FREE Fan Appreciation & Autograph Night Saturday; Full night of “Steel Valley Thunder” Racing

By Mike Leone

July 27, 2016

(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway hopes the string of dry weather continues this Saturday (July 30) as the annual FREE Fan Appreciation & Autograph Night will take place.  Warren Diesel Performance Night will present a full night of “Steel Valley Thunder” racing featuring the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Lyden/Red Line Oil RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.  Race time is 7 p.m.

All grandstand attendees on Saturday night will be admitted FREE for the annual “Fan Appreciation Night” that will also include an on-track autograph session with all racers and their cars at intermission. The event was originally scheduled for May 21, which was actually the last rain out.  Hovis Auto & Truck Supply will award six complimentary pit passes for the following week; a pair going to the hard luck driver in DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, a pair to a lucky driver in the division that competes first, and a pair to a lucky fan.  Thanks to an anonymous donor, an extra $ 50 will be awarded to position five at all “Steel Valley Thunder” events for the Big-Block Mods, RUSH Sportsman Mods, and Stock Cars.

The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Modifieds were busy last week competing in two events with the Super DIRTcar Series event on July 21 that attracted 51 cars and was won by Jimmy Phelps, while two days later Dave Murdick ended his near three-year winless drought winning the weekly program. Atop the standings is Rex King, Jr. by 16 over three-time winner, Jimmy Weller III.  Rex King is third over Dave Murdick, who jumped two spots in points.  Rick Richner, who is looking for his first win, is fifth in points.

Like the big blocks, the (E) Modifieds also participated twice at Sharon last week with David Stremme victorious in the inaugural appearance of the Renegades on Dirt Series on July 21 followed up by Scott Stiffler’s second win of the season two days later. Despite missing a race, five-time winner, Joel Watson, has moved to within 10 points of Joe Gabrielson’s Summit Racing Equipment championship point lead.  Jeff Johnson, Stiffler, and Carl McKinney are  third through fifth in points.

Will there be another new RUSH Sportsman Modified winner!? That question will be answered on Saturday night as Brian Schaffer became the latest driver to score his first career win.  Schaffer became the eighth different winner in nine Lyden/Red Line Oil features this year!  Brandon Ritchey is the only driver that has repeated this season and is atop the standings by 17 over Kole Holden.  Schaffer is third in points and leads the $ 3,000 to-win Bicknell Racing Products RUSH Weekly Series standings.  Kyle Martell and Chas Wolbert are fourth and fifth in points, each earning their first career wins this season in the division.

Two seasons ago Paul Davis lost the Stock Car championship tiebreaker to Mike Clark. This year, Davis is bound and determined to stop Mike Clark from a four consecutive Gibson Insurance Agency crown.  Davis has won three of the last four races pocketing $ 3,000 and has opened up a 21-point advantage on Mike Miller, who battled for the title last year.  Andy Buckley, who just came up shy of his first win last Saturday, is third in points over Clark and veteran Bob McCann.

Can anyone stop Steve Haefke!? The Austintown, Ohio racer is having a career best season winning four of the last six Econo Mod features, but even more impressive is the fact that he has a streak of 14 straight races where he has yet to finish worse than runner-up!  Haefke has raced out to a 32-point lead over Brandon Blackshear.  Brandon’s younger brother, Brad, is third utilizing a GM 602 crate engine.  Wayne Daniels and rookie Kyle Miller are fourth and fifth in points.

Steve Walker II already ended a six-year winless drought in the Mini Stocks earlier this season winning a pair of feature events. Now the Greenville driver will try and win his first championship since the inaugural 2010 season.  Walker leads three-time champion, Bill Fuchs by 32.  Fuchs, the division’s all-time winner, has just one victory this season.  Despite winning four features including last Saturday, Joe Campbell, has had an up and down season as he’s currently third in points over Matt Rubright and Logan Keney.

Pit gates open at 4 p.m. on Saturday, grandstands at 5 with racing at 7. Of course there’s no charge for general admission, while 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 or call 330-772-5481. Become a fan of Sharon Speedway on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at


Sharon Speedway

3 nights of action this week; Thursday Super DIRTcar Big-Block Mods & Renegade E-Mods; Friday FREE concert for “Summer Jam & BBQ Series”; Saturday “Steel Valley Thunder” racing

By Mike Leone

July 18, 2016               

(Hartford, OH)…After a weekend off, Sharon Speedway will get right back at with three big events planned for later this week (July 21-23).  The Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds invade Sharon on Thursday night along with the Renegade (E) Modified Series.  Fans can enjoy a FREE concert on Friday night by “Southern Rock Superstars” as part of “Summer Jam & BBQ Series”.  Then on Saturday, “Steel Valley Thunder” racing for the weekly six divisions returns for the first time since July 2.  Racing begins at 7 p.m. both Thursday and Saturday night, while Friday night’s concert begins at 8 p.m.

