Sharon to close out 85th anniversary season Saturday; Top 10 point chases to be decided in “Steel Valley Thunder” finale plus RUSH Sportsman Mod

By Mike Leone

September 23, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway will bring the curtain down on the 85th anniversary season this Saturday night (September 27). On the card as part of the “Steel Valley Thunder” event will be 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 Mods, Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks, and a return appearance by the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. Over 100 race cars have filled the pits in each of the last six events. Race time Saturday is 7 p.m.

The top 10 drivers in each of the six weekly divisions will receive point fund monies at the awards banquet typically held in early February at the Yankee Lake Ballroom in Brookfield, Ohio. Saturday will give drivers one last chance at advancing their final position in points.

In the Speedway’s headlining division, it’s down to a King Family affair as Rex King, Jr. leads his father Rex, Sr. by 19 markers in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds. The youngest King is coming off his division-leading sixth win last Saturday night. Already this year, “Cooter” has won his first Lernerville Speedway track championship in addition to the BRP Tour title, and now looks to add his first ever Sharon championship! The elder King won titles in 1985, 1996, and back-to-back in 2010-2011, but it won’t be easy to win a fifth on Saturday night.

King won’t finish worse than second in points as he has a 48-point advantage on Jim Weller, Jr., who has the third position sewed up by simply showing up to compete Saturday night. Only 36 points separates fourth through seventh in points between Jim Rasey, Jimmy Weller III, Ricky Richner, and Rick Regalski, Jr. Tom Glenn and Bob Warren are currently ninth and tenth and are guaranteed a top 10 point finish

Will Thomas III clinched his second championship in three years last Saturday night in the Barris Supply RUSH Late Models. Thomas is one of three drivers that have four victories this season in the division. In fact, Thomas, 2013 champion Dennis Lunger, Jr., and last week’s winner Alan Dellinger are the only three drivers to win regular events this season. Rick Singleton and Russell King won the $ 1,500 Sweeney Tour events on July 5 and September 12 respectively.

Sixty different drivers have competed in at least one RUSH Late Model event this season, but only the top 10 will receive season ending point fund monies. Lunger is second and has a 15-point lead on Russell Byler, who is in his first full season of Late Model racing. Dellinger is fourth, but still has a mathematical shot of taking over second in points. Jamie Wrightsman, Lon Emerick, Bobby Pifer III, Bobby Whitling, Eric Andrus, and Clay Ruffo complete the top 10.

Even though he dropped from first to third in the final laps of last week’s Modified feature, Steve Dixon was able to clinch his first championship in the Smethport, Pa. driver’s first season of racing weekly at the Hartford, Ohio oval. While Dixon has a lock on the title with a 47-point lead, just 14 points separates positions two through five! Mike Kinney, who won his season’s third feature last Saturday and is the defending champion, is currently second but just by two over the consistent Russ Dunn. Four-time champion Carl McKinney and 2012 champion Joel Watson are fourth and fifth. Rounding out the top 10 of the competitive division that has featured over 20 cars per night in the past six races are Dwayne Clay, Jeff Johnson, Clayton Kennedy, Jacob Eucker, and Scott Stiffler.

The Stock Cars is the closest championship battle as Paul Davis overtook the Gibson Insurance Agency point lead by three last Saturday night coupled with his fifth victory last Saturday night and a ninth place finish by Mike Clark. Clark won his first championship last year, while Davis is looking for his first. Bryan Wagner is third in points and it appears that’s where he’ll finish as engine issues have apparently ended the season for fourth and fifth place drivers Brian Carothers and Brent Coleman. Rookie Dave Myers is sixth over Brian Mulichak, Gary Robinson, Tony Bruno, and Jamie Gibbs.

Not only did Jeremy Double go from third to first on the final lap for his fourth win of the season, but the 18-year-old also captured his second straight Econo Mod championship! With his runner-up finish, Casey Bowers moved into second in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products standings and would love to end his winless drought that dates back over two years at the Speedway. Sophomore racer Ty Rhoades is 14 points behind Bowers in third as he continues to battle for his first career win.

After missing last Saturday night, Brandon Blackshear dropped to fourth in points and is ahead of Josh Mueller by just one point. Jason Longwell, Steve Burns, Jr., Brian Foley, Jr., Alan Atkinson, and Steve Haefke are sixth through tenth in points. The five drivers are guaranteed to finish in the top 10, but could easily change their currently positions.

