KING COMES FROM 11TH TO WIN #4 IN MODS; PEGHER & STIFFLER REPEAT IN FASTRAK LM; DELLINGER BACK IN FORM IN STOCKS; GILLILAND WINS 1ST IN MINIS
By Mike Leone
August 6, 2011
(Hartford, OH)…Despite a 70% chance of storms throughout the day and night at Sharon Speedway on Saturday, sunshine graced Hartford, Ohio and only a few sprinkles fell during the heat races. It was the annual Bill Kirila Memorial Fan Appreciation Night and Autograph Night presented by Quaker Steak & Lube. One hundred nine cars filled the pit area.
Celebrating with wins in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Rex King-Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds, Mike Pegher, Jr.-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Scott Stiffler-Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods, Alan Dellinger-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Jamie Scharba-Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, and Scott Gilliland-Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks.
Rex King has certainly been the driver to beat in 2011 in the Big-Block Modifieds; however, King hadn’t been in victory lane since June 4. On Saturday night, King charged from the 11th starting spot to pass Rob Kristyak to win his division leading fourth 20-lap Governor Insurance Agency feature. The defending three-time champion was also able to extend his point lead over Kevin Bolland, who was unable to finish the event.
“I didn’t want to listen to Cooter (Rex King, Jr.) again,” quipped the Bristolville, Ohio veteran. “Last week I told him that a couple more laps it might have been a different outcome and he said nah I would have crashed you! I had some good runs tonight coming off the bottom. It was working so we were staying there. The restarts were working to my advantage.”
Kristyak raced to the early lead past Carl Murdick as Mark Flick, Kevin Bolland, and Dean Pearson followed in second through fourth. Flick held the second spot until Bolland was able to make the pass on lap four following a restart for a spin by Justin Rasey. King made it to the top five on lap five when he passed Pearson for the spot. King gained another spot when Jim Rasey, who was running fourth, brought out the caution with seven laps completed.
When racing resumed, Bolland was slow on the restart and then a six-car melee ensued on the backstretch collecting the top runners of Flick and Pearson. King and 12th starting Jim Weller, Jr. now lined up second and third on the restart. King would chase Kristyak until making the winning move on lap 11.
King went unchallenged in the second-half of the event for his 38th career win in his Bristol Disposal/Midway Garage Door/RD Banks Chevrolet/Hunyady Auction/Cedar Steel/Auntie V’s Pizza/GS Engine Power-sponsored #65. King now trails retired Bob Kraus by just one win for second place on the division’s all-time win list.
Kristyak edged out Weller for second. Weller’s third was just his fourth top five of the season and best finish since his runner-up on May 7. John Buchanan made just his sixth start of the season, but was able to record his third top five in fourth place after starting 10th. Rex King, Jr. was fifth. Completing the top 10 were Jim Rasey, Flick, Mike Turner, Rick Ryder, and Donny Minor. Heat victors were Bolland and King over the 17-car field.
Entering Saturday night there had been 10 different winners in 13 FASTRAK Late Model features as only Joe Martin and John Volpe had been able to find victory lane multiple times! On Saturday night, Mike Pegher, Jr. became just the third driver of the season to win more than one feature as he claimed the 20-lap Barris Supply event.
“It’s always nice to start up near the front,” explained the 25-year-old Wexford, Pa. driver. “We’ve been experimenting with a bunch of different stuff and I think now we have something that works pretty good here. We could have been a little bit tighter for the feature. We were a little bit too tight for the heat race so I didn’t want to over do it again and blow it. This competition has gotten so close between everyone. There are 15 different cars that can win here every night. We had fun and hope to be here in victory lane next week!”
Josh Double came into the night leading Volpe by two points and took the early lead passing pole-sitter Matt Latta. Pegher started third and passed the rookie Latta for second on lap two before a spin by Butch Lambert brought action to a halt with two laps completed. When racing resumed, Pegher got under Double racing off turn two and made what would be the winning pass.
