KING RIDES RIM TO 2ND MOD WIN; PEGHER COMES FROM 11TH TO WIN FASTRAK LM; DELLINGER DOUBLES IN E-MODS & STOCKS FOR 2ND STRAIGHT WEEK; 2ND WIN FOR FUCHS IN MINIS
By Mike Leone
May 6, 2011
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway was once again able to sneak in their “Steel Valley Thunder” program on Saturday night. Scattered thunderstorms hit many areas throughout the region cancelling numerous racing programs once again; however, Sharon only had three brief showers late afternoon and skies cleared for a beautiful evening allowing the sixth Saturday night show out of seven tries to be completed on Trumbull County School Night.
Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Rex King-Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds, Mike Pegher, Jr.-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Alan Dellinger-Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods and Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, and Bill Fuchs-Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks. One hundred four race cars were in the pit area for the five-division program.
Opening night winner Rex King passed his son “Cooter” on lap nine and rode the cushion to the 20-lap Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modified win. The elder King has yet to finish worse than third in any feature this season as the defending champion has now opened up a 20-point lead on 59-year-old Dean Pearson.
“Cooter had a good run,” acknowledged the Bristolville, Ohio standout. “He got a little bit of a jump on me on the start and I thought ‘damn what I am going to do’. Then on that restart I got a good drive off the bottom and I run him down in there and seen him get up over the cushion. I knew he was done right then. The track is smooth up on top and it’s a momentum deal. Whoever gets to the top from the get go is probably going to win.”
The two Kings drew the front row with “Cooter” grabbing the early lead in hopes of his career first win. Seventh starting Jim Weller, Jr. was on the move in just his second start of the season. The veteran passed both Kevin Hoffman and Rob Kristyak for fourth on lap six. A caution for a spin by Scott Strock with eight laps completed turned into a game changer.
On the ensuing restart, King got under “Cooter” and with “Cooter” jumping the cushion, the elder grabbed the lead and instantly moved to the top. Meanwhile, Weller had a great restart getting by Pearson for third then put a slider on “Cooter” in turn four for second all on lap nine. The event’s final caution came for a spin by Donny Minor with 13 laps scored.
Weller stuck with King, but King was too much in the KMB Inc-owned, Bristol Disposal/Midway Garage Door/RD Banks Chevrolet/Hunyady Auction/Cedar Steel/Auntie V’s Pizza/GS Engine Power-sponsored #65. King now has 36 career wins moving him just three back of retired Bob Kraus for second on the all-time win list.
Weller and King, Jr. turned in their season best performances in second and third. In fact, it was “Cooter’s” first top five of the season. Pearson recorded in his third fourth place finish in four tries. Hoffman was fifth. Completing the top 10 were Jim Rasey, Kristyak, Kevin Bolland, Mike Turner, and Carl Murdick. Heat winners were Rasey and Weller.
Fresh off last Saturday’s Northeast Touring Series win at Roaring Knob, Mike Pegher, Jr. raced his way from the 11th starting spot to pass Late Model veteran Bill Cunningham to capture his first Sharon victory of the season in the 20-lap Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Model feature. Pegher now has three FASTRAK wins this year at three different speedways as he was also the opening night Pittsburgh winner.
“It was pretty stiff competition tonight,” stated the 25-year-old Wexford, Pa. winner. “It’s always fun starting up front, but starting back further gives it more of a challenge. We were pretty good tonight. We could have been a little tighter, but it wasn’t bad. I was hoping I didn’t get stuck on the bottom too many times on the restarts. I have to thank my whole crew tonight and Lynn’s (Geisler) crew is here tonight and all my sponsors.”
Bill Cunningham used the outside to power by Tom Snyder, Jr. on the start, but Snyder lost the handle on lap two spinning to bring out the caution. Friday night Tri-City winner, Max Blair, started seventh and had moved to fourth after one lap. On the ensuing restart, Blair passed both Josh Holtgraver and Josh Double for second.
Blair’s chance at his second win of the weekend ended when he slowed and exited the track on lap four moving Double back to second, Holtgraver third, and Pegher now fourth. The first six laps were littered with five cautions; however, the last 14 would go green-to-checkered. Double was docked two spots for setting the pace on two consecutive restarts, which moved Holtgraver to runner-up and Pegher to third.
When racing resumed for good, Pegher disposed of Holtgraver for second on lap seven. Holtgraver though wouldn’t go away as the two put on a great side-by-side race for three laps before Pegher pulled away on lap 10. Pegher immediately ran down Cunningham on lap 10 and was all over the leader on lap 11. Pegher ran low and Cunningham high. Pegher pulled even on lap 12, but Cunningham had the preferred line as he inched back ahead on lap 13.
On lap 14, Pegher again pulled alongside the leader and this time his mount stuck in turn two and had enough to out-drag Cunningham down the backstretch and came away with the lead in turn three. Pegher drove away on lap 15 and cruised to his second career Sharon win and 36th overall in FASTRAK competition by 3.548 seconds in the Lynn Geisler-owned, #1 Cochran Automotive/Triple-S Auto Sales/Zero Wraps-sponsored #1c.