It’s hard to believe that despite winning nine features to Bill Fuch’s one, Travis Creech would be trailing Fuchs in the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock points, but that’s the case as Fuchs holds down a 27-point lead due to Creech missing one night in addition to several DNFs. Creech won six features and the title in his rookie championship season in 2013, but it’s going to be difficult to overcome Fuchs, who can win his second career title by finishing 17th or better no matter what Creech does in the heat or feature. Jamie Maxwell is third in points over 2012 champion Jim Haefke, Jr. Fifth through 10th currently are Tim McAninch, Joe Campbell, Pat Drennan, Geof Pinch, Rick Wilson, Jr., and Steve Walker II.

While the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds won’t be running for track points Saturday, they will be gathering important points toward the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Weekly Series point chase that pays a $ 10,000 point fund to the top 15 drivers. The RUSH Mods were off last weekend and will return to Sharon on Saturday for their eighth event at the track during their inaugural season. There have been between 10-12 cars at each event. Wilson, New York driver Greg Martin has shined at Sharon with four wins and three runner-up finishes, and his victory at the last event at Sharon propelled him into the Series point lead by two over Adam Hilton, who won his first Sharon race on Friday event during the “Apple Festival Nationals”.

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, and Econo Mod divisions. Sweeney Chevrolet/Pace Performance will award $ 50, $ 25, and $ 25 certificates to the top three GM 602 crates in the Econo Mods that have been purchased through them or have secondary seals. HTMA will award a free Hoosier tire to the hard charger in the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds.

Pit gates open at 4 p.m., grandstands at 5 with racing at 7. Admission for those 14 and over is $ 13. Pit passes are $ 30. As always, children under 13, parking, and camping is always FREE!

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 @SharonSpdwy.

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Sharon Speedway

“Steel Valley Thunder” returns Saturday as just 2 events remain to decide 2014 championships; UTV SxS also in action

By Mike Leone

September 16, 2014

(Hartford, OH)…After being off for Labor Day Weekend, a rain out, and the two-day “Apple Festival Nationals” last weekend, Sharon Speedway looks forward to returning to a full program of “Steel Valley Thunder” racing this Saturday night (September 20) for the first time since August 23. On the card as part of the 85th anniversary season will be 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 Mods, and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. Race time is 7 p.m.

With several regional speedways either closed for the year or off this weekend, a strong field of racers is expected in all divisions. Also on the agenda Saturday is Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) Side-by-Side (SxS) competition. The UTV SxS made their debut during the “Circle Track Showdown” Snowmobile and ATV races back on January 25. Eight of them were in competition as Ed Mueller and Lee Luchette captured the feature victories. Helmets are required and no passengers will be allowed.

With just two nights remaining, it’s down to a family duel in the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds as Rex King, Jr. will try to hold off his father Rex, Sr. for his first championship. The youngest member of the racing King Family already captured his first ever track championship this season at Lernerville in addition to the BRP Tour title last Saturday at Sharon.

“Cooter” has five wins this season at Sharon, but hasn’t won since the “Lou Blaney Memorial” on July 30. He leads his father by 14 points in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply standings. “Cooter” is tied for most wins in the division with Jim Weller, Jr., who sits third 61 points back despite missing one night. Weller has been on fire with wins in his last three starts including both the Johnny Zdelar and Russ King Memorial events for over $ 5,000! Jim Rasey, who continues to search for his season’s first victory, is fourth in points over two-time winner Jimmy Weller III.

The RUSH Late Models are coming off a season high 35 cars at last Friday’s Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Touring Series event in night one of the “Apple Festival Nationals” won by Russell King, who was driving for Bob Diver. A total of 58 different drivers have competed in the class this year, but atop the Barris Supply standings is Will Thomas III, who looks to clinch his second championship in three years. The Sharpsville, Pa. driver is tied with defending champion Dennis Lunger, Jr. with a division-high four wins, but leads Lunger in the standings by 78. Thomas simply needs to start the feature to claim the title. Russ Byler, Jamie Wrightsman, and three-time winner Alan Dellinger are third through fifth in points.

The Modifieds are coming off a successful two-day “Apple Festival Nationals” where 28 cars were on hand Friday and 25 on Saturday; in fact, the Modifieds have had at least 21 cars in the last five events! If 24 or more cars are on hand Saturday, the Summit Racing Equipment-sponsored division will again compete for $ 700 to-win, $ 100 to-start!

Steve Dixon and Joel Watson split last weekend’s non-point special event victories as the duo is currently one-two in points. Dixon of Smethport, Pa. leads Watson of Conneaut, Ohio by 21 points. While Watson won the 2012 title, neither Dixon nor his car owner Tim Engles have ever captured a title at the Speedway. Russ Dunn, Mike Kinney, and Carl McKinney are third through fifth in points.

