LEHIGHTON, Penn. – Eric Beers’ win in Saturday’s Mahoning Valley Speedway Modified main was all about Bob “Heavy” Scherer, his brother-in-law and longtime crew member who was under hospice care, suffering from cancer.
Starting eighth, he took advantage of a lap 17 restart to unseat Don Wagner and after some close action with Earl Paules, pulled away to his second win of the season.
In victory lane a teary-eyed Beers was surrounded by family and friends all overcome with emotion.
“I’ve known him (Scherer) since I was six years old,” he said. “I watched him race growing up and watched him in the garage with his work ethic, everything he did throughout his life. To find out the news two weeks ago that he had cancer, it makes you cherish every moment you have we each other.
“If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have one career victory. He puts our cars together and throughout the winter he works countless hours and is irreplaceable.”
Sadly, by the end of the evening as teams where filing out of the track, Beers got the call that Scherer had passed away.
When the race began pole sitter Wagner jumped out to the early lead and was quickly in defense mode as Paules was looking to get by in any way possible. Kyle Strohl turned the race into an excellent three car battle. Just as it seemed Wagner and Paules would be the ones dueling for the lead, Strohl slipped under Paules and started after Wagner.
Beers burst onto the scene by lap 14 as he went by Paules and two laps later his victim was Strohl. Far from done, he hunted down Wagner and was just about to strike when the caution flew on lap 17.
Beers got the lead and then left no guessing as to who had the strongest car.
“We were on a mission from the start and weren’t holding back anything. I wanted to win this so bad for him (Scherer). Earl (Paules) and Donny (Wagner) are some of the toughest guys here and they didn’t make it easy,” said Beers who won for the 38th time at Mahoning.
Paules, Wagner, Kris Graver and Nevin George rounded out the top five.
In perhaps one of the most breathtaking races ever witnessed, Paules nipped Mike Sweeney for the Late Model win.
It was remarkable in the sense that a mind-blowing 13 lead changes took place over the 25 lap distance with Paules and Sweeney trading off the top spot nine times.