LEHIGHTON - For Eric Beers, his win in Saturday's Mahoning Valley Speedway Modified main was all about Bob "Heavy" Scherer, his brother-in-law and longtime crew member who was under hospice care, suffering from cancer.
Thus when Beers took his place on the starting grid he knew there would be only one position he would settle for.
Starting eighth, he took advantage of a lap 17 restart to unseat Don Wagner and after some close action with Earl Paules, pulled away to his second win of the season.
In victory lane a teary eyed Beers was surrounded by family and friends all overcome with emotion.
"I've known him (Scherer) since I was six years old. I watched him race growing up and watched him in the garage with his work ethic, everything he did throughout his life. To find out the news two weeks ago that he had cancer, it makes you cherish every moment you have we each other," said Beers in dedicating the race to Scherer.
"If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have one career victory. He puts our cars together and throughout the winter he works countless hours and is irreplaceable."
Sadly, by the end of the evening as teams where filing out of the track, Beers got the call that Scherer had passed away.
When the race began pole sitter Wagner jumped out to the early lead and was quickly in defense mode as Paules was looking to get by in any way possible. Kyle Strohl turned the race into an excellent three car battle. Just as it seemed Wagner and Paules would be the ones dueling for the lead, Strohl slipped under Paules and started after Wagner.
Beers burst onto the scene by lap 14 as he went by Paules and two laps later his victim was Strohl. Far from done, he hunted down Wagner and was just about to strike when the caution flew on lap 17.
A break for Wagner yes, but on the restart there was no question where this feature was headed. Beers got the lead and then left no guessing as to who had the strongest car.
"We were on a mission from the start and weren't holding back anything. I wanted to win this so bad for him (Scherer). Earl (Paules) and Donny (Wagner) are some of the toughest guys here and they didn't make it easy," said Beers who won for the 38th time at Mahoning.
Paules, Wagner, Kris Graver and Nevin George rounded out the top five.
In perhaps one of the most breathtaking races ever witnessed, Paules nipped Mike Sweeney for the Late Model win.
It was remarkable in the sense that a mind-blowing 13 lead changes took place over the 25 lap distance with Paules and Sweeney trading off the top spot nine times.
With more feature wins than anyone else, Chip Wanamaker is considered one of the region's top asphalt short track Street Stock drivers and he can now add the Gene Bowers, Sr., Memorial Street Stock 100 to his accomplishment list as the defending class champion won his first 100 lapper.
Wanamaker cruised home a $1200 winner, that plus lap money, which was nearly $2000, made for a very rewarding night.
Randy Ahner, Jr., Brown, Kevin Rex, Jr., and Zach Graver completed the top five.
Kevin Graver. Jr., took the lead after a lap 17 restart and went on to record his second straight Dirt Mod feature.
Once in front he was on cruise control as no one could keep pace with him. Aleia Geisler pulled off an exciting last turn pass on Jack Ely for second.
In the Pro 4 event it was Tyler Stangle who captured a long overdue career first win. Stangle had to hold back the repeated challenges of Nick Baer and did so perfectly in finally earning his place victory lane.
Cody Geist was on his game as the popular second generation driver soundly won the Hobby Stock feature, his career first.
After being close over the first four weeks, Geist was not to be denied on this night as he took the lead on lap three and never looked back. Point leader Steve McDonough was second. Scott Adams, making his first appearance of the season, was third and set a new fast time going 11.751-seconds.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Eric Beers, 2. Earl Paules, 3. Don Wagner, 4. Kris Graver, 5. Nevin George, 6. Bobby Jones, 7. Roger Coss, 8. Chip Santee, 9. John Markovic, 10. Lou Strohl, 11. Francis Gross II, 12. Terry Markovic, 13. Kyle Strohl DNS: Joe Stamm
Late Model Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Earl Paules, 2. Mike Sweeney, 3. Paul Koehler, Jr., 4. Frankie Althouse, 5. George Ramos, 6. Jeremy Miller, 7. Danielle Paules, 8. Paul Effrig, 9. Jacob Nemeth, 10. Jacob Kerstetter, 11. Geno Steigerwalt
Street Stock Feature Finish (100 Laps): 1. Chip Wanamaker, 2. Randy Ahner, Jr., 3. Stacey Brown, 4. Kevin Rex, Jr., 5. Zach Graver, 6. Jason Kuhn, 7. Jared Ahner, 8. TJ Gursky, 9. Jillian Long, 10. Josh Mooney, 11. Aaron Kromer, 12. Cody Roth, 13. Jamie Smith, 14. Lonnie Behler, Jr., 15. Jonathan Tracey, 16. Mark Rogers, 17. Dennis Buss, 18. Lonnie Behler, Sr., 19. Joe Mooney, 20. Steven Steigerwalt, 21. Dan Freundt, 22. Steve Hoffman, 23. Matt Wentz DNQ: Todd Ahner, Mike Garris, Sr., Joe Arena, Lou Strohl, Logan Boyer
Dirt Modified Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Kevin Graver, Jr., 2. Aleia Geisler, 3. Jack Ely, 4. Ricky Yetter, 5. Mike Stofflet, 6. Billy Lowden, Jr., 7. JP Curry, 8. Billy Lasko, 9. Ray Deemer
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Tyler Stangle, 2. Nick Baer, 3. Cody Kohler, 4. Jake Kibler, Jr., 5. Bobby Kibler, Jr., 6. Jesse Snyder, 7. Kailyn Beers, 8. Chad Miller, 9. Dave Chapman
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (15 Laps): 1. Cody Geist, 2. Steve McDonough, 3. Scott Adams, 4. Jeff Biegley, 5. Rich Mutarelli, 6. Shawn Hoffman, 7. Tim Oswald, 8. Paul Hartwig, Jr., 9. Kevin Behler, 10. Alton Snyder, Jr., 11. Corey Edelman, 12. Shayne Geist DNS: Gunner Yost