TO OUR 2014 TRACK CHAMPIONS
OCTOBERFAST SATURDAY WINNERS
"Money Man Matt" Wins
Mahoning Octoberfast 130
Matt Hirschman collects
$5000 in season ending race
By DINO OBERTO
(LEHIGHTON, PA 10-25-14) It comes as no
surprise that whenever there is an extra distance high paying race
at Mahoning Valley Speedway, you can expect Matt Hirschman to be
vying for the win.
And, when the checkered flag waved on the
Gary Leeís Brown-Daub KIA Octoberfast Modified 130, sure enough
there was Hirschman gracing Victory Lane, something that the
Northampton driving star has turned into an art form at the paved
ľ-mile Lehighton oval.
Fresh off a 100 lap win three weeks
earlier, Hirschman drove his J & J Motorsports No. 59 to a rousing
$5000 triumph, giving him $9000 in that same span. He has become the
career wins leader in 100-plus features at the track with 11 total.
In July he won a 100 lapper and another $4000. Hirschman, who
started ninth, drove by defending Octoberfast winner Zane Zeiner
with 17 laps to go and after several side-by-side laps, went to the
front uncontested over the final 10 circuits and then onward to
score his second win in the season ending racing.
"What a way to finish the season here. I
wasnít here much this year but we sure made it count the last three
or four times. It was a great run and a great way to finish the
season," said 31-year old Hirschman, who won the inaugural
Octoberfast 130 in 2012. "I donít know if I had the best strategy or
even the best car today but it worked out that we won."
For the first 99 laps Eric Beers was far
and away the car to beat. From the drop of Bobby Stullís race
commencing green he quickly put everyone in his dust as the Dave and
Laura DeLange owned No. 45 had loads of power and Beers wasnít shy
in showing it. There were several who tried to make a challenge such
as John Bennett, Nevin George and Earl Paules but none could come
close enough to attempt a pass.
Then after a restart on lap 44, Austin
Kochenash showed his face after putting on a fine run through the
pack. He was in second and stuck right with Beers in a stretch of 46
nonstop laps. Although they ran very close, the leader still
demonstrated he wasnít ready to relinquish his stop spot. On lap 90
the action slowed when Kyle Strohl spun in turn two. That yellow
would also trigger the start of several more over slowdown periods
over the next nine laps that produced drastic changes to the running
On the restart Kochenashís hopes of winning
where dashed when he got tagged by then third place running Todd
Baer and spun. Anthony Sesely had come from 17th and took
over second after the demise of Kochenash. Hot on his tail was
Zeiner and Hirschman.
A few more yellows would wave for minor
incidents but then came the game changer on lap 99. Shawna Ingraham
had come to a halt on the back straight. As the leaders where coming
full steam off turn two the caution was then displayed. With
Ingraham sitting idle on the inside lane, Beers had to quickly move
up in order to avoid hitting her. In second at that point was Zeiner
with Hirschman third.
For Zeiner there was little time to react
and he made contact with Beers who then spun. Hirschman got caught
in as well. Unfortunately for Beers he had to relinquish the lead
due to a flat tire. When the action resumed Zeiner was the new pace
setter with Hirschman second. They would then go into a torrid
dogfight for a number of laps in side-by-side formation. With laps
running out Hirschman knew the time to make his move was at hand and
after the race winning pass on lap 114, there would be no looking
back. "We survived a close call on the back straight with that
stack-up. My front bumper is all smashed in and that could have
easily been a radiator and we would have been done. I was fortunate
that it all worked out," said Hirschman.
"I had to be patient and slowly work our
way to the front. I got to about fifth and there was still about 40
laps to go and thatís plenty of time here. We had swapped it back
and forth before that and it was good racing against Zane (Zeiner)."
Beers drove back to a solid third with Sesely and Don Wagner
completing out the top five. Baer, Strohl, Dave Sapienza, Kochenash
and George rounded out the top 10. "I slipped up and Matt
(Hirschman) got a run underneath us," said Zeiner.
