By Mike Leone & Matt Wertz
September 28, 2013
(Hartford, OH)…After a rain out, Sharon Speedway returned to action on a beautiful fall evening for the final “Steel Valley Thunder” program of 2013 on Saturday night. A great crowd and 112 cars turned out for the final night of points. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Rex King, Jr.-Governor Insurance DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Dennis Lunger, Jr.-Barris Supply RUSH Late Models, Jack Young-Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Paul Davis-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Jacob Eucker-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Travis Creech-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. A pair of bikes was given away to two lucky children thanks to King Bros. and Sharon Speedway.
Rex King, Jr. opened the season with a victory and closed the curtain on the 2013 DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds season with a win. In a career best season, “Cooter” more than doubled his career win total with five victories along the way. Saturday’s 20-lap Governor Insurance Agency win was his second last lap winning pass in the past four races!
“We had a stellar season and this was fun,” acknowledged the 22-year-old Bristolville, Ohio racer. “I have a lot of years to win championships- I’m in no hurry. I have to thank everyone that helps out on the car and all of my sponsors. We had a big day today at work.”
A straight-up start put “Russ King Memorial” winner, Ricky Richner, and King Jr. on the front row with King taking the early lead. A yellow on lap three for a stopped Tom Mattocks on the inside of turn one was what third starting Jim Weller Jr. needed. On the ensuing restart, Weller passed Richner for runner-up then powered past King on the outside to get the lead on lap five.
A yellow on lap nine for a spun Ralph McBride on the backstretch closed up the field, but Weller maintained control of the event as battles for second and fourth loomed behind him. Dave Murdick, who started ninth, challenged King briefly, while the “358s” of Richner and Gabany echoed that battle for fourth. Eighth starting Gabany took fourth from Richner then went to the outside to surprise Murdick with the pass for third on lap 17.
With green flag racing since lap nine, Weller came up on lapped traffic as King stayed within striking distance. When the white flag flew, the two were bottled up as they ran side-by-side as King was able to make the winning pass of Weller. King pulled away from Weller and took the checkered flag for his eighth career win by 0.841 of a second KMB, Inc.-owned, Jim Brown Seed Sales/Bristol Disposal/Cedar Steel/Professional Heating & Cooling/Reese Services/King Sanitary Service-sponsored #165.
Though Weller finished second, it was a role reversal in the championship chase as Weller topped King for his third track championship. Gabany was third for the second time this season. Murdick and Richner were fourth and fifth respectively. Tom Glenn was a season best sixth over Jimmy Weller III, Bob Warren, Ricky Ryder, and Don Brown. Heats were won by Richner and King over the 18-car field.
Last year, Dennis Lunger, Jr. ended the season in victory lane for his first career Sharon win. Over the offseason, Lunger decided he was going to go after the track championship for the first time ever. Lunger came out of the box victorious in the RUSH Late Models and like King ended the season the very same way he started it with his fifth win; however, unlike King’s runner-up point finish, Lunger was able to seal the deal for the Barris Supply-sponsored division title!
“We were pretty good, but I don’t like winning from the front row,” stated the 45-year-old Albion, Pa. resident. “This is the first one out of eight we’ve won in 2013 from the front row so we’ll take it. This place is always easy to race on- they always have it smooth and racey so it made it easier to race with the broken wrist earlier this year. My crew has been outstanding. I have to thank them and all of my sponsors.”
Lunger took control of the event from his pole starting slot maintaining his lead over Matt Latta and Bobby Whitling. The first and only caution of the 20 lapper came on lap 16 for a slowed Jason Rider on the frontstretch. The caution was the only thing that would slow Lunger’s run in the Schwartz Construction-owned, Schwartz Trucking/Choices Restaurant/English Tire/State Farm Insurance Chris Brecht/Carter Lumber/R.A.W. Power-sponsored #71L as he took the checkered flag first by 2.003 seconds for his sixth career win.
