When Eric Beers of Northampton is not running on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour he makes it a point to race at his home track Mahoning Valley Speedway where he is expected to be contending for a win and for the most part that is usually the case. This year, despite leading more laps than anyone, victory had eluded him although he has been close. Three of his starts have been runner-ups.
That’s all behind him now as he finally took a win and not in one of the famous Mahoning 100-lappers either but a regular 35-lap feature. That chance, which he does exceeding well in, will come this Saturday, September 11 when he looks to better his cards in Hand 4of the 7 Card Stud Poker Series 100.
Beers started ninth and grabbed the lead from a strong running Joe Mooney on lap 11 and then held off the late race efforts of Tyler Haydt in securing his first feature verdict of 2010.
“I almost forgot where Victory Lane was,” stated Beers. “We had a pretty good race car. The crew guys did a great job preparing it and I got to drive it and got it to the front pretty quick before the tires wore out.”
Never one to waste time, Beers was making his way through in a hurry, getting to third by lap eight, second the next time by and finally first place two laps after that.
For the outset it was Terry Markovic and Jarred Nace on the front row with Markovic holding the opening lap lead. On lap two Nace deposed of him and two laps after that Mooney had command.
Once taking the lead Beers was able to pull away from the pack. Second place was being contested amongst Mooney and Haydt. It took until lap 21 before Haydt was able to lock into the position. He then got a much needed caution on lap 28 which enabled him to step up and challenge Beers. There were a few valiant efforts in doing so but in the end there was no denying Beers.
“He’s (Haydt) good to race with. A good clean racer just like most everyone is here,” said Beers who has now tied George Wambold for second on the all-time Modified winner list.
“These guys here have really stepped up their game. You have guys running here every week and they are fast so you can’t mess around. You got to go to the front here as quick as you can. I just love coming here.”
Lonnie Behler, Don Wagner and Mooney rounded out the top five.
Beers’ win also guaranteed him a starting spot for the Race of Champions All Star feature on September 24.
Knowing that a guaranteed starting spot for the Race of Champions later this month at Oswego Speedway awaited the Late Model winner, Austin Kochenash of Danielsville came to Mahoning with a mission in mind. And when all was said and done it was mission accomplished.
Kochenash passed early leader Rick Wallace on lap six and then went on to the popular victory, his third in a row and class leading eighth of the season.
Wallace, who made several tries to regain the lead, settled for second with point leader Paul Koehler, Jr., notching third.
Earlier in the night Kochenash set a new lap record for the class with a 10.392-second drive around the ¼-mile oval.
A Labor Day tradition at Mahoning Valley since 2005 has been a 100-lap Street Stock feature. To win this event is huge for anyone in the division and with a solid field of 26 top quality cars it was anyone’s guess as to who could win the $1000 first place prize. That honor fell to Lehighton’s Brian Labar.
Labar used a lap 45 restart to overtake Kristy Morone Arthofer for the lead. He then fought back one very determined Steve Hoffman for the biggest win of his career.
Time trails were held to lock in the top-12 which was then inverted for the feature. Jon Moser, 11.715 and TJ Gursky, 11.718, set fast time. Meanwhile Labar and Arthofer made up the front row after the invert.
Arthofer passed Labar for the lead on lap two and then proceeded to set the pace. While she led Labar and point leader Randy Ahner, Jr., in a pair right on her bumper.
The race stayed green through lap 28 when the first of several cautions waved. On the ensuing restart Labar nipped Arthofer for the lead but while under close two-wide racing, she was able to regain her spot by lap 33.
Another restart on lap 44 once again allowed Labar to move out front and tagging along with him was Steve Hoffman. For the remainder of the race Labar had all he could handle in holding off Hoffman for what would be the biggest win of his career.
“I’ll tell you, I always wanted to win one of these 100-lappers and I did it. I wanted to ride it out and take it easy but with these guys that’s never the case because everyone is so equal. I wanted this bad and we got and this is an awesome crew that got me here,” said Labar.
Jason Frey, Steven Steigerwalt and Eric Danyluk completed the top five.
16-year old Kris Graver of Lehighton continued on his phenomenal season as he notched his ninth Pro4 Late Model win of the year.
Kris was actually a benefactor of Kevin Graver, Jr., who had been leading but was placed back two spots under a lap nine caution due passing below the designated racing line on the initial start.
Kevin fought back to finish second with Jeremy Miller third.
Bill Briggs of Pine Hill, NJ raced to a solid win over point leader Randy Thomas, which was his third Dirt Modified triumph of the season. Briggs was at the front of the pack right from the go and never let up.