By DINO OBERTO
(LEHIGHTON 6-30-18) It seems of late whenever the Hoosier Mid-Atlantic ATQMRA powered by VP Racing Fuel tour rolls in the paved ¼-mile Mahoning Valley Speedway, you can count on hometown , Kris Graver racing for the win which is easy to consider when he has won the past three events dating back to last season.
And so it seemed that would again be the case this past Saturday night when Graver started from the pole. Many felt his Mahoning streak would certainly stay in tack.
However, Joey Bailey showed that he wasn’t about to take a back seat to his teammate Graver as the Monroe, NJ driver wheeled the Alan Mollet No. 51b to a second straight win and first ever at Mahoning.
Graver did go out and lead the first eight laps but Bailey, who started second, was showing good speed and in a flash zipped past Graver just as lap nine went into the books.
Afterwards there was no denying him of his first visit to Mahoning’s Winner’s Circle.
“First off I can’t thank Alan Mollet, my dad Russ Bailey and Mark and Matt Janisch enough for what they gave me with this new car it’s phenomenal,” said Bailey, who is the first repeat winner this season.
“I wanted this win really bad here. This is the track I made my first TQ start at. I ran good that first time but never really have been able to seal the deal since.”
Bailey knew one of the keys to winning Mahoning was not just have a good car but have the ability to get by Graver who has years of experience and over 50 wins here. It was the first time Graver was passed for the lead in a TQ at Mahoning.
“I knew I needed to get a good start and as soon as we got rolling the car felt really good to me,” said Bailey.
“Someone as legendary at this race track like Kris – it really felt good to get by him. After that I didn’t know who was closing up on me. There is a bunch of stellar drivers.”
Bailey would be credited with the fastest lap of the night also, going 9.170-seconds at 98.146 mph.
Second place went to current point leader Janisch, his fourth runner-up in five starts. Buddy Sload raced home third. Janisch and Sload also copped heat wins.
ATQMRA feature finish (25 Laps): 1.Joey Bailey, 2. Matt Janisch, 3. Buddy Sload, 4. Ryan Tidman, 5. Joey Jarowicz, 6. Cole Mullen, 7. Ronnie Mullen, 8. Mark Yoder, 9. Kris Graver