CAREER 1ST WINS FOR WRIGHT, KINNEY & CLARK IN FASTRAK, E-MODS & STOCKS; KRISTYAK WINS 1ST OF 2011 IN MODS; SCHARBA STOPS FUCHS’ STREAK IN MINIS
By Rich Berry & Mike Leone
June 11, 2011
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway was able to beat Mother Nature for the second straight night on Saturday as all of the racing action was completed despite another two and a half hour rain delay. Special thanks go out to John Volpe (FASTRAK), Jim Rasey (Modifieds), and Stacy Neubecker (Mini Stocks), who put in a lot of laps helping to run the track back in during the rain delay.
Celebrating “Steel Valley Thunder” wins in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Chad Wright-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Rob Kristyak-Governor Insurance Big-Block Modifieds, Mike Kinney-Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods, Mike Clark-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, and Mike Scharba-Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks.
Eight hundred twenty-five dollars was collected during the rain delay for our serviceman overseas for Operation New Dawn. Also, three Xerox boxes full of needed products were donated by race fans for the cause as these fans received $2 off the gate admission.
Seventeen-year-old “Futures Cup” racer Chad Wright was the beneficiary of a wild last lap in the 20-lap Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Model feature, which saw Rocky Kugel tangle with race-long leader Bill Cunningham. The Springboro, Pa. racer crossed the finish line first in a mad scramble to capture his career first win in his second season of competition.
The feature hit the track as weather hit the track. The field circled the track preparing for the start of the 20-lap feature event, but rain began to fall. The field was sent back to the pits as a shower led into a thundershower. While radar showed a large downpour coming, the rain decreased in intensity as it reached the track. After the shower which lasted around a half-hour, the track was run back in and the cars came back out. In all, the rain delay was around two and a half hours, but in a season where rain has claimed a large amount of racing programs, this one was spared from the weather.
Once the track was worked back into shape, Bill Cunningham and Chad Wright topped the starting grid with Cunningham leading Wright, Billy Cunningham, Jr., Rocky Kugel, and Matt Latta. Green flag laps ticked by as Cunningham caught race traffic at the halfway mark. On lap 14, Cunningham, Jr. got into trouble and stopped in turn four for the event’s first caution period. On the double file restart, Bill Cunningham continued to lead over Wright, Latta, Kugel, and John Volpe. Shane Weaver spun in turn one to bring out the event’s final caution period with five laps remaining.
On this restart, it was Cunningham again showing the way over Kugel, Wright, Latta, and George Kowatic. Kugel was up to challenge Cunningham for the top spot, shadowing his every move. With the white flag waving, Kugel took a peek to the outside, but Cunningham stayed in front. Entering turn three, Kugel dove to the inside to try to make a winning bid. The two cars made contact, with Cunningham’s car getting turned sideways. As Kugel pushed Cunningham’s car into a spin, the field was quickly approaching with the checkered flag in sight. Wright found an open path to the finish line, and the second year driver went through that open door to score his first career feature win in the Keith Wright-owned, Zimmer’s Service Center/ECS Towing/Fence by Maintenance-sponsored #6.
Kugel would actually cross the finish line in second, but was placed to the tail of the last lap at the finish. With the field scattering in all directions after the contact between the top two, Josh Double and Tyler Barris took home second and third from 12th and 14th starting spots, despite not running any of the previous laps in the top five; however, Barris was later disqualified in post race tech.
Latta and Shane Weaver, two other “Futures Cup” contenders turned in career best efforts in third and fourth. Former Mod Lite racer, Tony Tatgenhorst, completed the top five in just his third FASTRAK start. Cunningham still managed to salvage sixth with George Kowatic, Volpe, Ben Black, and Kugel rounding out the top 10. Heat race winners were Wright and Cunningham, Jr.
After finishing runner-up on opening night back on April 9, Rob Kristyak hadn’t finished in the top five since; however, that changed on Saturday night when the Bristolville, Ohio celebrated with an early birthday presented as he scored the 20-lap Governor Insurance Big-Block Modified feature win. Kristyak turns 33 on Sunday.
Kristyak and Tom Mattocks led the Modified feature to the green flag with Kristyak taking the early lead. Kristyak led Mattocks, John Buchanan, Skip Moore, and Jim Weller, Jr. through the first half of the event, as the first caution appeared at lap 10 for Rex King, Jr. One more lap was scored before Dean Pearson caught the outside wall in turn three.
