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“410” Sprints return Saturday for final appearance of 2016; Final night of points for Big-Block Mods, E-Mods, Econo Mods & Minis

By Mike Leone

September 6, 2016                

(Hartford, OH)…After being dark over the Labor Day Weekend, Sharon Speedway will return to action this Saturday (September 10) for the final appearance of the 2016 season by the “410” Sprint Cars along with the final “Steel Valley Thunder” program as the points will end for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. Race time is 7 p.m.   The Lyden/Red Line Oil RUSH Sportsman Modifieds and Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars have the night off.

Coming off two successful Arctic Car All Star Circuit of Champions events in June and July for Ohio Speedweek and the “Lou Blaney Memorial” won by the late Bryan Clauson and Danny Holtgraver, the “410” Sprint Cars will appear Saturday in a non-sanctioned, regular event paying $ 1,500 to-win, $ 200 to-start for the 25-lap feature. If 24 or more cars are present, the payoff will increase to $ 2,000 to-win, $ 225 to-start.  The complete payoff is posted below.  The national “410” Hoosier Tire rule will be in effect.  Mufflers are not required.  Drivers will draw pills for the heat race line-ups with a maximum invert of eight or nine (depending on the number of heats) for the feature lineup.  There are no registration, membership or entry fees.  This will be the only “410” Sprint Car event in the western Pa. and eastern Ohio for the entire weekend.

Last year, Jimmy Seger won this event for his first career Sharon victory and his first since returning to racing following a terrifying accident in 2014 at Williams Grove Speedway. Seger was a teammate on this night to Jack Sodeman, Jr.  Sodeman has been red hot on the circuit this year scoring nine victories including six at Mercer Raceway Park and three at Lernerville Speedway.  He also captured the track championships at both tracks.  Sodeman, of North Jackson, Ohio, won the last two track championships at Sharon when the Sprints competed regularly in 2009 and 2010 and owns 12 career wins at the track.

Dan Shetler, who won the 2008 title, has been fast in the region and has been knocking on the door of his first win of the season. Gary Edwards, who competed at both of the earlier Sprint shows this year, is the only other active racer who owns a championship at Sharon.  Edwards won the 2000 title on the old half-mile track.  The now retired Ed Lynch, Jr. leads the all-time win list with 50 victories.  Ed’s son Sye is a weekly competitor at Lernerville, and finished third on Saturday night at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway in an event won by Carl Bowser.

The early part of the 2016 season in the Big-Block Modifieds saw the father-son duo of Jim Weller, Jr. and Jimmy Weller III dominate action, while recently veteran drivers Jim Rasey, Dave Murdick, Rick Richner, and Kevin Bolland have ended winless droughts. Through it all though, it’s been one of the division’s youngest drivers in Rex King, Jr. sitting atop the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply standings.  With two wins, the Bristolville, Ohio driver will look to capture his second title in three years on Saturday night.  “Cooter” leads Weller III by a pretty comfortable 26 points.  Completing the top 10 points paying positions are Rex King, Murdick, Richner, Rasey, Rick Regalski, Jr., Rob Kristyak, Bolland, and Weller, Jr.

Despite just one victory, Joe Gabrielson has led the Summit Racing Equipment Modified points for much of the season in hopes of his first track championship. Gabrielson’s lead though has shrunk to just nine points over the consistent Jeff Johnson, who hasn’t even won a feature in 2016.  Three-time winner, Scott Stiffler, is 40 points out of the lead and would have no shot at the title unless both Gabrielson and Johnson failed to show.  Four-time champion, Carl McKinney, sits fourth with one victory as mechanical issues have kept him from contending for a fifth title.  Despite missing several events, five-time winner, Joel Watson, is still fifth in points.  Sixth through 10th in the points paying positions are Amanda Stiffler, Shawn Shingledecker, Josh Ferry, Jacob Eucker, and Brandon Blackshear.

The story in the Econo Mods this year has been Steve Haefke. The Austintown, Ohio driver had a strong 2015 season and is in the midst of a career best 2016 season.  Since August of last year, Haefke has reeled off 17 consecutive top two finishes including six feature wins this season alone.  Haefke wrapped up his first career Sharon track championship on August 27 as he now has a huge 102-point lead over Brandon Blackshear.  Brandon’s brother Brad, who competes with a GM 602 crate engine, is third as Wayne Daniels, Jeff Mundell, rookie Kyle Miller, Butch Lambert, Buzz Seitz, Chris Clay, and Zach Myers complete the top 10 points paying positions.

The Mini Stocks have been a three-horse race for most of the season between Steve Walker II, Joe Campbell, and three-time champion Bill Fuchs. It’s been a breakout season for Walker, who captured his fourth victory of the season at the last event on August 27; however, Walker’s lead is just nine points over Joe Campbell, who has had an up and down season.  Walker won his only other career race back in the inaugural 2010 season in route to the championship.  Fuchs would need both racers to have terminal issues and sweep the night to have any shot at his third straight championship.  Logan Keney, second year racer Matt Rubright, former Stock Car racer Will Aley, Pat Drennan, Joe Keney, Jim Haefke, Jr., and Pete Blazczak complete the top 10 points paying positions.

“410” Sprint Car Payoff for less than 24 cars: 1. $ 1,500 2. $ 900  3. $ 725  4. $ 600  5. $ 550  6. $ 475  7. $ 425  8. $ 350  9. $ 325  10. $ 275  11. $ 250  12. $ 225  13-24. $ 200.  $ 100 Tow

“410” Sprint Car Payoff for 24 or more cars: 1. $ 2,000 2. $ 1,000  3. $ 725  4. $ 600  5. $ 550  6. $ 475  7. $ 425  8. $ 350  9. $ 325  10. $ 275  11. $ 250  12. $ 230  13-24. $ 225.  $ 100 NQ/Tow

Summit Racing Equipment will award $ 25 gift cards to the hard charger in the Modified and Econo Mod divisions. Thanks to an anonymous donor, a $ 50 bonus will be posted to the driver that finishes fifth in the Big-Block Modified feature.

Pit gates open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5. Sprint engine starts will be at 6:30 p.m. following by warm-ups for the Sprints only.  Heat races begin at 7 p.m.  Grandstand admission for those 14 and over is $ 13.  Pit passes are $ 30.  Children 13 and under along with parking and camping are free.  Sharon has a no carry-in cooler policy.

The 87th anniversary season will conclude next Friday and Saturday (September 16-17) with the annual “Apple Festival Nationals”. Racing begins at 6 p.m. both days.  Check SharonSpeedway.com for more information.

Sharon Speedway is owned by the Blaney, Weller, and Kirila Families and is a 3/8-mile dirt track located on Custer-Orangeville Road in Hartford, Ohio near the intersection of Routes 7 & 305. For more information, check out the website at www.sharonspeedway.com or call 330-772-5481. Become a fan of Sharon Speedway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sharonspeedway and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/sharonspdwy.

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Sharon Speedway

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