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,”
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
“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
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
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
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
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.
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.
proud sponsors that support him are RnR Auto
Restoration, Himmer Graphics and Tyler Jett
Motorsports Marketing, LLC.
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