On lap four, Northeast Touring Series stars Dan Angelicchio and Martin moved into fourth and fifth when they passed Ben Black. Pegher had opened up a sizable lead as the green flag laps ticked off, but on lap nine got a little high in turn two allowing Double to close in. Double was looking to extend his point lead with a solid finish, but his night would come to an end when he dropped into the infield on lap 11 moving Latta back to second, Angelicchio to third, Martin fourth, and Kyle Lukon fifth.
Pegher now had a straightaway lead on Latta as Angelicchio began to challenge for the runner-up spot. Latta, who was coming off a fifth place on Friday night at Raceway 7, was unable to avoid the spinning lapped car of Jason Stanke on lap 12 as the caution waved after 10 straight caution-free laps. Angelicchio, Martin, and Lukon again advanced a position as they were now second through fourth.
Pegher would survive two more cautions for his third career Sharon FASTRAK win and fourth overall at the track in the Lynn Geisler-owned, #1 Cochran Automotive/Triple-S Auto Sales/Zero Wraps-sponsored #1c. While Pegher went unchallenged, the battle was on for positions two through four.
Lukon passed Martin for third on lap 17 and tried to get around Angelicchio for second on lap 18, but contact was made in turn four. Lukon got high allowing Martin to get back by for third. Martin then passed Angelicchio for second on lap 19, but Angelicchio would reclaim second on the final lap for his best career Sharon finish. Martin was third. Lukon, who finished fifth in his first ever Sharon start on June 25, improved on that with a fourth place effort. Black had a solid run in fifth. Completing the top 10 were 14th starting Rod Laskey, last week’s winner Bill Cunningham, point leader Volpe, Latta, and Lambert. Pegher and Chad Wright topped the races over the 20-car field.
For the second time in three races, Scott Stiffler led all 15 laps of the Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mod feature. After struggling through much of the season, Stiffler survived nine cautions for his season’s second win.
“It was getting pretty shaky,” stated the Farmdale, Ohio driver. “I almost knocked down the fence twice on both sides of the track because we got tight and I had to use the brakes to turn it so it got hairy a couple times. I kept watching the car numbers switch on the scoreboard with the 3 and 6(M) coming forward and you know you’re going to be in trouble.”
Stiffler started from the pole and took the initial lead with Jeff Hassay, Jason Engles, Bill Thomas, and last week’s winner Clayton Kennedy filling the top five after one lap. Engles and Hassay swapped second on laps three and four, but on lap five Hassay lost the handle and collected three other racers.
When racing resumed, Thomas and Mike Kinney passed Engles for second and third respectively. Kinney made the pass of Thomas for second on lap nine. Carl McKinney, who started seventh, worked his way to third and battled with Kinney. McKinney made the pass for second on lap 12, but Kinney got back by on lap 13.
Back up front, Stiffler held on for his 16th career win in the Integra Fabricating/Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling/BCR Race Products-sponsored #14. Kinney edged out McKinney for second and leads him now by six points. It was Kinney’s third runner-up this season and 11th top five in 14 starts. McKinney has yet to finish worse than eighth in any feature this season!
Kennedy came home in fourth. Jim Turley’s best feature finish this season had been ninth on four occasions! On Saturday, Turley turned in his best performance to date with a fifth after starting 14th. Sixth through tenth were Ronnie Kahler, Paul Phillips, Scott Jones, Engles, and Bill Johnson. Thomas, Stiffler, and McKinney captured the heat races over the 22-car field.
After suffering numerous mechanical failures and getting caught up in several accidents, Alan Dellinger finally returned to victory lane in the 15-lap Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car feature. The victory was Dellinger’s division-leading fourth, but first since May 28! It was also Dellinger’s ninth win of the season overall (four in Stocks, three in E-Mods, two in Econo Mods), but first in any division since June 18!
“The battery was shorting itself out,” revealed the Hermitage, Pa. racer when asked about his recent problems. “As soon I got on the track it started shaking and the battery shorted out. We messed around with that for a whole year. I have to thank the Burns for sticking with this.”
Mike Clark raced past Steve Burns, Jr. at the start for the lead with Dellinger passing Rod Laskey, Al Herman, and Russ Stanke all on the first lap for third. Stanke then spun to bring out the caution with one lap completed.
