LEHIGHTON, Pa. — Audio, photos and recap by Race Chaser Online Associate Editor Kyle Magda —
28-year-old Roger Coss has won at least one race dating back to his go-kart days in 1995.
The 20-year streak was on the line as the Lafayette, New Jersey native made a bold move on leader Chip Santee with 11 laps to go to drive away and take his first Octoberfast win at Mahoning Valley Speedway.
“He [Santee] looked a little bit tight at the end and I saw a hole, so I had to take it,” Coss said. “I guess some guys are saying we were three-wide and a little aggressive, but we come here to win. I put a lot of effort into our program for this race and $6,000 to win, the hole opens up, all 22 guys out there would’ve taken the hole.”
At half-way, Coss hung in the back with runner-up Zane Zeiner and Matt Hirschman, who were the only winners of the race leading up to Saturday night.
“Once I got to the back around Zane and Hirschman, I knew I was kind of safe there and kind of ran there, figuring they know what to do,” Coss added. “They’ve been around a long time. Came in and pitted on lap 76 and just happened to work out.”‘
All three pitted on the same caution and each driver saw the top-five in the closing laps of the 150-lap event. Two-time 2015 MVS winner Santee led all but one lap up to lap 139 before being bounced to the back and fading in the final laps. Zeiner began to run down Coss when he came out of nowhere to finish runner-up for the second straight year. The Bath, Pa. native won the Octoberfast Modified feature in 2013.
“We got stuck on that outside, which I thought I had good track position and we sort of went backwards,” Zeiner said. “On the next restart, I got on the inside,which seemed to be key and just started to make the run. I saw Roger opening up holes and I had to get a little aggressive there too and got right to him and he made the move on Chip, which was a great move there. I followed him through and I thought maybe I still had something for him there and just made a couple and he got away from us a little bit. Would’ve been interesting coming up on those lapped cars. We definitely would’ve went after it. That’s for sure.”
In years past, the Modified feature was the first to run on Octoberfast, but the Late Models took to the track first for their 60-lap race and laid some rubber down on the quarter-mile track for the mighty Modifieds. Track regular Austin Kochenash looked to the outside of race leader Santee for a number of laps, but couldn’t snatch the lead to try to pick up his first Octoberfast victory.
The 19-year-old driver pitted out of second place on lap 108 and made his way up to sixth 13 laps later. John Markovic made contact with the No. 66k to end any chances for the 2013 Race of Champions Rookie-of-the-Year to pick up Saturday night’s victory. Kochenash won the season-finale 100-lap feature two weeks ago after rains postponed the Saturday, Oct. 3 show to the next day.
Hirschman was also collected in the crash trying to check up and hit the wall, ending his shot at defending his 2014 Octoberfast victory.
“95 and 66 got together and I was just in the wrong place there,” Hirschman said. “We were in sixth and looking to move forward, just bad lane right before that with the 92 and just right in the mix of those two getting together, so we had a good car. It would’ve been nice to battle it out. I know we would’ve been in contention, not saying we were definitely going to win, but it would’ve been nice to be in that battle there the last 20-some laps of the race, that was a pretty good race up front. It would’ve been nice to be a part of it.”
The second-generation driver won his first feature of 2015 the RoC finale two weeks ago at Chemung, also winning the series title.
Since the inception of Octoberfast in 2012, Eric Beers has finished third in all four events held at the Northeastern Pennsylvania track.
“It was dicey at the end there,” Beers said. “We were double-wide, you had guys up front that we just starting to struggling because they didn’t pit for tires. Then, there was us coming with fresh tires, Zane with fresh tires, it was pretty exciting there. It’s an 84-inch wide car and I think I fit it into some 79-inch holes.”
The ground-pounders weren’t the only cars to take to the track Saturday, as the Late Models and Street Stocks also ran their features during the first weekend of Octoberfast. Mike Sweeney held off 2015 Late Model track champion Paul Koehler Jr. in the 60-lap LM feature, while Josh Mooney edged Lorin Arthofer II for his second Street Stocks win in two weeks. Mooney ended the season with the two victories after not winning at all up to the Oct. 4 points-finale.
The second weekend of Octoberfast at Mahoning Valley Speedway takes place on Oct. 24 and features the USAC All Pro SpeedSTRs, TQ midgets, the national Slingshots Tour and another Street Stocks feature to cap off the 2015 season.
Audio with winner Roger Coss:
Audio with runner-up Zane Zeiner:
Audio with third-place finisher Eric Beers:
Audio with Matt Hirschman:
RESULTS: Modified Feature; Octoberfast 2015; Mahoning Valley Speedway; October 17, 2015
- Roger Coss
- Zane Zeiner
- Eric Beers
- Earl Paules
- Bobby Jones
- Don Wagner
- Glenn Slocum
- John Markovic
- Eric Kocher
- Todd Baer
- Brian DeFebo
- Ron Frees
- Chip Santee
- Terry Markovic
- Mike Quinn
- Calvin Carroll
- Austin Kochenash
- Matt Hirschman
- Lou Strohl
- Jimmy Zacharias
- Nick Baer
- Kevin Rex Jr.
DNS: Anthony Sesely