LEHIGHTON, Pa. — A week ago at Mahoning Valley Speedway, Roger Coss led for the better portion of the Modified feature before yielding the lead to eventual winner Nevin George. He then settled for a runner-up finish.
Coss noted that although he didn’t win, it was OK because his parents, Roger and Susan Coss, Sr., were not on hand to witness the feat. With both present for this week’s action he did them proud by going on to claim his first Mahoning win.
To get the victory Coss had to deal with a pair of track veterans. He ran a number of side-by-side laps with pole sitter Chip Santee before working around him on lap 18. After taking the lead, Earl Paules worked into second and was hot on Coss’ tail.
Paules did take the lead for one tour after a restart on lap 22 but the determined Coss answered right back on the 23rd trip around the quarter mile. It was then a nip-and-tuck battle the remainder of the way with Coss holding on for the popular verdict.
“That was probably the hardest I’ve ever driven. Earl (Paules) is so clean and he could have chopped me or rode me up the track but he’s a class act driver. I’ve been trying to get one all year and I’m glad my parents made it out tonight, this one was for them,” said the 23-year Coss.
“I just held my ground and tried to do the best I could. He got me on the one restart and I picked
him off on the next lap. I held the bottom much better this week than last.
Paules drove a very good race while tracking Coss to the finish. He came into the night tops in the standings and with one point race to go he put himself in a solid position to earn the championship over Don Wagner.
“I give a lot of credit to Roger (Coss). He ran a great race and ran me clean the whole time. He deserved the win. Our goal right now is to win this title and tonight we may not have gotten the victory but we came out with enough points to help our cause for the bigger picture,” said Paules, who needs to just take the green in order to clinch.
Kevin Rex, Jr., Scott Meckes and Wagner completed the top five.
“I feel this is one of the most competitive tracks in the region. What other track runs a consi almost every night and you’re always racing in traffic,” added Coss.
When Paules won the Late Model feature a week earlier, any chance of Mike Sweeney continuing to challenge for the class title fell by the wayside. The only thing he could do now was to simply let it all on the line and go for a win. Done.
Sweeney, who hails from Nesquehoning, took the lead at the outset. He was then enveloped in a torrid battle with Paules, Paul Koehler, Jr., and Austin Kochenash as all four ran two-wide over the first half of the 25-lap race.
Paules even squeaked into the lead for a lap but while still running door-to-door Sweeney returned to the front immediately thereafter. Kochenash became the prime opponent over the final ten circuits but Sweeney stayed steady and focused on his way to collecting win number four.
It took Joe Roberts of Danielsville just five minutes and eight seconds to win his career first feature race, which occurred in the caution free Street Stock main.
And although Roberts led every lap, there was endless pressure the entire distance, specifically from Jonathan Tracey who equaled his best effort to date with second place. Jason Frey was third, Todd Ahner next and Josh Mooney completing the top five.