“FRIDAY NIGHT THUNDER” TAKE III THIS FRIDAY & “STEEL VALLEY THUNDER” SATURDAY
By Mike Leone
April 13, 2011
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway will try once again this Friday and Saturday, April 15 and 16 for another doubleheader program. It all begins on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. with take number three of the “Friday Night Thunder” kickoff program then wraps up on Saturday night at 7 p.m. with the second installment of the new “Steel Valley Thunder” program. Saturday’s rain date is Sunday at 5:30.
Wet conditions have been the norm the last two Friday nights with snow showers on the morning of April 1 and rain last Friday. The forecast has continued to improve for this Friday, as the kickoff of the “Friday Night Thunder” is looking more and more likely. On the card will be the debut of the new Ti22 Performance PA/OH Outlaw Sprint Warriors, the Summit Racing Equipment two-barrel Econo Mods, the Uni-Tech Frame Straightening & Joe’s Radiator Mod Lites and Sportsman Dwarf Cars along with the Micro Sprints and Mini Late Models.
Pits open at 4:30 p.m. Friday with the grandstands at 5:30 and race time is set for 7:30 this year to allow for more time for racers to travel to Sharon Speedway. Friday night is Twin-State Auto Racing Club and Pittsburgh Circle Track Club Night with free general admission for all card-carrying members. For all others, adults are $10, students 9-13 are $5, and children eight and under are free. Pit passes are $25. Note: “Friday Night Thunder” action has been added to Friday, April 22 due to the two rainouts.
While other speedways have succumbed to Mother Nature, Sharon will actually look to complete its fourth straight program on Saturday and fifth of the 82nd anniversary season. Last Saturday night was the debut of the new “Steel Valley Thunder” program, which brought in the FASTRAK Late Models to the weekly program for the first time ever. Barris Supply is presenting the new division.
FASTRAK is in its fifth season in the Northeast. In recent years, rising car counts and increasingly more speedways participating in the program have become the norm. Sharon got off to a great start last Saturday night with 30 cars in the pit area. Drivers that failed to qualify for the feature not only received the $50 tow money, but a free pit pass as well, which will be the standard all season long.
Joe Martin captured his second career Sharon victory joining Max Blair as the division’s only repeat winners in the nine races run. The FASTRAK Late Models were running times compared to the Big-Block Modifieds all night long even with the required harder FT400 on the right rear! Sharon’s events count toward the FASTRAK National Weekly Series Championship, which pays $10,000 to-win and down 50 positions. Blair is a two-time champion.
While the Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds may have been low in numbers for their opener, they certainly made up for it on the track with great racing throughout the non-stop feature. Rex King charged his way to the front stealing the win away from Rob Kristyak showing he’ll be a threat once again to contend for the championship. Look for increasing car counts with many registered drivers still not hitting the track yet.
The Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mod action was fast and furious last Saturday. Joel Watson, Alan Dellinger, Joe Gabrielson, Mike Kinney, Greg Johnson, Rich Michael, Jr., and others were setting blistering times around the fast 3/8-mile oval. Watson surprised Dellinger, the all-time E-Mod winner, by making the winning move in lapped traffic for just his second career win.
Bruce Redman got off to a good start in the Gibson Agency Stock Car championship race putting on a dominant performance to capture the feature win. Like the Modifieds, more Stock Cars are expected out in the coming weeks.
No matter what division it is, it’s always good to see first time winners. In Randy Sprouse’s case it’s been a longtime coming. The Elkton, Ohio driver started racing in 2002 competing in various divisions such as Stock Cars and E-Mods. Last season, Sprouse joined his son Lucas in the Mini Stock division. April 9 will now forever be remembered as Sprouse’s first career win, which came in the 12-lap Presidential Lawn Car-sponsored event.
Those same five divisions will be back this Saturday night for Lawrence County (PA) School Night. Pits open at 4 p.m. with the grandstands at 5, hot laps at 6:40, and qualifying for Stock Cars at 7 followed by racing. Adult admission is just $7, while students 9-13 are $5, and children eight and under are free. Pit passes are $25. The rain date is Sunday with racing at 5:30 p.m.
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.