Career 1st win for Lynch in $3000 “410” Sprints; Biggest career win for Gordon in $2000 Penn-Ohio Stocks; Big-Block Mod Non-Winners to Warren; Win #2 for Davies in E-Mods & Blackshear in Econos; 1st ever RUSH Mod Tour win for Shea; Staley wins Minis in 1st ever visit

By Mike Leone

September 9, 2017          

(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway completed night two of the “Apple Festival Nationals” on Saturday night and in doing so wrapped up the 88th anniversary season of racing.  Capturing wins and celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Sye Lynch-“410” Sprint Cars, Andrew Gordon-Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series, Bob Warren-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds (non-winners), Dan Davies-E-Mods, Justin Shea-RUSH Sportsman Modified Touring Series, Brandon Blackshear-Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, and Wes Staley-Mini Stocks .  A total of 234 different race cars competed over the two-day event.

Ed Lynch, Jr. sits the atop the all-time “410” Sprint Car winners list at Sharon Speedway with 50 victories, but on Saturday night it was another Lynch gracing victory lane.  Third generation racer, Sye Lynch, put on a thrilling performance for the fans riding against the fence and leading all 30 laps for his first career win!  After dominating the first 27 laps lapping up to the third place car, Lynch had a left rear tire go down under the red flag.  Lynch then somehow staved our some slide jobs by Dan Kuriger over the final three laps for the $ 3,000 victory. 

“This is only my third race here ever and I love the new surface,” expressed the 20-year-old Apollo, Pa. driver.  “The fastest way is around the wall and man I hope it puts on a show for you fans because man it’s fun for me.  I knew as soon as I saw that red, (Jack) Sodeman and Kuriger would be on me, but man that was just a great race.  I have to thank Mosites Motorsports- without him it wouldn’t be possible; Kistler Engines and J&J, Ultra Lite Brakes, Diesel Snow Removal- everyone, my family, my crew.  It’s been a long road to get here that’s for sure.  Hopefully they’ll bring Sprint Cars back next year full-time and we can do this for you every Saturday night.”

An invert four put Darren Pifer and Lynch on the front row with Lynch flying to the early lead, while Kuriger and Sodeman moved past Pifer for second and third on the opening lap.  Sixth starting George Hobaugh raced into fourth on lap three getting by Pifer.  By lap seven, Lynch had a straightaway lead on Kuriger when he caught lapped traffic and did a tremendous job being smooth, keeping his momentum up, and working his way by the slower cars.

Tenth starting Davey Jones worked his way into the top five on lap 10 getting past Pifer, but all eyes were watching the “360” of Dennis Wagner make his way forward.  Wagner started in 12th, but was flying as he passed Jones for fifth on lap 12 then put a slider on Hobaugh to take fourth on lap 20.  Wagner was actually lapped by Lynch, but was closing on the leader with Sodeman right ahead in third.  Wagner’s night unfortunately ended when he hit the fence and flipped.  He was ok.

The red set up a three-lap dash to the checkered.  When Lynch pushed back off, his left rear tire was going down, but he somehow managed to survive the sliders and grab the lead back on a pair of occasions from Kuriger with 2010 champion, Sodeman, looming right behind.  Lynch’s win in his #42 came by 1.250 seconds over Kuriger.  Sodeman, Jones, and Hobaugh were third through fifth.  Pifer dropped to sixth over Jimmy Morris III, Bryan Salisbury, Eric. L. Williams, and 16th starting Jason Dolick.  Sodeman set fast time in qualifying on Friday night with a lap of 16.860 and then won his heat race along with Hobaugh.

Former Super Late Model racer, Andrew Gordon, led all 25 laps of the Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship feature for his biggest career payday earning $ 2,000 for his second victory of the season at Sharon.  Veteran racer, Bobby Whitling, got close at times, but Gordon didn’t make any mistakes through lapped traffic to secure the win.

“We were getting the car out late and realized a bunch of stuff was broke so we were welding on it and rushing around then second guessing ourselves when you have all that time to wait in the pits,” explained the DuBois, Pa. driver.  “You always want to do something and I said just leave it alone.  We left it alone and made a gamble on tires and it held up.  I thought we’d have a lot more cautions than that and with all those green flag laps I was getting worried.  I tried easing up on it and hitting the mud then started to feel it coming back to me.  We’ll keep practicing every week here next year to get faster for the $ 10,000 to-win show.”

Gordon used the outside pole starting spot to take the lead, while Whitling advanced from fourth to second on the opening lap.  A five-car accident took place with two laps scored, but that would be the only stoppage of the event as the final 23 laps went green-to-checkered.  Gordon and Whitling pulled away from the field by lap four, while the battle was on for third.  Ninth starting Paul Davis finally worked his way by Rusty Martz, Brian Rhed, and Rusty Moore for the show position on lap five.

Gordon caught lapped traffic on lap 12 and distanced himself from Whitling over much of the race, but Whitling closed the gap in the final laps; however, the Todd Gordon-owned, Pizza Hut/Joel’s Auto-sponsored, Ford-powered #25 would prevail by 1.441 seconds.  Davis was third.  Seventh starting Steve D’Apolito actually fell back to 10th early on then made a late charge to work into the top five and pass two-time winner, Chris McGuire, for fourth on the final lap.  McGuire, who started 10th, was fifth. 

