LEHIGHTON, Pa. – The Paul Bauscher Tribute marked the finale of the John Blewett Inc. Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series and for the fourth time in five races, Matt Hirschman was first to cross the line.
Hirschman started sixth in the 91-lap contest – that number reflective during Bauscher’s career – and passed John Markovic for the lead 28 laps into the race. He then held off Austin Kochenash the rest of the way to collect his sixth Mahoning win in seven starts and also claim his second straight MVSHoFS title.
“This has been a great season for us here at Mahoning and we still have one more to go (October 30) and for the Hall of Fame Series we were nearly perfect and one of them just wasn’t meant to be but all in all we are thankful for a great season here and to win this Series for a second year in a row,” said Hirschman, who picked up his 28th Mahoning victory.
“There was a lot of good support here tonight from all the Bauscher fans and it was great to have Paul here too. It was pretty cool that he got to pace the field with his Modified. It’s important that we continue to honor guys like him for all they did back in the day.”
A random draw amongst the top 12 from the heats would see Markovic and Rod Snyder Jr., start from the front row. At the drop of Frank Mertz Sr.’s race commencing green Markovic charged to the lead with Snyder, Lou Strohl, Hirschman and Zane Zeiner in tow.
The race then went into a long nonstop stretch as the first 46 laps ran caution free and during the first 25 laps Markovic and Snyder remained very close. Snyder even took away the lead on lap 24 but Markovic wasted no time in getting right back the next time around.
At that point Hirschman made quick work of Strohl for third and in the next circuit he bested Snyder and in yet one more lap was able to drive underneath Markovic for the top spot.
With 36 laps complete Kochenash was now running third and giving Markovic all he could handle. Within in a few tours of that he took care of business and motored into second with his sights now set on Hirschman.
Hirschman, though, would use the ensuing stints between the few restarts to show who had the upper hand between them.
“I think maybe about mid-race the car wasn’t totally to my liking but it seemed to come back in late and I was happy with it obviously,” noted Hirschman.
Kochenash had a very strong car but was just a bit off in trying to keep with the leader. He had a few occurrences on restarts to overtake but Hirschman was able to launch ahead each time.
In 10 MVSHoFS races in the past two years Hirschman has now won eight times.
“The restarts were the only chance we had to try and cross him (Hirschman) over but other than that he was in a class of his own,” offered Kochenash.
“I saved my tires in the beginning but obviously we just need to get a little bit better to catch Matt. We’ll go home and try to make some adjustments and come back at the end of this month and shoot for the win.”
Zeiner was part of a torrid battle that finished under a blanket as he nipped Strohl for third and Nick Baer in fifth.
Not surprising the Street Stock feature was close from start to finish as Randy Ahner Jr., had to withstand Jillian Snyder as well as his teammate and newly crowned champion TJ Gursky en route to his second win of the year.
Ahner took the lead at the outset but would never pull far enough forward to shake off Snyder as she stayed glued to his rear bumper. Tucker Muffley, a winner the night before, and Gursky had themselves a great duel going on as well while shadowing behind the front pair.
By mid-race it became a three car race for the lead with Ahner faultlessly holding his line while Snyder and Gursky fought for second. The trio would continue that way to the checkers with Ahner not only picking up the feature win but also locking up the Street Stock MVSHoFS title.
In the Hobby Stocks Jacob Boehm led from start to finish for his third win of the year. And, while he showed he was on his own there was no shortage of hot action going on for second spot.
Justin Merkel and Shayne Geist clashed for the position across a good portion of the race until late in the going. Geist encountered some type of issue that saw him drop off the pace and allowed 2021 class champ Trisha Connolly to move into third and she wouldn’t stay there for long.
With a half dozen laps to go she whooshed into second but could not progress any further as Boehm was too tough on this night.
Merkel’s third place tally would earn him the Hobby Stock MVSHoFS championship.
Dave Kerr inherited the lead in the Futures/Rookie Hobby Stocks feature with three laps to go when race long leader Adam Steigerwalt’s car lost power briefly and he then held off Greyson Ahner for his second win of the year.
While Kerr would claim the overall win Brody George’s third place finish gave him his 10th victory with the Futures.