4 divisions of Modifieds in 5 feature events highlight Saturday’s “Steel Valley Thunder” program

By Mike Leone

August 2, 2017       

(Hartford, OH)…After finally breaking through last Saturday night with the first “Steel Valley Thunder” program in seven weeks, Sharon Speedway looks to make it two in a row this Saturday night (August 5) for an all Modified program for the “Bill Kirila Memorial”.  The weekly Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods will be joined by a special appearance by the E-Mods in a $ 1,000 to-win event presented by A&MP Electric.  The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will also run their $ 800 to-win 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up feature.  Racing is set for 7 p.m.  Adult admission is just $ 10.

The headlining Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds have led the way at Sharon this year completing seven events. Last Saturday night, Rex King, Jr. evened the score with his father Rex, Sr. by virtue of his second win of the season.  King, Jr. has opened up a 19-point lead on Jim Weller, Jr. as he looks for his third title in four season.  Weller, who has one win, was the last driver other than a King to win a Sharon Championship, which occurred in 2013.  Other winners this season include Jeremiah Shingledecker on July 8 for the “Lou Blaney Memorial” and Peter Britten on July 20 for the Super DIRTcar Series event.  Veterans Dave Murdick, Jim Rasey, and King are through fifth in points. 

The E-Mods will be making one of their special appearances this Saturday night. Saturday’s program will pay $ 1,000 to-win win thanks to A&MP Electric.  Back on May 20, Joel Watson won his 27th career feature at Sharon.  Also that night, Jacob Hawkins won the 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up E-Mod feature for the Renegades of Dirt.  On June 3, Carl McKinney reached double figures with his 10th career Sharon win.  Unfortunately their July 22 scheduled event was rained out.  Drivers will be permitted to use any 8? tire.  There are no entry or registration fees.

It’ll be a big night for the HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds as they not only race in a complete program, but will also try and finally complete their 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” $ 800 to-win make-up feature that has been rained out several times. The make-up feature field is already set with no new cars permitted to run.  The make-up feature will be a non-point Sharon and RUSH Tour event; however, will allow drivers to accumulate RUSH Weekly Series points towards their best 12 finishes.  Chas Wolbert won his season’s first at Sharon last Saturday night stopping Kole Holden’s two straight win streak.  Holden is the current point leader by 12 over Wolbert.  Chelsie Kriegisch, Shayne Izzo, and Kyle Martell are third through fifth in points.

The Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods wrap up the four division Modified program on Saturday night. Can anyone stop Steve Haefke is the question!?  Haefke won from the tail last Saturday night for his fifth straight win!  If he wants to keep that streak intact he’ll have to do it from the tail once again this Saturday night.  Haefke entered the season with 17 straight top two finishes before struggling in the opening two events won by Brandon Blackshear and Zach Myers before reeling off five straight wins giving him 22 top two finishes in the past 24 races dating back to 2015!  Blackshear trails Haefke by 17 points as Myers, Kyle Miller, and Mike Hillman complete the top five in points.  

Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5, drivers meeting at 6:30, and racing at 7. Grandstand admission is $ 10 for those 14 and over.  Patio seating upgrades are just $ 5 and fan suite seating upgrades are just $ 20 over the cost of general admission.  In order to reserve either of these ahead of time, call the office Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 330-772-5481.  As always, children under 13, parking, and camping is always FREE!  Pit passes are $ 30.  Sharon has a no carry-in cooler policy.

Coming on Saturday, August 12 will be the “Simon Yoder Memorial” for “410” Sprint Cars paying $ 3,000 to-win, $ 250 to-start!  There will also be a dash for cash paying $ 150 to-win down six spots to set the first three rows of the feature.  The Stock Cars, RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Econo Mods, and Junior Sprints for kids will also be on the program presented by Thompson Fab.

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

After 7 weeks, Sharon looks to resume “Steel Valley Thunder” weekly racing on Saturday night; Penn-Ohio Stocks featured with complete program & $2000 to-win make-up

By Mike Leone

July 25, 2017          

(Hartford, OH)…After several Saturdays of rain, nights off, and special events, Sharon Speedway is hoping Mother Nature will allow “Steel Valley Thunder” weekly racing to resume this Saturday night (July 29).  The last completed “Steel Valley Thunder” event was back on June 10.  Saturday’s program presented by C&R Tire will be highlighted by the rescheduled Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series event and their make-up feature along with the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and the Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods.  Racing begins at 7 p.m.

The Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series has been rained out twice this year so Saturday night will be take #3.  They will not only compete in an entire program for $ 1,000 to-win, but also their $ 2,000 to-win 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up feature that has been rained out several times.  A big field of 50 Stocks were on hand back on May 13 for the Penn-Ohio event before the rains came and washed out the program.  They were rained out again last Saturday night.  Rusty Martz is the current Penn-Ohio point leader over Rusty Moore, Randy Wyant, William Hurrelbrink, and Brian Rhed. 

