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Sharon set to kickoff 86th anniversary season on 4/25; New format announced, admission reduced to $10, new surface & more

By Mike Leone

February 13, 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway is gearing up for the 2015 racing season, which is fast approaching. The Speedway has announced Saturday, April 25 as the 86th anniversary season opener. Racers and fans alike will notice many changes for the upcoming season featuring a brand new racing surface as 111 tri-axle loads of clay was brought in, an all-new racing format, reduced weekly admission prices to $ 10, elimination of driver registration fees, and a new computerized concession.

Sharon will have an all-new weekly racing format. In lieu of heat races, group qualifying will be run to set the line-up for the now extended distance features for the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (30 laps), Modifieds (30 laps), RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, (20 laps) Stock Cars (20 laps), and Econo Mods (20 laps). Following group qualifying, the fast qualifier will draw a pill of 0, 4, 6 or 8 to determine the feature invert. The remainder of the field will be lined up heads-up on time. A last chance B main will be run to fill the field if more than a full field of cars is present. The Mini Stocks will continue under the previous heat race and 12-lap feature format.

“We’re always looking at different ways to improve our program for both the racers and fans,” stated GM Dave Willoughby. “We feel the new surface will provide better racing, and the racers have given a very positive feedback on the new format. The $ 10 admission price should give incentive for more fans to not only attend the races, but return more frequently. Eliminating the annual registration fee will be a welcome addition to the racers and especially those that just want to come in and race for a single event.”

The “410” Sprint Cars and RUSH Late Models have been an important part of the Speedway’s program over the years. Both divisions will make several appearances for the coming 2015 season. The Sprints will be featured on at least four occasions with regular events on Saturday, May 30 and Saturday, August 15. The All Star Circuit of Champions will make two stops, one for the traditional Ohio Speedweek event on Tuesday, June 23 with $ 5,000 on the line, and for the first time ever for “Lou Blaney Memorial” on July 11. That event will pay a record $ 10,000 to-win for the seventh annual event!

Sharon will be working with Wayne County Speedway to give the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Models a weekly home on Saturdays in 2015. Sharon will pick up the class for Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Weekly and Touring events on numerous occasions when Wayne County isn’t running the class. A complete schedule will be posted soon.

All five of the returning weekly divisions will see their presenting sponsor return. Hovis Auto & Truck Supply is back for the second straight year to present the headlining DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds. The ground-pounders will have BRP Tour events on Saturday, July 11 for the “Lou Blaney Memorial” and during the “Apple Festival Nationals” in September for the “Russ King Memorial”. Rex King, Jr. is the defending champion.

The (E) Modified division will be presented by Summit Racing Equipment once again. It’s the fifth straight year Summit has been a presenting sponsor at the Speedway as they were the 2011-2012 Econo Mod divisional sponsor. The Modifieds have been elevated to position two on the track’s totem pole and will now offer $ 1,000 to-win, $ 100 to-start if 24 or more cars are present every Saturday night! And of course once again, any non-qualifiers will receive a free pit pass in addition to tow money. Steve Dixon is the defending champion.

After the “410” Sprint Cars were dropped from the weekly schedule following the 2010 season, Gibson Insurance Agency has been the divisional sponsor of the Stock Cars ever since. That trend will continue in 2015. The Stock Cars will have a more liberal, open rules package for the coming season including 10″ tires that will hopefully attract new competitors to the Speedway. Mike Clark will look to make it three championships in a row this season.

The Econo Mods, which debuted in 2010 and ran bi-weekly on the Friday night program through 2011, will now begin its fourth straight year as being part of the weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” program. Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic (HTMA)/Precise Racing Products will continue to back the division as they have done so since 2012. Jeremy Double has won the past two championships, but will be moving up to the Modified division in 2015.

The Mini Stock division had a resurgence in 2014 and that trend is expected to continue to 2015. Deforest Used Parts returns for the fourth straight year to present the division. Travis Creech has dominated action the past two seasons winning the title in his rookie season in 2013 and finished runner-up in 2014 to the division’s all-time winner, Bill Fuchs. Creech will be moving up to the Econo Mods for the new year.

Joining the “Steel Valley Thunder” weekly program on Saturday nights will be the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. In 2014, the RUSH Mods competed on eight occasions with four different winners. In the first year of their existence, 10-13 cars were on hand every night. That count is expected to rise with the division added weekly as several new competitors will be joining the ranks.

Sharon is part of the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Weekly Series and “Futures Cup” program. A Sweeney Tour event is expected to be run during the “Apple Festival Nationals”. Any business interested in becoming the divisional sponsor of the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds is urged to call the office at 330-772-5481. The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds are New York-style center-steer cars mandating the $ 3,250 GM 602 crate engine, $ 135 Bilstein sealed spec shocks, spec Hoosier Tires on steel wheels.

