Take #2 for “Steel Valley Thunder” weekly opener Saturday; Mini Stocks & Jr. Sprints also part of the program

By Mike Leone

May 3, 2017      

(Hartford, OH)…After completing the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event on April 21, Sharon Speedway was forced to postpone last Saturday’s scheduled “Steel Valley Thunder” kick-off due to rain to this Saturday night (May 6).   Racing will get underway at 7 p.m. featuring the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, Mini Stocks, and Jr. Sprints.  The September 16 Mini Stock make-up feature will also  be on the program.  Admission remains at the very low $ 10 for weekly programs.

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. 

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). 

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 last Friday night 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 Stock Car counts have been up in recent years and the count should be strong again in 2017 as Sharon is now the only track in the immediate area running the class weekly on Saturday nights. Gibson Insurance Agency continues their run as the long-time divisional sponsor.  Paul Davis ended Mike Clark’s run of three consecutive track championships last year with his first track championship in 37 years of trying!  Steve D’Apolito is the division’s top active winner with 32 victories.  Davis and Clark have really stacked up the wins in recent years as Davis has 21 and Clark 17. 

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.

Due to last Saturday’s rain out, the Mini Stocks have been added on to this Saturday night’s event. Not only will it be a complete program, but will also include the September 16, 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” $ 500 to-win make-up feature.  The field is set with no new cars being permitted to run.  Three-time champion, Bill Fuchs, leads the all-time win list with 28 victories.  Defending champion, Steve Walker II, has five victories.  Ironically, prior to last season’s four wins, Walker, had failed to win a feature since his 2010 championship season.

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 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

“Steel Valley Thunder” weekly opener Saturday; Adult admission remains at just $10

“STEEL VALLEY THUNDER” WEEKLY OPENER SATURDAY AT SHARON; ADULT ADMISSION REMAINS AT JUST $ 10

By Mike Leone

April 26, 2017                

(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway opened the 2017 season last Friday night with the first ever appearance by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. The “Steel Valley Thunder” weekly program will kick-off this Saturday night (April 29) at 7 p.m. as the 88th anniversary season rolls on.  The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, and the Mini Stocks (plus 9/16/16 make-up) will be on the program.  Admission remains at the very low $ 10 for weekly programs.

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. 

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). 

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 last Friday night 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 Stock Car counts have been up in recent years and the count should be strong again in 2017 as Sharon is now the only track in the immediate area running the class weekly on Saturday nights. Gibson Insurance Agency continues their run as the long-time divisional sponsor.  Paul Davis ended Mike Clark’s run of three consecutive track championships last year with his first track championship in 37 years of trying!  Steve D’Apolito is the division’s top active winner with 32 victories.  Davis and Clark have really stacked up the wins in recent years as Davis has 21 and Clark 17. 

The Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods got their season started last Friday night 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 last Friday night ending a string of 17 straight top two finishes dating back to the 2015 season.

Rounding out the program are the Mini Stocks. After being part of the weekly program for the past seven years, the Mini Stocks will make only three scheduled appearances in the 2017 season.  Saturday’s event will not only be a complete program, but will also include the September 16, 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” $ 500 to-win make-up feature.  The field is set with no new cars being permitted to run.  Three-time champion, Bill Fuchs, leads the all-time win list with 28 victories.  Defending champion, Steve Walker II, has five victories.  Ironically, prior to last season’s four wins, Walker, had failed to win a feature since his 2010 championship season.

Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5 and racing at 7. Grandstand admission is $ 10 for those 14 and over.  Patio seating upgrades are just $ 5 and VIP seating upgrades are just $ 20 over the cost of general admission.  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

Lucas Oil Late Models set for Sharon debut Friday; Star-studded field to battle for $10,000 along with Econo Mods

By Mike Leone

April 18, 2017                       

(Hartford, OH)…The 88th anniversary season at Sharon Speedway is set to begin this Friday (April 21) in one of the biggest ways ever.  The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (LOLMDS) will make its inaugural appearance at the 3/8-mile clay oval.  The Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods will also be on the card with warm-ups slated to begin at 6:15 p.m.  The event is presented by Barris Truck Service of West Middlesex, Pa.  Barris Truck Service features medium and heavy duty truck repair and heavy duty towing. 

The LOLMDS boasts a star-studded lineup of racers that will be in competition battling in the $ 10,000 to-win “Steel Valley 50” led by defending three-time Series champion and current point leader Scott Bloomquist, who has two victories this season.  Four-time World of Outlaws champion, Josh Richards, who has moved over to the LOLMDS in 2017, trails Bloomquist by 120 points and has a pair of victories this season.  Last year’s third place point man, Tim McCreadie, is third in points this year with a pair of victories as well including the most recent in Batesville, Arkansas. 

Jimmy Owens won the LOLMDS points for three straight years between 2011-2013.  Owens is fourth in points still in search of his season’s first win.  Fifth place point man, Earl Pearson, Jr., won four straight LOLMDS titles from 2005-2008.  Pearson’s lone 2017 win came last month at Boyd’s Speedway in Georgia.  Completing the top 10 in points are one-time 2017 winner Don O’Neal, Dennis Erb, Jr., Jonathan Davenport, Steve Francis, and Darrell Lanigan.    

While many of the above racers have not competed at Sharon, one driver that has is Lanigan, who won the last national Late Model race at Sharon back in 2010.  The LOLMDS has three full-time racers with ties to the local area including 2016 rookie-of-the-year Colton Flinner along with Gregg Satterlee and “Boom” Briggs as the later two are competing for the 2017 rookie-of-the-year along with Don O’Neal son, Hudson.  Briggs was victorious at Sharon in a 2013 ULMS-sanctioned event.  Several local and regional talented Late Model racers will be on hand trying to dethrone some of the best Super Late Model racers in the world.  For more information on Lucas Oil, check out their website at www.lucasdirt.com.

“We tried for five or six years to get a Lucas Oil event at Sharon, secured one last year, and it frustratingly rained out,” explained eighth year General Manager Dave Willoughby.  “The response last year was very good and that excitement has carried over to the offseason as we’re really looking forward to hosting this event.  Other than some events two hours or more away in Ohio, this will be the only local appearance the Series makes until October at Pittsburgh.  Hopefully we get good weather and the fans support this event so it becomes an annual tradition.”

The Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods will run a complete program racing for $ 500 to-win.  Steve Haefke is coming off his first championship and brings with him an amazing streak of 17 straight top two finishes dating back to the 2015 season.  The Austintown, Ohio driver will look to continue that streak in the region’s first Econo Mod race. 

An open practice was held last Saturday, but Friday’s event will be the first on the new red clay, wider racing surface after 140 tri-axle loads of clay were brought in over the offseason.

Reserved tickets are on sale through Thursday night at midnight for $ 25 by going to www.sharonspeedway.com and clicking on ‘buy tickets’ at the top left of the page.  Day of event general admission adult tickets are $ 25, while pit passes are $ 40.  Children 13 and under are free for general admission.  Pits open at 3 p.m. with the main grandstands opening at 4, while the east side gate will open at 5.  Warm-ups begin at 6:15 followed by group qualifying for the LOLMDS and then heat race action.

The Barris Family has been heavily involved in racing over the years.  Barris Supply was the presenting sponsor of the RUSH Late Models for several years.  See Barris Supply for all your Cub Cadet needs.  Barris Supply is located at 3500 Sharon Rd., West Middlesex, PA 16159.  Contact them at 724-528-2560 or www.barrissupply.com. 

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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