At just 11 years and three months old Paulie Hartwig III of Galloway, NJ became the youngest driver to win in a Modified stock car at Mahoning Valley Speedway. The rising star won the 25-lap Sportsman Modified feature ahead of a veterans Nick Baer and Earl Paules.
“This car was just so fast tonight and I love this place. My dad (Paul Hartwig Jr.) works his butt off every day in the shop with Bobby Geiger and they do the best they can to give me such a great car and I can’t thank them and everyone enough,” said Hartwig, who swept the night by also winning in his heat.
“We had trouble in warm-ups and couldn’t quite figure it out but we worked on it right up until the feature and in a way I’m glad we went out last tonight because it gave us a little extra time to work on the car. This is a really tough class with guys like Earl Paules and all these guys who are very good.”
At the outset Terry Markovic led from the pole while fourth starting Hartwig moved quickly into second over Greyson Ahner. Hartwig then lingered close behind Markovic and on lap six went low and in making his race winning pass.
“We started fourth and I thought we were going to drop back. I was just riding behind him (Markovic) and then I saw the door open and I cut down and took the bottom,” noted Hartwig.
Once in the lead Hartwig began to set sail as he was well ahead of the pack and easily cruising each lap.
“I could tell that I was pulling away but I didn’t want to push it to hard either.”
And as Hartwig was in his zone there was a great battle that was ongoing for second spot with Al Arthofer and Baer who were hounding in a two-be-two fight.
For Baer it took him to lap 15 to make his way to second but two laps later he was again engaged in a dogfight, this time with defending champion Jaden Brown. Once gain it was side-by-side racing for the runner-up spot which allowed Hartwig to continue in his dominate journey.
With two laps to go the only caution of the race waved when Brown spun while trying to make a pass on Baer. Unfortunately for Brown it took from contention.
“I think it was a mix of I got a little tight going into the corner and he (Brown) tried to get in the opening and it didn’t quite stick for both of us,” explained Baer.
With the field now bunched for the restart it also gave Baer a possible chance to take on Hartwig but when the green waved there was no slighting the young up-start as he blasted out over the final two tours and nabbed his history making verdict.
“I’m glad that was single file because I didn’t want to shift and chance spinning the tires. The track was really fast and the car never loosened up and it was perfect,” acknowledged Hartwig.
“It feels really neat to be the youngest driver to win in a Modified here at Mahoning. Two years ago I did the same thing with the Rookie Hobby Stocks.”
For Baer it was his second time in as many starts having to settle for the runner-up spot.
“Once I got into second I kept digging and digging and I could see I was catching him it’s just that I was running out of time. I needed a caution maybe five laps sooner,” Bear said.
“I gave it a shot that’s for sure and I think I didn’t get the tires hot enough to make a run at him. I also had a bent wheel and it was vibrating trying to hold on for those last few laps. We did the best we could.”
Hartwig wasn’t the only driver on this night celebrating a first. In the Street Stocks Logan Boyer of New Tripoli collected his career first victory. Boyer parlayed his pole starting spot into a night he won’t soon forget as he led all 30-laps en route to the unforgettable victory.
When the race got underway Boyer was able to pull out to a decent lead over Randy Green. Green was in a very tight three car battle that included Stacey Brown and Jamie Smith as lap after lap they contested in close formation.
But hot action came to a head when on lap 17 Green was pinched by Smith and the caution was then displayed and for both drivers they would have to restart from the rear.
When the action resumed Muffley was shown in second with Brown third and no sooner was the green back out so too was the battle for the top spot. Muffley and Brown went side-by-side in pursuit of Boyer but no matter how much they tried they just could not make their way by the strong-minded driver behind the wheel of the fast-paced No. 32.
“I tried my best that’s for sure. For the past couple years I wasn’t really a factor but I never gave up either. I tried to race a clean race and I want to thank everyone who’s helped me to get to this point,” said Boyer, who has been racing the class since 2015.
In show of true comradery each driver stopped afterwards to congratulate Boyer on his well-earned feat.
In the Hobby Stock main Shayne Geist of Lehighton can finally breathe a sigh of relief. In the previous two features he was locked in torrid battle for the checkers, each time with Corey Edelman and each time having to settle for a close second place.
For Geist the third time would be the charm and although Edelman was out of the race with mechanical woes the fight for the win was still a tough one nonetheless.
Cody Boehm was glued to the rear of Geist and would push him to the finish with no room between them. Likewise Travis Solomon was in tow as well but for Geist he was not to be denied. It was his first win three years and the victory also gave him sole control of the point standings.
Defending Pro 4 champion Cody Kohler of Schnecksville picked up his first win of 2022 and he worked hard to get it too.
Kohler’s race got off to a rough start when he was called for making contact with pole sitter Terry Peters and sent to the rear. Afterwards Jake Kibler was leading early but Kohler had come up through the field and was racing latterly with Tyler Stangle for second which soon became a three car battle for the lead when then zeroed in on Kibler.
Maintaining the outside line, Kohler was able to check by Stangle and continued doing so in catching and passing Kibler with six laps to go. He then held his line on the way to scoring his 37th career win.
Parker Ahner of Palmerton was able to slip underneath Makayla Kohler on lap seven of the Futures feature and went on to collect his second straight win in just his third start.
The East Coast TQ Midgets made their first appearance of the season and taking a rousing victory was current point leader and defending club champion Tyler Wagner of Rockaway, NJ. Wagner passes his uncle, Don Wagner on a lap seven restart and from then on was never headed.
Sportsman Modified Feature finish (25 laps): 1. Paulie Hartwig III, 2. Nik Baer, 3. Earl Paules, 4. Al Arthofer, 5. Troy Bollinger, 6. Greyson Ahner, 7. Jaden Brown, 8. Terry Markovic, 9. Zach Lenardo
Street Stock feature finish (30 laps): 1. Logan Boyer, 2. Stacey Brown, 3. Tucker Muffley, 4. Todd Ahner, 5. Mark Deysher, 6. Jamie Smith, 7. Jillian Snyder, 8. Tommy Flanagan, 9. Thomas Flanagan, 10. Jon Moser, 11. Randy Green, 12. Cody Geist
Hobby Stock feature finish (25 laps): 1. Shayne Geist, 2. Cody Boehm, 3. Travis Solomon, 4. Lyndsay Buss, 5. Trisha Connolly, 6. Tad Snyder, 7. Mallory Kutz, 8. Nick Kerstetter, 9. Jared Green, 10. Ralph Boger, Jr., 11. Jared Frye, 12. Corey Edelman, 13. Dave Kerr, 14. Don Bauder, 15. James Tout DNS: Josh Oswald
Pro 4 feature finish (20 laps): 1. Cody Kohler, 2. Jake Kibler, 3. Tyler Stangle, 4. Randy Schaffer, 5. Terry Peters, 6. Colton Breiner, 7. Kadie Pursell
Futures feature finish (15 laps): 1. Parker Ahner, 2. Makayla Kohler, 3. Gabrielle Steigerwalt, 4. Lexus Kutz, 5. Maggie Yeakel, 6. Zoe Kuchera, 7.Adam Steigerwalt, 8. Zach Wetzel DNS: Mayson Moyer
East Coast TG Midget feature finish (20 laps): 1. Tyler Wagner, 2. Jasper Ziegafose, 3. Jason Hentrich, 4. Don Wagner, 5. Austin Santee, 6. Cody Geist, 7. Ozzie Carlino, 8. Brandon Kressler, 9. Don Zirinski
Tags: #11year #Paulie #Hartwig #III #races #Mahoning #Valley #Speedway #Sportsman #Modified #win #Speedway #Digest