Staff Report | Monday, April 22nd, 2019 

Buddy Sload claimed victory at the Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic ATQMRA powered by VP Racing Fuels 2019 season opening event at Mahoning Valley Speedway in a photo finish. The margin of victory over Joey Bailey was .007 seconds, resulting in the closest finish in ATQMRA history during the electronic scoring era.

The evening was kicked off with back to back heat races. Joey Bailey captured the first checkered flag of the year in his Yuhas Chassis for car owner’s Alan Mollot and Russ Bailey. The second heat race of the evening was won by Jeff Kot, in his freshly designed Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Hyper Chassis. After the redraw, Cole Mullen earned the pole position for the 25 lap feature. Kot and Bailey would start 5th and 7th respectively.

It did not take long for 4th place starter Buddy Sload to find his way to the lead. Sload would split the front row, passing pole sitter Cole Mullen in turn 1 and second place starter Mark Yoder in turn 3. At one point, Sload had nearly a half-track lead on the field. However, this did not take away from any of the thrilling action witnessed mid-pack throughout the feature event.

After setting the fastest lap of the evening in both the heats and feature, Joey Bailey was a man on a mission starting in 7th place. At one point, you could throw a blanket over drivers Ryan Tidman, Geoffrey Sutton, Jeff Kot and Joey Bailey as the battle for 2nd through 5th heated up. Bailey would eventually muscle his way into the runner up position.

The battle for the lead would soon heat up itself, as a late race caution due to a spin by Cole Mullen in middle of turns 3 and 4 would set up a late race restart with 5 laps to go. While Sload got a great jump, Bailey kept him honest as the field stormed into turn 1.

Sload made it very obvious that he was protecting the bottom, forcing Bailey to move to the outside if he were to attempt to pass. Bailey would attempt that move twice, resulting in fantastic side by side racing on multiple occasions. Sload and Bailey raced nerf bar to nerf bar, for the entire last lap of the race bringing the Mahoning Valley fans to their feet. This thrilling action resulted in a photo finish, which gave Buddy Sload the nod over Joey Bailey, by a mere .007 seconds. Buddy Sload and Spitfire Racing have now won back to back ATQMRA events dating back to Turkey Derby of last November.

Other notables include impressive debuts of different kinds for third place finisher Ryan Tidman and forth place finisher Geoffrey Sutton. Tidman debuted a brand new home built chassis by the Boyd Family, and Sutton raced in his first attempt under the Alan Mollot banner. 

Jeff Kot earned a 5th place finish, backing up his strong showing at Mahoning last September. Mark Yoder and Cole Mullen would finish 6th and 7th respectively. Newly named ATQMRA Vice President Paul Dodorico kept his nose clean in his first attempt at Mahoning Valley Speedway to finish 8th. ‘The Rocket’ Ronnie Mullen finished 9th after being plagued by a mechanical failure during the early duration of the 25 lap feature.

Kyle Taraska and the Berkeley College entry also experienced a mechanical failure during the early practice Saturday afternoon. Although in attendance, the result unfortunately retired the #16 team from the racing action for the remainder of the evening.

The Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic ATQMRA powered by VP Racing Fuels will take some time off, before returning to Bethel Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 18th, 2019.

Race Results 

Heat 1

  1. #51B Joey Bailey 

  2. #51 Geoffrey Sutton

  3. #73 Cole Mullen

  4. #39 Ronnie Mullen

  5. #16 Kyle Taraska DNS

Heat 2

  1. #95 Jeff Kot

  2. #36 Buddy Sload

  3. #1B Ryan Tidman

  4. #75 Mark Yoder

  5. #55 Paul Dodorico


  1. #36 Buddy Sload

  2. #51B Joey Bailey 

  3. #1B Ryan Tidman 

  4. #51 Geoffrey Sutton

  5. #95 Jeff Kot

  6. #75 Mark Yoder

  7. #73 Cole Mullen

  8. #55 Paul Dodorico 

  9. #39 Ronnie Mullen

  10. #16 Kyle Taraska DNS