By Mike Leone

July 8, 2011

(Hartford, OH)…Rain showers stayed south of Sharon Speedway all day long and by late afternoon skies cleared and for once a “Friday Night Thunder” program was completed without battling rain showers. Fans witnessed the best Friday night racing program to date with lots of passing and down-to-the-wire finishes as a record 70 cars were on hand.

Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Kyle Fink-358 Modifieds, Todd Canter-Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, Mark Marcucci-Joe’s Radiator & Uni-Tech Frame Straightening Mod Lites, Mike Borawiec, Jr.-Micro Sprints, Matt Berger-Uni-Tech Frame Straightening & Joe’s Radiator Sportsman Dwarf Cars, and Levi Spinneweber-Mini Late Models.

Kyle Fink will go down in the history books as the first ever “358” Modified winner at Sharon Speedway. Fink endured a fierce five-car battle for the lead early on before getting by Clyde Gumpp on lap seven and pulled away for the dominating 20-lap victory- his first ever away from his home track Sportsman’s Speedway.

“This is awesome,” expressed the 17-year-old Strattanville, Pa. driver who was nearly speechless in victory lane. “I’m really glad to get this opportunity to run here with our small-block. We’ve had some good runs here against the big blocks with our small-block. They only place I’ve ever won before is at Sportsman’s and this is quite a bit different than winning there! I have to thank my dad, grandfather, and all my sponsors for making this possible.”

Gumpp took off in the lead with Jeff Schaffer, Fink, Jimmy Holden, and Eric Gabany in tow. Gumpp was trying his best to hold off Schaffer and Fink, while those two raced side-by-side. Fink got under Schaffer in turn four to take second on lap six then made the winning move one lap later in the same spot. Holden was able to get under and past Schaffer in turn two for third on lap seven before Gumpp’s great run ended when he looped his mount bringing out the event’s only caution.

When racing resumed, Schaffer and Holden really went at it for second. The two ran side-by-side with Schaffer reclaiming second on lap nine, while Gabany made his presence known going around Holden for third at the halfway point. Meanwhile, Fink stretched his lead to a straightaway, while the battle for second was hot and heavy involving Schaffer, Gabany, and Holden. Holden would get back by Gabany for third on lap 15 then diced it up side-by-side with Schaffer for runner-up.

Back up front, Fink was impressive in his father Brian’s Riverhill Battery House/ENI Oil/Mark’s Auto Repair/Advance Auto Parts/McMillen Carpet/Certified Auto Care-sponsored #66F taking the checkered flag by 5.92 seconds over Schaffer, who won the heat race. Holden slowed coming off turn four on the final lap, but still was able to barely edge Gabany for third. Andy Paden was fifth. The “358” Modifieds will be back for the next “Friday Night Thunder” program on July 22.

Todd Canter stole a season’s first win away from Larry Root getting by the race-long leader with two laps to go to capture his second win of the season in the 15-lap Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods. “I knew Larry (Root) was kind of getting a little loose over there getting into (turns) three and four,” explained the 33-year-old Warren, Ohio driver. “I changed my line to try to get under him and it worked. I like the top side though- this car works well up there. This feels awesome.”

Root took charge at the wave of the green flag, while Canter passed Junior Mechling and Kevin Robinson for second on the opening lap. Several cautions slowed the event. Following a restart with five laps completed, Mechling, Brad Blackshear, and Derek Dellinger passed Robinson for third, fourth, and fifth respectively.

Root was running a good line trying to hold on as Canter began applying pressure to Root, whose mount seemed to be good away on him. The two raced side-by-side on lap 12. Coming down the frontstretch, Canter had the momentum and took the lead right past the flag stand, but the final caution of the race was displayed for a spinning Amanda Stiffler.

On the ensuing restart, the two resumed their side-by-side battle with Canter taking the advantage with an inside move in turn four to lead lap 13. Canter would lead the rest of the way for his third career win in his Underwood’s Towing/Alliance Transmission/DeForest Rolloff Service-sponsored #88. Root had entered the night with back-to-back fifth place season best finishes, but certainly topped that with his solid runner-up. Point leader Mechling was third over Dellinger and Corey Skully. Brian Hathaway and Blackshear won the heat races.

The 15-lap Joe’s Radiator & Uni-Tech Frame Straightening Mod Lite feature was a wild one with Mark Marcucci and Matt Hay trading wicked slide jobs, but in the end it was Marcucci barely holding off Hay for his third win of the season. “I was going down the backstretch on the final lap saying to myself no caution, no caution,” revealed the 22-year-old West Middlesex, Pa. racer. “Then thank God it came out because he was going to get it. He showed me exactly what he was going to do and I was able to hold him off. I got really lucky with that!”

