By Mike Leone

May 5, 2012

(Hartford, OH)…After three straight rainy, cold Saturdays that forced racing to be postponed, the front dropped far enough south on Saturday to allow for sunny and warm conditions as Sharon Speedway resumed their 83rd anniversary season. Another strong crowd watched the following drivers make it to the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane: Rex King-Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Will Thomas III-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Mike Kinney-Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods, Brian Carothers-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Brandon Blackshear-HTMA/Precise Racing Equipment Econo Mods, and Bill Fuchs-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.

Defending champion Rex King captured his milestone 40th career Sharon Speedway victory and moved into sole possession of second place on the all-time DIRTcar Big-Block Modified win list following his non-stop 20-lap victory.

“There was bite on the bottom,” explained the Bristolville, Ohio veteran. “Traffic really wasn’t a problem. I just wanted to pick and choose them and not hit them. I have to thank all of my sponsors and everyone that helps out to get me here.”

King started from third and worked his way past Jim Rasey for second on lap two. Kevin Hoffman had jumped into the lead and King began closing the margin. By lap five, King was right on the leader and one lap later raced side-by-side and nosed ahead at the start-finish line with an inside move in turn four.

Kevin Bolland and Jeremiah Shingledecker were on the move from their sixth and seventh starting spots respectively. Bolland drove around Jim Rasey for third on lap seven, while Shingledecker moved into contention taking fourth from Dave Murdick on the ninth circuit.

King stretched his advantage to a straightaway, while Hoffman had his hands full in a four-car race for second with Bolland, Shingledecker, and Murdick knocking on the door by lap 13. King caught lapped traffic on lap 16, but went to the inside to make the passes and didn’t lose too much ground. Finally on lap 17, Bolland went to the inside of Hoffman in turn four to take runner-up. Shingledecker followed two laps later for third.

Up front, King was too much as the KMB, Inc-owned, GS Engine Power/Bristol Disposal/Midway Garage Doors/RD Banks Chevrolet/Longboyz Tavern/Hunyady Auction/Campbells Hydroponics-sponsored #65 took the checkered flag. Bolland, who won opening night, was second and continues to lead the points over Shingledecker, who finished third.

Hoffman edged Murdick for fourth. Completing the top 10 were Rex King, Jr., Jim Weller, Jr., Rasey, Dean Pearson, and Jimmy Weller III. Weller, Jr. and Shingledecker won the heat races.

Will Thomas III had a successful career racing asphalt Late Models, but late last season decided to make the move to dirt as he joined the growing FASTRAK Late Model division. Thomas had some good runs at the end of the season and has been fast in early action this season. On Saturday night, Thomas came from eighth, ran down Joe Martin, and passed the FASTRAK standout to capture his first career dirt win in the 20-lap Barris Supply feature.

“This is a lot different,” stated the 36-year-old Sharpsville, Pa. resident. “There’s a learning curve, but I really have to thank Robbie Blair, his son Max, and my friend Russell King. Those guys really helped take the learning curve away. They’ve taught me about the cars and how to drive them. I’m real excited. I’ve stood in victory lane at Sharon Speedway a million times in my career with Lou Blaney. My dad’s cars have won a ton of times here, but it’s really, really neat to be here by myself.”

Martin raced out ahead of second year racer Eric Wilson for the early lead. Defending track champion, Josh Double, was making his season debut and passed Shane Weaver for third on the opening lap then Wilson for second on lap two. Thomas wasted little time moving forward as he was already up to third on lap four passing Wilson before a caution for Clay Ruffo with five laps scored.

On the ensuing restart, Thomas passed Double for second. Alan Dellinger and opening night winner George Kowatic were moving forward as the duo raced into fourth and fifth respectively on lap six. By the halfway point, Thomas began closing in on Martin. Kowatic, who started ninth, passed Dellinger for fourth on lap 12.

By lap 15, Thomas was on Martin as Martin dealt with the lapped car of Jason Stanke. Heavy traffic came into play on lap 17 as Thomas pulled even and nosed ahead to lead the lap before Wilson spun to bring out the second and final caution with 17 laps completed.

When racing resumed, Double was able to get by Martin for second. Double though had nothing for Thomas, who pulled away to win by 1.245 seconds in his Colonial Metals/Barris Supply/All Star Motorstate/Sweet Manufacturing/Quarter Master-sponsored #9. Martin held on to third ahead of Kowatic and Dellinger. Sixth through 10th were Bill Cunningham, Bobby Rohrer, Matt Latta, Chad Wright, and Randy Wyant in his FASTRAK debut. Heat victors were Martin and Wilson.

Mike Kinney came out on top of the wildest and most competitive race of the night for his second career win in the 15-lap Summit Racing Equipment E-Mod feature. Kinney passed Howard Fraley for the lead then held off good friend Joel Watson for the victory.

