LEHIGHTON, Pa. — Audio and recap by Race Chaser Online Northeast Correspondent Kyle Magda — Zach Barr photo —
It was same song, third verse for Mahoning-modified regular Eric Beers Saturday night.
Beers held off a hard-charging Earl Paules to score his third-consecutive modified victory at the Pennsylvania track to start the season. The former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competitor started 12th and wasted no time in going to the front.
“We started deep in the pack tonight,” Beers said. “We really got lucky with the way the lanes worked out on the restarts, we were always on the right spot. We were on the outside and the outside lane went forward, then we were on the inside and the inside lane went forward. We were fourth on the one restart there and the second-place car had issues and the caution came out and put us right up into third there. The 01 was running on the outside of Earl there and the outside us and we finally cleared him enough that we could make the car cut.”
Beers weaved his way in-and-out of traffic in the 35-lap feature and waited to make his move on the No. 8 of Paules in the closing laps.
“I was really patient and waited and waited and Earl was just moving up just a hair every lap, not much. I got just enough of a run off of [Turn] 2 there to get underneath him and we went into [Turns] 3 and 4 side-by-side. We were even down the frontstretch, and we ended up clearing him the next lap. When he saw me there, he gave us room to race and we raced each other. He ran a great race, we were just a hair better for a lap there.”
Paules started the main event alongside pole-sitter Nick Baer and grabbed the lead from the rookie driver on the outside lane. Baer lost time to Paules as the No. 8 opened up a half-a-straightaway lead. on the rest of the field. With cautions bunching up the field, it allowed everyone else to catch up, including Beers. No one in 2016 has been able to knock Beers off at the top.
“He came from like 13th or 14th,” Paules said of Beers. “I was going to start outside pole, I grabbed the lead right away. I just find it hard to believe that he can do that week in and week out and there were a lot of good race cars here and nobody got what he got. I was just a little frustrating to lose a race like that, I just find it hard to believe. The car was good. I was doing everything I thought I needed to do, but there was just nobody that could jump off the freakin’ bottom like he can. Literally, just up off the bottom off of [Turn] 2 and I just don’t know how he’s doing it.
“I don’t know.”
Paules scored the 2015 Mahoning Modified track championship and has yet to break into victory lane this season.
Austin Kochenash showed up at the Lehighton track in a No. 72 modified, a different number than his traditional No. 66. Kochenash’s decision to run Saturday night came after a two-day effort to get his machine ready for the 35-lap main feature.
“It was a good race. In the beginning of the race there, I was falling back, just not being able to go boxed in. We were able to pick up some spots and the car just tightened up a little too much and we got this together in two days, so it was a good run.”” It’s been a rough start to the season, having two real-fast cars here and just getting wrecked in both races, so hopefully this turns the season around.”
The 2011 Mahoning Late Model champ is also trying to run the RoC race at Oswego Speedway in May. Kochenash finished second to Earl Paules in the 2015 Mahoning Modified Points Standings.
John Markovic went for a wild ride along the catchfence in a multi-car crash early in the race. The wreck started when Lou Strohl made contact with Jack Ely and the accordion effect began behund them. Nick Baer got involved in the accident and Markovic was also another innocent victim to get caught up in the crash.
“We had a good car, we just got pushed to the outside there,” Markovic said. “We were trying to make some ground up and somebody drove into the left-front tire, turned the car dead-right, and I was just along for the ride. “When the 41 ran into my left-front tire just turned the car dead-right and when it caught the wall, it just drove up the wall and into the catch fence.”
His car got cosmetic damage after the nasty wreck, but Markovic’s No. 95 team looked over the modified to see if there was any additional damage to the machine.
“A lot of cosmetic, a lot of bold-on parts, but the frame and stuff looks all good yet,” Markovic said. “I don’t think we did any major damage, we’ll check the rear out. The motor, the header escaped any serious damage, so I think we were pretty good.”
Modifieds were one of eight divisions running Saturday night at Mahoning Valley Speedway. The late model race was close with Jeremy Miller edging Mike Sweeney who hasn’t won yet there or at nearby Evergreen Raceway in Drums, Pa.
Matt Janisch won the TQ feature while the midgets circled around the .25-mile track. It was an uneventful race with the event having few cautions. Joey Bailey ran sixth until the engine broke on his No. 02 machine and ended any chances at taking home a good finish out of MVS.
