It had been nearly a decade since Nevin George last ran at the tight confines of Mahoning Valley Speedway and 15 years since he last won a race here. George, 30, from Kunkletown, has returned in full force for the 2012 season and on Saturday night he beat a talent-filled field of 19 others for his first ever victory in a Modified.
George started sixth and within two laps was running third. He then went by his teammate Scott Meckes on lap 12 and continued towards race leader Lonnie Behler where he began a torrid side-by-side duel. Running on the topside of the track, George edged past Behler on lap 15.
Multi-time track champion John Markovic soon came into focus and over the final 15 laps the two raced in a torrid battle that was decided by a close finish.
"It's been a long time since winning here. We got into the Modifieds in 1998 and ran a half season. I was on the (NASCAR Modified) Tour and never really got the chance to get down here after that and this has been one of my big things throughout my career. I never got a Modified win here so this is a really big deal," said George who is a two-time D/A Modified champion with 14 wins.
Kevin Rex, Jr., was third with Earl Paules and Lonnie Behler rounding out the top five.
In the Late Models a very long dry spell has come to an end for Palmerton's Ed Bauer as he notched his first win in 20-years. It was on July 25, 1992 and four years prior to that he took a Street Stock feature. Few wins and a large span in between but that distant memory was freshened anew when he scored a popular victory over point leader Paules.
Over the final laps Bauer clung to the inside lane and eked out a narrow .110-second margin of victory.
Josh Mooney of Lehighton scored his first Street Stock win of the season. Coming from ninth, Mooney, who has been among the fastest cars since the season began, worked his way behind leader BJ Wambold at mid-race.
Point leader and last week's winner Randy Ahner, Jr., took the runner-up spot with Wambold holding on for a career best third.
A very young Kyle Strohl of Palmerton pulled off an upset win in the 4-Cylinder Stocks as the 12-year old took his car to the front of the pack with one lap to go and held off none other than defending champion Barry Christman, Jr.
Lehighton's Kris Graver was in the right place at the right time and scored his third straight Dirt Mod win.
In the touring INEX Legends event it was Matt Pappa, who is second in the Nation in Asphalt Pro division points, scored a resounding win. Starting second, Pappa, who hails from Albany, NY, led the first lap, lost it the second time around to Todd McCollum after he drifted to high in turn three.
Modified Feature Finish, 35 Laps: 1. Nevin George, 2. John Markovic, 3. Kevin Rex, Jr., 4. Earl Paules, 5. Lonnie Behler, 6. Chip Wanamaker, 7. Don Wagner, 8. Joe Mooney, 9. Matt Wentz, 10. Brian DeFebo, 11. Bobby Jones, 12. Troy Bollinger, 13. Scott Meckes, 14. Stacey Brown, 15. Terry Markovic, 16. Shawn Sitarchyk, 17. Tommy Flanagan, 18. DJ Wagner, 19. John Bennett, 20. Rick Reichenbach
Did not qualify: Keith Mullineaux
Late Model Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Ed Bauer, 2. Earl Paules, 3. Paul Koehler, Jr., 4. Mike VanFossen, 5. Mike Sweeney, 6. George Ramos, 7. Kenny Hein, 8. Glenn Slocum, 9. Paul Effrig, 10. Casey Creyer, 11. Mark Simon
Street Stock Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Josh Mooney, 2. Randy Ahner, Jr., 3. BJ Wambold, 4. Jason Kuhn, 5. Todd Ahner, 6. TJ Gursky, 7. Gene Bowers, 8. Joe Roberts, 9. Kyle Strohl, 10. Kevin Smith, 11. Jonathan Tracy, 12. Jason Frey, 13. Joe Stamm, 14. Chris Parry, 15. Greg Long, 16. Rich Moser, 17. Lou Strohl
Dirt Modified Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Kris Graver, 2. Randy Thomas, 3. Dave Thomas, 4. Ed Altemose, 5. Mike Stofflet, 6. Joe Stangle, 7. Mark Levy
4-Cylinder Stock Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Kyle Strohl, 2. Barry Christman, Jr., 3. Dan Freundt, 4. Nick Baer, 5. Bobby Kibler, Jr., 6. Jeremy Miller, 7. Stone Wentz, 8. Robert Miller, 9. Taya Wentz, 10. Tyler Stangle, 11. Josh Oswald, 12. Jake Kibler, 13. Doug Knauss
INEX Legends Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Matt Pappa, 2. Todd McCollum, 3. Raven Schrantz, 4. Carl Jones, 5. Sam Pickford, 6. Dylan Hoffman, 7. Mitchell Dowd, 8. Russell Sniffen, Jr.., 9. Brad Lowmaster, 10. Jim Hoffman, 11. Malcolm Campbell, 13. Barry Schrantz Did not start: Matt Gaughan.