“Lou Blaney Memorial” to feature All Star Sprints Saturday; Big-Block Mods also part of program; Several activities to benefit Alzheimer’s Assoc. on tap

By Mike Leone

July 5, 2017                 

(Hartford, OH)…One of the season’s biggest events is mere days away as Sharon Speedway is set to host the ninth annual “Lou Blaney Memorial” presented by Ollie’s Bargain Outlet this Saturday night (July 8) featuring Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars and the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds.  Activities to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association will begin after the gates open at 3 p.m. leading up to warm-ups at 6:30.  Though a rain date of Sunday has been secured, the forecast is calling for dry weather Saturday.

For the third straight year, Saturday’s “Lou Blaney Memorial” will be under the All Stars’ sanction. There has yet to be a repeat winner in the eight prior “Lou Blaney Memorial” Sprint Car events!  Series owner, Tony Stewart, won the inaugural event in 2009.  Mike Lutz was the first local winner taking the 2010 version for Jim Chappel.  Texan Sam Hafertepe, Jr. won in 2011, while Californian Brad Sweet, who now races with the World of Outlaws, was victorious in 2012.  Jack Sodeman, Jr. became the second local driver to win the prestigious event in 2013, while Dave Blaney won his father’s memorial for the first time in 2014.  Sheldon Haudenschild, who is in his rookie season with the WoO, won the 2015 event, while Pittsburgh’s Danny Holtgraver won the biggest race of his career last year.

Chad Kemenah leads the All Stars to Hartford, Ohio on Saturday for the Series’ 100th race in their storied history at Sharon. Kemenah has three victories in 2017 and a 260-point lead over Ryan Smith, who is still looking for his first win of the season.  The All Stars were at Sharon just over two weeks ago for Ohio Speedweek when Kyle Larson topped a 48-car field.  The All Stars are boasting one of their largest rosters in many years.

Though he’s not running the All Stars full-time this season, Tim Shaffer has two Series wins and has been strong whenever and wherever he races. Shaffer owns 58 career All Star wins and has four career wins at Sharon.  Dave Blaney will look to score his second event victory and add to his 28 career Sharon “410” Sprint Car wins and 47 with the All Stars.  Blaney will be behind the wheel of the Dan Motter #71M. 

Leading the local contingent is Jack Sodeman, Jr. The North Jackson, Ohio driver won the last two championships when the Sprints last ran weekly in 2009 and 2010.  Sodeman has 12 “410” wins at Sharon.  Dan Shetler, the 2008 track champion, has been fast throughout the region this year and has stated he’ll be on hand.  Several other local talent as well as Ohio regional racers and others will be on hand to take on the All Stars. 

The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds will round out the show in a $ 2,000 to-win points-paying event. Jim Rasey became the first driver to repeat in the “Lou Blaney Memorial” with his $ 2,000 win last year!  New York legend Jack Johnson captured the 2009 race, while local Ohio drivers Rasey and Rob Kristyak stole the thunder in 2010 and 2011.  Kevin Bolland won the prestigious event in 2012 and fellow western Pa. racer Dave Murdick joined him in 2013.  In 2014, Rex King, Jr. won the event part of his dream season, while in 2016 Jim Weller, Jr. added his name to the win list.  The locals have won seven straight “Lou Blaney Memorials”.  Will an outsider end that trend or will we get an eighth different winner!?

One-time 2017 winner and defending champion, Rex King, Jr., enters the night as the point leader by just six points over the consistent Dave Murdick, who will be looking for his season’s first win.  Jim Weller, Jr. is only another three points back of Murdick, and owns a feature win this season.  Two-time winner, Rex King, is fourth in points ahead of Rasey.  Will Thomas III, who has championships at Sharon in the RUSH Late Models and E-Mods, has been struggling in his first season of Big-Block Modified racing.  He sits 10th in points.  Will’s father Bill was a longtime sponsor and car owner of the late Lou Blaney and would love to have a good run on Saturday.

Friends of Lou Blaney will again attend the Memorial event to help celebrate the life and accomplishments of the Hall of Fame driver, who won more than 600 feature victories during a five-decade career. The legend has at least 121 Modified wins and another 11 documented in a Sprint Car at Sharon alone.  Blaney passed away in 2009 after battling Alzheimer’s.

A silent auction of many, varied baskets will be available for everyone to bid on and then a live auction of race memorabilia and sports related items will be sold off to the highest bidders.  The silent auction will be during the afternoon with the live auction beginning at approximately 4:30-4:45 p.m.  All proceeds will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.  There is a complete list of live auction items listed on the Lou Blaney Memorial Facebook page as well as Sharon’s website at www.sharonspeedway.com.

