Matt Hirschman remains undefeated at Mahoning Valley Speedway with win in Ward Crozier Sr., Tribute

If ever there was a driver on a roll at Mahoning Valley Speedway its Matt Hirschman who, in his fourth consecutive start at the ¼-mile paved oval, raced to victory and dating back to last season has now reeled off eight straight wins.

In race #2 of the John Blewett Inc., Mahoning Valley Speedway Hall of Fame Series Ward Crozier Sr., Tribute, the Northampton driver came from 12th on the gird and made the winning pass over Earl Paules with six laps to go, parking his Harry’s U-Pull-It No. 60 into Victory Lane for his 26th career win here.

The start of the 50-lap event saw Paules – who drew the pole position – jump to the early lead and then steadily remain there. Behind him though was some intense action as Jack Ely was second, Blake Barney third and by lap 10 Austin Beers and Hirschman entered the top five which from that point saw the aforementioned battle under a tight blanket, especially considering a long green flag stint from lap nine until six tours remaining which kept the crowd quite captivated by their close proximity.

By lap 24 Hirschman had maneuvered into second and began laying down heavy pressure on leader Paules. Barney was still third with teammates Beers and Ely next in line.

With the laps winding down Hirschman was trying every avenue to get by Paules and not making matters an easier at the same time had Beers alongside. Then Terry Markovic spun in front of the front-runners to bring out the caution with a half dozen laps remaining.

On the ensuing green Hirschman used his outside restart flank on Paules to edge his way to the front and from there he would go on to another win – his 10th in 16 2021 starts.

“This was far from a predictable finish even though we won again. The laps tick off quick here when you get green flag runs like we had and this was not an easy race. The lap counter wasn’t working so I really didn’t know how close we were to the end until that caution came out and they said there was only six (laps) to go,” said Hirschman.

“I think actually if you were to divide up the odds of who was going to win this race I feel you could have went evenly between any of us in the front pack. It wasn’t decided at all until that restart helped me to get the lead.”

Paules was impressive and fought hard to maintain the front spot before setting for his best effort of the season. Barney was never lower then fourth all race long and registered a fine third. Zane Zeiner and Brian DeFebo came on strong in the final laps to round out the top five.

If the Modified feature wasn’t thrilling enough, the Street Stock main couldn’t have been more electrifying as Lonnie Behler Jr., and Randy Ahner Jr., engaged in a two-by-two, lap-after-lap battle that began no sooner than the action got underway.

Each time the pair clicked off a lap they either exchanged the lead by mere inches or came across the line dead even. The final lap was no different as they took the white flag with no margin for error while still putting on an amazing race bordering each other.

Entering the final corner Behler somehow found the power to eek slightly ahead and go on to record his career first win. Jon Moser closed in on the pair late and notched third with Bob Kibler Sr., and Mark Martini completing the top five.

The Hobby Stocks raced in twin-26 lap features and during redraw Devin Schmidt boldly vowed to sweep both and he almost did too.

In the first race BJ Wambold, who was able to lead the distance and earn his first win of the season, and Justin Merkel thwarted Schmidt’s effort as he was third.

However, in the nightcap he redeemed himself by chasing down Corey Edelman with time running out and made his race winning pass with just two laps to go.

Schmidt may have come up short on going for the double but his efforts did earned him the overall winner between the dual features.

Ward Crozier introduced the Pro 4 division in 1988 so it was only fitting that the class was part of his tribute night.

Two time and defending champion Cody Kohler saw fit to pick up his 32nd class win that carried extra incentives as he parlayed his front row starting spot into his second victory of the season.

Kohler went to the lead at the outset and never waned as he left everyone else decide the spots behind him. Randy Schaffer, who continues to come closer to his elusive first win, was runner-up with Jake Kibler third.

A new winner emerged in the Rookie/Futures Hobby Stocks as Adam Steigerwalt grabbed the lead immediately and never looked back en route to the memorable verdict. Jared Green had a best finish of second while Brody George’s third place tally earned him his sixth Futures victory.

Modified feature finish (50-laps) 1. Matt Hirschman, 2. Earl Paules, 3. Blake Barney, 4. Zane Zeiner, 5. Brian DeFebo, 6. Nevin George, 7. Don Wagner, 8. Austin Beers, 9. Kyle Strohl, 10. Jacob Kerstetter, 11. Jack Ely, 12. Terry Markovic, 13. Cody Koehler, 14.Nick Bear, 15. Lou Strohl, 16. Rod Snyder Jr. 17. Al Arthofer, 18. Bobby Jones, 19.John Markovic, 20. Sean Verwys, 21. Bobby Butler

Street Stock feature finish (30-laps) 1. Lonnie Behler Jr., 2. Randy Ahner Jr., 3. Jon Moser, 4. Bob Kibler, Sr., 5. Mark Martini, 6. Jill Snyder, 7. Rick Kirkendall, 8. TJ Gursky, 9. Jacob Christman, 10. Mark Deysher, 11. Shayne Geist, 12. Tucker Muffley, 13. Todd Ahner, 14. John Bennet, 15. Brandon Christman, 16. Rich Moser, 17. Jamie Smith, 18. Logan Boyer, 19. Tobie Behler, 20. Thomas Flanagan

Pro 4 feature finish (20-laps) 1. Cody Kohler, 2. Randy Schaffer, 3. Jake Kibler, 4. Bobby Kibler, 5. Kadie Pursell, 6. Tyler Stangle, 7 Terry Peters, 8. Josh Kuronya, 9. Robert Derfler

1st Hobby Stock feature finish (26-laps) 1. BJ Wambold, 2. Justin Merkel, 3. Devin Schmidt, 4. Rich Mutarelli, 5. Jake Oswald, 6. Randy Ahner Jr., 7. Corey Edelman, 8. Cody Geist, 9. James Tout, 10. Dave Imler, 11. Bob Wink, 12. Nick Schaeffer, 13. Ken Reeder, 14. Taylor Schmidt, 15. Travis Solomon, 16. Cody Boehm, 17. Trisha Connolly, 18. Jacob Boehm, 19. Lyndsay Bus, 20. Tad Snyder DNQ; Mallory Kutz, Ed Herman, Ralph Borger Jr., Ryan Berger

2nd Hobby Stock feature finish (26-laps) 1. Devin Schmidt, 2. Corey Edelman, 3. Randy Ahner, 4. Cody Geist, 5. Travis Solomon, 6. Nick Schaffer, 7. Trisha Connolly, 8. Tad Snyder, 9. Jake Oswald, 10. BJ Wambold, 11. James Trout, 12. Justin Merkel, 13. Dave Imler, 14. Cody Boehm, 15. Ken Reeder, 16. Mallory Kutz, 17. Taylor Schmidt, 18. Rich Mutarelli, 19. Jacob Boehm, 20. Lyndsay Buss DNS: Bob Wink

Futures/Rookie Hobby Stock feature finish (12-laps) 1. Adam Steigerwalt, 2. Jared Green, 3. Brody George, 4. David Kerr, 5. Maggie Yeakel, 6. Makayla Kohler, 7. Reid Levengood, 8. Deegen Underwood, 9. Josh Dise, 10. Gabrielle Steigerwalt, 11. Lexus Kutz, 12. Zoe Kuchera, 13. Tyler Aleckna