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RUSH Sportsman Mod Tour double features & their MFG Night highlight “Steel Valley Thunder” racing on Saturday night

By Mike Leone

June 22, 2017          

(Hartford, OH)…After a tremendous Ohio Sprint Speedweek event on Tuesday, Sharon Speedway is ready to return to weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” racing this Saturday night (June 24).  The weather looks great once again as the 88th anniversary season rolls on featuring the weekly HTMA/Precise Racing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds in Bicknell Tour doubleheader plus their annual “Manufacturers Night”.  The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, and Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods will also be on the card.  Race time is 7 p.m.  Grandstand admission remains at $ 10.

It’ll be a big night for RUSH Sportsman Modifieds as they’ll compete in a Bicknell Racing Products Touring Series event for $ 600 and at the conclusion of the night will run the 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up feature, which will pay $ 800 to-win.  The feature field is set for the make-up feature, which is a non-point race.  For the second straight year, Sharon will host RUSH’s “Manufacturers Night” as over $ 19,000 to date has been posted by the Series for giveaways for all competing RUSH drivers. 

The RUSH Sportsman Modified division continues to grow.  Earlier this season, an all-time division record 30 cars were on hand to compete.  Saturday’s program is expected to draw a large field of cars.  Kyle Martell won the Series’ opening Bicknell Tour event on June 9 at Thunder Mountain Speedway.  Defending Bicknell Tour Champions are Larry Kugel and Brian Schaffer.  Kole Holden enters the night as Sharon’s point leader winning the last two weekly races, and also was victorious last Saturday night at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway when Sharon was closed.  Rocky Kugel also has a win this season at Sharon.

The ground-pounding Big-Block Modifieds are the big brother to the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds and will also be in action on Saturday night.  One-time winner and defending champion, Rex King, Jr., enters the night as the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply point leader by just six points over the consistent Dave Murdick, who will be looking for his season’s first win.  Jim Weller, Jr. is only another three points back of Murdick, and owns a feature win this season.  Two-time winner, Rex King, is fourth in points ahead of 2016 “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner, Jim Rasey.  Will Thomas III, who has championships at Sharon in the RUSH Late Models and E-Mods, has been struggling in his first season of Big-Block Modified racing.  He sits 10th in points and is hoping for a good run on Saturday.

Defending champion, Paul Davis, kick started his season at the last event for the Stock Cars on June 10 taking the victory.  Andy Thompson is a Sharon regular for the first time in many years and has been very fast and consistent all year as he trails Davis by just 11 points in the Gibson Insurance Agency championship race.  Mike Miller has been in the championship hunt the last few years and sits third in points.  Three-time champion, Mike Clark, is fourth as he looks for his first win of the season.  Jamie Scharba is fifth.  Chris McGuire and Andy Buckley have also been victorious this season.

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.

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 up next Saturday, July 1 will be another “Steel Valley Thunder” weekly show plus Junior Sprints on Lincoln Electric Night.  The “Lou Blaney Memorial” will take place on Saturday, July 8 with a return appearance by the All Star Sprint Cars along with the Big-Block Modifieds.  On Thursday, July 20, the Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series will be back for the second straight year in a $ 6,000 to-win event plus the Mini Stocks. 

Sharon Speedway is owned by the Blaney, Weller, and Kirila Families and is a 3/8-mile dirt track located at 3241 Custer-Orangeville Road, Hartford, OH 44424 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

Tony Stewart’s All Star Sprints coming to Sharon Tuesday for Ohio Speedweek before returning July 8 for “Lou Blaney Memorial”

By Mike Leone

June 15, 2017                 

(Hartford, OH)…The “410” Sprint Cars will be making their first of four appearances of the 2017 season at Sharon Speedway coming this Tuesday (June 20) when Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions come to town for the 35th annual Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Cometic Gasket.  The Mini Stocks will also be in action.  Warm-ups for Sprints will get underway at 6:20 p.m. followed by qualifying and racing.  Reserved and advanced tickets are on sale at SharonSpeedway.com.

The All Stars will return two and a half weeks later on Saturday, July 8 for the “Lou Blaney Memorial” along with the Big-Block Modifieds.  The “410” Sprint Cars final two appearances will be non-sanctioned events on August 12 then again September 8-9 for the “Apple Festival Nationals”.

The 2017 Ohio Sprint Speedweek will feature eight nights of racing at eight different speedways over nine nights beginning at Attica Raceway Park on Friday night with the Sharon event being stop #5 of the popular summer tradition.  Sharon’s race will pay $ 5,000 to-win.  The All Stars continue to flourish under the third year of ownership by Tony Stewart.  Cometic Gasket is again presenting Ohio Speedweek, and will offer a $ 3,000 point fund.   In addition, multiple win bonuses will also be up for grabs on behalf of Cometic Gasket.  The total bonus for any one team winning two events: $ 500; three events: $ 3,500, four events: $ 7,500; five events: $ 12,500.

