MARTIN DOES IT AGAIN OVER BLAIR IN FASTRAK LATE MODELS BEATING 36 CARS; RASEY DOMINATES MODS; MICHAEL WINS EXCITING E-MOD MAIN; BURNS & SCHARBA BECOME 3RD DIFFERENT WINNERS IN STOCKS & MINIS
By Mike Leone
April 23, 2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Hartford, OH)…While every track in the region pulled the plug on their programs due to the inclement weather and wet grounds, Sharon Speedway once again forged on with their show on Saturday night. Clearing skies and temps in the low 70s in the afternoon gave fans and racers hope of being able to race on another soggy weekend in the western Pa./eastern Ohio area. A storm system that rolled in early evening stayed to the south keeping Sharon high and dry allowing the program to be completed. A parking procedure was created for fans to enter the facility and park inside on the asphalt of the old half-mile speedway due to the unusable grassy parking areas.
Track conditions were excellent once again as a season high 108 cars from five different states turned out for “Steel Valley Thunder” on Barris Supply Night. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Joe Martin-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Jim Rasey-Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds, Richard Michael, Jr.-Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods, Steve Burns, Jr.-Gibson Agency Stock Cars, and Mike Scharba-Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks.
For the second straight event, the new FASTRAK Late Model division produced 30+ cars and once again it was Joe Martin standing in victory lane dethroning defending two-time National Weekly and Northeast Touring Series Champion Max Blair. With Martin’s 20-lap Barris Supply feature victory, he becomes the division’s all-time winner at the track with three victories in the 10 events held.
“This suit is too big on me,” expressed the Mayport, Pa. driver, who turned 26 on Wednesday. “I have Max Blair’s helmet and shoes, Russ King’s shirt. I had to buy to a new RACEceiver. We put on a good search today- a couple hours worth and we couldn’t find my stuff. I really think someone stole it out of my street vehicle. I have to thank those guys; I seriously wasn’t even going to come tonight. My car likes the outside. I’m still not sure if I like it though. It’s fast, but you have to be on your toes up there, hitting your marks.”
Making his FASTRAK debut, Wayne Robertson, who made the four and half hour tow from Corning, NY, bolted to the lead past pole-sitter John Volpe on the start. Martin, who started sixth, passed Blair and Mark Moats, Jr. on the opening lap for fourth. Following a restart for a spin by T.J. Downs with one lap completed, Martin blasted around Billy Henry, Jr., Volpe, and Robertson into the lead.
Volpe was able to pass Robertson for second on lap six, while Blair took fourth from Henry. Robertson and Volpe put on quite a battle racing hard side-by-side for second on laps nine and 10 with Volpe holding on. A second caution for a spin by Downs erased Martin’s straightaway lead with 11 laps scored. When racing resumed, a big shuffle took place with Blair advancing two spots to second, while Josh Double gained ground to fourth with Robertson back to fifth.
Blair had one last chance alongside Martin for a restart with two laps to go, but Martin was too strong off the top side of the speedway as he rocketed to the checkered flag for his seventh career FASTRAK-sanctioned victory overall in his STS Rental/Neese Trucking/Martin Farms/Allegheny Crane Rental/Juart Bros. Excavating/Primitive Peddler/Freedline Auto Repair-sponsored #55. “This is a pretty special weekend with Easter being tomorrow, I think we forget about that all too often and it’s in the back of our minds instead of the front of our minds and we need to recognize Jesus for what he did for us,” expressed Martin.
Blair crossed in second for the second consecutive race trailing Martin by 0.737 seconds. Double was able to get around Volpe on lap 19 to finish third after starting 10th. Volpe dropped to fourth over 12th starting Mike Pegher, Jr.- a winner two weeks ago at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway. Completing the top 10 were 13th starting Mike Blose, Henry, 24th starting Tom Snyder, Jr. in his return to FASTRAK, 18th starting Damian Bidwell, and 16th starting Rod Laskey. Heat victors over the 36-car field from four states were Martin, Volpe, Blair, and Double. The B mains were won by Billy Cunningham and Rocky Kugel.
After ruining a front row starting spot on opening night when he slammed the fence on the first lap, Jim Rasey redeemed himself with a wire-to-wire victory in the 20-lap Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modified feature.
“We had something break in the heat race that the crew didn’t catch during the week,” explained the 39-year-old Warren, Ohio racer. “They worked really hard this week getting this car back together. The chassis was bent- it was pretty ugly, but I think they got it back together pretty good! The last time we bent this car bad was the night before we won the Lou Blaney Memorial. I might bend this thing more often!”
