RETURN APPEARANCE BY 358 MODS HEADLINE “FRIDAY NIGHT THUNDER” & FULL SLATE OF 5 DIVISIONS FOR “STEEL VALLEY THUNDER” SATURDAY
By Mike Leone
July 27, 2011
(Hartford, OH)…After a good run of dry weather, Sharon Speedway battled Mother Nature last weekend losing both Friday and Saturday nights’ programs to rain, while Sunday’s truck and tractor pull managed to beat the rain. This weekend will be another doubleheader with “Friday Night Thunder” at 7:30 p.m. and “Steel Valley Thunder” presented by the Globe Restaurant at Truck World on Saturday night at 7 p.m. Saturday’s rain date is Sunday at 5:30.
The weekend will kick off on Friday with the rescheduled “Friday Night Thunder” from last weekend featuring the 358 Modifieds, 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.
The “358” Modifieds ran their first ever race on July 8 and treated the fans to some great side-by-side racing with a lot of passing. Kyle Fink won his first ever race away from Sportsman’s Speedway and will look to make it two-in-a-row on Friday night! The “358s” look identical to the Big-Block Modifieds that compete on Saturday nights only with slightly less cubic inches under the hood; however, “358s” have been known to beat the big blocks in head-to-head competition at Sharon and throughout the region.
Junior Mechling is still looking for his season’s first win, but he continues to lead the points in the Econo Mods by 43 over Jim Turley. The Econo Mod car count has been strong for much of the season as there have been a total of 19 different cars in action for the second-year division with a high of 16 cars hit on two different occasions.
D.J. Furney is another point leader in search of his first win. Furney sits atop the Micro Sprints by 27 over Ryan Fredericks, who is also winless, and 28 up on two-time winner Jeff Haefke, Jr. Thanks to three wins, Alan Knepper is leading the way in the Mod Lites by 19 over Jeff Teeters. Matt Berger holds down a 34-point lead on teammate Steve Mix, Jr. in the Sportsman Dwarf Cars, and two-time winner Rick Ament leads David Innes by 22 in the Mini Late Models.
It was recently announced that the Econo Mods have been added to the Saturday, August 13 program and the final “Friday Night Thunder” program has been moved from September 2 to September 9.
Gates open at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and race time is set for 7:30 this year to allow for more time for fans racers to travel to Sharon Speedway. Adults are $10, students 9-13 are $5, and children eight and under are free. Pit passes are $25.
Saturday’s “Steel Valley Thunder” racing card will feature Sharon’s five regular divisions including 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.
Rex King went 14 years between his Sharon championships and now he’s looking to make it two-in-a-row in the Big-Block Modifieds. The Bristolville, Ohio veteran has a 30-point advantage on another veteran in Kevin Bolland with just five more nights of point races scheduled. The last time the big blocks raced in a feature, Dean Pearson scored a very popular win! Pearson is fourth in points as he trails third place man and two-time winner Jim Rasey.
The FASTRAK Late Models have put up big car count numbers on a consistent basis with lots of different competitors and new winners. There have 84 different racers compete with an average car count of 29 per night! Last week’s 45 count was a record for FASTRAK at Sharon. Joe Martin (3) and John Volpe (2) have been the only drivers to win multiple features while Robbie Blair, Mike Pegher, Jr., Josh Holtgraver, Chad Wright, Tom Snyder, Jr., Max Blair, and Josh Double have all been victorious. Volpe currently leads Double by 17 points as the battle has been tight all season long.
After not being scheduled for last week’s rainout, the E-Mods will return on Saturday night and the point race for the championship is tied up between Mike Kinney and Alan Dellinger. Consistent Carl McKinney sits third in points, 15 behind as any one of these three could easily be crowned champion on the final night of points on September 10. Car counts have been strong all season long with B mains needed just about every night. In fact, only on one occasion has the car count dipped under 23.
Mike Clark has turned up the wick in recent weeks on Steve D’Apolito in the Stock Cars. The Bristolville, Ohio racer has closed within eight of the former three-time track champion thanks to the first two wins of his career! D’Apolito, who has yet to finish outside the top six in any heat or feature this season, has a new fresh GM 602 crate engine in for the stretch run.
Bill Fuchs keeps inching closer to his first ever championship in the Mini Stocks. The Greenville, Pa. racer has a commanding 98-point lead on Randy Sprouse, while Randy’s son Lucas is four more points back in third. If Fuchs can simply finish 17th or better in the final six nights of points no matter what he does in the heat races he’ll be the 2011 champion!
The new boy’s and girl’s bike giveaway program presented by King Bros. Feed Supply & Redi Mix will continue Saturday night. Kids 4-14 can sign up until intermission. If either Rex King, Sr. or Jr. wins the feature, a new bike will be presented to a lucky boy and girl the following Saturday.
“Last weekend was certainly disappointing,” acknowledged second year GM Dave Willoughby. “What was only to be a slight chance of thunderstorms turned into drenching rains both Friday and Saturday evening. Hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate so we can get back to the great racing that has been the norm at Sharon Speedway.”
On Saturday, pits open at 4 p.m. with the grandstands at 5 and racing at 7. Adult admission is $13. Students 9-13 are $5. Kids eight and under are free. The family pass is $32 for mom, dad, and four kids 13 and under. Pit passes are $25, and once again there will be no registration fee for new cars for the remainder of the season.
Remember, if you bring your rain stub from Friday night to Saturday’s race, you’ll receive a $3 grandstand discount on Saturday’s admission or $10 off for those that had pit passes!
There will be an open practice at the speedway next Wednesday, August 3. Pits open at 4 p.m. with practice 5 until dark.
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.