Sharon’s inaugural Lucas Oil Late Model show w/ star-studded field drawing near on 4/22; RUSH Tour opener also part of LM doubleheader

By Mike Leone

March 29, 2016

The 87th anniversary season at Sharon Speedway is sure to be one of the biggest in history, and one of the most anticipated events ever scheduled is quickly drawing near on Friday, April 22 with the inaugural appearance by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.  The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series will also be part of the program, which is being presented by Barris Truck Service of West Middlesex, Pa.  Barris Truck Service features medium and heavy duty truck repair and heavy duty towing.  Performance Bodies with their MD3 brand is an associate sponsor of the event.

The LOLMDS boasts 12 full-time competitors that will be battling in the $ 10,000 to-win “Steel Valley 50” led by defending champion and current point leader Jonathan Davenport of Mount Airy, North Carolina. Davenport’s unreal 2015 season saw him win five crown-jewel events and over $ 600,000! Jimmy Owens (three) and Scott Bloomquist (two) own five Series championships amongst themselves as neither the “Newport Nightmare” nor “Black Sunshine” needs any introduction to Late Model fans.

“The Real Deal” Don O’Neal, Jr. and Darrell Lanigan are teammates in 2016 driving for Clint Bowyer. O’Neal was the Series’ 2014 champion, while Lanigan moves over from the World of Outlaws, where he was a three-time champion.  Lanigan won the last national Super Late Model event at Sharon held in 2010- a WoO event.

Earl Pearson, Jr. has been a regular with the LOLMDS since its inception in 2005. In fact, Pearson won the first four Series titles after capturing the 2004 Xtreme Dirt Car Championship.  The Jacksonville, FL driver owns victories in prestigious Dirt Late Model events such as the “Dirt Track World Championship”, “World 100”, and “Hillbilly 100”.

Another driver making his first run at a Lucas Oil Championship is fan favorite Tim McCreadie. T-MAC is a versatile racer from Watertown, New York.  The son of the legendary racer, Bob McCreadie, cut his teeth in the tough Modified ranks in the Northeast.  In 2006, McCreadie won the WoO Late Model crown in addition to the “Chili Bowl Nationals” for Midget Cars.

Steve Francis is back for his sixth straight year chasing Lucas Oil Series points. Brandon Sheppard is coming off his first season of racing full-time with LOLMDS where he finished sixth in points and captured the Series’ rookie-of-the-year honors, but this year has stepped into the Ohio-based Best Performance Motorsports ride.

Other full-time regulars include Jared Landers, Dennis Erb, Jr., and Eddie Carrier, Jr. The LOLMDS has a little local flavor this year as Allison Park, Pennsylvania’s Colton Flinner is planning on competing in many of the Series events going after the rookie-of the-year title.  Colton, who has a lot of Crate Late Model success, is the nephew of 16-time Sharon Limited Late Model winner, John Flinner, who went on to a successful Super Late Model career in western Pennsylvania.  Many of the top regional Late Model stars and other heavy hitters are also expected.  Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. has dropped their Super Late Models for this night.

“We’ve tried for five or six years to get a Lucas Oil event at Sharon,” acknowledged seventh year General Manager Dave Willoughby. “Lucas Oil is committed to a 50-event slate each year and the success of their events has tracks renewing year in and year out.  This date came open and even though it’s not on our typical Saturday night program we couldn’t pass up the opportunity as Lucas Oil will be heading to Hagerstown Speedway the following night.  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.  Interest has been very high so hopefully we get good weather and the fans support this event so it becomes an annual tradition.”

The tire rule for the event is Hoosier Rib 1300 (no white dots) or Hoosier 1325 for left rear and fronts, and Hoosier 01 (1300 rubber) or Hoosier 04 (1425 rubber) for right rear. For more information on Lucas Oil, check out their website at www.lucasdirt.com.