Bobby Whitling, who finished second in his season debut on April 27, repeated the feat after he passed Latta for the spot on lap 16. Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH “Futures Cup” point leader, Eric Wilson, passed Latta on lap 17 to finish third after starting sixth. Latta dropped to fourth over 2012 champion Will Thomas III, who started 12th. Completing the top 10 were Jamie Wrightsman, Ben Black, newcomer Derek Frank, Wendell Pinckney, and Dave Shagla, Jr. Topping the heats were the #21′s of Wrightsman and Latta.
The Modified division has certainly been the most competitive of Sharon’s weekly six divisions. On Saturday night, defending co-champion Jack Young finally won his season’s first to become the amazing 12th different winner of the Summit Racing Equipment-sponsored class!
“It’s been a rough year,” said the 45-year-old Thompson, Ohio pilot. “We sure weren’t expecting the year to turn out like it did. The former car owner and I are now apart so my brother and I bought this car. I have to thank Jeff Johnson’s dad, Dave Willoughby, Bud Watson- without these guys we’d never have made it. This is bittersweet. I’m at a loss for words and I’m never at a loss for words! I want to thank the fans and congratulate Mike Kinney; job well done by him and a well deserved championship. It’s a great place to do it at. These guys do a great job at Sharon Speedway. We’ll be back next year every week- you can count on that!”
Jeff Hassay took the lead from his pole starting slot in the 15-lap feature, but it was Dwayne Clay getting the advantage on the inside on lap two to move into first. A yellow on lap four for a Wayne Brugmann spin slowed action. Clay now led the fourth starting Young, only to have the yellow re-appear on the restart for a Todd Canter spin on the backstretch.
When racing finally resumed, Young charged past Clay on the outside into the lead. The rest of the race would go caution-free as Young found the outside to his liking, rim-riding the track and coming off of turn four on three wheels repeatedly. Young pulled away from all challengers by 2.609 seconds in the Hamilton Excavating/Annabelle’s Diner-sponsored #67. The victory was the sixth of Young’s career at Sharon, but first since August 18 of last season.
Clay maintained runner-up for the second time this season and his fourth top five despite not debuting until June 15. It was a free-for-all right behind Clay as Kinney just edged out Jeff Johnson and Joe Gabrielson for third. Gary Sullivan, veteran and former Super Late Model racer Bob Moskey, Shawn Shingledecker, Hassay, and Brock Moskey completed the top 10. Shingledecker, Kinney, and Gabrielson topped the heat races over the 22-car field.
It’s been an up and down season for Paul Davis in the Stock Cars. The veteran and former asphalt racer started the year off hot winning two of the first four features, but struggled for the next nine events failing to finish better than fifth place. Davis ended the season even better than he started it as he picked up his third straight win! “I feel bad for Brian (Carothers), but I’ll take it,” expressed the 53-year-old Fowler, Ohio racer. “I had to work pretty hard for this one. I got in that wreck, but we beat it back out.”
Brian Carothers took the lead from the pole despite a wild three-wide start with point champ Mike Clark and Bruce Redman. A yellow on lap five for a spun by Jamie Gibbs tightened up the field. When racing resumed, Carothers continued to hold the advantage as Clark and 12th starting Davis battled each other, while hoping for a Carothers miscue.
As the trio headed into the last lap under a blanket for the lead, lapped traffic and slower cars loomed ahead. Coming into turn three, Clark made a daring inside move on Gibbs, which proved race-ending as the two went spinning bringing out the second and final yellow. As the white and green flags were shown to leader Carothers, he slowed with a flat paving the way for an impromptu Davis victory!
Davis’ 12th career win came in his Advance Auto Parts/Hover Racing/Don Williams Excavating/GSM Enterprises/Tub’s Automotive-sponsored #3 by 0.815 of a second over Brent Coleman, who recorded a career best finish. Jason Stanke was a season best third as Rod Laskey and the slowing Carothers rounded out the top five. Davis and Carothers garnered the heat races.
