“Escape” – a “Journey” Tribute Band headlines Friday’s “Summer Jam & BBQ Series”

By Mike Leone

August 24, 2015

(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway will host the fourth installment of the “Summer Jam & BBQ Series” this Friday night (August 28) on the eve of Saturday’s “Steel Valley Thunder” racing program.

“Escape”, a “Journey” Tribute Band will headline the entertainment, which will get underway at 7 p.m. with “Ronnie V & Friends”. Gates open at 6 p.m. and entertainment will wrap up at 11.

The food menu will include barbeque chicken dinner, barbeque country ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, and hot sausage sandwiches. Admission is $ 5. Free camping is available for the entire weekend. Admission is just $ 5 on Friday and if you bring your wristband to Saturday’s race event you will receive $ 2 off the normal $ 10 admission.

“We continue to use the facility in different ways,” explained sixth year General Manager Dave Willoughby. “The concerts take place behind the main grandstands at the new pavilion. Friday will be our fourth monthly Summer Jam and BBQ Series that we started this year, and each one has grown in attendance. 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 just $ 8 to see a full night of 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.



Sharon Speedway

Rod Jones wins Mod Lites & Joe Grzelak, Jr takes Dwarf Cars on Friday; Saturday’s “Apple Festival Nationals” PPD to October 3

By Mike Leone

September 11-12, 2015

(Hartford, OH)…Despite rain being forecasted from late afternoon through the evening Friday, Sharon Speedway was able to beat Mother Nature for night one of the “Apple Festival Nationals”; however, steady showers developed late afternoon on Saturday forcing night two to be postponed to Saturday, October 3 at 6 p.m. Rod Jones (Mod Lites) and Joe Grzelak, Jr. (Sportsman Dwarf Cars) were Friday night’s winners in an event presented by Teeters Motorsports and Joe’s Radiator. A total of 169 race cars were in the pit area Friday night in addition to the vintage cars with the Mod Tour for big blocks set to join Saturday’s action.

Rod Jones passed Doug Stanley with two laps to go to steal the Mod Lite feature win away from race-long leader Stanley. The 20-lap win was Jones’ first of the season at Sharon in the Mod Lites’ second appearance and was worth $ 400.

“These cars are fun to drive here,” expressed the 39-year-old West Middlesex, Pa. racer. “We appreciate Sharon for putting this on along with Teeters Motorsports and Joe’s Radiator for sponsoring it. We love coming here. The cars are so fast, but twitchy and you can get in trouble in a hurry. I have to thank everyone for helping me and it worked out pretty good.”

Stanley used the outsides to race past Jason Darocha on the start. Darocha stuck with Stanley and the two raced side-by-side on laps two and three for the lead before Stanley took control. The top five of Stanley, Darocha, Aaron Meister, Jacob Bova and Jones began to distance themselves from the field. Bova moved past Mesiter for third on lap three, but lost the handle and spun bringing out the first caution with seven laps scored.

Jones lined up fourth for the restart and took third from Meister when racing resumed on lap eight. A pair of cautions for Doug Jones on laps 12 and 13 were the final stoppages. Back under green, Jones and Meister passed Darocha for second and third respectively on lap 14. Jones tracked Stanley down and was able to slip under and past the leader racing off turn four to lead lap 18.

Stanley tried everything to get back by Jones in the final two laps, but the Mod Lite veteran and former Sprint Car racer was able to hold off Stanley, another former Sprint Car racer, in his Jones Performance #820. Mesiter was a close third as Darocha fell to fourth over Todd Rhoades. Heat winners were Meister and Bova over the 22-car field.

Joe Grzelak, Jr. held off female racers Tiffany Williams and Angie Grzelak along with stopping Rod Jones’ bid to sweep both features to capture the 15-lap Sportsman Dwarf Car main event. The win was the 26-year-old Hubbard, Ohio driver’s first at Sharon since April 15, 2011, and was worth $ 300.