Coming on Saturday, July 4, Sharon will host a first ever USA-East Truck and Tractor pull put on by Full Pull Productions, Inc.

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 crowns King Jr, Thomas, Dixon, Clark, Double & Fuchs Champs at 2014 Awards Banquet; Braymer & Kinter inducted into HoF

By Mike Leone

February 7, 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Yankee Lake, OH)…Sharon Speedway officially put the wraps on the 85th anniversary season on Saturday night as the Yankee Lake Ballroom hosted the annual awards banquet and dinner as well over 300 people attended the affair. The top 10 drivers in 2014 points in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Barris Supply RUSH Late Models, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mod, and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks were honored. Several other special awards were handed out.

Sharon Speedway opened in 1929 and is the longest continually operating family-owned speedway in the country. Two more drivers added their names to the Sharon Speedway Hall of Fame. John Braymer and Bill Kinter were inducted into the 2014 class. Both western Pa. drivers had tremendous success in the 1980s and 1990s before calling it a career.

Braymer of Hermitage, Pa. drove the famed blue #17 to 22 victories in the Big-Block Modified division in addition to capturing three championships (1988, 1989, 1991). Braymer is still sitting fifth on the division’s all-time win list. Kinter was a popular Stock Car racer in his yellow and black #04 and took the checkered flag first 28 times, good still for fourth on the division’s all-time win list. The Meadville, Pa. driver won championships in 1989 and 1990.

Kate Blaney was awarded the prestigious “Bill Kirila Memorial” Award. Kate, the wife of legend Lou Blaney and mother to greats Dave and Dale Blaney, has run the track office and headed up the marketing department since the Blaneys gained ownership of the Speedway in 2002. Kate recently announced her retirement at the Speedway after completing her 13th year. Kate is looking forward to spending time watching her grandson Ryan expand his NASCAR career. Kaye’s brother Tom Keir accepted the award on her behalf.

The track’s “Rookie-of-the-Year” Award was handed out to Joe Campbell. The Austintown, Ohio driver was a “true” rookie and competed in the Mini Stock division where he garnered one feature win, five top 5s, and 8 top 10s on his way to a sixth place finish in the point standings.

Former Stock Car racer Russ Byler completed his first full season behind the wheel of a Late Model and was recognized as the Speedway’s “Most Improved” racer. The New Castle, Pa. driver took over the driving chores of the Terry Hoover-owned #00H replacing Brian Booher during the 2013 season. In 2014, Byler reeled off six 6 top 5s and 11 top 10 finishes in route to a fine third place in the RUSH Late Model points.

Clayton Kennedy was awarded the infamous “Hard Luck” honors. Despite being fast and up near the front many nights during the 2014 season, luck just wasn’t on the Mars, Pa. driver’s side. Kennedy was only able to record 2 top 5 finishes in 16 starts and a disappointing seventh place standing in the Modified division.

The DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds have been one of the headlining divisions at the Speedways since the track went to dirt in 1981. In 2013, Rex King, Jr. won the “Drive to be a Champion” Lou Blaney Memorial crown, but came up short on the track championship. This year, the Bristolville, Ohio driver had a career year as he not only repeated the $ 1,010 “Drive to be a Champion” title, but also captured his first career track championship. NASCAR racer Ryan Blaney presented the “Drive to the be a Champion” title to King in memory of his grandfather.

The youngest King led the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply-sponsored division with six victories including the $ 2,000 “Lou Blaney Memorial” BRP Tour win on July 30 in the KMB Inc.-owned, Jim Brown Seed Sales/Bristol Disposal/Reese Services/Professional Heating Systems/Jet Inc/Cedar Steel/Mahan Welding & Fab/Schaeffer Oil/Cintas Uniform/Cleer Excavation-sponsored #165.

2013 champion, Jim Weller, Jr., had five wins including both the “Johnny Zdelar Memorial” ($ 3,000) and the “Russ King Memorial” ($ 2,000). Other winners were Rex King (three), Jimmy Weller III (two), and Brian Swartzlander.

For the second time in three years, Will Thomas III garnered the Barris Supply RUSH Late Model Championship. The nearby Sharpsville, Pa. racer won four feature events and had a stellar 13 top 5 finishes in 15 starts! Thomas won an unprecedented three straight feature events during the summer and now has 13 for his career, which is tops all-time in the division. Thomas piloted the Colonial Metal Products/Barris Supply/King Sanitary/All Star Performance/Motorstate/Sweet Manufacturing/Russ King Racing-sponsored #9.

