MURDICK WINS IN 2011 MOD DEBUT; ROB BLAIR TOPS ANOTHER BIG FIELD OF 32 FASTRAK LATE MODELS; DELLINGER SWEEPS E-MODS & STOCKS FOR 1ST WINS; SCHARBA REPEATS IN MINIS
By Rich Berry & Mike Leone
April 30, 2011
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway continued their luck of completing events on Saturday nights as the fifth show was completed out of six tries; however, this time Mother Nature had no effect as a beautiful night brought out a great crowd and a season-high 125 cars in five divisions on Mahoning County School, Youth Sports, and Scout Night.
Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Dave Murdick-Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds, Robbie Blair-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Alan Dellinger-Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods and Gibson Agency Stock Cars, and Mike Scharba-Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks.
After struggling with car counts the first two races, the Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds saw a full field of racers take the green flag as Dave Murdick captured the 20-lap victory in his first appearance of the season. The $1,100 victory was just the third of the 48-year-old veteran Slippery Rock, Pa. racer’s career at Sharon.
Rob Kristyak and Murdick led the field to the green flag with Murdick taking the early lead. Kristyak and Kevin Bolland raced for second in the early going. Bolland took runner-up on lap two, and Rex King passed Kristyak for third on lap 5. Bolland and King battled for second, while Murdick held a comfortable lead. Kristyak and Jeremiah Shingledecker settled into their own battle for fourth, exchanging the position several times.
When the event’s only caution came on lap 15 for Kristyak, who slowed with problems, the long period of green flag racing had lapped cars shuffled between the leaders on the restart, which would change the complexion of the race. Back to green, Murdick steered clear of the lapped traffic and regained his comfortable lead. Murdick wasn’t challenged in his #61 to the checkered. The battle for second shuffled out with point leader King taking the spot over newcomer Shingledecker, with Bolland dropping to fourth, and that is how they raced to the checkered flag.
In his season debut, Kevin Hoffman advanced from the 14th starting spot to finish fifth. Brian Swartzlander, 22nd starting and last week’s winner Jim Rasey, Mike Turner, Dean Pearson, and Jeff Schaffer rounded out the top 10. Kristyak, Shingledecker, and Chris Haines took heat wins with 23 entries on hand. Missing in action was Brad Rapp, who entered the night second in points.
With his son Max competing in the FASTRAK Northeast Touring Series event at Roaring Knob, Robbie Blair made his FASTRAK Late Model debut at Sharon and it paid off as he led all 20 laps of the Barris Supply feature. Even with the Touring Series event taking place, Sharon still drew over 30 cars for the third straight week- this time 32 in what could have been considered a Touring Series event of its own that featured stand out racers like current and former Super Late Model racers Blair, Mike Blose, Dennis Lunger, Bill Cunningham, Billy Henry, and several past FASTRAK Touring competitors.
Blair nosed ahead of Tom Snyder, Jr. at the drop of the green, before the first caution with one lap complete. Billy Cunningham, Jr. settled into second when green flag racing resumed, with Snyder holding off challenges for third. Following a lap five restart, it was still Blair and Cunningham ahead of a good battle for third between Snyder and Rocky Kugel. The next yellow flag at lap 13 saw second being hotly contested with John Volpe getting by Cunningham.
With 23 of the 24 starters running at the white flag, a tangle between Dennis Lunger and Matt Latta forced a final caution with a one-lap dash to the checkered flag. Blair chose the outside for the restart, and the Centerville, Pa. driver went on to score the $700 win in his #W11. Blair became the eighth different Sharon FASTRAK winner in 11 events held all-time with his first career Sharon FASTRAK win, which was his sixth career FASTRAK win overall.
Mike Blose, from starting position 14, was able to slip into second on the final round, which propelled him from fourth into the point lead. Volpe third, with Cunningham turning in a good run for fourth, and Kugel a strong fifth as all three drivers turned in their season best efforts. Snyder, Newt Tackett, Billy Henry, Josh Double, and Bryan Salisbury completed the top ten. Cunningham, Jr., Blair, Tackett, and Latta won the heat races with Chad Wright winning the B main.
Alan Dellinger made a last lap of Joel Watson to become the third different winner in as many E-Mod races run in 2011. Dellinger, who won a Friday night Econo Mod race on April 15, now added his first Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling win of the season in the 15-lap feature. Watson, who won opening night, now has finished runner-up the last two races to continue his point lead.
