BOLLAND EDGES KING & NY’S CHRYSLER FOR 1ST MOD WIN; DOUBLE CHARGES FROM 8TH TO WIN CAREER 1ST AT SHARON IN FASTRAK LM; #3 FOR WATSON IN E-MODS; CLARK REPEATS IN STOCKS; FUCHS BAGS #8 IN MINIS
By Mike Leone
July 9, 2011
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway was finally blessed with a beautiful weekend as the fans and drivers responded with a great turnout on both ends Friday and Saturday. Some of the best racing of the season was witnessed with optimal track conditions. Saturday night’s “Steel Valley Thunder” program was presented by Greenville Savings Bank and Boundary Systems.
Celebrating with wins in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Kevin Bolland-Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds, Josh Double-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Joel Watson-Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods, Mike Clark-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, and Bill Fuchs-Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks. Over $500 was raised for Sprint Car driver Jack Sodeman, Jr., who was injured in an accident while competing with the All Star Sprint Cars in Canada on July 4.
It took over half of the season, but veteran Kevin Bolland finally hit the jackpot putting his Triple Seven in victory lane in the 20-lap Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modified feature in the final tune-up before Tuesday’s Lou Blaney Memorial. Bolland couldn’t have picked a better night to do it with his new sponsor Boundary Systems in attendance for their corporate night at the speedway. Bolland’s $1,100 win was the 17th of his career at Sharon.
“We’ve been working hard, but have been struggling,” acknowledged the 51-year-old New Brighton, Pa. driver. “We’ve had bad pill draws and redraws. We’ve messed setups thinking it’ll go slippery and it goes tacky and when it goes slippery we setup for the other way. We tried American Racer Tires tonight and I think that was good. We just reached in the bag and found something tonight. Tonight we tied one together for Boundary Systems/CREO. They invested here in the speedway too and if you see those guys give them a round of applause.”
Bolland found a great bite on the start as he raced low down the frontstretch into turn one and was able to get under and by Dean Pearson and pole-sitter Randy Chrysler for the lead. Rex King started sixth and was up to fourth after two laps. King caught Pearson the following lap and worked him over as the two raced side-by-side on laps six and seven with King making the move on the seventh circuit for third.
Lapped traffic came into play on lap nine right before the event’s first and only caution for a spin by Donny Minor with eight laps scored. On the ensuing restart, King and Brad Rapp passed Chrysler for second and third respectively, but Chrysler got back by Rapp for third on lap 10. King ran down Bolland on lap 12 and was right on the leader on lap 13.
Chrysler found speed as he tracked down King, while Bolland opened up some ground. Chrysler pulled alongside King on lap 17 as it was a three-car race for the win. King caught right back up to Bolland and tried to set himself up for another last lap pass of Bolland, but on this night Bolland wasn’t about to relinquish the top spot as he held off King by 0.481 seconds in his Boundary Systems/CREO/Bolland Machine/Cintas/Cranberry Coin & Currency/My Way Mobile Storage/Car Clean Products/Auto Body Works/Budisak Boys-sponsored Bicknell #777 Bicknell.
King was second for the second time this season to go along with three victories as he maintains his point lead. In his debut, Chrysler was a close third just 0.796 behind Bolland. Rapp was fourth after starting eighth and Pearson dropped to fifth for his fifth top five of the season. Rounding out the top 10 were Jim Weller, Jr., Jim Rasey, Rex King, Jr., Rob Kristyak, and Skip Moore. Bolland and Rapp won the heat races.
Two years ago, 16-year-old rookie Josh Double thought he’d scored one of the biggest upsets in FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series history beating the great David Scott only to come up light at the scales. Last season, Double captured his career first win at Mercer Raceway Park. With FASTRAK becoming a weekly division at Sharon in 2011, Double has been consistent leading the points with seven top 10 finishes including finishes of second, third, and fourth.
