“Steel Valley Thunder” racing returns to Sharon Saturday plus kids bike races

By Mike Leone

June 4, 2015

(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway was one of the only tracks in the region to beat Mother Nature last Saturday with the ULMS Super Late Model event; now with better weather predicted for this Saturday (June 6), Sharon will try to make it three in a row during this wet spring.  Week number four of the 86th anniversary season will feature a full “Steel Valley Thunder” program including the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.  Group qualifying begins at 7 p.m.

Saturday’s event will also include the first kids’ bike races of the year at intermission.  There will be a sign-up area before the races.  Helmets are required.  The 50/50 raffle and beer proceeds will benefit Charity Warren Family Mission.  This week’s kitchen special is chicken pot pie.

Who will be the first driver other than a King to win a DIRTcar Big-Block Modified feature at Sharon in 2015!?  Defending champion, Rex King, Jr., got off to a fast start winning the first two events, but his bid for three in a row ended when he finished runner-up last Saturday to his father, who won his milestone 50th career Sharon feature and 100th overall!  Rex, Jr. has just a three-point lead over his father heading into Saturday night.  Jim Weller, Jr., Ricky Richner, and Jim Rasey are third through fifth in points.  Last Saturday also marked the return of Kevin Bolland, who finished sixth, after nearly a three-year absence since winning the 2012 “Lou Blaney Memorial”.

Ironically in the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Rocky Kugel stopped Greg Martin’s bid for three-in-a-row.  Like King, Jr., Martin raced from the 12th starting spot to a runner-up finish.  For Kugel, it was his second career Sharon win.  Martin, who makes the three and a half hour tow down from Wilson, New York, currently has a 16-point lead over teenager Kyle Martell.  Kugel, Nick Ritchey, and Chelsie Kriegisch complete the top five in the Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing-sponsored division.

After a week off, the Modified division will return to action this Saturday night.  The Mods brought a 24-car field the last time they ran on May 23 meaning the payoff was increased to $ 1,000 to-win, $ 700 for second, and an increase on back through position 12 over the already $ 100 to-start Summit Racing Equipment feature!  Two-time RUSH Late Model Champion, Will Thomas III, has been a surprise out of the gate winning the first two features and leading the points by nine over Mike Kinney.  Third through fifth are Dwayne Clay, Mike Potosky, and Matt Lux, who has returned to the division after running Super Late Models for many years and sitting out recent seasons.

Like the Mods, the Stock Cars are also back on the schedule for Saturday night after a week off.  The Stocks pulled in a solid 18-car field back on May 23 as Shaun Hooks and Steve D’Apolito swept the top two positions in their 2015 debuts.  Mike Miller is a surprise atop the standings.  Miller has become consistently faster in recent years looking for his first career win.  Miller has a two-point lead on defending two-time Gibson Insurance Agency Champion Mike Clark.  Chris Haines, Jesse Brock, and Charlie Jasinski complete the top five.

The Econo Mods have produced three different winners in three races.  Opening night saw Butch Lambert win his first ever at the track, while Mike Hillman captured his first career win on week two.  Last Saturday, Ryan Fraley won his first of the season and took over the point lead.  Fraley leads the always consistent Casey Bowers by four in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products standings.  Keith Felicetty, Hillman, and Jamie Scharba, who led the first 18 laps last Saturday, round out the top five.

The Mini Stocks have brought in between 16-18 cars each of the first three weeks.  Mini Stocks are reminded they race for $ 150 to-win, $ 40 to-start when there’s 18 or more cars compared to $ 100 to-win, $ 30 to-start for 17 or less.  Defending two-time champion Bill Fuchs looks like he’s in championship form again winning two of the first three races to open up a 23-point point lead over opening night winner Pete Blazczak.  Jamie Maxwell, Michael DelliQuadri, and Matt Rubright are third through fifth in the Deforest Used Parts standings.

Hovis Auto & Truck Supply will again 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. Summit Racing Equipment will award $ 25 gift cards to the hard charger in the Modified, Stock Car, Econo Mod, and Mini Stock divisions.

Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5, and group qualifying slated for 7. Admission for those 14 and over is $ 10.  Pit passes are $ 30.  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.