Reflecting on the back straight incident
that took out Beers he added, "I really do feel bad for Eric
(Beers). That wasnít supposed to happen. You have a spit-second
decision to make and I made a decision and it probably was the wrong
decision at the time and hey, I have to live with it." For the third
time in the Octoberfast race Beers had to settle for third. He led
last year but was passed by Zeiner with a dozen laps to go. "We had
the car to beat tonight," bottom lined Beers. "I gave him (Zeiner)
enough room to see that lapped car and he drove into my left rear
and thatís basically what happened. I think I had the field covered
tonight but it was just one of those unfortunate things."
Heat wins went to Chip Santee, Beers,
Ingraham and Paules. Sesely annexed the consi.
Modified Feature Finish (130
Laps): 1. Matt
Hirschman, 2. Zane Zeiner, 3. Eric Beers, 4. Anthony Sesely, 5. Don
Wagner 6. Todd Baer, 7. Kyle Strohl, 8. Dave Sapienza, 9. Austin
Kochenash, 10. Nevin George, 11. John Markovic, 12. Bobby Jones, 13.
Jimmy Zacharias, 14. John Bennett, 15. Roger Coss, 16. Shawna
Ingraham, 17. Rusty Smith, 18. Earl Paules, 19. Andrew Krause, 20.
Terry Markovic, 21. Brandon Oltra, 21. Chip Santee, 22. TJ Zacharias
DNQ: Wilton Nickerson, Barry Callavini, Pat Verwys, Brent Wentz,
Zane Zeiner, Dave Chapman
and Harry OíNeill
By DINO OBERTO
(LEHIGHTON, PA 10-25-14) Zane Zeiner of
Bath, made a shambles of the Late Model field and won in a very
dominating fashion in Mahoning Valley Speedwayís season ending
Driving Darryl Teresakís No. 76 car,
Zeiner proved no match despite being paired against a very stout
field. Fifth starting Zeiner went by Mike Sweeney on lap 26 of 60
and from then on proceeded to put on a driving clinic as he motored
ahead of the pack with ease and precision on each passing lap.
Had it not been for a caution with a two
laps to go, there would have been no one even close to catching him.
Zeiner was so strong that he lapped all but second through fourth
and was actually closing in on them prior to the final yellow.
"We had come here two weeks earlier and
practiced and struggled. My hatís off to Barry Kahnel (crew chief),
that guy is amazing in what he taught me. We made a big swing here
tonight and it definitely helped that we drove the Modified race
earlier in the night because we were able to make changes to this
car and I think thatís what helped us get to Victory Lane," said
Zeiner who earned $1500 for his efforts. Beforehand Zeiner drove in
the Modified portion of Octoberfast and finished second.
Sweeney raced into the early lead with
2014 track champion Earl Paules in tow. That would be the start of a
very exciting and torrid battle as they ran two abreast lap after
lap which included trading the lead as well. However, by lap 11
Paules began to slip back and Zeiner had taken over second. It was
just a matter of time before he would make his move to the front and
when he did it was game over for the rest of the field. While Zeiner
was running away with the show Sweeney and Frankie Althouse where
locked in a blazing fight to the finish. At the checkers Sweeney got
the nod. Paules held on for fourth with George Ramos fifth.
Late Model Feature Finish
(60 Laps): 1. Zane Zeiner,
2. Mike Sweeney, 3. Frankie Althouse, 4. Earl Paules, 5. George
Ramos, 6. Jeremy Miller, 7. Geno Steigerwalt, 8. Danielle Paules, 9.
Jerry DiNeen, 10. Paul Koehler Jr., 11. Jacob Kerstetter, 12. Kenny
Hein, 13. Paul Frantz, 14. John Parker, 15. Mark Tyson, 16. Jacob
Nemeth, 17. Paul Effrig, 18. Travis Fisher
If youíre going to win your first race
why not make it a big one? Thatís exactly what Dave Chapman of
Nesquehoning did as he scored the $2000 top prize in the Harryís
U-Pull It Street Stock 75 lap event. Chapman, who is a regular in
Mahoning Valleyís Pro 4 division, began running a Street Stock
midway through the season and immediately showed the potential to
After a redraw to determine the starting
grid Chapman lined up inside row three. When the race commenced Matt
Wentz, who had the pole, led the early going. Chapman quickly
settled into third behind Josh Mooney. With the inside lane the
preferred line, Chapman was able to sneak by Mooney on lap 11 and
three tours later he did the same to Wentz. From there on he would
hit his marks perfectly and drove to the memorable win.
