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Kochenash Ready to Chase RoC Win at Mahoning
March 31, 2016 • App, Archives, Modifieds, Region - Northeast

LEHIGHTON, Pa. — When the green flag drops on the season opening Ferris Mowers Race of Champions Asphalt Modified Series Fueled by Sunoco “Break-the-Ice 75” feature on April 9 at Lehighton’s Mahoning Valley Speedway, fans will be treated to a wide-open field of amazing talent that will be lined-up, all with the main focus of collecting the $2800 top prize.

Of those drivers look for 20-year old Austin Kochenash to be among the likely favorites and for good reason. In just a five year span of racing a Modified, “Kid Kochenash” has risen to the ranks of probable winner each and every time he rolls out onto the demanding quarter mile oval.
Kochenash’s talents aren’t just limited to Mahoning Valley either where he has 22 career wins, 17 in a Late Model plus a championship. He also has five Modified victories at Evergreen Raceway.

And now he stands the chance to win a Race of Champions Asphalt Tour race and with this being at his home track, the Mahoning opener could very well be it.

“I was excited when they first announced that the RoC would be coming here because we are able to race an event like this so close to home and at a track that I’m really familiar with,” said Kochenash, who drives the Performance Driveline/M & T Repair/Fastenal of Lehighton/Circle 1 Designs No. 66 Troyer with power coming from Boardwick Racing Engines.

“A lot of the (RoC) Tour guys may have the advantage when we are in New York at most of those tracks but here at Mahoning I feel we definitely have a good shot at the win. We ran well in the extra distance races here last year and that’s where I seem to be at my best. It will come down to if you have the luck.”

Kochenash is coming off a great season that saw him loose a very tight point battle to champion Earl Paules. He clicked off three wins including a 100 lapper and finished all but one point race inside the top ten. He also came close to a victory in the marquee season ending Octoberfast 150 before being scooped up in a late race skirmish.

For two years, 2013-14, he was part of the Race of Champions Asphalt Tour where he was named Rookie of the Year and had a best point finish of second. Same goes for his best race finish.

Although he been close to a win on numerous occasions when he traveled the Tour, now that it’s on his home turf he feels poised to bring his first RoC checkered flag back to his nearby Danielsville home.

“We’ve been close at other tracks too but I feel that this race is our best opportunity to get that first RoC Tour victory. I have been racing here since I was a kid and there is no doubt I know this track better than any others that we go to,” said Kochenash.

As the race draws near the list of Modified teams continues to grow and that number is expected to exceed 40 come race day. Kochenash knows the job of winning won’t come easy but he is ready to put is expertise of racing at Mahoning to good use.

“75 laps could click off here in a hurry so getting a good starting spot will be important. If you’re set-up right then you won’t see a lot of tire fall off. You’ll pretty much have to jump out right from the green. I think starting anywhere beyond 12th will be tough to win that day,” admitted Kochenash.

“When I won Opening Night a couple of years ago that was the same thing. It was only 50 laps and you had to hammer down right from the start.”

Mahoning Valley is known for its two-wide racing and Kochenash stated that lane choice will be pivotal.

“If there’s someone on the outside that will drag you back then it’s best to get to the bottom in a hurry and wait it out. With the inside you always have the opportunity to drive underneath for the pass which works well here but for this race you’ll have to make that decision quick.”

The matchup among the weekly regulars is tough enough and then you add in a host of New Jersey aces plus all of the RoC Tour drivers and Break-The-Ice-75 has the components of one amazing must see race.

“There are going to be a lot of great teams rolling in here and you certainly can’t count any of them out. They’ll adapt and the fans are going to be in for a good entertaining race. If you have the right setup you should be able to run all 75 laps hard from start to finish,” said Kochenash.

On Opening Day 2016 will see race teams enter the pits starting at 11:00 a.m. followed by Modified inspection at 11:30 a.m. Sign-in takes place from 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. Heat racing will begin at 4:00 p.m. Also on the card will be Late Models, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks.

For additional information please log onto or on Facebook at Mahoning Valley Speedway. Likewise with the Race of Champions at

-Mahoning Valley Speedway Press Release

2015 News Archives

Austin Kochenash earns Mahoning Modified 100 Victory

You couldn't have asked for a better way to finish out the Modified point season at Mahoning Valley Speedway. There were five drivers that all had a shot at the title. They had 100 laps to play it out and over the final circuits there would be four of them gunning for the win.

In the end Austin Kochenash, who came into the day second in points, did all that he could by winning the main, his first at that distance, however, when the final tally of points where added, his title attempt fell just short to Earl Paules, thanks to his fifth place run. In between them title hopefuls Kris Graver and Eric Beers tried as well for the victory as did Bobby Jones, but truth be told Kochenash showed that once he took the lead he was going to be tough to beat. 

