After 7 weeks, Sharon looks to resume “Steel Valley Thunder” weekly racing on Saturday night; Penn-Ohio Stocks featured with complete program & $2000 to-win make-up

By Mike Leone

July 25, 2017          

(Hartford, OH)…After several Saturdays of rain, nights off, and special events, Sharon Speedway is hoping Mother Nature will allow “Steel Valley Thunder” weekly racing to resume this Saturday night (July 29).  The last completed “Steel Valley Thunder” event was back on June 10.  Saturday’s program presented by C&R Tire will be highlighted by the rescheduled Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series event and their make-up feature along with the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and the Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods.  Racing begins at 7 p.m.

The Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series has been rained out twice this year so Saturday night will be take #3.  They will not only compete in an entire program for $ 1,000 to-win, but also their $ 2,000 to-win 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up feature that has been rained out several times.  A big field of 50 Stocks were on hand back on May 13 for the Penn-Ohio event before the rains came and washed out the program.  They were rained out again last Saturday night.  Rusty Martz is the current Penn-Ohio point leader over Rusty Moore, Randy Wyant, William Hurrelbrink, and Brian Rhed. 

Defending track champion, Paul Davis, kick started his season at the last event for the Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars on June 10 taking the victory and point lead.  Chris McGuire and Andy Buckley have also been victorious this season in the only other events completed for the Stocks.

The headlining Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds have led the way at Sharon this year completing six events.  The most two recent ones were special events where Peter Britten topped a 38-car field on July 20 for his first career Super DIRTcar Series win worth $ 6,000, and Jeremiah Shingledecker ended a long winless drought taking the $ 2,000 “Lou Blaney Memorial” win back on July 8.  The only repeat winner at Sharon this year is veteran Rex King, who won on May 20 and June 10.  His son Rex, Jr. captured the May 27 event win, and has a 13-point lead on Jim Weller, Jr., who won the other event on June 3.

Like the Stocks, the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds have amazingly only completed three events to date this season.  Kole Holden has won the last two races to take over the HTMA/Precise Racing Products point lead by 16 over Shayne Izzo, a newcomer to Sharon in 2017.  The Tiona, Pa. driver was RUSH’s 2015 “Futures Cup” Champion.  Holden also sits atop RUSH’s Weekly Series Championship points throughout the region, which pays $ 3,000 to-win.  Rocky Kugel won the opening Sharon race this season and is coming off recent wins at Lernerville and Expo Speedways. 

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.

Pit gates open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5.  Admission for those 14 is $ 10, while children 13 and under are always free.  Patio seating upgrades are just $ 5 and fan suite seating upgrades are just $ 20 over the cost of general admission each night.  Pit passes are $ 30.  Parking and camping are free.  Sharon has a no carry-in cooler policy.

BREAKING NEWS: The August 12 “410” Sprint Car event will now be the Simon Yoder Memorial and will pay $ 3,000 to-win, $ 250 to-start!  There will also be a dash for cash.  Thanks to the following contributors: Jim Miller, Good Tire Service, BLR Trucking, Deems Logging, Bill Altman, Palmer Pools, Interstate Fabrication, Jake Yoder, and Nathan Exley.  Yoder was a huge Sprint Car fan, who passed away from cancer.

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

Aussie Peter Britten charges from 20th for 1st career Super DIRTcar Big-Block Mod Series win; Isaac Paden wins 1st ever at Sharon in Mini Stocks

By Mike Leone

July 20, 2017

(Hartford, OH)…On a hot and sultry Thursday evening, Sharon Speedway was able to complete the second annual “Buckeye Ground Pounder 100” featuring the Super DIRTcar Series.  Despite storms in the forecast initially throughout the day and night, a line of storms in the afternoon split the speedway and skies cleared for the remainder of the afternoon and evening.  Capturing wins and celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Peter Britten-Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series and Isaac Paden-Mini Stocks.

Peter Britten has been chasing the Super DIRTcar Series since 2011.  On Thursday night, many, including Britten himself, didn’t expect the Australian to find victory lane after lining up 20th for the 100 lapper.  But Britten did just that.  Britten, who used some experience from racing at Sharon four times this season, picked off cars throughout the first half of the event and then made his winning move on lap 55 taking the lead from Matt Sheppard.  Britten would lead the final 46 laps for the $ 6,000 payday.

