PEARSON AND DOUBLE SCORE POPULAR 2ND WINS IN MODS & FASTRAK LATE MODELS; WATSON FLIES TO 4TH E-MOD WIN; SCHARBA BECOMES 8TH DIFFERENT STOCK WINNER; 3RD FOR BLACKSHEAR IN ECONO MODS; SPROUSE WINS 1ST EVER IN MINIS
By Mike Leone
August 27, 2011
(Hartford, OH)…After unsettled weather has been in the forecast for the last three Saturdays and four of the last five weeks, Sharon Speedway was blessed with a beautiful Saturday night on the next-to-last night of points. While Hurricane Irene slammed the East Coast, Sharon only received clouds from the strong system. One hundred four cars were pit side as the six-division show including kids’ bike races was run off in just over three and half hours.
Celebrating with wins on Boundary Systems/CREO Night in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Dean Pearson-Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds, Josh Double-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Joel Watson-Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods, Jamie Scharba-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Brandon Blackshear-Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, and Lucas Sprouse-Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks.
Last year, Dean Pearson won his first Sharon race of his long racing career. On Saturday night, Pearson returned to victory lane for the second time in the past five races, and the 59-year-old veteran indicated he’s going to give it one more go next season at 60 years of age! Pearson’s $1,100 win came in the 20-lap Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modified feature as he held off two other veterans in point leader Rex King and Jim Weller, Jr.
“I can’t believe this,” acknowledged the Harrisville, Pa. racer. “The car has been really good. We had some motor problems and got those straightened out and have been doing pretty good now. I was running it pretty hard at the end and my tires were giving up. I knew Rex was there and that’s why I went to the bottom on that restart.”
Pearson used the outside to power past Tom Mattocks for the lead, while fourth starting Rob Kristyak passed Weller and Mattocks for second on the opening lap. The caution waved after one lap when rookie racer Justin Rasey, who was coming off a career best third, hit the wall bringing out the caution.
King started from the eighth position and cracked the top five when racing resumed. King then used a slider in turn two to dispose of Skip Moore and Mattocks for third on lap three. King began to close on Kristyak on lap eight then put a slide job on the fellow Bristolville, Ohio driver in turn four on the following lap to take the second spot. Mattocks, Weller, and Kevin Bolland were having a good race for positions four through sixth as they swapped the spots back and forth. Weller got back by Bolland for fourth when Bolland slipped high in turn four on lap nine.
Pearson had a half-straightaway lead on King as King began to close the deficit each lap before a caution for flat tire on Bolland’s mount brought action to a halt for the second and final time of the race. The caution setup a five-lap shootout between Pearson, King, and Weller that went right down to the wire. The three veterans put on quite a race as King and Weller tried everything, but Pearson was able to hold on for his third career Sharon win by 0.223 seconds in the Family Traditions Restaurant/Allegheny Crane/Precision Engines-sponsored #8J.
With his second place finish combined with Bolland’s 13th, King extended his point lead to 42 and now simply has to show up on September 10 to claim his second straight title. Weller’s third was just his fifth top five of the season, but his second third place in the past three weeks. Kristyak was fourth over ninth starting Jim Rasey. Completing the top 10 were Rex King, Jr., 15th starting Kevin Hoffman, Mattocks, Mark Flick, and 19th starting Eric Gabany. Heat wins over the 21-car field went to Skip Moore, Pearson, and King, Jr.
Josh Double entered the night leading John Volpe by just two points in the FASTRAK Late Models. Double added to that lead thanks to his season’s second win compounded by a 14th place finish by Volpe in the 20-lap Barris Supply feature.
“I was nervous about Max (Blair),” stated the 18-year-old Bristolville, Ohio driver. “I think he was a little faster than me, but passing is another thing. When he got under me just before the caution it made me realize just how close he was. I figured as long as I stayed in the middle, he wouldn’t be able to slide me. I probably should have been running a little higher in (turns) three and four, but I hit that bump once and it got me out of my groove so I didn’t want to do it again.”
