LEHIGHTON, Pa. – Kris Graver had still been feeling the sting from his close modified loss to Don Wagner the night before, but that may have been totally forgotten by Sunday evening after he won the Mid-Summer Thunder feature and $3,000 driving a USAC SpeedSTR at Mahoning Valley Speedway.
Graver got a call early Sunday morning to fill in for Eric Beers, who busted his left hand during Saturday’s Modified race. He had never even sat in such a car let alone drive one but he proved to be a quick learner.
He set fast time in group qualifying, won his heat then after drawing third for the feature, went by his uncle and early race leader Kevin Graver Jr., on lap 11. After he took the lead race was a fantastic action filled event as both Graver’s along with Billy Pauch Jr., and Earl Paules would battle intensely the rest of the way.
This marked the first time for the SpeedSTRs racing at Mahoning Valley and the hype of close racing was more than expected. The score card will show that Kris Graver never lost the lead after his pass on Kevin Graver, it didn’t, however, give the true detail of just how concentrated the front four ran together. While Kris Graver led, back and forth went Kevin Graver, Pauch and Paules.
Restarts where especially interesting as Graver would be faced with the tough trio who all made valid attempts on him and each time he was able to fight back.
With 10 laps to go Graver had finally put a small distance on his counterparts. Paules motored by Pauch while Kevin Graver suddenly faded. With circuits winding down Paules tried to squeeze out every last drop of power but Graver never backed down and scored the popular win.