The race was the and 2nd Annual Bob "Heavy" Scherer Memorial, named in honor the former driver and later championship crew chief to Beers. He passed away last year after a courageous bout with cancer. "It was a good run and we finished the year out strong. We didn't win as many races as we'd have liked but this was great to win one of these 100-lappers. Heavy always made the time to come over and talk with me so to win this race in his name is very special," said Kochenash after notching his third triumph of the season. "The car was decent but not great. I was able to manage my tires early and when I got to the front it was good enough to win." Kochenash started 11th and would play a waiting game over the first half of the event. During that time Eric Kocher led and was steadfast while holding off Kevin Rex Jr., and Kyle Strohl. Still bidding his, Kochenash made his way into the top five on lap 27 and was patiently waiting for the right moment to start picking off the next four cars ahead of him. He would get a little help in the form of cautions that allowed him to move ahead and the best of those situations came on lap 52 when second running Rex Jr., got spun after a dust-up with Strohl. On the ensuing restart Kochenash was now second and with that the waiting was soon over.

One lap back to green and he was out front. On his tail though was Jones and not long after came Beers. "I let those guys play it out ahead of me early on and then once the outside opened up I was able to pass quite a few cars there," said Kochenash.  Paules in the meantime was having his own issues and had made several pit stops before settling in past the lap sixty mark. He was, at one point, far enough behind that would have given the title away. At the front Kochenash was in charge but by no means running away with from the pack. Jones and Beers battled for second while staying right with him. The final 25 laps had all kinds of intensity as the race for the win and the title was up for grabs. Beers, who had no choice but to go for the win in order to stake his claim for the crown, picked up second on lap 70 and was going all out to pass Kochenash. Nothing doing as Kochenash wasn't letting this one slip away. Despite the blitz from Beers, then Jones and finally Graver with five laps to go, Kochenash held his ground and earned the $3500 paycheck, which was increased even more thanks to lap bonus money.  

"It was a clean race and up until about two (laps) to go just I ran fast enough to keep the car on the bottom. With them on the outside of me I knew where they were and with two to go I just stepped it up. The car ran well and I know it will be good for the (Octoberfast) 150," said Kochenash.


Eric Beers ekes out narrow Mahoning Modified win over Austin Kochenash


Saturday night's Modified event at Mahoning Valley Speedway was the tail of two races. While Eric Beers fended off Austin Kochenash in a thrilling contest, the two also put forth their quest as title hopefuls. Both are part of an amazing showdown of the top five in points heading into the final two weeks of the season and after last night's race there is just 30 points that separate those championship contenders which include Earl Paules, Kochenash, Don Wagner, Beers and Kris Graver.

At the outset of the 35 lap feature pole sitter Kevin Rex Jr., commanded the  early lead with Beers riding in second. Wasting little time, Beers went to the outside of Rex and began his push to the lead and with the completion of the seventh circuit that spot was his. Afterwards, thanks to a stretch of green flag laps, Beers was able to open a considerable lead on the rest of the pack as Rex, Chip Santee and ninth starting Kochenash hovered several car lengths behind. However, the game changer occurred on lap 22 when the caution waved and put an end to that ample lead.  By that point too, Kochenash had worked his way up to second and for the restart fans could sense where this race was heading. Clearly the two fastest cars of the night where about to face-off for the remaining laps and did they ever. One more additional caution took place on lap 25 but afterwards the battle was on.

Beers felt his best line of defense would be to hug the inside lane. Kochenash, however, was showing that he was just as fast and capable to do his bidding from the outside. With that they proceeded to put on a dazzling display of side-by-side high speed action. Kochenash would remain right alongside Beers and no more than a fender away from taking the lead. They would continue race in that fashion right to the wire with the win being determined by less than a 10th of a second."Austin (Kochenash) is so good on the bottom and I just wanted to keep him on the outside until the end. I knew my car was good enough to beat him on the bottom and I didn't want him to try and get underneath me," said Beers.

Although Kochenash was oh-so-close to winning, he gained substantial ground,on point leader Paules and is only four behind. "I needed more race track to be able to get a run on Eric (Beers). Hemprotected both the bottom and the outside and that's what you have to do sometimes to win," stated Kochenash. "I was up against the wall but that's racing for the win. It was a good race for the fans I'm sure. We ran hard tonight and we're going to try and win the next two and whatever happens, happens."