“I knew they were coming,” expressed the 37-year-old Ashtabula, Ohio driver. “I knew Joel (Watson) was down there on the inside and next thing I know I looked over and he was there. There was a lot of bite up there on the top. It was smooth and the whole track was great tonight. Great job on the track, it was fantastic. I have to thank all of my crew, each and every one of them. This is what it’s all about!”

The race got off to a crazy start as Joel Watson lost the handle going for the lead in turn three on the opening lap. Watson did a 360 spin and cars scattered everywhere, but somehow no one stopped and everyone received their spots back for a new start.

Howard Fraley took the early lead past pole-sitter Jeff Johnson as Kinney and Watson followed in second and third. Watson passed Kinney for second following a restart on lap three. Watson challenged Fraley as the two raced side-by-side for the lead on lap four, but on lap five Watson drifted high in turn four allowing Kinney to take back second. A pair of cautions slowed action with six laps completed.

Back under green flag conditions, it was three-wide for the lead on lap seven, but Fraley held on until lap eight when both Kinney and Watson took over the top two spots. Kinney and Watson raced side-by-side for the lead for next three laps until a caution with 12 laps scored. Alan Dellinger had made his way from 11th up to third and then passed Watson for second on lap 13 before another caution slowed racing.

On the next restart, Gabrielson got into Dellinger spinning Dellinger around, but it was later learned that Dellinger ran out of fuel. Two more cautions would slow action before Kinney took the checkered flag in his Finbill Graphics/Fat Boyz Design/Racecar Fabricating/TJ Racing Transmission-sponsored #3.

Watson was second and took over the point lead. Carl McKinney had a quiet third after starting 14th. Jack Young came from 12th to finish fourth over Fraley. Shawn Shingledecker was sixth. Ryan Commeans made the long tow from Dresden, Ohio and finished seventh after starting 18th in his first ever appearance. Paul Phillips, 22nd starting Dwayne Clay and Andy Buckley completed the top 10. Shingledecker, Kinney and Watson were heat winners over the 24-car field.

After a season of tough luck, Brian Carothers was the beneficiary of someone else’s bad luck as he returned to victory lane scoring a mild upset victory in the 15-lap Gibson Agency Stock Cars for just his third career victory.

“I got a little nervous there at the end,” acknowledged the 33-year-old Youngstown, Ohio racer after brushing the fence coming down for the checkered flag. “I had a lot on my mind. This is just the little crate motor this year. It felt great and had no spin. I have to thank all of my sponsors for making this possible.”

Rod Laskey took off in the early lead. Jamie Scharba started second, but fell back to third before regaining the spot on lap three from Mike Clark. Scharba then passed Laskey for the lead on lap six. Lap seven was a wild one as Carothers had passed Laskey for second then inherited the lead when Scharba slowed and eventually brought out the caution.

The last eight laps went caution-free as Carothers was able to hold off last year’s two-time Open Stock Car winner, Tim Burns, for the victory in his Boardman Steel/Acura of Boardman/Don’s Hair Den/Lawless Industries/Select Body Service/Southern Auto Parts-sponsored #02c.

Bruce Redman had a good run placing third after passing Laskey on lap eight and has taken over the point lead. Shaun Hooks was running fourth, but broke on the final lap moving Laskey and Steve D’Apolito up to fourth and fifth at the finish. Hooks and Redman captured the heat races.

Opening night was Brad Blackshear in victory lane, but on Saturday night it was brother Brandon Blackshear standing in victory lane in the 15-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods. Blackshear was able to add to his division’s all-time leading totals with his six checkered flag.

Blackshear started on the pole and was never seriously challenged, but had to survive five cautions periods for the win in the Tub’s Automotive/Blackshear Racing Engines-sponsored #10. Blackshear also took over the point lead.

“I’ve been getting awful lucky with pill draws lately,” said the 21-year-old Brookfield, Ohio racer. “Maybe I should head to Vegas and do a little gambling. I have to thank Tubby (Tessean) especially. He has this thing set up so a good that a little old lady could drive it around! This is his deal. I just put the motor together and go over to his shop and work on it. He’s a great good old guy. My little brother is going to start giving me a run for my money. He had some transmission issues tonight. He’s the one I’m worried about.”

The race was on behind Blackshear as the positions swapped back and forth numerous times. In fact, five cars raced hard for the runner-up position in a pack. Jackson Humanic, a former standout Stock Car racer at Tri-City Speedway, was able to finish in the runner-up position in his debut in the division. Jace Ferringer, a Strictly Stock graduate, was third in his second race in the division. Larry Root finished fourth ahead. Mini Stock graduate Jeremy Double was fifth for the second straight race. Topping the heat races over a solid field of 20 cars were Humanic and Blackshear.

It looked like for the second straight week, Mini Stock dominator Bill Fuchs wasn’t going to be holding the checkered flag, but a miss by Scott Gilliland with two laps to go allowed Fuchs to capture his all-time leading 14th career win in the 12-lap Deforest Used Auto Parts feature.