The Stock Cars have seen a rise in car count at the last five completed events. It’s a tight championship race as four drivers are still in the hunt, though it appears like it’ll come down to Mike Clark and Paul Davis, who have been the division’s hotshoes again. Both Clark and Davis are tied with four wins, and in the Gibson Insurance Agency standings it’s defending champion Clark with a nine-point advantage. Brian Carothers and Bryan Wagner are still alive in third and fourth respectively. Brent Coleman is a distant fifth. The Homak Penn-Ohio Series was part of last weekend’s “Apple Festival Nationals” that saw Chris Schneider sweep the $ 3,000 weekend as 37 cars battled on Friday night and 27 on Saturday night.

Like Clark in the Stocks, Jeremy Double is also vying for his second consecutive track championship in the Econo Mods. Double’s point lead though is a little more secure as he holds a 39-point lead over the division’s all-time winner Brandon Blackshear, who swept last weekend’s “Apple Festival Nationals” for a $ 900 payday. Blackshear has now won three of the last four events, five on the season, and 15 for his career!

Teenager Casey Bowers won back-to-back events in the first two races of his career at the “Apple Festival Nationals” two years ago, but hasn’t been able to win since. Bowers has been consistent though as he’s third in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products points, but just two up on Ty Rhoades and three on Jason Longwell. A season-high 21 cars were on hand last Friday night.

Travis Creech ended a two-month drought winning the Mini Stocks on August 23 then won last Saturday’s non-point $ 200 special. It was Creech’s track-leading eighth win of the season, but trails the division’s all-time winner, Bill Fuchs, by 31 in the Deforest Used Parts points. Jamie Maxwell, who is third in points, continues to chase after his first career win. Jim Haefke, Jr. and Tim McAninch are fourth and fifth in points respectively. A record 28 cars were on hand last Friday night as newcomer Doug Hensel won his first career feature at the Speedway. Hensel then finished second to Creech on Saturday as 20 cars took part.

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, and Econo Mod divisions. Sweeney Chevrolet/Pace Performance will award $ 50, $ 25, and $ 25 certificates to the top three GM 602 crates in the Econo Mods that have been purchased through them or have secondary seals. HTMA will award a free Hoosier tire to the hard charger in the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds.

NOTE: The “Apple Festival Nationals” parade will be taking place on Saturday in Hartford, Ohio. Road closure will take place from approximately 5:30 p.m. to 7 at State Route 7 and Bushnell-Campbell Road (C.H. 185).

Pit gates open at 4 p.m., grandstands at 5 with racing at 7. Admission for those 14 and over is $ 13. Pit passes are $ 30. As always, children under 13, parking, and camping is always FREE!

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 @SharonSpdwy.

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Sharon Speedway

Huge “Apple Festival Nationals” Friday & Saturday; Complete shows each day featuring most of the region’s divisions

By Mike Leone

September 9, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Hartford, OH)…After losing four events to Mother Nature and being off two other Saturday nights since July 12, Sharon Speedway is hoping the weather cooperates for the big “Apple Festival Nationals” this weekend. A complete show will be run both Friday and Saturday night (September 12-13) as most of the region’s divisions are featured in this annual extravaganza!

Friday’s program will feature the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series in the $ 1,500 to-win “Gary Knollinger Memorial” along with the (E) Modifieds ($ 700 to-win), Homak Penn-Ohio Stock Car Series ($ 1,000 to-win), RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, TUSA Mod Lites, Econo Mods, Sportsman Dwarf Cars, and Mini Stocks.

Then on Saturday, the Big-Block Modifieds highlight the program in the “Russ King Memorial” for the BRP Tour. The (E) Modifieds and Homak Penn-Ohio Stock Cars will also compete for $ 1,000 to-win. The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Econo Mods, and Mini Stocks will also return for another complete program. Kids Power Wheels races will be held at intermission for the first time ever!

Homak Tools will present Friday night’s program. They will be giving away a GOLSS Blue 36″ H2Pro 2pc Combo Toolbox valued at $ 1,799 to a lucky fan on Friday night and one to a lucky Stock Car driver on Saturday night!

Homak Tools is the presenting sponsor of the new Penn-Ohio Stock Car Series in 2014 that will be running its first ever Sharon events this weekend. Thanks to Scott Hooks of Hooks Auto, $ 300 has been added to the winner’s share on Friday night in memory of his brother Jim. This means the features both nights will pay $ 1,000 to-win, $ 100 to-start! No entry fees will be charged! The Penn-Ohio Series has featured six different winners in seven events! Only Chris Schneider has been able to repeat, while single victories have gone to Curt Bish, Chris Withers, Shaun Hooks, and Rusty Martz.

The Sweeney RUSH Late Model Tour will make its second and final visit of the season on Friday night. Back on July 5, Rick Singleton won his first career race at the speedway as part of the “Bill Emig Memorial”. Friday event will be the fourth annual “Gary Knollinger Memorial”. 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), and Ryan Montgomery (2013). Speaking of Montgomery, the 17-year-old from Fairmont, West Virginia is the current Series point leader.