DIRTCARLOGOThursday’s visit by the Super DIRTcar Series, the premier traveling Big-Block Modified tour in the world, marks the first in the western Pa./eastern Ohio region since 2006 when they appeared at Lernerville Speedway. The event will be the region’s only appearance and will pay $ 6,000 to-win making it the richest Modified race in the history of Sharon!  The last time Sharon hosted a major Big-Block Modified event that attracted the Northeast’s best was back in 1983 when Alan Johnson won a CRC Super DIRT Syracuse Qualifying Series event.  Merv Treichler was victorious in 1982 over a record 56-car field then went on to win the Schaefer 200 at Syracuse later that year.

The Super DIRTcar Series will be coming off a two-day event at Eldora Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday with some 45 cars expected. Sharon will be an easy stop on the way home for the traveling stars and others that will be convening at Eldora.  Heading into Eldora, Matt Sheppard not only leads the Series in victories with four, but is also atop the standings by 38 over Stewart Friesen.  Billy Decker, Tim Fuller, Danny Johnson, Larry Wight, Peter Britten, Jimmy Phelps, Brett Hearn, and Frank Cozze complete the top 10.  Sitting in 12th in points is Mat Williamson.  The Canadian has become very known to regional race fans winning two of the last three track championships at Lernerville, and currently leads the way in 2016 with an impressive six wins already at the Sarver, Pa. oval.  Williamson though has never competed at Sharon.

Dave Blaney finished runner-up at the Super DIRTcar event at Williams Grove last month and will look to do one spot better at his home track on Thursday. Blaney, who has two career Big-Block Modified wins at Sharon, was instrumental in bringing the Series to Sharon.

The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds have been a weekly attraction at Sharon since 1981. The late Lou Blaney leads the all-time win list with 121 victories over active racer Rex King, who has upped his total to 51, but is still looking for his first win of 2016.  Jimmy Weller III leads the 2016 win list at Sharon with three wins, while his father Jim, Jr. is the only other driver to repeat this season.  Single victories have gone to Erick Rudolph, Chris Haines, Rex King, Jr., and most recently Jim Rasey.  For more information on the Super DIRTcar Series, check out their website at

renegade logoWhile the Renegades of Dirt Modifieds have made a few regional appearances over the past couple years, Thursday will mark the Sharon debut of the traveling West Virginia-based group that enters their sixth year of operations. The RoD Mods will race for $ 1,500 to-win Thursday in a weekend doubleheader with Lernerville the following night.  Their appearance at Sharon will be their first of two as they’ll return for the “Apple Festival Nationals” on September 16-17.  Joel Watson has dominated weekly action winning five of the eight features this season, while Will Thomas III, Scott Stiffler, and Joe Gabrielson have each won a feature.  Show-up points will be awarded for both the Big-Block Modifieds and Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds on Thursday.

Between racing events on Thursday and Saturday night, fans can take in a FREE concert by “Southern Rock Superstars” as part of the third “Summer Jam & BBQ Series on Friday night. Gates will open at 7 p.m. for the entertainment, which will run from 8-10 p.m.  A full barbeque menu will be available throughout the night.

After a successful eighth annual “Lou Blaney Memorial” on July 9 and being off last Saturday for the Trumbull County Fair, weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” racing returns to Sharon on Saturday night for the first time in three weeks. It’ll be Twin-State Auto Racing Club Night with FREE general admission for card-carrying members or discounted $ 20 pit passes.  Kids power wheels races will be held at intermission.

While the Big-Block Modifieds will be back for their second race in three days, the event will be highlighted by the return of the Penn-Ohio Stock Cars in another mini series event paying $ 1,000 to-win. Chris Schneider and Paul Davis captured the first two races over 45 and 40-car fields respectively.  Saturday will be the third of five races in the mini series, which has a separate point fund.  Davis also won on June 25 and leads the Gibson Insurance Agency points by 12 over Mike Miller in search of his first career track championship.  Andy Buckley is third in points ahead of two-time winner, Mike Clark, who is trying for an unprecedented fourth straight championship.  Bob McCann is fifth.

Like the big blocks, the (E) Modifieds will also compete for the second time in three races on Saturday night. Gabrielson has an 18-point lead over Watson, who is still in second place despite missing a race.  Jeff Johnson, Josh Ferry, and Carl McKinney are third through fifth in points.

