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Del Morgan Earns Top 20 Finish at Mahoning
(Lehighton- 9/5/15)- After a slow start to the 2015 season, Del Morgan of Mountaintop, PA earned a 16th place finish in the Modified main event Saturday night at Mahoning Valley Speedway.
   Kris Graver raced to his class leading fourth Modified win of the season Saturday evening at Mahoning Valley Speedway. And, with just four point races remaining it also keeps the reigning champion in the thick of a very tight championship hunt.
   But for Graver, another title has not been the main emphasis; rather it’s all about the wins.
   “When I’m able to get up front and show what my car can do obviously I can win or get a good finish,” said Graver.
   Over the past two months he has done just that, victorious three times since July while notching seven top five and nine top tens over the last 10 races.
   “It’s what I come here for. I want to get the wins and good finishes so we can keep on coming back. Those guys that are ahead of us worried about points, you see where that’s getting them. I come here for the win.”;
   Graver’s campaign to the front began from the ninth starting spot. It would be mid-race that he eventually take the lead and once in front the No. 01 was unhampered.
   Pole sitter Kevin Rex Jr., set the early pace and maintain the spot for the first 17 laps. Throughout that time he was under intense pressureValley from a very strong running Eric Kocher.
   Graver, through the help of a few cautions over the first six laps, was able to maneuver into the top five and by lap eight he was battling in a torrid three car fight for the lead.
   There was little if no room for error as the front trio put on a sensational crowd pleasing race. Rex was having one of his better races of the year and likewise with Kocher as both where hungry for a win. But Graver was too and with the low line starting to open up as Rex’s car began to get tight, he would take advantage and slip to the bottom by lap 15. More side-by-side racing with take place before the winning pass would occur at the start of lap 19.
   “He (Rex) really has that car running good and it was a lot of work to try and get around him,” said Graver.
   Afterwards, Graver was able to make it a race for second as he comfortably pulled away from the pack and on to victory.
   Kocher would hold on for his best effort to date while Earl Paules came home third and with that moved back into the top spot in points. Kyle Strohl had another solid performance and was fourth while Rex rounded out the five.
   It was not a good night for several of the title hopefuls. On a lap five restart Don Wagner, who came into the night as the point leader, got his front end damaged in a turn two melee and spent countless laps in the pits for repairs. For the second time in as many weeks Eric Beers had a poor finish. He had stopped to avoid that same incident but in the process suffered race ending damage and was relegated to a 19th place finish. Austin Kochenash was very quick but unfortunately was twice sent to the rear for involvement in separate incidents.
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Kris Graver, 2. Eric Kocher, 3. Earl Paules, 4. Kyle Strohl, 5. Kevin Rex, 6. Lou Strohl ,7. Brian DeFebo, 8. Austin Kochenash, 9. John Markovic, 10. Mike Quinn, 11. Chip Santee, 12.Nick Bear, 13. Terry Markovic, 14. Gene Bowers, 15. Tom Wanick, 16. Del Morgan, 17. Don Wagner, 18. Roger Heffelfinger, 19. Eric Beers, 20. Joe Mooney DNQ: Todd Baer, Brian Romig Sr.
 
Del Morgan Just Misses Making Race at Mahoning Valley
(LEHIGHTON, Pa. 4-18-15)- It was hard to imagine that Earl Paules went a whole season without a Modified victory, which actually is a rarity in the career of one of the winningest drivers in eastern Pennsylvania short track pavement racing.
   Running two, three and at times four different cars each week may have had a role in that too. So for the first time in three years Paules hauled just one car to the race track and it made an immediate difference as the prolific racer notched his first Modified win since late August of 2013.
   It turned out to be a great battle of past track champions too as Paules held off Eric Beers in winning Saturday’s 35-lap feature at Mahoning Valley Speedway.
   Paules dashed by Calvin Carroll on lap two for lead. He then had to fend off Kyle Strohl, Jimmy Zacharias and Austin Kochenash over the next 20 laps. Zacharias did manage to get by for a brief stint at the lead but after he spun with 10 laps to go the front spot went back to Paules and from there on the outcome would be decided between him and Beers.
   “We needed this. We decided we were going to park the Late Model and concentrate more on the Modified and it paid off tonight,” said Paules, who won for the 22nd time at Mahoning in Modified and 42nd overall with the class.
   Making his Modified feature debut, rookie Carroll led the 20-car field to the green and recorded the opening lap lead. Afterwards Paules, Strohl, Zacharias and Kochenash all made quick work of the young apprentice.
   By lap 15 Zacharias and Kochenash went into a thrilling side-by-side duel while hot on the heels of Paules. Zacharias opted to take the outside lane over Kochenash which also cleared the path for him to advance past Paules for the lead at the completion of lap 21.
   Paules and Kochenash did not let Zacharias get too far, however, as they poured on the pressure. After crossing the stripe for the 25th lap, Kochenash tried to squeeze under Zacharias. There was a slight tap and the leader went for a spin. Paules wisely took to the high side and zipped around both to retake the lead.
   “I was just at the right place. The 71 (Zacharias) got around me. I was trying him on the outside and then the 66 (Kochenash) got underneath there and they got together a little bit and that always helps,” said Paules.
   Beers stepped up to second with ten laps to go and gave it his all in trying to unseat Paules but the crafty veteran held his ground. 
   “Having him (Beers) back there was a big thing. I knew he was going to run me clean and we never touched. He had a better car then we did but I just happen to get out front tonight,” said Paules.
Point leader Don Wagner, Strohl and John Markovic rounded out the top five.
 
