View Full Version : Earl Paules has to battle Brian Romig for his third Mahoning Valley Speedway Modified

07-31-2011, 09:51 AM
By Dino Oberto

(LEHIGHTON, PA 7-30-11) Earl “The Hurricane” Paules stormed from 10th spot en route to his third Modified win of the season at Mahoning Valley Speedway. Paules had worked to second after a lap-14 restart and then faced off against a very much improved Brian Romig.

Paules was persistently trying to clear Romig from the high side but it was evident that the lead car was just to solid in that lane to make it happen. After coming to terms that it was just too tough to make an outside pass Paules rethought his strategy and made a slingshot move underneath Romig with eight laps to go. He stayed steady the rest of the way for the win.

“He (Romig) was a tough racer tonight. I was trying to get around him on the outside but the car was getting really tight so the only move I really had was to go back underneath him. It was good clean hard racing,” said Paules.

“Two weeks ago I felt as though I should have won here but I wrecked myself and that was my own fault so tonight I said that I just want to come back here and finish the race and get back on the winning track again. This feels great. This is my home here and I love this place.”

Since 2002 when Romig was point’s runner-up to Chip Santee, he had been only a part-time racer and not often seen running against the front pack. As of late, however, Romig has turned s few heads. This was the second straight feature that he led laps and made Paules labor hard to gain the top spot.

“I’m a little worn out but otherwise feel great. It was awesome and I know this could have been our win. It was great to race against Earl but I want that spot where he’s parked right now. I’ve been runner up plenty of times before and I want to be there where Earl’s is, Victory Lane at Mahoning Valley,” said Romig who notched his best feature finish in over a decade.

John Markovic went by Don Wagner with four laps to go and took third while Joe Mooney completed the top five.

“Brian did one heck of a job for being a part-time racer. This is one tight little wicked place to race at and he ran a fantastic race,” said the Markovic, a multi time track champion.

Rick Wallace annexed his second Late Model win of ’11 and it was redemption of sorts for the veteran racer from Jim Thorpe.

Three weeks ago Wallace was en route to a solid third until a last lap wreck heavily damaged his #34 Pontiac. It took a lot of man hours and a week off to regroup and get the car back to racing condition.

Starting from the pole Wallace ran in the lead all race long although he had some strong company with the likes of Paul Koehler and Austin Kochenash. Still Wallace was maintaining a decent enough lead until the 19th of 20 laps rolled around a caution came out.

With Kochenash second it then became a mad dash to the finish but Wallace held on for a scant .187-second margin of victory.

“That week before that was a heart breaker and financially it just set us back so we just took a week off to regroup. I started pole tonight and I really don’t like that but they all made me work for it. The 66 (Kochenash) is always tough and I knew he was there at the end and this wasn’t handed to me by any means,” said Wallace. “This win felt great and this is why we come back and keep doing this.”

In the Street Stock main it was Austin Santee collecting his career first win and maintaining a long standing family tradition of a Santee racers gracing Mahoning’s Victory Lane.

Santee, from Coplay, started second and bested pole sitter Adam Santee for the opening lap lead. He then held a safe distance over TJ Gursky until lap 18 when a caution waved and tightened the pack. Santee was not to be denied, however, as he had come close to winning to many times only to fall short.

He kept his stand to the finish first over Gursky and became the 10th different winner in 11 races.

The record will show that Mike Stofflet of Mertztown won his second Dirt Mod feature in his last three starts. Let the record also show that this race also had the most lead changes ever seen in such a feature as seven times the top spot changed hands over the 20-lap distance.

And all the lead swapping had nothing to do with cautions. The racing was just that good for amongst the front-runners. It began with Scott Hulmes, then came Stofflet and back to Hulmes. Kris Graver was next to lead but shortly thereafter Hulmes regained it back. Two laps later Stofflet came back to the front and then Graver’s turn again.

Stofflet, who started fourth, took the lead for a third and final time with two laps to go, holding off top point man Graver in the highly competitive showdown.

Jake Kibler of Lansford grabbed the lead from Kevin Behler on lap five and then held off point leader Barry Christman, Jr., the rest of the way for his second Pro4 Late Model win in the last three races.

Bob Wagner of Rockaway, NJ led every lap of the Micro Stock feature and in doing so earned his second win of the season.

Modified Feature Finish, 35 Laps: 1. Earl Paules, 2. Brian Romig, 3. John Markovic, 4. Don Wagner, 5. Joe Mooney, 6. Chip Santee, 7. Lonnie Behler, 8. Tommy Flanagan, 9. Matt Wentz, 10. Frankie Althouse, 11. Kevin Rex, Jr., 12. John Bennett 13. Rob Shultz, 14. Terry Markovic, 15. Keith Mullineaux, 16. Matt Higgins, 17. Tyler Haydt, 18. Mike Carrol, 19. Matt Clemens, 20. Gary Wentz

Did not qualify: Jon Kumernitsky

Late Model Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Rick Wallace, 2. Austin Kochenash, 3. Paul Koehler, Jr. 4. Dave Wallace, 5. Beau Drobot, 6. George Ramos, 7. Cole Lenhart, 8. Geno Steigerwalt, 9. Glenn Slocum

Street Stock Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Austin Santee, 2. TJ Gursky, 3. Josh Mooney, 4. Randy Ahner, Jr. 5. Steve Hoffman, 6. Steve Steigerwalt, 7. Todd Ahner, 8. Jeremy Miller, 9. Jason Kuhn, 10. Rich Moser, 11. Shawn Sitarchyk, 12. Kevin Smith, 13. Jason Frey, 14. Darryl Breunig, 15. Gene Bowers, 16. Jillian Long, 17. Adam Santee, 18. Joe Roberts, 19. BJ Wambold

Dirt Modified Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Mike Stofflet, 2. Kris Graver, 3. Joe Stangle, 4. DJ Wagner, 5. Mike Stringer, 6. Bill Sitler, 7. Mark Levy, 8. Scott Hulmes, 9. Dave Thomas10. Bill Briggs

Pro4 Late Model Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Jake Kibler, 2. Barry Christman, Jr., 3. Kevin Behler, 4. Aleia Geisler, 5. Chad Keiser Did not start: Taya Wentz

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