One thing is for certain with the Modified Triple 25s at Mahoning Valley Speedway, put 22 top shelf drivers on a quarter mile oval for 25 feature laps and you get action that is fast, furious and all out clash to the finish.
In the second running of the new Mahoning signature series, which was sponsored by Fastenal of Lehighton, Don Wagner of Wharton, NJ, Kevin Rex, Jr., of Lehighton and Zane Zeiner of Bath scored wins. In each of the events the leaders had to fend off constant takers who made them all earn their visit to the Winner's Circle.
It was also an emotional evening at the speedway as a special tribute was held in memory of three time Modified track champion Bill Teel who was laid to rest the day before. Prior to the start of the first Mod feature, Tyler Haydt, who won the 2011 crown driving for Teel, made a Victory Lap to a standing ovation. He carried Teel's name on the roof of his No. 16, and all cars had a special Bill Teel decal on their mounts.
Teel made famous the No. 16 throughout his career. Haydt had a close relationship with him and choose the same digits when he began his career. A bonus of $116 was awarded to the fast timer, and the lap leader in each main on lap 16 took home the same. Plus the overall winner of the night received $116.
Time trials set the grid for the first 25 with Wagner running the top lap at 9.629-seconds at 93.468 mph. In addition to the bonus money he also accepted a free wheel courtesy of Bair's Wheel Repair. 18 of the 24 cars timed under 10-seconds.
In race one Wagner and Zeiner led the field to the green with the pole sitter getting a good jump to lead the initial circuit. While he led the battle for second was a good one between Zanier and Bobby Jones. Brian DeFebo also figured closely into the mix.
Wagner had been pulling away to a comfortable gap until late in the race when a few cautions bunched the field. Zeiner and Jones kept their battle going and with five laps to go Jones took second. He then tried to make the best of the late race yellows in tracking down Wagner but it was to no avail.
Wagner took his second win of the season with Jones settling for second. Point leader Earl Paules passed Zeiner on the last lap and got third which marked his ninth consecutive top five. Nevin George came home fifth.
"I want to dedicate this win to Bill Teel, he was one of the greats and we'll all miss him," said Wagner. Both of his victories have now come in the Triple 25s.
"I really love the format of these races. There all out sprints and you have to be on your guard the whole time. I knew Bobby (Jones) was there near the end and he made me earn this one."
In the second main, Rex Jr. turned on the afterburners and checked out on the field en route to scoring the popular verdict. It was his 19th overall win.
"It feels good. In the past weeks we've been close to winning and just had bad luck on our side and finally tonight it turned around. This was great, especially tonight with us honoring Bill Teel," said Rex.
"I never realized just how far out ahead I was until the crew told me. The car was prefect and I have to thank Dale Troxel (car owner) for giving me this ride. I'm so happy to get this win for him."
In the nightcap, Zeiner won by a car length. In a tribute to Teel, Zeiner took a Polish Victory Lap.
"That was a tough one. I got really emotional when Tyler (Haydt) took that car around at the start of the night. Bill (Teel) was such a good friend and I remember working down at Kevin Collins shop when I was a little kid and Bill would stop by there and he would always take the time to talk with me so this one's for him," said Zeiner, who also was the overall winner on the night's Triple 25s.
"I'm still learning with these races believe it or not. I knew my car wasn't real great in that first one and I figured just don't beat it up. The second race I just couldn't get in the right lane and finally in the third one it all clicked."
The Late Model feature once again saw Paules race to the win.
In Street Stock action, it was Josh Mooney of Lehighton taking the win.
Jeremy Miller of Northampton rolled to his division leading fifth 4-Cylinder Stock win of the season.
Modified 1st Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Don Wagner, 2. Bobby Jones, 3. Earl Paules, 4. Zane Zeiner, 5. Nevin George, 6. Brian DeFebo, 7. John Bennett, 8. Roger Coss, 9. Scott Meckes, 10. Kevin Rex, Jr., 11. John Markovic, 12. Troy Bollinger, 13. Jason Hearne, 14. Matt Wentz, 15. Chip Santee, 16. Rick Reichenbach, 17. Joe Mooney, 18. Shawn Sitarchyk, 19. Mike Carroll, 20. Stacey Brown, Tyler Haydt, 20. Lonnie Behler
Modified 2nd Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Rex, Jr., 2. Bennett, 3. Wagner, 4. George, 5. Jones, 6. Zeiner, 7. Markovic, 8. Paules, 9. Santee, 10. Behler, 11. Haydt, 12. Carroll, 13. Sitarchyk, 14. Meckes, 15. DeFebo, 16. Brown, 17. Reichenbach, 18. Hearne, 19. Mooney, 20. Bollinger, 21. Coss, 22. Wentz
Modified 3rd Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Zeiner, 2. Bollinger, 3. Rex, Jr., 4. Coss, 5. Tom Flanagan, 6. Sitarchyk, 7. Wentz, 8. Santee, 9. DeFebo, 10. Meckes, 11. Terry Markovic, 12. John Markovic, 13. Wagner, 14. Reichenbach, 15. Paules, 16. Brown, 17. Behler, 18. Haydt, 19. George, 20. Bennett, 21. Jones, 22. Carroll Did not start: Mooney, Hearne
Late Model Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Earl Paules, 2. Mike Sweeney, 3. Geno Steigerwalt 4. Kenny Hein, 5. Glenn Slocum, 6. George Ramos, 7. Mark Simon, 8. Casey Creyer, 9. Paul Koehler, Jr., 10. Paul Effrig, 11. Ed Bauer
Street Stock Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Josh Mooney, 2. Chris Parry, 3. Kevin Smith, 4. Jason Kuhn, 5. Jillian Long, 6. Rich Moser, 7. Jason Frey, 8. BJ Wambold, 9. Lou Strohl, 10. Scooter Graver, 11. Jonathan Tracey, 12. Gene Bowers, 13. Todd Ahner, 14. Randy Ahner, Jr., 15. Joe Roberts, 16. TJ Gursky, 17. Kyle Strohl, 18. Jason Beers, 19. Joe Steigerwalt DQ: Joe Stamm Did not qualify: Scott Kotran
4-Cylinder Stock Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Jeremy Miller, 2. Jake Kibler, 3. Barry Christman, Jr., 4. Nick Baer, 5. Tyler Stangle, 6. Dan Freundt, 7. Kyle Strohl, 8. Robert Miller, 9. Bobby Kibler, Jr.