The Lyden/Red Line Oil RUSH Sportsman Modifieds have been extremely competitive as only point leader Brandon has been able to repeat. Justin Shea became the latest winner at the last “Steel Valley Thunder” event on July 2 to become the seventh different winner in eight races!  Kole Holden is 12 points back in second.  Just four points separates third through sixth place in points with Brian Schaffer, Kyle Martell, Chas Wolbert, and Jerry Schaffer.  Chelsie Kriegisch, who is ninth in points, made history at Expo Speedway at the Trumbull County Fair on July 13 as she became the division’s first female winner and the first female to win a touring series event since crate racing debuted in the Northeast in 2007!

To say Steve Haefke is hot in the Econo Mods would be an understatement. Haefke has won three of the last five features, but more impressively has finished either first or second for 13 straight features dating back to last season!  Haefke has opened up a 30-point lead on Brandon Blackshear in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products championship race.  Brad Blackshear, Wayne Daniels, and Chris Clay are third through fifth in points.

Rounding out Saturday’s program are the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. Steve Walker II leads the points with two victories.  The last time Walker won a feature and championship before this season was 2010!  Bill Fuchs is looking for his third straight championship and fourth of his career.  Fuchs has just one win this season, but trails Walker by only 10 points.  Two-time winner, Joe Campbell, is third over Logan Keney and Matt Rubright.

Hovis Auto & Truck Supply will award six complimentary pit passes for the following week; a pair going to the hard luck driver in DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, a pair to a lucky driver in the d44ivision that competes first, and a pair to a lucky fan. Thanks to an anonymous donor, an extra $ 50 will be awarded to position five at all “Steel Valley Thunder” events for the Big-Block Mods, RUSH Sportsman Mods, and Stock Cars.

Pit gates open at 4 p.m. on both Thursday and Saturday. Grandstands open at 4 p.m. on Thursday and 5 on Saturday.  Warm-ups begin at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday.  Admission for those 14 and over is $ 25 on Thursday and $ 10 on Saturday, while children 13 and under are free.  Pit passes are $ 35 on Thursday and $ 30 on Saturday.  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 or call 330-772-5481. Become a fan of Sharon Speedway on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at


Sharon Speedway

Former track regular Danny Holtgraver wins $10,000 in All Star Sprints; Jim Rasey ends 5-year winless drought in Big-Block Mods & becomes 1st repeat “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner after 8 years

By Mike Leone

July 9, 2016

Blaney-image-300x181(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway hosted the eighth annual “Lou Blaney Memorial” presented by Ollie’s Bargain Outlet on Saturday night as Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars made their second and final appearance of the season and were joined by The Mod Tour for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds.  A huge crowd turned out as activities took place throughout the day that benefitted the Alzheimer’s Association.  After a beautiful afternoon, clouds rolled in during the evening as two unexpected rounds of showers slightly delayed the program, but not enough to stop the eighth straight event from being completed.

Three years ago Danny Holtgraver won a $ 10,000 “360” Sprint Car race in Florida at East Bay Raceway Park.  On Saturday night, Holtgraver earned his second career $ 10,000 payday with an impressive run on a fast track holding off last year’s “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner, Sheldon Haudenschild, in the 30-lap All Star Sprint feature.  Holtgraver, a former track regular, became the eighth different “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner in as many races!

All Star logo“This is awesome,” expressed the 26-year-old Pittsburgh, Pa. racer after his fourth career Sharon win.  “I grew up racing here.  I didn’t get to watch Lou (Blaney), but I’ve raced with Dale and Dave for a long time so this means a lot for me to win this race and for them to be here.  I can’t thank everyone enough on this 70-car- Pete Grove, Janet Holbrook, and Scott Bonnell along with my dad, and all my sponsors.  Cody Jacobs is working on this thing and is giving me a hell of a race car right now and I’m having a blast.  I’m speechless.  On a race track like this you kind of want a yellow at the end.  You know you can take off with a good restart and it’s going to be tough for someone to get around you unless you really screw up, which I did try and do, but was able to hold on.  The caution didn’t bother me tonight, but any other time I would have been shaking.”

Holtgraver used the outside to fly into the lead past pole-sitter Josh Baughman.  Baughman was coming off his first career “410” Sprint win on Friday night at Lernerville Speedway and was strong all night winning his heat and the dash to earn the feature pole.  Baughman though received front wing damage on the opening lap then spun following a restart for a caution by Jack Sodeman, Jr. with one lap completed.