After failing to qualify for the feature last week and only had finishes of 21st and 24th the first two weeks, it was a great run for Cunningham in second. Cunningham though had his fill of Holtgraver, who was all over him in the closing laps to finish a season best third in FASTRAK competition on the circuit. Double was fourth over a great run by Dave Airgood, who came all the way from 15th to round out the top five.
Completing the top 10 were Joe Martin, newcomer Colton Flinner, John Volpe, point leader Mike Blose, and Billy Henry, Jr. Topping the heat races were Blair, Cunningham, Henry, and Snyder. Fourteen-year-old Eric Wilson won the B main. Thirty-one cars were on hand as all four FASTRAK events this season have drawn 30+ cars in their first season as a weekly division.
For the second straight week, Alan Dellinger was at the top of the scoring pylon in the E-Mods. Dellinger started eighth and passed Mike Kinney for the 15-lap Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling checkered triumph. Another star-studded field of 30 E-Mods was on hand.
“The race track is really good right now,” acknowledged the Hermitage, Pa. victor. “It’s slick where you can’t get after it. You really have to drive the race car good. This place has had a lot of traction, but the last two weeks it hasn’t had that as much and I really like that. You only get one chance to make the pass when you’re right beside him (Kinney) to get into one here. The car really stuck there. I like that we’re making a habit of buying old people’s cars that are bent and clipped and they don’t want them and we make ‘em go!”
Paul Phillips led the opening lap with Kinney moving by pole-sitter Steve Haefke for second. Dellinger had already moved to fifth after one lap. Dellinger had just passed Andy Buckley for fourth when Buckley got hit from behind ensuing a six-car melee with one lap scored. When green replaced yellow, Kinney and Dellinger both dropped Phillips back to third.
All eyes shifted to opening night winner Joel Watson. Watson started 12th and was on the prowl passing both Howard Fraley and Phillips for third with an inside move on lap four. Fraley slowed to bring out the caution with six laps completed. When racing resumed, Dellinger made the winning pass on Kinney.
Dellinger survived one more caution and restart, but was never headed for his 85th career Sharon E-Mod win, which came in the Bootie Petsko-owned #00. Kinney had his hands full with Watson over the course of the final 12 laps, but was able to withstand Watson’s challenges to record his season best effort in runner-up and fourth top 10 of the season in as many tries. Watson was third as he’s yet to finish worse than third in any heat or feature this season and has a 27-point lead over Kinney.
Carl McKinney had another solid run in fourth after starting 16th and had passed Phillips for the position on lap 14. Russ Dunn came home fifth after starting 11th in the Jim White #53 as he also got by Phillips on lap 14. Phillips dropped to sixth with Haefke, newcomer Clayton Kennedy, 20th starting Jack Young, and Jeff Rudrick subbing for Arlan Coy completing the first 10 positions. Topping the heat races were Dellinger, Buckley, Kennedy, and Dunn. Bob Diver won the B main as these last chance races have now been run each of the last three weeks due to solid fields of E-Mods participating.
For the second straight week, Alan Dellinger was able to double up with the E-Mod and Stock Car. Dellinger’s second straight Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car win came in a wild three-wide finish with race-long leader Jamie Duncan and the lapped car of Ken Herman.
“When everyone gets to lapped traffic they hate to go to the bottom,” explained Dellinger. “I figured I had no choice because he (Duncan) was going to beat me, but that was about as good and exciting as you can get. About halfway to the finish I realized we were starting to lose our tires so I started to quit spinning them a bit trying to be a little straighter in the corner. I could see I was catching him, but it wasn’t going to be enough.”
Pole-sitter Duncan raced out to the lead with Steve D’Apolito trailing. Two cautions with one lap in were the only stoppages of the event as the final 14 went non-stop. D’Apolito ran down Duncan on lap five, while Dellinger joined the battle as the threesome pulled away. Duncan opened up some breathing room as Dellinger pulled alongside D’Apolito on lap seven, but D’Apolito had the momentum to hold the spot.
On lap 11, Dellinger drove hard to the inside of D’Apolito and this time made the pass stick grabbing second. Dellinger quickly began chewing into Duncan’s lead. With the white flag waving, Duncan had traffic ahead with Jamie Gibbs and Al Herman in sight. Duncan took the highline around Gibbs, while Dellinger ducked low. Duncan continued to lead, but now had to face getting around Herman with less than a half-lap to go. Duncan again went high, but Herman pushed a little high. That was enough to allow Dellinger a strong run off the bottom of turn four. Duncan charged by Herman on the outside trying to sneak past him and the wall. It was three-wide at the finish with Dellinger taking the checkered flag by 0.121 seconds. Duncan and Herman spun across the finish line.
Dellinger’s fifth win of 2011 at Sharon came 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. Duncan was a season best second as he now leads the points over Mike Clark. Third place point man D’Apolito was a season best third. Clark was fourth over Bruce Redman. Heat winners were Andy Thompson and Dellinger.
