To get an idea of who will be championship contenders for this year's Mahoning Valley Speedway Modified division you didn't need to look past the first five finishers in Saturday night's feature. Chip Santee, Eric Beers, Earl Paules, Nevin George and Roger Coss all ran in a tight battle with Santee emerging the winner in a battle amongst the top five in points.
For Santee, of Walnutport, he turned around weeks of frustration including earlier in the night when he had clutch issues during his heat. It marked the first time in three seasons he came out on top of a Modified feature.
He started fifth and within four laps began to wage a good battle with Don Wagner. Then after a restart on lap 10 he shot past for the lead. Wagner stayed on him until lap 18. Thereafter Santee was joined by the other top five point men and they would all run in close formation to the end.
"The last couple weeks my car was struggling and my crew busted their tails off this past week. Early today we came up for practice and blew a tire and then we had trouble with the clutch slipping during our heat (race). We even thought about scratching to the rear for the feature but decided to just go out and run as best we can," explained Santee.
With 10 laps to go second spot was secured by Beers and from there on he would give Santee fits. He looked both high and low and even tried to take advantage of lapped traffic but each time Santee defended his position.
"I'm glad it was Eric (Beers) who was behind me," said Santee. "He ran a good clean race. He actually helped me out this week and gave me some pointers. He told me to go back to the basics. He's a great friend. I want to thank him, my crew and especially my dad, this was for him on Father's Day."
Lehighton's Kevin Graver, Jr., has won a lot of races at Mahoning Valley and in several divisions. Now he can also add a Late Model victory to his impressive list.
Jason Beers of Northampton picked up his first win of the season with the Street Stocks. Lonnie Behler got a season best second with Gene Bowers third.
In the Dirt Mods it was Ricky Yetter of Easton finally busting through for his first win of the season. Point leader Jeff Parker was second and Dave Thomas third.
Kyle Strohl of Palmerton took the lead after a lap four restart from Danielle Paules and then held off Jake Kibler for his third Pro4 win of the season.
Jeff Biegley of Breinigsville just edged Cory Edelman in the Hobby Stock main which was his fifth win of the year.
Ron Merlino, Jr., of Franklinville, NJ picked up the win with the 4c Super Mods.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Chip Santee, 2. Eric Beers, 3. Earl Paules, 4. Nevin George, 5. Roger Coss, 6. Don Wagner, 7. Kevin Rex, Jr., 8. Matt Wentz, 9. Todd Baer, 10. Kris Graver, 11. Shawn Sitarchyk, 12. Terry Markovic, 13. Paul Frantz, 14. Lou Strohl, 15. DJ Wagner, 16. John Markovic, Troy Bollinger, 18. Tom Flanagan, 19. Bryan Sherwood
Late Model Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Kevin Graver, Jr., 2. Earl Paules, 3. Paul Effrig, 4. Mike VanFossen, 5. Mike Sweeney, 6. Frankie Althouse, 7. George Ramos, 8. Kenny Hein, 9. Geno Steigerwalt, 10. Jennifer Kutz
Street Stock Feature Finish (30 Laps): 1. Jason Beers, 2. Lonnie Behler, 3. Gene Bowers, 4. Jillian Long, 5. Chip Wanamaker, 6. Justin Mooney, 7. BJ Wambold, 8. Steve Steigerwalt, 9. Jason Frey, 10. TJ Gursky, 11. Stacey Brown, 12. Jamie Smith, 13. Randy Ahner, Jr., 14. Aaron Kromer, 15. Zach Graver, 16. Kyle Strohl, 17. Jonathan Tracy, 18. Kristy Arthofer, 19. Josh Mooney, 20. Todd Ahner 21. Jason Kuhn. DNQ: Joe Mooney, Joe Roberts, Willie Knappenberger, Cody Roth, Tiffany Wambold, Guy Ackerman, Cody Geist
Dirt Modified Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Ricky Yetter, 2. Jeff Parker, 3. Dave Thomas, 4. Aleia Geisler, 5. JP Curry, 6. Mike Stofflet, 7. Mark Martini, 8. Bill Sittler, 9. Joe Stangle, 10. Drew Reinbold, 11. Ray Deemer
Pro4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Kyle Strohl, 2. Jake Kibler, 3. Dave Chapman, 4. Nick Baer, 5. Bobby Kibler, Jr., 6. Danielle Paules, 7. Cody Kohler, 8. Tyler Stangle, 9. Dou Knauss, 10. Robert Miller
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (15 Laps): 1. Jeff Biegley, 2. Cory Edelman, 3. Gunner Yost
4C Super Modified Feature Finish, (15 Laps): 1. Ron Merlino, Jr., 2. Bob Renn, 3. Steve Renn, 4. Wes Gilbert, 5. Mike Renn