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Wagner's win puts him in point lead

Published August 31. 2010 05:00PM

One week was worth the wait for Wharton, New Jersey's Don Wagner as he not only won the special Poker Series race but assumed the division point lead as well.

With 13 laps competed in the August 21, 35-lap 7 Card Stud Poker Series race at Mahoning Valley Speedway, John Bennett and Wagner where running one-two. Unfortunately rain put a halt to the action at the point and the event was resumed this past Saturday night.

When the race got back underway Bennett was again ahead of Wagner but never by much as the pair, who came into the night tied for first in points, ran virtually side-by-side. Six laps after the restart Wagner, running the outside, went by Bennett for the lead and ultimately the win.

"I love racing side-by-side with Johnny (Bennett). We've done it like that for a long time and he always runs you clean. We got it tonight and it felt good because we had been fighting some motor issues the past few weeks," said Wagner, now a two-time winner.

In moving to the point lead Wagner is the first driver in the past two-and-one-half seasons to unseat Bennett from the top of the standings during the regular season.

"He is the king and unless you beat the best what do you have the gauge it against," added Wagner.

Chip Santee, Eric Beers and Lou Strohl completed the top five.

In the regular Modified feature it was an all out barnburner as Santee picked up his second win of the season by the narrowest of margins over Beers, Wagner and Bennett.

This was third runner-up for Beers who uncharacteristically has yet to reach Victory Lane this season despite leading the most laps of anyone this season.

In Late Model action it is becoming a fact that you can teach an old dog new tricks. 14-year Austin Kochenash of Danielsville is the one doing it as raced to his second straight and seventh win of the year.

Kochenash's win came over a field of seasoned veterans that included four-time champ Todd Stehle and two-time champ Paul Koehler, Jr., as well as others with countless years of experience.

Coming into the night's Street Stock race, Justin Mooney of Lehighton had only one top five finish this season but it was a good one which was a feature win. Mooney picked up another top five and again it was in the form of victory.

Mooney pulled in behind Chris May at the outset and after several laps of pressure he was able to make an inside pass for the lead on lap nine.

For Mooney, keeping his lead meant having to fend off the doggedness of point leader Randy Ahner, Jr. and Steve Steigerwalt right to the finish.

Steve Hoffman was fourth with last week's winner Kristy Morone Arthofer fifth. In doing so the title chase remains very close between the top three of Ahner, Arthofer and Steigerwalt with four races remaining.

Palmerton's Randy Thomas continued his domination in Dirt Modified action as he cruised to an unparalleled ninth win and clear cut shot at a second straight class title.

Thomas's road to victory came with by way of an inside pass over Scott Hulmes on lap nine. He then pulled away to make it a race for second. Runner-up went to Bill Briggs.

The Graver name has become a common trait this year in Victory Lane with the Pro4 Late Models, be it Kris or Kevin.

This week is was Kevin who took his potent mount to win number six. Last week it was Kris.

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