On Saturday night, Double came from the eighth starting spot to pass Damian Bidwell for the lead then held off two-time National Weekly Series champion and current point leader Max Blair for his first ever Sharon Speedway victory in the 20-lap Barris Supply feature. Double also became the first Ohio driver to win at Sharon in the 19th FASTRAK-sanctioned event held at the speedway.
“This is great,” expressed the 18-year-old Bristolville, Ohio driver. “I spent all morning going through the front suspension and rescaling the car. I didn’t even have time to wash. We went through it with a fine-toothed comb to try to make sure we had everything right because we were absolutely terrible at Tri-City last night. I have to thank my mom, dad, and uncle along with all of my sponsors who make this possible.”
Bidwell shot into the lead past pole-sitter Tom Copeland with fourth starting Rocky Kugel passing both Bill Cunningham and Copeland for second. Bidwell set the early pace, but on lap four Kugel closed on the leader; meanwhile, the battled raged for third with Cunningham trying to hold off John Volpe and Double.
Double nipped Volpe at the line for fourth on lap four then drove under Cunningham for third off turn four one lap later. Back up front, Kugel was all over Bidwell trying to find a way around as he tried every move imaginable on laps five, six and seven before the event’s first caution with seven laps completed.
When racing resumed, Double was able to nose ahead of Kugel for second before another caution slowed action with eight laps scored. Back under green flag conditions, Volpe continued his way forward as the sixth starter passed Kugel for third on lap nine with ninth Blair following in fourth.
Double would make the winning move in turn four getting ahead Bidwell to lead lap 12 right before the caution for a spin by newcomer Jason Stanke. When green replaced yellow, Blair made a great move to drive under both Volpe and Bidwell to take second. Volpe got back to third again when he drove by Bidwell down the backstretch on lap 14 with Kugel following in fourth.
Blair had nothing for Double on this night as Double became the amazing ninth different FASTRAK winner in 11 races this season! Double’s second career FASTRAK-sanctioned win came in the Glunt Industries/Wedge Motorsports/Cortland Auto Repair/King Bros./Mahan Fab & Welding/Thomas Heating & AC/Williams Excavating-sponsored #38.
Blair was second for the fourth time this season to go along with his win in the Gary Knollinger Memorial. Volpe recorded his fifth top five in third. Bidwell got back by Kugel on lap 18 to finish fourth, which bettered his prior season’s best ninth back on April 23. Kugel, who is third in points, fell to fifth at the finish. Sixth through 10th were 13th starting Billy Henry, Jr., Alan Dellinger, Josh Holtgraver, Russ Dunn, and Chad Wright. Heat wins went to Dunn and Double.
Joel Watson backed up his Friday night win at Raceway 7 with another impressive run. Watson’s third win of the season came in the 15-lap Ainsley Heating & Cooling E-Mod feature over his good friend Mike Kinney.
“I didn’t notice him (Kinney) until just before the last caution,” revealed the Conneaut, Ohio racer. “I kind of gave a glance back coming through the turn and I seen that frontend. I know that frontend and I thought to myself ‘boy he must be coming hard to get close to me’. I tried to pick it up a little bit after that last restart, but apparently he was good enough to stay with me. It’s slick up on top and there’s nothing there until you get real close. I was just trying to ride that border up there. You don’t realize how much difference there is between a half of a lane down and a half-lane up as far as traction.”
Watson drew the outside pole and wasted little time flying to the lead with Dwayne Clay and Alan Dellinger passing Scott Stiffler for second and third on the opening lap. While Watson continued to lead and with Dellinger retired to the pit area, it was three-wide for second with Clay trying to hold off Kinney and Stiffler.
Kinney, who started fifth, then pulled alongside Clay as the two raced side-by-side on laps nine and 10. Kinney edged ahead for second on lap 10 before the caution waved for debris. When racing resumed, Watson and Kinney distanced themselves from the field. As the laps ticked off, Kinney remained in striking distance and tried one last ditch effort on the final lap, but came up 0.423 second shy. Watson’s fourth career Sharon win came in his Northwest Restoration/Zimmer’s Service Center/Racecar Fabrication/Hoosier Tire-sponsored #92.