Completing the top 10 were Moore, Chris Schneider, Brian Carothers, Martz, and 26th starting Chris Withers in a substitution role for Rod Laskey.  Gordon set fast time on Friday night with a lap of 19.587.  Heat winners over the 47-car field on Friday night were Bobby Heim, Gordon, Rhed, Whitling, and Moore.  William Hurrelbrink and Bob Schwartzmiller won Saturday’s last chance B mains.

After problems for early race leaders Travis Shingledecker and Justin Rasey along with the second place car of Josh Deems, Bob Warren inherited the lead and led the final 20 non-stop laps for his first career win in the Big-Block Modifieds.  Warren’s $ 1,100 victory came in the 25-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply feature for non-winners. 

“First and foremost today is my son Jackson’s fourth birthday so this is for him,” stated the 40-year-old Slippery Rock, Pa. driver.  “It was weird how everyone was dropping off.  This race is a really good idea.  It lets a guy get a win under his belt.  We’ve had a couple bad weeks so this makes up for it a little bit.  I have to thank my wife, kids, and family.  Without them, my sponsors, and fans this isn’t possible.”

Rasey and Shingledecker battled hard for the lead running side-by-side with Shingledecker taking over on lap four.  Shingledecker then pulled away before Rasey ran into problems on lap six when his car pushed and then came back across the track as Dave Reges made heavy contact.  Deems then inherited second, but he would spin in turn one bringing out the event’s final caution.  Under caution, Shingledecker exited the event with motor problems. 

Warren, who started fifth, was now the new leader and with caution-free racing over the final 20 laps, Warren drove off and won by 8.494 seconds in his KMA Rhino Linings/Family Traditions Restaurant/Bob’s Custom & Repair/Gellner’s Arctic Cat-sponsored #96B.  Eric Beggs had a good run from 11th to finish second.  Jeff Miller held off Deems’ charge back up through for third.  Kyle Holden was fifth as Rasey, Colton Walters, Shawn Fleeger, Scott Kennedy, and Kevin Green completed the top 10.  Heat winners on Friday night were Holden and Warren over the 16-car field.

Fifth starting Dan Davies passed Joel Watson on lap five and rim-rided the rest of the way to a dominating performance in the E-Mods.  The $ 1,500 victory was Davies’ second straight at Sharon.  “It was more difficult tonight- there’s not much cushion left,” described the 33-year-old Warren, Pa. racer.  “You get a pretty good bite off (turn) four, but if you miss it a little bit you’re going to be in the fence.  I tried to play it a little conservative once I got the lead.  My dad is out at the World 100 (Eldora Speedway) with Shane Clanton so hopefully they do well.  My whole crew and wife are here tonight so that makes it pretty cool.”

After a six-car accident on the opening lap that involved pole-sitter Casey Fritz, the event would go non-stop.  Watson raced to the early lead, but Davies was already to second after one lap.  Davies closed on Watson running the outside on lap four and one lap later nosed ahead for the winning pass.  Davies had a half-straightaway lead when he caught lapped traffic on lap 11 and without a caution extended his lead every lap to win by 4.237 seconds.  His fourth career feature win came in his Lethal Chassis #71D sponsored by King Fab, Hutchison Coventry, Willbank Energy, Close Racing Supply, and Hoosier Tire.

Ninth starting Bud Watson ran a smooth line on the bottom of the track.  Watson passed Jeremy Double for third on lap nine then slowly closed on Joel Watson.  Bud would work his way by Joel on lap 23 to secure the runner-up position.  After leading the first four laps, Joel Watson dropped to third.  Fritz came back from the opening lap accident to finish fourth in his first ever appearance.  Double was fifth.  Sixth through 10th were Jacob Eucker, 17th starting Brent Rhebergen, Carl McKinney, Scott Stiffler, and Josh Ferry.  Stiffler and Joel Watson won Friday night’s heat races over the 17-car field.

After watching Steve Slater steal a win away from him on the outside coming down for the white flag at the last RUSH Sportsman Modified Touring Series event on August 26 at Sharon, Justin Shea performed a similar pass of race-long leader Chelsie Kriegisch on lap 15 to score his first career Bicknell Racing Products Tour win.  Shea earned $ 800 for his second career Sharon win in the 25-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products feature.

“We haven’t run much this year but now I’m wishing we would have,” revealed the 36-year-old Franklin, Pa. driver.  “This car is phenomenal.  It was a little tight yesterday, but we made the right adjustments and here we are.  Everyone was running the bottom so the only way to make headway is to try the middle or top.  It really liked it so I stuck it out there and it worked.  We have a short trip to Tri-City (Raceway Park) tomorrow- it’s about two miles from home.  I have to thank my wife and father-in-law; they’ve been a huge help the last two days helping out.”

