By Mike Leone

May 21, 2011

(Hartford, OH)…It took eight tries until Sharon Speedway was finally able to complete the first doubleheader weekend of the season on Friday and Saturday night. After the second “Friday Night Thunder” program was completed, Sharon was back in action on a beautiful Saturday night for “Steel Valley Thunder” on Armed Forces Night presented by Warehouse Sales in Sharon, Pa.

Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Jim Rasey-Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds, Joe Martin-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Robbie Blair-Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods, Paul Davis-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, and Bill Fuchs-Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks. One hundred eleven race cars were in the pit area for the five-division program.

While the score sheets will show Jim Rasey leading all 20 laps of the Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modified feature, it was far from an easy second victory of 2011 as Rasey had to fend off Rex King, Jr. and New York invader Chad Homan in a down-to-the-wire finish.

“I probably used up a little more tires than I needed to,” explained the 39-year-old Southington, Ohio veteran. “Cooter (King, Jr.) is running good. I used Mike Turner as a pick. I tried doing it earlier, but almost got caught in that one. There was some rubber that laid down on the bottom and had some traction in it. I have to thank all of my sponsors and everyone that helps out on the car.”

Rasey bolted to the lead, while King, Jr. passed Rob Kristyak for second on lap one. Homan started fourth and made the pass of Kristyak for third on lap two. Brian Swartzlander, who started sixth, followed Homan taking fourth away from Kristyak on lap two as well. Rasey, King, Jr., and Homan pulled away from the field as it appeared to be a three-car race for the win.

Rasey maintained a steady lead, but King, Jr. and Homan remained in striking distance. On lap 16, lapped traffic came into play. Rasey struggled to lap newcomer Ron Eperthener, Jr. allowing King, Jr. and Homan to close in. On lap 19, King, Jr. nosed under Rasey in turn two. The two raced side-by-side, but Rasey had enough momentum to continue to lead.

On the final lap, Rasey used the lapped car of Turner to his advantage as he snuck low under Turner. King, Jr. fought past Turner and was right on Rasey at the finish, but Rasey held on by 0.137 seconds in his Alcon Mechanical/Dad’s Pet Food/Minor’s Performance/Wedge Motorsports-sponsored #32. Rasey’s 18th career victory moved him into sole possession of sixth place on the all-time win list surpassing New York great Ron Smoker. The event went non-stop in 6:10.515.

After a slow start with no top fives in his first three starts, King, Jr. has turned in back-to-back impressive runs in third and now second. Homan was a close third. Swartzlander was another three seconds back in fourth. Kevin Hoffman was fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were point leader Rex King, New York’s Brian Weaver, who started 12th, Bolland, Dean Pearson, and Brad Rapp. Heat wins over the 21-car field went to King and Weaver.

In his just his third season of racing, Joe Martin is quickly establishing himself as one of the top FASTRAK Late Model racers in the Northeast and the guy to beat at Sharon Speedway. Martin captured his third 20-lap Barris Supply feature in just four tries this season having to pass Alan Dellinger, Max Blair, and also holding off the great Robbie Blair for the stellar victory.

“I really didn’t know where to go there at the end on that restart,” stated the 26-year-old Mayport, Pa. racer. “I had to run through the rough stuff in turns one and two- there’s a few bumps down there. I was a little soft on the front and I had already beat Max the last restart so that’s what made me choose the bottom. It was pretty good down there so we stuck with it. Personally this is the best the track has been all year minus the bumps, but there’s nothing you can do with all the rain- it’s ridiculous.”

Max Blair took off in the lead past Dellinger with Bobby Whitling and fifth starting Joe Martin moving past Michael Mitchell for fourth on the initial lap. Martin passed Whitling for third on lap three driving under the Stock Car standout in turns one and two. Martin then went toe-to-toe with Dellinger racing side-by-side with one of Sharon’s all-time winningest drivers. The duo ran side-by-side on laps four through six, but it wasn’t until lap nine when Martin made the move for second.

Eighth starting Robbie Blair was on the move. Blair cracked the top five on lap six then got around Mitchell for fourth on lap seven. A caution for John Volpe and Bill Cunningham slowed action with nine laps scored. On the ensuing restart, Martin would make the winning move taking over from the younger Blair; meanwhile, Robbie continued his forward progression passing Dellinger for third on lap 10. Robbie then went after his son Max taking runner-up with an inside move in turn two on lap 12 before the third caution of the event was displayed with 13 laps scored.

When racing resumed, Max was able get back by his father for second. Max though didn’t have enough for Martin on this night as Martin captured his fourth career Sharon win and eighth overall in FASTRAK-sanctioned competition in his STS Rental/Neese Trucking/Martin Farms/Allegheny Crane Rental/Juart Bros. Excavating/Primitive Peddler/Freedline Auto Repair-sponsored #55.