Hay jumped to the early lead from the outside pole, while fourth and sixth starting Chris Logan and Marcucci followed Hay to the front taking second and third respectively. Following a restart for a caution by Anthony Gillespie, Marcucci got past Logan for second then tried a slider on Hay, but lost the momentum as Hay raced back by to maintain the lead.

Tenth and 12th starting Kenny Meadows and Alan Knepper were making their way forward as the duo passed Logan for third and fourth respectively on lap four. It was now a three-car race for second on lap six with Marcucci trying to hold off Meadows and Knepper. A caution for Colton Rudzik slowed action with eight laps completed. When green replaced yellow, Hay and Marcucci really went at it running side-by-side for the lead for the next three laps. Marcucci used the top side of turn two to sneak by on lap 10 for the lead.

On the final lap, Hay came charging by with a slider in turn four. It looked like Hay was going to steal his first victory, but the caution was displayed for Breyton Santee who was stopped at the end of the frontstretch. This setup a one-lap shootout as Marcucci wasn’t about to let Hay repeat the move as he held on for the victory in his father Mark’s D&M Excavating/Ernie’s Transmission/Harper & Huston Masonry #8M.

Hay was a season best second over Meadows, who matched his season’s best run. Point leader Knepper slowed on lap 13 allowing George Englert to take fourth with Logan rounding out the top five. Heat victors were Meadows and Knepper over the 16-car field.

Veteran Mike Borawiec, Jr. finally captured his career first Sharon Speedway victory holding off D.J. Furney for the 15-lap Micro Sprint win. “This has been a long time coming,” expressed the happy 53-year-old Newton Falls, Pa. victor. “I was hoping and praying no one was coming up alongside of me. I was just looking for the checkered flag! I’d like to thank my family and Toyota of Warren for making this possible.”

Fourteen-year-old Dalton Daniels took off in the lead with Tim Eakin, Sr. and sixth starting Borawiec up to third after one lap. Daniels began to pull away hoping for the upset victory, but Brandon Hawkins came to a rest bringing out the race’s only caution with five laps scored. Daniels didn’t get a goods restart as Borawiec flew past both Eakin and Daniels for the lead with Jeff Haefke, Jr. nabbing third.

As Borawiec opened up some ground, it was a three-car race for second on lap seven. Eleventh starting D.J. Furney had cracked the top five on lap six then made the pass of Eakin, Haefke, and Daniels to take over second on lap 10. Furney quickly began to run down Borawiec as he really closed the gap with two laps to go.

Borawiec though was able to run a steady, smooth line and held on for the popular win in his Toyota of Warren-sponsored #1. Furney matched his season’s best finish in runner-up as he’s been in the top five all six races. With point leader Todd Reusser not in action, Furney became the new point leader. Haefke was a close third after starting eighth. Daniels was a career best fourth as ninth starting Dave Hawkins completed the top five. Eakin and Furney won the heat races.

It’s been a dream season for Matt Berger. Berger entered 2011 without ever winning a feature, but now after the midpoint of the season, stands atop the point standings after capturing his third win in the 15-lap Uni-Tech Frame Straightening/Joe’s Radiator Sportsman Dwarf Cars. “I would have absolutely never believed this when the season started,” described the 33-year-old Hanoverton, Ohio racer. “I’m starting to get used to this I think! I want to thank Steve Mix, Jr. for setting my car up. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be going as fast as I am. His dad also helps me out quite a bit.”

Berger drew the outside pole and charged to the lead with Todd Walker and Joe Grzelak, Jr. in tow. Grzelak passed Walker for runner-up on lap two. The race’s first and only caution slowed action with three laps completed when Tiffany Williams lost the handle while running in fifth. When green replaced yellow, Walker and Grzelak really went at it. Walker got back by Grzelak for second on lap four, and the two would run side-by-side from laps four through nine.

On the ninth circuit, Walker slipped high allowing Grzelak back by for good. Up front, Berger was too strong in his unsponsored #322 as he extended his point lead over teammate Steve Mix, Jr., who was a DNF. After winning opening night, Grzelak had really struggled with only a pair of fifths the last two races to show for, but on Friday night regained his form with a strong runner-up. Todd Walker would lose third on lap 11 to his son Josh, who started 12th. After starting on the pole, Todd Walker would finish fourth over Williams, who came back to finish fifth. Topping the heats were Berger and Mix.

