Austin Beers named to top 100 in 2020 Short Track Draft
For 17-year old Austin Beers, his stock keeps rising as an aspiring prospect in short track racing. The past three seasons have been very productive for the Northampton second generation driver, with successive championships coming in Hobby Stocks and Sportsman Modifieds between Mahoning Valley Speedway and Evergreen Raceway. Top that off with his career first Modified win in 2019 along with some very strong outings to boot and it made sense why he was chosen to the top 100 in the Speed51.com 2020 Short Track Draft. Beers was named to the ballot which was then completed by more than 50 short track insiders, including media members, team and driver development professionals, track and series promoters and officials, product and industry representatives, NASCAR National Series drivers, crew members, short track racing veterans and more. The voters could select as few as 10 and as many as 51 drivers on their ballot, ranked in order that they would choose the drivers to compete for their driver development team in the top levels of the sport. Speed51 used a scientific equation that factored in total number of votes, quality votes, first-place votes, top-five votes and top-10 votes in order to determine the top 100 picks in the 2020 Short Track Draft. Beers was among 300 prospective candidates from across the nation. They all must be 25-years of age or younger in order to be eligible. Beers was the second highest among asphalt Modified drivers on the list. Ronnie Williams Racing took that honor, placing 31st on the list. The top pick went to Sam Mayer Racing, the defending ARCA RACING SERIES East champion. “I think it’s just amazing. I’ve know about it for some time and when I won my Hobby Stock championship I was really hoping to make the list and now just a couple years later here I am on it,” said Beers. The son of northeast asphalt Modified standout Eric Beers, he has been racing and winning since an early age, starting with Quarter Midgets. He then began racing stock cars beginning with Jr. Enduro’s and progressed up to Hobby Stocks, Sportsman Modifieds and last year full Modifieds, successfully wining in each of those divisions. Last season he joined his dad and Jack Ely as teammates on the DeLange Racing Team to compete on the Sunoco Race of Champions Tour. Ely also was on the list of 300 but did not make the final cut of 100. “It’s really cool for him because just to get nominated and be on the ballot, that in itself is special when you’re talking about the whole country from one end to the other,” said dad Eric. “There’s so many good guys on their too from all types of oval racing then to make the top 100 is awesome and to be 63rd and the second highest (asphalt) Modified guy is unbelievable. I’d say he’s definitely impressing the right people.” Beers’ 2020 plans will again see him racing at selected high profile Modified events at Mahoning Valley and Evergreen and will assume the seat of his dad in the potent DeLange No. 45 on the RoC Tour.
Terry and John Markovic continue to build on rich history of eastern Pennsylvania asphalt racing
Terry Markovic and John Markovic are deep-rooted in those aforementioned tracks, their careers beginning in the late 1970’s and still going strong today. And although the Markovic name is synonymous with fans of pavement oval racing, what many may not realize is that these two stalwarts nearly started their careers in a different direction, on the drag stip. Their father, John Markovic, Jr., was a noted drag racer and of course always had his two sons tag along. The elder Markovic competed at tracks such as Windgap Pa, Hatfield, Pennsylvania and the The Great Allentown Fairgrounds where he won a class title. But, through their family run business, Broadway Speed Shop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the boys got affiliated with many of the area’s circle track racers with much attention concentrated at Dorney Park which eventually led them in that direction. They would be begin racing in Late Models and quickly attained an abundance of success before progressing into Modifieds with much of the same achievements. In short they were naturals behind the wheel.
Their skill in Late Models was perhaps some of the most revered. They were so good that during a stretch from 1977 to 1990 they won a combined 61 features and John captured an unprecedented five consecutive championships between Dorney and Mahoning Valley from 1986-90. Terry would be the first to try his hand at competing which was 1976 and by his second season he won the track championship. His first win would come on May 7 of his sophomore year, beating then kingpin Bob Hunsinger for the verdict. “It was good, very good. I was against Bob Hunsinger and he ran on the outside of me for about 12-15 laps and I was sweating buckets. But I just raced my own race and tried not to worry about him. Having the inside lane was the ticket and I won,” recollected Terry. And not only did he prove a worthy driver but he soon found out that he had a flair for the inner workings, winning with a car built of his own design. “My first car was built much like everyone else’s at Dorney and I wasn’t happy and I thought that I should educate myself and over the winter I learned all I could on all kinds of theories with physics and geometries of the car and I changed the whole thing around and it worked so much better. I had a very competitive car under me after that. It felt really good.” After scoring that 1977 crown, Terry decided to sit out the following year but soon found out that watching from the sidelines was not in the cards. “I actually was taking off ‘78 because I felt I had accomplished what I wanted to but I was getting antsy and built a new car and ran the latter half of that season.”
John started wheeling around the 1/5-mile Dorney Park in 1979. Like Terry he won in his second season and within two years was class champion. “It was like anything you want to do so badly, I wanted to go and it was full throttle ahead,” said John. Interestingly both missed their respective high school graduations to be at the track and on each of those nights they raced to runner-up finishes. “It was fantastic because back in the day there was so much family, so much comradery with all the drivers. It was a picnic every Saturday,” offered John. It was also at the Park where they got their first stint of Modified action. Terry had the chance to take practice laps with Ken Erney’s cars while John raced and picked up a win as a rookie during the 1986 season, that coming in just his third start over icon Freddy Hamm. “Our goal was to get into the Modifieds between Mahoning and Evergreen,” said Terry.
By the time Dorney closed in 1986 the Markovic’s where in full stride as Late Model stars. They both had ventured from time to time at Evergreen, with Terry winning their too. With the Park closing Terry actually turned his attention to dirt racing at Nazareth, Pennsylvania Raceway until Ward Crozier Sr., announced the re-opening of Mahoning Valley for the start of the 1987 season. He switched gears and stayed true to the pavement and a good choice it was as he and John stormed to win after win over the next four years. “I really liked the Late Models back at Dorney in the ‘80s and then when Mahoning opened up we really had some good success both Johnny and I,” noted Terry. “It wasn’t difficult adapting there at all to be honest. It was much faster for sure. Actually Mahoning is so unique because you don’t need a lot of motor, it’s so much of a momentum track.”
John pulled off an amazing run as every year he ran the Late Model at Mahoning, 1987-90, he would finish number one in points. “It was sweet going to a bigger facility and it was another challenge,” said John. “Yes I focused on points because that’s what is going to be recognized, the stat that everyone looks at. If you win a championship then it’s something you accomplished.” Part of that Mahoning success can be attributed to them showing up with the first front steer Late Model cars.
“Terry had the front end geometry figured out pretty good. Back then no one really thought about how that worked when you’d go into the corners,” explained John. “Terry cared enough to spend time with it and he took the time to get in contact with Geoff Bodine because he had bought a car from him. So you’re sharing intelligence with a guy like that and getting ideas and what to look for. He taught us a lot.” From the 1990’s on they were all about Modifieds. Mahoning Valley, Evergreen as well as Flemington and selected touring events. And the victories kept on coming too, each winning the first season they ran that class. In 1994 John would register a Mahoning Modified title and a Race of Champions Tour crown would come a few years later. In 2019, 39 years after his first win, he scored two more victories and was fifth in points at Mahoning. “When does anyone move up when they think they’ve out grown something? The success we had in the Late Models was great but it was time to move up the ladder,” said John.
Both drivers have also helped many newcomers along the way but there is on in particular who got his start thanks to John and now has become one of the most prolific drivers of our time. Matt Hirschman first drove a Modified thanks to John, getting his start at Evergreen in the early 2000’s. The rest as they say is history. “The whole thing is I’m friends with the Hirschman’s and I look up to them. I always admired the way Tony (Hirschman) raced. It was fair, it was clean and Tony raced to win and that’s the way I like to do it,” said John. “Matt is just the best and I feel he could have held his own against the Evans’, JerryCook’s and Spencer’s of their time. Matt is the man and got it going on.” In 2014 the brothers were inducted into the Dorney Park Speedway Hall of Fame, each very humbled by the honor. “It’s absolutely fantastic to be recognized as being special and all your hard work paid off. That’s the reward you deserve after giving everything you got. On Saturday some people are in the pool but you’re at the races, there’s so much dedication involved,” said John. Added Terry, “That was like winning a championship to me. I was an ultimate goal from Dorney.” With the upcoming season waiting in the wings, fans will still see Terry and John Markovic pulling into the pits albeit on scaled back schedule. “I do it for fun now. When I first started I was a lot more serious with getting sponsors and all that. Now it’s about fun. I like working on the cars, I like the atmosphere at the race track and I just go out and enjoy,” said Terry.
