16-YEAR OLD KYLE STROHL TOPS IMPRESSIVE MAHONING VALLEY
RoC FIELD IN OCTOBERFAST 150
Valley Speedway’s season finale Octoberfast 2016 almost became
“Octobersplash” as rain was dominating much of the day but thanks to
the dedicated effort by track crew, the race went off albeit two
hours over the original start time, and fans who braved the brisk
autumn night were treated to a thrilling 150 lap feature for the
Ferris Mowers Race of Champions Modified Series Fueled by Sunoco
And, with a star-studded field on hand the included a host of
premier asphalt Modified talent, it would be a 16-year old that
stood proudly in Victory Lane when all was said and done.
Kyle Strohl of nearby Palmerton, bested a strong contingent of RoC
steadies as well as home track regulars along with other invaders to
claim a defining moment in his budding career.
“This is by far the biggest accomplishment of my career. I can’t
thank my crew enough for how much effort they put into the car this
year and to win against all these guys is unbelievable,” said Strohl,
who earned a hefty $5000 for the win.
Strohl, who started fifth in the field of 26, would inherit the lead
after a lap 112 restart. He then stayed up front the rest of the way
and pretty much in dominating fashion as he showed no signs of
faltering considering the fact that he and runner-up Lou Strohl (no
relation) were the only two that did not make a pit stop.
Matter of fact Strohl was so strong that at one point he held as
much as a half-track lead. Even though he was only a car length
ahead at the checkers, it was only due to late race cautions that
kept the field in tack with him. He stayed in the top five nearly
the entire race, drove keenly past much of the heavy traffic and
showed seasoned veteran like skills against drivers with as much as
30-plus years of experience over him.
“I really hadn’t run a long distance race like this before and I
wasn’t sure how the car was going to work out. I just went with my
gut decision to not pit and it worked out,” said Strohl.
After a crowd pleasing 4-wide parade lap, Calvin Carrol and Don
Wagner brought the field to the green. Wagner wasted no time in
darting out the lead while Austin Kochenash took hold of second with
Carrol, Strohl and Jimmy Zacharias embracing down the top five.
The race settled into a steady pace as Wagner and Kochenash ran a
close 1-2. On lap 20 the first caution waved when Daryl Lewis Jr.,
slowed. On the restart Kochenash got a great jump on Wagner to
assume the lead.
At the helm Kochenash looked very strong as he paced the pack with
confidence. Behind him Wagner was fending off Earl Paules and
Zacharias while Strohl was shadowing in fourth and Tyler Rypkema a
After string of 26 green flag laps the second caution was out when
Lewis again slowed to a stop. When the action resumed there was no
change to the top five as Kochenash continued on his sturdy jaunt.
The race then went into a torrid run as the ensuing 76 laps went
incident free. During that span Strohl was able to work his way up
to second but once behind Kochenash he was stalled as the leader
showed definite strength over everyone.
Throughout the rest of the pack there would be loads of two-wide
action which also meant the leaders had to play wisely when coming
upon the heavy traffic.
“It was really tough to get around all those cars. I just tried to
stay clean and pass when I could and not over-drive the car and make
any dumb moves,” said Strohl.
Rypkema moved to third and was keeping within reach of the front two
while holding off Chuck Hossfeld and Patrick Emerling.
The fast-paced action came to a halt on lap 112 for a multi car
incident. Included in the turn four melee was Emerling who was towed
from the scene but was able to return.
It was at that juncture that most of the field took that opportunity
to head pit side for a tire change and adjustments.
Strohl, elected to stay on track and would restart as the new leader
when the field was reset. The upstart showed the way over Hossfeld,
Darren Scherer, who came from 23rd starting spot, Zacharias and L.
On lap 120 Hossfeld was nudged from behind and got became loose
which caused several others to scatter. The skirmish would gobble up
a host of cars in the process. L. Strohl and Zane Zeiner had been
running the inside and were able to sneak by which landed then in
second and third for the restart.
When the action resumed it was all K. Strohl the rest of the way.
Even though he was able to run away from there on many wondered
about the no pit strategy and how his tires would hold up. By
hitting his marks and utilizing his track experience as well as
negotiating lapped cars, the kid was the class act.
“My tires were starting to fade away as the race went on but I just
stayed focused and tried not to worry about that. We had talked some
about a game strategy coming in tonight but it was really uncertain
for us because no one knows how it all plays out,” admitted Strohl.
“It was hard but really great to race against some of the top rated
drivers and I couldn’t be more proud to have pulled it off and beat
So what does a 16-year old do with $5000?
“I don’t know yet – I’ll go back over the car so we can rebuild it
and come back next year with top notch equipment and that check will
help a ton.”
Over most of the final 25 laps the battle for second went back and
forth between L. Strohl and Zeiner. Zeiner had passed with 17 laps
to go but lapped traffic helped L. Strohl regain the spot with 10
“What a great race car (owner) Matt Higgins put under me. That was a
fun run and we needed long runs to get the car going. There was a
few cautions at the end that didn’t help us but I’m very happy with
the results,” said L. Strohl.
“Kyle (Strohl) did a great job and it was fun battling with Zane
(Zeiner). You can race with either of those guys hard and clean any
day of the week.”
Zeiner was on the rear bumper of L. Strohl at the finish. He was
looking to score his second Octoberfast but time ran out on his
“We sort of used the car up late in that first run before we pitted
for tires. We charged to second (spot) but used that car again
trying to pass Louie but that’s what we had tonight, a third place
car,” offered Zeiner.
Wagner was fourth while Hossfeld took fifth. Paules, Emerling, Kris
Graver, Scherer and Mike Leaty rounded out the top 10.
In timed hot lap sessions K. Strohl set the quick time of the day
with a 9.912-second lap at 90.799 mph. Heat wins went to K. Strohl,
Wagner, Zeiner and first time Mahoning starter Blake Barney. DJ
Wagner annexed the b-main.
Feature Finish (150 Laps): 1.
Kyle Strohl, 2. Lou Strohl, 3. Zane Zeiner, 4. Don Wagner, 5. Chuck
Hossfeld, 6. Earl Paules, 7. Patrick Emerling, 8. Kris Graver, 9.
Daren Scherer, 10. Mike Leaty, 11. Tyler Rypkema, 12. Blake Barney,
13. John Markovic, 14. Joey Jarowicz, 15. TJ Potrzebowski, 16. Jimmy
Zacharias, 17. Todd Baer, 18. Bryan Sherwood, 19. Calvin Carroll,
20. Terry Markovic, 21. Brain DeFebo, 22. Jack Ely, 23. Eric Beers,
24. Austin Kochenash, 25. DJ Wagner, 26. Daryl Lewis Jr. DNQ: Shawna
Ingraham, Eric Mauriello, Tommy Rought, Chris Risdale
Dino Oberto /
Mahoning Valley Speedway
October 24, 2016