Several cars got bunched up on the initial start causing a five-car accident that ended the night early for several racers.  And like the E-Mods, that would be only stoppage of the 25-lap main event.  Chelsie Kriegisch and Tour point leader, Kyle Martell, were one-two after the opening lap.  Shea meanwhile started fifth as him and eighth starting Chas Wolbert passed Jessica Kriegisch for third and fourth on lap two.  Wolbert and Shea battled hard for third as they raced side-by-side.  Wolbert would grab the spot on lap four as the duo closed in on Martell.  Shea then moved to the top and drove around both racers to take second on lap 11.

Kriegisch meanwhile was up front setting a good pace in search of her first career Sharon victory; however, Shea stuck to the outside line and closed in every lap.  He caught Kriegisch on lap 14 and made the winning pass driving around her in turn four to lead the 15th circuit.  Shea had a half-straightaway lead when he caught lapped traffic with three laps to go.  Traffic didn’t slow Shea’s run to the checkered flag as he won by 2.589 seconds in his Shea Trucking/Bradley’s Boarding & Grooming-sponsored #14s.

Kriegisch was a Tour season best second.  Wolbert, who won the $ 800 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up on August 5, was third after passing Martell on lap 14.  Sharon track champion, Kole Holden, came from 10th to finish fourth over Josh Deems as both racers dropped Martell to sixth late in the event.  Completing the top 10 were Brian Schaffer, Jessica Kriegisch, Rocky Kugel, and Brandon Ritchey.  Chelsie Kriegisch, Wolbert, and Martell won Friday’s heat races over the 24-car field.  Holden won the dash. 

After winning the season opening event back on April 21, Brandon Blackshear, the division’s all-time winning driver, was shutout of victory lane all season long in the Econo Mods.  That changed on Saturday night as Blackshear led from green-to-checkered in the caution-plagued event.  Blackshear earned $ 500 for the Summit Racing Equipment-sponsored feature win. 

“We kept going and going with all those cautions and I figured we had to be getting close to being timed out, but I was in the right spot the entire time,” explained the 27-year-old Hubbard, Ohio racer.  “This track really threw me for a curveball all year.  It figures the final race of the season I finally get it figured out.  My buddy Bud Watson was standing back there telling me to just stay on the bottom so I just rolled around the tires and here we are.” 

Blackshear lined up beside two-time champion, Steve Haefke, as he used the outside to take the early lead.  Haefke would lose second to sixth starting Eric Wilson on lap five, but regained it following a restart on lap nine.  Cautions were the theme as the event never had more than five consecutive green flag laps.  After nine cautions in an event that lasted over an hour including the red flags, the race was checkered with 18 of the scheduled 20 laps in the record books. 

Blackshear’s 21st career win came in the Steve Burns, Sr.-owned, Warehouse Sales/Gearhart Sales/Laddie’s Sky Club/Close Racing Supply/Intense Fab/Hoosier Tire-sponsored #70B.  Haefke was second for his 26th top two finish over the past 29 races dating back into the 2015 season!  Ty Rhoades was third.  Brian Toto came from 21st to finish fourth over 13th starting Kyle Miller. 

Heat wins on Friday night went to Rhoades, Wilson, and Mitchell Wright.  Mark Titus won Saturday’s last chance B main, while Haefke earned an extra $ 100 and the feature pole position for winning the dash presented by Twin-State Auto Racing Club.  An all-time record high 30 cars turned out as the division’s eighth year of existence ended!

Making his first ever appearance, Wes Staley charged from the seventh starting spot to win the 15-lap Mini Stock feature to close out the 2017 season.  The Wayne County Speedway regular earned $ 300 as he became the 29th different driver all-time to win a feature in the history of the division. 

After an opening lap accident, the race went caution-free like the prior E-Mod and RUSH Sportsman Modified feature as the 29-year-old Canton, Ohio driver charged into the lead and never looked back in his Tires & More-sponsored #17S.  Tyler Fulton passed Jason Pavlick on lap two for second, but was no match for Staley.  Steve Walker II, the 2016 champion and two-time 2017 winner, came from 18th to finish third.  John Gill and 15th starting Shane Shook were fourth and fifth.  Isaac Paden and Staley won Friday’s heat races over the 19-car field.      

“410” Sprint Cars (30 laps, $ 3,000 to-win): 1. SYE LYNCH (42)  2. Dan Kuriger (08)  3. Jack Sodeman, Jr. (23Jr)  4. Davey Jones (76)  5. George Hobaugh (40)  6. Darren Pifer (23)  7. Jimmy Morris III (4N)  8. Bryan Salisbury (126)  9. Eric L. Williams (4W)  10. Jason Dolick (D12)  11. Joe Sylvester (8)  12. Paul Kish (4c)  13. Sadie Siegel (91)  14. Dennis Wagner (38)  15. Mike Flynn (12x)  16. Vinny Dougherty (27)  17. Jeremy Kornbau (27K)-DNS.

Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series (25 laps, $ 2,000 to-win): 1. ANDREW GORDON (25)  2. Bobby Whitling (7W)  3. Paul Davis (3)  4. Steve D’Apolito (84)  5. Chris McGuire (63)  6. Rusty Moore (17M)  7. Chris Schneider (Humanic 17)  8. Brian Carothers (02c)  9. Rusty Martz (16M)  10. Chris Withers (Laskey 1R)  11. Jarod Larson (47)  12. William Hurrelbrink (c8)  13. Curt Bish, Jr. (00)  14. Jamie Duncan (67J)  15. Andy Buckley (965)  16. Curt J. Bish (Tarr 29)  17. Jamie Scharba (11s)  18. Bob Schwartzmiller (28s)  19. Mike Clark (7)  20. Tim Deutsch (20)  21. Leigh Wheeler (717)  22. Bobby Heim (92)  23. Hunter Exley (23H)  24. Brian Rhed (69R)  25. Randy Wyant (11T)  26. Joe Stajnrajh (04).  DNQ: Mike Miller (T6), Brent Coleman (01), Bill Phillips, Jr. (23JR), Brent McDonald (25), Nick Kocuba (10), Tim Bish (1B), Troy Norman (Gower 19N),  Darr Diegelman (15D), Terry Wheeler (2W), Bobby Robinson (34R), Brian Lacey (51), Jamie Maxwell (6), Steve Allison (1BAD), Mark Hopkins (69H), Jesse Brock (22B), Dustin Smith (88), Zach Myers (18), Larry Kugel (Petsko 00), Michael Hudzik (31H), Pat Fielding (23), Mike Kerr (25K).

Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds (Non-Winners) (25 laps, $ 1,100 to-win): 1. BOB WARREN (96B)  2. Eric Beggs (29*)  3. Jeff Miller (75)  4. Josh Deems (82)  5. Kyle Holden (68H)  6. Justin Rasey (21)  7. Colton Walters (18)  8. Shawn Fleeger (88)  9. Scott Kennedy (00)  10. Kevin Green (74)  11. Travis Shingledecker (73MD)  12. Dave Reges (27R)  13. Jason Sines (38DD)  14. Mike Turner (96)  15. Tom Glenn (83T)  16. Will Thomas III (9)-DNS.

E-Mods (25 laps, $ 1,500 to-win): 1. DAN DAVIES (71D)  2. Bud Watson (25)  3. Joel Watson (92)  4. Casey Fritz (c7)  5. Jeremy Double (83)  6. Jacob Eucker (64)  7. Brent Rhebergen (07R)  8. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6m)  9. Scott Stiffler (14)  10. Josh Ferry (33)  11. Jack Young (67)  12. Chris Rudolph (25)  13. Todd Canter (89)  14. Shawn Shingledecker (54s)  15. Matt Lux (21)  16. Jeff Johnson (27)  17. Mike Kinney (Porter 20P).

 RUSH Sportsman Modified Touring Series (25 laps, $ 800 to-win): 1. JUSTIN SHEA (14S)  2. Chelsie Kriegisch (10)  3. Chas Wolbert (c3)  4. Kole Holden (2)  5. Josh Deems (9D)  6. Kyle Martell (8)  7. Brian Schaffer (41)  8. Jessica Kriegisch (63)  9. Rocky Kugel (Myers 43Sr)  10. Brandon Ritchey ( 17)  11. Shayne Izzo (86)  12. Preston Cope (24P)  13. David Kalb, Jr. (11J)  14. Nick Ritchey (Eads 77N)  15. Gary Haupt (16)  16. Will Schaffer (4)  17. Jacob Jordan (28J)  18. Steve Slater (29)  19. Anthony Gillespie (Smith 3G)  20. Blaze Myers (43Jr)  21. Brandon Michaud (132)  22. Jeremy Weaver (35W)  23. Tiffany Williams (58)  24. Kevin Long (22)-DNS.

Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods (18 laps, $ 500 to-win): 1. BRANDON BLACKSHEAR (Burns 70B)  2. Steve Haefke (41)  3. Ty Rhoades (12R)  4. Brian Toto (8B)  5. Kyle Miller (15)  6. Josh Mueller (01)  7. Nathan Young (42)  8. Keith Felicetty (98)  9. Cameron Nastasi (99)  10. George Vestal IV (4)  11. Wayne Daniels (4D)  12. Gary Murphy (85)  13. Tommy Davis (32)  14. Eric Wilson (Christopher 2JR)  15. Rick Wilson, Jr. (35)  16. Gary Robinson (44R)  17. Mitchell Wright (m11)  18. Tyler Frankenberry (38)  19. Mark Titus (25)  20. Brad Blackshear (19)  21. Ray Gregory (82R)  22. Brent Coleman (01)  23. Branden Porter (202)  24. Gary Miller, Jr. (1M)-DNS.  DNQ: Larry Ingram (14), Richard Chess, Jr. (16c), Josh Ferry (Leamer 02), Richard Chess, Sr. (56c), Matt Alexander (77), Ashley Rogers (60).

Mini Stocks (15 laps, $ 300 to-win): 1. WES STALEY (73S)  2. Tyler Fulton (09)  3. Steve Walker II (4M)  4. John Gill (19G)  5. Shane Shook (17s)  6. Isaac Paden (24)  7. Kyle Adkins (311)  8. Ed Haylett (8-ball)  9. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421)  10. Mike Aley (6)  11. Scott Gill (6)  12. Bub Cales (66x)  13. Wayne Newbury (17)  14. Jason Pavlick (00)  15. Will Aley (Root 17J)  16. John McCracken, Jr. (64)  17. Bill Fuchs (10)  18. Michael Porterfield (23MP)  19. Pat Drennan (24)-DNS.