Rasey quickly pulled away from the field at the start of the race. Eric Gabany was running second in his “358” small-block as he was trying to hold off a hungry pack of five big-block racers behind him. A caution for a spin by Carl Murdick, who is entering his 52nd year of racing, slowed action with 12 laps completed.
When green replaced yellow, Gabany got stuck behind the lapped car of Kevin Green, which allowed Brad Rapp, Rex King, and Dean Pearson to take positions two through four respectively. Rasey meanwhile pulled away uncontested to win by a margin of 2.774 seconds in his Alcon Mechanical/Dad’s Root Beer-sponsored #32. The victory marked the 17th of Rasey’s career moving him into a tie for sixth with Ron Smoker on the all-time win list.
Rapp held off King, who came from 10th after an early pit stop. Pearson was fourth for the second straight race. Gabany held on to fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Rob Kristyak, Rex King, Jr., Murdick, Rick Ryder, and Green. Kevin Bolland won the heat race, but got collected in an accident on a false start at the beginning of the feature and was unable to continue.
The E-Mods have put on exciting races both weeks, and this time it was Richard Michael, Jr. pocketing the victory and making his three hour tow from Ischau, NY pay off. Michael’s first career Sharon win came in the 15-lap Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling event over a stout field of competitors.
“I wanted this win really bad,” stated the 40-year-old standout. “Last week we were terrible. We changed quite a bit of stuff around at the shop this week and it turned the car around. This is a brand new car this year and a lot different than we had this year. The track was really good tonight. I couldn’t believe you guys were running. It was pouring at the house all last night and ’til about 10 o’clock today. We didn’t even plan on coming and called down here this afternoon and found out you were running. It shocked me!”
Michael used the outside to propel past Andy Buckley on the start of the race for the early lead. Sixth starting Jack Young was on the move taking second from Buckley on lap two. Opening night winner, Joel Watson, was working his way forward and moved into contention on lap three passing Carl McKinney. Following a restart with three laps completed, Watson and Buckley both passed Young for second and third.
The next 10 laps would go caution-free as Michael and Watson pulled away from the field. By the halfway mark, the duo had a straightaway advantage on the third place running car of Buckley. Watson tried everything to get past Michael and even had a restart with two laps to go, by Michael was too strong in his 4 AM Graphics/Reflections Hair Designs/Carlins Pizza Shop/Mullins Race Engines-sponsored #17x.
Watson was 0.969 seconds back in second. Buckley slipped high in turn two on the final lap allowing Young to get back by to finish third. Buckley still had a strong showing in fourth with Greg Johnson coming all the way from 15th to round out the top five. Sixth through tenth were McKinney, Larry Kugel, Jeff Johnson, 19th starting Howard Fraley, and 20th starting Mike Kinney. Heat winners over the stout field of 28 cars from four states were Dan Davies, Kugel, and Watson. Fraley won the B main.
Steve Burns, Jr. became the third different Stock Car winner in as many races as he led from green-to-checkered in the 15-lap Gibson Agency event. Burns, who won his career first race in 2009, returned back to victory lane for the second time in his career. “I got a good starting spot,” acknowledged the Masury, Ohio racer. “I just wanted to get out front and hoped everything would go good. I hope to be back here a couple more times this year.”
Burns took the top spot away from pole-sitter Mike Clark for the early lead. All eyes were on seventh starting Alan Dellinger as he began his ascend to the front. Dellinger took fourth from Brian Carothers on lap eight and then inherited third when Jamie Scharba slammed the fence collecting Bruce Redman with eight laps completed.
On the ensuing restart, Dellinger passed Clark for runner-up. Dellinger ran side-by-side with his teammate for the lead on laps nine and ten. Burns was able to maintain the lead and then Dellinger dropped off the pace and exited the event on lap 13. This allowed Burns unchallenged to the checkered flag in the Steve Burns, Sr.-owned, Penn-Ohio Electric/T&D Landscaping/Rien Construction/Country Convenience/ Laddies Sky Club/Warehouse Sales/Tight Seal Glass Block/Dr. Caquadi-sponsored #70B.
Clark crossed the finish line 1.265 seconds behind Burns for his best effort of the season in second. Steve D’Apolito came from eighth to finish a season best third. Charlie Jasinski was fourth in his season debut as Jamie Duncan completed the top five. Scharba and Redman won the heat races.
Like Burns, Mike Scharba used the outside pole position to take the lead and became the third different Mini Stock winner in as many races. The 12-lap Presidential Lawn Care feature win was the ninth of his career- tops all-time for the division. “That was really close,” expressed the 23-year-old Masury, Ohio driver of the Westhill Auto/Hilltop Pizza/J&C Towing-sponsored #30M. “Billy (Fuchs) is a pretty quick guy on the bottom! I felt him- he was pushing me every corner and it helped.”