Modified Feature Finish (35 Laps): 1. Earl Paules, 2. Eric Beers, 3. Don Wagner, 4. Kyle Strohl, 5. John Markovic, 6. Chip Santee, 7. Jimmy Zacharias, 8. Austin Kochenash, 9. Eric Kocher, 10. Rick Reichenbach, 11. Kris Graver, 12. Kevin Rex Jr., 13. Todd Baer, 14. Calvin Carroll, 15. Terry Markovic, 16. Roger Heffelfinger, 17. Mike Quinn, 18. DJ Wagner, 19. Bobby Jones, 20. JP Curry DNQ: Del Morgan
 
A Little About the Driver, Del Morgan…
Mountaintop, Pennsylvania native, Del Morgan, has been involved with racing for years, but not as a driver. That all changed at the end of the 2012 racing season at Evergreen Raceway Park (formerly Mountain Speedway) when Morgan purchased a Factory Stock with hopes of competing a full season in 2013.
 
Racing in memory of his mother, Connie, who passed away in March of 2013 following a battle with breast cancer, Morgan and his race team decided to dedicate his entire racing season in her memory. He numbered his car as 56, which was her age when she passed. He also chose a pink and black paint scheme, which recognizes breast cancer awareness.
 
Starting off the season as a rookie, Morgan obviously wanted to win but he knew that it wouldn’t be easy against the talented class of racers in the Factory Stock division. After focusing on finishing races and then becoming a threat, he pulled off a few heat race victories, but that first elusive feature win just hadn’t happened just yet.
 
Midway through the year he led all but one lap of the feature and unfortunately, the lap that he didn’t lead was the last. Settling for second, Morgan was disappointed but knew that he had something to be proud of, that being his best career finish of second.
 
On September 15, 2013, Morgan fought off his competition and earned his first career feature win. It was an emotional win for he and his family and of course he dedicated the victory to his mother, as the crowd on hand cheered for his great accomplishment that day. His season ended that October and with that one feature win, he finished third overall in the points standings and also won “Rookie of the Year” in the Factory Stock division.
 
Fast forward one season. Mountain Speedway was taken over by new management and renamed to Evergreen Raceway Park. Prior to that, Morgan decided to sit out most of the year and focus on a Modified race car that they had picked up during the off-season. The plan was to get the Modified out for some shows later in the season and possibly run a Factory Stock race or two.
 
Neither happened, as the track closed in mid July. However, Morgan hopes that someone will tack his home track over for a full run in 2015, which he plans to compete as often as possible.
 
Like any great driver does, Morgan credits his family and team for all of his success. The huge list includes:  Paul Morgan Sr., Paul Morgan Jr., Ricky Ross Jr., Nick Ross, Topher, Joey Lyons, his father (Del Morgan, Jr.), Kelly Malys, Chris Malys, Christopher Malys, Shelby Malys, Del Morgan III, Diane Morgan, Kayla Morgan, Alexis Morgan, Haley Morgan, Mark Tyson, Mitch Hawk, Rich Paciotti, Jerry Hildebrand and Julio.
 
The proud sponsors that support him are RnR Auto Restoration, Himmer Graphics and Tyler Jett Motorsports Marketing, LLC.
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