The Mini Late Models closed out the night with Levi Spinneweber winning for the second straight race. “The corner speed with these cars is absolutely phenomenal,” expressed the 25-year-old Butler, Pa. racer. “This is the funnest race car I’ve ever been in. Each and every weekend I have a smile on my face getting in the truck to go to the race track. This is where it’s at. These are called T.R.D. cars, which stands for The Real Deal, and this is the real deal!”

Dave Innes grabbed the early lead with Rick Ament and Jeremy Adamik trailing. Spinneweber started fifth and passed Chris Frank for fourth on the first lap and Adamik for third on lap four. Spinneweber then drove around two-time winner Rick Ament for second off turn two on lap seven. Innes continued to lead in search of his first win, but Spinneweber began closing the gap on lap nine.

Then on laps 10 and 11, Spinneweber was all over the leader looking for a way by. They raced side-by-side on laps 11-13 with Spinneweber using the inside line off turn four to edge ahead of Innes. Spinneweber would pull away the final two laps for the win in the #11. Innes was a season best second. Point leader Ament was third with Adamik and Frank fourth and fifth. The heat race was won by Ament.

358 Modifieds (20 laps): 1. KYLE FINK (66F) 2. Jeff Schaffer (14) 3. Jimmy Holden (28H) 4. Eric Gabany (3E) 5. Andy Paden (55) 6. Mike Turner (96) 7. Clyde Gumpp (51) 8. Don Brown (71B).

Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. TODD CANTER (88) 2. Larry Root (22x) 3. Junior Mechling (89) 4. Derek Dellinger (119) 5. Corey Skully (21) 6. Amanda Stiffler (14) 7. Brad Blackshear (19) 8. Kevin Robinson (24R) 9. Jim Turley (117) 10. Jeff Christy (Berry 91) 11. Brian Hathaway (22) 12. Dave Covatch (415) 13. Jamie Scharba (1BS) 14. Mike Smith (81)

Joe’s Radiator/Uni-Tech Frame Straightening Mod Lites (15 laps): 1. MARK MARCUCCI (8M) 2. Matt Hay (Knepper 27) 3. Kenny Meadows (Teague 10T) 4. George Englert (11x) 5. Chris Logan (21) 6. Andy Feil (08) 7. Lynn Knepper (10) 8. Angie Grzelak (57) 9. Breyton Santee (9) 10. James Gumpp (71) 11. Colton Rudzik (94) 12. Alan Knepper (20) 13. Glenn Teeter (88) 14. Anthony Gillespie (Williams 00) 15. Jeff Teeters (23) 16. Todd Rhoads (23R)-DNS.

Micro Sprints (15 laps): 1. MIKE BORAWIEC, JR. (1) 2. D.J. Furney (12) 3. Jeff Haefke, Jr. (29) 4. Dalton Daniels (23) 5. Dave Hawkins (27) 6. Tim Eakin, Sr. (3) 7. Dave Fleming (79D) 8. Sterling Theiss (93) 9. Ryan Fredericks (22R) 10. Will Fleming III (79W) 11. Brandon Hawkins (27H) 12. Brett Brunkenhoefer (47JR) 13. C.J. Price (10J) 14. John Sampson (6).

Uni-Tech Frame Straightening/Joe’s Radiator Sportsman Dwarf Cars (15 laps): 1. MATT BERGER (322) 2. Joe Grzelak, Jr. (888) 3. Josh Walker (11) 4. Todd Walker (22) 5. Tiffany Williams (Smith 58) 6. Cody Dye (4T) 7. Daniel Demyan (8D) 8. Brian Webber (777) 9.Kevin Sevacko (76) 10. Bill Johnson (7) 11. Steve Mix, Jr. (85) 12. Jason Darocha (20).

Mini Late Models (15 laps): 1. LEVIN SPINNEWEBER (11) 2. David Innes (18) 3. Rick Ament (1) 4. Jeremy Adamik (7) 5. Chris Frank (49) 5. Max Wilkinson (21)-DNS.

Sharon will be back in action tonight (July 9) for Greenville Savings Bank and Boundary Systems Night with 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 with racing at 7 p.m. Heroes Night will allow free general admission for all emergency service personnel.

Then on Tuesday (July 12) it’s third annual Lou Blaney Memorial Alzheimer’s Awareness Night presented by Tom’s Sewer & Septic Service. On the card will be the Midwest All Star Sprints ($3,000 to-win) and the Big-Block Modifieds ($2,000 to-win). NASCAR Sprint Cup stars Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, and Dave Blaney will be in competition in the Sprint Car division. Race time is 7 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 or call 330-772-5481. Become a fan of Sharon Speedway on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at


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Congrats to Dave Blaney-All Star Sprints & Mike Maresca-Mod Tour big blocks on their Lou Blaney Memorial victories!