PEARSON HOLDS OFF CHARGING BOLLAND & KING FOR 1ST MOD WIN AT SHARON; VOLPE REPEATS IN FASTRAK LM; STIFFLER WINS 1ST IN E-MODS; #3 FOR DAVIS IN STOCKS; MCELHANEY WINS WILD ONE FOR #2 IN MINIS
By Mike Leone
July 16, 2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Hartford, OH)…After a successful third annual Lou Blaney Memorial on Tuesday night, Sharon Speedway was right back at it on a sunny and steamy Saturday night. The “Steel Valley Thunder” program was presented by Independent Insurance Agents of Trumbull County Night as two new winners took the checkered flags on a fast surface, while three of the winners were 50 years of age or older! The kids took part in the annual Gold Rush Night.
Celebrating with wins in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Dean Pearson-Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds, John Volpe-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Scott Stiffler-Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods, Paul Davis-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, and Rob McElhaney-Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks.
Last year, Dean Pearson won the first race of his long career at Sharon Speedway. On Saturday night, Pearson was back in victory lane for the first time this season as the 59-year-old veteran, who has said 2011 may be his final season, showed he still has some kick left in him. Pearson went from third to first on the first lap and then held off 10th starting Kevin Bolland and the division’s top winner, Rex King, for the exciting 20-lap Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modified win.
“The car has really been fast all year,” expressed the Harrisville, Pa. racer. “It’s been a lot of fun. The track has been fast. I love this place. You just hold her down and hold on. This brings us back to old school. You had to get out front and get going. I knew Rex and Kevin were back there. They’re hard chargers.”
Despite starting third and having Rex King alongside and Rex King, Jr. and Tommy Kristyak in front, Pearson was able to find a good bite off the inside as he blasted under King, Jr. and Kristyak to make the pass stick in turn four on the opening lap. The King duo, Kristyak, and John Buchanan followed after one lap.
Buchanan dropped Kristyak back to fifth on lap two, while the elder King pulled even with “Cooter” on lap three as the top three pulled away. Pearson continued to lead as the green flag laps ticked off. King, Sr. again got alongside “Cooter” on laps nine and 10, but the youngster was able to hold off his dad before a caution for Justin Rasey slowed action with nine laps completed.
On the ensuing restart, King, Sr. passed his son for second then got alongside Pearson, but Pearson had the momentum to continue to lead. Bolland had passed Kristyak for fifth then moved up to fourth when he disposed of Buchanan on lap 10. Bolland would grab third on lap 14, when “Cooter” slipped high in turn two.
King, Sr. was closing on Pearson right before his son brought out the final stoppage with 16 laps scored. The caution was just what Bolland needed as he used the outside on the Delaware restart to power by King for runner-up.
Bolland and King would go after Pearson in the final laps, but Pearson was strong on this night as he held on for the $1,100 win in his Family Traditions Restaurant/Allegheny Crane/Precision Engines-sponsored #8J. It was Pearson’s sixth top five of a very successful season.
Bolland was only 0.640 seconds back in second. King was third with Jim Rasey making a late charge from seventh to take fourth. Eleventh starting Mark Flick passed Buchanan on lap 19 to finish fifth for his first top five of the season. Rounding out the top 10 were Buchanan, Tuesday’s winner Rob Kristyak, Mike Turner, Tommy Kristyak, and Donny Minor. King, Jr. and Jim Rasey were heat race winners.
John Volpe passed Bob Craig on lap four and went on to score his second Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Model victory of the season, and became just the second FASTRAK driver to win multiple races this season joining three-time winner Joe Martin. The victory coupled with Josh Double’s 18th place finish advanced Volpe back to the point lead.
“The car was really, really good tonight,” stated the Lakewood, New York driver. “I don’t like to see those wrecks. I wish we could have taken the point lead running up front together, but we’ll take it. This track was beautiful tonight. I wish it was like this every night. It’s good because you can race on it as there’s traction and it’s slick so you can choose a lane.”
Making his first ever visit in a FASTRAK, veteran Bob Craig took the early lead with Volpe trailing. Super Late Model racer, Jason Dupont, was behind the wheel of the second Keith Bidwell entry for the first time and made a nice move to pass “Futures Cup” racers Clay Ruffo and Matt Latta on the first lap for third.
It was a three-car race for the lead with Craig trying to hold off Volpe and Dupont. On lap four, Volpe made the winning move driving around Craig off turn two for the lead. Dupont made the identical pass of Craig one lap later for second. The race’s first caution happened when Dave Airgood and Ruffo tangled sending both racers sliding into the infield with seven laps completed.
On the ensuing restart, an ugly situation occurred when contact forced Craig into the fence. Craig came across the track and collected nine other racers including then point leader Josh Double. Several drivers took hard hits. Craig and Chad Wright were checked by the medics, but were okay.
When racing resumed, Dellinger was third and passed Dupont for second. Fifteenth starting Damian Bidwell was able to pass all three #21s of Latta, Billy Henry, Jr., and Rocky Kugel to take third. Bidwell then passed his teammate Dupont for third.