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Sharon Speedway

“Summer Jam & BBQ Series” Friday night followed by the return of the ULMS Super Late Models & more Saturday

By Mike Leone

May 27, 2015

(Hartford, OH)…After getting week number two in last Saturday night after losing three of the first four events to Mother Nature, Sharon Speedway will roll into this weekend with a doubleheader of events on tap.  Friday night will feature the first “Summer Jam & BBQ Series, while racing returns on Saturday night featuring the ULMS Super Late Models, Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.  Racing begins at 7 p.m.

Friday’s event will be the first of four “Summer Jam & BBQ Series”.  Gates will open at 6 p.m. for the 9 p.m. performance by “Key West”- a Jimmy Buffet Tribute band in the new pavilion located behind the main grandstands.  Food and spirits will be available all night long.  Admission is $ 5.  Free camping is available all weekend.

After a two-year absence, the Super Late Models will be back at Sharon in a ULMS-sanctioned event paying $ 2,000 to win. Group hot lap qualifying will set the heat race line-ups, which will determine the starting line-up for the 25-lap Zimmer’s Service Center feature. Late Model racers are reminded Sharon uses the red AMB transponders. There will be limited rentals available.

Past ULMS winners at Sharon are Davey Johnson, Keith Barbara, Mike Knight, and Boom Briggs, who now follows the World of Outlaw tour and has contacted ULMS in regards to this event. Johnson owns 27 career wins at Sharon, which is second all-time on the win list.

Barbara, former Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway champion, Michael Davis, along with West Virginia racer, Corey Conley have also confirmed they will venture to the Hartford, Ohio oval. John Lobb of Frewsburg, NY won the season opening ULMS event is the current point leader over Jared Miley of South Park, PA. Greg Oakes, John Volpe, Chad Valone and defending champion Jason Dupont are less than eight points behind Lobb. Other expected racers are local hot shoe, Russ King who will be looking to grab his second career ULMS win along with Clay Ruffo of Mercer and other outsiders as well.

Can anyone stop Rex King, Jr.!? The defending champion has gone two-for-two to open up the 2015 season in the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds after coming off a career best season in 2014. The Bristolville, Ohio driver will be unable to start any better than 12th on Saturday night due to his two straight wins. One driver that might have something to say is Kevin Bolland, who has confirmed he’ll return to racing Saturday after two years off. Bolland owns 21 career victories at Sharon. The elder Rex King has been sitting at 49 wins looking for that milestone 50th. He’s currently six points back in points of his son, while New York’s Ricky Richner is third.

Another driver coming off two straight wins is Greg Martin in the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. The Wilson, New York driver has taken a liking to the Hartford, Ohio oval scoring six wins and four runner-up finishes in 10 appearances over the past two seasons! Martin will not only chase after the Sharon crown, but the $ 3,000 to-win Bicknell Racing Products RUSH Weekly Series Championship. Ohio’s Kyle Martell, a 15-year-old has recorded two runner-up finishes to Martin, and trails him by just six in Sharon’s points. Nick Ritchey, Chelsie Kriegisch, and Rocky Kugel are sitting in a three-way tie for third place in points.

It was stated in season previews that the Econo Mod division would be wide open with new winners expected and that’s held true after two events. Opening night saw Butch Lambert capture his first career win; Lambert though was one of several top drivers that got caught up in an opening lap accident last Saturday night. When all was said in done and done, just five drivers finished the event with four of them never having won a feature. Taking the win was the much improved Mike Hillman, who now leads the HTMA/Precise Racing Products points by three over Saturday’s runner-up finisher, Brian Foley, Jr.

Defending two-time champion Bill Fuchs is looking strong once again in the Mini Stocks. The Greenville, Pa. driver won his 24th feature of his career last Saturday night, which leads the division all-time, and has jumped out to an eight-point leader over opening night winner, Pete Blazczak, who looks to contend for the Deforest Used Parts title for the first time.

The Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds and the Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars will have the night off, but will return to action on Saturday, June 6 for a full “Steel Valley Thunder” program.

Saturday’s kitchen special is meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy and vegetable. The raffle and beer proceeds charity will be local police and fire departments.

Hovis Auto & Truck Supply will again 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. Summit Racing Equipment will award $ 25 gift cards to the hard charger in the Econo Mod and Mini Stock divisions.

Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5, warm-ups for Super Late Models at approximately 6:40 with racing getting underway at 7.  Admission for those 14 and over is $ 15.  Pit passes are $ 30.  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.