When green replaced yellow, Dellinger made the winning pass getting by both Clark and Burns for the top spot. The only thing that slowed Dellinger were four cautions between laps two and six. The last nine laps went non-stop with Dellinger earning his 65h win career in Stock Car competition at Sharon, which came in the Steve Burns, Sr.-owned, Penn-Ohio Electric/Country Convenience Five Points BP/T&D Landscaping/Laddies Sky Club/Warehouse Sales/Rien Construction-sponsored #43B.
Clark finished second for the fourth time this season. Paul Davis came from 10th to finish third after passing Steve D’Apolito on the last lap. Point leader D’Apolito was fourth after starting eighth and still holds on to a 15-point lead over Clark in search of his fourth track championship. Laskey drove Bob Sloss’ #44s to a fifth place effort bettering his sixth in the FASTRAK Late Model feature. Davis and Dellinger picked up heat wins over the 22-car field, which was the highest for any regular show this season.
The Econo Mods were moved over from the “Friday Night Thunder” program to Saturday nights and the second year division responded well with an all-time high 17 cars on hand. Jamie Scharba inherited the lead on lap 11 from Rick Robinson and went on for his second 15-lap Summit Racing Equipment victory of the season.
“I’m very tired,” said the 46-year-old Masury, Ohio racer. “I was cramping up until the very end until they went away then I was fine.”
Todd Canter started eighth, but had the lead after one lap. Brian Hathaway made the pass of Canter to lead the second circuit. Canter tried to regain the lead on lap four, but Hathaway got into Canter causing damage to both cars, which handed the lead to Corey Skully. Tenth starting Rick Robinson was now up to second and made the pass of Skully for the lead on lap five.
Robinson was filling in for his son Kevin and looked primed for the victory, but on lap 11 lost the driveshaft in the #24R. Scharba now found himself in the lead as he became the fifth different leader. Scharba would be the race’s final leader as he held off Skully to lead the final five laps for his second win of the season and third of his career. It was the fourth win of the season for his Hilltop Pizza/Blackshear Racing Engines #1BS as Brandon Blackshear also drove the car to two wins.
Skully finished a career best second for the second time this season. Point leader Junior Mechling advanced from ninth to finish third. Jeff Christy was fourth and Canter came back to finish fifth. Robinson and Hathaway scored heat race wins.
In the best race of the night, Scott Gilliland picked up his first win of the season in the 12-lap Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stock feature. Gilliland held off a bevy of competitors to win a wild four-car scramble to the finish.
“Whew that was a good race,” expressed the 44-year-old Warren, Ohio racer after celebrating on his roof. “I’m out of breath! If anyone says this is just Mini Stock racing- take a look at that! Jim (Haefke) didn’t know I was there and pinched me, but I wasn’t lifting! I was going to get by him or we were going to wreck- one or the other!
It was three-wide for the lead on backstretch of the opening lap with Jim Haefke, Jr. coming out in the lead followed by Gilliland, Ken Koby II, and Jamie Wrightsman. Wrightsman, who started eighth, was on the move as he passed Koby for third on lap three and Gilliland for second on lap six.
Koby slammed the fence to bring out the caution with six laps completed. On the restart, Gilliland made the winning pass going from third to the lead past Wrightsman and Haefke, who had led since the beginning. The final six laps went non-stop with Gilliland holding off an intense four-car race to the finish in his Lawn Wizard/NRC Management-sponsored #27.
Gilliland won the first two races of his career last season at Sharon and Expo.
The rookie Wrightsman recorded his ninth top five of the season as he’s been so close to his career first win. Steve Walker II was third ahead of point leader Bill Fuchs and Randy Sprouse. Gilliland also won the heat race.
Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. REX KING (65) 2. Rob Kristyak (00) 3. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 4. John Buchanan (44) 5. Rex King, Jr. (165) 6. Jim Rasey (32) 7. Mark Flick (Baker 2) 8. Mike Turner (96) 9. Rick Ryder (Snider 189) 10. Donny Minor (22M) 11. Carl Murdick (6) 12. Justin Rasey (32X) 13. Kevin Bolland (777) 14. Dean Pearson (8J) 15. Don Brown (71B) 16. Bob Warren (96B) 17. Tom Shaffer, Jr. (34).
Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models (20 laps): 1. MIKE PEGHER, JR. (Geisler 1c) 2. Dan Angelicchio (14) 3. Joe Martin (55) 4. Kyle Lukon (1) 5. Ben Black (27B) 6. Rod Laskey (1R) 7. Bill Cunningham (59) 8. John Volpe (Bidwell B1D) 9. Matt Latta (21) 10. Butch Lambert (27) 11. Laura Lukon (84) 12. Billy Cunningham (44c) 13. Steve Hollabaugh (3H) 14. Justin Kreider (29) 15. Jason Stanke (44) 16. Eric Wilson (27) 17. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325x) 18. Chad Wright (6) 19. Josh Double (38) 20. Stan Woomer (2)-DNS.
Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods (15 laps): 1. SCOTT STIFFLER (14) 2. Mike Kinney (3) 3. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 4. Clayton Kennedy (9) 5. Jim Turley (117) 6. Ronnie Kahler (7R) 7. Paul Phillips (11SS) 8. Scott Jones (71J) 9. Jason Engles (68) 10. Bill Johnson (58) 11. David Atkinson (30) 12. Brian Foley, Jr. (7JSR) 13. Mike Monreal (071) 14. John Upshire (97) 15. Vince Crisanti (221) 16. Bill Thomas (White 53) 17. Wayne Brugmann (79) 18. Jeff Hassay (10) 19. Brandon Blackshear (Beck 357) 20. Bob Williamson (93) 21. Dale Monreal (711) 22. Rob Mellinger (55)-DNS.
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. ALAN DELLINGER (Burns 43B) 2. Mike Clark (7) 3. Paul Davis (Schaefers 3) 4. Steve D’Apolito (84) 5. Rod Laskey (Sloss 44s) 6. Jamie Scharba (00s) 7. Willie Aley (9) 8. Stan Woomer (2) 9. Al Herman (11) 10. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 11. Buck Buchanan, Jr. (93B) 12. Tyler Nicely (72) 13. Russ Stanke (44) 14. Jamie Gibbs (98) 15. Bob Pollock (70X) 16. Michael Hudzik (31H) 17. Jamie Duncan (67J) 18. Dave Wagner (35) 19. Brian Carothers (02c) 20. Charlie Jasinski (11A)-DNS 21. Gary Robinson (44R)-DNS 22. Rodney Thoms (124)-DNS.
Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. JAMIE SCHARBA (1BS) 2. Corey Skully (21) 3. Junior Mechling (89) 4. Jeff Christy (Berry 91) 5. Todd Canter (88) 6. Larry Root (22x) 7. Clay Ruffo (21c) 8. Derek Dellinger (119) 9. Jim Turley (117) 10. Dave Kovatch (415) 11. Bill Diver (23) 12. Charles Campbell, Jr. (99) 13. Rick Robinson (24R) 14. Brian Hathaway (22) 15. Keith Felicetty (Mechling 89M) 16. Amanda Stiffler (14)-DNS 17. Brad Blackshear (19)-DNS.
Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. SCOTT GILLILAND (27) 2. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 3. Steve Walker II (4M) 4. Bill Fuchs (10) 5. Randy Sprouse (23s) 6. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 7. Lucas Sprouse (24s) 8. Jeremy Double (83) 9. Ken Koby II (22) 10. Jake Monreal (32) 11. Rob McElhaney (7)-DNS.
Sharon Speedway will return to action this Saturday night, August 13 with a Late Model doubleheader including three Late Model features! The Super Late Models will make their only appearance of the season under the All Star Circuit of Champions racing for $4,000 to-win presented by Car*Mate Trailers.
The FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series will return to complete their July 23 event with a pair of B mains, the 30-lap feature, and the non-qualifiers race. Sweeney Chevrolet will be giving away a brand new GM 604 engine to one lucky FASTRAK racer. The Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models will then run a complete new Weekly Series event. Also on the card will be the Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods and the Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks.
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.