“It’s pretty amazing,” expressed the 29-year-old Brisbane, Queensland, Australia driver. “This is our first win, and words can’t describe the feeling.  I really had to earn this one, but we had a great race car.  We passed pretty much every good car there is to pass, so it feels amazing and hopefully we can get some more too.  Starting on the pole and winning one of these things is damn near impossible, but having to pass all of those good guys, well I never would have imagined that I’d end up here.  We had a bad-ass car, but we were off in time-trials a bit and that’s what put us down the order.”

From the pole position, Brett Hearn jumped out to the early lead.  Stewart Friesen battled from the ninth starting spot into second past Billy Whittaker, on lap 13.  Friesen closed in on Hearn on lap 17 and was on the leader on lap 21.  Friesen raced side-by-side with Hearn for the lead and momentarily took over the top spot on lap 24 before a caution for Larry Wight and Frank Cozze.  Under caution, Friesen exited with a flat tire after contact from the fence after running out of room in the battle for the lead.

Back under green on lap 34, Erick Rudolph and Matt Sheppard both passed Hearn for the top two spots.  Rudolph’s lead was short-lived as one lap later 10th starting Sheppard made the pass for the lead.  Hearn would slow to bring out the caution with a flat tire and several laps later a caution for Tim Fuller would bunch up the field again.  Back under green on lap 47, Britten made the pass of Rudolph for second and got a caution when Keith Flach and Kevin Bolland made contact on the backstretch. 

When racing resumed on lap 55, Britten made the winning pass of Sheppard in turn four; meanwhile, all eyes were on Friesen as he worked his way back into contention from the tail getting by Jimmy Phelps for fourth on lap 63.  Lapped traffic came into play on lap 66 and by lap 71, Sheppard closed back in on Britten.  The two race side-by-side for the lead on lap 72 with Britten holding on and may have gotten a caution he needed when Jim Rasey stopped.

On lap 82, Friesen continued to move forward getting past Rudolph for third then got a huge break when Sheppard slowed with a flat tire with 88 laps scored.  While many probably thought Friesen would now deny Britten of his first win, that wasn’t the case as Britten pulled away over the final 12 caution-free laps to win by 2.485 seconds in his own #21A.  Britten became the 90th different driver to win a Big-Block Modified feature in the history of Sharon Speedway!

Rudolph would pass Friesen for second on lap 96 to earn $ 4,000.  Friesen was a disappointed third, but earned $ 2,500.  Billy Decker came from 22nd to place fourth over Pat Ward.  Completing the top 10 were Larry Wight, Max McLaughlin, Whittaker, Sheppard from the tail in the final 12 laps, and Hearn.  Brian Swartzlander of Leechburg, Pa. was the top finishing local racer in 13th.

Fuller set fast time overall with a lap of 16.866 as he was the only driver amongst the 38 to run a sub 17-second lap.  Heat winners were Fuller, Wight, Ward, and Sheppard, while Maresca and Decker won the last chance B mains.

Isaac Paden joined Peter Britten as first career Sharon Speedway winners as Paden copped the victory in the 12-lap Mini Stock feature.  Paden took the lead on lap three and held off defending champion, Steve Walker II, for the $ 300 victory.  “I was getting a little worried I was going to lose it there,” acknowledged the 18-year-old New Castle, Pa. driver.  “I really enjoyed the track tonight- it was really nice.  The speed made it a lot more fun.  I’d like thank my parents and grandparents.” 

Rick and Terry Feely led the field to green as it was three-wide with Rick leading over Terry and Paden.  Paden passed Terry Feely on lap two using the outside and then stayed on the top to pass Rick Feely racing off turn four on lap three.  Walker, who started fourth, then passed Rick Feely for second on lap four.  Walker closed in on Paden on lap seven and was right on the leader on lap nine.  Walker tried everything over the final laps, but was unable to overtake Paden, who held on by a little more than a car-length to become the 28th different winner in the history of the division.  Rick and Terry Feely finished third and fourth respectively after winning the heat races.  Shane Shook was fifth after starting 13th.

