Kris Graver and Eric Beers shared the wealth during the Twin 50s Modified features on Saturday night at Mahoning Valley Speedway, each earning $2000 for their respective victories.
Graver's win was his first of the season with the class. He came into the night having had some very decent outings including three of his four top five finishes in third place. Beers, who is the point leader, notched his third verdict of '14 and it may very well have been considered one of the hardest fought wins of his career as he and Nevin George had an amazing battle.
In race one Brian Romig led the first two laps but then Graver, who started second, went to the front. The sophomore Modified driver then had several others step in to challenge and each time he boldly shielded his place.
Romig kept with him Graver for quite a few laps but then gave way to Scott Meckes. Roger Coss also moved up and was racing together with Meckes. While those two wrestled for second, Graver was able to comfortably maintain first place with just enough of a gap ahead of them.
Coss finally took over second by mid-race but his only legitimate shots at Graver would come during restarts.
However, the 2013 Rookie of the Year was making his first time leading this season count and drove to a solid win.
"I finally got out front and actually showed what the car can do. The car's been awesome, we just haven't been catching breaks. I have to give all the credit to my crew and it was great racing with Roger Coss, he's someone you know you can always race clean with," said Graver.
For the second 50 the field was inverted with Kyle Strohl and Brandon Oltra sharing the front row. When the action began Strohl jumped out front first but Oltra used his momentum from the outside lane to take over on lap three and lead a feature for the first time at Mahoning Valley.
Austin Kochenash was quick to get by Strohl for second and then had a clear shot at Oltra on a lap six restart. However, as he was making a valid attempt for the lead, there was some subsequent bumping with everyone so tightly grouped. Kochenash got out of shape and with the approaching traffic he was unable to make a save and veered into the front straight wall, ending his run.
On the restart Oltra had Strohl next to him but George, who has been plenty fast in recent weeks, made quick work of the rookie and took second. Oltra then had a handful as George was insistently forceful in his bid to get by.
The opportunity came to George after a lap nine restart.
Beers was now third and also had a spell in getting around Oltra, needing every bit of the next ten laps to do so.
Once Beers got behind George it became a very intense contest. George was doing all he could to resist as Beers tried every angle possible to make a pass. Seeing that the outside wasn't the way, Beers drove to the low lane and with eight laps to go he was finally able to put his No. 45 out-front.
Not backing down George kept his front bumper right on Beers and did all he could to reclaim the lead but it was not to be. Beers just barely took the checkers for his 39th career Mahoning win.
"That was one tough race. Hats off to Nevin, he ran a great race. He's one of the classiest guys you can race with here. He runs you to the brink of no room but he'll give you just enough," said Beers.
"We just snuck under him and then ran clean side-by-side from there on. I lost power steering by lap four so it was a bear to drive but I manned up and brought it home."
In Late Model action Mike Sweeney got the better of Earl Paules and notched his second win of the season. In what has become a common sight of late, Sweeney, Paules as well as Paul Koehler and Frankie Althouse have all been battling each week for the win and each other.
Paules raced to his fourth consecutive runner-up.
Three times year Matt Wentz took the lead in a Street Stock feature and it only lasted but a few laps. Not this time. Moving to the front after a lap nine restart Wentz went by Josh Mooney and had no issues the rest the remaining distance.
A winner in Modifieds and Enduros, this marked his first time declaring victory with a Street Stock.
In a race that took just 4:31 to run, Jack Ely scored his second Dirt Mod win and it was quite exciting as he and Aleia Geisler battled one-two the entire time.
If ever there was a driver who had to fight hard for his career first win it was Cody Kohler. On two green-white-checker runs he was over taken but each time the passer lost control and spun.
The third time was charm as he stood solid and held on for the elusive first win.
The Hobby Stock class got a pay raise and additional laps and the first to take advantage was Shayne Geist who raced to a career first win.
1st Modified Feature Finish (50 Laps): 1. Kris Graver, 2. Roger Coss, 3. Scott Meckes, 4. Earl Paules, 5. Don Wagner, 6. John Markovic, 7. Brian DeFebo, 8. Nevin George, 9. Brian Sones, 10. Brian Romig, 11. Austin Kochenash, 12. Eric Beers, 13. Brandon Oltra, 14. Kyle Strohl, 15. Matt Wentz, 16. Chip Santee, 17. Lou Strohl, 18. Terry Markovic, 19. Todd Baer, 20. Randall Richard DNQ: Mike Quinn, Joe Mooney, Gene Bowers, Pat Verwys
2nd Modified Feature Finish (50 Laps): 1. Beers, 2. George, 3. Paules, 4. DeFebo, 5. Graver, 6. Quinn, 7. Wagner, 8. K. Strohl, 9. Coss, 10. Oltra, 11. Sones, 12. Meckes, 13. Romig, 14. L. Strohl, 15. T. Markovic, 16. J. Markovic, 17. Baer, 18. Santee, 19. Wentz, 20. Kochenash DNQ: Richard, Mooney, Bowers, Verwys
Late Model Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Mike Sweeney, 2. Earl Paules, 3. Paul Koehler, Jr., 4. Frankie Althouse, 5. George Ramos, 6. Jacob Kerstetter, 7. Jacob Nemeth, 8. Jeremy Miller, 9. Danielle Paules, 10. Geno Steigerwalt
Street Stock Feature Finish (30 Laps): 1. Matt Wentz, 2. Dave Chapman 3. Stacey Brown, 4. TJ Gursky, 5. Josh Mooney, 6. BJ Wambold, 7. Jason Kuhn, 8. Randy Ahner, Jr., 9. Jillian Long, 10. Gene Bowers, 11. Chip Wanamaker, 12. Jonathan Tracey, 13. Lonnie Behler, Sr., 14. Jamie Smith, 15. Todd Ahner, 16. Zach Graver, 17. Jared Ahner, 18. Justin Mooney, 19. Dan Freundt, 20. Lonnie Behler, Jr., 21. George Ramos, 22. Steven Steigerwalt DNQ: DJ Wagner, Aaron Kromer, Cody Roth, BJ Wambold, Logan Boyer
Dirt Modified Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Jack Ely, 2. Aleia Geisler, 3. Mike Stofflet, 4. JP Curry, 5. Kevin Graver, Jr., 6. Billy Lowden, Jr., 7. Ricky Yetter, 8. Ray Deemer, 9. Jeff Parker, 10. Chuck Potts, 11. Joe Stangle, 12. Billy Lasko, 13. Brian Fucili
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Cody Kohler, 2. Jesse Sndyer, 3. Tyler Stangle, 4. Bobby Kibler, Jr., 5. Nick Baer, 6. Kailyn Beers, 7. Dave Chapman DNS: Jake Kibler
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Shayne Geist, 2. Corey Edelman, 3. Tim Oswald, 4. Cody Geist, 5. Rich Mutarelli, 6. Alton Snyder, Jr., 7. Shawn Hoffman