LEHIGHTON, Pa. – Chip Santee earned one very hard fought victory in Saturday night’s action filled Modified feature at Mahoning Valley Speedway as the former two-time champion fended off no less than five different opponents during side-by-side restarts as well as putting up with a blanketed convergence of top guns who hounded him right to the finish.
Starting second, Santee darted by pole sitter Terry Markovic at the drop of Bobby Stull’s race commencing green. He then went against John Markovic until lap nine when Nevin George stepped in to challenge as well as a solid running Lou Strohl.
Earl Paules was the next to give Santee a go and finally Zane Zeiner who would race him fiercely to finish. They all tried but Santee never flinched and held them all at bay en route to his second win of 2013.
“It was one tough race out there and my hat is off to Zane Zeiner, Earl Paules, Nevin George and everyone else. They all gave me a great run, they ran me hard and clean we were on the edge the entire time,” said Santee.
“I was a little tight and I started leaning on my right rear and began getting loose near the end so I protected my line a little bit and here we are in Victory Lane.”
After taking the lead at the outset Santee was under fire by the aforementioned. Each of them tried legitimately to make a pass for the lead but got turned away by Santee who was never afforded any breathing room. The entire race at the front was performed under close quarters and at most times with a trio vying for the top spot.
“It is so tough to beat these guys. Three-quarters of the field can pull off a win on any given night,” said Santee.
When Zeiner took over second with 10 laps to go, it came after dueling with Paules. Afterwards he began a dogfight with Santee who would not allow him to drive past his front bumper. And, hanging right in there were Paules and George.
“He (Santee) had the inside groove and you can see he was a little tight and I was hoping for a long green, which we got, and I could fight back on the top. But he was the better car tonight then us,” said Zeiner.
“We’ll take it. Chip (Santee) drove a heck of a race. We really worked on our car hard for today and I’m happy trying to get ready for next week (100-lapper). These guys will be a lot tougher for that one and hopefully we’ll have something for them.”
With his fifth place tally Eric Beers claimed the Modified track championship and second in his career, his first since 1992.
Frankie Althouse took his fifth win of the season in the Late Models. Althouse came from fifth on the grid and by lap four was making what became the race winning pass over George Ramos.
He was on his way from there. A close running Kevin Graver Jr., kept him honest until he bowed out under a lap 21 caution. Earl Paules, who by taking the green was able to repeat as champion, and Mike Sweeney, battled side-by-side while attempting to catch Althouse but “Flyin’ Frankie’ was just too strong and notched the resounding verdict.
Chip Wanamaker continued his late season surge with the Street Stocks as he won for the second time in the last three events and heads into the final point race next Saturday aiming to claim the division championship.
The current point leader raced from the outside lane like gangbusters, charging up from the 14th starting spot and then cruising past Jamie Smith for the lead with 11 laps remaining. Jason Beers was second and Lonnie Behler third in a bumper-to-bumper finish.
When the green flag dropped for the start of the Dirt Mod feature, outside front row starter Dave Thomas wasted little time in outgunning Ray Deemer for the lead.
He began to cruise steadily the rest of the way, however, with a few laps to go Ricky Yetter was coming on in a hurry. He caught Thomas with three laps to go and made every attempt possible to get around him but to no avail. Thomas eked out the win, his second this year, by a scant .170-second over Yetter.
Kyle Strohl picked up his second straight Pro 4 win and 10th of the season and in doing so set up an exciting showdown heading into the October 5 finale over point leader Nick Baer as just six markers are all that separate the teen sensations in the battle for the class championship.
In a tightly run race, Bill Verwys held off Tim Oswald for his second Hobby Stock win while Corey Edelman will go down in the history books as the very first champion of the class.