Opening night winner and point leader Bill Fuchs returned to victory lane in the 12-lap Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stock feature stealing a win away from early race dominator Lucas Sprouse following a restart. “I had a couple seconds (finishes) there,” stated the 35-year-old Greenville, Pa. driver. “Tonight the car was hooking up tremendously. If that caution wouldn’t have come out, Lucas probably would have definitely been the winner tonight. The track is in excellent condition. It’s slick and you really have to feather the car in and out of the turns. You drive in too hard and you’re going to end up sideways.”
The younger Sprouse jumped to the early lead from the pole position hoping to match his father’s win from earlier in the season. Fuchs meanwhile started seventh and was in fourth after the first lap. Fuchs passed Jamie Wrightsman on lap four for third then drove under Mike McElhaney for second on lap six. By now Fuchs had a straightaway deficit to make up and thankfully for himself got a much needed caution after seven non-stop laps as McElhaney slowed with a flat tire in third.
Fuchs took off on the restart and only a caution for Rob McElhaney slowed his efforts to his fourth career win in his RTW Industrial Contracting/Hittles Auto Supply/Kreider Tire-sponsored #10. Sprouse was a season best second over Steve Walker II, 11th starting Chris Roberts, and Wrightsman. Jeremy Double and Fuchs won the heat races.
Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. REX KING (65) 2. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 3. Rex King, Jr. (165) 4. Dean Pearson (8J) 5. Kevin Hoffman (17H) 6. Jim Rasey (32) 7. Rob Kristyak (00) 8. Kevin Bolland (777) 9. Mike Turner (96) 10. Carl Murdick (6) 11. Scott Strock (15) 12. Donny Minor (22M) 13. Rick Ryder (Snider 189) 14. Tom Mattocks (69) 15. Chris Haines (35H)-DNS.
Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models (20 laps): 1. MIKE PEGHER, JR. (Geisler 1c) 2. Bill Cunningham (59) 3. Josh Holtgraver (00) 4. Josh Double (38) 5. Dave Airgood, Jr. (42JR) 6. Joe Martin (55) 7. Colton Flinner (75) 8. John Volpe (Bidwell B1D) 9. Mike Blose (5) 10. Billy Henry, Jr. (McGee 21*) 11. Tom Snyder, Jr. (1F) 12. Jamie Brown (135) 13. Chad Wright (6) 14. Damian Bidwell (17) 15. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325X) 16. Ben Black (27B) 17. Clay Ruffo (14R) 18. Kyle Zimmerman (z17) 19. Rocky Kugel (21KRT) 20. Brian Booher (Hoover 00H) 21. Billy Cunningham (44c) 22. Max Blair (111) 23. Eric Wilson (27) 24. Justin Kreider (29)-DNS 25. Tyler Barris (32B)-DNS DNQ: Michael Mitchell (19), Bobby Pifer III (6), Justin Lamb (93x), George Kowatic (5), J.C. Boyer (10), Patrick Willar (39).
Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods (15 laps): 1. ALAN DELLINGER (Petsko 00) 2. Mike Kinney (3) 3. Joel Watson (92) 4. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 5. Russ Dunn (White 53) 6. Paul Phillips (11SS) 7. Steve Haefke (73) 8. Clayton Kennedy (9) 9. Jack Young (Hamilton 67) 10. Jeff Rudrick (Coy 56) 11. Kyle Bedell (44) 12. Scott Jones (44J) 13. Bruce Powell (35) 14. Bob Diver (23) 15. Craig Bedell (44J) 16. Andy Buckley (965) 17. Dwayne Clay (007) 18. Tim Deutsch (383) 19. Kevin Miller (4M) 20. Jim Plance (Simmons 4J) 21. J.B. Dellinger (Cryster 25) 22. Vince Crisanti (221) 23. Howard Fraley (217) 24. Bob Williamson (93) DNQ: Jim Turley (117), Jeff Hassay (10), Ronnie Kahler (7R), Vic Vena (01), Tim Burns (2B), Mike Harmon (09JR).
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. ALAN DELLINGER (Burns 43B) 2. Jamie Duncan (67J) 3. Steve D’Apolito (84) 4. Mike Clark (7) 5. Bruce Redman (27) 6. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 7. Stan Woomer (2) 8. Andy Thompson (7) 9. Al Herman (11) 10. Jamie Gibbs (98) 11. Jim Nicely (72) 12. Brian Carothers (02c) 13. Buck Buchanan, Jr. (93B).
Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. BILL FUCHS (10) 2. Lucas Sprouse (24s) 3. Steve Walker III (4M) 4. Chris Roberts (93) 5. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 6. Ken Koby II (22) 7. Jeremy Double (83) 8. Stacy Neubecker (5) 9. Rob McElhaney (7) 10. Mike McElhaney (6) 11. Jake Monreal (32) 12. Derek Dellinger (1JR) 13. Randy Sprouse (23s) 14. Nick Lucanski (28L) 15. Bill Rabbits (9-11).
Sharon will return to action this Friday and Saturday with a doubleheader weekend. On Friday night (May 13), 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 plus three make-up features from Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Then on Saturday (May 14) 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 Insurance 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.