2013 champion, Dennis Lunger, Jr. had a strong year leading the division with five victories. Alan Dellinger returned to the wheel of Bob Williams’ #8 and won four features. The Sweeney Tour events were won by Rick Singleton (“Bill Emig Memorial”) and Russ King (“Gary Knollinger Memorial”).

The Modified division has probably been the strongest and most-competitive at the Speedway the last few years. Once again, over 20 cars were averaged per night and there was a new champion sitting at the head table. Western Pa. car owner Tim Engles has forged a strong team with driver Steve Dixon. The duo focused on Sharon for the first time and was rewarded with the track championship.

Dixon was shutout of victory lane until June 14 and that started a hot streak of five victories over the course of the season’s final 10 events in the Engles Trucking/Backyard Bodies/Close Racing Supply-sponsored #68! Joel Watson matched Dixon for a division-high five victories. 2013 champion, Mike Kinney, was the division’s only other multiple winner at three. Single victories went to Carl McKinney, Dwayne Clay, and Joe Gabrielson.

After going nearly two decades before capturing a track championship, Mike Clark was able to repeat the feat in the Stock Car division! It was far from easy though as the Bristolville, Ohio racer actually tied Paul Davis in points; however, was awarded the championship in the second tiebreaker.

Clark’s victory in the September 27 season finale was huge as it not only tied him for the title with Davis, but also with five victories. Clark was then given the nod in the second tiebreaker, which was second place finishes; three to two. The 48-year-old Clark drove the King’s Sanitary Service/Champion Auto Supply/Martuccio Eye Care/Sons of Italy of Warren, Ohio-sponsored #
7 to the Gibson Insurance Agency Championship.

Only three other Stock Car drivers were victorious in 2014. Chris Schneider swept the two-day “Apple Festival Nationals” for the Penn-Ohio Series, while Bryan Wagner earned two victories, and Shaun Hooks one.

With a spec shock rule in place in 2014, the competitiveness of the Econo Mod division increased. Seven different drivers captured feature event victories, but in the end it was Jeremy Double winning the HTMA/Precise Racing Products title for the second straight year! Double had an amazing 14 top 5 finishes in 15 starts including four victories.

Despite missing a night early in the season, Double was never really challenged for the championship due to his extraordinary consistency in his Cortland Auto Repair/Wedge Motorsports/Thomas Heating & Cooling/King Bros/Russ King Racing/Mahan Welding & Fab/Pioneer Sports & Supply-sponsored #83. He became the third championship driver to reside from Bristolville, Ohio!

Brandon Blackshear added five more victories to his career total, bumping the all-time division-leading number to 16. Steve Burns, Jr. and Jason Longwell added a pair of victories with Longwell’s being his career firsts. Single victories went to Tim Deutsch, Ryan Fraley, and Casey Bowers.

After getting denied the last two years, Bill Fuchs returned to his 2011 championship form nailing down the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock crown. Despite winning just one feature event, the Greenville, Pa. driver outgained Travis Creech by seven points. Creech, the 2013 champion, won an amazing 10 feature events including the final three; however, two of those were non-point events and Creech missed some action earlier in the year.

Fuch’s lone win came back on June 7 and was his division’s all-time leading 23rd of his career and came in the his RTW Industrial Contracting/Hittles Auto Supply/Chatfield Well Drilling/Kreider Tire/McKray & Haag Automotive/Mega Builders/Veados Mini Mart/Headliners Gentleman Club-sponsored #10. Fuch’s young daughter gave his acceptance speech.

Six other racers captured feature wins including Scott Gilliland, Adam Little, Joe Campbell, Pete Blazczak, Jim Haefke, Jr., and Doug Hensel. Little and Campbell were both career first wins for the rookie racers, while Hensel’s was his first ever at the Speedway and came in night one of the “Apple Festival Nationals”.

Jim Pollock emceed the event and announced some of the several changes coming for this year’s 86th anniversary season, which will be detailed in an upcoming press release. The 2015 season will officially get underway on Saturday, April 25.

FINAL Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Top 10: 1. REX KING, JR. (165) 640 2. Rex King (65) 628 3. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 563 4. Jim Rasey (32) 539 5. Rick Richner (26) 518 6. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 494 7. Jimmy Weller III (23) 481 8. Tom Glenn (83T) 453 9. Bob Warren (96B) 420 10. Carl Murdick (6) 354.

FINAL “Drive to be a Champion” DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Top 10: 1. REX KING, JR. (165) 298 2. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 294 3. Rex King (65) 292 4. Jim Rasey (32) 252 5. Jimmy Weller III (23) 240 6. Rick Richner (26) 236 7. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD) 222 8. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 211 9. Tom Glenn (83T) 188 10. Bob Warren (96B) 175.

