Sharon looks to complete 2nd straight “Steel Valley Thunder” program Saturday; RUSH Sportsman Mods return to try & complete their 1st show

By Mike Leone

May 24, 2017         

(Hartford, OH)…Despite rain throughout many areas last Saturday night in Ohio, Sharon Speedway was finally able to complete the first “Steel Valley Thunder” program of the season after  three straight rain outs that followed the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event back on April 21.  Sharon will look to make it two in a row this Saturday night (May 27) on Warren Diesel Performance Night as part of the 88th anniversary season.  The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, and Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods will be part of the program beginning at 7 p.m.  Power wheels races will be held for kids during intermission.  Admission remains at the very low $ 10. 

The 2016 season was definitely a struggle for Rex King being shutout of victory lane, but the all-time active leading feature winner (52) at the Speedway showed he still has what it takes to get back to victory lane as he copped the opening night win last Saturday night.  The veteran Bristolville, Ohio driver now has the early Hovis Auto & Truck Supply point lead as he sets his sights on his sixth track championship.  After taking much of last season off, Garrett Krummert is back and was fast with a runner-up finish.  Longtime Stock Car racer, Rod Laskey, debuted in the class as a teammate to Chris Haines, who won his first career Modified feature last year.  Former E-Mod and RUSH Late Model Champion, Will Thomas III finished 11th in his Big-Block Modified debut.  Clyde Gumpp also made his first ever Sharon Big-Block Modified start as he’s expected to be a regular this season.

The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds had the night off last Saturday after getting rained out for their first three shows.  Rocky Kugel picked up a heat race win on May 13 before rain washed out the remainder of the program with 25 cars on hand.  Kugel has been the driver to beat in the class throughout the region as he’s won in both of his starts at Pittsburgh and Lernerville Speedways.  Josh Seippel won on Mother’s Day at Tri-City Raceway Park.  Kole Holden, who finished third in last year’s HTMA/Precise Racing Products track points with one win, is the RUSH Weekly Series point leader, which pays $ 3,000 to-win.  A strong field of cars is expected on Saturday night. 

The Stock Cars had a solid field of 24 cars on hand last Saturday night, which allowed them to race for $ 700 to-win, $ 75 to-start.  Chris McGuire picked up his first career win and took over the early Gibson Insurance Agency point lead.  Before the rains came on May 13, there were 50 Stocks on hand for the Penn-Ohio Series event.  Penn-Ohio will return on July 22 for a complete new show plus the 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up feature.

Despite heading into the final weekend of May, the Econo Mods is the only division that has been able to complete two events this season.  Brandon Blackshear, the division’s all-time winner, won back on April 21 and then this past Saturday night, Zach Myers finally was able to put together a complete feature to win his first ever at the track.  After going 17 straight feature events finishing in the top two dating back to 2015, defending track champion, Steve Haefke, has yet to finish in the top two this season.  Haefke was a season best fourth last Saturday night. 

With less divisions on the weekly program in 2017, each division will be given five additional feature laps; 25 for the Big-Block Modifieds and 20 for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Stock Cars, and Econo Mods.  As always, Sharon offers a higher tiered purse structure if 24 or more cars are in action on any weekly event.  New in 2017 is a non-qualifier event for any division that has 32 or more cars on a weekly show. 

Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5, drivers meeting at 6:20, 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.

FREE “Fan Appreciation Night” along with driver autographs is coming up on Saturday, June 10 presented by Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing.  On Tuesday, June 20 Ohio Speedweek comes to Sharon featuring Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars in a $ 5,000 to-win event along with the Mini Stocks.  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 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 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

Sharon hoping Mother Nature cooperates Saturday for 4th attempt at “Steel Valley Thunder” opener; Jr. Sprints & E-Mods also part of program with Ken Schrader in action

By Mike Leone

May 16, 2017         

(Hartford, OH)…After managing to complete the inaugural Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event clear back on April 21, who would have thought one month later Sharon Speedway would still be looking to complete its first “Steel Valley Thunder” program? But that is the case after rain has washed out the first three attempts juggling the schedule and make-up features from last year around.  While it looked like last Saturday was golden as sunny skies were present at race time, rain showers dropped off Lake Erie during the program forcing a rain out with rain checks to be honored.  All drivers received 10 show-up points.

This Saturday night (May 20) will be take #4 for the “Steel Valley Thunder” opener on Mark Thomas Ford Night as part of the 88th anniversary season. The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, E-Mods, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, and Junior Sprints will be part of the program beginning at 7 p.m.  The 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” E-Mod make-up feature will also be on the program.  Admission remains at the very low $ 10.  The HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will have the night off.

Last Saturday night, a big field of 50 Penn-Ohio Stocks turned out with their heat races going to Andy Buckley, Rob Shook, Curt J. Bish, Rusty Moore, and Rusty Martz. Subbing for Jimmy Weller III, Peter Britten dominated the first heat race for the Big-Block Modifieds, while Rex King won the second heat race.  Rocky Kugel won the opening heat event for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds before the rains came.  There were 25 RUSH Mods on hand.  The Econo Mods never hit the speedway other than their warm-ups.

