View Full Version : Still the One, John Bennett Wins Again at Mahoning Valley Speedway

08-01-2010, 10:32 PM
(LEHIGHTON, PA 7-31-10) Reigning Mahoning Valley Speedway track Kingpin John Bennett of Lehighton was back to his usual ways of making daring passes and driving off to victory.
The all-time leader in just about everything at the always demanding ¼-mile made a slingshot move underneath Tyler Haydt with ten laps to go then held off a pair New Jersey aces in Don Wagner and Rob Shultz in capturing his fourth win of the season.
“We were struggling there for a little bit. We found we had a couple of bad shocks and replaced them this week and I’ll tell you what it was all pretty good tonight,” said Bennett who made it win number 55 in his still going strong stellar career, 25th in a Modified.
At the start of the race Joe Mooney and Haydt ran side-by-side for the opening lap lead with Haydt making to the front first.
Lonnie Behler settled into second with Anthony Sesely and Bennett in tow.
Haydt was looking strong at his top post although Behler did keep things close. Unfortunately Behler gave up his spot on lap 18 due to a left front flat. He slowed to a halt and brought out the yellow. A lap prior Sesely was also out when he got nipped and spun.
On the restart Bennett was to the outside of Haydt and attempted several tries. The trademark passing move for Bennett has always been to the outside, but this time he took the alternate approach on the bottom line.
With 24 laps in Bennett went to work on his race winning move. He had been riding the high groove but suddenly the inside opened up and he seized the moment.
“He (Haydt) was a little loose there and I caught him sliding going into (turn) three and thought that was my chance so I threw it under there,” said Bennett.
“Everyone has stepped up their game and it’s been a real tough field all year and it’s definitely made things a lot more challenging.”
Tough indeed. Shultz is one of those who Bennett spoke of. In the past few weeks he has continued to be a noticed and was vying for a Mahoning best second place finish. Title hopeful Wagner made a hard charge and nipped him by inches at the finish.
“We’re racing for wins too,” said Wagner. “We had a great car tonight. It was tight in the beginning and we’re just happy to be in the top three.
Haydt and Chip Santee completed the top five.
In Late Model action Rick Wallace of Lehighton was victorious for the first time in nearly three years as the seasoned veteran picked up the win with an impressive performance by leading every lap.
Wallace out-dueled pole sitter Barry Christman, Sr. at the start and then kept focus on the front the rest of the way.
Wallace, who has been winning races at Mahoning Valley since 1990, won for the 25th time in the division and 32 overall.
Point leader Paul Koehler was second with Jason Zatsko third.
16-year old Gene Bowers of Lehighton won his career first Street Stock feature and in doing so become the 11th different winner if one of the most competitive seasons the class has ever had.
Bowers took the lead on a caution caused by then leader Paul Effrig who spun coming off turn two.
Bowers was surrounded by a pack of hungry drivers who also craved their first wins. Jillian Long and brothers Adam and Austin Santee where all locked in a tight running pack. Also in the mix was Devin Gibson.
It wasn’t until the later laps that Bowers began to expand his lead. A steady performer all year, Bowers pulled away to a commanding 2.467-second margin of victory over Gibson with Adam Santee, Austin Santee and Jason Frey rounding out the top five.
At times it seemed the Pro4 Late Model feature resembled more of a war rather than a race as a foursome of drivers waged war but when all was said and done it was a non combatant among them who emerged the victor.
Mike Stofflet of Allentown came out the winner, his first of the year, after a race long clash took place between Jeremy Miller, Barry Christman, Jr., and Kevin and Kris Graver.
The first of 20 laps were led by Jake Kibler. Then Miller took over but only stayed there for one lap as point leader Kris Graver took the lead, the 10th such time he did so this year.
On his second lap at front, he got pinched by Miller and spun. Miller was back at the helm.
Ranked as one of the best with the class, Miller was in a serious defensive mode doing all he could to fend off Kevin Graver.
However, on the rear of Kevin Graver was Christman who on lap 13 tagged him and sent into a spin. Back at the front Kris Graver had returned to re-challenge Miller and with four laps to go he powered to the outside to take the lead. Miller then came storming back and in the process tagged the back end of Kris Graver who then spun.
After all was sorted out Stofflet was now the leader and with three laps to go he steered clear of any other trouble to come out on top of what was deemed the most entertaining feature of the year.
Brian Correll of Nazareth passed John Rakos with six laps to go and went on to win his first Mahoning Micro stock feature

Modified Feature Finish, 35 Laps: 1.John Bennett 2.Don Wagner 3.Rob Shultz 4.Tyler Haydt 5.Chip Santee 6.Tom Flanagan 7.Anthony Sesely 8.Brian Romig 9.Joe Mooney 10.Jarred Nace 11.Rich Kuilken, Jr. 12.Keith Mullineaux 13.Lonnie Behler 14.Rick Reichenbach 15.Troy Bollinger 16.Brian DeFebo

Late Model Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1.Rick Wallace 2.Paul Koehler, Jr. 3.Jason Zatsko 4.Austin Kochenash 5.Shawn Sitarchyk 6.Ron Geotter 7.Dave Wallace 8.Chris Kemmerer 9.barry Christman, Sr.

Street Stock Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1.Gene Bowers 2.Devin Gibson 3.Adam Santee 4.Austin Santee 5.Jason Frey 6.Steve Hoffman 7.Chris May 8.Justin Mooney 9.Todd Ahner 10.Randy Ahner, Jr. 11.Jim Yamelski 12.Kristy Morone Arthofer 13.Steve Steigerwalt 14.TJ Gursky 15.Brian Labar 16.Jillian Long 17.Jamie Smith 18.Eric Danyluk 19.Josh Mooney 20.Paul Effrig

Dirt Modified Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1.Randy Thomas 2.Bill Briggs 3.Mike Brannigar 4.Joe Stangle 5.Jeff Parker 6.Dave Thomas 7.Bill Sitler

Pro4 Late Model Feature, 20 Laps: 1.Mike Stofflet 2.Jeremy Miller 3.Kevin Graver, Jr. 4.Kevin Stein 5.Kris Graver 6.Chad Keiser 7.Barry Christman, Jr. 8.Jake Kibler

Micro Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1.Brian Correll 2.John Rakos 3.Roger Snyder 4.Bill Darling 5.Dave Allen 6.DJ Wagner 7.Wayne Krenn 8.Pete Bayles