It was three-wide on the opening lap with Angie Grzelak leading over her brother Joe and Jones. Joe Grzelak took the lead on lap two before his sister spun in turn four to bring out the caution with two laps scored. Several cautions slowed action over the next 10 laps. Williams passed Steve Mix for third and brought Angie Grzelak, who charged back from the tail, with her on lap 10. Williams got under Jones for second on lap 12 with Grzelak following in third one lap later.

Joe Grzelak was simply too strong out in front and was never seriously challenged to win in the Joe’s Radiator/Weiss Enterprise/Broadway Service/Grzelak Photography-sponsored #888. Williams, who has raced at Sharon this year in the Big-Block and RUSH Modified divisions, edged out fellow female racer Angie Grzelak for her best finish of 2015 in her third different division she’s competed in. Jones was fourth over Steve Mix, Jr. Jones and Grzelak, Jr. won the heat races over the 22-car field.

The Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars had the biggest field of cars on Friday with 47 in the pit area for the Penn-Ohio Series event. Heat wins went to Shaun Hooks, Andy Buckley, Rusty Moore, Tim Bish, and Steve D’Apolito. Moore also won the $ 500 to-win “Jim Hooks Memorial” Dash event. There will be two B mains and the 25-lap feature paying $ 2,000 to-win on October 3.

Max Blair set fast in $ 100 Bobby Lake Motorsports “Shock the Clock” Qualifying for the RUSH Late Models in their Tour event with a lap of 16.419. Blair, Will Thomas III, and Steve Lowery earned $ 25 for their Bobby Lake Motorsports heat race wins. Charlie Duncan won the K&N Dash and earned the pole for the 30-lap, $ 2,000 to-win feature on October 3. Twenty-two cars were in the pits with several more planning on attending on Saturday before the rain out.

Mike Kinney and Joel Watson won the two heat races for the Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds. Just 12 cars were on hand for the $ 2,000 to-win event. Track champion Greg Martin and RUSH Sportsman Modified Tour point leader Larry Kugel were heat race winners in the Weller Hughes Developing & Contracting division that will race for a record $ 800 to-win on October 3. Track champion, Ryan Fraley, and two-time winner, Steve Haefke, copped the two heat races for the 17 Econo Mods. Their October 3 HTMA/Precise Racing Products feature will pay $ 700 to-win. 2014 track champion, Travis Creech, and two-time 2015 winner, Pete Blazczak, captured the Mini Stock heat race wins over the 14-car field. Their 15-lap Deforest Used Parts feature on October 3 will pay $ 500 to-win.

New cars will be permitted to tag the field on Saturday, October 3. Pit gates will open at 3 p.m. with grandstands opening at 4. Group qualifying for the Big-Block Modifieds will take place at 5:45 p.m. followed by racing at 6. Rain checks will be good. For those without rain checks, grandstand admission for those 14 and over is $ 15 and pit passes are $ 35.

Mod Lites (20 laps, $ 400 to-win): 1. ROD JONES (820) 2. Doug Stanley (Coen 1c) 3. Aaron Meister (46) 4. Jason Darocha (5) 5. Todd Rhoades (23R) 6. Jim Good (31) 7. Jacob Bova (28J) 8. Reese Shelton (13H) 9. Jim Gump (71) 10. Shane Webb (267) 11. Mike Flockerzi (44) 12. Bill Stivason (116) 13. Keith Smith (16) 14. Elvis Matlick (00) 15. Dusty Frantz (825) 16. Doug Jones (X) 17. Chris Robinson (12) 18. Josh Christopher (27) 19. Cole Petrelle (84)-DNS 20. Ted Williams (48)-DNS 21. Kelly Teeters (L1)-DNS 22. David Innes (18)-DNS.