The SRUSH_LATEMODEL_PACE_ONLIGHTweeney RUSH Late Model Touring Series will also be part of the program highlighted by a 30-lap feature paying $ 2,000 to-win. It’ll be the Series’ opening event of the 2016 season.  Defending Series Champion Max Blair along with past crate champions like Alan Dellinger, Mike Pegher, Jr., and Ryan Montgomery are expected along with former Sharon Champions Will Thomas III and Dennis Lunger, Jr.  The event is expected to draw competitors from all over Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Ontario, Canada.  RUSH will return in a Touring Series event on September 16-17 as part of the “Apple Festival Nationals”.

Reserved and advanced tickets are on sale for $ 28 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.  Advanced ticket holders will be able to get into the grandstands at 4 p.m. for preferred seating before the grandstand gates open at 5 p.m.  Warm-ups begin at 6:15 followed by group qualifying for both series with racing to follow.

The 87th anniversary season at Sharon will begin one week prior with an open practice on April 15 followed by the twice rained out night two of the “Apple Festival Nationals” from 2015 on Saturday, April 16.  Weekly racing will get underway with “Steel Valley Thunder” on Saturday, April 30.

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 through their last season of weekly racing in 2014.  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.

Performance Bodies has been in business for over 35 years can provide your race team with the same quality products, great service and FAST delivery, that they provide thousands of other race teams throughout the country. Performance Bodies is also sells the MD3 noses for all types of race cars. With a warehouse stocked full of high quality, race-proven parts and a great team to provide you with their world famous same day shipping, we guarantee you won’t be disappointed! All orders received will ship the same business day. For more information, check out www.performancebodies.com or www.md3dirt.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

“E5C4P3” – A “Journey” Tribute Band headlines opening “Summer Jam & BBQ Series” on May 20

By Mike Leone

March 24, 2016

(Hartford, OH)…While racing action for the 87th anniversary season at Sharon Speedway will get underway April 16, year two for the “Summer Jam & BBQ Series” begins on Friday, May 20 featuring “E5C4P3”, a “Journey” Tribute Band.  Gates open at 6 p.m. with entertainment from 7-11 p.m.  A complete schedule of the 2016 “Summer Jam & BBQ Series” events will be posted soon.  A barbeque menu will be available throughout the night.  Free camping is available for the entire weekend.  Admission prices will be announced for each event.

“E5C4P3” is based out of Cleveland, and formed by Jason Kelty in June 1993. From that year through 1999 Escape traveled nationwide and paid tribute to one of rock history’s most beloved bands performing for tens of thousands of fans. “E5C4P3” is still known today as the original and best “Journey” tribute bands to ever exist. The band covers the music with a note-for-note accuracy that is second to none and performs each show with the high-energy excitement of a real “Journey” concert as well as visually recreating the essence of early 80s Journey. Focusing on the ‘Steve Perry era’, “E5C4P3” covers all the hits from ‘Lights’ and ‘Wheel In The Sky’ to ‘Separate Ways’ and ‘Be Good To Yourself’ including occasional surprises for all the die-hard Journey fans.

“We continue to use the facility in different ways,” explained seventh year General Manager Dave Willoughby. “The concerts take place behind the main grandstands at the new pavilion that built last year.  We started these events last year and they grew in attendance throughout the year.  We invite everyone out for a night of affordable entertainment; and for race fans, you can’t beat then coming back the next night for racing!”

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

Sharon honors champions & top racers at 2015 awards banquet; Gault & Aikens inducted into Hall of Fame

By Mike Leone

February 27, 2016

(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway put the final wraps to the 2015 racing season on Saturday night as the Yankee Lake (OH) Ballroom hosted the annual awards banquet and dinner.  Celebrating at the head table as champions for the 86th anniversary season were Rex King-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Will Thomas III-Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modifieds, Greg Martin-RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Mike Clark-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Ryan Fraley-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Bill Fuchs-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.  The top 10 drivers in each division received point fund monies and hardware.

Sharon inducted three more individuals into its Hall of Fame.  The 2015 class included Glenn Gault and the husband-wife duo of Lee and Shirley Aiken.  Gault of Girard, Ohio was a standout racer on both the asphalt and dirt winning 16 features in the Super Late Model class in addition to winning the 1979 championship on asphalt and the 1986 championship on dirt.  His son and current racer, Glenn, Jr. accepted the award.  The Aikens of Kinsman, Ohio were longtime officials at the speedway until their health worsened.  Lee passed away in 2013 at the age of 75 ; meanwhile, Shirley, who ran the pit board, worked up until recent years and is still a regular visitor to the track.