“One of the things I really makes my day as being an older driver is the respect I get from most of the others. When I walk through the pits people will always stop and say hi from Hobby Stocks and all the way up to the Modifieds. It’s nice to be acknowledged as a fair and clean driver and I try to do the best I can all the time.”John plans on dividing his time between Mahoning Valley and Evergreen for 2020. “This year I’m going to only run the Mahoning special events including the Hall of Fame Series they put together. The guys that it’s a tribute to have given their life for the sport. They did for the fans and they did it for themselves and I think it’s a fantastic deal.” deduced John. “I just can’t walk away cold turkey, I want to stay involved some way. This is something I’ve done my whole life and racing is something that is part of us. It’s an addiction and you just can’t walk away. While many drivers have come and gone with lasting memories from all, the Markovic’s remain a true constant to the rich history of the eastern Pennsylvania pavement racing. Even after their driving days have ceased they plan to still be there as part of the crowd. Said John, “I love the sport and I love where it’s going and I’ll be a patron as long as I’m on this earth.”
Mahoning Valley Speedway season remains on hold until further notice due to COVID-19
Due to the ongoing COVID-19, all racing at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway will remain on hold until further notice. The speedway had anticipated to restart operations, which have been suspended since March 21, with the resumption of Test and Tune on May 2-3.
However, the track will now wait until after the state mandated regulations after lifted. The latest pause comes after governor Tom Wolf presented his detailed plan for reopening the commonwealth with a targeted May 8 start.
The administration will categorize reopening into three phases: red, yellow, green. Phases will be assigned based on conditions in a county, counties or region. Mahoning Valley Speedway is located in Carbon County. The administration will first study conditions in the north-central and northwest regions with a target of moving from red to yellow on May 8. Additional monitoring will take place and direction will be provided in the next week.
Mahoning Valley Speedway will remain compliant to those state set plans in hopes that racing can get under way in a timely and safe manner.
Eric Beers to race exclusively at Mahoning Valley Speedway as part of a three car team with Austin Beers and Jack Ely
(April 11). Relying on the current constraints to be retracted from the COVID-19 virus, the first official race of 2020 at Mahoning Valley Speedway is now slated for Saturday, May 9. The last time racing was on that date, which was in May 2015, Eric Beers scored a big 100-lap victory. Known to his legion of fans as “The Master of Faster,” Beers is hoping history will repeat itself when he makes his return to action at the paved ¼-mile oval on that same night. It will mark his first race back at Mahoning in over two years and he’ll be behind the familiar Dave and Laura DeLange No. 45 Joining him will be teammates Austin Beers, his 17-year old son who will run the No. 19 and 22-year Jack Ely, who is also returning after a two year hiatus with the No. 54.
“I’m definitely excited about coming back to Mahoning Valley, it’s been almost three years. Mahoning is home to me and it’s where I really came into my own in racing. I went from a wide-eyed rookie to a better racer. I really paid my dues there,” said Eric. For the past three seasons Eric and Jack competed on the Race of Champions (RoC) Tour while Austin ran Mahoning, Evergreen Raceway and select RoC shows. Eric recently announced that he will be stepping away from the Tour and instead focus on the special five race Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series. “If you want to see Eric Beers race this year, it will only be at Mahoning Valley Speedway,” he affirmed. “That’s going to be an awesome series. I’ve always liked it years ago when Doug (Hoffman) came up with the Poker Series and then Floyd (Santee) did the Gamblers Series and now with Keith (Hoffman) coming in with this Hall of Fame Series, I feel you’re going to see great car counts and lots of fans coming out for it.”
Eric has raced at Mahoning Valley since 1990 and although it hasn’t been yearly, he has amassed a record setting 55 wins among Modified drivers. He also owns three class championships (1992, 2013, 2016). On August 26, 2017 he collected his 100th overall career win. He’s also eager to come back to Mahoning as for the first time he’ll race against Austin in what he refers to as a more level playing field which will be contrasting from the RoC Tour. “This is really the first time we’re going to race head-to-head in equal equipment. When we raced on the RoC (Tour) my car was a lot better then what he had so it was never really a fair fight,” explained Eric. “It’s going to be interesting to see because we’ll both be in similar prepared cars and either of us can win with those cars and I think it will make for a really fun evening.” So then the question arises what happens if they are both heading for the checkers on the last lap? “The only thing that will change is that all bets are off once the race gets underway, he’s just another racer out there,” bottom-lined Eric. “If anyone knows how my son is – he’s not very cocky but inside the shop he likes to have bragging rights and that’s not just in racing. So if I can take that away from him especially if it comes to the last lap, the last foot before the start/finish line, I’m taking it.”
Austin, who has won Mahoning class titles in the Hobby Stocks and Sportsman Modifieds, shares a similar outlook. “To race as clean as we can or I should say I’m going to race him as clean as I can. I don’t know what he’s going to do,” offered Austin. “It’s going to be fun for sure. I know one thing, it’s going to be nerve wracking for my mom.” Much like his father, Austin has been finding success right from the get-go. Last year he began to make inroads with a Modified and even scored a win at Evergreen Raceway against a very talented group of veterans. Of course to his benefit he has his dad offering solid advice, especially when it comes to Mahoning Valley. “His advice is huge. I knew the racing line from watching all those years but then him telling me how to pass people the right way and where to get a good run and the how to set the car up right,” said Austin. “Although I feel that I’m still learning and progressing with the Modified, I’m leaning less than I have because I’m more comfortable in the car.”
Jack has always complimented the DeLange Team nicely ever since becoming a teammate to Eric in in 2016. He, like Austin, heeded the guidance of Eric and has since refined his skills into a very talented Modified chauffeur. “I’m excited about it for sure and looking forward to coming back to Mahoning for the Hall of Fame Series and a couple more in between,” said Jack, who is in his senior year at Brookdale Community College in Middletown, NJ majoring in Mechanical Engineering. “When we left Mahoning in 2017 we were running top-3, top-5 almost every week so I hope to come out on Opening Night and go for a win. We have some good notes built up from when we raced there so I am looking to come in and run good right off the bat and hope that we can win a couple shows.” The Beers/Ely trio will add great stability to an already solid Modified class ready to do battle in 2020. They will be looking to improve on their combined 74 feature wins there although given the talent pool they will be up against the job will not come easy. Nonetheless this team with its roots deeply planted at Mahoning Valley will no doubt be a force to reckon with. “Eric, Austin and I are all going to go out there and try to win. Of course we’ll all help each other. Eric is a great driver and really doesn’t need any help. But I rely on and respect his input,” added Jack. “We’re going to race clean, we’re going to win and we’re going to race each other harder than anyone else on the race track just because we want to beat each other.”
Todd Baer and Aqua Duck Water Transport gives back to racing and more
(April 7) Northeast racers should certainly recognize Aqua Duck Water Transport through a variety of regional motorsport activities be it the annual Ms. Motorsports Contest, sponsoring the popular Indoor Auto Racing Series or at the paved tracks Mahoning Valley Speedway and Evergreen Raceway as the primary sponsor for Nick and Todd Baer’s No. 41 Modified cars. The company, operated out of the Lehigh Valley by Todd Baer, does anything centered around potable water transportation from filling swimming pools, supplying pipe lines for water pressure testing to fire suppressant systems which are found in large factories and warehouses.“Pretty much anything you can put water in or need water for we can haul it,” said Baer. Now the company is taking a proactive role in coming to the aid with the CORVID-19 virus too, donating services in this time of need. Recently Baer received a call from Sand Castle Winery in Ottsville and inquired about moving 7000 gallons of product. The reason was to bring it to a distillery located in Discover Lansdale where it would be then made into much needed hand sanitizer. At the distillery they extract 60% of the alcohol and then combine it with aloe to produce the sanitizer. “It was amazing. The wine cellar was three stories down in the ground and it holds about 20-25,000 gallons of wine,” explained Baer. “I then hauled the wine from Ottsville over to Lansdale to make hand sanitizer. It was pretty good deal and we donated the trailer and my time. It was one of those things where you give back to the community that you work in.” Baer wasn’t done there either. One of his employees told him about his sister who is a nurse at St. Luke's University Health Network in Coaldale and her husband who is PA State Police trooper and how they were running low on hand sanitizer due to the outbreak. Without hesitation Baer sent a truck filled with the supply to not only St. Luke’s but had them share it with the Pennsylvania State Police barracks in West Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Baer simply noted that’s it’s all about supporting. As a racer he enjoys being able to return the favor to the sport that has been good to him throughout the years. As a race sponsor it is typical to look for a yield on your investment. Baer is no different yet he also understands that his return may not create the same windfall as others. He again reverts to the flipside. “I can’t really say that we’ve picked up 25% business since we started sponsoring although I would like to hope it is but at the end of the day it’s something that I have the ability to give back to and I like to do that,” said Baer. “I raced a lot of years and was fortunate enough to win a couple races here and there and I think everyone should give back when they can instead of taking it all.” Baer divulged that of all his services through Aqua Duck Water Transport, working with the Ms. Motorsport contest has been amongst the most worthwhile. “I was kind of egged on believe it or not to do the pageant. Brian Whitman was working for me during one winter and we had been talking how the gentleman who was doing the Ms. Motorsports prior to that was done and he said, ‘Hey Todd you have to do this,’ “You got this company that’s coming up off the ground and there’s never been an asphalt Modified on the stage of Ms. Motorsports so you have to do this.” Through Baer’s indoor racing connection with show organizers Davey Sammons and Danny Sammons, a phone call was made to arrange to have his car as the backdrop and his company as the sponsor and since then it’s been a solid relationship. “It was cool when we first did it because the girls where accustomed to a dirt car for posing and this was the first time with an asphalt car it sort of threw them for a loop. But it’s been a great partnership for sure with us and the show. Again it’s all about giving back.”
