Story By: DINO OBERTO / MAHONING VALLEY SPEEDWAY – LEHIGHTON, PA – Matt Hirschman of Northampton claims that Mahoning Valley Speedway is one of his best tracks and unquestionably he proved it yet again on Saturday evening when he won the Earl Keinert Tribute Hall of Fame Series 50 lap race. It was Hirschman’s fourth straight win in as many 2022 starts.
Considering he only checks in a few times a year and dating back to his first victory here in 2009 this was his 32nd Mahoning victory in the past 78 starts and to boot has led over 1200 laps in doing so.
Following warmups a rain shower crossed over the area and put a delay on the show. However, after a yeoman effort by a significant number of drivers who then helped dry the track, the racing went as planned.
“I really appreciate Jack and Rebecca (Carlino, track owners) for not pulling the plug on it because we were all here,” said Hirschman.
“If they would have cancelled early in the day I wouldn’t have had any problem with it. Once we were all here they waited it out and dried the track and we got to race. I know that may have hurt the crowd a bit but there was still a good amount of fans here tonight and the show ran off pretty well,” he continued.
“The track conditions where fine for racing and the racing was quite tight and pretty good up front and the car tightened up late with almost too much grip.”
By luck of the draw Josh Scherer was the pole sitter with Bobby Jones to his outside for the start. And no sooner did the action get underway Jones jumped out front over Kyle Strohl and Lou Strohl with all three contending under tight quarters. By lap 11 eighth starting Hirschman joined the battle in what then became a closely bunched group providing some very intense racing.
On lap 16 K. Strohl went to the outside of Jones and took the lead. Unfortunately for Jones he spun on the next circuit and brought out the caution. That put L. Strohl second and when racing resumed he and Hirschman ran a thrilling side-by-side duel until lap 22 when L. Strohl would spin coming out of Turn 4.
It would be on that restart that Hirschman was able to overtake K. Strohl. From there he would never look back as he reached the checkers by two car lengths over K. Strohl. Brian DeFebo was third, Jones fourth and a very impressive Geary Rinehimer Jr., got fifth.
“It was some intense racing there and at times a little bit of contact but it was just a tight pack and you’re going to have that,” said Hirschman.
“We’ve had an incredible success rate here and Mahoning has been my best track over the last few years. But you still have to run the race and to be honest at the end I felt we were a little bit more vulnerable but I guess we had enough of a gap. I felt I didn’t have as good a car as other times here.
Sure it’s been a repeatable thing but I feel we had to work for this one.”
As part of the Earl Keinert Tribute the Hobby Stocks contested in triple 12 lap features. That number reflecting the most recognizable with the Keinert team.
Shayne Geist would handily lead all the way in the first feature and collect his second win of the season. An invert for the next race would see Corey Edelman on the pole and he too was able to stay in front the entire distance and go on to score his unprecedented fifth win of the year. For the third feature Cody Boehm passed Don Bauder on lap three and then held off Ryan Berger for his first win of 2022.
Berger, who is the grandson of the late Earl Keinert, was named the overall champ by virtue of a tie breaker between him and Boehm.
In the Street Stocks Johnny Bennett put the popular Woolly Bully X Monte Carlo out front at the initial start and then held off teammates Randy Ahner Jr., and TJ Gursky the rest of the way for his first win of the season.
Cody Kohler raced to his third Pro 4 win of the year. Ken Reeder would take to the early lead and was showing great form in the process. However Kohler, after having a good battle with Jake Kibler and Tyler Stangle in getting to second, then reeled in Reeder by lap seven for the top spot. He then had to fend off Stangle the rest of the way for his 39th overall win.
A week ago in the Futures 15 lap main, Michael Klotz was passed by Maggie Yeakel at the finish line and denied his very first win.
Fast forward to this week and it was the same scene. The final lap and Klotz out front with Yeakel charging again. Klotz though wasn’t about let this one slip away as he did a fine job of protecting his spot and going on to his first class win.
Modified feature finish (50 laps): 1. Matt Hirschman, 2. Kyle Strohl, 3. Brian DeFebo, 4. Bobby Jones, 5. Geary Rinehimer Jr., 6. Jacob Kerstetter, 7. Nevin George, 8. Jaden Brown, 9. Nick Bear, 10. Josh Scherer, 11. Gen Bowers, 12. Lou Strohl, 13. Terry Markovic, 14. Avery Arthofer, 15. Austin Kochenash, 16. Wes Gilbert, 17. Peyton Arthofer, 18. Rod Snyder Jr.
Street Stock feature finish (30 laps): 1. Jonny Bennett, 2. Randy Ahner Jr., 3. TJ Gursky, 4. Brandon Christman, 5. Eric Kocher, 6. Mark Deysher, 7. Jillian Snyder, 8. Tommy Flanagan, 9. Bobby Kibler Sr., 10. Logan Boyer, 11. Jon Moser, 12. Todd Ahner, 13. Matt Schlenker, 14. Cody Geist, 15. Rick Reichenbach, 16. Randy Green, 17. Mark Martini, 18. Josh Mooney, 19. Thomas Flanagan, 20. Ian Szalku
1st Hobby Stock feature (12 laps): 1. Shayne Geist, 2. Don Bauder, 3. Jacob Boehm, 4. Ryan Berger, 5. Cody Boehm, 6. Justin Merkel, 7. Nick Schaeffer, 8. James Tout, 9. Jared Green, 10. Corey Edelman, 11. Trisha Connolly, 12. Travis Solomon, 13. Tyler Schmeltzle, 14. Ralph Boger Jr., 15. Lyndsay Buss, 16. Dave Kerr, 17. Bobby Kibler Jr., 18. Jared Frye, 19. Mallory Kutz, 20. Dave Imler Jr.
2nd Hobby Stock feature (12 laps): 1. Edelman, 2. Berger, 3. Jacob Boehm, 4. Cody Boehm, 5. Tout, 6. Bauder, 7. Connolly, 8. Schmeltzle, 9. Buss, 10. Imler, 11. Solomon, 12. Geist, 13. Boger Jr., 14. Schaeffer, 15. Merkel, 16. Kerr, 17. Kibler Jr., 18. Green, 19. Kutz, 20. Frye
3rd Hobby Stock feature (12 laps): 1. Cody Boehm, 2. Berger, 3. Connolly, 4. Edelman, 5. Jacob Boehm, 6. Geist, 7. Bauder, 8. Buss, 9. Imler Jr., 10. Merkel, 11. Schaeffer, 12. Boger Jr., 13. Kerr, 14. Schmeltzle, 15. Green, 16. Kibler Jr., 17. Frye, 18. Kutz, 19. Tout, 20. Solomon
Pro 4 feature (20 laps): 1. Cody Kohler, 2. Tyler Stangle, 3. Jake Kibler, 4. Ken Reeder, 5. Terry Peters, 6. Colton Breiner, 7. Kadie Pursell
Futures feature (15 laps): 1. Michael Klotz, 2. Maggie Yeakel, 3. Ryan Petro, 4. Makayla Kohler, 5. Adam Steigerwalt, 6. Arland Moyer Jr., 7. Lexus Kutz, 8. Parker Ahner, 9. Zoe Kuchera, 10. Gabrielle Steigerwalt