View Full Version : Champions Lauded at Mahoning Valley Speedway Awards Banquet

12-19-2010, 05:32 PM
By Dino Oberto

(NORTHAMPTON, PA 12-18-10) The 2010 race season at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway came to a fitting close on Saturday night, December 18 as the popular paved ¼-mile oval paid tribute to its divisional champions and others at the yearend awards ceremony held at the Northampton Memorial Community Center in Northampton.

John Bennett, Modifieds, Paul Koehler, Jr., Late Models, Randy Ahner, Jr., Street Stocks, Randy Thomas, Dirt Mods and Kris Graver, Pro4 Late Models, where officially crowned champions of their respective classes.

For Bennett, this was his third consecutive Modified title and seventh overall at Mahoning. He edged out Don Wagner, who for the third time, finished runner-up in the standings. Bennett garnered four wins during the season and in doing so pushed his record all-time Mahoning wins total to 55.

Koehler opened up the year with a win and the point lead and throughout the rest of the season he remained number one. It was his third Late Model title and the second in which he led the points from start to finish. When Koehler won his fifth feature on September 11, he moved into a tie with Todd Stehle as the all-time win leaders in class with 34.

The Street Stock championship went right down to the last lap of the last race with Ahner and Kristy Morone Arthofer ending in a tie. By virtue of the tiebreaker system, Ahner was named the champ thanks largely to having more feature wins, three, while Arthofer had one.

It was the second year in a row that Ahner claimed the crown and the second time that it wasn’t until the final event that the championship was decided.
In just its second season the Dirt Mods have become a class dominated by Thomas who repeated as the top point getter.

After a close first half battle that included his brother, Dave Thomas and Jeff Parker, R. Thomas put things into high gear over the second half. He established new records with 10 wins on the year and in just two years has three times more wins than anyone else in the division.

When 17-year old Graver scored the Pro4 Late Model championship, he continued a family legacy, becoming the first third generation driver to win a Mahoning championship, joining the likes of his grandfather and uncle, Kevin Graver Sr., and Jr.

In what was a near perfect season as Graver raced to a record tying 11 feature wins, equaling the mark set last year by his uncle Kevin. He finished all but on race in the top three, that lone race being a fifth. He was a perfect 22 for 22 in top five’s.

A number of special awards were presented including Rookie of the Year which went to Rob Shultz, Shawn Sitarchyk, Gene Bowers, Kevin Stein and Joe Stangle in the Mods, Late Models, Street Stocks, Pro4’s and Dirt Mods respectively.

Most Improved Driver recipients were Brian DeFebo, Modified, Austin Kochenash, Late Model, Kristy Morone Arthofer, Street Stock, Jake Kibler, Pro4 and Dave Thomas, Dirt Mod.

For Best Appearing car it was Chip Santee’s #5 Modified. The #34 Late Model of Rick Wallace. Adam Santee’s #5 Camaro Street Stock. The Ford Focus #98 Pro4 of Jeremy Miller and Dave Thomas’ #19 Dirt Modified.

Fast Time Award, the award given for setting a new division one lap track record, went to Late Modeler Kochenash, Barry Christman, Jr., of the Pro4 Late Model class and Parker with the Dirt Mods.

Promoters Doug and Gena Hoffman where presented the Bob and Anne Pouleson Memorial Awards from the Checkered Flag Fan Club.

Also recognized by CFFC was Syke Michael who was honored with the Service Appreciation Award for her vigorous hard work and tireless efforts throughout the season.

For her work as the Kids Big Wheel coordinator, Stephanie Reichenbach was honored as Woman of the Year.

Art Bair of Bair Wheel Repair gave customer appreciation awards to Bennett, Steven Steigerwalt, Shawn Sitarchyk, Tom Cremer and Graver.

Track photographer’s Henry and Sue Wilt presented the Tough Luck Awards to Joe Mooney, Barry Christman, Sr., Jillian Long, Kibler and Bill Sitler.

Co-promoter Doug Hoffman closed out the awards portion of the ceremony by thanking everyone for their support throughout the season and gave notice that all systems are a go for 2011.

Mahoning Valley will begin the upcoming year with a Flea Market followed by consecutive weekends of paid open practice during the month of March. Opening Day is tentatively set for mid April.