Baer’s racing plans for 2020 will see him running a select number of special events at Mahoning Valley, specifically the new Hall of Fame Series put together by track promoter Keith Hoffman. “Any long distance race is for me and as far as the Hall of Fame Series I feel that’s a great tribute to the legends. They’ll get some exposure and that’s great and I definitely will run them. It’s a great idea that Keith (Hoffman) came up with.” For Baer, being a part-time racer works as it allows him more time to nurture his son Nick Baer. “That’s why I don’t race fulltime anymore. I have more enjoyment sitting watching him go out and have a good time. He puts his heart and soul into it. He’s not out at the bar, he’s at the race shop three and four nights a week, whatever it takes,” Baer said of his 22-year old son. “He’s got one thing in mind which is to get that first win and he’s smart enough to know that you can’t knock the wheels off to get it.”
Baer also voiced his opinion on Hoffman running the show as promoter at Mahoning Valley. “I know Keith for a long time and where friend’s in racing and away from the race track. It’s probably no secret that I was grabbing him by one ear and Jack (Carlino, Mahoning owner) by the other to bring them together,” he revealed. “I think he has good ethics, good ideas and I think he will do go for the track. Mahoning has a lot of things that they’ve done the same for a lot of years and Keith is bringing in some fresh ideas. Will they work, I don’t know, but I think we all need to give him a chance to try. “He’s the kind of guy that will say if it didn’t work then he’ll be the first to admit it. We need to let him spread his wings.”
Excitement is building for Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series races
The Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series (MVSHoFS), a race five special run amid the Modifieds, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks, has been rapidly gaining interest among drivers from all three classes. The MVSHoFS will be centered on an elite group of track legends including Doug Hoffman, John “Peepers” Yerger, George Wambold, Marvin Bartholomew and Hal Renninger. And, while the five races will be determined with special distances and purses for the Modifieds, the Street and Hobby Stockers are also being included which has greatly bettered an already thrilling set of events.
For the Modifieds race number one is slated for Opening Night and honors Hoffman and his No. 60. Thus the feature will be 60 laps. Next will be a 77-lapper paying tribute to Yerger. That will be followed by an 81-lap affair which belongs to the celebrated Wambold. The next feature will be 85 laps, the number made famous by Bartholomew and finally a 99-lapper that is associated with Renninger. “We’re very excited to bring the Hall of Fame Series to Mahoning Valley,” said track promoter Keith Hoffman. “We wanted to honor all these important drivers for their contributions to the track. Our loyal fans and drivers will now have the opportunity to compete in meaningful ‘specials’ throughout the season.” With the anticipation of the start of the season and race number one draws near many drivers have made it their intent to not miss out on this unique structure of races. “I really like the idea of the Hall of Fame Series,” said Zane Zeiner, who often takes in the special type shows at Mahoning Valley and does so most times as a winner. “This works out great for me running once each month and then be able to spend time with my son who will be racing there too with a Sport Mod so this helps all around. We’re definitely going to do all five Series’ races.” Over the years there has been a variety of series type races at Mahoning and Zeiner is no stranger to winning them either. In 2012 he captured the Modified Madness Series. “I think it’s pretty neat. There’s a lot of famous drivers that are associated with Mahoning and to get to compete in something called Hall of Fame with the great names that go along with it is something special and if we can get one of those wins it would be that much sweeter.”
Not surprising Matt Hirschman was quick to throw his hat into the ring. Hirschman has 18 wins at Mahoning and of them is a record 14 special event features. He feels the MVSHoFS will be a great set of races for the Modifieds. “I thinks it’s twofold. One it’s a great way to honor the past greats from the track and the area in general and the history that they represent and it means a lot to recognize that,” explained Hirschman. “And doing it that it reflects their car number for the laps, every race is different. You can approach each race a little bit different based on the amount of laps and the races may play out completely different each time and that’s something exciting to prepare for.” Each of the Modified features will have a car in that respective show with a number as a tribute to the night’s honoree. Hirschman will carry Doug Hoffman’s 60-Over for the first event. “I have a lot of respect for Doug and his career and what he accomplished for a driver from this area. It’s an honor for me to carry his number for the first race being run in his name,” added Hirschman. “It just so happened we share the same car number. That number goes back to Dorney Park and part of the reason that Doug and his family went with the 60 was because they liked my dad’s car from Dorney Park when he had the 60 so there is a tie-in there to the car number,” he continued. “We’ve won with that car number from Maine to Florida and both the Hoffman family and Hirschman family have won a lot of races with that car number so it’s very recognizable in the northeast on both dirt and asphalt.”
There is indeed a stout field of Modifieds that will be taking in the MVSHoFS and that includes the all-time class wins leader Eric Beers who will be racing exclusively at Mahoning for the Series. “It’s going to be an awesome series. I’ve always liked years ago when Doug Hoffman came up with the Poker Series and it carried on with Floyd Santee as the Gamblers Series and now with Keith Hoffman coming up with the Hall of Fame Series, it has the making of something special and I think you’re going to see a lot of people coming out with lots of cars and fans especially for Opening Night,” said Beers, a 55-time winner here and three-time track champion. As an added incentive the Modifieds will be offered a ‘gamblers fee.’ If a driver so chooses to take the gamble then he/she will win an additional $1000 for that feature. The gamblers fee is being sponsored by Gambler Transportation and Recovery of Whitehall.
By adding the Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks, those drivers as well have been showing much appeal towards the Series. 2019 division champion Jon Moser is very committed. “Just make the check out to me!” remarked Moser. “I’m looking forward to it for sure and I’m definitely game for it. We’re going to give it our best.” Moser belongs to a solid fraternity of Street Stockers that have for years been a major factor as a support division at Mahoning with a field that runs deep in parity. However, this Series is designed for not just the regulars but is structured to allow others to come in as well. “I look forward to the competition and hopefully we will wind up in Victory Lane,” said Moser. And the competition is certainly looking impressive too. Along with all the hot-handed steadies there are drivers from a number of area asphalt tracks who have voiced their commitment with several from nearby Evergreen Raceway. Of them is one of the rising stars who will be racing at Mahoning Valley for the first time, Evan Rygielski, who is a rookie this year with the Street Stocks but a seasoned veteran none the less with 100 career wins that encompasses Kart, Bandolero and Hobby Stocks. “I think it’s a great series they put together and it’s also a great opportunity for me to race there. I’ve watched races there, it’s a bullring and looks fun to race at so I’m excited,” said Rygielski. “I know I’ll have to take it easy for the first few laps and get use to the track and then keep picking the pace up and hopefully run the same times as the top guys there. My goal would be to finish with a decent showing and hopefully get a win or two in the Series.”
The Series marks the first time that Hobby Stocks will be part of a season-long special. This class has grown in leaps and bounds and the time was right to add this stirring division. Rich Mutarelli, a veteran of the Hobby Stocks, is on the verge of becoming the all-time wins leader. He noted that MVSHoFS is a great opportunity for his class to showcase themselves and be justifiably rewarded. “Personally I feel it’s an honor that our class is getting the recognition that I think we earned and deserve. The crop of talented drivers in the whole class is amazing. Even the young kids that are just coming up and racing against older guys like me is pretty cool,” said Mutarelli. “This Series is good for the track regulars and also to those who want to come in from other tracks and race with us. I’d love to see the Wall (Stadium) guys, the Evergreen (Raceway) guys and the Riverhead guys and see what they have against us. “I believe Mahoning is the best racing on the East coast for asphalt short track. These guys will be coming into our territory and I’m excited to see what happens with the Hall of Fame Series.”