After dominating action last year as an 11-year-old at Ohio’s Deerfield Raceway, Jacob Eucker couldn’t wait to race at his hometown track as he turned 12 and old enough to race in the Econo Mod division for the 2013 season. While Eucker was impressive in practice nights at Sharon last year, no one expected the pre-teen would perform at the high level he has. On Saturday night, Eucker cashed in on his sixth feature win to finish second overall in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products points.
“The car was working real good and I have to thank my dad for that,” stated the Hartford, Ohio driver. “All season he’s put a lot of work into the car. I learned a lot this year racing with these guys and how to trust them. My goal was a top five in points, but this is real good.”
Steve Burns, Jr. took the early lead from his pole starting spot that saw an invert 12 from the heat races. A multi-car crash in turn one brought out the first caution on lap five. Eucker, who started sixth, was already up to third at that point, and on the restart quickly passed Steve Haefke for second. The yellow was displayed again a lap later for a slowing Junior Mechling.
On the ensuing restart, a lively battle for the lead between Burns and Eucker ensued with Eucker using the inside to his advantage on the backstretch to lead lap eight. Two yellows on lap nine slowed the action for the final time. As Eucker maintained control of the event, 15th starting Jeremy Double was making his way through the field to battle with Jason Longwell and Burns behind the leader. It took until lap 14 before Double made his way to second.
By now it was too late as Eucker picked up his second straight win in the Matt Eucker-owned, Tom’s Sewer & Drain/Ohio Commerce Center/Dr. John Eucker/Damon Race Engines/Altitude Adjustment/Danski Dyno & Performance/Close Racing Supply/Lee’s Excavating-sponsored #64. Double trailed by 2.351 seconds, but it was good enough to capture his first track championship! Following the youngsters were, Burns, Longwell and Rusty Wheeler in third through fifth. Topping the heat races over the 25-car field were Longwell, Wheeler, and Brandon Blackshear.
Rookie Travis Creech made a last lap, turn four pass of Dale Fraschetti to win the 12-lap Mini Stock feature, but more importantly propelled him to the Deforest Used Parts-sponsored division championship after Scott Gilliland led basically the entire season!
“I hate to beat him like that,” expressed the 25-year-old Niles, Ohio racer regarding taking the title away from Gilliland. “I’d rather race him on the track than have him break- that sucks. I knew I had to drive it in deep to beat Dale (Fraschetti). We got into each other. I didn’t want to slam him, but I did hit him pretty hard. I have to thank everyone that helped me out this year- it’s really amazing.”
Four cautions flew before one lap was completed. When racing finally got underway, it was Bill Fuchs taking the lead from his pole starting position. A fifth yellow on lap three for a stopped Ray Gregory, and then after a sixth stoppage for debris on the restart, Fraschetti took over the top spot on the restart from the inside.
Fraschetti, Fuchs and Creech were in a tight battle with Creech charging to the inside on lap eight to grab the lead. The final yellow appeared on the next lap as Fuchs broke and spun out of the race. Creech and Fraschetti continued their torrid battle up until the last lap, going side-by-side and trading the lead on several occasions. Creech got past Fraschetti in the final turn of the last lap in his May’s Towing/Elite Coleman Sales/JLB Trucking-sponsored #75T.
After a pair of fourth place finishes in his only starts of the season, Fraschetti just missed out on a first career Sharon win in runner-up. Rookie Tim McAninch was third over newcomer John Shannon. Pat Drennan was the third rookie in the top five as he finished fifth. Creech and Shannon were victorious in the heats over the 18-car field.
Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. REX KING, JR. (165) 2. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 3. Eric Gabany (3E) 4. Dave Murdick (61) 5. Ricky Richner (26) 6. Tom Glenn (83T) 7. Jimmy Weller III (23) 8. Bob Warren (96B) 9. Rick Ryder (Snider 189) 10. Don Brown (71B) 11. Ralph McBride (R13) 12. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 13. Kevin Green (74) 14. Rob Kristyak (00) 15. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD) 16. Tom Mattocks 17. Rex King (65)-DNS 18. Carl Murdick (6)-DNS.