As the laps ticked off caution free, Volpe and Dellinger pulled away, while Bidwell and Dupont battled for third. Lapped traffic came into play on lap 17, but Volpe maintained his advantage and took the checkered flag by 1.291 seconds in the Scott Bidwell-owned, Fame RV Center/Maloney Tool & Mold/Rich Johnson Electric/Jay’s Auto Wrecking-sponsored #B1D.
Dellinger’s runner-up was his first top five of the season in the division. Dupont got back by Bidwell for third in lapped traffic coming off turn four at the finish. Bidwell matched his season best fourth for the second straight week. Bobby Whitling came from 16th to finish fifth for his first top 10 of the season. Sixth through tenth were Latta, Henry, Airgood, Billy Cunningham, and 14-year-old rookie Eric Wilson’s best finish. Heat victors were Wright and Kugel.
Scott Stiffler has been fast all season; however, until last week’s fourth place finish, he had nothing to show for his efforts. On Saturday night, Stiffler led all 15 laps of the Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mod feature holding off Alan Dellinger for his first win of the season. Stiffler became the season’s eighth different winner in 12 races!
“I almost gave it away,” acknowledged the Farmdale, Ohio driver. “Alan (Dellinger) left the top open and I tried it on the outside and got back by him. Sometimes when you try to take it easy it makes the car handle a lot worse so you have to go at it. The track had a lot of bite in it- it was a lot of fun tonight.”
Stiffler raced past pole-sitter Ronnie Kahler at the start, while fourth starting Dwayne Clay moved to second and sixth starting Dellinger to third. Jeff Johnson had passed Dellinger for third on lap four before the first caution of the race, which involved Kahler and Vince Crisanti. Under caution, Dellinger exited the event, but was able to make it back out in time before racing resumed.
Eighth starting Mike Kinney now found himself in fourth. When racing got back underway, Johnson passed Clay for second. Following a caution with seven laps scored, Kinney made quite the move to take over second, while ninth starting Joel Watson followed in third. Watson passed Kinney for second and was hounding Stiffler for the lead.
On lap 12, the lapped car of Bob Williamson slowed down the frontstretch and came to a rest just before turn one. Stiffler was able to take evasive action and barely miss him, but Watson wasn’t as fortunate as he didn’t have time to react and slammed into the rear of Williamson.
Dellinger was now back to second for the restart. Dellinger made a move when racing resumed to nearly overtake Stiffler, but Stiffler had the momentum as he slipped back by racing off turn two. Stiffler held on by 1.017 seconds in his Integra Fabricating/Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling/BCR Race Products-sponsored #14 for his 15th career win.
Dellinger was second for the second time of the night and is now tied with Kinney, who finished third, for the point lead. Consistent Carl McKinney raced from the 18th starting spot to finish fourth for his seventh top five of the season and more impressive 12th top eight finish in 12 races! Johnson was fifth. Another strong field of 24 E-Mods was on hand as only on one occasion this season has the car count been under 23 cars with a low of 17 on June 11. Heat winners were Joe Gabrielson, Dwayne Clay, and Dellinger, while Jim Clay won the B main.
Making just his ninth start of the season, veteran Paul Davis won for third time in the 15-lap Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars. Davis led from start-to-finish as he survived four cautions for the win. “This car has been running really good. Tonight we hit the setup. This thing was so fast. I would have liked to have started a little further back to earn this, but I’ll take it anyways. This is the way I used to like running race tracks with a heavy track and a cushion. It’s a good night tonight.”
Pole-sitter Davis didn’t waste any time racing to the lead, while Alan Dellinger passed Rick Robinson and Al Herman for second on the first lap. Dellinger though quickly exited the track on lap four moving Herman back to second and Jamie Scharba to third. Davis had a straightaway lead before Jamie Gibbs spun to bring out the first caution with four laps completed.
When green flag racing resumed, Scharba and eighth starting Mike Clark took over second and third from Herman before a caution for Buck Buchanan, Jr. with five laps completed. On the ensuing restart, Clark advanced to second past Scharba and hoped to make a run at Davis. The event’s final caution was for Charlie Jasinski and Brian Carothers with 10 laps scored.
On the ensuing restart, Scharba got back by Clark for second. Davis began to pull away, while the battle was on for second with Scharba trying to hold off Clark and 12th starting Steve Burns, Jr. Davis went on to win by 3.029 seconds in the Matthew Schaefers-owned, Hover Racing/Integra Fab-sponsored #3.
Scharba edged Clark and Burns for second. Steve D’Apolito came back from an early accident and pit stop to race back to fifth and maintain his point lead as he’s still yet to finish worse than sixth in any heat or feature this season! Dellinger and Herman topped the heat races.
Rob McElhaney passed race-long leader Lucas Sprouse coming down for the white flag to win a wild second feature of the season in the 12-lap Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stock feature. “This is a lot more fun than working on them,” said the Jamestown, Pa. driver, who used to be the crew chief on Rob Curtis’ Modified.
