dale Beers Sr., his
father-in-law. At the start of the 1990s Scherer turned his
attention to wrenching for his brother-in-law, Eric Beers, which led
to countless wins and track championships. In May of this year
Scherer passed away after a brief bout with cancer.
There is also
the close family connection between the Beers’ and Heffelfinger’s.
Roger Heffelfinger Sr., had at one time drove for the elder Beers
and even won a memorial race at Dorney Park Speedway in his car,
which was the Dale Beers Jr. Memorial. Now some four decades later
and Heffelfinger Jr., was gracing Victory Lane in a race that was
again affiliated with the Beers clan.
"First of all
I’m glad the Beers and Scherer family got together along with Floyd
Santee and Dave and Laura DeLange to run this race. You never heard
a bad word about Heavy Scherer. Everyone liked him, they respected
him and he was a true class act," said Heffelfinger," who won $2000
in the process.
At the outset
it was Joe Mooney, driving Geary Rhinehimer’s No. 39m, who led the
opening circuits. He was closely followed by Lou Strohl. Strohl was
actually running alongside Mooney and that would set the tone for
some intense action. After a lap six restart Strohl moved into the
lead but just slightly. Keeping pace from the inside groove Mooney
was able to grab back the top spot within two laps. Close at hand
was Chip Santee while several other top contenders where prowling
about near the leaders. Don Wagner, Nevin George, Eric Beers and
Kyle Strohl started to come into play. As Mooney continued to fend
off L. Strohl, Santee was showing his strength as well as he went
even for second spot. Santee’s fight came to a halt when he spun
while trying to maintain third over George.
On the ensuing
restart Mooney still held his ground but for L. Strohl he had a
handful to deal with. George, K. Strohl, Beers and Heffelfinger all
ran under a blanket with him. Running in such tight quarters,
Heffelfinger’s defining moment would come on lap 32. George and L.
Strohl touched in turn two sending both of them spinning. K Strohl
and Beers would also be collected in the melee sending all four to
the tail of the field.
managed to squeeze by and when the action got back underway he was
lined up next to Mooney. "Actually what I saw was Kyle Strohl had
moved up. When he did Nevin (George) and Lou (Strohl) got sucked in
and they tangled," said Heffelfinger. "When he (K. Strohl) moved up
I went to go underneath him. Had he not moved up I probably would
have been a half a lane higher and I would have been involved in the
For the next
several laps Heffelfinger gave Mooney everything he had. With his
car working perfectly from the outside he finally made the race
winning pass with 10 laps remaining. "I give Joe Mooney a lot of
credit. We ran side-by-side for so many laps. He gave me a lane to
race and he didn’t get into me or rub me. He showed that he’s a
racer to me," said Heffelfinger.
the end of his drive, however. In the final four laps Mooney began
to back pedal and coming on strong were Bobby Jones and Zane Zeiner.
Being away from victory for so long, Heffelfinger wasn’t about to
give in as he drove his Performance Driveline No. 31 across the
stripe ahead of all others in what was one of the most gratifying
wins to ever take place at the paved quarter mile oval.
"You can say
this was the monkey off our back but to tell the truth 10 gorillas
doesn’t equal what’s been on my back. It was a long time coming to
say the least," said Heffelfinger, who last won a race in 1997 at
Evergreen Raceway. "Honestly this meant a lot to me. This is the
biggest race I ever won just because of what it stood for. I won my
share at Evergreen but this was the ONE in my book."
In the Late
Models, Paul Koehler Jr., emerged as the winner for a third time
this season. Taking the lead from the outset, Koehler was
unchallenged from there on and cruised to an unprecedented 40th
career division win. It also marked the 60th time the
many time champion has scored a victory. Taking second at the line
was Mike Sweeney over Frankie Althouse. Heading into next Saturday’s
season point finale, Earl Paules, who was fourth, holds a six point
edge over Althouse.
Jack Ely was
back in the Winner’s Circle for a fifth this season with the Dirt
Mods. Ely put on a crowd pleasing duel with early leader Ray Deemer
but once he got the lead after a lap 14 restart it was no contest as
he pulled away to a dominating win over newly crowned champion Kevin
In the Street
Stock feature Steven Steigerwalt notched his second win of the year.
Steigerwalt is credited with leading every lap but as for the race
it was very close on each passing lap. Within inches of Steigerwalt
was a host of competitors breathing all over his rear bumper.
Despite the proximity, Steigerwalt held on over Troy Bollinger and
took the lead from JD Light on lap 12 and from there he was no match
for the rest of the pack, scoring his sixth Pro 4 win of the season.
Even though he won it wasn’t enough to keep pace in the points with
Nick Baer who’s fourth place tally earned him the division title.
Mutarelli crossed the finish line in the Hobby Stock main, has raced
his way into the Mahoning Valley record books, becoming the first
driver to win six consecutive victories. Mutarelli did not take the
lead until the final two laps, passing Cody Geist for his entry into
Snyder closed out the evening with a victory in the Small Car Enduro.
Snyder led all but two laps.