Earl "Hurricane" Paules of Palmerton and Austin Kochenash of Danielsville each picked up momentum wins at Mahoning Valley Speedway heading into to the Race of Champions weekend coming up at Oswego Speedway.
For Paules it was his third Mahoning Modified win of the season and 11th overall while Kochenash, who is a guaranteed RoC starter via a Mahoning win two weeks ago, raced to his ninth in the Late Models.
In the Modified feature Paules started 12th and took the lead from Joe Mooney on a lap 24 restart. He then held off Rob Shultz and John Bennett for the verdict.
Terry Markovic paced the first four laps before Mooney made his way to the front. For the second week in row Mooney was racing at the helm with confidence and it showed the most by fending off Mahoning's Kingpin John Bennett during a side-by-side battle.
Bennett, who came into the evening second in points and just one behind Don Wagner, was putting his years of experience to the test in trying to get around Mooney. It wasn't until a restart on lap 16 that he was able to pull off the pass.
The racing was still very close as Mooney kept running alongside from the inside lane. After completing one lap under green Mooney was forcing Bennett to the high outside and as they crossed the line to conclude lap 18, Bennett got loose and spun.
Back to the front went Mooney and this time he had Paules alongside. It took several tries to get the action resumed but once it did Mooney was again proving his worthiness as the new kid on the Modified block as he held off the more experienced Paules.
Once again it would be a caution that turned out to be Mooney's downfall. On a lap 24 restart Paules got a great bite as he blasted by for the lead which he would hold the rest of the way.
"The 62 (Mooney) was good tonight. Here's the deal with Joe Mooney, he's young and we're old. Long after we're done he'll still be winning races but you have to pay your dues here and it takes a long time to get there. But he's doing a hell of a job," said Paules.
"It seemed as though we had been in a drought for a bit. We'd like to get another win in the final 100-lapper and get another Ace. That's why we were here tonight to get that practice in."
A win in the final Poker Series race on Oct. 2 would assure Paules a share of the $5000 jackpot.
Rob Shultz had his best Mahoning finish to date. He ran in the top five all race long and nipped Bennett at the line for second. With just one race to go Bennett has retaken the point lead by five over Wagner.
"We had a heck of run going there and trying to go around (Mooney) on the outside and he pushed me up a little bit. He's new at this so I guess you have to forgive and forget. We were able to come back to third and you can't complain about that," said Bennett.
As for Kochenash his superlative season just continues to get better. It's hard to think that this talent is only 14-years old as he makes winning look almost effortless.
Rick Wallace led the first dozen tours but once Kochenash caught him on lap nine it was becoming challenging to maintain his lead.
Indeed. Kochenash, stormed by Wallace and just like most of the eight previous times, cruised home to victory.
"It was a great run tonight and the car was perfect. My dad and everyone on the crew had everything spot on. All I had to do was steer it. It's a nice feeling going into the RoC race with the confidence of knowing how well this car if working right now," said Kochenash.
It was on this same weekend one year ago that Palmerton's Todd Ahner was in Victory Lane with his Street Stock. The all-time wins leader with the class not only raced to his 25th victory but in doing so tied the record for most different winners in a season at 15.
With three laps to go Ahner drove underneath Chris May en route to the win.
Pro4 Late Model point leader Kris Graver of Lehighton moved one step closer to a championship thanks to his 11th win.
Tom Cremer of Sinking Springs led all 20 laps and in doing so notched his career first Dirt Modified win.
John Rakos of Wharton was a runaway winner in the final appearance of the year for the Micro Stocks.
In a special ladies race run with the Micro Stocks it was Mahoning's own Gena Hoffman picking up the popular win.
Modified Feature Finish, 35 Laps: 1.Earl Paules 2.Rob Schultz 3.John Bennett 4.Joe Mooney 5.Brian DeFebo 6.Don Wagner 7.Todd Baer 8.Stacey Brown 9.Nick Pecko 10.Rick Reichenbach 11.Lou Strohl 12.Lonnie Behler 13.Terry Markovic 14.Keith Mullineaux 15.Jarred Nace 16.Matt Higgins 17.Billy Weichert 18.Roger Coss 19.John Markovic 20.Scott Adams 21.Chip Santee
Late Model Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1.Austin Kochenash 2.Shawn Sitarchyk 3.RickWallace 4.Paul Koehler, Jr. 5.Paul Skodacek Did not start: Rick Smith
Street Stock Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1.Todd Ahner 2.Jason Frey 3.Josh Mooney 4.Steve Hoffman 5.TJ Gursky 6.Chris May 7.Justin Mooney 8.Austin Santee 9.Kristy Morone Arthofer 10.Gene Bowers 11.Chip Wanamaker 12.Eric Danyluk 13.Brian Labar 14.Jillian Long 15.Jamie Smith 16.Randy Ahner, Jr. 17.Adam Santee 18.Devin Gibson 19.Steve Steigerwalt 20.Jon Moser 21.Kevin Smith 22.Matt May
Dirt Modified Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1.Tom Cremer 2.Randy Thomas 3.Dave Thomas 4.Bill Briggs 5.Scott Hulmes
Pro4 Late Model Feature, 20 Laps: 1.Kris Graver 2.Kevin Graver, Jr. 3.Jeremy Miller 4.Kevin Stein 5.Jake Kibler 6.Aleia Geisler 7.Chad Keiser 8.Barry Christman, Jr.
Micro Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1.John Rakos 2.Brian Correll 3.Wayne Krenn 4.Bill Darling 5.Roger Snyder 6.DJ Wagner 7.Mario Oberto
Ladies Race Feature Finish, 10 Laps: 1.Gena Hoffman 2.Cindy Berglot 3.Jess Wessner 4.Maryilynn Snyder 5.Tina Kitchen