Saturday, July 14 – After spending the majority of the day out in the hot sun watching a high school basketball tournament at Cedar Beach Park in Allentown, we decided to stay close to home. We narrowed it down to Grandview Speedway and Mahoning Valley Speedway which both are approximately 45 to 50 minutes from home. We needed to get up at 6:45 Sunday morning so we chose Mahoning because they started at 6:00 vs. Grandview’s start of 7:30. The weather also had to be taken into consideration. Throughout the day while watching basketball I was receiving text messages from Rainedout.com and several tracks were already cancelled from the random thunderstorms that were in the area.
We arrived at 5:20 for the 6:00 start and tonight we would get a bonus because the first event on the card was a previously rained out modified 35 lap feature. Mahoning is a small 1/4 mile asphalt oval that looks more like a circle. It takes a mere 10 to 11 seconds to run one lap. The crowd is always into the racing, booing and cheering more than any other track around. We found some of our racing buddies and were set for the night.
The modified feature started at 6:07 and was anything but smooth. A first lap oil spill caused a multi- car spin on lap one holding up the race for 12 minutes while the track crew threw down the kitty litter and then took brooms to brush off the residue. Racing resumed at 6:19 and there would be 4 more cautions prior to the checkered flag falling. Earl Paules seemed to be the driver that everyone had an opinion on. You either loved him or hated him. When Paules slowed with a flat rear tire late in the event the crowd cheered loudly. In the end Tommy Flannigan was in victory lane followed by Matt Hirshman and Bobby Jones. This opening feature was followed by time trials for the late models that would later run a 50 lap main event, then heat races for the 4 cylinders, street stocks and modifieds. Still all was complete by 7:40 and I thought we were running right along until we took a 40 minute intermission prior to the first of the regular show features.
Barry Christman picked up his 24th career win at Mahoning in the 4 cylinder 20 lap event. Chris Graver won the 20 lap dirt modified event. Yes, I know it is an asphalt track but dirt modifieds run there. However there were only 8 cars in the field. Graver won 7 of the 10 events that were run this year and his 14th overall feature win. Twelve, yes twelve year old Kyle Stohl picked up the street stock feature and then we were back to the modifieds.
If I thought the rained out feature did not run smoothly then this feature was very bumpy. There were 8 cautions in the 35 lap event and it almost seemed that they wanted to run into each other. Shawn Sitarchyk won the event and the victory interview was concluded after 10:00. We thought we would be on our way home by 10:00 but here we still were with a 50 lap late model feature left to run. It started at 10:18, 30 minutes and 9 cautions later there were still laps to be run. Maybe it was sitting out all day in the 100 heat and humidity but both of us were beat. We looked at each other when the 9th caution flag fell and said lets go home and that is what we did. I know there was at least one more caution because we heard the cars slow prior to getting into the car. Aside from the socializing with friends it was really not that good of a night of racing. Road construction on the way home delayed us another 10 to 15 minutes and the night that we wanted to be home early turned out to be an after midnight venture.
Marshall it has been a busy week sorry for the delay!!