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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

“Steel Valley Thunder” finale Saturday with titles to be decided; Rescheduled RUSH Sportsman Mod Tour & MFG Night along with Kids Bike Races

By Mike Leone

August 22, 2017                 

(Hartford, OH)…After fighting with Mother Nature for much of the year, Sharon Speedway has hit the homestretch with better weather and will look to complete the fifth straight “Steel Valley Thunder” program this Saturday night (August 26).  This will be the final night of points with championships on the line in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods.  Kids bike races will be held at intermission.  Race time is 7 p.m.  Grandstand admission is just $ 10.

It’ll be a big night for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds as they’ll compete in the twice rained out Bicknell Racing Products Touring Series event part of their fourth annual “Manufacturers Night”. This year, a record amount of nearly $ 20,000 in products has been posted by RUSH for all of their competing drivers to share in.  The giveaways will take place at 6:30 p.m. behind the flag stand.  Drivers must be present to win.   

The RUSH Sportsman Modified division has been very strong this year. Earlier this season, an all-time division record 30 cars were on hand to compete, and there were 29 cars on August 5 for the double features.  Saturday’s program is expected to draw a large field of cars as well.  Kyle Martell enters the night as the RUSH Tour point leader by 15 over Anthony Gillespie; meanwhile, Kole Holden is coming off his third win at Sharon and has a commanding 31-point lead in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products points at Sharon.  Chelsie Kriegisch has had a consistent season as she’s just seven points back in third.  Two-time winners, Chas Wolbert and Rocky Kugel, are tied for fourth in points.

John Mollick not only made a surprise visit last Saturday night, but the veteran Late Model racer also came away with his first career Big-Block Modified win! After two straight wins, Rex King, Jr. was relegated to a 12th place starting spot.  The Bristolville, Ohio driver worked his way to fourth at the finish and will enter Saturday night with a 29-point advantage on Jim Weller, Jr.  A championship for King, Jr. would give him his third Hovis Auto & Truck Supply crown in four years.  Weller was the last driver other than a King to win a title back in 2013.  Third through fifth in the standings are Dave Murdick, Jim Rasey, and Rex King.  Murdick is the only other driver with a mathematical shot at the crown.

Had it not been for a spin running third on the final lap, Paul Davis would have been a lot closer to clinching the Stock Car Championship. Davis will now enter Saturday night with an 18-point lead in the Gibson Insurance Agency standings on Andy Thompson, who is looking for his season’s first win.  The division has been strong all year with car counts and quality.  Andrew Gordon became the sixth different winner in race races last Saturday night over a season high regular event field of 32 cars, which allowed for a non-qualifier event.  Two-time winner, Chris McGuire, is third in points over three-time champion, Mike Clark.  Hunter Exley, who is in his first full season of competition, sits fifth.

Kyle Miller stole a seventh win away from Steve Haefke last Saturday night when he went to the outside and drove by the Econo Mod point leader with two laps to go to garner his first career win at the track! Haefke has a 38-point lead on Brandon Blackshear and merely has to show up and attempt to compete to earn his second consecutive Summit Racing Equipment title.  Haefke though will look to continue his amazing run of two finishes, which stands at 24 in the past 27 races dating back to 2015.  Miller, Mike Hillman, and Brian Toto are currently third through fifth in the standings as they look for their career best point finishes. 

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.

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 most all of the regional divisions.

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

Big-Block Mods return Saturday to headline “Steel Valley Thunder” on Twin-State Night

By Mike Leone

August 15, 2017                

(Hartford, OH)…Following a successful “410” Sprint Car event last Saturday night for the inaugural “Simon Yoder Memorial”, the weekly four divisions will return this Saturday night (August 19) for the next-to-last “Steel Valley Thunder” program.  The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods will be featured with racing at 7 p.m.  Saturday night is the rescheduled Twin-State Auto Racing Club Night with free general admission for card-carrying members or $ 10 off pit admission.

After back-to-back victories, Rex King, Jr. will start no better than 12th in Saturday’s 25-lap Big-Block Modified feature as he looks for the hat trick. “Cooter” is closing in on his second straight Hovis Auto & Truck Supply crown and third in three years.  Jim Weller, Jr. was the last driver other than a King to win a championship back in 2013.  The elder Weller though trails King, Jr. by 30 makers and has just a one-point lead on Dave Murdick, who is still looking for his season’s first win.  Jim Rasey is fourth in points.  Two-time winner and 2015 champion, Rex King, is fifth.

The Stock Car division has been producing some big car counts this year as 51 were present for the July 29 Penn-Ohio race and 30 turned out for last Saturday’s weekly program. Drivers were rewarded with the $ 700 to-win payoff and non-qualifiers received two pit passes in addition to tow money! 

Two drivers were fighting for their first wins in two years with Brian Carothers and Rusty Moore up front, but problems for Carothers on the restart allowed Moore to become the fifth different Stock Car winner in six races this year. It took Paul Davis 37 years to win a track championship, now the Fowler, Ohio veteran is closing in on his second straight Gibson Insurance Agency title as he has an 18-point lead over the consistent Andy Thompson.  Third through fifth in points are Hunter Exley, Mike Clark, and Jamie Scarba.  Sixth place point man, Chris McGuire, is the division’s only repeat winner. 

Like King Jr., Rocky Kugel will also be able to start no better than 12th on Saturday night in his quest for three straight RUSH Sportsman Modified wins. Kugel is a three-time winner this year, but sits just fifth in points due to missing a night of competition.  Kugel has closed to within two of Sharon point leader, Kole Holden, in the $ 3,000 to-win RUSH Weekly Series Championship.  Meanwhile in Sharon’s HTMA/Precise Racing Products points, Holden has an 11-point lead on Chas Wolbert.  Both drivers suffered issues leading last Saturday night in their bid for win #3.  Chelsie Kriegisch and Kyle Martell are third and fourth in points.

The Econo Mod car counts have been strong all season and building in recent weeks. After 23 cars were on hand two weeks ago for the season’s second highest car count, a great field of 26 turned out last Saturday night which was the highest count in nearly two years.  Nonetheless, it was Steve Haefke returning to victory lane one week after his streak of five straight wins ended.  Haefke’s six wins leads the way at the track, but he still only has a 10-point lead on Brandon Blackshear in the Summit Racing Equipment standings.  Zach Myers is third in points despite missing an event.  Mike Hillman and Kyle Miller are fourth and fifth.

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.

Coming up next Saturday, August 26 will be the 2017 “Steel Valley Thunder” finale featuring the four weekly divisions including a $ 600 to-win Touring Series event for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds as part of their rescheduled “Manufacturers Night”. It’ll be the final night of points for all four divisions.  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 most all of the regional divisions.

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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