View Full Version : Full Moon Rising; Mooney brothers Joe and Josh score Mahoning Valley wins

06-26-2011, 12:18 PM
By Dino Oberto

(LEHIGHTON, PA 6-25-11) It turned out to be a great night of racing for the Mooney family of Lehighton as Joe Mooney claimed his first Modified feature win after a wild drive to the finish while his younger brother Josh Mooney also enjoyed winning with his first victory of the season in the Street Stocks.
The Modified race saw five lead changes in the 35-lap contest that was quiet the shootout as one leader after another was taken down. The last four laps alone saw the front spot switch three times.
That included Mooney who pitted after being bounced from the top spot on lap 18 by John Bennett. He was ready to call it a night, even exiting his car while behind the wall. But, while a few more yellows waved on the same lap his crew insisted he get back in the car and return to the track.
Mooney followed their orders and thanks to a few more cautions in the race and some sharp driving he was able to move up to third with three laps to go.
On lap 33 then leader Chip Santee was dumped by Lonnie Behler, whom he had just passed the lap prior. With both out of contention Mooney was now the new front man and ably held off Troy Bollinger and Bennett for the amazing win.
“I was sitting in the trailer outside of the car and Justin (brother) came running up and said there was another wreck on the track and to get in the car and get back out. I was almost ready to give up but this team didn’t and I won this race because of them,” said Mooney.
“I am so grateful to Warren and Erica Jefferson for allowing me the opportunity to run their car and to our sponsor ULINE Shipping Supply Specialists. This was just a great night for the whole Mooney family.”
At the start Behler grabbed the lead but third starting Mooney was hanging right with him and at most time’s side-by-side. Then on lap 16 while cruising on the outside line Mooney slipped ahead.
Behler never gave up though and seemed that at any moment he would retake the lead. Terry Markovic and Bollinger were also waging a tense duel right in the path of the front pair.
Bennett came into the picture on lap 17 and on the next tour he drove under Behler while coming off turn four. Behler washed up the track and briefly scrapped the wall while Bennett went charging after Mooney. In the process contact was made as they entered turn two with Mooney spinning. For his part officials sent Bennett to the rear. It was under that yellow that Mooney went pit-side and almost called it a night.
Santee was now the new race leader and had to contend with Bollinger who hounded him relentlessly from his right side.
With 10 laps reaming Behler then had resurgence and simply blew past Bollinger and Santee. This race was far from over as Santee then came right back and with three laps to run and accelerated back to the front. Behler was none too happy either as came right up and banged into Santee’s rear bumper.
Santee went spinning while Behler exited the race. Mooney was the benefactor and ultimately the feature winner.
“This was amazing and what a turn of events. There were a bunch of guys driving over their heads and I just waited for the window. I know how bad Lonnie (Behler) wants to win and he’s going to do what it takes,” said Mooney.

“This is just good aggressive racing here and you can do that at this place unlike anywhere else. These guys in the Modifieds for the most part are great to drive against. We’ve been fast but never that fast at the end of a race.”
Mooney is part of a trio of brothers who race. Along with Josh there is also Justin in the Street Stocks. Joe has previously won in Late Models and Street Stocks and this was the first time a Mooney had won in the Modified class since their dad, Steve, won a feature on September 11, 1993.
Bennett’s third place showing landed him the division point lead as Tyler Haydt dropped out on lap 18 and finished 16th.
The Mooney celebration began the race prior when Josh won his feature.
Like his older sibling he too started third and was racing second after the first lap. On the third go-around he then went topside on Austin Santee to assume the lead. After a few close laps of side-by-side running, Mooney had enough power to pull ahead by a few car lengths and kept that distance to the end.
There was the usual field filled tight pack of cars all behind the leader with point leader TJ Gursky eventually taking second followed by Steve Hoffman.
The Late Model main was a highly competitive one from start to finish with Lehighton’s Dave Wallace coming out the winner.
Paul Skodacek led the opening lap but then it was Rick Wallace who would take charge. He then had to fend off a very close pack of on-comers.
As the race was nearing the closing stages R. Wallace was barely clinging to his lead. His brother, D. Wallace, then second at that point, snagged the reigns with six to go. Strong running Ed Bauer was following suit and not only did he get by R. Wallace but in a laps time he also passed D. Wallace.
Not so quick to give up D. Wallace then forged back with two laps remaining and went on to score the popular verdict. Bauer had to settle for second while point leader Austin Kochenash hustled his way to third at the end.
The Dirt Mods saw Dave Thomas of Palmerton start from the pole and then remain there for all 20 laps in notching his third win of the season.
In winning for the fourth straight time with the Pro4 Late Models, Barry Christman, Jr., of Northampton set a new class record in doing so. It continues to be a dominating year too as this marked his sixth win in seven starts.

Modified Feature Finish, 35 Laps: 1. Joe Mooney, 2. Troy Bollinger, 3. John Bennett, 4. Matt Higgins, 5. Frankie Althouse, 6. Kevin Rex, Jr., 7. Terry Markovic, 8. Rick Reichenbach, 9. Chip Santee, 10. Brian Romig, 11. Keith Mullineaux, 12. Lonnie Behler, 13. Don Wagner, 14. Andy Szapacs, 15. Earl Paules, 16. Tyler Haydt, 17. Jason Collins, 18. Brian DeFebo, 19. Matt Clemens, 20. Doug Bell

Late Model Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Dave Wallace, 2. Ed Bauer, 3. Austin Kochenash, 4. Geno Steigerwalt, 5. Paul Skodacek, 6. Rick Wallace, 7. Paul Koehler, Jr., 8. George Ramos, 9. Raven Schrantz, 10. Beau Drobot

Street Stock Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Josh Mooney, 2. TJ Gursky, 3. Steve Hoffman, 4. Kevin Smith, 5. Randy Ahner, Jr., 6. Shawn Sitarchyk, 7. Steve Steigerwalt, 8. Jon Moser, 9. Jason Frey, 10. Justin Mooney, 11. Jamie Smith, 12. Jeremy Miller, 13. Gene Bowers, 14. Austin Santee, 15. Todd Ahner, 16. Joe Stamm, 17. Scooter Graver, 18. Jillian Long, 19. Adam Santee, 20. Tony Turrano, 21. JR Moser

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

Pro4 Late Model Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Barry Christman, Jr. 2. Aleia Geisler, 3. Jake Kibler, 4. Corey Hill, 5. Chad Keiser, 6. Taya Wentz, 7.JR Moyer