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

“Apple Festival Nationals” Friday & Saturday; Most of the region’s divisions in action highlighted by “410” Sprints for $3000 to-win

By Mike Leone

September 6, 2017             

(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway will conclude the 88th anniversary season this weekend with the running of the annual “Apple Festival Nationals” on Friday and Saturday night (September 8-9).  Ten different divisions will compete.  The Mod Lites, Sportsman Dwarf Cars, and Junior Sprints will run a complete show on Friday night, while “410” Sprint Cars, Big-Block Modified Non-Winners, Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series, E-Mods, RUSH Sportsman Modified Touring Series, Econo Mods, and Mini Stocks will have their shows split over the two days with their features on Saturday night.  Race time is early at 6 p.m. both nights. 

For the first time ever, the “410” Sprint Cars will not only compete during the “Apple Festival Nationals”, but will also be the headlining division. The Sprints have made three appearances during the 2017 season with Kyle Larson winning the Ohio Speedweek All Star Circuit of Champions event in June, Christopher Bell adding his name as a “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner for the All Stars in July, and most recently Danny Holtgraver winning the $ 3,000 non-sanctioned “Simon Yoder Memorial” event last month.  This weekend’s event will pay $ 3,000 to-win, $ 250 to-start.  Standard local Sprint Car rules will be utilized.  Mufflers are not required.  Group qualifying will be used to set the heat race lineups.  

For the second straight year, the weekly headlining Big-Block Modifieds will participate in a non-winners event paying $ 1,100 to-win. Only drivers that have never won a Big-Block Modified race anywhere in their career will be eligible to compete.  Last year, Kyle Fink captured the victory utilizing a “358” small-block powered engine.    

The Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series return with $ 2,000 on the line this time. The Series has boasted big car counts in recent years with 51 competing at the last event back on July 29 that was won by Chris McGuire.  On that night, Chris Schneider picked up last year’s $ 2,000 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up feature win.  Schneider went on to win the weekly finale on August 26 as he and McGuire were the year’s only repeat winners.  Paul Davis captured the 2017 Gibson Insurance Agency Championship for the second straight year, and would love to cap off the year with a big win.  Like the Sprints, group qualifying will be utilized to set the heat race lineups.

Though they weren’t part of the weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” lineup in 2017, the E-Mods have made special appearances throughout the season culminating with this weekend’s $ 1,500 to-win event. Back on May 20, Joel Watson won his 27th career feature at Sharon.  Also that night, Jacob Hawkins won the 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up E-Mod feature.  On June 3, Carl McKinney reached double figures with his 10th career Sharon win. Unfortunately their July 22 scheduled event was rained out, but most recently Dan Davies topped a 23-car field for a $ 1,000 payday on August 5. 

The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds are in their fourth year of competition and are set to finish their third season as a weekly division at Sharon. This weekend will be a Bicknell Racing Products Touring Series event with $ 800 on the line.  At the last event on August 26, the RUSH Mods competed in their twice rained out “Manufacturers Night” Tour event that saw 29 cars participate with Steve Slater capturing his first career win.  Kole Holden and Rocky Kugel tied with the most wins at three during the season; however, it was the teenager Holden garnering his first HTMA/Precise Racing Products Championship.  Chas Wolbert won a pair of features including the $ 800 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up feature back on August 5.  Kyle Martell, who won a feature at Sharon in 2016, is the current Bicknell Touring Series points leader.

The Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods will battle for a $ 500 payday- matching their richest of the season. For the second straight year, Steve Haefke has been heads and shoulders above the competition winning six features in route to his second track championships.  More impressively dating back to 2015, Haefke has finished in the top two for 25 of the last 28 races.  Kyle Miller and Jacob Eucker closed out the regular season with their first wins on August 19 and 26 respectively.  Thanks to Twin-State Auto Racing Club, the top two Econo Mods from each heat will run a special dash on Saturday that will determine the top feature starting spots with $ 100 to-win, $ 50 for second, and $ 25 for all other starters. 

Like the E-Mods, the Mini Stocks were not part of the weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” program in 2017; however, did make several appearances, four in fact, as 2016 champion, Steve Walker II, was victorious twice along with Bill Fuchs, the division’s all-time winner, and first-time winner Isaac Paden. The Mini Stocks will be racing for $ 300 to-win. 

The Mod Lites, Sportsman Dwarf Cars will return once again as part of the “Apple Festival Nationals” running their complete show on Friday along with the Junior Sprints for children. The Mod Lites will race for $ 500 to-win, while the Sportsman Dwarfs for $ 250 to-win.  The events are presented by Leader Chassis and Joe’s Radiator.   The Junior Sprints debuted at last year’s “Apple Festival Nationals” and have run a pair of events in 2017. Many of the competitors in these small car divisions race weekly at Deerfield Raceway and Mercer Raceway Park, and always enjoy a chance to compete at Sharon.

On Friday, pit pass sales will begin at 3 p.m. with grandstands at 4. A drivers meeting is slated for 5:20 p.m.  Sprint Car engine starts will be at 5:45 p.m. followed by the Junior Sprint heat race at 6 p.m., group qualifying for the Sprints and Stocks, followed by heat race action.  The same times will be in effect on Saturday with racing starting at 6.  Cars that do not compete Friday can tag the B main or feature, provided the 24-car feature fields aren’t set.    