"This feels awesome," said an overjoyed
Chapman. "I canít thank all my crew enough who help me with the car
week after week. We finally got it. "I knew if I just held the
bottom and didnít give anyone an opportunity to get underneath me
and knock me out of the way I was going to make it happen."
Mooney rode the rear bumper of Chapman
during the final 25 laps and although he looked equally as fast,
just couldnít find the opening to make a pass. Steven Steigerwalt,
point champion TJ Gursky and Jillian Long rounded out the top five.
Street Stock Feature Finish
(75 Laps): 1. Dave
Chapman, 2. Josh Mooney, 3. Steven Steigerwalt, 4. TJ Gursky, 5.
Jillian Long, 6. Zach Graver, 7. Paul Morgan Jr., 8. Randy Ahner
Jr., 9. Todd Ahner, 10. Jason Kuhn, 11. Aaron Kromer, 12. Cody Geist,
13. Gene Bowers, 14. Jared Ahner, 15. Cory Edelman, 16. Steve
Hoffman, 17. Stacey Brown, 18. Matt Wentz, 19. Tommy Flanagan, 20.
Brian Labar, 21. Jamie Smith, 22. Jonathan Tracey DNQ: Justin
Mooney, Troy Bollinger, Gary Noe, Steve Shultz, Jerry Brighthaupt,
Rich Emel, Dennis Lilik
Harry OíNeill of Mountain Top hasnít
raced much at Mahoning Valley but when he does he sure makes it
count. OíNeill claimed the win in the 50 lap Hobby Stock feature and
pocketed a career high $500. It was his second win in only
OíNeill took the lead away from JP Curry
after a lap nine restart and never looked back. Good thing too as
there was a bevy of bumping and banging taking place behind him.
Cody Geist placed a solid second with Curry, Scott Adams and Rich
Emel completing the top five.
Hobby Stock Feature
Finish (40 Laps): 1. Harry
OíNeill, 2. Cody Geist, 3. JP Curry, 4. Scott Adams, 5. Rich Emel,
6. Colin Bollinger, 7. Max Emel, 8. Tim Oswald DNS: Daniel Hargan
OCTOBERFAST SUNDAY WINNERS
Ricky Yetter In Dirt Mods
and Kris Graver In SpeedSTRs
Bring Mahoning Valley
Speedway Season To A Close
By DINO OBERTO
(LEHIGHTON, PA 10-26-14) Winning the
Mahoning Valley Speedway Octoberfast Dirt Mod 60 sponsored by Tom
Ring was welled scripted for Eastonís Ricky Yetter.
In the weeks leading up to
the $3000 to win show Yetter regularly noted that he was fixated on
winning this race. After his early season hopes of a track title had
faded in the final month, he went to work on getting his car set up
for the long haul run and it showed, winning twice while reeling off
a strong of top-5s over the last five regular season races.
As race day finally arrived
Yetter was loaded for bear. He first notched a win in his heat then
after a redraw he picked the number two starting spot. When the race
got underway he wasted no time in dashing past Dave Gorbatuk for the
lead and would never surrender it the rest of the way. "Iím just so
happy and I worked my tail off to get to this race. I got the best
crew and I have to thank them all and my great sponsors. I just
wanted to complete the mission," said Yetter.
Yetter may have led every
lap but there was plenty of pressure being applied. Mark Martini had
a nice drive going in second spot over the first dozen laps. Point
champion Kevin Graver Jr., then got by Martini after a lap 15
restart and just short of halfway the 2013 Octoberfast winner Ricky
Ross Jr., became a factor.
With very few cautions
traffic was everywhere but Yetter was able to pick and choose his
spots with little trouble despite Graver and Ross weighing down on
him. Each time Graver tried to use a back-marker to set up a pass
and each time Yetter was quick to clear the hassle. "It was hectic.
When you pass someone on the outside it takes the momentum out of
you. I tried to run the bottom most of the time but with lapped cars
we had to make some wise moves," said Yetter. Ross took over second
after a lap 38 restart and he too would hound Yetter but once again
he was unaffected by the persistence of his challengers.
"I was a little worried
towards the end because this is a 32 gallon fuel cell and running on
alcohol Ė man it got tight at the end when the weight came off the
back of the wheels and I was wondering if I had enough in the right
rear to make it," said Yetter.
