In what has become the norm in 100-lap Modified races at Mahoning Valley Speedway, it was another wild and exciting showdown with the outcome being played out right down to the final laps.
With two laps to go Eric Beers was not only eyeing the $3000 first place money but he also was in a position to take home the lion's share of the poker series tournament, an additional $2500. This event was the holdover finale of the 2009 Modified Poker Series that had been postponed due to inclement weather.
From lap 50 to lap 98 Eric Beers and Earl Paules staged a fierce dogfight for the lead but in the end it was 18th place starter Matt Hirschman who parked in Victory Lane. Beers tangled with lapped traffic and Paules had to back down in order to avoid being part of it.
Running a close third at the time was Hirschman who was able to drive around the encounter and score the popular win.
"Not bad for a borrowed ride. The car we normally race here got wrecked a couple of weeks ago. This car is from Connecticut and owned by Bob Horn and he towed it all the way out here by himself just to give me a ride tonight and I appreciate all he's done for me and I can't thank him enough," said Hirschman who won an additional $1000 for placing third in the Poker Series. It was also the second straight 100-lapper that the Northampton star had scored at the paved -mile.
"The guys did a great job. We made a bunch of pit stops just to fine tune it and we made it right and made it count."
Thanks to some savvy driving Hirschman was able to pick his way through a very stout pack of cars and with ten laps remaining found himself riding behind the leaders.
As the two to go signal was given Beers and Paules were near even and approaching lapped cars.
Racing room was sparse and as Beers and Paules came roaring up on Kory Rabenold, contact ensued. Beers got the worst of it as he collided into the back of Rabenold. Paules just slipped by but it was Hirschman who avoided all the action and vaulted into to the lead.
With two laps remaining he was able to fend off Paules and notch his second straight 100-lapper.
"That was some great racing there. Earl (Paules) had a real good car to be able to fight like that on the outside and all I could do is really watch and keep close there in case something happened," said Hirschman.
Paul Kohler Jr., of Northampton made a strong statement with his dominating win in the 20-lap Late Model feature.
Reigning Street Stock titlist Randy Ahner Jr., passed Devin Gibson on lap eight and then went on to a convincing victory in the 25-lap race.
When defending Pro4 Late Model champ Kevin Graver, Jr., tangled with Barry Christman for the lead it allowed Kris Graver the chance to inherit the top spot and keep the family name in the winners circle, a common trait over the past few years.
In Dirt Mod action Jeff Parker of Hellertown went from third to first on the opening lap, and was able to hold off a strong challenge from defending champ Randy Thomas.
Modified Feature - 100 Laps
1.Matt Hirschman 2.Earl Paules 3.Don Wagner 4.John Markovic 5.Rick Reichenbach 6.John Bennett 7.Stacy Brown 8.Brian DeFebo 9.Tony Hanbury 10.Rich Kuiken, Jr. 11.Zane Zeiner 12.Eric Beers 13.Kory Rabenold 14.Bobby Jones 15.Lonnie Behler 16.Chip Santee 17.Matt Higgins 18.Andy Szapacs 19.Anthony Sesely 20.James Pritchard, Jr. 21.Jimmy Zacharias
Late Model - 25 Laps
1.Paul Kohler, Jr. 2.Geno Steigerwalt 3.Rick Wallace 4.Pat Hargan 5.Lorin Arthofer II 6.Shawn Sitarchyk 7.Jason Zatsko 8.Frankie Althouse Did not start: Cole Lenhart
Street Stock - 25 Laps
1.Randy Ahner, Jr. 2.Steven Steigerwalt 3.Devin Gibson 4.Kristy Morone Arthofer 5.Todd Ahner 6.Eric Danyluk 7.Paul Effrig 8.TJ Gursky 9.Brian Labar 10.Jillian Long 11.Chip Wanamaker 12.Adam Santee 13.Scooter Graver 14.Steve Hoffman 15.Bernie Uphold 16.Jamie Smith 17.Gene Bowers 18.Joe Mooney 19.Matt May 20.Jason Frey 21.Jon Moser 22.Josh Mooney
Dirt Modified - 20 Laps
1.Jeff Parker 2.Dazve Thomas 3.DJ Wagner 4.Joe Stangle 5.Bill Sittler 6.Randy Thomas 7.Bill Briggs
Pro4 Late Model - 20 Laps
1.Kris Graver 2.Jeremy Miller 3.Dave Chapman 4.Chris Kuronya 5.Mike Stofflet 7.Kevin Graver, Jr. 8.Barry Christman, Jr.