LEHIGHTON, Pa. – For Kyle Strohl, the season got off to a rough start as the young talent suffered through a bad wreck that led to him finding a back-up ride for the next race out.
That race regrettably, did not fare well in the results column either. Strohl then rebounded in week three with a solid top five coming in the George Wambold 81-lap Tribute race and completed his full rally of being a front runner with a wire-to-wire run in Saturday night’s modified feature at Mahoning Valley Speedway.
Strohl started on the outside of pole sitter Jacob Kerstetter and when the action began he was quick to jump out front to the early lead.
Despite getting overtaken at the start, Kerstetter stayed close with Strohl as the race settled into a good rhythm over the first dozen laps. Noticeably making headway over that stint was Lou Strohl who worked up to third by lap nine and then began putting the pressure on Kerstetter as they began a side-by-side battle.
A lap 12 caution put a halt to the action but when the race restarted L. Strohl stayed tucked behind leader K. Strohl and drove up to second spot.
From there on K. Strohl knew his best line of defense would be to protect the bottom and he did so, forcing the very persistent L. Strohl to do his bidding from the outside lane. It was a close nip and tuck fight to the finish and only over the final laps was K. Strohl able to gain some breathing room.
“This week we finally got a lucky spot to start up front and the car was working good and I just held the bottom as best I could because I knew the top runners would be coming,” said K. Strohl.
“Lou (Strohl) gave me a great race and he was very tough. My car started to get tight toward the end and I had to then use up my part of the track to seal the deal.”
Interestingly after K. Strohl wrecked hard on Opening Night he then drove the same car that L. Strohl almost beat him in, the Matt Higgins owned No. 88.
“Matt’s car runs really good I can attest to that and but for us tonight we were fortunate enough to have the upper hand,” he added.
Although he had to settle for second the hard fought effort of L. Strohl did come with a bonus as he moved into the point’s lead, holding that standings position for the first time since 2008.
While the Strohl and Strohl show was going on Nick Baer was making an impressive run as well. In the final 12 laps he had moved into third spot and then did a fine job of fending off Austin Beers who drove from deep in the pack and Earl Paules in rounding out the top five.
The late models got on track for the first time this season and picking up right where he left off at the end of 2019, Mike Sweeney was parked in victory lane, his 55th time with the class at Mahoning Valley Speedway.
The 25-lap contest began with Rich Cooper grabbing the lead and then continuing there solidly. It wasn’t until a lap nine restart that he would relinquish the position to Sweeney who put his many years of track experience to use when making the pass for the lead.
The rest of the distance Sweeney would not falter although there was some opportunities on restarts for Geno Steigerwalt and newcomer Nick Ross as they tried to make a run at the leader but to no avail. Sweeney showed his strength in keeping them at bay while garnering his 67th overall win.
Jeremy Miller and Avery Arthofer rounded out the top five.
Todd Ahner is one of the well-respected veterans on the eastern Pennsylvania asphalt racing circuit, having begun his career in 1986 at Dorney Park Speedway and still going as strong as ever today.
He is the all-time career wins leader in street stock victories and on Saturday night extended that mark to 34 and counting.
The race first saw Shayne Geist hold down the early lead over Tucker Muffley and Bobby Kibler Jr. On a lap 12 restart that trio went into a hair-raising three-wide race for the lead which at the point established Kibler as the new front-man.
However by the time the pack was in turn two Kibler was sent spinning due to the close-quarter racing and when the field was reset Ahner found himself the new leader.
There he would remain to the finish but by no means was it an easy go as Mark Deysher, Rick Reichenbach and Mark Martini were all bumper to bumper behind him.
For the second week in a row in the Hobby Stocks Travis Solomon took the lead on the final lap but was not the driver that was celebrating afterwards rather Jacob Boehm was the happy victor.
Boehm had the lead from the outset but Solomon hustled underneath him in the final two corners. However, he was again called for passing to low in Turn 3 where it is designated as a “no passing zone.”
Boehm was directed to the Winner’s Circle while Solomon was placed back two spots for the infraction. Jesse Bollinger was scored second.
Mia Guy became the fourth winner in as many week to win in the Rookie Hobby Stocks.
Guy is the only driver to have led in the three pervious features only to have been sidelined by tangles. This time, however, she was not to be denied.
Starting from the pole she quickly took control of the race and then held her line while having to fend off a very determined Paul French Jr. who gave her a great run to the checkers. Opening night winner Micah Adams placed a close third.