View Full Version : Earl Paules Cashes in at Mahoning Valley Speedway Season Opener

05-01-2011, 06:58 PM
By Dino Oberto

(LEHIGHTON, PA 4-30-11) After back-to-back rainouts, the third time turned out to be the charm in kicking off the 2011 season at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway as a full pit area and a respectable sized grandstand of fans made for a resounding first night of racing.
Taking top laurels on the evening was Earl Paules of Palmerton who scored big bucks in claiming the Modified headliner worth $3000. That was the most money every won for a regular 35-lap Modified feature. Not only did he earn the $1500 first place prize but that amount was matched by his sponsor, John Schneider of Schneider and Sons, Inc., Scrap Medal of Allentown who offered to double his winnings if he would win the race.
Paules may want to consider taking Schneider to Mahoning more often too as this was the second such time he augmented his winnings, the previous time occurred in a 100-lap $3000-to-win race which increased to $6000, meaning Paules has twice walked off with the highest paydays for a Modified feature.
Paules’ fortune came at the expense of Don Wagner who been leading from the outset but on lap 14 he came upon the cars of Terry Markovic and Matt Higgins who had collided in turn three. Wagner had little time to react and was collected in the melee.
Runner-up at the time was Paules who then inherited the lead which he would not relinquish the rest of the way.
“This was the first time here with this race car so I didn’t know what it was going to do because my Mahoning car wasn’t ready yet with the motor. I’m not so sure I’m just going to bring this one from now on,” said Paules.
At the point when Wagner got trapped with the back markers, Paules was just high enough to miss the incident
“I was looking way ahead of Wagner and when we started coming up on lapped cars I was really looking for hole. I’m lucky to have John (Schneider) here. He doubles what I win. We want to get geared up for those 100-lappers and we’re going to try and be here as much as we can this year.”
After taking the lead Paules was being followed tightly by defending champ John Bennett but on lap 30 he slipped out line and allowed Tyler Haydt to move to second. Bennett settled for third at the finish with John Markovic and Lonnie Behler completing the top five.
In 2010 Austin Kochenash roared to a class leading nine Late Model wins and those winning ways are back as the talented 15-year old from Northampton opened up the year with a solid victory.
Much like Paules, Kochenash also was the recipient of hard luck on the part of the race’s leader in gaining the verdict.
Starting second, Kochenash was riding behind strong running Dave Wallace. However, on lap four as Wallace was attempting to avoid the ill-handling car of Joe Edinger they struck one another which was enough of a hit to end both their nights.
Kochenash was then bumped to the front and after a few close laps with reigning champ Paul Koehler, Jr., Kochenash pulled away to a three car length win ahead of Rick Wallace.
“This is a great way to start things off especially since I lost the power steering with about 15 laps to go,” said Kochenash.
“Dave (Wallace) was looking strong but I feel we still would have given him a good run had he not had his misfortune. Our car was working very well on the bottom of the track. My crew did such an awesome job getting it setup for tonight and with the exception of the steering issue it was perfect from the time it rolled off the trailer.”
Now in his third year of Late Model racing, this marks the first time that Kochenash is a point leader.
The Street Stock feature was all about TJ Gursky. Starting from the pole, Gursky, who is the only driver to compete with a Monte Carlo while everyone else runs Camaro’s, was a dominant force from start to finish.
Taking the lead from the get-go, Gursky’s only really challenge came during some late race cautions when the field was bunched. Other than that was by far the best of the bunch.
While Gursky was cruising to the win Jamie Smith opened up his year with a fine runner-up while rookie Jeremy Miller drove to a solid third.
In what was the closest race of the evening, Dave Thomas of Palmerton won the Dirt Mod feature after he battled closely all race long with Kris Graver.
Graver, who won last season’s Pro4 Late Model title, was making his first start with the class and despite being in a car that had twice the power of what he was accustomed to, he drove like a season veteran.
Graver was the opening lap leader but after a restart on the same circuit he was taken by Thomas. From there on it was at most times a two-wide duel for the end. Thomas without question earned his visit to Victory Lane as the battle he got from Graver was unrelenting.
Barry Christman, Jr., was nothing short of perfect in scoring top honors with the Pro4 Late Models. Christman started out his night by leading ever lap of his heat and then duplicated that fete for the feature which was an uncontested run to the checkers.
Bryan Ahner and Dustin Bair returned after a brief hiatus from racing to finish second and third respectively.
Wharton, NJ’s Bob Wagner was victorious in the Micro Stock main which he seems to be very good at whenever he runs with the visiting club.
Wagner took the lead from Brian Carroll four laps from the finish then held off a fast closing Roger Snyder for the win.

Modified Feature Finish, 35 Laps: 1.Earl Paules 2.Tyler Haydt 3.John Bennett 4.John Markovic 5.Lonnie Behler 6.Brian DeFebo 7.Joe Mooney 8.Rick Kirkendall 9.Chip Santee 10.Brian Romig 11.Don Wagner 12.Mike Carroll 13.Terry Markovic 14.Matt Higgins 15.Frankie Althouse 16. Scott Adams 17.Jimmy Zacharis 18.Ed Heim 19.Brian Sones
Did not qualify: Doug Bell, Stacey Brown

Late Model Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1.Austin Kochenash 2.Rick Wallace 3.Paul Skodacek 4.Paul Kohler Jr. 5.Tony Zatsko 6.Ed Bauer 7.Francis Gross 8.Geno Steigerwalt 9.Cole Lenhart 10.Raven Schrantz 11.Mike Vanfossen 12.Dave Wallace 13.Joe Edinger 14.George Ramos

Street Stock Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1.TJ Gursky 2.Jamie Smith 3.Jeremy Miller 4.Adam Santee 5.Todd Ahner 6.Steven Steigerwalt 7.Gene Bowers 8.JustinMooney 8.Randy Ahner, Jr. 9.Justin Mooney 10.Shawn Sitarchyk 11.Josh Mooney 12.Kevin Smith 13.Jillian Long 14.Steve Hoffman 15.Austin Santee 16.Jon Moser 17.Jason Frey 18.Chip Wanamaker 19.Paul Effrig 20.Ethan Rutherford 21.Bill Rooney

Dirt Modified Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1.Dave Thomas 2.Kris Graver 3.Randy Thomas 4.Joe Stangle 5.Bill Briggs 6.Scott Hulmes 7.Mike Stofflet 8.Bill Sitler 9.Mark Levy 10.DJ Wagner 11.Billy Swartz

Pro4 Late Model Feature, 20 Laps: 1.Barry Christman, Jr. 2.Brian Ahner 3.Dustin Bair 4.Corey Hill 5.Aleia Geisler 5.Chad Keiser 6.Jake Kibler 7.Jason Bair

Micro Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1.Bob Wagner 2.Roger Snyder 3.Roy Morris 4.Brian Correll 5.John Rakos 6.Walt Mueller 7.Wayne Krenn 8.Calvin Carroll 9.Bill Darling 10.Suzie Carroll 11.Eugene Taschler