Poker is a game of risk, chance and luck when it comes to winning.
Just ask Chip Santee who, in the blink of an eye, saw his shot at the $3000 Poker Series jackpot in the Hand 2 Seven Card Stud Modified 100 slip through his fingers after the lapped car of Tommy Flanagan got in his path while leading and he was forced to back down to avoid a possible rear end collision with just under 30 laps to go.
Earl Paules was the lucky card holder when all was said and done as the Palmerton hot-shoe was positioned to the outside of Santee and Flanagan and had the clear lane to take the lead and score the popular win over Anthony Sesely, John Markovic, Eric Beers and Matt Hirschman.
Santee had been leading from lap 28 and although Paules was mounting a respectable challenge, it appeared be his race to lose.
On lap 71 a caution was out for Flanagan had spun. He then ducked into the pits and as he was returning to rejoin the race the field was charging out of turn four to get the green. Flanagan came out in front of Santee and Paules.
Santee suddenly found his inside lane blocked and Paules was able to take advantage and move to the front. Santee was never able to regain his spot and even spun at one point.
"Chip (Santee) got a little short end of the deal when the 87 (Flanagan) came out of the pits but what can you do. You have to take advantage with things like that. I felt bad for him but I needed to get the lead right then because our car was tight and Chip was strong," said Paules who notched his third 100 lap Mahoning win.
Time trials locked in the top 12 with Rich Kuilkem Jr. setting fast time with a 9.880-second lap. That earned him a $100 cash bonus.
The field was inverted for the start with Matt Higgins and CJ Jones on the front row. When the race began Higgins led and was holding off Santee and Paules, who were vying for second.
Higgins was impressive in the way he led as both Santee and Paules tried several times but could not get past. Santee finally got a good run on lap 25 as he was able to dip underneath Higgins and finish off the pass on lap 28. Two laps later Paules was in second and it was then a battle with him and Santee.
Lonnie Behler was running a strong fourth over proverbial favorite Beers. Beers got around Behler at lap 57 and then tucked in behind the top two. Sesely joined the front fray on lap 67.
Although Paules was making valid bids to get the lead, Santee was clearly better. He was finally starting to put distance between them until the ill-fated lap 71 caution arrived. It was indeed an unfortunate situation for Santee with the gaffe of Flanagan.
"He was good and I was just trying to save my car," noted Paules.
After taking the lead Paules had to hold back Beers who tried on several restarts to overtake him and then Sesely who tried repeatedly near the closing laps but came up just short.
Austin Kochenash of Danielsville had an easy go of things in the Late Model main as the 15-year old led from start to finish for his fifth win of the season.
After several weeks of having a shot to win the Street Stock main only to come up short, Randy Ahner Jr. of Jim Thorpe was not to be denied. Ahner passed Paul Effrig on lap six and then held off his half brother Devin Gibson.
In Dirt Modifieds Randy Thomas of Palmerton took the lead from Joe Stangle on a lap five restart and then powered away to his sixth win of the season.
Barry Christman Jr. got redemption with his win in the Pro4 Late Models. Last week Christman never made the green for the feature due to a blown engine. This week he returned with a vengeance as he led all but the first lap of the main.
Modified Feature Finish, 100 Laps: 1.Earl Paules 2.Anthiny Sesely 3.John Markovic 4.Eric Beers 5.Mat Hirschman 6.Rob Shultz 7.Bobby Jones 8.Brian DeFebo 9.Chip Santee 10.Matt Higgins 11.CJ Jones 12.Terry Markovic 13.Scott Adams 14.John Bennett 15.Barry Callavini 16.Tommy Flanagan 17.Lonnie Behler 18.Tyler Haydt 19.Rich Kuilkem, Jr. 20.Don Wagner 21.Jimmy Zacharias 22.Lou Strohl 23.Joe Mooney DNQ: Jarred Nace
Late Model Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1.Austin Kochenash 2.Paul Koehler, Jr. 3.Dave Wallace 4.Shawn Sitarchyk 5.Geno Steigerwalt 6.Jason Zatsko 7.Rick Wallace
Street Stock Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1.Randy Ahner, Jr. 2.Devin Gibson 3.Jon Moser 4.Brian Labar 5.Todd Ahner 6.Kristy Morone Arthofer 7.Jillian Long 8.Gene Bowers 9.Jason Frey 10.Steve Steigerwalt 11.Justin Mooney 12.Eric Danyluk 13.TJ Gursky 14.Austin Santee 15.Adam Santee 16.Jim Yamelski 17.Jamie Smith 18.Justin Miller 19.Paul Effrig 20.Josh Mooney
Dirt Modified Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1.Randy Thomas 2.Bill Briggs 3.Joe Stangle 4.Scott Hulmes 5.Jeff Parker 6.Bill Sitler 7.Dave Thomas
Late Model Feature, 20 Laps: 1.Barry Christman, Jr. 2.Kris Graver 3.Kevin Graver, Jr. 4.Mike Stofflet 5.Kevin Stein 6.Jake Kibler 7.Chad Keiser DNS: Jeremy Miller