Season’s 1st special event Saturday as the ULMS Super Late Models come to town for $3K to-win; Open Stocks to battle for $1,500
By Mike Leone
April 18, 2012
(Hartford, OH)…After a rainy day that wiped out “Steel Valley Thunder” last Saturday at Sharon Speedway, fans and racers are hoping for better weather this Saturday (April 21) as the season’s first special event will take place. The United Late Model Series, Open Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks will compete. Race time is 7 p.m.
Though fans have become accustomed to great racing from the FASTRAK Late Models on a weekly basis, this Saturday they’ll have the night off as the high-powered Super Late Models return to Sharon for their only appearance of the season. The event will be sanctioned by ULMS for the first time with a cool $3,000 going to the 30-lap feature winner.
This year, ULMS has attracted their first title sponsor in Kennedy Motorsports, which will offer the season ending champion a record $5,000 payday. A star studded field of the best regional dirt late model teams is expected to converge to Sharon Saturday.
Defending champion, Mike Knight of Ripley, NY will be on hand as will runner-up Dennis Lunger, Jr. 2010 ULMS Champion, Boom Briggs will be in the house in addition to former multiple-time All Star Late Model Champion Robbie Blair, who won races last year at Sharon with the All Star Late Models, FASTRAK Late Models, and E-Mods.
Kennedy Motorsports and World of Outlaw driver, John Lobb of Frewsburg, NY will join the mix as well as former WoO Rookie-of-Year driver Russell King. While King of Bristolville, Ohio has never won a Late Model race at Sharon, he does own six Big-Block Modified wins at the nearby Hartford oval.
Northern standouts Chad Valone and David Scott will be teammates again in the Valone Ford cars. Valone has two ULMS wins to his credit. Other top runners expected include 2010 UFo Champion Chad McClellan, recent Attica Raceway Park double winner Garrett Krummert, April 7 E-Mod winner Brent Rhebergen, Matt Lux, and Greg Oakes. The Jay’s Auto Wrecking ULMS Rookie-of-Year program will kick off. Central Pa. racers Billy Dickson, Denny Fenton, and Robbie Marhefka have signed up for the $1,000 to-win RoY chase.
There have been 403 Super Late Model races contested at Sharon Speedway over the years between the asphalt and dirt track with 104 different winners. Jim Bickerstaff leads the all-time win list with 42 checkered flags. Davey Johnson, who was a prolific winner in the 80s and 90s, still competes today and has 26 victories. Donnie Moran, who competed at last year’s All Star event, has eight wins.
In the past, Sharon had opened their season with the Open Stock Car Shootout. This year, the schedule was altered as the event was moved in conjunction with the first ever appearance by ULMS. The goal was additional cars would be ready to compete in the event. Saturday’s feature will again pay $1,500 to-win!
At last year’s event, Tim Burns pulled off an upset for his biggest career win, but showed it was no fluke later in the season backing it up at the $1,000 “Apple Festival Nationals”. Shaun Hooks won the other Open Stock Car event last season during the “Apple Festival Nationals”. Burns and Hooks will be back to take on some of the best local racers in addition to the northern and central Pennsylvania heavy hitters led by Greg Fenno and Rusty Martz. Nearby Mercer Raceway Park has worked with Sharon to drop the Stock Cars from their program as the E-Mods will go to Mercer.
The Econo Mods are entering their third year of competition at Sharon and will be on the program Saturday racing for $350 to-win. After racing bi-weekly in 2010 and for most of 2011, the two-barrel division quickly grew last year hitting 17 cars on two occasions. On opening night, those numbers were blown away with a record 22 cars on hand and several more still due out! The Blackshear brothers led the way sweeping the top two positions with Brad topping older brother Brandon.
The Mini Stocks will round out the event with extra money on the line as $200 will go to the winner. Bill Fuchs and Scott Gilliland appeared to be the class of the field for their opener, but mechanical woes sent them pit side and watched like everyone else did as Jim Haefke, Jr. captured his career first win and sits on top of the standings.
“Hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate Saturday,” expressed third year GM Dave Willoughby. “This should be a great show for the both the fans and racers. The Super Late Models have played an important part in the history of Sharon Speedway and we always enjoy bringing them in. The ULMS Series looks stronger than ever and should be a great opening event for their season! The Open Stock Car racers have always been tremendous racers with some of the region’s top talent battling it out.”
Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5. Race time is 7 p.m. Adult admission is $15 and pit passes are $30. Students 13 and under are always free.
The season’s second open practice will take place on Wednesday, April 25. Pits open at 4 p.m. with practice 5 until dark. Pit passes are $20.
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.