Story By: DINO OBERTO / MAHONING VALLEY SPEEDWAY – LEHIGHTON, PA – For Lou Strohl of Palmerton, the long wait is over in returning to Victory Lane at Mahoning Valley Speedway as the veteran driver authored a great run in Saturday’s 35-lap feature and picked up his first win in five years.
Strohl has been showing good speed throughout the season and frequently raced with the front pack but when it came time to seal the deal his efforts always fell just short. On this night, however, there was none better as he soundly captured a long overdue win.
Strohl passed Brian DeFebo at the start of lap seven and then went into cruise control the rest of the way. Competing with the only LFR chassis in the field, he had no problem in fending off runner-up Kyle Strohl in netting his 35th career win.
“I knew this was going to come because this LFR car is just awesome and an 80-year old can drive this thing that’s how easy it was getting around tonight,” declared Strohl.
“I can tell you right now we aren’t waiting another five years for the next win.”
Strohl lined up third for start and when the action commenced it was Terry Markovic that led the first tour over DeFebo and Rod Snyder Jr. On the second circuit DeFebo put his mount to the front while Strohl went side-by-side with Snyder.
On lap four the race was halted when Cody Kohler spun in Turn 1 and was then hit by Nevin George who. Also collected was Nick Baer and first time starter Reid Levengood.
When the race restarted DeFebo continued to hold his spot while Strohl stuck behind him and grabbed second. Strohl then stepped to the outside as they began the sixth go-around and in doing so drove by for the lead as they finished off the circuit.
“At the beginning of the race I knew we had to be cool and don’t do anything crazy and I just rode it out. Brian just gave it away coming off of (turn) two and I just throttled up and took it,” said Strohl.
Point leader Kyle Strohl and Snyder also slipped by DeFebo but neither could keep pace with L. Strohl as it was smooth sailing the rest of the way reeling off prefect laps each time by.
L. Strohl’s night got off to a good start when he also collected his heat, giving a strong indication of what laid ahead.
“I kind of figured after that (heat) we had something. The car was rolling pretty good and it gave us a good feel coming into the feature. It may have been just a hair tight but all in all the car was on rails,” surmised Strohl.
“I really want to thank (car owner) Matt Higgins who kept his faith in me and telling me I can get the job done coming and also Gary Wentz who sticks by me and of course my son Jesse and all the gang that comes out to help us.”
For a sixth time in nine starts K. Strohl had to settle for second. Snyder was third, Bobby Jones fourth and Nick Baer fifth. With L. Strohl’s win it also sets up an exciting run for the Modified championship as he, K. Strohl and Snyder are within 11 points with two races remaining.
The ATQMRA were on hand, making their first 2022 stop at Mahoning Valley and in typical TQ fashion the lightning fast racers blistered around the ¼-mile at breakneck speeds.
Proof came when Jeff Kot motored to victory over Matt Janisch while turning low 9-second laps. Kot led from the drop of the green and had built a comfortable lead but by lap 10 Janisch began to close that gap. He was then eying up a possible pass for the lead but a lap 16 caution by Geoffery Sutton thwarted that effort.
For the remaining laps Kot was able to hold his ground and take his second Mahoning TQ win.
Jillian Snyder picked up her third Street stock verdict of the year in a feature that was quite thrilling from start to finish. Snyder propelled by Cody Geist with three laps to go in securing her ninth career win.
For Snyder, racing to victory was one thing but getting it was another as the action was hot and heavy with those fighting for the lead. Two-wide racing – and lots of it – was the setting for this race.
Thomas Flanagan led the early going but had Geist all over him while the rest of the front pack contested in a two-by-two formation. When Geist finally got by for the lead Snyder soon followed suit and was applying intense pressure from the outside groove. Unending here effort, she made the race winning pass as time was running out.
Closing fast and taking third was TJ Gursky while point leader Tommy Flanagan and son Thomas rounded out the top five all under a blanket.
Cody Kohler can check off a season goal from this year’s bucket list as the current Pro 4 point leader won his 40th feature and becomes only the second such driver to reach that high-water mark with the division.
Kohler used a lap four restart to take the lead from Colton Breiner and from then on he was in complete control. Although Breiner did a fine job of staying within reach, Kohler was not to be denied.
Shayne Geist chocked up Hobby Stock win number five on the season including his third in the past four races and a late race caution may have been his saving grace in attaining it.
Geist was in an intensely close battle with Corey Edelman who appeared ready to unseat him as they were about to start the final lap. But Geist got a huge break when third running Cody Boehm lost his right rear wheel and brought out a caution.
With a single file restart Geist was able to uphold his position and score the hard-earned conquest.
In the Futures main Maggie Yeakel took the lead from Gabrielle Steigerwalt three laps from the end and gained her second win of the year.
Modified feature finish (35 laps): 1. Lou Strohl, 2. Kyle Strohl, 3. Rod Snyder Jr., 4. Bobby Jones, 5. Nick Baer, 6. Brian DeFebo, 7. Terry Markovic, 8. Paul French Sr., 9. Nevin George, 10. Reid Levengood, 11. Troy Bollinger, 12. Cody Kohler
ATQMRA feature finish (25 laps): 1. Jeff Kot, 2. Matt Janisch, 3. Buddy Sload, 4. Geoffery Sutton, 5. Cole Martin, 6. Kyle Taraska, 7. Mark Yoder, 8. Steve Craig, 9. Zack Burd, 10. Chris Peicher DNS: Brianna Page
Street Stock feature finish (30 laps): 1. Jillian Snyder, 2. Cody Geist, 3. TJ Gursky, 4. Tommy Flanagan, 5. Thomas Flanagan, 6. Rick Reichenbach, 7. Logan Boyer, 6. Todd Ahner, 9, Tucker Muffley, 10. Jon Moser, 11. Mark Deysher, 12. Jeremy Scheckler, 13. Randy Ahner Jr., 14. Matt Kocher, 15. Jamie Smith DNS: Randy Green
Hobby Stock feature finish (25 laps): 1. Shayne Geist, 2. Corey Edelman, 3. Dave Kerr, 4. Mike Horn, 5. James Tout, 6. Dave Imler Jr., 7. Lyndsay Buss, 8. Don Bauder, 9. Mallory Kutz, 10. Jared Frye, 11. Cody Boehm, 12. Nicholas Kerstetter, 13. Travis Solomon, 14. Ralph Boger Jr.
Pro 4 feature finish (20 laps): 1. Cody Kohler, 2. Colton Briener, 3. Terry Peters, 4. Mark Fister, 5. Kadie Pursell, 6. Alexis Jones, 7. Richie Pursell, 8. Jake Kibler, 9. Ken Reeder, 10. Tyler Stangle
Futures feature finish (20 laps): 1. Maggie Yeakel, 2. Gabrielle Steigerwalt, 3. Ryan Petro, 4. Parker Ahner, 5. Adam Steigerwalt, 6. Michael Klotz, 7. Arland Moyer Jr., 8. Makayla Kohler, 9. Lexus Kutz, 10. Zoey Moyer, 11. Ryan Kresge, 12. Zoe Kuchera