Breakfast will be served in the main concession on Saturday morning from 8:30-10 a.m. and lunch from 12-2 p.m. in the pit concession. The band Wyld Ryde will perform after the races on Friday night.

Grandstand admission for those 14 and over is $ 12 on Friday and $ 15 on Saturday or $ 25 for a two-day pass. Pit passes are $ 30 on Friday and $ 35 on Saturday or $ 60 for a two-day pass.  There is no entry or registration fees for Sharon, only the typical Penn-Ohio and RUSH entry fees for those two divisions.  Any driver that has not raced at Sharon Speedway in 2017 needs to complete a registration form, and try and bring it to the track completed to save time.  The form is available by going to SharonSpeedway.com, clicking on Drivers, then Registration or directly here http://www.sharonspeedway.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/RegistrationFormSharon2017-1.pdf.

As always, children under 13, parking, and camping is always FREE! Sharon has a no carry-in cooler policy.  PLEASE NOTE: THE BACKSTRETCH GRANDSTANDS WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR GENERAL ADMISSION ON FRIDAY NIGHT- ONLY FOR PIT PASS HOLDERS.  This is due to using the area for overflow pit parking.

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

Britten returns & backs up Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Mod win; Career 1st win for Slater comes in Touring Series event for RUSH Mods; Schneider repeats in Stocks; 1st for Eucker in Econo Mods

By Mike Leone

August 26, 2017         

(Hartford, OH)…Beautiful fall-like weather graced Sharon Speedway on Saturday allowing the fifth straight and final “Steel Valley Thunder” program of 2017 to be completed.  Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Peter Britten-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, Steve Slater-HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds Bicknell Touring Series, Chris Schneider-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, and Jacob Eucker-Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods.  Over $ 19,000 of products were distributed to the RUSH Sportsman Modified racers for their “Manufacturers Night”.  Congratulations to the 2017 track champions: Rex King, Jr.-Big-Block Mods, Paul Davis-Stocks, Kole Holden-RUSH Mods, and Steve Haefke-Econo Mods.   

Making his return since winning his first career Super DIRTcar Series race on July 20, Peter Britten put on a dominating performance to win the 25-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modified feature.  Britten led wire-to-wire with four cautions being the only thing to slow his run.  This time, Britten won in a substitution role for Jim Weller, Jr. making for the third different car he’s raced this season at Sharon.

“I think this track was pretty damn close to how it was back in July,” acknowledged the 29-year-old Australian native who now calls Weedsport, NY home.  “I haven’t been down here in a few weeks, but we pretty much did the same thing we did then and had the same results.  It’s hard when you’re out in front sometimes- you don’t know where the track is going or where the lines are so you just have to work and feel your way around.  We ended up here so we must have found the right line.  I can’t say enough about the Wellers.  They got me involved in their program and gave me the opportunity to drive tonight.  I’m really glad to get this car in victory lane for them.  They’ve been getting better all year and I’ve been trying to help them out.  I think we’re on the right path now.”

An invert four from the heat races put Britten on the pole and he immediately charged into the lead over Rex King and Rex King, Jr.  Following a caution for Tom Mattocks, it was three-wide for third with sixth starting Jeremiah Shingledecker and Jim Rasey getting by King, Jr. on lap two.  Shingledecker had the bottom working as he passed King for second on lap six.  Rasey then worked on King before making the pass for third with a slider in turn four on lap 12.   

The event’s fourth and final caution slowed action when Justin Rasey spun in turn three.  This erased a near five-second lead for Britten.  The caution put Shingledecker, the “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner, alongside Britten for the restart, but Shingledecker wouldn’t have anything for the professional racer as Britten won by 4.482 seconds in the Zip Motorsports #31 for his second career win. 

Shingledecker was second for the second straight week.  Rasey was third.  King, Jr. dropped to fourth, but easily earned his second straight championship and third in four seasons.  King was fifth.  Completing the top 10 were Garrett Krummert, Will Thomas III, Chris Haines, Dave Murdick from the tail after getting caught up in an opening lap accident, and Erik Martin.  Heat winners over the 18-car field were King, Jr. and Rasey.

In the race of the night and one of the best of the season, Steve Slater worked the top side of the track to perfection stealing a win away from race long leader Justin Shea coming down for the white flag.  Slater, a former crew chief for Big-Block Modified racer Dave Murdick, earned his first career win coming in the 25-lap $ 600 to-win Bicknell Racing Products Touring Series special for the HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. 

“Wow; second year- I’ve dreamed of this,” expressed the jubilant 52-year-old Butler, Pa. winner.  “This is exciting and wonderful- I love this.  I have to thank Vicki (Emig) for making this all possible.  She’s putting on a great show for these RUSH Crate Modifieds.  I kept thinking of the money!  He (Shea) kept pulling me and I was breaking traction a little bit coming out of turn four, but that last time I didn’t and was close enough to him.  I kept it floored the whole way around (turns) one and two and three and four and thought I got this this time.  I’d like to thank my pit crew Dale Stephenson and Donny Graham; they were both here tonight and it really helped out.  I was crew chief for 15 years with Dave Murdick and wanted to do this.  I couldn’t afford the Big-Block Modifieds.”   