“When you line up alongside Max Blair and you can beat him and Robbie, you know your car is good; and that’s what we have right now,” expressed Martin, who regained the point lead despite missing the April 30 event due to competing in the Northeast Touring Series race.

Max beat his father Robbie for second. Dan Angelicchio came from ninth to finish a solid fourth. FASTRAK “Futures Cup” point leader Newt Tackett was fifth after starting 12th. Completing the top 10 were Dellinger, Josh Holtgraver, Bryan Salisbury, Mitchell, and Tom Snyder, Jr. Another strong field of 28 cars were on hand with heat wins going to Dellinger, Volpe, and Tackett. Rocky Kugel won the B main.

Making his first E-Mod start of the season, Robbie Blair picked up the caution-filled Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling feature win. The victory was the 41-year-old Centerville, Pa. driver’s second of the season at Sharon after winning a FASTRAK feature on April 30; however, it was his first career Sharon E-Mod triumph.

Blair started from the pole position, survived nine cautions in the 12-lap time shortened event, and beat out Alan Dellinger, whose two-race win streak in the division ended. Blair’s win came in the Jim Clinger-owned, Jay’s Auto Wrecking/Afco Shocks/Star Tree Service/PPC Lubrications-sponsored, Clinger-built #22.

Dellinger started 12th, but had to restart on the tail after getting in an early race accident. Dellinger was already up to third on lap three when he passed Carl McKinney and Scott Jones on a restart. Dellinger then took second from Bill Thomas on lap five. Dellinger had four restarts alongside Blair, but wasn’t able to make the move.

Jonathan Taylor was third after starting 11th in his season debut. Dwayne Clay came from 16th to finish fourth ahead of McKinney, who started 15th. Paul Phillips was sixth over Thomas in the Jim White #53. Jim Place was eighth after starting 21st as Jim Turley and newcomer Mike Monreal rounded out the top 10. The E-Mods brought another strong field of 27 cars as the heat races went to Thomas, Dellinger, and Jeff Johnson, who debuted his own #27 for the first time this season.

Making his second start of the season, Paul Davis one-upped his runner-up finish on April 30 by garnering the 15-lap Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car feature. For Davis, it was his first victory since the 1986 season on the old half-mile at Sharon, and ended Dellinger’s two-race win streak.

“To tell you the truth this felt good,” expressed the 50-year-old Fowler, Ohio driver. “We took a year to build this car and did it right. Last year was a little hard. We lost three engines, but we took our time to get this one right. It’s a tough deal with not a lot of sponsors, but I guess that’s a sign of the times.”

Jamie Scharba raced out ahead of the pack to set the early pace with Steve Burns, Jr. and seventh starting Davis all the way up to third after one lap. Davis then disposed of Burns for second on lap two. Following a caution for a spin by Robert Pollock with five laps scored, Davis overtook Scharba for the winning pass. Davis survived two late race cautions for the victory in the Matt Schaefers-owned, Integra Fab/Hover Racing-sponsored #3.

The battle was on behind Davis as a wild scramble took place over the last 10 laps. Eleventh starting Steve D’Apolito passed Brian Carothers for third on lap six then inherited second when Scharba brushed the fence in turn four on lap eight. Dellinger, who started 12th, was also able to get by. Dellinger was all over D’Apolito in the final six laps. On the final lap, D’Apolito pushed hard in turn two allowing Dellinger and Scharba to take go on by.

Dellinger was second for his third top six finish of the night. Scharba edged D’Apolito for third. Jamie Duncan crossed the line in fifth, but was disqualified in post-race tech moving Burns to fifth. Mike Clark finished sixth and is now tied with D’Apolito for the point lead. Dellinger and Bruce Redman captured the heats over the 17-car field.

Bill Fuchs entered the 2011 season with just two career Sharon Speedway wins, but after just six night of competition, Fuchs has more than doubled his career win total after nabbing his season’s third win in the 12-lap Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stock feature.

“I’ll tell you what, tonight was a real, real special night for me,” revealed the 35-year-old Greenville, Pa. driver. “This is the first night my daughter has ever come to see me race and I won! My best friend from high school came into town today. We used to play football together and it’s great to win with him here. I’ll take my hat off to Dave Willoughby. He’s running a top notch show here at Sharon along with everyone else”

Fuchs started in 10th, but wasted little time moving forward as he was already into the third position after one lap. Fuchs and sixth starting Dillon Kineston passed Jamie Wrightsman for second and third on lap two. By lap three, Fuchs had overtaken Jim Haefke, Jr., who led the first two laps. Kineston continued his progression forward as he passed Haefke for second on lap five.

A caution for Randy Sprouse bunched up the field with six laps completed. This was Kineston’s only shot alongside Fuchs as the last six laps spun off caution-free. Fuchs though was too much in his RTW Industrial Contracting/Hittles Auto Supply/Kreider Tire-sponsored #10 as took the checkered flag first and extended his point lead.

