Bennett wins again at Mahoning Valley Speedway
Reigning Mahoning Valley Speedway track Kingpin John Bennett of Lehighton was back to his usual ways of making daring passes and driving off to victory.
The all-time leader in just about everything at the always demanding 14-mile made a slingshot move underneath Tyler Haydt with ten laps to go then held off a pair New Jersey aces in Don Wagner and Rob Shultz in capturing his fourth win of the season.
"We were struggling there for a little bit. We found we had a couple of bad shocks and replaced them this week and I'll tell you what it was all pretty good tonight," said Bennett who made it win number 55 in his still going strong stellar career, 25th in a Modified.
At the start of the race Joe Mooney and Haydt ran side-by-side for the opening lap lead with Haydt making to the front first.
Lonnie Behler settled into second with Anthony Sesely and Bennett in tow.
Haydt was looking strong at his top post although Behler did keep things close. Unfortunately Behler gave up his spot on lap 18 due to a left front flat. He slowed to a halt and brought out the yellow. A lap prior Sesely was also out when he got nipped and spun.
On the restart Bennett was to the outside of Haydt and attempted several tries. The trademark passing move for Bennett has always been to the outside, but this time he took the alternate approach on the bottom line.
With 24 laps in Bennett went to work on his race winning move. He had been riding the high groove but suddenly the inside opened up and he seized the moment.
"He (Haydt) was a little loose there and I caught him sliding going into (turn) three and thought that was my chance so I threw it under there," said Bennett.
"Everyone has stepped up their game and it's been a real tough field all year and it's definitely made things a lot more challenging."
Tough indeed. Shultz is one of those who Bennett spoke of. In the past few weeks he has continued to be a noticed and was vying for a Mahoning best second place finish. Title hopeful Wagner made a hard charge and nipped him by inches at the finish.
"We're racing for wins too," said Wagner. "We had a great car tonight. It was tight in the beginning and we're just happy to be in the top three.
Haydt and Chip Santee completed the top five.
Rick Wallace of Lehighton was victorious for the first time in nearly three years as the seasoned veteran picked up the win with an impressive performance by leading every lap.
Wallace out-dueled pole sitter Barry Christman, Sr. at the start and then kept focus on the front the rest of the way.
16-year old Gene Bowers of Lehighton won his career first Street Stock feature and in doing so become the 11th different winner if one of the most competitive seasons the class has ever had.
Pro4 Late Model
At times it seemed the Pro4 Late Model feature resembled more of a war rather than a race as a foursome of drivers waged war but when all was said and done it was a non combatant among them who emerged the victor.
Mike Stofflet of Allentown came out the winner, his first of the year, after a race long clash took place between Jeremy Miller, Barry Christman, Jr., and Kevin and Kris Graver.
Brian Correll of Nazareth passed John Rakos with six laps to go and went on to win his first Mahoning Micro stock feature
Modified Feature (35 Laps)
1.John Bennett 2.Don Wagner 3.Rob Shultz 4.Tyler Haydt 5.Chip Santee 6.Tom Flanagan 7.Anthony Sesely 8.Brian Romig 9.Joe Mooney 10.Jarred Nace 11.Rich Kuilken, Jr. 12.Keith Mullineaux 13.Lonnie Behler 14.Rick Reichenbach 15.Troy Bollinger 16.Brian DeFebo
Late Model Feature (20 Laps)
1.Rick Wallace 2.Paul Koehler, Jr. 3.Jason Zatsko 4.Austin Kochenash 5.Shawn Sitarchyk 6.Ron Geotter 7.Dave Wallace 8.Chris Kemmerer 9.barry Christman, Sr.
Street Stock Feature (25 Laps)
1.Gene Bowers 2.Devin Gibson 3.Adam Santee 4.Austin Santee 5.Jason Frey 6.Steve Hoffman 7.Chris May 8.Justin Mooney 9.Todd Ahner 10.Randy Ahner, Jr. 11.Jim Yamelski 12.Kristy Morone Arthofer 13.Steve Steigerwalt 14.TJ Gursky 15.Brian Labar 16.Jillian Long 17.Jamie Smith 18.Eric Danyluk 19.Josh Mooney 20.Paul Effrig
Dirt Modified Feature (20 Laps)
1.Randy Thomas 2.Bill Briggs 3.Mike Brannigar 4.Joe Stangle 5.Jeff Parker 6.Dave Thomas 7.Bill Sitler
Pro4 Late Model Feature (20 Laps)
1.Mike Stofflet 2.Jeremy Miller 3.Kevin Graver, Jr. 4.Kevin Stein 5.Kris Graver 6.Chad Keiser 7.Barry Christman, Jr. 8.Jake Kibler
Micro Stock Feature (15 Laps)
1.Brian Correll 2.John Rakos 3.Roger Snyder 4.Bill Darling 5.Dave Allen 6.DJ Wagner 7.Wayne Krenn 8.Pete Bayles