Ross scored second at the
finish with Graver Jr., Scott Adams and Kris Graver rounding out the
Dirt Modified Feature
Finish (60 Laps): 1. Ricky
Yetter, 2. Ricky Ross Jr., 3. Kevin Graver Jr., 4. Scott Adams, 5.
Kris Graver, 6. Aleia Geisler, 7. Dave Gorbatuk, 8. Heath Metzger,
9. Bill Briggs, 10. Paul Effrig, 11. Richie Pratt Jr., 12. Guy Harby,
13. Billy Lasko, 14. Bill Sittler Jr., 15. Mike Stofflet, 16. Mark
Martini, 17. Ray Deemer, 18. Drew Reinbold, 19. Jack Ely, 20. Steve
Folk, 21. Jesse Mueller 22. JP Curry
In the 40 lap USAC
SpeedSTR feature, a very diverse and impressive field of drivers
where on hand but when it was all said and done Kris Graver once
again emerged as the winner after a thrilling late race pass over
SpeedSTRs first raced at Mahoning Valley in June, Graver was offered
a ride and despite never even sitting in a car, went on to a huge
upset win. With the class back as part of the trackís season ending
show, Graver was again recommended to wheel a car and once again it
would be with some pretty heavy hitters in Northeast short track
Fresh off his huge win with the World of
Outlaws at Port Royal Speedway in less than 24 hours, Smith was at
Mahoning and drew the pole. As the race began so too did Smith who
set out on a fast pace. Graver, who started third, had a torrid
battle for a number of laps with Tim Buckwalter. After shaking free
of him by lap 18 Graver then set his sight on Smith.
After chasing Smith for a run of 10
laps, Graver then went to the high side and began an energizing
battle for the lead. In the final eight laps the pair but on a
terrific fight in side-by-side formation. With five to go Graver had
just eked out front but the lap was called back when Frank Yankoswki
lost a wheel. Good thing for Smith too because he had spun after the
fact while trying to regain the lead. On the single file reset Smith
charged out ahead but Graver was not ready to throw in the towel. It
all came down to the final two laps. Graver blasted to the high
groove and thrust past Smith as the white flag came out which sealed
his fortune. Two starts in a SpeedSTR and two wins.
"That was one heck of a race Ryan
(Smith) and I put on. It was absolutely phenomenal and that was the
most fun I had in a long time," said Graver after his $3000 win.
"These cars are a handful. Itís all about momentum and you just have
to bide your time." Kevin Graver Jr., Buckwalter and Mike
Bednar completed the top-5.
SpeedSTR Feature Finish (40
Laps): 1. Kris Graver, 2.
Ryan Smith, 3. Kevin Graver Jr., 4. Tim Buckwalter, 5. Mike Bednar,
6. Kyle Lick, 7. Billy Pauch Jr., 8. Frank Cozze, 9. Brandon Grosso,
10. Earl Paules, 11. Frank Yankowski, 12. Matt Janisch, 13. Jason
Miller, 14. Nick Baer, 15. Rick Kirkendall, 16. Kenny Brightbill,
17. Barry Christman Jr., 18. Ryan Karchun, 19. Wayne Weaver
In the All-Star Slingshot
main John Gilroy took the lead at the drop of the green and held
tight for all 25 laps. Closing in on him in the waning laps was
Dylan Hoch but with two to go he suddenly fell off the pace allowing
Gilroy to cruise to the win.
In an exciting two car duel from start to finish, Joel Smith pulled
off a last lap pass over Dylan Martin to win the Stage 1 Modified
10-year old Ryan Graver of Lehighton
went wire-to-wire in winning the Jr. Slingshot feature. It was his
first time racing at the track and with the win it continued a
family tradition of winning as a fourth generation of Mahoning
Alex Greenzweig not only led every lap
of the Micro Stock feature but he claimed the 2014 championship with
the Micro Stock Racing Series in the process.
In the Jr. Sportsman Champ Kart event
John Kendall fended off Brayden Spencer for the win.
Mahoning Dirt Mod regular JP Curry was
able to lead every lap en route to victory in the Sr. Champ Kart
John Kendall defeated Brayden Spencer in
the Jr. Sportsman event.
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