Super DIRTcar Series for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds (100 laps, $ 6,000 to-win): 1. PETER BRITTEN (21A)  2. Erick Rudolph (25R)  3. Stewart Friesen (44)  4. Billy Decker (91)  5. Pat Ward (42P)  6. Larry Wight (99L)  7. Max McLaughlin (6H)  8. Billy Whittaker (109)  9. Matt Sheppard (9s)  10. Brett Hearn (20)  11. Tim Fuller (19)  12. Jimmy Phelps (98H)  13. Brian Swartzlander (83)  14. Brandon Walters (22)  15. Rich Scagliotta (8)  16. Rex King, Jr. (165)  17. C.G. Morey (14)  18. Will Thomas III (9)  19. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13)  20. Erik Martin (29E)  21. Jim Rasey (32)  22. Ryan Watt (14w)  23. Rob Kristyak (00)  24. Mike Maresca (7M)  25. Dave Blaney (18B)  26. Keith Flach (43)  27. Kevin Bolland (777)  28. Rex King (65)  29. Frank Cozze (35)  30. Mat Williamson (6M)  31. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD).

Did not qualify: Jeremy Smith (46), Tom Mattocks (69), Jim Weller, Jr. (31), Justin Rasey (21), Skip Moore (17M), Bob Warren (96B), Steve Barr (25B).

Mini Stocks (12 laps, $ 300 to-win): 1. ISAAC PADEN (24)  2. Steve Walker II (4M)  3. Rick Feely (28)  4. Terry Feely (971)  5. Shane Shook (17s)  6. Pat Hanlon II (26K)  7. Logan Keney (16)  8. Jim Jones (16)  9. Ed Roberts (6s)  10. Michael Porterfield (23MP)  11. Joe Campbell (40C)  12. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421)  13. Dillon Speer (07)  14. Dan McEwen (44)-DNS.

Sharon returns to action on Saturday night (July 22) for “Steel Valley Thunder” featuring the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, E-Mods, Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods plus the Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Series for $ 1,000 to-win event plus their $ 2,000 to-win 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up feature.  Pit gates open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5.  Racing is at 7.  Admission for those 14 and over is $ 10, while children 13 and under are free.  Pit passes are $ 30.  Parking and camping are 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

Christopher Bell becomes 9th different “Lou Blaney Memorial” Sprint winner in 9 races with All Star win; Jeremiah Shingledecker ends near 4-year winless drought at Sharon with Big-Block Mod win

By Mike Leone

July 8, 2017               

(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway hosted the ninth annual “Lou Blaney Memorial” presented by Ollie’s Bargain Outlet on Saturday night.  A huge crowd watched as Christopher Bell-Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars and Jeremiah Shingledecker-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds captured victories.  The event celebrated the life and accomplishments of the hall of fame driver, who won more than 600 feature victories during a five-decade career.  Blaney passed away in 2009 after battling Alzheimer’s.  Many thousands of dollars were raised and donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. 

Christopher Bell became the ninth different “Lou Blaney Memorial” Sprint Car winner in as many events with a stellar performance riding the rim and lapping up to ninth place for the $ 5,000 victory in what was the 100th All Star Circuit of Champions event in the history at Sharon.  The impressive week for Bell saw him win a pair of USAC National Midget Car events in Illinois, capture the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event win on Thursday night in Kentucky, and followed it up with his second career All Star victory on Saturday night.

“It was really tough- the track was really technical up on the wall,” explained the 22-year-old Norman, Oklahoma racer.  “It was pretty easy to screw up and crash- I’m glad I didn’t do that.  Some of the lapped cars were going good around the top and as soon as I got to them they dropped down and I was already committed so it was tough.  I was glad I got a lead built up because I screwed up a lot and no one was able to show me a nose.  Thank you guys for coming out.  It’s a pleasure to drive in front of a crowd.  You guys are the reason why we’re here.  It’s honor to win this- Dave and Dale (Blaney) are great drivers and great guys.  I’m really thankful to be able to drive the cars I do.  I get in great equipment.  This Sprint Car win means a lot.  The Sprints have been the downfall of my career so far so I want to prove to all of the fans out there that I can be a great Sprint Car driver too.”

Bell instantly flew into the lead from his outside pole position starting spot after winning the second dash event.  Pole-sitter Caleb Armstrong settled into second over Joey Saldana, who got by point leader Chad Kemenah for third on the opening lap.  A caution for third generation racer, Sye Lynch, who was making his first career Sharon start, slowed action with two laps completed just as Saldana had passed Armstrong for second.  When racing resumed, Saldana performed a slider in turns one and two to claim second.

Sixth starting Dean Jacobs, who rebounded nicely after timing just 30th fastest, passed Kemenah for fourth on lap four and one lap later brought Kemenah with him past Armstrong for third and fourth respectively.  Bell had a straightaway lead over Saldana when he caught lapped traffic on lap seven; meanwhile, Kemenah reclaimed third on lap eight from Jacobs.  By lap 12, Saldana began to close the deficit cutting the lead to a half-straightaway in lapped traffic. 

