It seemed for a while that Northampton's Matt Hirschman could never come up with a win at Mahoning Valley Speedway, a track that is just a 30-minite drive from his home. Despite being always fast, victory continually eluded him for a variety of reasons.
But after picking up his career first Mahoning win at the end of 2009 it now seems that he can't lose as for the fourth time in his last six starts Hirschman drove to a 100-lap, $3000 win.
In Saturday night's Hand 4 of the 7 Card Stud Poker Series, Hirschman was unstoppable in much the same manner he was in last month's Poker Series race.
Starting ninth, he powered his way to the front on lap 36 and in a repeat performance of his Aug. 14 win he was virtually unchallenged after gaining the lead.
"This car has been hooked up and we really have it figured out here. I have to thank Bob Horn for bringing it. We haven't really discussed it much but we had a plan and that was to come back just the way we were last time and just basically beat ourselves rather than someone else beat us because we had something that worked and we stuck with it," said Hirschman.
Tyler Haydt turned in a solid effort with his second place but admitted there was no catching the leader.
"He (Hirschman) was on top of it tonight and he's the guy to beat right now in these 100-lappers. He was head and shoulders above the rest of us," said Haydt.
Late Model point leader Paul Koehler Jr. of Northampton raced to his fifth win of the season and in doing so tied the record for most class wins with Todd Stehle at 34.
Koehler's march to the front came after a spirited duel with his title contending counterpart Shawn Sitar-chyk. The two were running side-by-side until lap seven when they touched and Sitarchyk went spinning.
"There was contact and he (Sitarchyk) was running up into me and I knew he was going to spin himself out because I've done it myself before trying to block for the lead," said Koehler.
It was far from over for Koehler as the rest of the way he was faced with holding back Austin Kochenash, who was attempting to win his four straight. At the finish Koehler held on for the slim win, his fifth of the year and first since June 26.
In the Street Stocks it was a perfect night for Lehighton's Gene Bowers who swept his night of racing by winning his heat and feature.
Bowers started second in the main and was running alongside leader Jon Moser. On lap six he looked to the inside and completed the race winning pass at the outset of the ensuing circuit. The rest of the way there was no stopping him as he pulled away for the victory.
Kris Graver of Lehighton once again was triumphant in the Pro4 Late Models as he won for an incredible 10th time. This week's winning edition came by way of a pass on Jeremy Miller with four laps completed. Afterwards it was another case of holding off Kevin Graver.
Likewise with Randy Thomas of Palmerton in the Dirt Mods who also took a 10th feature win. Thomas needed nearly the entire race to get by Joe Stangle for the win. He slipped into the lead with two laps to go.
Wes Gilbert of Preston, MD made a sweep of the 4c Super Modified season at Mahoning as the point leader won on a last lap, last corner pass on Ron Merlino.
Modified Feature Finish, 100 Laps: 1.Matt Hirschman 2.Tyler Haydt 3.John Markovic 4.Lonnie Behler 5.John Bennett 6.Bobby Jones 7.Pete Brittain 8.Brian DeFebo 9.Earl Paules 10.Rob Shultz 11.Don Wagner 12.CJ Jones 13.Chip Santee 14.Eric Beers 15.Matt Higgins 16.Terry Markovic 17.Joe Mooney 18.Lou Strohl 19.Chris Hamilton 20.Anthony Sesely 21.Jarrd Nace 22.Roger Coss 23.Rick Reichenbach
Late Model Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1.Paul Koehler, Jr. 2.Austin Kochenash 3.Todd Stehle 4.Dave Wallace 5.Rick Wallace 6.Pat Hargan 7.Ed Bauer 8.Shawn Sitarchyk 9.Jason Arthofer 10.Ron Geotter 11.Rick Smith 12.Cole Lenhart
Street Stock Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1.Gene Bowers 2.Austin Santee 3.Jon Moser 4.Jillian Long 5.Jason Frey 6.Josh Mooney 7.Justin Mooney 8.Steve Steigerwalt 9.Steve Hoffman 10.TJ Gursky 11.Kristy Morone Arthofer 12.Randy Ahner, Jr. 13.Todd Ahner 14.Chip Wanamaker 15.Devin Gibson 16.Brian Labar 17.Jamie Smith 18.Chris May 19.Kevin Smith 20.Adam Santee Did not qualify: Joe Stamm, Scott Kotran
Dirt Modified Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1.Randy Thomas 2.Joe Stangle 3.Bill Briggs 4.Dave Thomas 5.Scott Hulmes 6.Tom Cremer 7.Mark Levy Did not start: Bill Sitler
Pro4 Late Model Feature, 20 Laps: 1.Kris Graver 2.Kevin Graver, Jr. 3.Jeremy Miller 4.Jake Kibler 5.Chad Keiser 6.Aleia Geisler 7.Kevin Stein
4C Super Modified Feature Finish, Laps: 1.Wes Gilbert 2.Ron Merlino 3.Mike Renn 4.Steve Renn 5.Anthony Merlino 6.Mike Crispo 7.Rob Renn 8.Wayne Merlino