By Mike Leone
September 18, 2013
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway is coming off of a successful “Apple Festival Nationals” in which 166 cars filled the pit area for the traditional event last weekend. The spotlight will be on the three Modified classes this Saturday night (September 21) with bonus monies available plus the Vintage Mods will be making their first appearance. The “Steel Valley Thunder” program will include the Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Barris Supply RUSH Late Models, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. Race time is 7 p.m.
Fresh off the big $ 3,500 to-win “Russ King Memorial,” the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds will be battling for an extra $ 500 prize on Saturday night thanks to Tom’s Sewer and Drain. A typical field of cars will mean Saturday’s winner will receive $ 1,600; however, if 24 or more cars are present $ 2,000 will await the Governor Insurance Agency feature winner!
It took New York invader Ricky Richner all season to win one, but he picked a great night to do it last Saturday night capturing the BRP win. Richner is currently fourth in points. Leading the way is Jim Weller, Jr., who could clinch his third championship Saturday night. Rex King, Jr. trails Weller by 48 points. Last year’s champion, Dave Murdick, is third, but is 66 back.
Ever since repeating his 2012 season ending first career Sharon win on opening night back on April 6, Dennis Lunger, Jr. has maintained the point leader in the Barris Supply RUSH Late Models. The Albion, Pa. driver has been after his goal of a championship all season long and currently leads defending champion, Will Thomas III, by 29. The 2011 champion, Josh Double is third, while “Futures Cup” point leader Eric Wilson, and Late Model rookie Jamie Wrightsman round out the top five.
Jeff Johnson has won three features this season. He opened the year victorious, won the $ 750 special over Memorial Day weekend, and then bagged the biggest win of his career last Saturday night in the $ 2,000 UEMS-sanctioned event. Those wins have moved him into second on the division’s all-time win list at 18. Johnson will look for his third special event win Saturday night as $ 1,000 will be on the line thanks to the $ 500 Tom’s Sewer & Drain bonus.
In the Summit Racing Equipment championship chase, Mike Kinney can clinch his first track championship by finishing fourth or better no matter what two-time winner Joe Gabrielson does over the final two weeks. The Ashtabula, Ohio driver has a commanding 57-point lead with two weeks of points remaining. Alan Dellinger, Johnson, and Jeff Hassay are third through fifth in points.
Prior to Saturday night, Jeremy Double, Jacob Eucker, and Ryan Fraley had won all of the features this season except for one. On Saturday’s $ 500 to-win special, things were different up front with Double and Eucker not finishing and Fraley not in competition. That left division newcomers, but certainly not newcomers to racing, in Tim Deutsch, Jason Longwell, Butch Lambert, and Steve Haefke to garner the top four positions.
Saturday will feature the highest to-win amount ever posted for the fourth year division as $ 700 will go to the winner thanks to Tom’s Sewer and Drain. Double is sitting on a 21-point lead over Eucker as Fraley, rookie Ty Rhoades, and one-time winner, Steve Burns, Jr., complete the top five.
Scott Gilliland has said all season long he’s never chased points, but as long as he’s leading them he’ll keep going after his first championship. The 46-year-old racer has seven feature wins and is sitting on just a 13-point lead over rookie Travis Creech in the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. Defending champion Jim Haefke, Jr. and 2011 titlist Bill Fuchs are a distance third and fourth in points, while rookie Tim McAninch completes the top five.
The Vintage Modifieds, which travel around the region, have replaced the Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars for this week in their first ever appearance at the track. The Stock Cars will wrap up their point season on September 28 before competing in a $ 1,000 to-win “open” event to round out the season on Saturday, October 5.
Pits open at 4 p.m. Saturday with grandstands at 5 and racing at 7. Grandstand admission for those 14 and over is $ 13, while children under 14 are always free. Pit passes are $ 25. Parking and camping is always free.
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 @SharonSpdwy.