Sportsman Dwarf Cars (15 laps, $ 300 to-win): 1. JOE GRZELAK, JR. (888) 2. Tiffany Williams (Smith 58) 3. Angie Grzelak (57) 4. Rod Jones (82) 5. Steve Mix, Jr. (85) 6. Steve Mix (3) 7. Teddy Williams (818) 8. Chas Wolbert (46) 9. Tyler Purnell (51) 10. Greg Davis (34) 11. Larry Rhoades (33) 12. Cody Stillion (25) 13. Mark Suchan (66) 14. Jerry Langley, Jr. (31) 15. Taylor Suchan (44) 16. Jenna Golden (5) 17. Jerry Golden (7) 18. Terry Ohl (9) 19. Kelly Teeters (L1) 20. Art Williams (1) 21. Vivian Jones (20) 22. Jeff Davis (830)-DNS.

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.


Sharon Speedway

“Apple Festival Nats” Fri & Sat; Most of the region’s divisions in action highlighted by $2K to-win for Mod Tour, RUSH LM Tour, E-Mods & Penn-Ohio Stocks

By Mike Leone


September 9, 2015


(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway will conclude the 86th anniversary season this weekend with the running of the annual “Apple Festival Nationals” on Friday and Saturday night.  Nine different divisions will compete plus the vintage cars will also be on display and will run an exhibition each night.  The Mod Lites and Sportsman Dwarf Cars will run a complete show on Friday night, while The Mod Tour will run their entire “Russ King Memorial” on Saturday night; meanwhile, the RUSH Late Model Touring Series, (E) Modifieds, Penn-Ohio Stock Car Series, RUSH Sportsman Modified Touring Series, Econo Mods, and Mini Stocks will have their shows split over the two days with their features on Saturday night.  Race time is 7 p.m. on Friday night and 6 p.m. on Saturday night.


The weekend’s 50/50 and beer proceeds will benefit the Jacob Lewis Memorial Fund/New Hope Racer.   King Motor Sports joined forces with Jones Performance, Moore’s Auto Body, Bicknell Chassis, and McCool Graphics to manufacturer the race simulator.  The goal is to have one in every children’s hospital in the country as they are getting their IV therapy.  In 2015, the Jacob Lewis Memorial Fund developed a new program. If an organization or business does a charity event with the proceeds being donated to the Hope Racer project in excess of $ 3,000 that organization will receive a  car with their logo as the design and get to choose what children’s hospital  receives the simulator.  The Mod Tour drivers will be doing their helmet collection during the redraw and 100% of the money collected goes to fund the Hope Racer Project.


The Mod Tour returns for their second time this season as part of the “Russ King Memorial” on Saturday paying $ 2,000 to-win.  Rex King, Jr. won the first appearance back on July 11 in the “Lou Blaney Memorial”.  King, Jr. came up short to his father on repeating his Hovis Auto & Truck Supply championship, but would love to close out the season winning his first memorial race for his grandfather.  Rex King is the current Mod Tour point leader after the last event at Eriez Speedway won by Kevin Bolland, which was his first since returning to racing this year.


To date, there have been 29 “Russ King Memorial” events run with 15 different winners.  The late Lou Blaney leads the win list at five.  The top active racers include King, Jim Rasey, and last year’s winner Jim Weller, Jr. with three wins each, which is tied for second with the retired hall of fame racer Bob Kraus.  Steve Feder and Ricky Richner scored upset wins in 2012 and 2013 for their first career wins at the speedway.  One of the biggest upsets took place in 2008 when the “358” of Lonny Riggs won his first career Sharon feature!


The Sweeney RUSH Late Model Tour will make its first visit of the season in the fifth annual “Gary Knollinger Memorial” racing for $ 2,000 to-win.  Knollinger was a top Crate Late Model racer from Triadelphia, West Virginia that tragically lost his life after being struck by an automobile near his business.  Sharon was Knollinger’s favorite track and the site of his first career Touring Series win.  Past winners of the event include Max Blair (2011), Joe Martin (2012), Ryan Montgomery (2013), and Russell King (2014).  Blair is the current point leader with eight victories on the Tour.