The MVSHoFS will see a separate tally of points for each class and at the conclusion of the five events the top three will receive point fund monies. Drivers must compete in each of the five races in order to be eligible for the point fund money. There will be a nominal entry fee to run each of the specials. After the fourth race drivers must drop there worse finish in order to improve their standings.The point fund breakdown is as follows: $1500, $1000 and $500 to the top three in Modifieds. $1000, $600 and $400 for the Street Stocks and $500, $300 and $200 for the Hobby Stocks. There is also 50-show up points as well that will be added towards that driver’s 2020 regular season standings amount. Each class will draw for starting spots for both heats and features. Only feature points will count towards the MVSHoFS title of the respective divisions.
“I think with the point fund and good purse we’re offering we’ll be able to pull some talented drivers from other tracks and states and showcase our product to everyone,” added Hoffman.
March 28 Test and Tune at Mahoning Valley Speedway postponed
In keeping with the current state and federal regulation guidelines in regards to the COVID-19, Mahoning Valley Speedway will not be holding the scheduled March 28 Test and Tune. We will be abiding by the precautions set forth in order to best combat the virus. As soon as the restrictions are lessened we will make a timely and proper decision as to when racing will recommence along with schedule updates. We thank you for the understanding under the present crisis situation and we hope for everyone’s safety and welfare.
Two-time Mahoning Late Model champ Frankie Althouse moving up to Sportsman Modifieds; Will also run select Modified races
When the 2020 season at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway gets underway fans will see a noticeable uptick in the Sportsman Modified division as a flux of new teams have made it known of their intent to be part of the class now entering its third year. And, of those inspiring entrants comes Frankie Althouse, a driver who has enjoyed great success of late with back-to-back Late Model championships and a pile of stats that grades him as one of the best at the paved ¼-mile oval. Just in the last five years alone Althouse has crossed the finish line 20 times in first place, 29 runner-ups and racked up 82 top-5s and 85 top-10s in a 90 race span. Those are indeed impressive figures which leads one to ask why give up on such a good thing? “We pretty much did everything we could in a Late Model, two championships in a row and we were lucky to dominate along with Mike Sweeney,” explained Althouse. “But there’s a couple things that played into this one being it wasn’t as fun. Plus we’re looking towards the future and that’s going to be my son driving a car and we felt the timing is right to get a Modified and start getting the bugs worked out of it because in the next two, two-and-a-half years we plan to have him in the car.” Althouse’s son, Wyatt, will be 13 later this year. He’s been racing Junior Slingshots on dirt at venues such as Shellhammer’s Speedway and like his dad has also enjoyed a fair amount of success. But he’s reaching the point of moving up and the Sportsman Modified is the direction they feel will best suit their game plans. “There’s a couple things we want to do with him before we let him run the Modified. I want him to get in some more track experience with his dirt car but he’s also got to start working more on the vehicle and get the understanding with it before we let him take it out. He’ll need to earn it,” said Althouse. In the meantime Althouse is looking forward to getting behind the wheel which will serve as a dual purpose car, one for the Sportsman class and on select dates as a full Modified. “We bought the car with a 602 crate motor in it and it raced at Wall Stadium. But we have our Late Model motor and all of the drivetrain so this car will be one that you pull one motor out and drop another in,” noted Althouse. “In the Modifieds our game plan it to race as many of the Hall of Fame Series with a definite being the RoC race at the end of the season, the Bill Teel Memorial and whatever else we can possibly do depending on my work schedule. As for the Sport Mod with that being every other week we’ll be concentrating on that the most.” This will in fact mark his second go of Modified racing. Althouse ran two seasons at Mahoning Valley, winning Rookie of the Year in 2011. He also raced twice at Evergreen where unfortunately his stint came to an abrupt end with a hard crash that put a halt to Modified racing. “When you look at it from the first time when we did the Modified it was with an older car and the money situation wasn’t right either. In actuality it wasn’t a smart move on our part,” he revealed. “But now I am excited to go back to a Modified because I have better tools and a much better understanding of setting up cars and the money situation isn’t enough that we can go full blown Mod but we can do the Sport Mods and by doing that we can dabble into the full Modifieds,” he continued. “There’s a lot of guys moving up from Street Stocks and stuff like that and you watch the guys and we know them and get along with them. They’re going to be very competitive and go there to win just like everyone so I think it will be a good group of guys that drive clean and are respectful and that’s what you need to put on good racing.” For those coming into the Sport Mod fold this year, Althouse does has a slight edge as the tires are the same spec as what he ran in Late Models although this year the track is switching from American Racer to Hoosier. Still Althouse feels that he can take that aspect and to an extent make good use. “Yes and no. We’ve run on 10-inch tires for a long time but this is a completely different compound than what we ran on the Late Model. This is not the same as when we ran Hoosier’s here a few years ago,” he said. “We know a couple tricks as long as the tire performs the same way and that could help us right out of the gate. However, the other guys who are moving up to the Sport Mod division are pretty smart and so I think after two or three races any advantage we may have will be gone.” For all intent and purposes Althouse should make a smooth transition back into Modifieds. He has an impeccable ability to race with amazing success at Mahoning Valley. Like he’s done so many times his focus will be on what he knows best – winning. And, to do so in a Modified will bring about a great amount of self-satisfaction. “At Mahoning it’s especially important and until we win a full blown Modified feature I won’t be satisfied. Every class that I’ve gotten into I was able to win a feature and be semi-competitive in. I just didn’t feel I was that competitive in a Modified before and we weren’t prepared for it,” bottom-lined Althouse. “Realistically the goal is to go out and win a championship this year with the Sportsman Modified and then go to the full Modifieds the next. That’s the plan but plans don’t always go as they should. We’ll take it week by week and see what happens. “If we can go there and have some half decent showings with the full Mod then we can go back home and have a whole winter long to work on our weak points.” Althouse will bring a solid list of sponsors, most who have been with him for years, adorning the sides of his signature No. 22 when the Sportsman Modifieds run for the first time on Saturday, April 11.
They include APS Powder Coating, Dalton Lorah Excavating, USS Achey, Beechwood, Wiz Fabs, Pizza Como USA, Mauch Chunk Trust Company, VJ Wood Towing, Kalon Studio, Sublimation 101, S&D Bodyline, Shooting Star Signs, and Designs and Art Bair Wheel Repair.
Late Models and Street Stocks to share in Five Star Race Car Bodies Contingency program
Five Star Racecar Bodies of Twin Lakes, WI, has joined forces with Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway as part of the company’s 2020 Five Star Bodies Contingency Award Program. Late Model and Street Stock drivers will be the beneficiaries of the season-long program that will award one (1) $750 product certificate and one (1) $250 product certificate respectively at season’s end. To be eligible drivers must compete in stock appearing, template-style body of any brand and must the also participate in no less than 75% of the scheduled race events. An official Five Star decal must be placed on each car and will be made available starting with the scheduled season opener on Saturday, April 4. The lucky winners will be picked by random draw. Five Star Racecar Bodies leads the industry in manufacturing with over 100 employees and close to 185,000 square feet of floor space dedicated to the design, manufacture, and distribution of body panels, windows and accessories. The Late Models and Street Stocks of Mahoning Valley have long been a staple at the popular ¼-mile paved oval with a very dedicated core group of drivers. The action they provide has never ceased to amaze. Fans of full-bodied stock car racing need look no further then what is presented by these two exciting classes.
Mahoning Valley Speedway cancels March 21 Test and Tune: Mahoning Valley Speedway has announced that due to the ongoing circumstances of the COVID-19 and keeping with the guidelines set by the CDC, Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Governor’s office, we are canceling this Saturday’s March 21 Test and Tune. We will continue to closely monitor conditions associated with coronavirus and are prepared to follow any public health guidelines and recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control.
The health and safety of our fans, race teams and staff is our priority. As an organization, we are closely monitoring all the developments in regard to the coronavirus. This is a fluid situation where information is changing not only day by day but hour by hour. Please bear with us as we make decisions on future dates on a weekly basis based on the recommendations and guidelines that are presented.