 “Kid Kochenash” Withstands “The Hurricane” In Thrilling Mahoning Modified Feature


What a very exciting and scintillating Modified feature fans were treated to Saturday night at Mahoning Valley Speedway as they watched Austin Kochenash of Danielsville hold off Earl Paules and score his first win of 2015.  After Kochenash made a gripping pass over then leader Lou Strohl on lap 29, Paules was able to do the same and for the final six laps the top two raced in a side-by-side shootout to the finish. Kochenash did all he could to protect his line and much to the disapproval of Paules who was none too happy afterwards.

  “We had to the make the car work all over tonight, from the bottom to up against the wall but that’s just racing for the win,” said Kochenash. “The car was fast, especially towards the end. I just drove fast enough to keep it on the bottom and hold on.  The entire 35 lap event was tight knit. Strohl led from the pole and had Kevin Rex Jr., running next to him. By lap 10, however, Kochenash was in second and Paules, who owns Strohl’s car, was third. With Strohl on the bottom, Kochenash was doing all he could to pass from the outside line but there was nothing doing. Opportunities would also come during a few restarts also but each time Strohl was hanging tough. Meanwhile Paules was looking both high and low to get by either of the front pair.

The excitement level was peaked when on lap 28 Strohl bobbled just a bit coming off turn three. He and Kochenash touched and it appeared that havoc was about to unfold but amazingly they corrected. Kochenash darted into the lead and Paules followed.“He (Strohl) just backed off which was good. He did hit us in the left rear and he lifted and I was able to save it,” said Kochenash.  Kochenash and Paules then preformed in a spine-tingling duel the remainder of laps. The winning margin was by a mere .0172-seconds.“I can’t thank my crew enough. We’ve been struggling a little bit this year and we finally found something,” said Kochenash.  Eric Beers made haste over the final 10 laps, passing several cars and was third. Lou Strohl held on for fourth and Kyle Strohl took fifth. Afterwards Paules spoke candid about the outcome and had quite a stir from the fans who expressed both cheers and jeers.   



Eric Beers and Austin Kochenash Share In Mahoning Modified Laurels


On a hot and humid night at Mahoning Valley  Speedway, Eric Beers exited his DeLange Racing No. 45 a bit exhausted but elated none-the-less after winning the make-up Modified feature from July 18. As for runner-up Austin Kochenash, the 19-year old was not as much bothered by the heat and noted that "I'm still a kid so it's easy and I'm ready to go again." In an outstanding drive he did just that, returning later in the evening to capture the regular 35-lap feature and just like the first race Kochenash seemed fresh at the conclusion, considering too that this was the third feature he ran in less than 24 hours. He raced to a fourth place finish the night before in a RoC event at Spencer Speedway in upstate New York. In the make-up feature Beers started seventh and slipped by early leader and Terry Markovic on lap 16 and then had to fight off Kochenash the rest of the distance.

When the race started T. Markovic led over Paul Frantz and John Markovic. On lap two Frantz was just about to make a strike at the lead when the caution waved for a spin by Eric Kocher. On the restart T. Markovic stayed strong while younger brother J. Markovic tailed in second. Beers, then fourth, made haste of Frantz, passing him on lap eight and went into a great side-by-side battle with J. Markovic while running inches behind the leader. At the same time Kochenash had been picking his way forward and was in second one lap after Beers attained the lead. From then on it was a remarkable battle of two-wide racing. Kochenash came close in advancing to the front on several tries but Beers always held tight. The steamy action was then slowed five laps from the finish when the caution waved for a spun car. Thanks in part to a single file restart, Beers held on for the win, his second of 2015 and 42nd at Mahoning Valley. 

"Austin (Kochenash) continues to get better and better and he's a force to be reckoned with the rest of the year. He is good," said Beers. In the regular scheduled feature, Kyle Strohl jumped out front early but a speedy Chip Santee went topside on lap six to take control. Within a few laps J. Markovic and Kris Graver where breathing all over the back of Santee. Santee was very busy protecting his spot as he was being pursued from both sides. And, as J. Markovic and Graver continued to made attacks at the leader, Kochenash and Earl Paules lunged into the fray as well, making for one very energizing race. As laps where clicking off Santee kept firm. Graver, who had a solid third in the opening race of the night, was now second but at the same time Kochenash was making a charge as well and dueled for the runner-up spot. And, not only did he succeed in reaching the spot by the 27th tour, he used the same surge of momentum to carry him straight past Santee and into the lead. The rest of the way Kochenash would hold the position and take the victory, his second of the season. Santee claimed second with new point leader Paules in third. "We ran well tonight and we finally got the car working real good," said Kochenash. "It was close out there and we had to force the issue a little but that's racing for the win. Chip (Santee) drove a great race but we were able to get in the right lanes at the end."

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