RUSH Sportsman Mod Tour & MFG Night highlight Saturday’s “Steel Valley Thunder” program

By Mike Leone

June 22, 2016         

(Hartford, OH)…Finally Mother Nature blessed Sharon Speedway not only last Saturday, but also on Tuesday for  Ohio Sprint Speedweek with the first dry forecasts since the April 16 opener.  Sharon will now look to complete its sixth straight show this Saturday night (June 25) in an event highlighted by the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds in a Bicknell Racing Products Tour event for their “Manufacturers Night”.  The “Steel Valley Thunder” program will also include the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, 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.

Saturday’s kitchen special is a loaded chicken bowl. Hovis Auto & Truck Supply will 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.  Thanks to an anonymous donor, an extra $ 50 will be awarded to position five at all “Steel Valley Thunder” events for the Big-Block Mods, RUSH Sportsman Mods, and Stock Cars.  Summit Racing Equipment $ 25 gift cards will also be awarded.

The Lyden/Red Line Oil RUSH Sportsman Modified division will compete in their first of two Bicknell Racing Products Touring Series events this season. The third year division is in its second year of being part of the weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” program and car counts have been impressive all season long ranging from 21-25 cars with 31 different cars participating!  There have been five different winners in six races at Sharon this season.  Brandon Ritchey, the only repeat winner, has a two-point lead over Kole Holden.  Third through fifth are Jerry Schaffer, Chas Wolbert, and Nick Ritchey.

The Bicknell Tour features seven events this season throughout the western Pa. and eastern Ohio with a separate point fund in addition to the Weekly Series point fund that Sharon is part of. Adam Hilton won the Series’ opening event at Tri-City Raceway Park on Sunday.  Saturday will be the Series’ third annual “Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance with it being the first time held at Sharon.  Well over $ 13,000 of prizes will be distributed to the RUSH racers.

As hard as it’s to believe, 2014 Hovis Auto & Truck Supply champion and four-time 2015 winner, Rex King, Jr., has still yet to win a feature this year at Sharon. Nonetheless, the Bristolville, Ohio racer has a fairly comfortable 20-point lead due to his consistency unlike his fellow competitors.  Jimmy Weller III and his father Jim, Jr. are currently second and third in points as each driver has a pair of victories.  Like his son “Cooter”, Rex King, the 2015 champion, is also looking for his season’s first win as he’s fourth in points over New York racer Rick Richner.

Joe Gabrielson ended a near two-year winless drought in the Modifieds last Saturday as his victory extended his Summit Racing Equipment point lead to 20 over Jeff Johnson. Rookie “open” Modified racer, Josh Ferry, is still third over three-time winner, Joel Watson, who missed a show.  After a disappointing nine cars on June 11, the Modified count doubled to 18 last Saturday.

Steve Haefke has certainly stepped up his program since late last year. In the last five Econo Mod races of 2015, Haefke has scored two wins and three runner-up finishes.  On Saturday night, Haefke won for the second time in the last three weeks and has finished in the top two at all six races in 2016; that means Haefke has a streak of 11 straight races with top two finishes!  Haefke has a 20-point lead on Brandon Blackshear in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products standings.  Brad Blackshear, who utilized just a GM 602 crate engine, is third behind his older brother.  Wayne Daniels and Chris Clay are fourth and fifth.

It was only a matter of time before Bill Fuchs returned to winning form. After being shutout this season, Fuchs won his first of the year, which also moved the defending three-time champion into the Deforest Used Parts point lead for the first this season.  On Tuesday, Andy Proper picked up the $ 300 special to become the sixth different winner in seven races!  Fuchs leads fellow Greenville, Pa. racer, Steve Walker II, by just two.  Matt Rubright, Joe Campbell, who is the division’s only repeat winner this season, and Logan Keney are third through fifth.

Pits open at 4 p.m. on Saturday with grandstands at 5 and racing 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 or call 330-772-5481. Become a fan of Sharon Speedway on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at


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