LEHIGHTON, Pa. – Bobby Jones held off a determined Kyle Strohl and equally fast Brian DeFebo en route to his second modified win of the season at Mahoning Valley Speedway Saturday, which also capped off a gratifying weekend of racing as he won the night before at Evergreen Raceway.
“I came in here tonight a little more aggressive to get this win. We had a dominant win the night before and that car was awesome and this car tonight was a little off but it was good,” said Jones after collecting his 52nd career win.
“Near the end I just had to protect. I had Kyle (Strohl) and Brian (DeFebo) behind me and their two of the best guys here and I wouldn’t come off that bottom, I wanted to make sure they passed me on the outside and we got it done.”
When the 35-lap contest got underway pole sitter Carl Altemose jumped into the early lead while Cody Kohler, Nick Baer and fifth starting Jones all ran tightly behind him. With the first 19 laps going nonstop, Altemose set out on a blistering pace with a solid handle on the lead while the aforesaid trio remained under a blanket.
The fast-paced affair was slowed when Mia Guy had a spin in Turn 3 and just prior to that Baer and Jones got by Kohler and had been hot on Altemose’s tail. There would be another caution two laps later due to Kohler turning around in the second corner and it would be on that restart when a change at the front would take place.
Altemose and Baer restarted side-by-side with Jones third. As they made their way off the final turn to complete lap 22 the low lane opened up as Altemose was fending off Strohl. That in turn allowed Jones to slip to the bottom and grab the lead. In the process, however, Altemose’s fine run came to an end as he was bumped by the oncoming cars and spun from contention.
“He (Altemose) was running good and when I darted under him everyone was checking up and it opened the bottom and I just mashed the gas and didn’t even think twice about it,” said Jones.
From there on it was an intense fight as Strohl tried numerous times to get by but each time Jones held off his relentless charge. At the same time DeFebo lurked closely in their tire tracks.
“There at the end I just stayed glued to the bottom and I wasn’t going to open it up for anyone to get under me,” noted Jones.
“This is the second time I’ve swept a weekend and it’s been a long time since I’ve done that and it’s something to be proud of and that was my goal to tonight. I was coming here to win this race.”
The Street Stocks contested in a 50-lap/$1000-to-win race with the Mike Krempasky Tribute that honored the late championship car owner and for former division kingpin Lonnie Behler Sr., it was well worth the effort to return for the first time in over two years as he raced out-front the entire distance and scored the popular win.
But, despite leading every lap this was by no means an easy run for Behler as he would have Jon Moser and Mark Deysher on him the whole way through. And for the fans it was an opportunity to watch three outstanding drivers with the Street Stocks as they represented a combined 64 wins and eight championships.
Lap after lap Behler would show the way while Moser and Deysher applied nonstop pressure on him. Behler, though, put his years of experience to work as he perfectly turned each circuit with accuracy, running the perfect line in keeping his equals at bay.
His win was the first since August 2013 and actually moved him into a tie for second all-time with Deysher at 23 victories.
In the Late Model feature Nick Ross pulled off a thrilling late race pass on Lorin Arthofer II and went on to score his third straight win of the season.
Arthofer had led from the drop of the green but all the while had Ross hot on his trail. Lap after lap they dueled with Arthofer fending off the constant insistence. Then with two laps remaining Ross went to the outside and with a burst of speed thrust his way past Arthofer and onwards to a third consecutive win.
Justin Merkel took the lead from Lyndsay Buss on a lap four restart of the Hobby Stock main and from then on powered away to a rousing third win of the season.
Merkel was far and away in control over the rest of the pack as he distanced himself out ahead and had only lapped traffic to deal with on his way to an nearly four second margin of victory over runner-up Trisha Connolly.
Josh Kuronya picked up his third Pro 4 win of the season, leading every lap in the process. And the race can easily be considered one of the best of the season as field ran smooth, clean and caution free.
In the Futures/Rookie Hobby Stocks talented Brody George raced to his unprecedented seventh win of the season and in doing do continues to pad his point lead with the Futures class.
Third place finisher Adam Steigerwalt had another solid outing and was credited with the Rookie victory.