By Dino Oberto

(LEHIGHTON, PA 7-9-11) Tyler Haydt has suddenly become the man to beat at Mahoning Valley Speedway as the 26-year old from Kunkletown, fresh off his 100-lap Modified win a week ago, raced to his second straight victory which in the process also padded his point lead.
Haydt’s third win of the year came in a highly competitive feature that through most of the distance saw the front runners faceoff in a tight bunch with the likes of Chip Santee, Don Wagner, John Bennett, Zane Zeiner and Lonnie Haydt all racing under a blanket.
Starting 12th Haydt had clawed his way into the top five by lap 11. Thanks to a caution at the same time and some reshuffling of positions of those who had been ahead of him, Haydt was racing in second by the 15th circuit and once again through the aid of a caution, this time on lap 21, he was able to get a jump over Don Wagner for the lead on that restart. The rest of the way it was a closely run duel with Haydt just nipping Wagner.
“This was a typical race at Mahoning. You scrimped and scrapped for every spot, every inch you could get and try and put yourself in a position to make something happen,” said Haydt who is the only repeat winner with the Modifieds.
“It is so awesome to be driving for (car owner) Bill Teel. Whatever we need or whatever we have to do he’s behind me 100%. It’s really a tribute to him for the success we’re having this year.”
Wagner drove a great race and never gave up trying to regain the lead. He remained glued to Haydt right down to the wire.
“I can’t cry about second place. This is a tough little track. We ran a lot of laps on the outside early on running with Chip (Santee). I’m not saying I used my tires up but we were good but just not perfect. Tyler was fast. The kid is good and he’s a good race car driver,” said Wagner.
“I really like to race with Donny (Wagner). We’ve always run good against each other,” added Haydt. “I knew he was behind me and he kept me honest and you need that in order to keep your car on the bottom. He let me know he was there and when I was behind him I let him know the same. We ran clean and that’s what counts. We’re really on top of things right now and want to keep it rolling.”
Behler held off Zeiner for third while early leader Santee completed the top five.
Late Model kingpin Paul Koehler, Jr., of Northampton won in a wild last lap finish over point leader Austin Kochenash, coming across the line backwards and notching his second victory of the season in doing so.
At first it was Paul Skodacek that was leading but then came Koehler and Kochenash who quickly zeroed in on him by lap four. After a lap-12 restart Koehler, who was outside of Skodacek, advanced to the front. Once there he showed his classic style of strong lead running.
In second was Kochenash and as the race was nearing the end it looked as though Koehler would have an easy run to the checkers. However, with two laps to go a caution waved and set-up a last chance for Kochenash. When the race resumed Koehler took the white flag and as expected Kochenash was going to make an attempt at the lead.
Coming into turn three he stuck his nose under Koehler and as they worked through turn four they were neck-and-neck. As they approached the finish line there was contact and Koehler began to spin and was backwards while moving to the stripe. Lucky for him he was in front of Kochenash and held on for the win, his second of the year.
It’s hard to think that this deep into the season and two-time and defending Street stock champ Randy Ahner, Jr., of Jim Thorpe hasn’t been able to win a race. If anyone Ahner for sure, but he was able to put all that behind as he finally got back to Victory Lane on this night.
Starting ninth, Ahner became the frontrunner after a lap-13 restart and getting the opportunity to lead for the first time this season he was not about to relinquish his spot.
Even with Josh Mooney and Gene Bowers trying to keep him in close check, there was no denying Ahner as he became the eighth different winner in nine weeks.
Mertztown’s Mike Stofflet has been the mark of consistency over the past six weeks with a slew of second and third place finishes and Saturday’s strong efforts came to fruition as he scored his career first Dirt Mod win.
Bill Briggs took the lead from Joe Stangle on lap three and was then looking good to take the win. However, a few cautions midway helped keep Stofflet up on Briggs. Stofflet, who started sixth, made the best of a lap-13 restart where he powered past for the lead and then headed first to the checkers.
Briggs had the settle for second with Dave Thomas third.
Jake Kibler of Lansford snapped Barry Christman’s five race Pro4 Late Model win streak thanks in part to Christman getting tagged out on the initial start by Chad Keiser. Kibler then led off the restart and remained out front the rest of the way for his career first class feature victory.

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

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

Street Stock Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Randy Ahner, Jr. 2. Josh Mooney, 3. Gene Bowers, 4. TJ Gursky, 5. Kevin Smith, 6. Steve Steigerwalt, 7. Justin Mooney, 8. Jason Frey, 9. Steve Hoffman, 10. Jon Moser, 11. Adam Santee, 12. Shawn Sitarchyk, 13. JR Moser, 14. Austin Santee, 15. Jamie Smith, 16. Todd Ahner, 17. Jillian Long, 18. Joe Stamm, 19. Cory Swartz, 20. Jeremy Miller
Did not qualify: Bob Hunsicker

Dirt Modified Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Mike Stofflet 2. Bill Briggs, 3. Dave Thomas, 4. Kris Graver, 5. Scott Hulmes, 6. DJ Wagner, 7. Joe Stangle, 8. Mike Stringer, 9. Mark Levy, 10. Randy Thomas, 11. Jon Parker, 12. Bill Sitler

Pro4 Late Model Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Jake Kibler, 2. Chad Keiser, 3. Kevin Behler, Aleia Gesiler5.
Barry Christman, Jr.