UPSET WIN FOR BURNS IN OPEN STOCKS WORTH $2,100! MARCUCCI WINS STAR’S MOD LITE OPENER; MINIS TO FUCHS
By Mike Leone
April 2, 2011
(Hartford, OH)…For the second straight weekend, Mother Nature plagued the western Pa./eastern Ohio area with cold, inclement weather, and while all other area tracks pulled the plug on their events, Sharon again continued on with their program. Despite an unfavorable forecast all week, Sharon waited until Saturday morning to make a decision on the status of the fourth annual Open Stock Car Shootout. Surprisingly, sunshine dawned the speedway and it never did rain or snow all day as predicted and the temperature rose to 50 degrees.
Tim Burns entered Saturday’s Open Stock Shootout certainly not a favorite to take one of the region’s biggest prizes for Stock Cars. Burns had just two prior career wins at Sharon and was taking on some of the area’s best racers with just eight-inch tires in this open tire event. After 40 hard-fought laps, Burns proved all the doubters wrong capturing his biggest career victory worth $1,500 plus another $600 in lap money bringing his event total to a whopping $2,100!
Burns inherited the lead on lap 24 when Bruce Redman and Alan Dellinger tangled and went on to lead the final 17 laps. Burns’ win was even more meaningful as it came on his son Jeff’s 18th birthday plus he also picked up lap money for lap 32, which he sponsored himself in memory of his mother Debra J. McClearn, who just recently passed away.
“I am worn out,” yelled the exuberant 39-year-old Greenville, Pa. racer. “I couldn’t believe it when those two got together down here. It was just a great big opportunity and I did the best I could to miss it. On those restarts, Tommy Fox was bumping me in the back. I knew he was there and I just thought ‘gosh I gotta go I gotta go’! I can’t believe the tires stayed on this thing. God please help I kept thinking!”
Redman raced to the early lead past pole-sitter Bobby Whitling. Dellinger started fourth and passed Mike Duritsky for third on the opening lap then grabbed second from Whitling on lap two. Dellinger caught Redman and was right on his bumper on lap seven before a pair of cautions slowed action with nine laps completed.
When racing resumed, sixth starting Burns entered the picture taking third from Whitling on the restart. Dellinger pulled even with Redman on lap 10 and the two raced side-by-side with Redman able to hang on. Dellinger continued to apply pressure and again drove alongside Redman on lap 17 before the event was slowed for a spinning Russell Byler with 17 laps completed.
Two more cautions slowed action with 18 and 20 laps completed. On each restart, Whitling and Burns swapped third and fourth. Whitling was just about to begin to challenge Dellinger and Redman when he got into turn four too hard getting sideways and yielding third back to Burns.
Back up front, Dellinger was right on Redman. On lap 24, Dellinger got a great run off turn two and going down the backstretch pulled alongside of Redman. The duo was side-by-side in turn three with Redman on the bottom and Dellinger on the outside. The two made contact and spun into the infield. They were able to keep going as the entire field was able to miss them. The race stayed under green, but it was a heartbreaking end for Redman and Dellinger. Redman earned $900 for leading the first 23 laps and with his race earnings topped out at $1,010.
Burns was able to steer clear of the spinning Redman and Dellinger as he led lap 24. Throughout the melee, 16th starting Fox was able to pass Whitling to inherit third. Whitling still looked like he could have a shot at the victory as he pressured Fox. On lap 31, Whitling drove hard into turn one and tried to get alongside Fox coming off turn two, but ran out of room as he slammed and then rode the backstretch fence before coming to a rest to bring out the caution as a tough end to his night.
When action resumed, Burns now had to fend off Fox; meanwhile, Steve D’Apolito was able to pass Rusty Martz for third on lap 32. As the final laps ticked off, Burns opened up some breathing room, while D’Apolito challenged Fox. Burns went unchallenged to the checkered flag by a margin of victory of 1.291 seconds in his Dad’s Pet Care/Hittles Auto Supply/Wedge Motorsports-sponsored #66.
Fox was able to hold off D’Apolito to earn the $800 runner-up prize. Brian Carothers had a solid run in fourth after passing Martz for the position on lap 34. Martz dropped to a disappointing fifth. Completing the top 10 was Ohio invader Brandon Gardner in his first ever appearance, Steve Burns, Jr., Randy Wyant, Mike Clark, and Stan Woomer.
Whitling set fast time over the 28-car field with a lap of 17.963 collecting the $100 put up by Bud’s Towing and also won the six-car dash to earn the pole position for the feature. Heat winners were Greg Fenno and Wyant, while Jamie Duncan won the B main. Robinson Automotive put up three $20 bonuses for the following: the 10th place car on lap 24 (Woomer), 15th place car on lap 34 (Whitling), and the first non-qualifier (Andy Thompson).
The STAR’s Mod Lite Series kicked off their season and it was a familiar face in victory lane as local driver Mark Marcucci of nearby West Middlesex, Pa. won the 20-lap Uni-Tech Frame Straightening & Joe’s Radiator feature. Marcucci passed race-long leader Brian Woodhall with a slider on a restart with two laps to go and went on for the $400 victory.