FINAL Barris Supply RUSH Late Model Top 10: 1. WILL THOMAS III (9) 556 2. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L) 472 3. Russ Byler (Hoover 00H) 454 4. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 433 5. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 429 6. Lon Emerick (3) 338 7. Bobby Pifer III (6P) 305 8. Bobby Whitling (7W) & Eric Andrus (54) 255 10. Clay Ruffo (14R) 294.

FINAL Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modified Top 10: 1. STEVE DIXON (Engles 68) 542 2. Russ Dunn (White 53) 476 3. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 473 4. Mike Kinney (3) 450 5. Dwayne Clay (007) 441 6. Joel Watson (92) 436 7. Clayton Kennedy (9) 411 8. Jacob Eucker (64) 400 9. Jeff Johnson (27) 398 10. Scott Stiffler (14) 339.

FINAL Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car Top 10: 1. MIKE CLARK (7) 538 2. Paul Davis (3) 538 3. Bryan Wagner (56) 441 4. Brian Carothers (02c) 425 5. Dave Myers (Burns 70B) 297 6. Brent Coleman (01) 291 7. Brian Mulichak (36D) 285 8. Gary Robinson (44R) 264 9. Jamie Gibbs (98) 225 10. Tony Bruno (97) 213.

FINAL HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mod Top 10: 1. JEREMY DOUBLE (83) 529 2. Casey Bowers (20) 476 3. Josh Mueller (01) 445 4. Ty Rhoades (12R) 444 5. Brandon Blackshear (10) 406 6. Alan Atkinson (32) 400 7. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 398 8. Jason Longwell (7s) 395 9. Steve Haefke (41) 381 10. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 373.

FINAL Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock Top 10: 1. BILL FUCHS (10) 564 2. Travis Creech (75T) 557 3. Jamie Maxwell (6) 521 4. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 501 5. Tim McAninch (43) 471 6. Joe Campbell (40c) 405 7. Pat Drennan (Sirrine 24) 392 8. Geof Pinch (36) 359 9. Rick Wilson, Jr. (55) 342 10. Steve Walker II (4M) 292.

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

Nearly 100 Snowmobiles, ATVs & UTV Side-by-Sides kickoff Sharon’s 2015 season Jan 24 for the “Circle Track Showdown”

NEARLY 100 SNOWMOBILES, ATVS & UTV SIDE-BY-SIDES COMPETITORS KICKOFF SHARON’S 2015 SEASON SATURDAY FOR THE “CIRCLE TRACK SHOWDOWN”
By Mike Leone

January 24, 2015

(Hartford, OH)…Thanks to some mid-week snow and the efforts put in by the track crew, the rescheduled 2015 “Circle Track Showdown” was held on Saturday afternoon. The fourth annual event unofficially kicked off the 86th anniversary season on a cloudy day with temps in the upper 20s. Nearly 100 competitors raced around the 3/8-mile track in the Snowmobile, ATV, and UTV Side-by-Side classes.

The Snowmobiles started off the day running four-lap heat races followed by their eight-lap features for the 43 competitors. Picking up feature wins were Jeff Cann of Hubbard, OH (Vintage), Zac Kollar of Fowler, OH (401-500cc), Tyler Ochs of Lucinda, PA (501-600cc), Lee Luchette of Brookfield, OH (601-700cc), and multi-feature winner Joe Powell of Sharon, PA (701-800cc & 801-900cc).

The ATVs took to the track next running four-lap heats and eight-lap features for the 33 competitors. Feature winners were Brian Putnam of Niles, OH (<301cc), Ron Kirila III of Burghill, OH (Utility), Matt Carney of Vienna, OH (301-400cc), Jeff Drotar of Cortland, OH (401-500cc), and Chad Brown of Vienna, OH (601-700cc). It was the second consecutive year the ATVs have been part of the program.

The UTV Side-by-Sides rounded out the program for their four-lap heats and eight-lap features. A record 16 UTVs were on hand for their third ever appearance at the speedway as they were part of last year’s program as well as on September 21 during a Saturday night “Steel Valley Thunder” racing program. Capturing feature wins were Lee Luchette (<900cc) and Tyler Smith of East Brady, PA (900+cc).

Several dirt track racers were in competition including Jamie Wrightsman and Brad Blackshear in the Snowmobiles and Kevin Robinson, Teddy Williams, Kevin VanZandt, and Brett Brunkenhoefer in the ATVs.

Sharon’s next event will be Saturday, February 7 for the 2014 Awards Banquet and Dinner at the Yankee Lake (OH) Ballroom. Opening night for “Steel Valley Thunder” will be Saturday, April 25.

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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