Barris Supply RUSH Late Models (20 laps): 1. DENNIS LUNGER, JR. (Schwartz 71L) 2. Bobby Whitling (7W) 3. Eric Wilson (27W) 4. Matt Latta (21) 5. Will Thomas III (9) 6. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 7. Ben Black (27B) 8. Dereck Frank (16) 9. Wendell Pinckney (11) 10. Dave Shagla, Jr. (6) 11. Lon Emerick (3) 12. Jason Rider (Wade 76) 13. Russ Byler (Hoover 00H)-DNS.
Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modifieds (15 laps): 1. JACK YOUNG (67) 2. Dwayne Clay (007) 3. Mike Kinney (3) 4. Jeff Johnson (27) 5. Joe Gabrielson (58) 6. Gary Sullivan (47s) 7. Bob Moskey (33) 8. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 9. Jeff Hassay (10) 10. Brock Moskey (3M) 11. Rick Robinson (34R) 12. Rocky Kugel (Beck 357) 13. Tim Deutsch (White 53) 14. Trevor Herr (32) 15. Todd Canter (98) 16. Wayne Brugmann (79) 17. Arlan Coy (56) 18. Mike Potosky (M20) 19. Bob Williamson (93) 20. Mike Monreal (71M 21. Jackson Humanic (17) 22. Jim Pyles (18P)-DNS.
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. PAUL DAVIS (3) 2. Brent Coleman (01) 3. Jason Stanke (44) 4. Rod Laskey (67J) 5. Brian Carothers (02c) 6. Jesse Brock (22B) 7. Jamie Gibbs (98) 8. Tony Bruno (97) 9. Brian Mulichair (36D) 10. Mike Clark (7) 11. Charlie Jasinski (5J 12. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 13. Ray Gregory (15) 14. Bruce Redman (27) 15. Mike Lesky (5L)-DNS. 16. Ron Kennedy (43)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. JACOB EUCKER (64) 2. Jeremy Double (83) 3. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 4. Jason Longwell (7s) 5. Rusty Wheeler (Woodworth 6) 6. Ty Rhoades (12R) 7. Alan Atkinson (30Too) 8. Jodi Woodworth, Jr. (07) 9. George Vestal IV (4) 10. Jeff Webber (25) 11. Adam Babcock (67) 12. Kevin Robinson (24R) 13. Tim Deutsch (8) 14. Jason Stanke (44) 15. Steve Haefke (41) 16. Junior Mechling (89) 17. Brandon Blackshear (10) 18. Jamie Scharba (Petsko 00s) 19. Steve Samuelson (80JR) 20. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 21. Jace Ferringer (02) 22. Larry Root (22x)-DNS 23. Brian Hathaway (93)-DNS 24. Brian Lacey (51)-DNS 25. Ed Harris (777)-DNS.
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. TRAVIS CREECH (75T) 2. Dale Fraschetti (23) 3. Tim McAninch (43) 4. John Shannon (14) 5. Pat Drennan (24) 6. M. Pauley (117) 7. Geof Pinch (36) 8. Jamie Maxwell (6M) 9. Christi Brugmann (19) 10. Charnas (16) 11. Bill Fuchs (10) 12. Scott Gilliland (27) 13. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 14. Ray Gregory (82R) 15. Steve Walker II (4M) 16. Logan Keney (17L) 17. Jeff Little (42) 18. Jake Monreal (32M).
Sharon Speedway will conclude the 2013 season this Saturday night, October 5 with NDRL’s ULMS Super Late Models for $ 3,000 to-win, Open Stock Cars for $ 1,000 to-win, Modified non-winners for $ 500 to-win, and Mini Stocks for $ 200 to-win. Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5 and racing at 7.
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.