Wagner misses the mayhem en route to Modified victory at MVS
In Saturday night’s 35-lap Modified feature at Mahoning Valley Speedway, Brian DeFebo, Gene Bowers and Austin Kochenash gave the fans plenty to cheer and sneer about with some highly intense action.
Bobby Jones then appeared ready to take a second straight win, but in the end Don Wagner’s game of patience would prove best. Wagner grabbed the lead back from Jones with four laps to go and would notch his first in two seasons.
“There was some attrition up front and that helped to get us up there, but with perseverance and staying out of trouble we got the job done. I think it was a great show for the fans,” said Wagner, who now has 21 Modified wins at Mahoning.
“There was a lot of beating and banging ahead of us and I just tried to keep my wheels straight and not get involved in any of that stuff, and that’s how we ended up in Victory Lane. I like to size up my competition and keep an eye on them.”
From the outset, DeFebo and Bowers were locked in tightly for the race lead while Josh Scherer and Kochenash kept within reach. Then, with 14 laps complete Kochenash was on the move and able to work by Bowers and DeFebo. DeFebo felt he was roughed up some in the process, and on the ensuing lap bumped into the rear of Kochenash which caused several cars to suddenly scatter, including that of Bowers, who got the worse of it and ended his night on the back of a tow truck.
Wagner was then elevated into the top spot with Jones in pursuit.
When Terry Markovic spun on lap 24, that brought out a caution and Jones would use that restart to get by for the lead. Wagner, though, wasn’t about to settle for second and had his car working good enough on the outside to retake control four laps from the finish and go on to register the victory.
“This is my old car, and it was intended for my son but he couldn’t make it tonight, so I figured let’s take it out and see what we can do with it, and it was like putting on a nice comfortable pair of jeans. This car was just so good tonight,” said Wagner.
“I had lost the lead on a restart to Bobby (Jones) because I didn’t have a lot of horsepower with this car, and once that happened I wanted it right back and I used the outside to get it,” he said.
Although the year of racing is still fresh, it already has a late season feel to it between Frankie Althouse and Mike Sweeney, who raced to a close one-two finish in the Late Model feature and are fighting for supremacy.
Both are battling for the top spot in the standings and coming into the night, Althouse, the defending champion and Sweeney, the 2016-17 titlist, were tied in points. When Althouse took the lead from Jeremy Miller on lap five, he then was able to build some breathing room as Miller, Sweeney and Kenny Hein ran under a blanket.
But when a caution bunched the field at mid-race, Sweeney was able to stay with Althouse, and from there to the checkers it was as close as could be. Although Althouse won for the second time in three starts, Sweeney has the point lead by one.
“We’ve never done it this early before getting back-to-back wins. Overall, we have been showing good speed, but we have to keep up with it because I know they’re all going to get faster,” said Althouse.
In Street Stock action, Eric Kocher did a superb job of protecting the inside lane and picked up the victory.
Louie Horvath is a new comer to the Dirt Mods at Mahoning Valley. The former 600cc Micro Sprint racer was making just his second start on the pavement, and it was a memorable one as he left as the winner. The win came, however, after a rule infraction from a protest on would-be winner Mike Stofflet, who was disqualified.
Elder statesman Bobby Kibler Sr., once again proved best in the Pro 4s, winning for the second straight week.
Peyton Arthofer won the Hobby Stock, as she jumped into the early race lead then held off fast closing Phil Sabatine for a thrilling half-car length victory, her second such with the class.
Modified Feature (35-laps)
1. Don Wagner, 2. Bobby Jones, 3. Brian DeFebo, 4. Austin Kochenash, 5. Earl Paules, 6. Anthony Sesely, 7. John Markovic, 9. Ron Haring Jr., 10. Terry Markovic, 11.Josh Scherer, 12, Heath Metzger, 13. Gene Bowers, 14. Nick Baer, 15. Kyle Strohl
Late Model Feature (25-laps)
1. Frankie Althouse, 2, Mike Sweeney, 3. Jeremy Miller, 4. Matt Wentz, 5. Roc Brown, 6. Kenny Hein, 7. Brian Romig Jr., 8. Samantha Osborn, 9. Rick Smith, 10. Avery Arthofer
Street Stock Feature (30-laps)
1. Eric Kocher, 2, Corey Edelman, 3, Mark Deysher, 4, Mark Martini, 5. Jon Moser, 6. Todd Ahner, 7. Jamie Smith. 8. Cody Geist, 9. Stacey Brown, 10. Randy Schlenker, 11. Johnnie Bennett, 12. Josh Mooney, 13. TJ Gursky, 14. Rick Reichenbach, 15. Jared Ahner, 16. Jillian Long, 17. Shayne Geist, 18. Brennen Coulter, 19. Bobby Kibler Jr., 20. Tucker Muffley, 21. Bill Hunara DNQ: Jake Kibler, Ken Erney III, Jeremy Scheckler
Dirt Mod Feature (25-laps)
1. Louie Horvath, 2. Corey Edelman, 3. Ricky Yetter, 4. Colton Perry, 5. Jeff Parker, 6. Billy Sittler Jr. DQ: Mike Stofflet
Pro 4 Feature (20-laps)
1. Bobby Kibler Sr., 2. Jake Kibler, 3. Randy Schaffer, 4. Tucker Muffley, 5. Jeremy Guerra, 6. Colton Breiner, 7. Cody Kohler, 8. Tyler Stangle
Hobby Stock Feature (20-laps)
1. Peyton Arthofer, 2. Phil Sabatine, 3. Trisha Connolly, 4. Travis Solomon, 5. Jacob Boehm, 6. Rich Mutarelli, 7. Al Arthofer, 8. Cody Boehm, 9. Daryl Rex, 10. Hunter Iatalese, 11. Kassidy Altemose, 12. Taylor Schmidt, 13. Lyndsay Buss, 14. Tad Snyder, 15. Terry Peters, 16. John Petro, 17. Mallory Kutz, 18. Peter Maier, 19. Tyler Nemeth, 20. Josh Oswald, 21. Shawn Kistler, 22. Devin Schmidt DNQ: Ralph Boger Jr.