Defending track champion, Paul Davis, kick started his season at the last event for the Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars on June 10 taking the victory and point lead.  Chris McGuire and Andy Buckley have also been victorious this season in the only other events completed for the Stocks.

The headlining Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds have led the way at Sharon this year completing six events.  The most two recent ones were special events where Peter Britten topped a 38-car field on July 20 for his first career Super DIRTcar Series win worth $ 6,000, and Jeremiah Shingledecker ended a long winless drought taking the $ 2,000 “Lou Blaney Memorial” win back on July 8.  The only repeat winner at Sharon this year is veteran Rex King, who won on May 20 and June 10.  His son Rex, Jr. captured the May 27 event win, and has a 13-point lead on Jim Weller, Jr., who won the other event on June 3.

Like the Stocks, the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds have amazingly only completed three events to date this season.  Kole Holden has won the last two races to take over the HTMA/Precise Racing Products point lead by 16 over Shayne Izzo, a newcomer to Sharon in 2017.  The Tiona, Pa. driver was RUSH’s 2015 “Futures Cup” Champion.  Holden also sits atop RUSH’s Weekly Series Championship points throughout the region, which pays $ 3,000 to-win.  Rocky Kugel won the opening Sharon race this season and is coming off recent wins at Lernerville and Expo Speedways. 

After a slow start in the first two Econo Mod events which ended his run of 17 straight top two finishes, Steve Haefke has been on a roll.  The veteran Austintown, Ohio driver has won the last four events including the 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up non-point feature.  Despite his success, one-time winner, Zach Myers, trails Haefke by only one-point.  Myers will have an opportunity to take over the point lead as Haefke will have his work cut out starting last in the feature due to his three straight wins in weekly competition.  Brandon Blackshear, Mike Hillman, and Kyle Miller are third through fifth in the Summit Racing Equipment points.

Pit gates open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5.  Admission for those 14 is $ 10, while children 13 and under are always free.  Patio seating upgrades are just $ 5 and fan suite seating upgrades are just $ 20 over the cost of general admission each night.  Pit passes are $ 30.  Parking and camping are free.  Sharon has a no carry-in cooler policy.

BREAKING NEWS: The August 12 “410” Sprint Car event will now be the Simon Yoder Memorial and will pay $ 3,000 to-win, $ 250 to-start!  There will also be a dash for cash.  Thanks to the following contributors: Jim Miller, Good Tire Service, BLR Trucking, Deems Logging, Bill Altman, Palmer Pools, Interstate Fabrication, Jake Yoder, and Nathan Exley.  Yoder was a huge Sprint Car fan, who passed away from cancer.

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

Aussie Peter Britten charges from 20th for 1st career Super DIRTcar Big-Block Mod Series win; Isaac Paden wins 1st ever at Sharon in Mini Stocks

By Mike Leone

July 20, 2017

(Hartford, OH)…On a hot and sultry Thursday evening, Sharon Speedway was able to complete the second annual “Buckeye Ground Pounder 100” featuring the Super DIRTcar Series.  Despite storms in the forecast initially throughout the day and night, a line of storms in the afternoon split the speedway and skies cleared for the remainder of the afternoon and evening.  Capturing wins and celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Peter Britten-Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series and Isaac Paden-Mini Stocks.

Peter Britten has been chasing the Super DIRTcar Series since 2011.  On Thursday night, many, including Britten himself, didn’t expect the Australian to find victory lane after lining up 20th for the 100 lapper.  But Britten did just that.  Britten, who used some experience from racing at Sharon four times this season, picked off cars throughout the first half of the event and then made his winning move on lap 55 taking the lead from Matt Sheppard.  Britten would lead the final 46 laps for the $ 6,000 payday.

“It’s pretty amazing,” expressed the 29-year-old Brisbane, Queensland, Australia driver. “This is our first win, and words can’t describe the feeling.  I really had to earn this one, but we had a great race car.  We passed pretty much every good car there is to pass, so it feels amazing and hopefully we can get some more too.  Starting on the pole and winning one of these things is damn near impossible, but having to pass all of those good guys, well I never would have imagined that I’d end up here.  We had a bad-ass car, but we were off in time-trials a bit and that’s what put us down the order.”

From the pole position, Brett Hearn jumped out to the early lead.  Stewart Friesen battled from the ninth starting spot into second past Billy Whittaker, on lap 13.  Friesen closed in on Hearn on lap 17 and was on the leader on lap 21.  Friesen raced side-by-side with Hearn for the lead and momentarily took over the top spot on lap 24 before a caution for Larry Wight and Frank Cozze.  Under caution, Friesen exited with a flat tire after contact from the fence after running out of room in the battle for the lead.

Back under green on lap 34, Erick Rudolph and Matt Sheppard both passed Hearn for the top two spots.  Rudolph’s lead was short-lived as one lap later 10th starting Sheppard made the pass for the lead.  Hearn would slow to bring out the caution with a flat tire and several laps later a caution for Tim Fuller would bunch up the field again.  Back under green on lap 47, Britten made the pass of Rudolph for second and got a caution when Keith Flach and Kevin Bolland made contact on the backstretch. 