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Sharon Speedway

Full “Steel Valley Thunder” program plus TUSA Mod Lites, performance by Megan McGowan & more Saturday presented by Deforest Used Parts

By Mike Leone

May 21, 2015

(Hartford, OH)…After two straight rain outs and three in the first four weeks, Sharon Speedway is hoping to get back on track this Saturday night (May 23) with great weather predicted. Week number two of the 86th anniversary season will feature a full “Steel Valley Thunder” program including the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks, and an appearance by the TUSA Mod Lites. Saturday’s event is being presented by Deforest Used Parts. Group qualifying begins at 7 p.m.

Seventeen-year-old Morgan McGowan of Hubbard, Ohio will sing in the pavilion behind the grandstands shortly after the gates at 5 p.m. until race time. Saturday’s kitchen special is baked chicken, potato and vegetable. Beer proceeds will benefit local police and fire departments.

The 50/50 raffle will benefit Jordan Baer, a 25-year-old from Girard, Ohio. Baer graduated with honors from Girard High School in 2008 and recently Pittsburgh Art Institute. In 2008, right after high school graduation Jordan became ill. He was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy and later pulmonary hypertension due to a virus that infected his heart.

Also, thanks to Fin Feather & Fur, tickets will go on sale for a Barnett Crossbow Recruit Compound that will be raffled off at Fan Appreciation Night on June 13. Tickets are $ 5.

Joining the weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” divisions is the TUSA Mod Lites in a $ 1,500 to-win national event. New York’s Derek Wagner won last year’s event in his first ever appearance, while Jeff Teeters captured a $ 500 event in September during the “Apple Festival Nationals”.

The DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds had the highest car count on opening night with 22 cars in the pits. Defending track and Lou Blaney Memorial “Drive to be a Champion” titlist, Rex King, Jr. wasted little time showing he’s going to be force to repeat with his opening night win. Brian Swartzlander and Dave Murdick looked to be contenders until dropping from the event late with overheating problems. Swartzlander already has a pair of victories at Lernerville Speedway.

Not many times does a newcomer to a division win a feature out the box, but Will Thomas did it on the May 2 opener in the Modifieds and pocketed the $ 700 increased payout. Modifieds are reminded that, 24 cars or more will result in $ 1,000 to-win and an increased payoff! It was a rough night for defending track champion, Steve Dixon, who crashed in qualifying ending his night. Past champions Mike Kinney and Joel Watson were right there in second and third.

It was good to see a record 15 RUSH Sportsman Modifieds on hand for their first race as being a weekly division. The class attracted between 10 and 13 on a limited schedule in their inaugural 2014 season. Several other new racers are expected in the coming weeks like 14-year-old Jeremy Weaver, Justin Shea, Joe Plesniak, Jim Bryce, Jerry Schaffer, last year’s inaugural winner Jordan Eck, Josh Chaney, Michael Miller, and more. It was a familiar face in victory lane though as Greg Martin won his fifth career race at the track. Martin, who travels three and a half hours to race, has yet to finish worse than second in his nine starts at the speedway.

The Econo Mod division was very competitive in 2014 and with standouts Jeremy Double and Brandon Blackshear the latest to move up to the Modifieds, look for more new winners in 2015. Butch Lambert started the trend off winning the opener for his first career Sharon win. Lambert has been a veteran racer in the Stock Cars, Modifieds, and RUSH Late Models over the years, but had never been able to win at the Hartford, Ohio oval.

The Mini Stocks brought out a solid field of 17 cars on May 2 missing their car count bonus payoff by one car. It’s always good to see Pete Blazczak make the hour and a half tow up from Gibsonia, Pa., and it proved successful as he captured the victory. Blazczak stated in victory lane he expects to be a weekly competitor at Sharon in 2015. He was able to beat two-time champion and the division’s all-time winner, Bill Fuchs. Look for some new Mini Stock winners as well with 16-time 2013-2014 winner, Travis Creech, moving up to the Stock Cars.

Hovis Auto & Truck Supply will again 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. Summit Racing Equipment will award $ 25 gift cards to the hard charger in the Modified, Stock Car, Econo Mod, and Mini Stock divisions.

Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5, and group qualifying slated for 7. Admission for those 14 and over is $ 10. Pit passes are $ 30. 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.

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Sharon Speedway

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