“The car was tight tonight coming off the corners,” described the 36-year-old Greenville, Pa. victor. “I got it figured out there when we took the lead. I moved up the groove on the high side. I love the competition. This is the same car as last year, but I have three fully complete cars. I have to thank all of my sponsors, Dave Willoughby, and Sharon Speedway. You guys put on a great show and all of the fans for sticking around.”

Fuchs raced to the early lead over Gilliland and fourth starting Jamie Wrightsman. The trio really went at it battling for the lead. Gilliland was all over Fuchs from laps four through eight. The two ran side-by-side on laps seven and eight. Traffic came into play on lap eight and that was just enough for Gilliland to get by.

It looked like Gilliland was on his way to victory, but his #27 slowed on the backstretch with two laps to go allowing Fuchs and Wrightsman to fly by. Gilliland was able to get back to speed, but it was too late as Fuchs’ #10 took the checkered flag in his RTW Industrial Contracting/Hittles Auto Supply/Chatfield Well Drilling/Kreider Tire/McCray & Haag Automotive/Headliners & Stilettos Gentlemen’s Club/Veados Mini Mart-sponsored #10.

Wrightsman was second over Gilliland, Carlos Aponte, and ninth starting Stacy Neubecker. Scoring heat race wins were Gilliland and Fuchs.

Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. REX KING, SR. (65) 2. Kevin Bolland (777) 3. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD) 4. Kevin Hoffman (17H) 5. Dave Murdick (61) 6. Rex King, Jr. (165) 7. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 8. Jim Rasey (32) 9. Dean Pearson (8J) 10. Jimmy Weller III (31W) 11. Rob Kristyak (00) 12. Carl Murdick (6) 13. Justin Rasey (21) 14. Bob Warren (96B).

Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models (20 laps): 1. WILL THOMAS III (9) 2. Josh Double (38) 3. Joe Martin (55) 4. George Kowatic (5) 5. Alan Dellinger (Longwell 114) 6. Bill Cunningham (44c) 7. Bobby Rohrer (11) 8. Matt Latta (21) 9. Chad Wright (6) 10. Randy Wyant (11T) 11. Bobby Whitling (7W) 12. Ben Black (27B) 13. Butch Lambert (27) 14. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325X) 15. Lauren Longbrake (27) 16. Eric Wilson (27) 17. Jason Stanke (44) 18. Brian Booher (Hoover 00H) 19. Tom Copeland (98) 20. Clay Ruffo (14R).

Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods (15 laps): 1. MIKE KINNEY (3) 2. Joel Watson (92) 3. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 4. Jack Young (Hamilton 67) 5. Howard Fraley (217) 6. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 7. Ryan Commeans (1*) 8. Paul Phillips (11SS) 9. Dwayne Clay (007) 10. Andy Buckley (965) 11. Joe Gabrielson (58) 12. Jim Turley (117) 13. Trevor Herr 14. Alan Dellinger (Petsko 00) 15. Scott Jones (71J) 16. Chris Myers (357) 17. Ronnie Kahler (7R) 18. Bob Williamson (93) 19. Bud Watson (White 53) 20. Jeff Johnson (27) 21. Bruce Powell (35) 22. Joe Crawford (25) 23. Steve Dixon (Engles 68)-DNS 24. Jeff Hassay (10)-DNS.

Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. BRIAN CAROTHERS (02c) 2. Tim Burns (66) 3. Bruce Redman (27) 4. Rod Laskey (Sloss 44s) 5. Steve D’Apolito (84) 6. Mike Clark (7) 7.. Eric Williams (4w) 8. Ron Yerab (Burns 70B) 9. Jason Johns (Sloss 4HS) 10. Jesse Brock (22B) 11. Shaun Hooks (Janovick 65) 12. Jamie Scharba (00S) 13. Casey Harmon (23) 14. Ray Gregory (15).

HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. BRANDON BLACKSHEAR (10) 2. Jackson Humanic (17) 3. Jace Ferringer (02) 4. Larry Root (22x) 5. Jeremy Double (83) 6. Ryan Fraley (12SS) 7. Brian Hathaway (93) 8. Junior Mechling (89) 9. Jim Dellinger (Turley 1) 10. Alan Brewer (40) 11. Corey Skully (21) 12. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 13. Keith Felicetty (Mechling 98) 14. Kevin Robinson (24R) 15. Mike Smith (81) 16. Charles Campbell, Jr. (99) 17. Jeff Christy (Berry 91) 18. Derek Dellinger (119) 19. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (Turley 17) 20. Brad Blackson (19)-DNS.

Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. BILL FUCHS (10) 2. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 3. Scott Gilliland (27) 4. Carlos Aponte (9) 5. Stacy Neubecker (5) 6. Ken Koby II (22) 7. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 8. Steve Walker II (4M) 9. Gina Thompson (25) 10. Jim Wrightsman (12J) 11. Jim Siwula (711) 12. Carly Koby (11) 13. Jeff Little (42)-DNS.

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 or call 330-772-5481. Become a fan of Sharon Speedway on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at


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