BUTLER TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Lou Strohl has been having quite the late season surge. The veteran racer is coming off a big win at Mahoning Valley Speedway in the Greg and Rich Long Tribute race, a 97-lap feature and capped off the year there with his first ever driving title.
Then on Saturday he and his Matt Higgins owned No. 88 headed to Evergreen Raceway for the 22nd annual King of the Green which was the Tom Wanick Jr. Memorial. Keeping in sync with his fast moving momentum, Strohl captured the 111-lap contest, his first win there since 2007.
“What a hell of a race car I got and this LFR, if you don’t have one you need to get one,” said Strohl after his $3,500 victory.
“I want to thank Tommy Wanick for having this race and all he’s done. My car owner Matt Higgins made a deal with me on the way up here that if we win the King of the Green then we’re going to run the Islip 300 at Riverhead and I said, ‘OK but if I win that then we’re going to the Turkey Derby at Wall Stadium,’ so let’s see what happens.”
Strohl time trialed fourth then bided his time there until 29 laps to go which at that point he maneuvered by then leader Brian Sones. Afterwards Strohl focused on staying out front and would do so to the finish, taking the popular victory over Austin Beers, Sones, Blake Barney and Anthony Sesely.
Barney’s fourth place tally netted the New Jersey talent a track championship. Coming into the race Barney was just a few markers ahead of Roger Coss. At one point he looked in jeopardy of giving it up to Coss who was enough spots ahead in his quest to repeat at champ.
But on lap 82 Coss pitted for an adjustment after running in sixth. Thereafter Barney began working his way up the running order and came across the line fourth which netted him the crown.
“2023 champion here at Evergreen feels pretty good,” said Barney. “We race at Wall (Stadium) on Saturday’s and this worked out for us on Sunday’s. The track has been great to us, the fans are awesome, all the staff and especially the owner Jason (Makarewicz). We love coming here, it’s always good racing and clean racing.
“Obviously coming in I knew where I had to be in comparison to Roger (Coss). I knew that if I just went out there and ran a good race then I would have him. If I wasn’t good enough to get up there and get to him then he would have deserved the championship,” Barney continued.
“We didn’t get a good qualifying run and started P12 so then I tried to save my tires and maybe waited a little bit too long but we had a really good race car and I do wish there were a few more cautions at the end that I feel would have helped us.”
Other Weekly Results
In the Late Model main the season ended the same way it began for Mike Sweeney, in victory lane. Sweeney would start pole and then several times had to fend off Nick Ross on restarts as well as dealing with Travis Fisher but in the end there was no denying the fast Ford of Sweeney who would lead every lap and score his first King of the Green since 2017.
The Street Stock race was held in honor of the late George Wambold with an 81-lap distance making up the event. Keeping his car out front the entire time was Mike Pollack who would close out the year with not only his second win but second straight class title as well.
The East Coast TQ Midgets where on the card and leading all the way in the 25-lapper was Matt Janisch in Alan Mollet’s No. 51. Janisch fended off club champ Josh Patterson for his first Evergreen win since 2011. That was also a King of the Green event.
Feature Finish (111 Laps)
1. Lou Strohl, 2. Austin Beers, 3. Brian Sones, 4. Blake Barney, 5. Anthony Sesely, 6. Matt Swanson, 7. Brian DeFebo, 8. Jaden Brown, 9. Zane Zeiner, 10. Randal Richard, 11. Roger Coss, 12. Jayden Harman, 13. James Pritchard, 14. Nick Baer, 15. Evan Rygielski, 16. Jacob Kerstetter, 17. Micah Adams, 18. Thomas Flanagan, 19. Joey Merlino, 20. Todd Cooper, 21. Rich Cooper, 22. Gunnar Zeiner