Tim Shaffer started ninth and worked his way forward getting by Jacobs and Armstrong to move into fourth on lap 21 before the event’s final caution was displayed for a spin by Brent Matus.  With lapped cars moved to the tail, Bell’s lead was totally erased and put Saldana on the leader’s tail for the first time of the event.  Saldana tested the bottom in turns one and two and then again in turn four, but Bell maintained the lead.  Over the course of the final nine laps, Saldana stayed within striking distance of Bell.  He’d get a last chance in the final laps as Bell maneuvered through lapped traffic, but Bell was too strong taking his first career Sharon win by 1.036 seconds in the Ed Neumeister-owned, Dough-Si-Dough/Linder’s Speed Equipment-sponsored #11N.

Fresh off his 72nd career All Star win one week ago at Wayne County Speedway in his debut in the Indy Parts #71, Saldana was a solid second in his first Sharon appearance since a 2008 World of Outlaws event.  “There was a little bit on the exit of four and I probably should have waited until the end instead of trying to do it on the restart,” revealed the Brownsburg, Indiana star.  “That’s the way it is though.  Bell is pretty good.  I think we see that every week- he’s winning something.  To run second to him is not a bad night.  We’ll regroup and hopefully Bernie (Stuebgen) and me will have a good shot at racing these things.  I really enjoy racing with the All Stars, and I really enjoyed racing here.  This is an awesome track.  I haven’t been here in awhile and it was fun to race on.  I just needed a little bit more.  I don’t think it was the car; I just had to do it driving.  This is where I grew up racing with the All Stars and Bert Emick.  I love it and hopefully I can continue to do it for awhile.”

Kemenah was third as he recorded his ninth podium finish since June 2 and 12th of the season as he closes in on his sixth Series title.  Shaffer was fourth.  Lee Jacobs, who always has speed at Sharon, came from 11th to fifth.  Last year’s “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner, Danny Holtgraver, was sixth.  Armstrong and Jacobs faded late to seventh and eighth respectively.  Dave Blaney was ninth over Justin Barger from 19th.

Local racer, A.J. Flick, set fast time in qualifying with a lap 13.619 over the 45-car field, which was a record high count for the “Lou Blaney Memorial”.  Heat winners were Bell, Holtgraver, Shaffer, and Saldana.  Hunter Mackison and Max Stambaugh won the C and B mains respectively.  Armstrong and Bell won the twin dashes to earn front row feature starting spots.

Making his season debut, Jeremiah Shingledecker ended a near four-year winless drought at Sharon after a wire-to-wire win in the 30-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modified feature.  Shingledecker earned $ 2,000 as he became the eighth different “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner in nine events on the Modified side as only last year’s winner, Jim Rasey, has been able to repeat amongst both divisions.   

“Unfortunately our luck hasn’t been real good here so hopefully we turned it around,” stated the 40-year-old Polk, Pa. driver.  “This reminds me of the old Tri-City (Speedway) surface.  It’s a really nice surface.  You guys have done a really great job with it.  We went from silty sand and single file racing to this.  We’ve been trying to get the car a little bit better and we were edging on this since last year.  I really have to thank my dad.  He spends a lot of time on these engines.  I’d like to thank the Blaney Family and all of Sharon for putting this race on.  It’s a very good race.  When I first started racing I looked up to Lou Blaney and got to race with him a few years before he got out of the Modifieds.” 

Shingledecker took off in the lead after an invert four from the heat races over point leader Dave Murdick, Kevin Bolland, Rasey, and Jim Weller, Jr.  Murdick clipped an infield tire on lap two and spun to bring out the caution.  After a caution for a spin by rookie Modified racer, Colton Walters, Weller got by Rasey for third on the lap five. 

Shingledecker began to pull away by lap 10 and two laps later was in lapped traffic; meanwhile, the battle for third was hot and heavy between Weller, Bolland, and eighth starting Rex King, Jr.  On lap 15, it was three-wide for the spot as Rasey spun in turn three.  This moved King, Jr. to fourth for the restart, but it was short-lived as two laps later ninth starting Brian Swartzlander made the pass.