Shea and Slater lined up together on the front row with Shea taking the early lead, while Kyle Martell passed Slater for second.  Slater though came back on lap two to reclaim the position.  Nick Ritchey spun on lap four and a seven-car pileup ensued in turn one.  Back under green, Martell moved back by Slater for second, but one-lap later it was three-wide for the runner-up spot with Slater and Wolbert getting by Martell.  Wolbert, who won the $ 800 to-win “Apple Festival Nationals” Tour make-up feature three weeks ago, appeared as if he had the fastest car.  Wolbert passed Slater for second on lap seven and closed in on Shea one lap later. 

After junking his car one week ago, Rocky Kugel was behind the wheel of Billy Myers’ #43Sr.  Kugel started eighth and made the pass of Slater for third on lap 14.  Kugel and Slater really went at it trading the position back and forth with Slater getting it back on lap 15, Kugel on lap 19, but Slater took it back for good on the 20th circuit.  Wolbert’s run would end when the lapped car of Chad Gumpp forced Wolbert low into a yuke tire bringing out the caution.

The caution put Slater alongside Shea for the first time since back on lap four.  Slater stayed with Shea and appeared like he’d have a shot as he was getting a good run off the topside of the racey track.  On lap 23, Slater had a run off turn two, but Shea stopped his advances moving up and taking his line.  The following lap though Slater’s momentum off two carried him alongside Shea as he powered ahead to lead lap 24.  Slater ran a perfect final lap to win by 0.790 of a second in his Steve’s Auto Body & Repair #29. 

Shea was second in his first Sharon start since May 29.  A wild last lap, turn four scramble ensued after the third place running car of Kugel knocked down his front end saw 11th starting Josh Deems claim third.  Chelsie Kriegisch had an excellent run from 17th to take fourth over Sharon first time champion, Kole Holden.  Kugel was still able to cross the line in sixth as Tour point leader, Martell, dropped to seventh over Shayne Izzo, 19th starting Brandon Ritchey and Jeremy Weaver.  Holden, Wolbert, and Izzo captured heat wins over the 29-car field.  Brandon Ritchey won the last chance B main, while Brian Schaffer won the dash.

Chris Schneider has never been a weekly competitor at Sharon over the years in the Stock Car division, but when the #55 pulls in the pit area he’s certainly going to be one of the drivers to beat.  Schneider won the $ 2,000 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up feature on July 29 and returned to victory lane on Saturday night to become just the second repeat winner of the season in the competitive Gibson Insurance Agency-sponsored division.

“I was really confused what to do- Paul Davis really knows how to get around this place so I king of tried to do what he does,” explained the 38-year-old Lower Burrell, Pa. driver.  “This place is really awesome.  This clay is the coolest thing I’ve ever been on at a circle track this size.  The groove moves so you just have to follow it.  We might be the premier division someday.  This is really awesome what Sharon is doing to get the drivers to follow it.  You never know what’s going to happen with this $ 10,000 to-win show next year.  Congrats to Paul Davis on his track championship.”

From the pole position, Brian Carothers led the opening lap, while third starting Schneider moved into second past Mike Miller.  Following a caution for newcomer Dustin Adams, Schneider made the outside work to lead lap two.  Seventh starting Paul Davis was looking strong as he drove under and past two-time winner, Chris McGuire, for third on lap three then did the identical move in turn four one lap later to take second from Carothers.

The event was plagued by seven cautions, which gave Davis numerous chances on the restart alongside Schneider, but Schneider was simply too strong winning the final two-lap dash to the finish by 0.809 seconds as his SS Chassis & Supply #55 captured his seventh career win.  Davis’ runner-up though was good enough to capture his second straight championship.  McGuire was third.  Seven-time Sharon “410” Sprint Car Champion, Jarod Larson, returned to his roots in the Stock Car division in recent weeks and had his best run finishing fourth after starting 14th.  Curt J. Bish was fifth as Michael Hudzik, Miller, Charlie Baptiste, Hunter Exley, and Bobby Robinson completed the top 10.  Bish, Andy Thompson, and Davis won the heat races over the 23-car field.

Jacob Eucker has been competing in the E-Mod division in recent years, but with Sharon dropping the class from weekly competition in 2017, the nearby Hartford, Ohio decided to return to the Econo Mod division back on August 5.  Making his fourth consecutive start, Eucker led all 20 laps of the Summit Racing Equipment feature for his first win in the division since September 28, 2013.

“It’s been a long time,” stated the 16-year-old.  “We decided to come back here and do this because Sharon dropped the class and we didn’t have anywhere to go on Saturday nights.  I’d like to thank my dad, my mom, and all of my sponsors along with Blue Devil Block sealer for the four-inch crack in our block.”

An invert eight placed Eucker on the pole as he raced to the lead over Ryan Fraley.  Track champion, Steve Haefke, started in seventh and by lap two was up to fourth getting by Ty Rhoades.  Following a caution for Tyler Frankenberry with three laps scored, Haefke went from fourth to second on the restart.  After dropping back to fifth, Rhoades made his way by Mitchell Wright then Fraley for third on lap seven.