Back to green, one more round was scored with 12th starting Rex King advancing to fourth before the final caution appeared for Moore, who hit the outside wall in turn three. King advanced to second on the double file restart, and quickly closed on Kristyak. King made several strong bids to the inside, but Kristyak was able to hold on to the top spot.
Coming to the white flag, King got out of shape in turn four, leaving Kristyak to race on to his 10th career victory by a margin of 2.094 seconds in his Gallo’s Auto Sales/Mark Thomas Ford/Gold Connection/Gwinn Brothers Construction/Wedge Motorsports/Dave’s Towing/Bristol Disposing-sponsored #00.
Mattocks was able to reclaim a career best second on the final lap, with King recovering to finish third. Buchanan was fourth for a career best big-block effort over Weller in fifth. Kevin Bolland, Jim Rasey, Mark Flick, King, Jr., and Donny Minor filled the top ten. Heat race wins went to Bolland and Flick.
Mike Kinney has only finished out of the top four on two occasions this year as the Ashtabula, Ohio driver had turned in a pair of runner-ups, a third, and a pair of fourths. Kinney has been so close to that elusive career first win and on Saturday night the former Stock Car and Big-Block Modified racer was able to seal the deal with the 15-lap Ainsley 500 E-Mod feature victory.
The race started in wild fashion, as a first lap incident claimed the first four starters. Alan Dellinger and Paul Phillips led the field to green, but they were involved in the incident along with Jeff Johnson and Jim Weller, Jr. The new front row was Kinney and Scott Jones, with Kinney leading to the next caution on lap one. Kinney showed the way when racing resumed over Jones, Carl McKinney, Bob Diver, and Jeff Hassay.
Dellinger reentered the top five on lap three, as second was hotly contested. Diver slipped into third on lap seven, with Dellinger taking third on lap 9 as they battled with Jones for second. A pair of lap 10 incidents stopped the battle for second, as did the final yellow on lap 11. Dellinger moved to second on the final restart, making a couple of strong inside challenges to Kinney.
Kinney though was able to turn back each challenge, scoring the win by 0.800 seconds over Dellinger in the Finbill Graphics/Fat Boy Designs/Racecar Fabricating/Close Racing Supply-sponsored #3. Like Kristyak, the win was an early birthday present for Kinney as well, who turns 37 on Friday. Diver and Jones recorded their best finishes of the season in third and fourth. McKinney was fifth. Heat winners were McKinney and Bill Thomas.
Former standout drag racer Mike Clark has been competing in various divisions from the Big-Block Modifieds to the Stock Cars to the Late Models and now back to the Stock Car division, but he had never been able to find victory lane. That all changed Saturday night as Clark became the third career first winner on the night as second Bristolville, Ohio victor. Clark’s win came in the 15-lap Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car feature, and even though the Stock counts have been down this year, Clark became the season’s seventh different winner in nine races!
Clark led from the start over Charlie Jasinski, outside pole sitter Troy DeZarn, Steve Burns, Jr., and Jamie Scharba. A pair of lap one cautions were for Alan Dellinger, and the second was for DeZarn and Brian Carothers. Clark led when racing resumed over Jasinski, Scharba, ninth starting Paul Davis, and Eric Williams. A lap two caution appeared for a spin by newcomer Jim Flaherty, and Clark resumed in the lead over Davis, Jasinski, 12th starting Steve D’Apolito, and Scharba.
After a debris caution on lap four, D’Apolito passed Davis for second as Davis fell off the pace and pulled to the infield. After a final yellow flag on lap eight, Clark held off a challenges from D’Apolito before pulling away late to earn the victory by 2.775 seconds in his NAPA Trumbull County Auto Supply/Paris Café/Wedge Motorsports/Integra Fab-sponsored #7. D’Apolito’s runner-up allowed him to maintain the point lead as the three-time champion has yet to finish worse than six in any heat or feature in nine races this season. Scharba was third over a season best finish by Jasinski in fourth. Carothers was fifth. Davis and Jasinski were heat winners.
It took April 23 and April 30 winner Mike Scharba to put an end to Bill Fuchs’ four-race win streak in the Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks as the 23-year-old Masury, Ohio racer topped Fuchs in a race he was never challenged in.