When racing resumed on lap 55, Britten made the winning pass of Sheppard in turn four; meanwhile, all eyes were on Friesen as he worked his way back into contention from the tail getting by Jimmy Phelps for fourth on lap 63.  Lapped traffic came into play on lap 66 and by lap 71, Sheppard closed back in on Britten.  The two race side-by-side for the lead on lap 72 with Britten holding on and may have gotten a caution he needed when Jim Rasey stopped.

On lap 82, Friesen continued to move forward getting past Rudolph for third then got a huge break when Sheppard slowed with a flat tire with 88 laps scored.  While many probably thought Friesen would now deny Britten of his first win, that wasn’t the case as Britten pulled away over the final 12 caution-free laps to win by 2.485 seconds in his own #21A.  Britten became the 90th different driver to win a Big-Block Modified feature in the history of Sharon Speedway!

Rudolph would pass Friesen for second on lap 96 to earn $ 4,000.  Friesen was a disappointed third, but earned $ 2,500.  Billy Decker came from 22nd to place fourth over Pat Ward.  Completing the top 10 were Larry Wight, Max McLaughlin, Whittaker, Sheppard from the tail in the final 12 laps, and Hearn.  Brian Swartzlander of Leechburg, Pa. was the top finishing local racer in 13th.

Fuller set fast time overall with a lap of 16.866 as he was the only driver amongst the 38 to run a sub 17-second lap.  Heat winners were Fuller, Wight, Ward, and Sheppard, while Maresca and Decker won the last chance B mains.

Isaac Paden joined Peter Britten as first career Sharon Speedway winners as Paden copped the victory in the 12-lap Mini Stock feature.  Paden took the lead on lap three and held off defending champion, Steve Walker II, for the $ 300 victory.  “I was getting a little worried I was going to lose it there,” acknowledged the 18-year-old New Castle, Pa. driver.  “I really enjoyed the track tonight- it was really nice.  The speed made it a lot more fun.  I’d like thank my parents and grandparents.” 

Rick and Terry Feely led the field to green as it was three-wide with Rick leading over Terry and Paden.  Paden passed Terry Feely on lap two using the outside and then stayed on the top to pass Rick Feely racing off turn four on lap three.  Walker, who started fourth, then passed Rick Feely for second on lap four.  Walker closed in on Paden on lap seven and was right on the leader on lap nine.  Walker tried everything over the final laps, but was unable to overtake Paden, who held on by a little more than a car-length to become the 28th different winner in the history of the division.  Rick and Terry Feely finished third and fourth respectively after winning the heat races.  Shane Shook was fifth after starting 13th.

Super DIRTcar Series for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds (100 laps, $ 6,000 to-win): 1. PETER BRITTEN (21A)  2. Erick Rudolph (25R)  3. Stewart Friesen (44)  4. Billy Decker (91)  5. Pat Ward (42P)  6. Larry Wight (99L)  7. Max McLaughlin (6H)  8. Billy Whittaker (109)  9. Matt Sheppard (9s)  10. Brett Hearn (20)  11. Tim Fuller (19)  12. Jimmy Phelps (98H)  13. Brian Swartzlander (83)  14. Brandon Walters (22)  15. Rich Scagliotta (8)  16. Rex King, Jr. (165)  17. C.G. Morey (14)  18. Will Thomas III (9)  19. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13)  20. Erik Martin (29E)  21. Jim Rasey (32)  22. Ryan Watt (14w)  23. Rob Kristyak (00)  24. Mike Maresca (7M)  25. Dave Blaney (18B)  26. Keith Flach (43)  27. Kevin Bolland (777)  28. Rex King (65)  29. Frank Cozze (35)  30. Mat Williamson (6M)  31. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD).

Did not qualify: Jeremy Smith (46), Tom Mattocks (69), Jim Weller, Jr. (31), Justin Rasey (21), Skip Moore (17M), Bob Warren (96B), Steve Barr (25B).

Mini Stocks (12 laps, $ 300 to-win): 1. ISAAC PADEN (24)  2. Steve Walker II (4M)  3. Rick Feely (28)  4. Terry Feely (971)  5. Shane Shook (17s)  6. Pat Hanlon II (26K)  7. Logan Keney (16)  8. Jim Jones (16)  9. Ed Roberts (6s)  10. Michael Porterfield (23MP)  11. Joe Campbell (40C)  12. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421)  13. Dillon Speer (07)  14. Dan McEwen (44)-DNS.

Sharon returns to action on Saturday night (July 22) for “Steel Valley Thunder” featuring the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, E-Mods, Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods plus the Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Series for $ 1,000 to-win event plus their $ 2,000 to-win 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up feature.  Pit gates open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5.  Racing is at 7.  Admission for those 14 and over is $ 10, while children 13 and under are free.  Pit passes are $ 30.  Parking and camping are 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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