Cody Geist (Hobby Stock), Chip Wanamaker (Street Stock), Ray Deemer (Dirt Modifieds), Bobby Kibler Jr. (Pro-4) and Bob Snyder (Small Car Enduro) also won their features on a cool-and-cloudy Saturday night.
Action returns to Mahoning Valley Speedway next Saturday for the Triple 25s for the Modifieds and all regular divisions take to the track for another week of racing.
Audio with winner Eric Beers:
Audio with runner-up Earl Paules:
Audio with third-place Austin Kochenash:
Audio with John Markovic:
RESULTS: Mahoning Valley Speedway; April 30, 2016
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Eric Beers, 2. Earl Paules, 3. Austin Kochenash, 4. Kyle Strohl, 5. Kris Graver, 6. Todd Baer, 7. Anthony Sesely, 8. Don Wagner, 9. Nick Baer, 10. Lou Strohl, 11. Gene Bowers, 12. Bobby Jones, 13. Glenn Slocum, 14. Jack Ely, 15. Brian Labar, 16. Terry Markovic, 17. Jimmy Zacharias, 18. John Markovic
Late Model Feature Finish (25 Laps): 1. Jeremy Miller, 2. Mike Sweeny, 3. Lorin Arthofer, 4. Paul Koehler Jr., 5. Frankie Althouse, 6. Troy Bollinger, 7. Geno Steigerwalt, 8. Jr Roth, 9. Josh Oswald, 10. Kenny Hein, 11. Jacob Kerstetter
Street Stock Feature Finish (30 Laps): 1. Chip Wanamaker, 2. Jamie Smith, 3. Greg Long, 4. Mark Martini, 5. Randy Ahner Jr., 6. Justin Mooney, 7. Jason Kuhn, 8. Corey Edelman, 9. Rick Reichenbach, 10. Kristy Arthofer, 11. Jonathan Tracy, 12. Zach Graver, 13. George Ramos, 14. Jared Ahner, 15. Josh Mooney, 16. Todd Ahner, 17. Jon Moser, 18. Aaron Kromer, 19. Jason Frey, 20. Stacey Brown DNQ: Dan Freundt, BJ Wambold, Jacob Kerstetter, Logan Boyer, Jeremy Scheckler, Dennis Buss
Dirt Mod Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Ray Deemer, 2. Aleia Geisler, 3. Paul Effrig, 4. Ricky Yetter, 5. Billy Lasko, 6. Scott Hyland, 7. Bill Sittler Jr., 8. Ryan Green, 9. Mike Stofflet, 10. Frank Parastino
Pro 4 Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Bobby Kibler Jr., 2. Shawn Hoffman, 3. Josh Scherer, 4. Cody Kohler, 5. Shawn Kistler, 6. Kailyn Beers, 7. Ryan Graver, 8. Tyler Stangle, 9. Jake Kibler, 10. Latonia Barlow
Hobby Stock Feature Finish (20 Laps): 1. Cody Geist, 2. Colton Perry, 3. Michael Wambold, 4. Randy Sicher, 5. Ken Reeder, 6. Nicolas Kerstetter, 7. Avery Arthofer, 8. Jesse Strohl, 9. Austin Beers, 10. Shayne Geist, 11. Gary Lerch, 12. Tiffany Wambold, 13. Taylor Schmidt, 14. Elmer Kennedy, 15. Devon Schmidt, 16. Waylon Speer, 17. Travis Nothstein 18. Seth VanFossen, 19. Ryan Berger
About the Writer
Kyle Magda is a Northeast Correspondent for Race Chaser Online and a co-host of both Motorsports Madness and the Stock Car Steel/SRI Motorsports Show, airing at 7 p.m. ET on Monday and Thursday nights, respectively, on the Performance Motorsports Network. Magda broke into racing in mid-2001 as the sport’s tide was beginning to change towards the current modern-era formula, but still has an affinity for the history of NASCAR’s earlier days.
The 23-year-old is a graduate of Penn State University and can be found traveling to numerous tracks across the country, covering everything from NASCAR and the ARCA Racing Series to the UNOH All-Stars Circuit of Champions and the Super Cup Stock Car Series.
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