“I really didn’t mean to do that to Brian,” described the 22-year-old Marcucci, who won three races in 2010. “He’s a good friend of mine. I thought I was going to get him on the high side and he got a little jump on the restart. I saw the opening down there and I really thought I had him cleared so I got on the gas and we bumped a little bit. I know he’s upset and I apologize to him, but that’s how it goes.”
From the pole position, Woodhall took the initial lead over Lynn Knepper and Josh Slitter. A caution for a spin by Shawn Sliter slowed action with four laps completed. When green replaced yellow, eighth starting Marcucci moved to second past Knepper. The second and final caution was displayed with 18 laps completed for a spin by FASTRAK Late Model driver Bud Watson, who was driving the Sonny Tanner #13.
On the restart, Marcucci dove low under Woodhall, but wasn’t quite able to clear him. The two made contact with Marcucci powering into the lead. Woodhall gathered it up back up and tried valiantly to get back by Marcucci on the last lap, but was unsuccessful as Marcucci’s D&M Excavating/Ernie’s Transmission/Harper & Huston Masonry #8M took the checkered flag. Woodhall edged the father-son duo of Alan and Lynn Knepper for second. West Virginia driver Brandon Fluharty was fifth. Heat victors were Marcucci and Watson.
Three-time 2010 winner Bill Fuchs got off to a fast start winning the 2011 opener for the Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks. The victory was a big one worth a career high $300 in the 12-lap feature as he held off 16-year-old young charger Dillon Kineston.
“Tonight it happened to be our night,” expressed the Greenville, Pa. driver. “I’ve been racing with Dillon since he was 14 years old and that’s when he won his first points title at Mercer. There’s a kid I tip my hat to. He always brings off his ‘A’ game. What Sharon Speedway did getting this show in was great. Everyone was worried about the snow. It’s time to come out and play! This is the same identical car I ran last year. I was always told by a couple older people if it wasn’t broke don’t fix it!”
Fuchs raced to the lead from the pole position, while Kineston passed rookie Dennis Dellinger, Jr. for second. The event’s only caution came with one lap scored when Jeremy Double and Chris Roberts tangled. Back under green flag conditions, Kineston closed in on Fuchs on lap four. Kineston hounded the leader for the next 10 laps until slowing on the final lap.
Fuchs’ win came in his RTW Industrial Contracting/Hittles Auto Supply/Kreider Tire-sponsored #10. Kineston still was able to cross the finish line in second. Michael McElhaney held off 2010 champion and 11th starting Mike Scharba over the last six laps of the race to finish third. Ken Koby III rounded out the top five. Heat winners were Scharba and Kineston.
Gibson Agency Stock Cars (40 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. TIM BURNS (66) 2. Tommy Fox, Jr. (80) 3. Steve D’Apolito (84) 4. Brian Carothers (02c) 5. Rusty Martz (16M) 6. Brandon Gardner (G27) 7. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 8. Randy Wyant (11T) 9. Mike Clark (7) 10. Stan Woomer (2) 11. Marty Warren, Jr. (05) 12. Corey Ruffo (14R) 13. Brett McDonald (25) 14. Darrin Hyde (4) 15. Bobby Whitling (7W) 16. Bruce Redman (27) 17. Alan Dellinger (Burns 43B) 18. Chris Withers (21W) 19. Russell Byler (06R) 20. Jamie Duncan (67J) 21. Mike Duritsky (90) 22. Jeff Buccella (Davis 915) 23. Greg Fenno (71)-DNS 24. Paul Schreckengost (9x)-DNS DNQ: Andy Thompson (7), Jace Ferringer (02), Bob Egley (30), Gary Miller, Jr. (1M).
Joe’s Radiator/Uni-Tech Frame Straightening STAR’s Mod Lites (20 laps, $400 to-win): 1. MARK MARCUCCI (8M) 2. Brian Woodhall (Miller 726 ) 3. Alan Knepper (20) 4. Lynn Knepper (10) 5. Brandon Fluharty (25) 6. Kenny Meadows (Teague 10T) 7. Josh Sliter (17) 8. Shawn Sliter (27S) 9. Bud Watson (Tanner 13) 10. George Englert (11X) 11. Doug Feil (08) 12. Kevin Sevacko (76) 13. Jeff Teeters (23) 14. Chris Steele (14)-DNS.
Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks (12 laps, $300 to-win): 1. BILL FUCHS (10) 2. Dillon Kineston (19) 3. Michael McElhaney (6) 4. Mike Scharba (30M) 5. Ken Koby II (22) 6. Duane Westfall (0) 7. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 8. Jeremy Double (83) 9. Chris Roberts (93) 10. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (1JR) 11. Steve Walker (4M) 12. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421).
Sharon will return to action this Friday and Saturday with a doubleheader weekend. On Friday night (April 8), it’ll be the opener for the “Friday Night Thunder” for the Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, Uni-Tech Frame Straightening/Joe’s Radiator Mod Lites, Micro Sprints, Joe’s Radiator/Uni-Tech Frame Straightening Sportsman Dwarf Cars, and the Mini Late Models at 7:30 p.m. Then on Saturday (April 9) it’s the “Steel Valley Thunder” opener for the Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds, Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods, Gibson Agency Stock Cars, and the Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks. Saturday’s show will be held on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. in the event of inclement weather.
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.