Fourth starting Caleb Griffith advanced to second for the restart, but he’d only be able to hold the spot until lap four when fifth starting Dean Jacobs made the move.  Holtgraver had a half-straightaway lead by the time Jacobs made his way to second.  Dale Blaney dropped Griffith back to third then Haudenschild, who started back in seventh, began making his way forward taking fourth from Griffith on lap five.  Griffith though didn’t go away as he got back by Haudenschild on lap nine then brought Haudenschild with him as they both passed Blaney for third and fourth respectively on lap 11.

Joe Kubiniec slowed to bring out the caution with 18 laps completed.  Runner-up Jacobs had nose wing damage, which would hamper his chance for the win the rest of the way.  Back under green, Haudenschild once again passed Griffith, this time for third.  Eighth starting Chad Kemenah was able to get by Blaney then passed Griffith for fourth on lap 20.

Lapped traffic came into play on lap 21, but Griffith’s tough luck at Sharon continued when he slowed to bring out the event’s final caution with 24 laps completed.  When racing resumed, Haudenschild passed Jacobs for second.  He went after Holtgraver, but would run of time in his bid to repeat his $ 10,000 win in the event.  Holtrgaver’s second All Star win of the year and 11th of his career came in the Pete Grove-owned, Premier Motorsports/Premier Pallet/Bonnell’s Rod Shop/DKW Transport/Lutz Custom Cabinets/Olympic Forestry -sponsored #70.

After three straight All Star wins, Haudenschild settled for a runner-up as he continues to close in on point leader Chad Kemenah and second place man Blaney.  “Good night overall,” said the Wooster, Ohio second generation racer.  “I just didn’t feel like I got up there quick enough to be able to challenge Holtgraver.  He had clean air and was able to run with it.  Congrats to him and Cody (Jacobs).  They work hard so I’m glad to see that.  It means a ton with everyone that helps out to get us out here each week and it wouldn’t be possible without them.”

Despite the collapsed nose wing, Jacobs held on for a third place improving on his fifth place finish at the Ohio Speedweek event last month.  Kemenah and Blaney were fourth and fifth.  Kraig Kinser, Tim Shaffer, Caleb Helms, Dave Blaney, and 23rd starting Cap Henry completed the top 10.  Dale Blaney set fast time in qualifying over the 39-car field with a lap of 12.990 not far off the 12.704 track record.  Besides Baughman, also picking up heat wins were Griffith, Haudenschild, and Bryan Sebetto.  Lee Jacobs won the B main.

Mod Tour logoOne thousand eight hundred seventy-six days.  That’s how many days had passed since Jim Rasey’s last victory.  But on Saturday night with a new car and pieced together motor, Rasey looked like the Rasey of old driving past some of the region’s best Big-Block Modified racers to capture an improbable $ 2,000 victory in the 30-lap Mod Tour feature for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply big blocks.  Rasey’s last win was on May 21, 2011; however, became the first repeat winner of the “Lou Blaney Memorial” for the either the Sprints or Modifieds backing up his 2010 event win.

“I’ll tell you what- dad, myself, and the crew worked non-stop all night long for the last three or four nights to get this thing together at 4:30 today,” revealed the 44-year-old Southington, Ohio driver.  “We barely made it.  I have to thank everyone that has been standing behind me in this.  That was a race track tonight!  That was the old school, Lou Blaney track.  I love it- it was great!  I call this a three in one- three motors in one.  Then we call it C4 because we don’t know when it’s going to blow up.  I have to thank Alcon Mechanical, JD Pit Stop and Hovis Tire, who came on board this week to get us a set of tires that we were desperately in need of.  There’s a lot of people over the last five years that really busted their butts thinking it was over, but I guess I proved them wrong.”

A side-by-side battle on the opening lap saw three-time time 2016 winner, Jimmy Weller III, lead the opening lap, but pole-sitter, Jeremiah Shingledecker, took charge of the race on lap two over Weller and Eric Gabany.  It was four-wide for fourth on lap two with sixth starting Rex King, Jr. moving into the position over Erick Rudolph and Rasey.

Shingledecker pulled away from the field by lap five, while the battle was on for second as Weller III tried to hold off Gabany and King, Jr.  Shingledecker opened up his lead to a straightaway on lap nine and then caught lapped traffic on lap 11 as the laps ticked off caution-free.  King, Jr. and Rudolph passed Gabany for third and fourth on laps 11 and 12 respectively.  King, Jr. was all over Weller III on lap 12, 13, and 14 before nosing ahead for the runner-up spot on the 14th circuit.

Shingledecker’s straightaway lead was erased when Shayne Pierce slowed to bring out the caution with 16 laps scored.  After quietly running outside the top five for the first 16 laps, the caution was just what Rasey needed.  Back under green, he passed both Rudolph and Gabany for fourth then one lap later took third from Weller III.  Rasey charged after King, Jr. and drove under him for second on lap 22 before a caution for Jim Weller, Jr., who didn’t make it off the track.