Pit passes will go on sale at 3 p.m. A drivers meeting is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. with Sprint engine starts at 6:15, warm-ups at 6:30 with qualifying and racing to follow.  Adult admission is $ 25.  Advanced and reserved tickets are on sale by visiting SharonSpeedway.com.  Pit passes are $ 35.  As always, children under 14, parking, and camping is always FREE!  Sharon has a no carry-in cooler policy.

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

RUSH Sportsman Mod Tour & their “MFG Night” highlight “Steel Valley Thunder” racing along with an appearance by the Jr Sprints Saturday night

By Mike Leone

June 27, 2017          

(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway is hoping to resume racing action this Saturday night (July 1) after saturated grounds forced last Saturday night to be cancelled.  The last “Steel Valley Thunder” racing program to take place was back on June 10 for “Fan Appreciation Night”.  Saturday night will be presented by Lincoln Electric and will feature last week’s rescheduled HTMA/Precise Racing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds in a Bicknell Tour for their annual “Manufacturers Night”.  The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, and Junior Sprints will also be on the card.  Race time is 7 p.m.  It’s Armed Forces Night with free general admission for veterans and active servicemen.  Grandstand admission for all others remains at $ 10.

It’ll be a big night for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds.  Not only will they compete in a Bicknell Racing Products Touring Series event for $ 600 to-win, but it’s also their annual “Manufacturers Night” as over $ 19,000 to date has been posted by the Series for giveaways for all competing RUSH drivers.  Their 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” Touring event that was originally scheduled to be made up last Saturday night has been moved to August 5.  

The RUSH Sportsman Modified division continues to grow.  Earlier this season, an all-time division record 30 cars were on hand to compete.  Saturday’s program is expected to draw a large field of cars.  Kyle Martell has won the Series’ opening two Bicknell Racing Products Tour events including June 9 at Thunder Mountain Speedway and last Sunday at Tri-City Raceway Park.  Defending Bicknell Tour Champions are Larry Kugel and Brian Schaffer.  Kole Holden enters the night as Sharon’s point leader winning the last two weekly races, and also was victorious on June 17 at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway when Sharon was closed.  Rocky Kugel also has a win this season at Sharon.

The ground-pounding Big-Block Modifieds are the big brother to the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds and will also be in action on Saturday night.  One-time winner and defending champion, Rex King, Jr., enters the night as the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply point leader by just six points over the consistent Dave Murdick, who will be looking for his season’s first win.  Jim Weller, Jr. is only another three points back of Murdick, and owns a feature win this season.  Two-time winner, Rex King, is fourth in points ahead of 2016 “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner, Jim Rasey.  Will Thomas III, who has championships at Sharon in the RUSH Late Models and E-Mods, has been struggling in his first season of Big-Block Modified racing.  He sits 10th in points and is hoping for a good run on Saturday.

Defending champion, Paul Davis, kick started his season at the last event for the Stock Cars on June 10 taking the victory.  Andy Thompson is a Sharon regular for the first time in many years and has been very fast and consistent all year as he trails Davis by just 11 points in the Gibson Insurance Agency championship race.  Mike Miller has been in the championship hunt the last few years and sits third in points.  Three-time champion, Mike Clark, is fourth as he looks for his first win of the season.  Jamie Scharba is fifth.  Chris McGuire and Andy Buckley have also been victorious this season.

After a slow start in the first two Econo Mod events which ended his run of 17 straight top two finishes, Steve Haefke has been on a roll.  The veteran Austintown, Ohio driver has won the last four events including the 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up non-point feature.  Despite his success, one-time winner, Zach Myers, trails Haefke by only one-point.  Myers will have an opportunity to take over the point lead as Haefke will have his work cut out starting last in the feature due to his three straight wins in weekly competition.  Brandon Blackshear, Mike Hillman, and Kyle Miller are third through fifth in the Summit Racing Equipment points.

The Junior Sprints for children will make their second appearance of the season and third ever.  Back on May 20, Jordan Simmons picked up the victory.  Michael Lutz was the winner at the 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” and finished third at the last event.    

Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5, drivers meeting at 6:30, and racing at 7.  Grandstand admission is $ 10 for those 14 and over.  Patio seating upgrades are just $ 5 and fan suite seating upgrades are just $ 20 over the cost of general admission.  In order to reserve either of these ahead of time, call the office Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 330-772-5481.  As always, children under 13, parking, and camping is always FREE!  Pit passes are $ 30.  Sharon has a no carry-in cooler policy.

Coming up next will be the “Lou Blaney Memorial” presented by Ollie’s Bargain Outlet on Saturday, July 8 with a return appearance by Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars along with the Big-Block Modifieds.  There will be no racing on July 15 due to the Trumbull County Fair.  On Thursday, July 20, the Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series will be back for the second straight year in a $ 6,000 to-win event plus the Mini Stocks. 