Kineston was second to Fuchs for the second time this season. Stacy Neubecker had come from 13th to third, but slowed on the final lap allowing Haefke to finish third. It was quite the run for Haefke, who hadn’t finished better than 11th in his four previous races. Wrightsman was fourth over Steve Walker II. Heats were won by Walker and Fuchs over the 18-car field.

Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. JIM RASEY (32) 2. Rex King, Jr. (165) 3. Chad Homan (91) 4. Brian Swartzlander (83) 5. Kevin Hoffman (17H) 6. Rex King (65) 7. Brian Weaver (Dieffenbach 1A) 8. Kevin Bolland (777) 9. Dean Pearson (8J) 10. Brad Rapp (11R) 11. Mark Flick (Baker 2) 12. Shannon Whaley (44) 13. Jimmy Holden (28H) 14. Eric Gabany (3E) 15. Rob Kristyak (00) 16. John Buchanan (44) 17. Carl Murdick (6) 18. Mike Turner (96) 19. Ron Eperthener, Jr. (333) 20. Don Brown (71B) 21. Donny Minor (22M).

Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models (20 laps): 1. JOE MARTIN (55) 2. Max Blair (111) 3. Robbie Blair (W11) 4. Dan Angelicchio (14) 5. Newt Tackett (68) 6. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 7. Josh Holtgraver (00) 8. Bryan Salisbury (126) 9. Michael Mitchell (19) 10. Tom Snyder, Jr. (1F) 11. Rocky Kugel (21KRT) 12. Josh Double (38) 13. John Volpe (Bidwell B1D) 14. Billy Cunningham (44c) 15. Chad Wright (6) 16. Jamie Brown (135) 17. Kyle Zimmerman (z17) 18. Bobby Whitling (7W) 19. Matt Latta (21) 20. George Kowatic (5) 21. Ben Black (27B) 22. Bobby Pifer III (6) 23. Bill Cunningham (59) 24. Eric Wilson (27) DNQ: Nick Miller (97), Justin Kreider (29), Dave Airgood, Jr. (42JR), Tyler Barris (32B).

Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods (12 laps): 1. ROBBIE BLAIR (Clinger 22) 2. Alan Dellinger (Petsko 00) 3. Jonathan Taylor (5) 4. Dwayne Clay (007) 5. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 6. Paul Phillips (11SS) 7. Bill Thomas (White 53) 8. Jim Plance (4J) 9. Jim Turley (117) 10. Mike Monreal (071) 11. Tim Burns (2B) 12. Scott Jones (44J) 13. Ronnie Kahler (7R) 14. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 15. Robert Mellinger (55) 16. Jim Clay (007J) 17. Bob Williamson (93) 18. Mike Kinney (3) 19. Howard Fraley (217) 20. Jeff Johnson (27) 21. Andy Buckley (965) 22. Bruce Powell (35) 23. Vince Crisanti (221) 24. Jeff Hassay (10) 25. Bob Diver (23)-DNS 26. Dale McCandless (1MC)-DNS 27. Tim Deutsch (383)-DNS.

Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. PAUL DAVIS (Schaefers 3) 2. Jamie Scharba (00S) 3. Alan Dellinger (Burns 43B) 4. Steve D’Apolito (84) 5. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 6. Mike Clark (7) 7. Gary Laurie (21) 8. Tyler Nicely (72) 9. Al Herman (11) 10. Robert Pollock (70X) 11. Jamie Gibbs (98) 12. Bruce Redman (27) 13. Charlie Jasinski (11A) 14. Brian Carothers (02c) 15. Andy Thompson (7) 16. Buck Buchanan, Jr. (93B) 17. Jamie Duncan (67J)-DSQ.

Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. BILL FUCHS (10) 2. Dillon Kineston (19) 3. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 4. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 5. Steve Walker II (4M) 6. Pete Blazczak (77) 7. Michael McElhaney (6) 8. Ken Koby II (22) 9. Stacy Neubecker (5) 10. Robert McElhaney (7) 11. Jerry Batcher (7) 12. Randy Sprouse (23s) 13. Duane Westfall (Spencer 0) 14. Lucas Sprouse (24s) 15. Jeremy Double (83) 16. Greg Schmied (97s) 17. Jake Monreal (32) 18. Chris Roberts (93).

Sharon will return to action this Friday and Saturday with a doubleheader weekend. On Friday night (May 27), 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 the three make-up features from May 6 starting off the program at 7:30 p.m.

Then on Saturday (May 28) it’s the Bill Emig Memorial “Wild Card Weekend” featuring the first of four appearances by the FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series. The Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models will be competing for $1,500 to-win plus there will be a $500to-win King of the Hill event. The Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods will battle for $1,000 to-win plus the Gibson Insurance Stock Cars and the Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks will also be in competition. It’s the American Cancer Society Benefit Event put on by Tori Martin. Race time is 7 p.m. The rain date is Sunday, May 29 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.


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