Bill Fuchs, who won back on April 2, passed Jeremy Double for second on lap two. Fuchs was right on Scharba’s bumper on lap three. Fuchs threw everything but the “kitchen sink” at Scharba for the remainder of the event and even had a restart alongside him, but just couldn’t quite make the pass in a great race that had just one caution. Steve Walker, Jr. was third over Double and 11th starting Dillon Kineston. Heat winners over the season-high 20-car field were Kineston and Randy Sprouse.
Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. JIM RASEY (32) 2. Brad Rapp (11R) 3. Rex King (65) 4. Dean Pearson (8J) 5. Eric Gabany (3E) 6. Rob Kristyak (00) 7. Rex King, Jr. (165) 8. Carl Murdick (6) 9. Rick Ryder (Snider 189) 10. Kevin Green (74) 11. Kevin Bolland (777).
Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models (20 laps): 1. JOE MARTIN (55) 2. Max Blair (111) 3. Josh Double (38) 4. John Volpe (Bidwell B1D) 5. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Geisler 1c) 6. Mike Blose (5) 7. Billy Henry, Jr. (McGee 21*) 8. Tom Snyder, Jr. (1F) 9. Damian Bidwell (17) 10. Rod Laskey (1R) 11. Bud Watson (Powell 100) 12. Ben Black (27B) 13. Matt Latta (21) 14. Dan Angelicchio (14) 15. Wayne Robertson (20) 16. Eric Wilson (27) 17. Ryan Montgomery (12) 18. Rocky Kugel (21KRT) 19. Billy Cunningham (44c) 20. Mark Moats, Jr. (15) 21. Tyler Barris (32B) 22. T.J. Downs (03) 23. Tom Copeland (98) 24. Bill Cunningham (59) DNQ: Steve Dixon (50), Shane Weaver (325X), Kyle Zimmerman (z17), Clay Ruffo (14R), Chad Wright (6), Rusty Cade (47), Justin Kreider (29), J.C. Boyer (10), Matt Harvey (4), Steve Dotson (97), Nico Dabecco (1), Bobby Pifer III (6).
Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods (15 laps): 1. RICHARD MICHAEL, JR. (17x) 2. Joe Watson (92) 3. Jack Young (Hamilton 67) 4. Andy Buckley (965) 5. Greg Johnson (05) 6. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 7. Larry Kugel (Conley 27c) 8. Jeff Johnson (Clay 007J) 9. Howard Fraley (217) 10. Mike Kinney (3) 11. Rory Reed (R88) 12. Bruce Powell (35) 13. Dwayne Clay (007) 14. Bruce Redman (White 53) 15. Jim Turley (117) 16. Ron Kahler (7R) 17. Vince Crisanti (221) 18. Steve Haefke, Jr. (19H) 19. Larry Root (22x) 20. Jeff Hassay (10) 21. Tim Burns (2B) 22. Dan Davies (71D) 23. Paul Phillips (11SS) 24. Scott Jones (44J) DNQ: Ryan Ambrose (6), James Loney (10L), Alan Dellinger (Petsko 00), Bob Williamson (93).
Gibson Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. STEVE BURNS, JR. (70B) 2. Mike Clark (7) 3. Steve D’Apolito (84) 4. Charlie Jasinski (11A) 5. Jamie Duncan (67J) 6. Brian Carothers (02c) 7. Jeff Buccella (David 915) 8. Alan Dellinger (Burns 43B) 9. Jamie Scharba (00s) 10. Bruce Redman (27) 11. Andy Thompson (7) 12. Tyler Nicely (72) 13. Stan Woomer (2).
Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. MIKE SCHARBA (30M) 2. Bill Fuchs (10) 3. Steve Walker, Jr. (4M) 4. Jeremy Double (83) 5. Dillon Kineston (19) 6. Lucas Sprouse (24s) 7. Randy Sprouse (23s) 8. Chris Roberts (93) 9. Nick Lucanski (28L) 10. Mike Wilson (51) 11. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 12. Brian Arbeznik (44) 13. Duane Westfall (0) 14. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 15. Mike Groves (65) 16. Ken Koby II (22) 17. Rob McElhaney (7) 18. Scott Gilliland (27) 19. Mike McElhaney (6) 20. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (1JR).
There will be an open practice this Wednesday night from 5 PM until dark.
Sharon will return to action this Friday and Saturday with a doubleheader weekend. On Friday night (April 29), it’ll be “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 30) it’s “Steel Valley Thunder” 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. It’ll be Mahoning County School Night and youth and scout night with free admission. 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.