Mahoning Valley Speedway officially swung open its gates for the 2020 season with the first of three Test and Tune days held Saturday afternoon. Two dozen cars representing all classes that compete at the Lehighton paved ¼-mile oval came out to shake down their mounts in preparation for Opening Day slated for April 4. While everyone on hand had the main focus of working out the bugs from all of the off-season preparation, there was a special incentive in place too. Drivers of the Modifieds, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks ran a series of timed hot laps which awarded the fastest of the respective three classes during all Test and Tune days a guaranteed pick spot for the feature redraw on Opening Night, which is race number one of the Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series (MVSHoFS). Defending Modified champion Bobby Jones debuted a brand new car and although he only ran one timed session, he was able to lay down the fastest lap, going 10.335-seconds and beat out Heath Metzger and Wes Gilbert in the process. Brandon Christman, who is a rookie Street Stocker, unveiled his very sharp looking No. 41 Camaro and also revealed that he will be one to watch as he beat out the all-time wins leader in Street Stock victories, Todd Ahner, for the quick time of the day with the division. Christman clocked in at 11.811-secon lap which was a scant .005-second over Ahner. In the Hobby Stocks sophomore driver Jesse Bollinger showed solid quickness, shooting to the top of the speed charts with a 12.180-second lap which he recorded in the first round and it stuck threw the second session to earn him top honors for the day. A pair of title contenders from ’19, Jacob Boehm at 12.291 and Travis Solomon with a 12.451, where second and third respectively. Two-time Late Model champion Mike Sweeney was shaking down his newest version of the Crazy Train D11 with steady times in the mid 10’s each time out. 2019 ATQMRA champion got his first laps in with his new ride for this season, the potent Donna and Lenny Boyd No. 1B. Bailey was rapid right from the get-go and stayed that way throughout the day. Also debuting where some impressive young talents led by Gunner Zeiner in a Sportsman Modified which was prepared by his famous racing father, Zane Zeiner. A few others who made respectable stock car outings where Corey Gulich, Paul Hartwig III, Paul French, Jr., and Mia Ray Guy. They will be part of the newly formed Hobby Stock Rookie class. As the day wore on each showed continual progress in bringing their lap time down. Test and Tune continues March 21 and 28 from noon to 4:00 pm.
On April 4 starting at 5:00 p.m., the regular season gets underway with race number one of the MVSHoFS honoring Doug Hoffman and his trademark No. 60 with a 60 lap Modified feature and paying $2000-to-win. There is also a $1000 gamblers fee sponsored by Gambler Transportation of Whitehall. If a driver takes the gamble then he or she will be paid the $1000 dividend. 10th place pays $500. Late Models, Street Stocks, Pro 4s, Hobby Stocks and Hobby Stock Rookies are also on the card.
Test and Tune will be Mahoning Month of Speed for Modifieds, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks
Mahoning Valley Speedway’s Test and Tune that runs on March 14, 21 & 28 will not only afford racers of the popular paved ¼-mile oval the opportunity to shake down their mounts in advance of the April 4 Opening Day, additionally there is an incentive factor as well. With the launch of the Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series (MVSHoFS) and the season opener being race #1 of the unique five event series, drivers from the Modified, Street Stock and Hobby Stock classes, whom will be comprising the Series, will use the Test and Tune days to assure one select driver from each of the aforementioned classes a guaranteed pick for the feature redraw. Across all three Test and Tune days the overall fastest car will be awarded the ‘pick spot.’ Come Opening Night those quick lap winners will have the bonus of not having to run in heats. “We like to think of this as the “Mahoning Month of Speed,” said track promoter Keith Hoffman.
“The Hall of Fame Series is going to be well attended, especially with the first event on Opening Day so this is a great incentive and give fans an early indication of just who will be the cars to beat.” For the Modifieds the MVSHoFS will all be extra distance/high dollar features and focused on a select group of Hall of Fame drivers and their signature car numbers. Race number one honors Doug Hoffman and his No. 60. Thus the feature will be 60 laps and pay $2000-to-win. There is also a $1000 gamblers fee sponsored by Gambler Transportation of Whitehall. If a driver takes the gamble then he or she will be paid the $1000 dividend. 10th place pays $500. Next will be a 77-lapper paying tribute to John ‘Peepers’ Yerger. That will be followed by an 81-lap affair which belongs to the celebrated George Wambold. The next feature will be 85 laps, the number made famous by Marvin Bartholomew and finally a 99-lapper that is associated with Hal Renninger, closes out the series on October 3. The finale is also the closing point race of the season for the Race of Champions (RoC) Tour for the Modifieds which follows that tour’s annual Race of Champions Modified 250 at Lake Erie Speedway, thus making the Mahoning stop a hothouse for Modifieds. The night prior, on Friday, October 2, timed dashes will be run for Modifieds, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks that will lock in select starters for the next day’s features. Throughout the MVSHoFS points will be kept plus each driver will be given 50-showup points that will be applied to their regular season tally. Also, a driver must drop their worst finish after the fourth race of the Series in order to keep the points exciting leading into the fifth and concluding event. There is a point fund for the Series. Drivers must race in all five shows in order to be eligible for the point payout. The point fund breakdown is as follows: $1500, $1000 and $500 to the top three in Modifieds. $1000, $600 and $400 for the Street Stocks and $500, $300 and $200 for the Hobby Stocks. The entry fee is $25, $20 and $15 for the Modifieds, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks respectively. For Test and Tune all classes, both track and traveling, are welcome to partake.
On Saturday, March 14 pit gates open at 10:00 a.m. Car inspections begin at 10:15 a.m. There will be a drivers meeting at 11:30 a.m. Practice begins at noon.
Pits are $10 per person and $25 per car. Transponder fee is $6. Grandstands are free to the public.
Mahoning Valley Speedway to introduce Rookie Hobby Stock class
Mahoning Valley Speedway has announced that a “Rookie Hobby Stock” class will be added to the weekly race line-up starting with Opening Day on Saturday April 4. The purpose of the division is as the name implies – rookie. With a good number of young and aspiring talent coming out of the ¼-Midget and Go Kart ranks from around the immediate area and looking to further their careers by advancing into stock cars, it is pertinent that they acquire the right and proper skills and thus the Rookie Hobby Stock makes for the perfect steppingstone. And to best help the beginners get acclimated to navigating around the paved ¼-mile oval and grasp the understanding of track procedures, the speedway has tapped the services of one of its best veterans to do an orientation, Earl Paules, who is Mahoning’s all-time wins leader and a multi-time track champion. Paules already knows many of the participants that are coming into the fold from his time as Race Director at Blue Mountain Quarter Midget Club in Walnutport. “I think this is a great idea. We have to start somewhere and this is the future of our sport,” said Paules. “I feel that if you feed them to the wolves they’re going to get discouraged and may possibly quit. In this format they’ll be racing against others who haven’t raced in a full size stock car on a race track.” The orientation will be held on the last of three Test and Tune days which is Saturday, March 28. All rookies are encouraged to take in the Test and Tune sessions slated for March 14, 21 & 28 from noon to 4:00 pm. The Rookie Hobby Stock class will be comprised of a 12 race schedule, running each week from April 4 through June 20. At the conclusion of that period a champion will be crowned with runner-up and third place in points also being recognized. There will be a $500 purse sponsored by E. Schneider & Sons Inc., Scrap Metal of Allentown. The champ will be presented $250 with $150 for second and $100 to third in final points. All other challengers, along with the top three, will be presented with graduation medals during a special ceremony on the last race.
The procedure rules will be as follows.
Feature race will be 12-laps in distance and run as the first event of the night. The winner of the race will then be awarded a starting spot in the regular Hobby Stock feature without running a heat or consi. All other drivers may attempt, if they so choose, to qualify in regular Hobby Stock feature. Drivers must be 12-years of age or older, however, if younger then proof of past racing experience must be presented and will be decided at track’s discretion. Parental or guardian signed wavier for age 14 and younger is required. “I feel that this is a great opportunity to give these young men and women the proper launch to racing at Mahoning Valley Speedway,” offered track promoter Keith Hoffman. “The Hobby Stock class is one of our best divisions because of its affordability plus it serves a key entry level division too and for many of these kids they will be able use the Rookie class as a great learning tool to sharpen their skills.”
Mahoning Valley Speedway 2019 Champions Honored at Awards Banquet
In a formal gathering of 2019 division champions and top point finishers of Mahoning Valley Speedway, a celebration was held on Saturday evening, February 15 at Caprioti’s Palazzo in McAdoo to pay tribute for their past season’s accomplishments.
Heading the list of title winners was Bobby Jones who earned the 2019 Modified championship, marking his first entitlement of such a feat at the paved ¼-mile oval since a Pro 4 crown 25 years ago.Jones held off young hot-shoe Kyle Strohl en route to the top prize which came on the strength of five features wins, 10 heat wins, 13 top-5s and 19 top-10s in 23 starts.2017-18 champ Brian DeFebo was a solid third with Earl Paules, who this past year became the track’s all-time career wins leader with 61 and counting and respected veteran John Markovic rounded out the top five in final points.