The Mini Stock feature was the first that was run in the evening’s program, with Jim Haefke and Stacy Neubecker on the front row for the 12 lap event. The field took to the speedway with threatening weather approaching. The first lap showed that fact as the field went three and four wide racing for positions, finally shaking out with Haefke leading Neubecker, sixth starting Scharba, Randy Sprouse, and Ken Koby giving chase.
Scharba passed Neubecker on lap three, and set off to catch race leader Haefke. He caught him on lap four, and with an outside pass off turn four, Scharba would be the new leader on lap five. Once in front, Scharba pulled away, leaving the rest of the top five positions to be hotly contested.
Thirteenth starting Fuchs entered the top five on lap seven, as third was contested three-wide. Fuchs passed Haefke for second at the white flag of the non-stop event, but settled for a distant second as Scharba raced to his division all-time leading 11th career win in his Westhill Auto/Hilltop Pizza/J&C Towing-sponsored #30M. Haefke turned in his fourth straight top four finish in third. Sprouse was fourth and tenth starting Chris Roberts was fifth. Lucas Sprouse and Haefke took the heats.
Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models (20 laps): 1. CHAD WRIGHT (6) 2. Josh Double (38) 3. Matt Latta (21) 4. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325x) 5. Tony Tatgenhorst (63) 6. Bill Cunningham (59) 7. George Kowatic (5) 8. John Volpe (Bidwell B1D) 9. Ben Black (27B) 10. Rocky Kugel (21KRT) 11. Justin Smith (21) 12. Clay Ruffo (14R) 13. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 14. Billy Cunningham (44c) 15. Stan Woomer (2) 16. Michael Mitchell (19) 17. Tyler Barris (32B)-DSQ 18. Eric Wilson (27)-DNS 19. Rusty Cade (47)-DNS.
Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. ROB KRISTYAK (00) 2. Tom Mattocks (69) 3. Rex King (65) 4. John Buchanan (44) 5. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 6. Kevin Bolland (777) 7. Jim Rasey (32) 8. Mark Flick (Baker 2) 9. Rex King, Jr. (165) 10. Donny Minor (22M) 11. Skip Moore (17M) 12. Dean Pearson (8J).
Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods (15 laps): 1. MIKE KINNEY (3) 2. Alan Dellinger (Petsko 00) 3. Bob Diver (23) 4. Scott Jones (44J) 5. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 6. Tim Burns (2B) 7. Arlan Coy (56) 8. Jeff Hassay (10) 9. Jim Turley (117) 10. Dwayne Clay (007) 11. Jeff Johnson (27) 12. Ronnie Kahler (7R) 13. Bob Williamson (93) 14. Paul Phillips (11SS) 15. Scott Winslow (Beck 357) 16. Jim Weller, Jr. (Clay 31) 17. Bill Thomas (White 53).
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. MIKE CLARK (7) 2. Steve D’Apolito (84) 3. Jamie Scharba (00s) 4. Charlie Jasinski (11A) 5. Brian Carothers (02c) 6. Eric Williams (4w) 7. Jamie Gibbs (98) 8. Troy DeZarn (21) 9. Tyler Nicely (72) 10. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 11. Paul Davis (Schaefers 3) 12. Jim Flaherty (38SPL) 13. Alan Dellinger (Burns 43B) 14. Stan Woomer (2).
Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. MIKE SCHARBA (30M) 2. Bill Fuchs (10) 3. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 4. Randy Sprouse (23s) 5. Chris Roberts (93) 6. Stacy Neubecker (5) 7. Steve Walker II (4M) 8. Lucas Sprouse (24s) 9. Jeremy Double (83) 10. Scott Gilliland (27) 11. Rob McElhaney (7) 12. Ken Koby II (22) 13. Jamie Wrightsman (21J).
Sharon will return to action this Friday and Saturday with a doubleheader weekend. On Friday night (June 17), 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 (June 18) it’s the “Steel Valley Thunder” program presented by Dreves Insurance Company with the Big-Block Modifieds, FASTRAK Late Models, E-Mods, Stocks, and Mini Stocks. It’ll be Twin-State Auto Racing Club Night. Race time is 7 p.m. The rain date is Sunday, June 19 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.