By Dino Oberto

(LEHIGHTON, PA 7-2-11) The record will show that Kunkletownís Tyler Haydt led all 100 laps in Hand 3 of the Modified 100 Poker Series event Saturday night at Mahoning Valley Speedway but yet it was a race decided by inches. Just like Hand 2 from two weeks ago, the outcome came down to the last lap, last turn which again included Earl Paules and Matt Hirschman.
Haydt was steadily holding off Hirschman and with the laps dwindling down a caution waved with six to go. Many felt this was a last chance for Hirschman to make his move especially with a two abreast restart.
Indeed there was a move but it instead came from Paules. With two laps to go he was running topside over Hirschman and brought the crowd to their feet as he sailed past and went after Haydt on the final circuit. Both ran virtually dead even as they headed to the checkers.
Haydt made it across first but just barely as he edged Paules by a scant .019-second margin of victory.
ďIt really feels good to get one of these (100-lapper). We had a good car in a couple of these races and if a couple of things would have went right we would have won one or two already,Ē said 26-year Haydt.
Prior to the race during the redraw Haydt, who picked second starting spot, noted how he would love to get a 100-lap Mahoning win. He had had numerous chances in the past but always fell short when it counted most.
This time around he made it his race to lose as he showed all race long. He out-jumped Rob Shultz at the initial start and right away let everyone else run for positions behind him.
Although not a dominating run, Haydt did have enough power to keep a safe enough distance on second place which was held between Shultz, Paules, Zeiner and Hirschman. Then came that final restart which led to the exciting shootout to the finish.
ďI ran too hard in the beginning and that hurt the tires. I had to lean on Earl (Paules) coming off of (turn) four on that last lap. Another two laps and he would have been going by me because I was done. I was holding on for dear life,Ē noted Haydt who won $3000 and also moved back on top of the weekly point standings after incoming leader John Bennett dropped out on lap 31 and finished 16th.
In the last two 100-lap races Paules has lost by a combined total of .412-seconds.
ďTyler ran me clean there at the end and he did what he had to do. He got into my skid rail a little bit but we all came out of here clean. We needed just one more lap,Ē said Paules.
With his third place tally Hirschman takes control of the Poker Tournament with three Queens.
Don Wagner was fourth. He set fast time and ran in the top five all night while Zane Zeiner, who was making his first Mahoning start this year, completed the top five.
In the Late Model race it was one of Mahoningís best in the business as Jim Thorpeís Rick Wallace made good use of his pole starting spot as he solidly led all 25-laps.
Wallace fended off Paul Koehler, Jr., and Austin Kochenash throughout the trek and when he took the checkers it marked his 27th with the class and 34th overall.
Last week Justin Mooney watched as his brothers Joe and Josh win in the Modifieds and Street Stocks respectively. He was even the key in helping Joe win his race. This time around it would be his turn in tasting victory in the Street Stock main.
The Lehighton ace started from the pole and had some heavy company along the way as Jason Frey and Jeremy Miller kept him honest all race long. At the end, however, it was Mooney who would hold on for his first win of the year. Miller settled for second with Frey third.
The Dirt Mod feature was the closest ever as point leader Kris Graver of Lehighton edged defending champ Randy Thomas by .037-seconds or another words mere inches.
Thomas raced to the first lap lead then it was Graver ahead on the next go-round. Thomas then returned to the front on the ensuing circuit and from there it became a nip and tuck battle between him and Graver.
With lapped traffic coming into play Graver was able to use it to his advantage as he zeroed in on Thomas on the final lap. It was a side-by-side dash to the finish with Graver barely eking out the win, his division leading fourth of 2011.
Barry Christman, Jr., of Northampton cruised to his fifth straight and sixth Pro4 Late Model win of the season. Christman went topside on early leader Chad Keiser on lap eight and then by mid-race was heading the pack where he would remain the rest of the way.

Feature Finish, 100 Laps: 1. Tyler Haydt, 2. Earl Paules, 3. Matt Hirschman, 4. Don Wagner, 5. Zane Zeiner, 6. Kevin Rex, Jr., 7. Joe Mooney, 8. Terry Markovic, 9. Rob Shultz, 10. Brian Romig, 11. Mike Carroll, 12. Frankie Althouse, 13. Troy Bollinger, 14. Brian DeFebo, 15. Matt Higgins, 16. John, Bennett, 17. CJ Jones, 18. John Markovic, 19. Chip Santee
Did not qualify: Doug Bell

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

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

Dirt Modified Feature Finish, 20 Laps: 1. Kris Graver, 2. Randy Thomas, 3. Mike Stofflet, 4. Dave Thomas, 5. DJ Wagner, 6. Bill Briggs, 7. Mike Stinger, 8. Brett Ballard, 9. Scott Hulmes, 10. Bill Sitler, 11. Jon Parker, 12. Mark Levy, 13. Joe Stangle

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