When racing resumed on lap 23, Rasey took charge as King, Jr. followed past Shingledecker for second.  The event was slowed for the final time with 25 laps completed when Rick Richner hit the frontstretch wall head on and Garrett Krummert clipped Richner’s rear leaving a debris field all over the frontstretch.

After the lengthy cleanup, the final 10 laps went green-to-checkered.  Rasey increased his lead every lap and took the checkered flag first by a comfortable 2.594 second margin in his Alcon Mechanical/Hovis Tire/JD Pit Stop-sponsored #32.  Rasey’s 19th career Sharon win tied him for seventh on the all-time win list, ironically with King, Jr., the track’s point leader who crossed the line in second.

After leading 21 laps, Shingledecker dropped to third over Rudolph, who is The Mod Tour point leader and April 16 “Russ King Memorial” winner.  Gabany had a solid fifth despite being underpowered with his “358” small-block.  Michael Maresca, Weller III, Rex King, Dave Murdick, and Brad Rapp were sixth through 10th.  Murdick, Rudolph, King, Jr., and Brian Swartzlander copped the heat races over the 33-car field.  Tom Mattocks won the B main.

All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars (30 laps, $ 10,000 to-win): 1. DANNY HOLTGRAVER (Grove 70)  2. Sheldon Haudenschild (93)  3. Dean Jacobs (Seeling 97)  4. Chad Kemenah (Hunter 10H)  5. Dale Blaney (CH Motorsports 1)  6. Kraig Kinser (11K)  7. Tim Shaffer (Rudzik/Demyan 49)  8. Caleb Helms (40)  9. Dave Blaney (Motter 71M)  10. Cap Henry (Coomer 21)  11. Andrew Palker (57x)  12. Bryan Sebetto (Chappel 8)  13. Carl Bowser (10)  14. Jack Sodeman, Jr. (23Jr)  15. T.J. Michael (8M)  16. Brad Howard (49H)  17. Lee Jacobs (Lewis 81)  18. Caleb Griffith (Marshall 33M)  19. Mike Bauer (46)  20. Travis Philo (5T)  21. Joe Kubiniec (19)  22. Chris Andrews (Armbruster 73)  23. Jimmy Morris III (4N)  24. Josh Baughman (17)  25. Dan Kuriger (08)  26. Kory Crabtree (60).

DNQ for the feature: Brandon Spithaler (22), A.J. Flick (2), Adam Kekich (5K), Brandon Matus (13), Lance Moss (McCall 23), Gary Edwards (57), Alex Paden (24), Eric L. Williams (4W), Paul Kish (4c), Mike Flynn (12X), Brent Matus (33), Darren Pifer (23), Gale Ruth, Jr. (1R).

Mod Tour for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds (35 laps, $ 2,500 to-win): 1. JIM RASEY (32)  2. Rex King, Jr. (165)  3. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD)  4. Erick Rudolph (25R)  5. Eric Gabany (3E)  6. Michael Maresca (7)  7. Jimmy Weller III (23)  8. Rex King (65)  9. Dave Murdick (61)  10. Brad Rapp (11R)  11. J.R. McGinley (66M)  12. Shannon Whaley (44)  13. Rob Kristyak (00)  14. Bob Warren (96B)  15. Mark Frankhouser (03)  16. Garrett Krummert (29)  17. Rick Richner (26)  18. Shawn Fleeger (88)  19. Jim Weller, Jr. (31)  20. Tom Mattocks (69)  21. Kevin Bolland (777)  22. Brian Swartzlander (83)  23. Shayne Pierce (88)  24. Mark Flick (Regalski 7z)  25. Skip Moore (17M)  26. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13).

DNQ for the feature: Justin Rasey (21), Dave Reges (27R), Scott Kerwin (7), Rodney Beltz (64), Tom Glenn (83T), Chris Haines (35H), Dave Blaney (18B).

There will be no racing on July 16. The next event will Thursday, July 21 for the Super DIRTcar Series for the Big-Block Modifieds paying $ 6,000 to-win plus the Renegades of Dirt (E) Modifieds. There will be a FREE concert featuring the Southern Rock Superstars on Friday, July 22 for “Summer Jam & BBQ Series” III. Six-division “Steel Valley Thunder” racing returns on Saturday night, July 23 with Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Lyden/Red Line Oil RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks plus kids power wheels races on Twin-State Auto Racing Club Night.

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 or call 330-772-5481. Become a fan of Sharon Speedway on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at


Sharon Speedway

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