McElhaney started on the pole, but Lucas Sprouse and Dan McEwen took over the top two spots on lap one using the outside from their second and fourth starting spots. McElhaney and McEwen battled side-by-side on laps three and four with McElhaney getting by and seventh starting Bill Fuchs following.
Fuchs, who was charging forward looking for his ninth win, began to start smoking on lap nine before a caution for Jamie Wrightsman slowed action for the final time. The caution wasn’t what Sprouse or Fuchs needed. Back under green flag racing, McEwen and Randy Sprouse passed Fuchs for third and fourth. The elder Sprouse then took over third from McEwen on lap 11.
At the same time, McElhaney got alongside the leader. Coming down for the white flag, McElhaney nosed ahead and would steal Lucas Sprouse’s first win of the season away from him. McElhaney’s victory came in the his Ball Auto & Scrap/Greenville Auto Parts/Gregg’s Auto-sponsored #7.
Randy Sprouse passed his son Lucas on the final lap to take second. Lucas Sprouse dropped to a disappointing third. McEwen and his brother-in-law Steve Walker II were fourth and fifth. Fuchs was unable to maintain power as it was the first time this season in any heat or feature that he has finished outside the top three positions! Heat winners were McEwen and Fuchs.
Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. DEAN PEARSON (8J) 2. Kevin Bolland (777) 3. Rex King (65) 4. Jim Rasey (32) 5. Mark Flick (Baker 2) 6. John Buchanan (44) 7. Rob Kristyak (00) 8. Mike Turner (96) 9. Tommy Kristyak (26z) 10. Donny Minor (22M) 11. Tom Shaffer (34) 12. Rex King, Jr. (165) 13. Justin Rasey (32X).
Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models (20 laps): 1. JOHN VOLPE (Bidwell B1D) 2. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 3. Jason Dupont (Bidwell 17D) 4. Damian Bidwell (17) 5. Bobby Whitling (7W) 6. Matt Latta (21) 7. Billy Henry, Jr. (McGee 21*) 8. Dave Airgood (42) 9. Billy Cunningham (44c) 10. Eric Wilson (27) 11. Wayne Robertson (20) 12. Rocky Kugel (21KRT) 13. Jason Stanke (44) 14. Bob Diver (23) 15. Greg Cizmar (Black 27B) 16. Bob Craig (62) 17. Chad Wright (6) 18. Josh Double (38) 19. Clay Ruffo (14R) 20. Bill Cunningham (59).
Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods (15 laps): 1. SCOTT STIFFLER (14) 2. Alan Dellinger (Petsko 00) 3. Mike Kinney (3) 4. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 5. Jeff Johnson (27) 6. Scott Jones (71J) 7. Joe Gabrielson (58) 8. Arlan Coy (56) 9. Vince Crisanti (221) 10. Joel Watson (92) 11. Jim Clay (31) 12. Bob Williamson (93) 13. Bill Thomas (White 53) 14. Jeff Hassay (10) 15. Dwayne Clay (007) 16. Ronnie Kahler (7R) 17. Anthony Gillespie (Williams 0) 18. Steve Haefke (73) 19. J.B. Dellinger (1) 20. Bruce Powell (35) 21. Bob Diver (23)-DNS DNQ: Dale Monreal (711), Paul Upshire (97), Jim Turley (117).
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. PAUL DAVIS (Schaefers 3) 2. Jamie Scharba (00S) 3. Mike Clark (7) 4. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 5. Steve D’Apolito (84) 6. Rick Robinson (44R) 7. Brian Carothers (02c) 8. Charlie Jasinski (11A) 9. Al Herman (11) 10. Jamie Gibbs (98) 11. Mike Hudzik (31H) 12. Buck Buchanan, Jr. (93B) 13. Tyler Nicely (72) 14. Alan Dellinger (Burns 43B).
Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. ROB MCELHANEY (7) 2. Randy Sprouse (23s) 3. Lucas Sprouse (24s) 4. Dan McEwen (44M) 5. Steve Walker (4M) 6. Shannon Heberling (#1) 7. Bill Fuchs (10) 8. Duane Westfall (Spencer 0) 9. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 10. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 11. Jeremy Double (83) 12. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (1JR).
Sharon will be back in action this weekend with a doubleheader. On Friday night (July 22) it’s the second appearance by the 358 Modifieds as they join the Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, Joe’s Radiator & Uni-Tech Frame Straightening Mod Lites, Micro Sprints, Uni-Tech Frame Straightening & Joe’s Radiator Sportsman Dwarf Cars, and the Mini Late Models. Race time is 7:30 p.m.
Then on Saturday night (July 23), the FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series is back for its third stop on Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Night. Not only will FASTRAK be running for $2,000 to-win, but Sweeney will be giving away a GM 604 engine to a lucky driver. The Governor Insurance Big-Block Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, and the Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks will also be on the card. Racing begins at 7 p.m. with a rain date of Sunday at 5:30.
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.