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SHARON SPEEDWAY JOINS GROWING FASTRAK RANKS

13 November 2010 | Archived News | |    

(Hartford, OH)…In cooperation with Mercer Raceway Park, Sharon Speedway GM Dave Willoughby has announced that the two competing Saturday night speedways have struck a deal, which will send the 410 Sprint Cars to Mercer, while in exchange Sharon will receive the FASTRAK Late Models.  For the first time ever, the FASTRAK Late Models will now become a weekly attraction at the Hartford, Ohio beginning with the 2011 racing season.

The FASTRAK Late Models will share the weekly Saturday night racing card with the Big-Block Modifieds, E-Mods, Stock Cars, and Mini Stocks (formerly known as Hobby Stocks).  The five-division program will be run under the Saturday Night “Steel Valley Thunder” moniker.  The 410 Sprint Cars will make a few appearances during the 2011 season.

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FASTRAK debuted in the Northeast in 2007 with four weekly-sanctioned speedways and some 60 teams competing in that inaugural season.  In each successive year, the growth of FASTRAK has been overwhelming.  This past year saw 15 weekly-sanctioned tracks in the Northeast alone with an astounding 300+ racers taking part!

FASTRAK racers will now have the opportunity on a weekly basis to count their finishes at Sharon toward the National Weekly Series Championship, which pays $10,000 to-win and down 50 positions.  Max Blair, who won the August 28 and September 18 Sharon events, was the National Weekly Champion for the second time in three seasons!  Twenty-eight of the top 50 were racers from the Northeast. 

Blair also garnered the $5,000 Northeast Touring Series Championship and won $20,000 last month for finishing runner-up in the Grand Nationals.  Northeast racers took home over $95,000 in FASTRAK point fund monies in 2010!  Sharon’s events will also allow racers to count their events toward the 12-race minimum requirement to qualify for the three-night Grand Nationals in October.

“I’m really looking forward to being able to run FASTRAK on a weekly basis,” stated Willoughby.  “We had great success with the eight FASTRAK shows that were run over the past two seasons.  We had strong car counts with unbelievable competition and the support and reaction from our fans helped make this decision an easier one.  The amount of money racers can win over and above purse monies is tremendous for basically a $5,000 motor and spec tires.”

There were an incredible seven different winners in those eight events run at Sharon as Blair of Centerville, Pa. was the only repeat winner!  Other winners at Sharon include Mike Pegher, Jr. (Wexford, Pa.), David Scott (Garland, Pa.), Josh Holtgraver (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Gary Knollinger (Wheeling, W.V.), Joe Martin (Mayport, Pa.), and Alan Dellinger (Hermitage, Pa.). 

This shows the amazing competiveness of the division and the fact that Sharon Speedway seems extremely conducive to the FASTRAK concept.  In fact, both Knollinger and Holtgraver’s wins were their first ever in Touring Series competition, and interestingly enough an Ohio driver has yet to win a feature at Sharon!

“I think that’ll change,” laughed Willoughby when the point about Ohio drivers being shutout was brought up.  “I had five calls last week from drivers making the move to FASTRAK since word of this announcement leaked out.  Plus I’ve had a lot of guys tell me over the past year if Sharon adds FASTRAK they’d be there weekly.” 

Late Models have a rich history at Sharon Speedway and throughout the Youngstown region.  Superstars such as Bob Blaney, Tommy Jarrett and Tommy Wimer on dirt and Jim Bickerstaff, Mark Malcuit, Glenn Gault, and Joe Mihalic on asphalt are just a few drivers who have forged their names in the speedway’s annals.

 A large field of cars is expected weekly with a strong core based within an hour of the speedway.  One driver anxiously looking forward to Sharon running FASTRAK is Bill Cunningham.  The Jefferson, Ohio veteran returned to racing last season in a limited effort for the first time in FASTRAK.  Later in the season, son Billy entered the FASTRAK ranks.  The Cunninghams are looking forward to an all-out assault on FASTRAK in 2011.

 Entering his third season in FASTRAK will be Bristolville, Ohio’s Josh Double.  The 17-year-old appeared to pull off an upset win in a Touring Series event in 2009, but came up light at the scales.  One year later in the 2010 Applefest version, Double nearly redeemed himself with a second place finish to Blair in the Touring Series event.  Double, a former go-kart competitor, did capture his career first win this past season at Mercer.  Double is anxiously looking forward to being able to compete in his “backyard”.

 The FASTRAK concept is simple.  Take a standard rolling Late Model and control racing’s two biggest expenses- engines and tires.  FASTRAK racers have two options for their power plant- a GM 602 (retails $3-3,500) and a GM 604 (retails $5-$5,500).  The engines come sealed on a crate straight from General Motors. 

 If an engine suffers an internal issue, racers must take their engine to a certified and bonded FASTRAK engine rebuilder the engine will be resealed under FASTRAK’s sealing program.  Hoosier has created an affordable spec tire that retails for $135.  For more information on FASTRAK Northeast, check out www.fastraknortheast.com or the national site at www.fastrakracing.com.

 Race time has been moved back an hour to 7 PM.  One other notable change is that Sundays will be utilized for a rain date in the event of a postponement of a Saturday Night “Steel Valley Thunder” program. 

 “There were several reasons for the move to 7 PM,” explained Willoughby.  “We found many of our fans not arriving until 7 or some just decided against coming in general if they couldn’t make it by the former 6 PM starting time.  We were still getting done around 10:30 and with having one less division on our program don’t expect that ending time to change.  And finally, the hour later starting time will help us have a better race track for the competitors and fans.”

 The Limited/Green Flag Sprint division has been moved to the bi-weekly “Friday Night Thunder” program and will now be run under the Sprint Car name.  The division will take on more of a “Sprint Car” look with the standard Sprint Car top and front wing, while incorporating the “305” concept.  Joining the Sprints will be the Mod Lites, Sportsman Dwarf Cars, 2-Barrel E-Mods, and the Micro Sprints.     

 Stayed tuned for more information on Sharon Speedway in the coming weeks.  Watch for an all-new website that will be released this winter.  The awards banquet and dinner will be held on Saturday, December 4 at the Yankee Lake Ballroom in Yankee Lake, OH.  Tickets are $30.  Sharon Speedway 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.

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