Former NASCAR star, Ken Schrader, will return Saturday to compete in the rained out $ 3,000 to-win Renegades of Dirt Modified feature from the “Apple Festival Nationals” last September. Even though the E-Mods are not part of the weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” program, they will make monthly appearances including this Saturday night when they’ll also compete in a complete new 20-lap program.  There is no registration fee.  While the make-up feature field is set, new cars are permitted to run in the new program.  Alan Dellinger is the track’s all-time winningest driver in the division with 87 victories.  Active racers Joel Watson, Scott Stiffler, and Jeff Johnson are second through fourth on the win list with 26, 20, and 18 wins respectively.  In 2016, Joe Gabrielson, an eight-time winner at the track, captured his first career track championship.

Rounding out the program are the Junior Sprints for children that compete at several different speedways throughout western Pennsylvania and Ohio. The Junior Sprints made their first ever appearance on night one of the “Apple Festival Nationals” last September and it was third-generation driver Mike Lutz, Jr. scoring the win.

Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5, drivers meeting at 6:20, 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.

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

Take #3 for “Steel Valley Thunder” weekly opener Saturday; Complete show for Penn-Ohio Stock Series & 2016 “Apple Fest” make-up

TAKE #3 FOR “STEEL VALLEY THUNDER” WEEKLY OPENER SATURDAY AT SHARON; COMPLETE SHOW FOR PENN-OHIO STOCK SERIES & 2016 “APPLE FEST” MAKE-UP

By Mike Leone

May 10, 2017
          

(Hartford, OH)…After completing the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event back on April 21, Sharon Speedway was forced to postpone the scheduled “Steel Valley Thunder” kick-off each of the past two Saturday nights.  Take #3 will happen this Saturday night (May 13) with racing getting underway at 7 p.m. featuring the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Series, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods.  The 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” Penn-Ohio make-up feature will also be on the program.  Admission remains at the very low $ 10.

The Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Series will open their 2017 season on Saturday night in their first of three appearances at the speedway in 2017. The Penn-Ohio Series will run a complete program highlighted by a 25-lap feature paying $ 1,000 to-win.  The event will also be a Gibson Insurance Agency full point event for Sharon as Paul Davis is set to defend his championship.  In addition, the September 17, 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” 25-lap, $ 2,000 to-win make-up feature will be run at the conclusion of the night.  This will be a non-point event for both the Series and Sharon.  The feature field is set; however, in the event qualified cars do not return, alternates from the B main will be used.  No new cars will be permitted to run.  For more information on the Penn-Ohio Series, check out their website at www.pennohioprostocks.com. 

The Big-Block Modifieds have been a staple at the speedway since it went to dirt in 1981 and have been the track’s headlining division since 2011. Hovis Auto & Truck Supply is back once again as the divisional sponsor.  Rex King, Jr. is coming off his second championship in the past three years; in fact, the Kings have won five of the last seven track championships including the last three!  The elder King is the division’s top active winner with 51 victories.  Other top active winners (wins in parentheses) that will look to add to their win totals this season include Jim Weller, Jr. (35), Kevin Bolland (22), King, Jr. (20), Jim Rasey (19), Brian Swartzlander (14), Rob Kristyak (11), Dave Murdick (9), Jimmy Weller III (5), and Rick Richner (3).  One new driver that will be debuting in the division is Will Thomas III.  Thomas won two track championships with the RUSH Late Models in three years and then added the E-Mod title in 2015 in his first year in that division.  

The baby brother to the Big-Block Modifieds are the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds as HTMA/Precise Racing Products moves over to present the division. The RUSH Sportsman Mods are identical looking to the big blocks, but utilize GM 602 crate engines on RUSH 91 pump gas, sealed, spec Bilstein Shocks, and steel wheels.  The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will enter their fourth season competing at Sharon and third as a weekly division.  Greg Martin was the inaugural 2015 champion, while Brandon Ritchey is the defending champion.  Martin is the division’s all-time leading winner with 11 victories over Rocky Kugel’s 6.  Kugel topped a 24-car field on April 21 at Lernerville Speedway in the division’s first race of 2017.  Car counts have grown each year and that’s expected to continue in 2017.  Last year, the average car count was nearly 23 per night.

The Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods got their season started on April 21 with the Lucas Oil Late Models in a non-point event that was won by Brandon Blackshear. The victory for Blackshear was his all-time leading and milestone 20th career win.  Blackshear hasn’t won a track title though since 2012; in fact, the only driver with multiple championships in the division’s seven-year history is Jeremy Double with two.  Steve Haefke is the defending champion.  The Austintown, Ohio veteran failed to finish the feature at the opener ending a string of 17 straight top two finishes dating back to the 2015 season.

Drivers that not pre-register for the season and Econo Mods that didn’t compete on April 21, are encouraged to complete the annual registration form and bring the form completed with them to save time for all concerned. The registration is available at the following link http://www.sharonspeedway.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/RegistrationFormSharon2017-1.pdf.  

Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5, drivers meeting at 6:20, warm-ups at 6:40, 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.

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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