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   The Chrome Horn - RoC Asphalt Modified Tour



Mahoning 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 Tour.

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 stout fifth.

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. Strohl.

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 them.

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 circuits remaining.

“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 effort.

“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
Source: Dino Oberto / Mahoning Valley Speedway
Posted: October 24, 2016

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