Youngsters make statement with Modified wins
Mahoning Valley is well known for its core of veteran Modified stars, but a pair of young guns showed that the future is also in good hands as Gene Bowers and Jack Ely scored impressive wins on Saturday evening.
Bowers made a thrilling pass over Bobby Jones with one lap to go to win the makeup feature from Aug. 19, which netted him his first win with a Modified.
In the regular feature, Ely was settled in behind Brian Labar and seemed content to ride home second, but as the laps clicked off, he had the power to drive to the lead and go on to win for the first time this season.
In the makeup race, Lou Strohl and Ron Haring Jr. brought the field to the green with Strohl jumping into the early lead. Fifth-starting Bowers made haste as he picked his way to second in just six laps.
The race was fast-paced as only one caution would slow the action, and that didn't occur until lap 30.
On lap 17, Jones used the outside line to work by Strohl for the lead. Bowers was chomping at the bit as he pressured Jones, but also had to contend with Strohl. A break in the action came with five laps to go, but unfortunately it would involve Strohl, who spun under the tight conditions.
Despite the single-file restart, Bowers wasted no time in going to the outside of Jones. Over the final circuit, it was side-by-side with Bowers nipping Jones for his memorable victory.
"It feels awesome," said Bowers. "To win in a Modified is something I always dreamed about as far as racing goes, and to finally get it and in such a dramatic fashion was amazing.
"I had this feeling the past week that something good was going to come soon, but to pull this off with this group of guys who have been racing Modifieds almost as long as I've been alive, that says a lot for this team."
In the regular scheduled show, Troy Bollinger slipped by Terry Markovic on lap two and controlled the lead while holding back Nick Baer. Labar was showing great strength and began dueling with Baer for second.
A skirmish on lap 15 halted action. The incident involved Markovic, Haring and Eric Beers.
At the resumption, Labar overtook Bollinger for the lead. Ely, in the meantime, had worked up to third and was sizing up his chance to take second, which he did by lap 21.
"When we got into second, I was able to chase down Brian (Labar) and he was running well. But our car was working so good and I started to get solid runs going into the corners and I felt I had a shot at this, so I was up on the wheel," said Ely. "He raced me clean for the lead, and I can't thank him enough."
In the previous Late Model race, Frankie Althouse was within reach of victory but got tangled and crashed with a few laps to go. The resilient Althouse rallied, and the result was a fourth win of the year.
Althouse motored by Kenny Hien after five laps and cruised to the checkers. Point leader Mike Sweeney was second.
Jake Kibler scored big in the special 40-lap/$400 to win the Pro 4 feature. Kibler zipped into the lead after eight laps and would leave everyone to battle for second as the veteran roared to his fourth win of the season and 30th career victory.
Corey Edelman notched his first Street Stock win of the year, but not in the car he started out the day in. Edelman was at the track early to work out some bugs, but soon found out that additional problems had compounded things.
He then loaded up and headed back home to make a swap. The backup car, despite not being run this year, was quickly gone over and ready by race time.
When the feature began, Edelman settled in behind leader Alan Schlenker, and they began a fierce battle. With eight laps to go, Edelman got the upper hand and went on to gain the verdict.
In the Dirt Mods, it only took Mike Stofflet one week to get back into the winning groove. After losing for the first time the race prior, Stofflet wasted no time as he took the lead from the get-go and sailed on to his 11th triumph in 12 starts.
Todd Geist is a veteran who has deep roots among the local asphalt racing community. He has not raced much in the past few years, instead opting to help out his sons Shayne and Cody build on their budding careers.
His boys wanted to show their appreciation and built dad a Hobby Stock. In turn, the elder Geist rewarded their efforts with his first win in eight years.
Make-up 8/19 Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps)
1. Gene Bowers, 2. Bobby Jones, 3. Brian DeFebo, 4. Kyle Strohl, 5. Eric Beers, 6. Zane Zeiner, 7. Jack Ely, 8. Kris Graver, 9. John Markovic, 10. Don Wagner, 11. Roger Heffelfinger, 12. Joey Jarowicz, 13. Terry Markovic, 14. Ron Haring Jr., 15. Lou Strohl, 16. Nick Baer, 17. Josh Oswald, 18. Troy Bollinger, 19, Brian Labar, 20. Robert Wagner DNS: James Pritchard Jr.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps)
1. Ely, 2. Kyle Strohl, 3. Zeiner, 4. Labar, 5. Jones, 6. DeFebo, 7. Jarowicz, 8. John Markovic, 9. Kris Graver, 10. Nick Baer, 11. Haydt, 12. Lou Strohl, 13. Bowers, 14. Todd Baer, 15. Wagner, 16. Bollinger, 17. Terry Markovic, 18. Haring Jr., 19. Beers, 20. Heffelfinger Jr. DNQ: Josh Oswald, Kevin Graver Jr., Scott Miller, Jacob Kerstetter
Late Model Feature Finish (25 Laps)
1. Frankie Althouse, 2. Mike Sweeney, 3. Lorin Arthofer, 4. Jeremy Miller, 5. Dylan Osborn, 6. Kenny Hein, 7. George Ramos, 8. Geno Steigerwalt, 9. Mike Snyder, 10. Austin Santee
Street Stock Feature Finish (30 Laps)
1. Corey Edelman, 2. Alan Schlenker, 3. Rick Reichenbach, 4. Steven Steigerwalt, 5. Mark Deysher, 6. Cody Geist, 7. Todd Ahner, 8. Stacey Brown, 9. Jon Moser, 10. Josh Scherer, 11. BJ Wambold, 12. Jared Ahner, 13. Jill Long, 14. Jamie Smith, 15. Shayne Geist, 16. Ken Erney III, 17. Dennis Buss, 18. Devin Schmidt, 19. Steven Hoffman
Dirt Mod Feature Finish (20 Laps)
1. Mike Stofflet, 2. Jeff Parker, 3. Billy Lowden Jr., 4. Corey Edelman, 5. Brian Fuclli DNS: Denise Devine
Pro 4 Feature Finish (40 Laps)
1. Jake Kibler, 2.Kevin Stein, 3. John Bennett, 4. Bobby Kibler Jr., 5. Jason Finken, 6. Kailyn Beers, 7. Cody Kohler, 8. Josh Scherer, 9. Ken Reeder, 10. Josh Kuronya, 11. Tucker Muffley, 12. Randy Schaffer
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (25 Laps)
1. Todd Geist, 2. Devin Schmidt, 3. Rich Mutarelli, 4. Austin Beers, 5. Trisha Connolly 6. Al Arthofer 7. Michael Wambold, 8. Travis Solomon, 9. Justin Merkel, 10. Samantha Osborn, 11. Avery Arthofer, 12. Ryan Berger, 13. Beau Drobot, 14. Nicholas Kerstetter, 15. Taylor Schmidt, 16. Paul Effrig, 17. Lyndsay Buss, 18. Kevin Behler, 19. Peyton Arthofer