Special award winners were Kole Holden-Rookie-of-the-Year, Mike Miller-Most Improved, and Pat Drennan-Hard Luck.  Holden of Tiona, Pa. was a former Go-Kart standout, and was able to record 5 top 5s and 9 top 10s in route to a third place finish in the RUSH Sportsman Modified division.  Miller of East Hickory, Pa. had a breakout season in the Stock Cars winning the first race of his career in addition to 7 top 5s and 9 top 10s in route to a third place finish in points.  Miller even led the points early on.  After finishing seventh in the Mini Stock points in 2014 with 12 top 10s, Drennan had a disappointing season slipping to 10th in points with only 3 top 10s.

Rex King denied his son Rex, Jr. of defending his 2014 title by capturing the 2015 Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modified crown.  The veteran Bristolville, Ohio racer matched the late Lou Blaney with his fifth track championship, the most all-time for the division.  The elder King has now won championships in 1985, 1996, 2010, 2011, and 2015.  King drove the KMB Inc.-owned, University Hospitals/G S Engine Repair/RD Banks Chevrolet/Campbell Indoor Gardening Supply/Hunyady Auction/Cintas Uniforms/Mahan Welding & Fab/Schaeffer Oil/Midway Garage Door-sponsored #65 to two feature victories and led the division with 11 top  5s and 12 top 10s.  His first win of the season was his milestone 50th of his career in the division at Sharon alone.

While he came up eight points shy to his father in the weekly points, Rex King, Jr. captured his third straight “Drive to be a Champion” title honoring Lou Blaney and earned $ 1,010.  The system takes into account drivers’ best 10 finishes throughout the season in addition to 10 bonus points for supporting the “Lou Blaney Memorial”.  Rex, Jr. edged out his father by just two points.

For the second straight year and third time in the past four years, Will Thomas III sat at the championship head table; however, this time it wasn’t in the RUSH Late Models, but instead the Modifieds as the Sharpsville, Pa. former asphalt standout continued his good fortunes since his transition to dirt track racing.  Thomas led the Summit Racing Equipment-backed division with three victories and 10 top 10 finishes in his Colonial Metal Products/Barris Supply/All Star Performance/Sweet Manufacturing/King Sanitary/Russ King Racing/Wedge Motorsports/Five Star Bodies/Motorstate-sponsored #9.

After competing part-time in 2014, the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds joined the “Steel Valley Thunder” weekly card in 2015.  Car counts grew to 15 cars per night and the growth is expected to continue in 2016 as Lyden Oil/Red Line comes on board as the divisional sponsor.  Capturing the inaugural championship was Greg Martin.  The Wilson, New York driver made the three and half hour trip south pay off winning six times.  Martin never finished worse than third giving him 10 top 3 finishes in as many starts in his NYKDS/Jeffery Machine/Atwal Eye Care/Race 1-sponsored #4.  Those finishes also propelled him to the $ 3,000 RUSH Bicknell Racing Products Weekly Series Championship!

For the third consecutive year, Mike Clark captured the Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car Championship.  Clark is now just one title shy of Steve D’Apolito’s leading four championships.  The Bristolville, Ohio veteran won two features upping his career total to 15, and led the division with 8 top 5s and 9 top 10s in his Martuccio Eye Care/Champion Supply/Son’s of Italy of Warren/Wedge Motorsports/May’s Towing/Trumbull County Auto Parts/Minor’s Performance/Hoosier Tire-sponsored #7.

Ryan Fraley and Casey Bowers battled neck and neck for the Econo Mod crown for much of the year as both drivers were hungry for their first championship.  In the end it was Fraley pulling away late to out-number Bowers by 28 points in his RADA Truck Service/CD Gibbs Construction/Tri-State Trailer Sales/Clay Bros. Transmission/Lautanen Trucking/Clay Trucking-sponsored #12.  Both racers had three feature wins and 11 top 10 finishes; however, Fraley of Fowler, Ohio had two more top 5 efforts.