Double drew the pole position and took off in the lead, while Blair passed Tony Tatgenhorst for second on lap one. Blair began to close on Double on lap four as the duo pulled away leaving a great battle for third to take place with Tatgenhorst trying to hold off Joe Martin, Bill Cunningham, Volpe, and Will Thomas III.
On lap eight, Blair was right on Double. The following lap saw Blair look under Double in turns three and four, but Double had the momentum off the top to lead lap nine. Entering turns one and two, Blair tried to make the pass as he shot low and it looked like it might pay off, but at the same time Volpe hit the fence going into turn one bringing out the first caution with nine laps scored.
In between cautions, Double continued to keep Blair at bay, while Tatgenhorst, Martin, and Cunningham really went at racing side-by-side. The final caution was displayed with 17 laps completed when contact was made on the ensuing restart sending Tatgenhorst spinning and ending a career best run. The final three laps saw Double hold off Blair and Martin by 0.378 seconds for the $700 win in his Glunt Industries/Wedge Motorsports/Cortland Auto Repair/King Bros./Mahan Fab & Welding/Thomas Heating & AC/Williams Excavating-sponsored #38.
Cunningham was fourth over 10th starting Alan Dellinger. Thomas was sixth for his best effort in his second weekend of FASTRAK racing for the former asphalt standout. Last week’s winner Eric Wilson was seventh for his third straight top 10 finish after failing to do so all season long. Tom Copeland came from 14th to eighth for his third straight top 10 as well. Brian Booher and Stan Woomer had their season best finishes in 9th and 10th. Topping the heats were Tatgenhorst and Blair.
Making just his 10th start of the season, Joel Watson powered to his fourth win in the 15-lap Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods. Watson came from third to pass Andy Buckley and survived four cautions for the victory on the fast and wide track.
“The track was really racey tonight,” explained the Conneaut, Ohio ace. “What a difference between last week and this week. I bring all of the combinations so I’m good. We’ve been having a couple little issues with our motors. Just silly things have happened to us the last four or five weeks that have kept us out of victory lane, but I think we got it together and we’re back! We’re leading the points at Raceway 7 and Eriez Speedway as well as the UEMS Series so we’re trying to seal the deal there. We’re enjoying this year and I can’t thank my crew enough.”
Buckley stole the lead away from Dwarf Car graduate Bill Johnson as Watson followed in second on the first lap. Joe Gabrielson passed Johnson for third on lap two. Watson caught Buckley and was all over the leader on lap four as he made the winning pass driving hard into turn three and making the pass stick.
Watson began to pull away to a straightaway lead as he caught lapped traffic on lap seven. Watson didn’t have to deal with traffic long as the first caution slowed action with six laps scored. One more lap was completed before Jason Engles brought out caution number two. On the ensuing restart, Gabrielson and eighth starting Mike Kinney passed Buckley for second and third respectively.
Buckley and Dale Monreal stopped at opposite ends of the track forcing caution number three with 10 laps scored. When racing resumed, seventh starting point leader Carl McKinney was on the move. McKinney got under Gabrielson for third in turn four on lap 11 and the following lap used the outside to pass second place point man Kinney.
Watson though was too strong as his Northwest Restoration/Zimmer’s Service Center/Racecar Fabrication/Hoosier Tire-sponsored #92 took his fifth career win at the track by 3.178 seconds. McKinney beat out Kinney for second and now has a 15-point lead heading into the final night of points on September 10. Kinney’s third gave him 12 top fives in 16 starts!
Tim Deutsch was behind the wheel of the Jim White #53 for the second time this season and finished fourth, which was the best the car has placed all year long with Bill Thomas, Bruce Redman, and Russ Dunn also driving it. Paul Phillips was a season best fifth. Completing the top 10 were Gabrielson, Scott Jones, Howard Fraley, Jim Turley, and Arlan Coy. Heat victors were McKinney, Buckley, and Kinney over the 22-car field. The E-Mods have still only been under 22 cars on one occasion this season.
Jamie Scharba became the eighth different winner of the season in the highly-competitive Stock Car division. Scharba’s wire-to-wire victory came in the 15-lap Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car feature as he barely held off Jeff Buccella.