Kinney recorded his third runner-up and eighth top five of the season as he’s taken over the point lead by three points over Dellinger. Clay held on to a season best third with Stiffler dropping to fourth over Bruce Powell, who returned after a month and a half hiatus for his season’s best finish. Heat victors were Carl McKinney, Watson, and Stiffler, while newcomer Gary Sullivan won the B main.
Former drag racer Mike Clark has raced for 15 years in various divisions such as Big-Block Modifieds, Late Models, and a couple stints in Stock Cars. Clark was never able to find victory lane in all of those years until finally capturing his career first win in the June 11 Stock Car feature. On Saturday night, Clark backed up that performance leading all 15 laps of the Gibson Insurance Agency feature for his second win in the past four races. He was also second on June 25 and now has an impressive nine top five finishes this season.
“This is like déjà vu all over again for me,” exclaimed the happy Bristolville, Ohio victor. “The track was perfect for us so I really have to thank Dave (Willoughby) and the track crew. They really made a nice track for me and my car. The outside worked for me. I didn’t know where they were running. I saw Paul (Davis) a few times on those restarts, but after a lap or so I didn’t see him. I’d like to thank the Lord, my dad, my son Anthony, my wife Sonya, and all of the sponsors.”
Clark bolted out in front of the pack, while Brian Carothers took over second from Robert Pollock with fifth starting Paul Davis trailing. Davis moved to second on lap two taking the spot away from Carothers. Eighth starting point leader Steve D’Apolito was on the prowl. D’Apolito had raced into the top five after one lap, passed Pollock for fourth on lap two, then grabbed third from Carothers on the fifth circuit.
Davis hounded Clark and was all over the leader on lap 10 as the duo pulled away from D’Apolito and Alan Dellinger, who had made his way back to fourth after an early pit stop. A caution for a spin by Jeff Burns brought action to a halt with 12 laps scored and set up a three-lap dash to the checkered.
Clark though was too strong as he kept Davis at bay for the victory in his NAPA Trumbull County Auto Supply/Paris Café/Wedge Motorsports/Integra Fab-sponsored #7. D’Apolito edged out Dellinger for third. D’Apolito holds on to a 12-point leader over Clark and has still yet to finish outside the top six in any heat or feature this season! Carothers fell to fifth. Clark and Steve Burns, Jr. topped the heat races.
It was a familiar face back in victory lane in the 12-lap Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stock feature as Bill Fuchs claimed his track leading eighth victory of the season. Fuchs now has tied Mike Scharba atop the division’s all-time win list with 11 victories.
“If you watch the King Bros. race or any good racer race it’s just rear camber,” explained the 35-year-old Greenville, Pa. resident. “That’s all it is- it’s camber. That helps the car get around the race track. Our sponsor, the Kreiders, take this car every Thursday and get it aligned. We work on this thing like it’s our Late Model because it’s all we own and all we have. We try to come prepared. I’ve been doing this for five years now. I started the first year short-handed and I said I’d never do that again.”
Rookie Jamie Wrightsman took off in the lead with Lucas Sprouse and fifth starting Fuchs taking second and third away from Jim Haefke, Jr. Following a caution for Ken Koby II, who slammed the wall with one laps scored, Fuchs passed both Sprouse and Wrightsman going down the backstretch for the lead.
With Fuchs and Sprouse pulling away, the battle was on for third with Wrightsman trying to hold off Chris Roberts, 11th starting Scharba, and Tim Gillette. Scharba and Gillette passed Roberts for fourth and fifth on lap seven. Scharba battled with Wrightsman side-by-side for third on lap nine with Scharba getting the spot. Scharba seemed to be running the front duo down, but Sprouse would slow on lap 10 handing him second; meanwhile Jake Monreal and Chris Roberts brought out the second caution with nine laps in the books.