Sharon Speedway is owned by the Blaney, Weller, and Kirila Families and is a 3/8-mile dirt track located at 3241 Custer-Orangeville Road, Hartford, OH 44424 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

RUSH Sportsman Mod Tour double features & their MFG Night highlight “Steel Valley Thunder” racing on Saturday night

By Mike Leone

June 22, 2017          

(Hartford, OH)…After a tremendous Ohio Sprint Speedweek event on Tuesday, Sharon Speedway is ready to return to weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” racing this Saturday night (June 24).  The weather looks great once again as the 88th anniversary season rolls on featuring the weekly HTMA/Precise Racing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds in Bicknell Tour doubleheader plus their annual “Manufacturers Night”.  The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, and Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods will also be on the card.  Race time is 7 p.m.  Grandstand admission remains at $ 10.

It’ll be a big night for RUSH Sportsman Modifieds as they’ll compete in a Bicknell Racing Products Touring Series event for $ 600 and at the conclusion of the night will run the 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up feature, which will pay $ 800 to-win.  The feature field is set for the make-up feature, which is a non-point race.  For the second straight year, Sharon will host RUSH’s “Manufacturers Night” as over $ 19,000 to date has been posted by the Series for giveaways for all competing RUSH drivers. 

The RUSH Sportsman Modified division continues to grow.  Earlier this season, an all-time division record 30 cars were on hand to compete.  Saturday’s program is expected to draw a large field of cars.  Kyle Martell won the Series’ opening Bicknell Tour event on June 9 at Thunder Mountain Speedway.  Defending Bicknell Tour Champions are Larry Kugel and Brian Schaffer.  Kole Holden enters the night as Sharon’s point leader winning the last two weekly races, and also was victorious last Saturday night at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway when Sharon was closed.  Rocky Kugel also has a win this season at Sharon.

The ground-pounding Big-Block Modifieds are the big brother to the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds and will also be in action on Saturday night.  One-time winner and defending champion, Rex King, Jr., enters the night as the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply point leader by just six points over the consistent Dave Murdick, who will be looking for his season’s first win.  Jim Weller, Jr. is only another three points back of Murdick, and owns a feature win this season.  Two-time winner, Rex King, is fourth in points ahead of 2016 “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner, Jim Rasey.  Will Thomas III, who has championships at Sharon in the RUSH Late Models and E-Mods, has been struggling in his first season of Big-Block Modified racing.  He sits 10th in points and is hoping for a good run on Saturday.

Defending champion, Paul Davis, kick started his season at the last event for the Stock Cars on June 10 taking the victory.  Andy Thompson is a Sharon regular for the first time in many years and has been very fast and consistent all year as he trails Davis by just 11 points in the Gibson Insurance Agency championship race.  Mike Miller has been in the championship hunt the last few years and sits third in points.  Three-time champion, Mike Clark, is fourth as he looks for his first win of the season.  Jamie Scharba is fifth.  Chris McGuire and Andy Buckley have also been victorious this season.

After a slow start in the first two Econo Mod events which ended his run of 17 straight top two finishes, Steve Haefke has been on a roll.  The veteran Austintown, Ohio driver has won the last four events including the 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up non-point feature.  Despite his success, one-time winner, Zach Myers, trails Haefke by only one-point.  Myers will have an opportunity to take over the point lead as Haefke will have his work cut out starting last in the feature due to his three straight wins in weekly competition.  Brandon Blackshear, Mike Hillman, and Kyle Miller are third through fifth in the Summit Racing Equipment points.

Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5, drivers meeting at 6:30, and racing at 7.  Grandstand admission is $ 10 for those 14 and over.  Patio seating upgrades are just $ 5 and fan suite seating upgrades are just $ 20 over the cost of general admission.  In order to reserve either of these ahead of time, call the office Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 330-772-5481.  As always, children under 13, parking, and camping is always FREE!  Pit passes are $ 30.  Sharon has a no carry-in cooler policy.

Coming up next Saturday, July 1 will be another “Steel Valley Thunder” weekly show plus Junior Sprints on Lincoln Electric Night.  The “Lou Blaney Memorial” will take place on Saturday, July 8 with a return appearance by the All Star Sprint Cars along with the Big-Block Modifieds.  On Thursday, July 20, the Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series will be back for the second straight year in a $ 6,000 to-win event plus the Mini Stocks. 

Sharon Speedway is owned by the Blaney, Weller, and Kirila Families and is a 3/8-mile dirt track located at 3241 Custer-Orangeville Road, Hartford, OH 44424 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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