When Matawan, NJ's Anthony Sesely opted to travel to Mahoning Valley Speedway instead of closer-to-home Wall Stadium where he had won three times this season, it was suppose to be for a fun night, shake the cars down of both him and his sister Amanda who was also in attendance and prepare for the upcoming 100-lapper on July 10.
Well he did that and a whole lot more as the 25-year old Sesely pulled off an amazing victory, his first at the track since September 1, 2001.
Sesely put on quite the drive too, coming from 14th and then executing a daring three-wide pass for the lead over Lonnie Behler and Don Wagner that sealed his win.
"That was amazing. I want to first thank Doug and Gena (Hoffman, track owners). This is a great place to race and I really had a lot of fun tonight. Racing with no mirrors and no radios, that's the way to do it," said Sesely.
"That was just so much fun. I haven't won here since 2001 and this race was absolutely awesome."
Pole sitter Andy Szapacs darted out to the early lead. On lap two Behler was working underneath him and as they entered turn one Szapacs lost traction and slid into the wall.
Behler was now leading but by lap 10 Bennett became a factor. Bennett powered his way via the outside lane and moved to second on lap 14.
Behler was very defensive in holding his spot and that was never more evident than on lap 15 when he and Bennett touched wheels and the track's star player nearly lost it and fell back several spots. In the meantime, Wagner picked up the chase.
The front two weren't the only ones putting on a show as Flanagan and Sesely were also wheel-to-wheel behind them.
On lap 25 a caution waved for Chip Santee who spun in turn three.
When the action resumed Behler, Wagner and Sesely went three-wide for the lead with Sesely breathtakingly coming out ahead.
"That was the first time I ever had to race against Lonnie Behler and let me tell you something, he is as tough as they come," said Sesely.
With five laps remaining Wagner unseated Behler and did all he could to overtake Sesely but it was to no avail.
"We just came here to shake these cars down. These are two barrel Wall Stadium cars and we didn't know how they would stack up here," offered Sesely. "I love coming here, I love racing here and I had a long drought here and I'm glad I shook that monkey off my back."
Wagner's runner-up it made it a one-two finish for the Garden State.
The Late Model feature was light on cars but not on action.
After running side-by-side on the outside for several laps with early leader Rick Wallace, Paul Koehler Jr., of Northampton, grabbed the lead on lap eight and then held off Shawn Sitarchyk yet again for his fourth Late Model win of the season.
"I'm finally glad we got another one. I feel like the last two weeks we had them stolen from us. This was a little bitter sweet too because I wish there were more cars here," said Koehler.
Koehler needs just one win to tie the current record of 34 class victories held by Todd Stehle.
There was a season high 27 Street Stocks, all looking to tune-up for the $1000-to-win Star Spangled 100 on July 3.
A very impressive field indeed but none could match the strong performance turned in by Lehighton's Jason Frey who won for a second time this season.
Frey started third and passed Jamie Smith on lap three. For the remaining 22 circuits he fended off Todd Ahner.
At just 16-years old Kris Graver of Lehighton looks more like a seasoned veteran rather than a driver who is only into his third year of racing stock cars.
For the fifth time in 10 starts Graver was parked in Victory Lane after a Pro4 Late Model feature.
In this winning edition Graver went around Jeremy Miller on lap eight and not only notched his fifth win but it was also his 10th straight finish of third or better.
Palmerton's Randy Thomas is hitting his stride as the defending Dirt Modified champ cruised to his third win of the year. Thomas, the point leader, passed Tom Cremer on lap four and from there it was no contest.
Modified Feature Finish
1.Anthony Sesely 2.Don Wagner 3.Lonnie Behler 4.Tom Flanagan 5.Matt Wentz 6.Brian DeFebo 7.John Bennett 8.Brian Romig 9.Chip Santee 10.Joe Mooney 11.Matt Higgins 12.Lou Strohl 13.Jarred Nace 14.Ed Heim, Jr. 15.Rob Shultz 16.Billy Swartz 17.Rick Reichenbach 18.Tylet Haydt 19.Amanda Sesely 20.Andy Szapacs
Late Model Feature Finish
1.Paul Koehler, Jr. 2.Shawn Sitarchyk 3.Rick Wallace 4.Barry Christman Sr.
Street Stock Feature Finish
1.Jason Frey 2.Todd Ahner 3.Steven Steigerwalt 4.Steve Hoffman 5.TJ Gursky 6.Josh Mooney 7.Kristy Morone Arthofer 8.Brian Labar 9.Eric Danyluk 10.Justin Mooney 11.Randy Ahner, Jr. 12.Jim Yamelski 13.Jon Moser 14.Chip Wanamaker 15.Paul Effrig 16.Jamie Smith 17.Gene Bowers 18.Ethan Rutherford 19.Adam Santee 20.Jillian Long 21.Austin Santee 22.Devin Gibson 23.Justin Miller 24.Dale Santee Did not start: Matt May, Bernie Uphold, Chris May
Dirt Modified Feature Finish
1.Randy Thomas 2.Jeff Parker 3.Joe Stangle 4.Dave Thomas 5.Tom Cremer 6.Dave Brobst