Bill Fuchs repeated his 2014 championship taking the Deforest Used Parts crown again in 2015 and has now won the Mini Stock title three of the last five years.  The Greenville, Pa. driver was never challenged for the championship as he out-gained runner-up and rookie Matt Rubright by 79 points.  Fuchs won four times and in fact the only other driver to win a feature that finished in the top 10 in points was fifth place Joe Campbell, who won just one feature.  Fuchs had at least twice as many top 5s as and other driver with 12 and his perfect 13 top 10 finishes in 13 races led the way.  Fuchs has increased his all-time leading Mini Stock win total to 27 in his Crash Auto Wrecking/RTW Industrial Contracting/Higbee Family-sponsored #10.

The 2016 season at Sharon will begin with the twice rained out night two of the “Apple Festival Nationals” from 2015 on Saturday, April 16.  There will also be an open practice on Friday, April 15.  Following the Lucas Oil/RUSH Late Model Tour event on April 22, weekly racing will get underway with “Steel Valley Thunder” on Saturday, April 30.  A big season is in the works, stayed tuned throughout the winter months for updates.

FINAL 2015 Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Top 10 Points: 1. REX KING (65) 440  2. Rex King, Jr. (165) 432  3. Rick Richner (26) 381  4. Jim Rasey (32) 342  5. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 340  6. Tom Glenn (83T) 280  7. Carl Murdick (6) 273  8. Garrett Krummert 257  9. Rick Regalski, Jr. 256  10. Rob Kristyak 240.

FINAL 2015 “Drive to be a Champion” DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Top 10 Points: 1. Rex King, Jr. (165) 292  2. Rex King (65) 290  3. Rich Richner (26) 251  4. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 238  5. Jim Rasey (32) 211  6. Tom Glenn (83T) 170  7. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 169  8. Garrett Krummert (29) 168  9. Carl Murdick (6) 161  10. Kevin Bolland (777) 158.

FINAL 2015 Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modified Top 10 Points: 1. Will Thomas III (9)  368  2. Mike Kinney (3) 365  3. Dwayne Clay (007) 328  4. Jeff Johnson (1) 261  5. Paul Davis (3D) 255  6. Joel Watson 225  7. Joe Gabrielson & Jacob Eucker (64) 208  9. Scott Stiffler 207  10. J.J. Bametzreider 177.

FINAL 2015 RUSH Sportsman Modified Top 10 Points: 1. Greg Martin (4) 419  2. Nick Ritchey (77N) 400  3. Kole Holden (2) 354  4. Brandon Ritchey (17) 328  5. Rocky Kugel (6R) 327  6. Michael Kristyak (404) 325  7. Kyle Martell (8) 308  8. Chelsie Kriegisch (10) 303  9. Will Schaffer (4) 264  10. Josh Deems (9D) 258.

FINAL 2015 Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car Top 10 Points: 1. Mike Clark (7) 398  2. Brian Carothers (02c) 377  3. Mike Miller (T6) 372  4. Brian Mulichak (36D) 281  5. Tony Bruno (97) 265  6. Tim Deutsch (11D) 246 & Gary Robinson (44R) 246  8. Dan Fedorchak (x7) 218  9. Troy DeZarn (21D) 217  10. Jacob Billyk (4) 192.

FINAL 2015 HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mod Top 10 Points: 1. Ryan Fraley (12) 458  2. Casey Bowers (430)  3. Keith Felicetty (98)  4. Jamie Scharba (11S) 354  5. Steve Haefke (41) 347  6. Wayne Daniels 337  7. Chris Clay (99) 330  8. Brad Blackshear (19) 310  9. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 288  10. Butch Lambert (19) 269.

FINAL 2015 Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock Top 10 Points: 1. Bill Fuchs (10) 490  2. Matt Rubright (X) 411  3. Jamie Maxwell (6) 387  4. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 341  5. Joe Campbell (40c) 324  6. Joe Keney (15K) 301  7. Michael DelliQuadri (77D) 300  8. Logan Keney (16) 279  9. Tim McAninch (43) 261  10. Pat Drennan (24).

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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