When Frankie Althouse won the 2018 Late Model championship it came after 15 years of trying and in that time it included a number or runner-ups. Althouse vowed that his second title wouldn’t take as long and he backed those words with a great, hard-fought effort, upholding the crown over his top rival Mike Sweeney.Althouse led the class with 8 feature wins, 10 heat wins and 18 consecutive top-5 finishes, all of which were tops in class. The always consistent Jeremy Miller was third while a pair of up-and-coming young lady talents, Samantha Osborn and Avery Arthofer rounded out the top five.
Jon Moser proved once again that when it comes to Street Stock racing at Mahoning Valley, he ranks among the all-time best. Moser scored his third career number one trophy and added his name alongside TJ Gursky and Mark Deysher as the only other 3-time Street Stock champions.In a group that has an amazing amount of parity, Moser had a class leading four main event wins and division-tying 11 top-5s. He was able to hold off Randy Schlenker, Mark Martini, Todd Ahner and Jared Ahner down the stretch.
The Sportsman Modifieds concluded their second season of competition and it turned out to be a championship chase that came down to the wire between a pair of Mahoning standouts with Kyle Strohl just edging Lorin Arthofer II.Between them they dominated the win column with Arthofer outdoing Strohl four wins to two. The difference came down to Strohl having a slightly better average finish, thanks to a run of first and seconds.
Bobby Kibler Sr.’s Pro 4 title was nearly 30 years in the making. In close to three decades of racing at Mahoning, Kibler finally ended the year as the top point getter.Kibler put a near perfect season together as week after week he was fighting for wins and solid finishes with a strong showing where he produced six wins and 18 out of 19 top-5s. 2018 champ Jake Kibler and Cody Kohler, also a past champ, both kept Kibler Sr., on his toes along the way as they finished second and third respectively.
While all the title fights had excitement, none could compare to the Hobby Stocks as a mere one point decided the results that saw Al Arthofer taking the crown over Devin Schmidt.Arthofer is part of a lineage of great family racers. Although he only won once, instead he relied on consistent finishes to get the job done. His title wasn’t decided until the final lap of the final race where he just nipped Schmidt at the line and secured his place in track history.Travis Solomon, Jacob Boehm and Peyton Arthofer rounded out the top five and all had a legitimate fight for the title as well.
Rookie of the Year honors went to BJ Wambold, Avery Arthofer, Johnny Bennett, Kadie Pursell and John Petro in the Modifieds, Late Models, Street Stocks, Pro 4s and Hobby Stocks respectively.
Among those who received the Most Improved Driver Awards included Nick Baer, Modified, Samantha Osborn, Late Model, Eric Kocher, Street Stock, Jeremy Guerra, Pro 4 and Jacob Bohemia, Hobby Stock. The Checkered Flag Fan Club Service Appreciation Award fitting went to Ozzie Carlino who worked tirelessly throughout the year in upkeep and maintenance of the track.
All of the awardees where personally congratulated by track owners Jack and Rebecca Carlino. To conclude the program new appointed promoter Keith Hoffman spoke to the crowd about the soon-to-get-underway 2020 season and the encouraging response he has been receiving about the outlook for the track.
Mike Krempasky Street Stock Tribute offering $1900-to-win in 91-lap feature
When the 2020 Mahoning Valley Speedway race schedule was released, drivers of the Street Stock division were pleasantly surprised to see the return of the Mike Krempasky Street Stock Tribute race on Saturday evening, July 25. Mike passed away unexpectedly on March 9, 2012. He was a popular Late Model racer at Dorney Park Speedway in Allentown and was always identified by his signature No. 19 cars. After Dorney closed in 1986 Mike’s attention turned to Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway. At first it was as a fan but he later became a prominent car owner of the No.19 Street Stock which competed under the MKS Racing banner with TJ Gursky as his driver. While most all in the Street Stock class opted to race with a Camaro, the MKS Team choose a Monte Carlo, one of the very few with the division. Each week the car rolled out looking picture perfect and Gursky would back up those good looks by being among the weekly front runners. The crowning moment for the team came in 2011 when the won that year’s Street Stock title. After his passing then track promoter Floyd Santee put together a tribute race in his honor. The first installment was a 100-lapper won by Jason Frey. Then from 2013 to 2015, the format was changed to triple 19-lap features and along with that came some thrilling races and wild finishes. The events where so well received that 30-plus cars would be the norm vying for the limited starting spots during each of those outings. Now the Mike Krempasky Tribute is making a return and as a 91-lap main paying $1900-to-win which is among the highest payout’s ever being offered to a Street Stock winner.
“I was absolutely thrilled when I first heard about reviving my dad’s memorial race. Keith (Hoffman, track promoter) really wanted to get it done and I’m grateful and thankful to everyone at Mahoning Valley for putting this together,” said Kyle Krempasky. “It means so much to our family. It’s really touching, especially for me. It’s going to be eight years in March that he’s gone and there’s still plenty of stories that still go around. When it came to racing – that was his life and he always got very emotional every time his car went to Victory Lane, that’s how much he loved this sport.”
The race will be a non-point event in order to allow drivers from other tracks to come in as well as giving the locals the opportunity to contest for the impressive payoff. There will be 50 “show-up” points to each driver who signs in. “I thought that was really cool to go with the 91 lap distance. Don’t get me wrong I liked the Triple 19s and so did a lot of the guys, but this will be good too. We’ll get to see if some guys who start in the back can work their way up through the field,” added K. Krempasky. “I heard back from a number of drivers who are excited about having the race back especially Jon Moser who was a really good friend of my dad. They were teammates when Jon won the Street Stock championship in 2008. Of course TJ (Gursky) will be back racing this year in Gerald Ripkey’s car and he’s very thrilled to see it come back too.” Moser is a three time and reigning Street Stock track champion. Gursky’s last Mahoning win came in 2015 while still racing under the MKS banner. K. Krempasky is a former winning driver in the Hobby Stock division and although he has not competed in the past few years as he was pursuing a degree in criminal justice, he has not ruled out himself as a possible entry. “That would be special. The last year we had my dad’s memorial race I actually won that night in the Hobby Stock and for me it was really important because I felt even though it wasn’t class I still won his memorial race,” said K. Krempasky. A rain date if needed for the Mike Krempasky Street Stock Tribute is in place for Saturday, August 15.
Mahoning Valley Speedway gets its season underway on Saturday, April 4 at 5:00 pm when round one of the Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series gets underway.
The night will feature the Doug Hoffman Memorial 60 lap feature for the Modifieds plus Late Models, Street Stocks, Pro 4s and Hobby Stocks are in action too.
Mahoning Valley Speedway making switch to Hoosier tires
Mahoning Valley Speedway owner Jack Carlino has announced that Hoosier Racing Tires will be the tire of choice when the 2020 season gets underway starting with Test and Tune days in March. Carlino, along with Hoosier Tire East president Robbie Summers, have signed an agreement to make Hoosier Racing Tire the official tire of the Lehighton paved ¼-mile oval. The switch to Hoosier comes after a three year stint of running American Racer tires. Carlino, now in his third year as owner of the track, said it was a mutual parting and something he felt was necessary for his business.
“Since I took over the track and had American Racer we’ve had a good working relationship with that company, however, I’ve heard from my drivers and many others as well that they would prefer the Hoosier,” offered Carlino. “At the end of last season we did an extensive survey and then we polled the drivers again two weekends ago and the response was very much in favor to make the change. This is strictly a business decision that we feel is best for us moving forward.” Hoosier Racing Tires had been the choice of weekly competition for over 20 years at Mahoning Valley. But, at the end of the 2016 season, then promoter Floyd Santee worked out a deal to convert brands to American Racer and since then it has been met with mixed viewpoints. While some drivers saw quick success, others struggled to adapt and find the right set-up. For the most part drivers desired to go back to Hoosier, siting numerous reasons for the switch back.
“We listened to what our customers, in this case our drivers, had to say. They’re our bread and butter and although we did fine with American Racer and the racing was good, it was voiced by the guys that they would much prefer Hoosier,” added Carlino. “We want to show that we’re taking a proactive approach to their concerns in order to best meet their needs.” Carlino and Summers had met to work out an agreement with the main priority being the satisfaction of the racers.