King, Jr. didn’t go away as he got on the top and it was three-wide again for third this time with King, Jr. prevailing over Swartzlander and Weller.  Shingledecker had pulled away from Bolland, who sat fairly comfortable ahead of the continual battle for third, before a spin by Murdick with 27 laps completed halted action for the final time.

Bolland was unable to make the pass on the double-file restart, as Shingledecker maintained his lead over the final three laps and went on for his third career Sharon win, but first since September 13, 2013, by 0.560 of a second in his Garage Bar & Grill/RCR Auto-sponsored #37MD.

Like Shingledecker, Bolland also made his Sharon season debut a successful one earning $ 1,200 for the runner-up spot in just his second race of 2017.  Swartzlander completed the podium also in his 2017 Sharon debut, and earned $ 900.  Rex King came all the way from 13th to get by his son, Rex Jr., for fourth on lap 29.  King, Jr. dropped to fifth, but did take over the point lead. 

Steve Feder was another driving making his first 2017 Sharon start and was sixth.  Rasey came all the way back from his lap 15 spin to finish seventh.  Weller dropped to eighth over Will Thomas III and Garrett Krummert.  Rasey, Bolland, Murdick, and Shingledecker won the heat races over the season-high 32-car field.  Skip Moore won the B main.     

All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars “Lou Blaney Memorial” (30 laps, $ 5,000 to-win): 1. CHRISTOPHER BELL (Neumeister 11N)  2. Joey Saldana (Indy Parts 71)  3. Chad Kemenah (Hunter 10H)  4. Tim Shaffer (Demyan/Rudzik 49x)  5. Lee Jacobs (Lewis 81)  6. Danny Holtgraver (D4)  7. Caleb Armstrong (7c)  8. Dean Jacobs (Chappel 8)  9. Dave Blaney (Motter 71m)  10. Justin Barger (5)  11. Brandon Matus (13)  12. Caleb Helms (17)  13. Danny Smith (4)  14. Ryan Smith (Leidig 59)  15. Carl Bowser (Chiapelli 98)  16. T.J. Michael (8M)  17. A.J. Flick (2)  18. John Garvin, Jr. (51)  19. Dan Shetler (7K)  20. Brandon Spithaler (22)  21. Jimmy Morris (4N)  22. Tyler Esh (35)  23. Jack Sodeman, Jr. (23JR)  24. Brent Matus (33)  25. Max Stambaugh (Marshall 33M)  26. Sye Lynch (42). 

DNQ for the feature: Dan Kuriger (08), Anthony Fiore (91), Hunter Mackison (95), Gary Kriess, Jr. (55), Max McGhee (Indy Parts 171), Trevor Baker (45), Darren Pifer (23), Adam Kekich (5K), Cory Good (X), Roger Campbell, Jr. (9), Michael Bauer (46), Jordan Mackison (1080), Zach Morrow (27), Jeremy Kornbau (27), Joe Kubiniec (19), Eric L. Williams (4w), Paul Kish (4c), Mike Flynn (12x), Sadie Siegel (91).

Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds “Lou Blaney Memorial” (30 laps, $ 2,000 to-win): 1. JEREMIAH SHINGLEDECKER (37MD)  2. Kevin Bolland (777)  3. Brian Swartzlander (83)  4. Rex King (65)  5. Rex King, Jr. (165)  6. Steve Feder (45)  7. Jim Rasey (32)  8. Jim Weller, Jr. (31)  9. Will Thomas III (9)  10. Garrett Krummert (29)  11. Jimmy Holden (68H)  12. Chris Haines (35H)  13. Skip Moore (17M)  14. Rob Kristyak (00)  15. Dave Murdick (61)  16. J.R. McGinley (66M)  17. Erik Martin (29E)  18. Bob Warren (96B)  19. Justin Rasey (21)  20. Jason Sines (38DD)  21. Kevin Green (74)  22. Tom Glenn (83T)  23. Steve Slater (35)  24. Rodney Beltz (64)  25. Colton Walters (18).

DNQ for the feature: Eric Beggs (29*), Josh Deems (82), Ryan Riffe (93), Ethan Siple (12), Kyle Holden (68H), Dave Reges (27R), Tom Mattocks (69).

Sharon Speedway will be closed this Saturday night, July 15 due to the Trumbull County Fair.  Action returns on Thursday, July 20 for the Super DIRTcar Series for the Big-Block Modifieds in the “Buckeye Ground-Pounder 100” paying $ 6,000 to-win plus Mini Stocks for $ 300. 

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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