Eucker had pulled away from Haefke, but Fraley would get into the fence running fourth with nine laps completed.  The caution put Haefke alongside Eucker for the first time, but Eucker again stretched his lead two laps later.  A pair of cautions on laps 17 and 18 gave Haefke two more shots at Eucker, but “Kid Smooth” was too strong winning by 1.154 seconds in the Matt Eucker-owned, Ohio Commerce Center/Buck’s Ground Maintenance/Danski Dyno/Harrison Tool/Dr. John Eucker/Lees Excavating/Afco Shocks/Close Racing Supply-sponsored #64.  The victory was Eucker’s seventh of his career in the Econo Mods and eighth overall at the track including an E-Mod win.

Haefke’s second gave him his 25th top two finish in the past 28 events dating back to 2015.  Rhoades was third.  Brad Blackshear raced from the ninth starting spot to fourth over an impressive run by George Vestal IV coming all the way from 16th.  Frankenberry and Haefke copped the heat race wins over the 18-car field.

Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds (25 laps): 1. PETER BRITTEN (Weller 31)  2. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD)  3. Jim Rasey (32)  4. Rex King, Jr. (165)  5. Rex King (65)  6. Garrett Krummert (29)  7. Will Thomas III (9)  8. Chris Haines (35H)  9. Dave Murdick (61)  10. Erik Martin (29E)  11. Tom Glenn (83T)  12. Mark Frankhouser (03)  13. Steve Barr (25B)  14. Rob Kristyak (00)  15. Justin Rasey (21)  16. Rodney Beltz (64)  17. Tom Mattocks (69)  18. Bob Warren (96B).

HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds Bicknell Touring Series (25 laps, $ 600 to-win): 1. STEVE SLATER (29)  2. Justin Shea (14s)  3. Josh Deems (9D)  4. Chelsie Kriegisch (10)  5. Kole Holden (2)  6. Rocky Kugel (Myers 43Sr)  7. Kyle Martell (8)  8. Shayne Izzo (86)  9. Brandon Ritchey (17)  10. Jeremy Weaver (35W)  11. Anthony Gillespie (Smith 3G)  12. Gary Haupt (16)  13. Jessica Kriegisch (63)  14. Brian Schaffer (41)  15. Blaze Myers (43Jr)  16. Brandon Michaud (132)  17. Preston Cope (24P)  18. Chas Wolbert (c3)  19. Chad Gumpp (King 12)  20. Nick Ritchey (Eads 77N)  21. Brian Sadler (5)  22. Jim Bryce (Schaffer 14)  23. Jordan Ehrenberg (20J)  24. Tiffany Williams (58)  25. Jason Hufnagel (28)-DNS.  DNQ: Jacob Jordan (28J), Jessica Shea (24s), Will Schaffer (4), Don Blaney (11B).

Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (20 laps): 1. CHRIS SCHNEIDER (55)  2. Paul Davis (3)  3. Chris McGuire (63)  4. Jarod Larson (47)  5. Curt Bish (Tarr 29)  6. Michael Hudzik (31H)  7. Mike Miller (T6)  8. Charlie Baptiste (28B)  9. Hunter Exley (23H)  10. Bobby Robinson (34R)  11. Troy Norman (Gower 19N)  12. Mike Kerr (25K)  13. Tim Deutsch (20)  14. Randy Wyant (11T)  15. Rusty Moore (17M)  16. Andy Thompson (5)  17. Jamie Scharba (11s)  18. Brian Carothers (02c)  19. Mike Clark (7)  20. Steve Allison (1BAD)  21. Dustin Adams (11)  22. Jamie Maxwell (6)-DNS  23. Andy Buckley (965)-DNS.

Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods (20 laps): 1. JACOB EUCKER (64)  2. Steve Haefke (41)  3. Ty Rhoades (12R)  4. Brad Blackshear (19)  5. George Vestal IV (4)  6. Gary Robinson (44R)  7. Mitchell Wright (m11)  8. Kyle Miller (15)  9. Wayne Daniels (4D)  10. Brian Toto (8B)  11. Jeff Mundell (11)  12. Mike Hillman (29)  13. Cameron Nastasi (99)  14. Tommy Davis (32)  15. Rick Wilson, Jr. (35)  16. Brandon Blackshear (Burns 70B)  17. Ryan Fraley (Lapcevich 77L)  18. Tyler Frankenberry (38).

There will be no racing over Labor Day Weekend.  The 88th anniversary season will conclude on September 8-9 with the “Apple Festival Nationals” this year featuring a $ 3,000 to-win event for the “410” Sprints along with the Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Series for $ 2,000 to-win, E-Mods for $ 1,500 to-win, Big-Block Modified Non-Winners for $ 1,100 to-win, RUSH Sportsman Modified Touring Series for $ 800 to-win, Econo Mods for $ 500 to-win, and Mini Stocks for $ 300 to-win.  The Mod Lites, Sportsman Dwarf Cars, and Junior Sprints for kids will run a complete program on Friday night.  Racing begins at 6 p.m. both nights. 

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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