When green flag racing resumed, Fuchs took off, while the battle raged for second. Wrightsman and Gillette got back by Scharba on the restart, but would have nothing for Fuchs in his RTW Industrial Contracting/Hittles Auto Supply/Kreider Tire-sponsored #10.
Wrightsman, who entered the night with seven top five finishes but had yet to finish better than fourth, crossed the line for a career best second. Gillette, who won the March 26 “Springduro” Enduro, made his season debut in the Mini Stocks and finished third over Scharba and Haefke. Topping the heat races were Scharba and Sprouse.
Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. KEVIN BOLLAND (777) 2. Rex King (65) 3. Randy Chrysler (21K) 4. Brad Rapp (11R) 5. Dean Pearson (8J) 6. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 7. Jim Rasey (32) 8. Rex King, Jr. (165) 9. Rob Kristyak (00) 10. Skip Moore (17M) 11. Carl Murdick (6) 12. Kevin Green (74) 13. Mark Frankhouser (03) 14. Justin Rasey (32X) 15. Donny Minor (22M) 16. Tom Shaffer (34) 17. Rick Ryder (Snider 189) 18. Mike Turner (96).
Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models (20 laps): 1. JOSH DOUBLE (38) 2. Max Blair (111) 3. John Volpe (Bidwell B1D) 4. Damian Bidwell (17) 5. Rocky Kugel (21KRT) 6. Billy Henry (McGee 21*) 7. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 8. Josh Holtgraver (00) 9. Russ Dunn (47) 10. Chad Wright (6) 11. Bill Cunningham (59) 12. Ben Black (27B) 13. Eric Wilson (27) 14. Tom Copeland (98) 15. Clay Ruffo (14R) 16. Nick Miller (97) 17. Rusty Cade (47) 18. Jason Stanke (44) 19. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325X).
Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods (15 laps): 1. JOEL WATSON (92) 2. Mike Kinney (3) 3. Dwayne Clay (007) 4. Scott Stiffler (14) 5. Bruce Powell (35) 6. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 7. Gary Sullivan (47s) 8. Bob Diver (23) 9. Jim Turley (117) 10. Vince Crisanti (221) 11. Bob Williamson (93) 12. Jeff Hassay (10) 13. Arlan Coy (56) 14. Ryan Ambrose (6) 15. Jeff Johnson (27) 16. Ronnie Kahler (7R) 17. Bill Thomas (White 53) 18. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 19. Alan Dellinger (Petsko 00) 20. Scott Winslow (Beck 357) DNQ: Mike Monreal (071), Paul Upshire (97), Scott Jones (71J), Dale Monreal (711).
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. MIKE CLARK (7) 2. Paul Davis (Schaefers 3) 3. Steve D’Apolito (84) 4. Alan Dellinger (Burns 43B) 5. Brian Carothers (02c) 6. Gary Robinson (44R) 7. Jamie Scharba (00s) 8. Mike Hudzik (31H) 9. Tyler Nicely (72) 10. Robert Pollock (70X) 11. Dave Wagner (35) 12. Jeff Burns (66JR) 13. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 14. Troy DeZarn (21) 15. Charlie Jasinski (11A) 16. Al Herman (11) 17. Stan Woomer (2).
Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. BILL FUCHS (10) 2. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 3. Tim Gillette (43) 4. Mike Scharba (30M) 5. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 6. Dan McEwen (44M) 7. Jeremy Double (83) 8. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (1JR) 9. Steve Walker II (4M) 10. Chris Roberts (93) 11. Dave Heberling (#1) 12. Lucas Sprouse (24s) 13. Jake Monreal (32) 14. Randy Sprouse (23s) 15. Rob McElhaney (7) 16. Ken Koby II (22).
Sharon will return to action this Tuesday (July 12) for the 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.
There will be no racing on Friday, July 15, but Sharon will be back in action on Saturday (July 16) for another five-division “Saturday Night Live” program presented by Independent Insurance Agents of Trumbull County. Plus it’s Kids Gold Rush Night.
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.