“It’s great to be back at Mahoning Valley Speedway and we’re looking forward to a very long relationship. Working with Jack (Carlino) has been smooth and he’s genuinely got the racers best interest at heart,” said Summers. Mahoning Valley is definitely a real short track and there’s always lots of side-by-side awesome racing there and we’re excited to bring our product there. In this business it’s vital to make the racer happy and when that happens overall great things will come from it.”
The first two sets of Hoosier’s to Mahoning Valley Speedway will be mounted on 2019 Modified track champion Bobby Jones’ Franzosa Trucking/APS Powder Coating No. 1 Troyer which will be on display at the upcoming Pioneer Pole Buildings Motorsports 2020 show on January 17-19 at the Great Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa. Jones’ car will be on display in the Mahoning Valley Speedway booth at the show. And Todd Baer’s Aqua Duck Water Transport No. 41which will be on stage for the Ms. Motorsports Pageant. Aqua Duck Water Transport is the primary sponsor for the contest.
The speedway is allowing drivers in all divisions who still have a surplus of American Racer tires to run them up to the first three complete races beginning at the start of the season. Afterwards starting on the fourth race week per class they must take on Hoosiers. Also, they will have until the mid-summer break on July 4, to likewise use an American Racer tire in the event of a flat. From July 11 on only Hoosier’s will be permitted.
The first race of the 2020 season and the return of Hoosier Racing Tires in competition is set for Saturday evening, April 4 at 5:00 pm when round one of the Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series gets underway.
The night will feature the Doug Hoffman Memorial 60 lap feature for the Modifieds plus Late Models, Street Stocks, Pro 4s and Hobby Stocks are in action too.
Race of Champions Tour to close out 2020 season at Mahoning Valley Speedway
When Mahoning Valley Speedway released its 2020 schedule on Saturday, January 4 during a Meet and Greet with new track promoter Keith Hoffman, one of the key highlights was the introduction of the Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series (MVSHoFS) which will be a special five race series run amongst the Modifieds, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks.
For Modifieds the MVSHoFS will all be extra distance/high dollar features and are centered on a select group of track Hall of Fame drivers and their signature car numbers. Race number one of five, which will be Opening Night, April 4, honors Doug Hoffman and his No. 60. Thus the feature will be 60 laps. Next will be a 77-lapper paying tribute to John ‘Peepers’ Yerger. That will be followed by an 81-lap affair which belongs to the revered George Wambold. The next feature will be 85 laps, the number made famous by Marvin Bartholomew and finally a 99-lapper that is associated with Hal Renninger, closes out the series on October 3.
While much excitement is being generated with the newly designed series, it was taken up a notch after revealing that the 99-lap Hal Renninger race will also be a Race of Champions (RoC) Tour event.
This will mark the first time since 2016 that the RoC will be returning to the paved Lehighton ¼-mile oval when then 15-year old Kyle Strohl scored a huge upset win in a 150-lapper. And since this race will be held following the annual Modified 250 at Lake Erie Speedway, it now sets the stage for the championship finale with the Tour to take place at Mahoning Valley. Mahoning is a pillar in Modified racing and we are looking forward to it. It has been missed and we all have to work together to unify what we are all doing. This is a great step in that direction,” stated Joe Skotnicki, Race of Champions, owner. “This race will differ a little from what we have been doing. Now the Series champion will be crowned at Mahoning which puts the focus on the race at Lake Erie and a much different focus on Mahoning. It’s going to be exciting.” Skotnicki, Hoffman and track owner Jack Carlino had been in ongoing discussions on bringing the RoC back to Mahoning and trying to find a viable date that would work for both parties and the October 3 signing was mutually agreed to be the best. “Keith (Hoffman) has a passion for this and some fresh ideas. He has a great background and history in this sport and we’ve worked around each other before. He understands the business and the keys to being successful,” added Skotnicki. Over the years the RoC has made numerous stops at Mahoning Valley and each time it generated solid car counts that saw an array of track regulars battling down to the wire against the Tour steadies. “I don’t think it will be any different now than it has been. It will be a mixture of racers and it will be exciting, plus some of the teams have followed the Series now, so they will be able to have their fans and family get to see them perform on the Series locally. It’s an exciting event,” noted Skotnicki. If needed a rain date of Saturday, October 9 will be used.
Respectable turnout for Mahoning Valley Speedway Meet and Greet with Keith Hoffman
Mahoning Valley Speedway officially revealed its 2020 race schedule on Saturday, January 4 before an enthusiastic crowd who came out to a Meet and Greet with newly appointed promoter Keith Hoffman. Taking place at the Mahoning Valley Volunteer Fire Company Hall in Lehighton, Hoffman was joined by track owner Jack Carlino and general manager Dino Oberto who addressed the gathering about the upcoming slate of events at the paved ¼-mile oval along with a number of other key items pertaining to track operations. Hoffman took the time of explaining his game plan for a successful season and beyond by outlining his thought process of race day procedures and more. He covered a wide array of topics from general rules, proper etiquette and the importance of respect from both management and racers which in turn would lead to the positive pathway of prosperous growth. “I was very pleased by the turnout we had and the excitement being generated. The buzz afterwards was all upbeat and I’m really looking forward to this season,” said Hoffman. “I feel we put together a very solid and aggressive schedule that everyone will like and it reflected in the feedback after the meeting. There’s still plenty of work to do before Opening Night but things are moving in a very dynamic manner and there’s no doubt that our fans are in for a terrific year of racing at Mahoning Valley.”
Headlining the schedule will was the introduction of the Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series (MVSHoFS) which will be a special five race series run amongst the Modifieds, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks. For Modifieds the MVSHoFS will all be extra distance/high dollar features and are centered on a select group of Hall of Fame drivers and their signature car numbers. Race number one of five, which will be Opening Night, April 4, honors Doug Hoffman and his No. 60. Thus the feature will be 60 laps. Next will be a 77-lapper paying tribute to John ‘Peepers’ Yerger. That will be followed by an 81-lap affair which belongs to the revered George Wambold. The next feature will be 85 laps, the number made famous by Marvin Bartholomew and finally a 99-lapper that is associated with Hal Renninger, closes out the series on October 3. It was also announced that the October 3 event will be the season finale for the Race of Champions (RoC) Tour for the Modifieds. The RoC is making a return back to Mahoning for the first time since 2016 and this race will be held following the Tour’s annual Race of Champions Modified 250 at Lake Erie Speedway, thus making the Mahoning stop a focal point for Modifieds. The night prior, on Friday, October 2, timed dashes will be run for Modifieds, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks that will lock in select starters for the next day plus there is the “Unfortunate 25s” which will are 25-lap mains for Late Models, Street Stocks, Pro 4s and Hobby Stocks. That event is an open invite to any 2020 non feature winners from any track so long they conform to Mahoning Valley respective class rules. Other highlights include the Ward Crozier Sr. Memorial on May 9, the return of the Mike Krempasky Memorial for Street Stocks on July 25 which this season will be a 91-lapper paying an impressive $1900-to-win and the very popular Bill Teel Memorial Modified 4-16s on August 1. The highly-attended Fan Appreciation Night will be back on June 6 and new this year is a Driver Appreciation Night where the track will host a special pit party for drivers and crews as a way to say thank you for the ongoing support. Also new this year will be the “Clean and Green” taking place during the months of May and June for the Hobby Stocks and Street Stocks. On track action will begin with three Test and Tune days, March 14, 21 and 28. The season opener will get underway on April 4 with race time set for 5:00 pm. Mahoning’s season will run from April through the first weekend in October. Modified, Late Models, Sportsman Modifieds, Street Stocks, Pro 4s and Hobby Stocks will make up the weekly line-up. It was noted that the Late Models and Sportsman Modifieds will at times run alternating weekends and the Pro 4s will have a handful of Saturday off as well. The speedway will be present at the upcoming three day Pioneer Pole Buildings Motorsports 2020 show on January 17-19 at the Great Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa.
4th Annual Bill Teel Memorial Modified 16s slated for August 1
The late Bill Teel was an iconic individual to the fans and his fellow competitors at Mahoning Valley Speedway. Once you got to know Bill you were forever a friend. As a driver he was a good as they got, winning Modified track championships in 1988, 1990 and 2000. He was also the 2011 Modified car owner champion with Tyler Haydt. Bill won 16 features between 1989 and 2000. He also holds the record for consecutive Modified feature wins at four in a row. Another distinctive characteristic of Bill came after the races ended and his many unforgettable late nights of celebration in the pits whether he won or not.