The RUSH Late Models did make two appearances this season at Sharon for Sweeney Weekly Series action despite three others being rained out.  Standouts and former track champions Will Thomas III and Dennis Lunger, Jr. picked up those $ 700 wins.

Speaking of Thomas, he’s coming off clinching the Summit Racing Equipment Modified crown in his first year of open wheel racing.  Thomas was a three-time winner in the division and will be doing double duty this weekend.  Thomas will be one of the drivers to beat in this weekend’s big $ 2,000 to-win feature.  Drivers like David Scott, Joel Watson, Dan Davies, Mike Kinney, Dwayne Clay, Jeff Johnson, Joe Gabrielson, Scott Stiffler and others will be chomping at the bit in the season’s richest event.


The Penn-Ohio Stock Car Series will make their first visit of the season in a $ 2,000 to-win event as well.  The Stock Car counts on a weekly basis have been up this year; in fact, 23 cars were on hand at each of the final two events.  Mike Clark though still came out on top in the Gibson Insurance Agency points capturing his third straight title and would look to cap off the season with the richest event of the season against the invaders.  On Friday night, there will be a “Jim Hooks Memorial” Dash featuring selected drivers by the friends and family of Hooks.  Chris Schneider swept last year’s “Apple Festival” event; however, has not competed at Sharon in 2015.


The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds completed their first season as being a weekly division and averaged 15 cars per night.  This weekend, the RUSH Mods will race in their first Bicknell Racing Products Touring Series event at Sharon racing for $ 800 to-win.  Earlier this season New York racers Greg Martin and Adam Hilton won the Tour events at Expo and Lernerville Speedways.  Martin captured the Weller Hughes Developing & Contracting track championship over Nick Ritchey, who won the Sportsman’s Speedway track championship.  Veteran Larry Kugel is the current Bicknell Tour point leader.


The Econo Mods will battle for a big $ 700 payday- their richest of the season.  Ryan Fraley and Casey Bowers each won three feature events during the season and battle down to the end in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products Championship race with Fraley coming out on top.  Veterans Steve Haefke and Butch Lambert got hot at the end of the season each winning two events and will try to add a third to end the season.

The Mini Stocks have put up solid car counts all season long as the “Apple Festival Nationals” always draws in several outsiders and high car counts.  That’s again expected this weekend with the season’s richest event paying $ 500 to-win!  Bill Fuchs was crowned champion for the second straight year and third time of his career.


The Mod Lites and Sportsman Dwarf Cars will return once again as part of the “Apple Festival Nationals” running their complete show on Friday.  The Mod Lites will race for $ 400 to-win, while the Sportsman Dwarfs for $ 300 to-win presented by Teeters Motorsports and Joe’s Radiator.   Many of the competitors race weekly at Deerfield Speedway and Mercer Raceway Park and always enjoy a chance to compete at Sharon.

Breakfast will be served in the main concession on Saturday morning and lunch in the pit concession.  There will be live entertainment by Damian Knapp on Friday night from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. and “Fast Freddie” from 93.3 FM will be on hand Saturday night.  There will be bonfire after the races both nights.


On Friday, pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5.  The drivers meeting will take place at 6:15 p.m. with warm-ups at 6:30 followed by Late Model group qualifying and racing.  On Saturday, pits open at 3 p.m. with grandstands at 4.  Warm-ups for the Big-Block Modifieds will get underway at approximately 5:40 followed by their group qualifying with racing to follow.

Grandstand admission for those 14 and over is $ 10 on Friday and $ 15 on Saturday or $ 20 for a two-day pass.  Pit passes are $ 30 on Friday and $ 35 on Saturday or $ 60 for a two-day pass.  As always, children under 13, parking, and camping is always 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 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.


Sharon Speedway

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