Nathan Hill and Dwayne Clay led another stout field of E-Mods to the green flag with Clay leading from the start of the caution filled event. Clay held the lead through restarts on laps one, three, and four, but he would have his hands fill on a lap five restart. Fifth starting Joel Watson, had advanced to second at this point. Back to green, Watson got a good run to the inside of turn one, and would be the new leader on lap six. Clay would fall to second with Rich Michael, Jr., Carl McKinney, and 11th starting Alan Dellinger filling the top five at the halfway mark.
The final restart on lap nine set up the run to the finish, when things got interesting. Dellinger got a good restart to advance to second, and moved in on Watson’s bumper. They went side by side on lap 13 with Watson leading at the white flag. Dellinger made a charge to the high side in turn two on the final lap, and made the last lap pass to steal the win! Dellinger’s all-time leading 84th career win came in the Bootie Petsko-owned #00.
Watson settled for another close second. Last week’s winner Michael was third to keep within striking distance of Watson’s point lead. Mike Kinney finished fourth with Carl McKinney fifth. Sixth through 10th were Greg Johnson, Dwayne Clay, Hill, Jim Turley, and Paul Phillips. With a season-high 33 cars on hand, heat wins went to Phillips, Michael, Watson, and Russ Dunn, while Jack Young took the B-Main.
Defending champion Alan Dellinger made it a clean sweep on the night winning the 15-lap Gibson Agency Stock Car feature. It was also the Hermitage, Pa. driver’s first Stock Car win of the season and now has three wins in three different divisions this year!
Jamie Duncan took the early lead over Andy Thompson, Steve D’Apolito, Stan Woomer, and Bruce Redman. Dellinger was marching from his 12th starting position towards the front, taking fifth on lap two and fourth on lap three. The yellow flag appeared on lap five with Duncan controlling the restart from the outside lane. When the next yellow waved a lap later, Dellinger was now second.
On this ensuing restart, the top two raced side-by-side for the next lap until Dellinger finally completed the pass to take the lead. On the next restart on lap eight, eighth starting Paul Davis moved to second. Another yellow at lap 11 saw the lead battle heat up, with Dellinger feeling a strong challenge from Davis. As the two drivers swapped the lead working the final lap, a tangle in turn two brought out the yellow flag, setting up a one lap dash to the finish.
Dellinger controlled this restart as he went on for the victory in the Steve Burns, Sr.-owned, Penn-Ohio Electric/Country Convenience Five Points BP/T&D Landscaping/Laddies Sky Club/Warehouse Sales/Rien Construction-sponsored #43B. Bruce Redman slipped past Davis to cross the line in second, but he was disqualified after his car was light at the scales after the race. That moved Davis back to second in his season debut. Duncan was a season best third over D’Apolito and Mike Clark. D’Apolito and last week’s winner Steve Burns, Jr. took heat race wins over the 19-car field, which was the highest since the opening night open rules event.
Mike Scharba became the first repeat winner of the season in the Mini Stocks winning for the second straight week in the 12-lap Presidential Lawn Care feature. The victory was the 23 year-old Masury, Ohio driver’s all-time division leading 10th of his career.
Rob McElhaney and Steve Walker II led the Mini Stocks to the green flag with Walker taking the early lead. Mike McElhaney moved to second on lap one, but Jamie Wrightsman took second one lap later. Eighth starting Lucas Sprouse moved to second on lap three as Walker still led, but trouble was ahead. Working down the backstretch on lap four, Walker approached slower cars with many challengers directly behind him. Contact was made with the slower car, causing the top runners to go scattering in all different directions. Amazingly everybody kept control of their cars, and the race stayed green though the field was completely shuffled.
Wrightsman was the new leader at lap five. The main benefactor was 11th starting Mike Scharba, as he was outside the top five on lap four, but advanced to second on lap five. The first of two cautions in the event came on lap five. Scharba got a good restart to take over the lead, with Walker and 10th starting Bill Fuchs giving chase. A final caution period with two laps remaining gave Scharba a scare as he made contact with race traffic, but was able to steer clear of trouble. The restart gave his challengers a chance, but Scharba, the last driver to arrive at the track for the second straight week was first at the finish! Opening night winner Fuchs was second for the second straight race ahead of Walker, Sprouse, and rookie Wrightsman. Lucas Sprouse and Randy Sprouse were the heat winners over the 18-car field.
Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. DAVE MURDICK (61) 2. Rex King (65) 3. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD) 4. Kevin Bolland (777) 5. Kevin Hoffman (17H) 6. Brian Swartzlander (83) 7. Jim Rasey (32) 8. Mike Turner (96) 9. Dean Pearson (8J) 10. Jeff Schaffer (4) 11. Tommy Kristyak (26z) 12. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 13. Rex King, Jr. (165) 14. Mark Frankhouser (03) 15. Carl Murdick (6) 16. Rick Ryder (Snider 189) 17. Duane Botelho (16) 18. Chris Haines (35H) 19. Rob Kristyak (00) 20. Ted Ryan (76) 21. Donny Minor (22M) 22. Mark Flick (Baker 2) 23. Scott Strock (15).
Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models (20 laps): 1. ROBBIE BLAIR (W11) 2. Mike Blose (5) 3. John Volpe (Bidwell B1D) 4. Billy Cunningham (44c) 5. Rocky Kugel (21KRT) 6. Tom Snyder, Jr. (1F) 7. Newt Tackett (68) 8. Billy Henry, Jr. (McGee 21*) 9. Josh Double (38) 10. Bryan Salisbury (126) 11. Jamie Brown (135) 12. Brian Booher (Hoover 00H) 13. Rod Laskey (1R) 14. Chad Wright (6) 15. John Lacki (7) 16. Mark Moats, Jr. (15) 17. Matt Cobb (75) 18. Tyler Barris (32B) 19. Eric Wilson (27) 20. Dave Airgood, Jr. (42) 21. Clay Ruffo (14R) 22. Matt Latta (21) 23. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L) 24. Jeremy Zufall (20) DNQ: Junior Peters (00), T.J. Downs (03), Bobby Whitling (7W), J.C. Boyer (10), Justin Kreider (29), Pat Willar (39), Bill Cunningham (59), Tom Copeland (98).
Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods (15 laps): 1. ALAN DELLINGER (Petsko 00) 2. Joel Watson (92) 3. Rich Michael, Jr. (17x) 4. Mike Kinney (3) 5. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 6. Greg Johnson (05) 7. Dwayne Clay (007) 8. Nathan Hill (38) 9. Jim Turley (117) 10. Paul Phillips (11SS) 11. Jeff Hassay (10) 12. Vince Crisanti (221) 13. Ryan Fraley (12SS) 14. Scott Jones (44J) 15. Dan Davies (71D) 16. Bruce Redman (White 53) 17. Jack Young (Hamilton 67) 18. Mike Eschrich (9E) 19. Russ Dunn (22) 20. Tim Peterson (07P) 21. Howard Fraley (217) 22. Andy Buckley (965) 23. Bruce Powell (35) 24. Robert Mellinger (55) DNQ: Tim Burns (2B), Ron Kahler (7R), Mike Harmon (09JR), Anthony Marotto (15), Jatsen Hill (33), Arlan Coy (56), John Boardman (79.2), Bob Williamson (93), Tim Deutsch (383).
Gibson Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. ALAN DELLINGER (Burns 43B) 2. Paul Davis (Schaefers 3) 3. Jamie Duncan (67J) 4. Steve D’Apolito (84) 5. Mike Clark (7) 6. Andy Thompson (7) 7. Brian Carothers (02c) 8. Stan Woomer (2) 9. Buck Buchanan, Jr. (93) 10. Tyler Nicely (72) 11. Jamie Scharba (00s) 12. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 13. Jamie Gibbs (98) 14. Charlie Jasinski (11A) 15. Robert Pollock (70x) 16. Bob Sloss (44s) 17. Bruce Redman (27)-DSQ (light) 18. Jeff Buccella (Davis 915) 19. Gary Laurie (21)-DNS.
Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. Mike Scharba (30M) 2. Bill Fuchs (10) 3. Steve Walker II (4M) 4. Lucas Sprouse (24s) 5. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 6. Mike McElhaney (6) 7. Randy Sprouse (23s) 8. Rob McElhaney (7) 9. Jeremy Double (83) 10. Chris Roberts (93) 11. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 12. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (1JR) 13. Ken Koby II (22) 14. Jake Monreal (32) 15. Dennis DeArment (9) 16. Nick Lucanski (28L)-DNS 17. Brian Arbeznik (44)-DNS 18. Greg Schmied (97s)-DNS.
Sharon will return to action this Friday and Saturday with a doubleheader weekend. On Friday night (May 6), 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 (May 7) 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. 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.