“Sprint Car racers and fans alike look forward to Speedweek each and every year.  “It’s grueling. It’s long. It takes a lot of sweat, hard work and dedication, but I’m sure the racers wouldn’t have it any other way,” Tony Stewart said, owner of the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions. “I want to thank all of the tracks and other organizations for helping us put this together, especially Cometic Gasket. The amount of support Ohio Sprint Speedweek attracts is overwhelming. I’m confident this will be around for another 35 years.”

After a five-year absence, Ohio Speedweek returned to Sharon in 2010 as Tim Shaffer topped a 42-car field for the victory.  In 2011, it was hometown favorite Dale Blaney winning the Sharon leg of Speedweek over a 45-car field.  In 2012, in a stunning turn of events, local racer Brandon Matus came out victorious for his first career win with both the All Stars and at Sharon.  Another strong field of 43 cars was on hand.  The 2013 event was rained out before a car ever hit the speedway, and the 2014 event fell victim to Mother Nature before the gates ever opened.  In 2015, Blaney won his second Speedweek race in three events at Sharon over another strong 42-car field.  Last year, Bryan Clauson topped a huge 51-car field winning his first career All Star race before tragically losing his life in a racing accident later in the summer.

“Sharon has always played an important part in Ohio Speedweek history,” explained eighth year GM Dave Willoughby. “Sharon was there at the beginning, and we’re happy once again to be part of this long-running tradition.  The early outlook is calling for great weather.  We hope that trend continues so the fans and racers come out and support this great event so we can continue to host this event for years to come.  We’re really excited about having Sprints on the new red clay surface.”

Ohio Speedweek always draws in top talent from the Midwest, along with the strong core of All Star regulars, several Australians, the best from western Pa., usually a couple from central Pa., and always some surprises.  Currently Rico Abreu has the Sharon event on his schedule before he heads back to California to race.

Chad Kemenah enters Speedweek as not only the defending Speedweek Champion, but the five-time Series defending champion and current point leader.  The Alveda, Ohio driver is fresh off his third victory of the season last weekend and currently has a commanding 180-point lead over Caleb Armstrong.  Kemenah also owns five career All Star victories at Sharon.  The All Stars have one of its largest followings with 17 member drivers.  The saying “you never know who’s going to win an All Stars race” continues to be true as there’s been 12 different winners in 17 events this season entering Speedweek.

Ed Lynch, Jr. is the all-time winningest Sprint Car driver at Sharon with 50 victories.  Brothers Dave and Dale Blaney own 28 and 14 Sprint Car wins respectively at their home track.  The top active local Sprint Car winner at Sharon is Jack Sodeman, Jr.  The North Jackson, Ohio racer has 12 victories along with the 2010 track championship- the last year Sprints ran weekly. 

One driver that has local ties that’s expected to challenge for victory every night of Speedweek is Tim Shaffer.  The “Steel City Outlaw”, who calls Aliquippa, Pa. home, has been running a true ‘outlaw’ schedule in 2017 for the locally-based Demyan/Rudzik team.  Shaffer, who has four career Sharon wins, has found success all over the country this season including most recent wins at Attica Raceway Park and Fremont Speedway.

The Mini Stocks will be the only support division at the event on Tuesday.  They’ll race for $ 300 to-win, $ 50 to-start.  Past champions Steve Walker II and Bill Fuchs have been victorious in the only two Mini Stock events to date this season.  The Mini Stocks will return on Thursday, July 20 for the Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series invasion.

Grandstand admission tickets are $ 25.  Reserved and advanced tickets are available online at SharonSpeedway.com.  Children 13 and under are FREE.  Pit passes are $ 35.  Pits open at 3 p.m. with grandstands at 4.  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

FREE “Fan Appreciation Night” presented by Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing Saturday at Sharon; Full “Steel Valley Thunder” racing program plus giveaways, promotions & on-track autograph session

By Mike Leone

June 6, 2017         

(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway is set for one of its biggest nights of the season this Saturday night (June 10).  FREE “Appreciation Night” presented by Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing will allow all spectators into the grandstands for free general admission.  The “Steel Valley Thunder” racing program part of the 88th anniversary season will include the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and the Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods.  Grandstand gates will open early at 3 p.m. for the pre-race festivities with warm-ups at 6:40 and racing at 7.

Following preliminary heat race action during intermission, race fans will be able to come onto the speedway to see the cars and stars of all four competing divisions.  It’s an excellent meet and greet opportunity for pictures and autographs.  Many of the racers will be handing out autograph cards.