As part of Friday’s RUSH program, former NASCAR racer Randy LaJoie will bring his Safer Racer Tour to the speedway. “The Safer Racer Tour will allow many drivers in various divisions to be informed on current safety systems, answer questions and display better containment seats. Safer Racer will give recommendations to all drivers that would like one,” stated LaJoie. LaJoie will have a display set up with various equipment from his The Joie of Seating. In addition, LaJoie will give a presentation that will be open to everyone before the night’s events as well as speaking to each RUSH racer individually.

While the Barris Supply Late Models will highlight Friday, the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds will be the featured attraction on Saturday in a memorial of their own. The “Russ King Memorial” is always one of the biggest Modified events in the region, which attracts a large car count with racers from all over the region.

This year’s event is again sanctioned by BRP and will pay $ 2,000 to-win sponsored by King Bros. Redi Mix. The BRP made a stop at Sharon on July 30 for the “Lou Blaney Memorial” and it was track point leader Rex King, Jr. taking the victory. Rex King, who is runner-up in Sharon’s weekly points, has a pair of BRP Tour wins this year, while Dave Murdick and Lonny Riggs have also been victorious. Murdick is the current point leader.

To date, there have been 28 “Russ King Memorial” events run with 15 different winners. The late Lou Blaney leads the win list at five. The top active racers include Rex King and Jim Rasey with three wins each, which is tied for second with the retired hall of fame racer Bob Kraus. The last two years have been upsets with Steve Feder winning the 2012 version and Ricky Richner last season- both were 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 Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds have drawn the highest weekly car counts and is probably the most competitive division at the track. A strong car count is expected both nights with $ 700 and $ 1,000 on the line to win, $ 100 to-start each night. The Modifieds will group qualify to determine the feature line-up (maximum eight invert) both nights. If more than a full field of cars is present, the top 18 will be locked in from time with the remainder running a last chance B main to fill out the 24 starters. The fast qualifier will receive a $ 50 gift certificate from Wedge Motorsports.

The HTMA/Precise Racing Products will run under the same format as the Modifieds both nights. While the Econo Mods typically race for $ 200 to-win, the ante will be upped this weekend with $ 350 up for grabs Friday night and a season high $ 500 to-win on Saturday night!

The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will return for their sixth and seventh appearances of the season. New York’s Greg Martin has had a handle on the competition winning three of the shows, while Jordan Eck and Rocky Kugel have also been victorious. Ironically, Series point leader Adam Hilton, who has four victories on the circuit, has yet to win at Sharon this season as he hopes to capture the $ 3,000 title.

The Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock car counts have really been up the three nights of competition in August. Look for a solid field of cars with $ 200 to-win each night and many regional speedways not in action.

Also part of the Friday program will be the TUSA Mod Lites and the Sportsman Dwarf Cars. Many of the competitors race weekly at Deerfield Speedway and Mercer Raceway Park and always enjoy a chance to compete at Sharon. The Mod Lites last appeared at Sharon on May 24 when Derek Wagner topped a 25-car field. The Dwarf Cars haven’t competed at Sharon since 2011 when they were part of the bi-weekly Friday night program. A total of 15 races have been run for the division. Josh Walker leads the list with seven wins.

There will be live entertainment after the races both nights; Friday night by Chad Morrow and Saturday night by “Fast Freddie” from 93.3 The Wolf. Breakfast will be served Saturday morning from 8-11 a.m. and lunch from 12-2 p.m. Free camping is available on the grounds from Wednesday night on. Also on Saturday at 12 p.m., a cornhole tournament will be held behind the main grandstands. The cost to enter is $ 20 per team with all proceeds going to the Northeast Ohio Adoption (N.O.A.S.) program. Participants are asked to be present 30 minutes prior to game time.

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, and Econo Mod divisions. Sweeney Chevrolet/Pace Performance will award $ 50, $ 25, and $ 25 certificates to the top three GM 602 crates in the Econo Mods that have been purchased through them or have secondary seals.

Pit gates open at 4 p.m. both days. Grandstands open at 5 p.m. on Friday and 4 on Saturday. Warm-ups will get underway at 6 p.m. on Friday night followed by group qualifying for the Modifieds and Econo Mods with heat races at approximately 7. On Saturday, everything is 30 minutes earlier. Admission for those 14 and over is $ 13 each day or $ 22 for a two-day pass. Pit passes are $ 30 each day or $ 55 for a two-day pass. As always, children under 13, parking, and camping is always FREE!

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 @SharonSpdwy.

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Sharon Speedway

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