His passing in 2012 left a huge void to the tightknit racing family at Mahoning Valley, however, since 2017 a special memorial race in his honor has been held and the speedway and a dedicated committee have once again united to make sure The Bill Teel Memorial Modified 16s will again be held. Dene Smith, Tyler Haydt and Wayne Steigerwalt recently solidified plans with track promoter Keith Hoffman to hold the special race on Saturday evening, August 1 with a rain date slated for the following Saturday if need be. The Teel race is unique and very exciting as four 16 lap features are run. Drivers will draw for heat starting spots to qualify for the first feature. The next three feature races will be an invert for starting positions to be determined and provided all drivers are on the lead lap at the respective finishes. In-between features cars will be pitted in the staging area. This will be a non-point race, however there will be “50 show-up” points towards the regular season standings.
“I was very happy after talking to Keith (Hoffman) and getting all of the information together for the event. Keith’s a real go-getter and he’s 100% committed to this as we are,” explained Smith, who helped spearhead the event from the get-go and has continued to work tirelessly along with Haydt and Steigerwalt over the past Teel Memorials to ensure its continuing success. “Working with Keith, Tyler (Haydt) and Wayne (Steigerwalt), we’re all pledged to do whatever it takes to assure drivers will all be rewarded handsomely as we’ve done in each of the past three years.” During Teel’s driving career, that began at Dorney Park Speedway and also included stints at Flemington Fair Speedway, Evergreen Raceway as well as selected touring events, he was one of the most esteemed drivers both on and off the track thanks largely to his outgoing character. The 16 is significant in the fact it was his signature car number and ironically when he won his last feature on July 8, 2000, it would be his 16th. “Since we started this event drivers have come forward to thank us for the effort of it being a good paying race. We try to make sure everyone comes out making something be it money of some form of contingency,” added Smith. “The 16-lap format is really thrilling for the fans and we’ve seen some really good drivers and some underdogs come away with wins.”
The driver with the best average finish after the four features will be crowned the overall champion of the Bill Teel Memorial Modified 4-16s. In 2017 that honor went to Don Wagner followed in 2018 by John Markovic and this past year it was young Austin Kochenash who took home the special trophy.
Joining the Modifieds that night will be the Late Models, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks. Race time is 6:00 pm.
3rd Annual Ward Crozier Sr., Memorial inked for May 9 for Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks The 3rd Annual Ward Crozier Sr., Memorial at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway has been firmed and dated for May 9 starting at 6:00 pm.This year, however, there has been a revamp to the event as two divisions, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks, will be the headline classes.Each will contest in 26-lap features with the Street Stocks vying for $826 to win and the Hobby Stocks racing for a top payout of $426.
Through the cooperation of Dottie Farkas, who is the daughter of the late Crozier Sr., and the speedway’s prompter Keith Hoffman, it has been decided that this latest version of the memorial race which pays tribute to the man many feel is most responsible for the ongoing success of the paved ¼-mile oval, will be done under this structure for the two classes.“When Keith (Hoffman) and I got together to discuss the race for my father he pitched the idea of for the Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks and how it would be cool to make their purses worthwhile for just a 26- lapper,” said Farkas.“I know in the past we did all classes for that night with 26-lap features but this seems like a great way to try something unique and make a better paying purse.” For this event drivers will draw for starting heat and feature spots. There will be 50-showup points to each driver too. “I really like the idea of going with just the two classes. To me this is keeping in the style of Ward who always had the racers’ best interest at heart,” noted Hoffman.“By doing it this way we can make the purses much more substantial for the drivers and we’re even looking to reward the non-qualifiers too. With that feature distance and the payout it has all the makings of an exciting race for both the drivers and fans.
Ward Crozier Sr., passed away on May 5, 2017 and he left behind an amazing legacy. It was he who perhaps can be singled out as the person best accountable for keeping pavement racing alive and well in eastern Pennsylvania from the late 1980’s to the present time.At the end of the 1986 season Dorney Park Speedway in Allentown closed its doors leaving the many faithful pavement racers of the area without a track. The cars at Dorney, Sportsman and Late Models, were somewhat exclusive to that track. Thanks to the heads-up thinking of Crozier, he stepped in knowing that a track was available to keep alive the racing.In early 1987, Ward and wife Dottie where able to make a deal with land owner Charlie Abrachinsky to reopen Mahoning Valley Speedway, which had been sitting dormant the past 10 years.The weekly races under the Crozier’s reign where considered some of the best years at the track as they built a solid and loyal base with fans that had a true passion for the sport and the drivers they deeply supported.The 26-lap format is distinct to Crozier as it was the signature number he campaigned throughout his career.
A rain date for the event is slated for the following Saturday, May 16.
Pro 4 division will race at Mahoning Valley Speedway in 2020
Mahoning Valley Speedway announced today that the Pro 4 division will be returning for the 2020 season. The class, a long time staple of the weekly action at the paved ¼-mile oval in Lehighton dating back to 1988, was in question about resuming for next season and beyond. However, after a recent meeting between track promoter Keith Hoffman and owners and drivers, a resolve was reached and the rear-wheel drive 4-cylinder powered class will indeed be back for a 32nd season. “We had a very productive and informative meeting to discuss matters about the class and there was a great line of communication between us,” explained Hoffman. “There was a lot of great input and after hearing everyone’s concerns we were able to come to a mutual agreement to continue racing the class which has been such a big part of the success of Mahoning Valley Speedway.” The Pro 4 division was started by the late Ward Crozier Sr., in 1988 as an affordable entry level class. The class grew in leaps and bounds so much so that a second class, Pro 4 Convertible division, was instituted. Many times the Pro 4’s have also been referred to as the Pinto class because of the Ford Pinto bodies that many teams used. Recent years, however, saw car counts dropping, limited winners and issues between drivers and management that led to questioning their return. “I was aware of the issues that had arisen and as the new guy I wanted to give everyone a fair shot to prove themselves,” added Hoffman. “I know the history with this class and after speaking with them I saw the passion they have for Mahoning Valley. I feel this will work out to everyone’s liking as part of the great line-up of divisions we offer our fans.” The Pro 4s, although not running each week, will see a respectable number of shows during the 2020 season, joining the Modifieds, Late Models, Sportsman Modifieds, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks.
Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series will be highlight of 2020 season
The wheels are in motion for rolling out the 2020 race schedule at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway and although there are a number of items still being worked out, one thing that is for certain in a new and exciting slate of races geared at honoring select accomplished greats while also paying rewarding dividends to the participants. Being dubbed the “Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series” (MVSHoFS), this will be a special five race series held throughout the season and run amongst the Modifieds, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks. The full soon to be released dates will see the Modifieds competing in extra-distance/higher dollar features with a very unique twist to the number of laps for each. They will all contest in a distance that was a signature car number to the particular honoree. Race number one of five, which will be Opening Night, April 4, honors Doug Hoffman and his No. 60. Thus the feature will be 60 laps. Next will be a 77-lapper paying tribute to John ‘Peepers’ Yerger. That will be followed by an 81-lap affair which belongs to the revered George Wambold. The next feature will be 85 laps, the number made famous by Marvin Bartholomew and finally a 99-lapper that is associated with Hal Renniger, closes out the series on October 3. “We're very excited to bring the Hall of Fame Series to Mahoning Valley,” offered newly hired track promoter Keith Hoffman. “We wanted to honor all these important drivers for their contributions to the track. Our loyal fans and drivers will now have the opportunity to compete in meaningful ‘specials’ throughout the season.” Even though the Hall of Fame Series is geared towards Mahoning's history, these special events are also intended to bring in some outside competitors that will only enhance the five-race series. “I think with the point fund and good purse we're offering, we'll be able to pull some talented drivers from other tracks and states and showcase our product to everyone. Even though the off-season is just starting, I'm excited to say the least,” added Hoffman. On those same nights the Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks will be taking part in the MVSHoFS and run regular distance features. There will be a separate tally of points for each class and at the conclusion of the five events the top three will receive point fund monies. Drivers must compete in each of the five races in order to be eligible for the point fund money. There will be a nominal entry fee to run each of the specials. And, while there will be separate points awarded, there is also 50-showup points as well that will be added towards that driver’s 2020 regular season standings amount. Each class will draw for starting spots for both heats and features. Only feature points will count towards the MVSHoFS title of the respective divisions. The point fund breakdown is as follows: $1500, $1000 and $500 to the top three in Modifieds. $1000, $600 and $400 for the Street Stocks and $500, $300 and $200 for the Hobby Stocks. As an added incentive the Modifieds will be given the opportunity of a ‘gamblers fee.’ If a driver so chooses to take the gamble then he/she will win an additional $1000 for that feature. The gamblers fee is being sponsored by Gambler Transportation and Recovery of Whitehall.
More details on the MVSHoFS along with the complete schedule will be forthcoming.