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing is offering fans a chance to win a trip for two to the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Series Championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, 2017. One winner, selected randomly from those in attendance who enter, will receive:

  • Round-trip airfare for the winner and guest
  • Three nights’ hotel accommodations
  • Ford Eco-Boost 400 grandstand tickets to the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Series Championship race and race-day hospitality package
  • A VISA gift card for meals and incidentals ($ 500)
  • Motorcraft apparel package and No. 21 race team autographed memorabilia

“We take great pride in sponsoring Fan Appreciation Night at Sharon Speedway,” said Brett Wheatley, executive director of North America, Ford Customer Service Division. “Dirt-track racing is the very essence of racing in America and we’re happy to share in this day of appreciation for fans of racing and as a ‘thank you’ for the continued support of our Motorcraft parts and our nationwide network of Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers.”

“Being able to collaborate with track owners Dave and Lisa Blaney, proud parents of our No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion driver Ryan Blaney, will make this day even more extraordinary,” Wheatley continued. “Adding to the festivities, fans in attendance can win ‘The Works’ vehicle service package if Ryan wins the June 11 NASCAR race at Pocono in our ‘Win With Ryan Blaney’ Challenge.”

“Win With Ryan Blaney Challenge” – Should the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion, driven by Ryan Blaney, win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono on June 11, everyone in attendance at Fan Appreciation Day can take their June 10 Sharon Speedway admission ticket and the “Win With Ryan Blaney” certificate to a participating Youngstown Metro Ford dealership or Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center to redeem the “The Works” vehicle service package (or any equivalent $ 40 service). Sharon Speedway attendees will receive the “Win With Ryan Blaney” Challenge certificate as part of a welcome package upon entry.

“Fan Appreciation Night is always a great event at our track and having Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing as the presenting sponsor will make it even more so,” said Sharon Speedway co-owner Dave Blaney. “In addition to the free admission, there will be a travel sweepstakes, a line-up of Ford’s latest vehicles, family friendly activities and giveaways for fans of all ages.”

Will there be a fourth different Big-Block Modified winner in four races Saturday?  Time will tell.  Veteran Rex King opened the season victorious followed up by his son Rex, Jr.  Last Saturday night, the Weller cars took one-two with Jim Weller, Jr. picking up the win over Aussie Peter Britten, who was subbing for Jimmy Weller III.  King, Jr. is in search of his third title in four years, but has just a one-point lead in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply standings over Dave Murdick, who would love to win his first of the season and take over the point lead. 

After having the night off last week, the Stock Cars return on Saturday night.  The Stocks have brought strong car counts this season and that’s expected again on Saturday night.  Defending champion, Paul Davis, is looking for his season’s first win, but has a four-point lead in the Gibson Insurance Agency standings over Andy Thompson, who is racing weekly at Sharon this season.  Three-time champion, Mike Clark, trails Davis by only seven markers.

The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds have completed just two events this season at Sharon with an average car count of 25, which was also the count back on May 13 when they were rained out during heat race action.  Eighteen-year-old Kole Holden won his first race at Sharon in over a year last Saturday night.  Atop the standings is Shayne Izzo, who recorded his career best finish in racing on May 27 when he finished runner-up to Rocky Kugel.  Izzo has a one-point lead over Holden in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products standings.  Chelsie Kriegisch is third in points and is one of three female racers in the top 12 in points.  There are actually four females that compete weekly in the division!

The Econo Mods have completed more events than any other division with five feature events in the record books including last Saturday’s 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up feature.  Steve Haefke entered the season with 17 straight top two finishes, but was unable to continue that magic in the first two events.  Haefke though is back to his winning ways as the defending champion has won three straight features.  Zach Myers meanwhile has finished runner-up to Haefke in those three feature events and also won the May 20 event to lead the points by two over Haefke.  Opening night winner, Brandon Blackshear, sits third. 

Pits will still open at 4 p.m. with the drivers meeting and pill cutoff at 6:20, warm-ups are at 6:40, and racing at 7.  Pit passes are $ 30.  Sharon has a no carry-in cooler policy.

There will be no racing next Saturday, June 17.  On Tuesday, June 20 Ohio Speedweek comes to Sharon featuring Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars in a $ 5,000 to-win event along with the Mini Stocks for $ 300 to-win.  The “Lou Blaney Memorial” will take place on Saturday, July 8 with a return appearance by the All Star Sprint Cars along with the Big-Block Modifieds.  On Thursday, July 20, the Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series will be back for the second straight year in a $ 6,000 to-win event plus the Mini Stocks again for $ 300 to-win. 

Sharon Speedway is owned by the Blaney, Weller, and Kirila Families and is a 3/8-mile dirt track located at 3241 Custer-Orangeville Road, Hartford, OH 44424 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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