PROSPECTS HIGH FOR COMPLETION OF 1ST DOUBLEHEADER WEEKEND WITH “FRIDAY NIGHT THUNDER” & SATURDAY’S “STEEL VALLEY THUNDER”
By Mike Leone
April 27, 2011
(Hartford, OH)…After a horrendous month of weather, Sharon Speedway is hoping the last weekend of April will finally provide the ability to complete the first doubleheader weekend of action. With just a chance of a morning shower on Friday and clearing skies and dry weather forecasted through Saturday night, Sharon Speedway is anxiously looking forward to “Friday Night Thunder” at 7:30 p.m. and “Steel Valley Thunder” on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Wet conditions have hampered Friday nights even worse than Saturdays as three of the first four scheduled Friday nights have been lost to weather. The only “Friday Night Thunder” program completed thus far was on April 15 when the show was finished up before rain hit after midnight.
Friday’s program will the feature the Ti22 Performance Outlaw Sprint Warriors, Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, Joe’s Radiator & Uni-Tech Frame Straightening Mod Lites, Micro Sprints, Uni-Tech Frame Straightening & Joe’s Radiator Sportsman Dwarf Cars, and Mini Late Models.
Guy Griffin and Jeff Teeters are two drivers off to fast starts in 2011. The duo has victories at Mercer Raceway Park on April 9 in the Outlaw Sprint Warriors and Mod Lites respectively and backed their opening night wins with victories in the “Friday Night Thunder” kickoff on April 15.
The Outlaw Sprint Warrior division is expected to grow in the coming weeks, while the Mod Lites led all divisions on the opener with 21 cars. The Econo Mods are certainly a growing division. Twelve cars kicked off action for the opener up from only a couple cars back on opening night 2010. Several new cars will be out in the coming weeks. Alan Dellinger was the opening night winner.
Todd Reusser (Micro Sprints) and Joe Grzelak, Jr. (Sportsman Dwarfs) will look to back up their wins on Friday night along with Rick Ament, who won the very first race ever held for the new Mini Late Model division- a three-quarter scale of their big brothers.
Gates open at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and race time is set for 7:30 this year to allow for more time for fans racers to travel to Sharon Speedway. Adults are $10, students 9-13 are $5, and children eight and under are free. Pit passes are $25. May 6 will be the rain date in the event of a rainout.
While most of the other regional Saturday tracks have succumbed to Mother Nature nearly every Saturday, Sharon has forged on with their programs and has been able to complete four of the five scheduled events. Saturday’s racing card will include 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 night will be Mahoning County School Night along with scout and youth sports night.
In Big-Block Modified competition, Ohio veterans Rex King and Jim Rasey have captured the first two events. King, the defending champion from Bristolville, currently leads Brad Rapp by just three points. Rapp, who owns two career Sharon victories, has a fifth and runner-up to his credit this year.
The FASTRAK Late Models have produced big numbers with 30 and 36 cars on hand for their first two night and a total 43 different cars! There’s no denying who’s currently leads the points as Joe Martin has a perfect score after two nights with two feature wins and two heat wins! There will be a new winner Saturday night as Martin will be participating in the first Northeast Touring Series event at Roaring Knob. With several of those Touring drivers not on hand and some other new racers expected, could Saturday be the night when an Ohio driver finally wins a race? After 10 FASTRAK events held all-time, an Ohio driver still has yet to score a win.
The E-Mod action has been spectacular for the first two nights with some of the best racing of any division. Northern stars Joel Watson and Rich Michael, Jr. have been superb in their victories with lightning fast times around the 3/8-mile oval. Watson, who came from 12th to finish second last week, has an 11-point lead over Michael. Thirty-three different racers have already participated.
The Stock Cars have saw three different drivers in victory lane with Tim Burns winning the big opener, while Bruce Redman and Steve Burns, Jr. have kicked off the points chase with wins. With a third and a second place the last two weeks, Mike Clark is the surprise point lead. The Bristolville, Ohio driver leads Burns by just one point.
The Mini Stocks are coming off one of their highest car counts in their two and a half year history as 20 cars filled the pit area last Saturday night. The competition has been stout with three winners in three races. Bill Fuchs won the opening night non-point special, while Randy Sprouse and defending champion Mike Scharba captured wins on April 9 and April 23. Fuchs, of Greenville, Pa., holds a five-point lead over Sprouse.
“We’ve really had some great racing,” acknowledged second year GM Dave Willoughby. “I really have to thank the racers and fans for supporting our shows to date. The weather has either been down right cold, rainy, windy and/or threatening, but we’ve worked our way through it and I couldn’t be happier after a month of racing. It sure would be nice though to get some nice weather so everyone can focus on racing”
On Saturday, pits open at 4 p.m. with the grandstands at 5 and racing at 7. Adult admission is $13. Students 9-13 are $5. Kids eight and under are free. The family pass is $32 for mom, dad, and four kids 13 and under. Pit passes are $25. The rain date is Sunday with racing at 5:30 p.m.
Remember, if you bring your rain stub from Friday night to Saturday’s race, you’ll receive a $3 discount on Saturday’s admission!
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.