(LEHIGHTON, PA 6-15-13) To get an idea of who
will be championship contenders for this yearís Mahoning
Valley Speedway Modified division you didnít need to look past
the first five finishers in Saturday nightís feature. Chip
Santee, Eric Beers, Earl Paules, Nevin George and Roger Coss
all ran in a tight battle with Santee emerging the winner in a
battle amongst the top five in points.
For Santee, of Walnutport, he turned around weeks
of frustration including earlier in the night when he had
clutch issues during his heat. It marked the first time in
three seasons he came out on top of a Modified feature.
He started fifth and within four laps began to
wage a good battle with Don Wagner. Then after a restart on
lap 10 he shot past for the lead. Wagner stayed on him until
lap 18. Thereafter Santee was joined by the other top five
point men and they would all run in close formation to the
end. "The last couple weeks my car was struggling and my crew
busted their tails off this past week. Early today we came up
for practice and blew a tire and then we had trouble with the
clutch slipping during our heat (race). We even thought about
scratching to the rear for the feature but decided to just go
out and run as best we can," explained Santee. "It is an
awesome feeling to finally get back to winning. I love this
Terry Markovic led the first two laps before
being upstaged by Wagner on a lap three restart. Santee was
then all over Wagner and thus began their dogfight. Wagner was
having one of his better nights of the season and seemed to
have Santee under cover despite the nonstop efforts. And while
the front two fought for the lead, close at hand were Paules,
Kevin Rex and point leader George. On the tenth of 35 laps the
third and final caution was out. When the green reappeared
Santee was able to ride the high line around Wagner and assume
the lead. The rest of the race was run caution free.
Paules worked hard in getting by Wagner which
took until lap 19 and one circuit later saw Beers, George and
Coss enter into the picture. Paules and Beers then went
wheel-to-wheel while glued to Santeeís rear bumper. With ten
laps to go second spot was secured by Beers and from there on
he would give Santee fits. He looked both high and low and
even tried to take advantage of lapped traffic but each time
Santee defended his position. "I saw twice someone stick their
nose in there and I couldnít tell who it was. Just ahead was
(lapped car) Lou Strohl and he was running strong enough that
I was afraid to go to the outside because my clutch was
slipping and I didnít want to take that chance. I had no
choice on the last few laps. I actually used him (Strohl) as
my shield so nobody would have a shot to get around me," noted
"Iím glad it was Eric (Beers) who was behind me.
He ran a good clean race. He actually helped me out this week
and gave me some pointers. He told me to go back to the
basics. Heís a great friend. I want to thank him, my crew and
especially my dad, this was for him on Fatherís Day." Markovic
and Beers notched heat wins.
Lehightonís Kevin Graver, Jr., has won a lot of
races at Mahoning Valley and in several divisions. Now he can
also add a Late Model victory to his impressive list. Heís a
rookie this season with the class but showed his years of
experience as he led every lap and with relative ease. Graver
started second and out-dueled pole sitter George Ramos at the
outset. He then pulled far enough ahead that runner-up Earl
Paules could not mount much of a challenge. The race was
reeled off without any cautions.
For Graver it marked his 38th overall career
win which tied for fourth on the trackís all-time win list.
Heats wins went to Graver and Frankie Althouse.
Jason Beers of Northampton picked up his first
win of the season with the Street Stocks. He started sixth and
had bide his time in getting to the front as BJ Wambold and
Aaron Kromer were holding down spots one and two in a torrid
battle during the first dozen laps.
Thanks to a caution on lap 11 Beers was able to
advance to third place and on the restart muscle his way to
the front. Five laps later he was in the midst of a great
contest with Jillian Long who at one point raced past him for
the lead but unfortunately for her was called back thanks to a
caution. Beers made certain that would not happen again as he
remained strong the rest of the way. Lonnie Behler got a
season best second with Gene Bowers third. Wambold, Beers and
Kromer collected heat wins while Justin Mooney annexed the
In the Dirt Mods it was Ricky Yetter of Easton
finally busting through for his first win of the season.
Yetter has been fast and regularly amongst the front runners
all year but could never close the deal when it counted most.
On this night the popular wheelman of the Brown Daub KIA No. 5
had everything go his way as he drove 20 perfect laps as the
race leader in a caution free time of 3:47.589. Point leader
Jeff Parker was second and Dave Thomas third. Heat winners
were JP Curry and Parker.
Kyle Strohl of Palmerton took the lead after a
lap four restart from Danielle Paules and then held off Jake
Kibler for his third Pro4 win of the season. Strohl also won
his heat as did Dave Chapman.