Story By: DINO OBERTO / MAHONING VALLEY SPEEDWAY – LEHIGHTON, PA – When the 2023 season gets underway at the paved ¼-mile Mahoning Valley Speedway in Lehighton, a popular and very familiar touring group will be on hand as the Race of Champions (RoC) Modified Series will kick-off things on Saturday, April 8. Race time is slated for 3:00 pm.
The RoC Tour is nothing new to Mahoning Valley having run numerous events over the years and giving fans the opportunity to see some of the top drivers on the Tour take on the weekly and always though regulars in what makes for a thrilling and action packed show.
And with this being the first point race of the season for the RoC as well as the stars of Mahoning Valley, indications point to a great field of Modifieds.
While this will be the first RoC Tour event of 2023, it also serves as a tune-up to the granddaddy of all Modified stock car races with the 72nd Annual Lucas Oil Race of Champions 250 taking place on Saturday, April 22, at Lake Erie Speedway in North East, Pennsylvania. That event is a holdover from last year after weather postponed it until the new date.
With the exciting news of the RoC Tour coming to Mahoning for the season opener, in the works is a second date to be announced for later this year.
And speaking of the RoC the FOAR Score Four Cylinder Dash Series – part of the Race of Champions “Family of Series” – is a class very similar the Mahoning’s Hobby Stocks and has been inked onto the ’23 schedule. This will be their first venture into eastern Pennsylvania and like the Modifieds, they too will be facing off against some high quality talent that make up the home track steadies in what has become one of the hardiest divisions to race in.
The management team of Mahoning Valley is putting in place the final dates in preparation of releasing the schedule during the Pioneer Pole Building Motorsports Trade and Race Car Show taking place at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Oaks on January 20 & 21.
Race fans can rest assured that a very action packed calendar of events will be run each week and that includes a continuing effort to work in unison on a number of cross-promoting endeavors between Mahoning Valley Speedway and neighboring Evergreen Raceway in Butler Township and the “Dual Track Series” (DTS).
Recently both facilities revealed a Hobby Stock/4-Cylinder DTS and now they have added the Crate 602 Modifieds with a six race series, three features at each track.
With an uptick in popularity of the Crate 602 Modified division it was felt that a series between both tracks would be a great opportunity for drivers to showcase their abilities even further. The class has become a steppingstone for rising talent and at the same time giving them the chance to compete against some savvy veteran drivers.
The Crate 602 Modifieds have run the past two seasons at Evergreen. Rick Smith was this year’s champion there. At Mahoning Valley the class had a rousing debut during the annual Fall Brawl in a race won by 11-year old Paulie Hartwig III. Both classes will be part of the respective tracks regular divisions and with rules that are conducive at each.
Respective track points and series points will be kept and aside from regular payouts there will be a point fund in place paying $1500, $1000 and $500 to the top three. Plus each race will designate five “Lucky Draw” awards of $200.
The Crate 602 Modified DTS is being made possible by sponsors Bruce George Paving and Excavating of Kunkletown, Aqua Duck Water Transport of New Tripoli, Rustic Roots Salon of Lehighton, Blue Mountain Machine and Future Homes also from Lehighton and O & S Maintenance of Moscow.
Another class making a return to Mahoning is the Xcel Modifieds, the scaled-down version of a Dirt Modified and powered by 600cc sealed engine. The touring group last raced here in 2015.
Coming back as well is a division which has deep roots at Mahoning. The Slingshots by Tobias, which had its official debut back in 1999, will revisit the speedway for the first time in four years.
Furthermore will be the staple touring groups of the American Three Quarter Midget Racing Association, East Coast TQ Midgets and Micro Stocks plus JuiceBox Races and Junk Cars will see added dates this year.
There will be big news forthcoming on the second annual Modified Spring Zing Tom Wanick Jr., Memorial 150 for the Modifieds with another hefty payout to boot.
All of Mahoning’s regular classes will all be in action regularly throughout the season including Modifieds, Late Models, Crate 602 Modifieds, Street Stocks, Dirt Modifieds, Pro 4s, Hobby Stocks and Futures.
In advance of the first race the speedway will be hosting Test and Tune days March 18 & 25 and again April 1 & 2.
Mahoning Valley Speedway will have representatives and a display at the upcoming Indoor Auto Racing Championship fueled by VP Racing Fuels at the PPL Center, Allentown on January 6-7. They will also have presence at the Eastern Motorsport Press Association Convention on January 14 in Wilkes-Barre.