View Full Version : John Bennett is on the mark with another Mahoning Mod win

07-17-2011, 10:31 AM
By Dino Oberto

(LEHIGHTON, PA 7-16-11) When John Bennett brings his A-game to the track he is nearly impossible to beat. That game plan has been a good one too as he yet again added another victory to his extraordinary list of accomplishments at Mahoning Valley Speedway.

Starting seventh, Bennett, who hails from Lehighton, roared past early leader Brain Romig on lap five and then stayed in front the rest of the way for his second Modified win of the season.

The three-time and defending class champion was the first driver at Mahoning to reach 40 career wins then 50 and with Saturday’s verdict it pushed him closer to 60 with the 57th time parking in Victory Lane, 27 of those in a Modified.

“It’s all about the work in the garage during the week and here’s where it all pays off,” said Bennett.

When Bennett took the lead he pulled out to a nearly half track lead until a caution at lap 18 gave the rest of the pack a chance to see his rear bumper.

“I was just trying to keep a nice steady pace that I can maintain the whole race and that’s kind of what I did. I wasn’t sure what everyone else was doing behind me.

What they were doing was running in a very tight bunch. Romig, Chip Santee, point leader Tyler Haydt, Don Wagner and Rob Shultz raced in amazingly close formation.

Haydt had lined up next to Bennett on the lap-18 restart but instead of him going after the leader it was Wagner who stepped up to challenge. However, Bennett was the mark of perfection with each passing lap and not to be denied.

“These are some of the best guys to run against. You run them clean and they run you clean and it’s just good racing,” said Bennett.

Wagner was runner-up for the second straight week with Lonnie Behler third, Kevin Rex, Jr., getting a Modified career best fourth and Haydt fifth.

Late Model point leader Austin Kochenash of Danielsville cruised easily to his division leading third win of ’11. Taking the lead at the start Kochenash had no problem in fending off last week’s winner Paul Koehler, Jr., as he was smooth and fast from start to finish.

Despite the fact that only a few cars came out to race, Kochenash still performed with the same tenacity that has helped him remain at the top of the points throughout the season.

“There were only four cars but one of them was Paul Koehler who has won a lot of races and championships. Our car was handling good and we just hit the setup perfect,” said 15-year old Kochenash who will now take his act to Oswego for the Late Model portion of the Race of Champions on July 24.

When you talk Street Stocks at Mahoning Valley Todd Ahner’s name will always crop up. After all he is the all-time winner with the division and on Saturday night the Palmerton ace notched his first of the season and 26th to date.

Ahner grabbed the top spot after an exciting three-wide battle with Austin Santee and Shawn Sitarchyk on lap 13. Afterwards he battled back the stout running Kevin Smith for the win. Ahner became the ninth different winner in in 10 races while Smith, who is rookie, moved into a tie in the points with his solid runner up as TJ Gursky relinquished the sole lead for the first time this season due to his 10th place finish.

In Dirt Mod action it was Berline, NJ’s Bill Briggs notching his first feature win of the season. Briggs showed early on that he would be a tough competitor as he cruised to an effortless heat win and then carried that strong momentum into the main event.

Briggs passed Joe Stangle on lap four and never looked back as he went on to a 2.6-second margin of victory over Dave Thomas.

Yes Barry Christman, Jr., of Northampton won another Pro4 Late Model race but no one will deny that this was by far the most competitive of the year.

Aleia Geisler controlled the lead through the first nine laps. Then last week’s winner Jake Kibler moved to the front. Two laps later it was Christman out front then Kibler then Christman for good with five to go.

Roger Snyder of Kempton scored a hard fought Micro Stock win having to battle with AJ Fuge from the outset and not taking to lead until three laps to go.

Modified Feature Finish, 35 Laps: 1. John Bennett, 2. Don Wagner, 3. Lonnie Behler, 4. Kevin Rex, Jr., 5. Tyler Haydt, 6. Rick Reichenbach, 7. Terry Markovic, 8. Joe Mooney, 9. Frankie Althouse, 10. Chip Santee, 11. Brian Romig, 12. John Markovic, 13. Tom Flanagan, 14. Matt Higgins, 15. Stacey Brown, 16. Rob Shultz, 17. Earl Paules, 18. Andy Szapacs

Late Model Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Austin Kochenash, 2. Paul Koehler, Jr., 3. George Ramos, 4. Glenn Slocum

Street Stock Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Todd Ahner, 2. Kevin Smith, 3. Steve Steigerwalt, 4. Jason Frey, 5. Steve Hoffman, 6. Jeremy Miller, 7. Rich Moser, 8. Randy Ahner, Jr., 9. Austin Santee, 10. TJ Gursky, 11. Jason Kuhn, 12. Josh Mooney, 13. Justin Serfass, 14. Gene Bowers, 15. Shawn Sitarchyk, 16. Adam Santee 17. Joe Stamm, 18. Eric Getz

Dirt Modified Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Bill Briggs, 2. Dave Thomas, 3. Kris Graver, 4. Joe Stangle, 5. Mike Stofflet, 6. Mike Stinger, 7. Scott Hulmes, 8. Randy Thomas, 9. Earl Paules

Pro4 Late Model Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Barry Christman, Jr. 2. Jake Kibler, 3. Aleia Geisler, 4. Cory Hill, 5. Kevin Behler, 6. Chad Keiser, 7. Taya Wentz, 8. Jr. Moyer

Micro Stock Feature Finish, 15 Laps: 1. Roger Snyder, 2. AJ Fuge, 3. John Rakos, 4. Roy Morris, 5. Wayne Krenn, 6. Mario Oberto, 7. Tyler Wagner, 8. Pete Bayles, 9. Dave Allen, 10. Bill Darling, 10. Bob Snyder Did not start: Mike Duffy