“It feels good to finally win,” acknowledged the Masury, Ohio driver. “I got in too hard at the end and it was sideways. I appreciate him (Buccella) not hitting me. The teching has really helped. It’s brought everyone on a level playing field and I think it’s much better.”
Scharba took off in the lead using the outside past Buccella. Bruce Redman passed Russ Stanke for third on lap one. Stanke would spin on the following lap bringing out the race’s only caution as the last 14 laps went green-to-checkered. Scharba, Buccella, and Redman pulled away from the pack, while positions four through eight really went at it.
Buccella closed on Scharba on lap 14 and then Scharba would get sideways in traffic nearly losing the handle in turn three. Buccella wasn’t able to get by as Scharba gathered it back up and held on on the final lap to win by 0.445 seconds in his Hilltop Pizza/Milk Barn/Blackshear Automotive-sponsored #00S. The victory was Scharba’s second career in the division, but fourth overall as he also has two Econo Mod wins this season.
Buccella made his first start since April 30 in the Richard Davis #915 and turned in a great second place effort. Redman was third for his fourth top five in just eight Stock Cars starts this year. Charlie Jasinski came from eighth to finish fourth and Steve D’Apolito was fifth after starting 11th. D’Apolito leads Mike Clark by 20 points heading into the final night of points on September 10 in search of his fourth track title. Heat wins over the 18 cars went to Jasinski and Clark.
Driving a different car, Brandon Blackshear picked up his third win of the season in the 15-lap Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods. Blackshear came from 12th and passed race-long leader Junior Mechling with one-lap to go to secure the victory.
“Last week when the #1BS car got tore up with Jamie (Scharba) driving it there was a guy interested in buying,” explained the 21-year-old Brookfield, Ohio driver. “I told Jamie rather than tearing it up anymore lets just park it and sell it to the guy. I told Tubby (Tessean) about it so he said come put the engine in the #10. We drug it out of the barn and stayed up until 1 in the morning getting it together, and here we are in victory lane. This car has won over 100 features so here’s one more for him!”
Point leader Mechling took off in the lead with Larry Root and Brian Hathaway following. Hathaway passed Root for second following a lap five restart. Derek Dellinger and Jim Turley moved into third and fourth on lap five past Root. Brandon Blackshear passed his brother Brad on lap five to crack the top five. Dellinger and Blackshear then got past Hathaway for second and third on laps nine and ten respectively.
A caution for Brad Blackshear brought action to a halt with 10 laps completed. On the restart, Blackshear overtook Dellinger for second. Blackshear and Dellinger were all over Mechling as the laps came to a close. On lap 14, Blackshear got under Mechling in turn four. The two made contact with Blackshear leading the lap with the white flag waving.
“He was pushing bad coming out of four,” stated Blackshear. “I got a run under him and dove underneath him. We got together a little bit. I gave him room, but he crowded me. We’re standing here taking the trophy so that’s all that matters.”
Blackshear would hold on to score the win in the #10. Mechling was second for the fourth time this season and has been in the top four in all 11 starts. Despite missing last weekend and failing to win a race all season, Mechling needs to simply show up on September 10 to clinch the championship. Dellinger was third with Todd Canter and Hathaway rounding out the first five. Hathaway and Mechling won the heat races.
Lucas Sprouse came out on top of a wild 12-lap Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stock feature for his first career Sharon win that saw just four cars finish the race. “We figured these Cavaliers out and made them turn,” explained the 26-year-old Elkton, Ohio driver. “That’s the biggest thing. We tow about an hour each week to get here. I was starting to get burnt out, but this just made things get better. We had seven wins at Mercer in the past, but this is a lot better.”
Sprouse started on the pole and survived three cautions in a race he was never seriously challenged in. Sprouse, who is second in points, took the checkered flag in the Millrock Auto-sponsored #24s. Two-time winner, Rob McElhaney, came back from a hard hit last Saturday that destroyed his #7 to finish second in the #6 car that is normally driven by his son Michael. Lucas’ father Randy was third despite making some contact that got his son sideways earlier in the race. Marian Nevin was the final finishing car in fourth in her first appearance of the season. Jim Haefke, Jr. was fifth. Point champion Bill Fuchs won the heat race.
Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. DEAN PEARSON (8J) 2. Rex King (65) 3. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 4. Rob Kristyak (00) 5. Jim Rasey (32) 6. Rex King, Jr. (165) 7. Kevin Hoffman (17H) 8. Tom Mattocks (69) 9. Mark Flick (Baker 2) 10. Eric Gabany (3E) 11. Mike Turner (96) 12. Skip Moore (96) 13. Kevin Bolland (777) 14. Brad Rapp (11R) 15. Carl Weatherby (919) 16. Carl Murdick (6) 17. Shawn Fleeger (88) 18. Bob Warren (96B) 19. Don Brown (71B) 20. Justin Rasey (32X) 21. Tom Shaffer, Jr. (34)-DNS.
Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models (20 laps): 1. JOSH DOUBLE (38) 2. Max Blair (111) 3. Joe Martin (55) 4. Bill Cunningham (59) 5. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 6. Will Thomas III (9) 7. Eric Wilson (27) 8. Tom Copeland (98) 9. Brian Booher (Hoover 00H) 10. Stan Woomer (2) 11. Tony Tatgenhorst (Aguredakes 63) 12. Clay Ruffo (14R) 13. Chad Wright (6) 14. John Volpe (Bidwell B1D) 15. Jason Stanke (44) 16. Damian Bidwell (17) 17. Matt Latta (21)-DNS.
Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods (15 laps): 1. JOEL WATSON (92) 2. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 3. Mike Kinney (3) 4. Tim Deutsch (White 53) 5. Paul Phillips (11SS) 6. Joe Gabrielson (58) 7. Scott Jones (44J) 8. Howard Fraley (217) 9. Jim Turley (117) 10. Arlan Coy (56) 11. Ronnie Kahler (7R) 12. Brian Foley, Jr. (7JSR) 13. Vince Crisanti (221) 14. Wayne Brugmann (79) 15. Rob Mellinger (55) 16. Mike Monreal (071) 17. Bill Johnson (58) 18. Dale Monreal (711) 19. Andy Buckley (965) 20. Bob Williamson (93) 21. Jason Engles (68) 22. Jeff Hassay (10).
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. JAMIE SCHARBA (00) 2. Jeff Buccella (Davis 915) 3. Bruce Redman (27) 4. Charlie Jasinski (11A) 5. Steve D’Apolito (84) 6. Paul Davis (3) 7. Mike Clark (7) 8. Brian Carothers (02c) 9. Pat Adams (93) 10. Gary Robinson (44R) 11. Russ Stanke (44) 12. Tyler Nicely (72) 13. Michael Hudzik (31H) 14. Bob Pollock (70x) 15. Ed Cornell (55) 16. Jamie Gibbs (98) 17. Alan Dellinger (Burns 43B)-DNS 18. Al Herman (11)-DNS.
Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. BRANDON BLACKSHEAR (Tessean 10) 2. Junior Mechling (89) 3. Derek Dellinger (119) 4. Todd Canter (88) 5. Brian Hathaway (22) 6. Larry Root (22x) 7. Kevin Robinson (24R) 8. Brad Blackshear (19) 9. Charles Campbell, Jr. (99) 10. Jim Turley (117) 11. Jeff Christy (Berry 91) 12. Steve Haefke (21) 13. Chad Felicetty (Mechling 89M)-DNS 14. Mike Smith (81)-DNS.
Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. LUCAS SPROUSE (24s) 2. Rob McElhaney (7) 3. Randy Sprouse (23s) 4. Maria Nevin (9) 5. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 6. Steve Walker II (4M) 7. Bill Fuchs (10) 8. Jake Monreal (32) 9. Mike Scharba (30M) 10. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 11. Dillon Kineston (19) 12. Pete Blazczak (77).
Sharon Speedway will be off over Labor Day Weekend, but will return for the final “Steel Valley Thunder” program with the same six divisions on Saturday, September 10. Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing at 7. There will be an open practice on Wednesday, September 14 and the season will wrap up with the two-day “Apple Festival Nationals” on Friday and Saturday, September 16-17.
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.