Milestone 20th win for Bolland in Mods; Thomas repeats in FASTRAK L.M.; Young ends victory drought in E-Mods; Career 1st for Hathaway in Econo Mods; Stocks & Minis to Burns & Gilliland
By Mike Leone
May 12, 2012
(Hartford, OH)…After a successful 83rd anniversary season opener then three straight rainy, cold Saturdays, Sharon Speedway has been blessed with two straight sunny and warm Saturdays as the 2012 season is now well underway. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Kevin Bolland-Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Will Thomas III-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Jack Young-Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods, Tim Burns-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Brian Hathaway-HTMA/Precise Racing Equipment Econo Mods, and Scott Gilliland-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
It’s been quite a start to the 2012 season for Kevin Bolland. Bolland raced to the April 7 opening night victory then worked his way through the pack to finish second last Saturday night to Rex King. On Saturday night, Bolland was back in victory lane this time holding off King in the 20-lap DIRTcar Big-Block Modified feature for his milestone 20th career victory at the speedway. Bolland also has a victory at Lernerville Speedway this season.
“I knew he was going to be there,” stated the 52-year-old New Brighton, Pa. veteran when asked about King’s challenges. “The car was awesome up top. I have to thank God for following us and opening up those doors to tell us where to go. I’m thankful to be here. I couldn’t do it without Boundary/CREO Systems, all my sponsors and Bolland Machine for the good horsepower. We have a skeleton crew tonight, but we got it done!”
Bolland jumped into the lead past pole-sitter Jim Rasey and immediately began to pull away from the field. On lap three, it was three-wide for second with Kevin Hoffman taking the spot over Rasey and King. Following a restart, King overtook Rasey for third on lap four then one lap later drove under and past Hoffman for second in turn four.
King began eating away at Bolland’s lead until the next stoppage when Jimmy Weller III’s #31W went up in flames with 12 laps scored. Back under green flag conditions, King was all over Bolland looking for a way by. The two veterans went at it hard racing side-by-side for the lead between laps 14-16; meanwhile, as those two pulled away, the battle was on for third as Hoffman was trying to hold off seventh and 10th starting Dave Murdick and Rex King, Jr.
A caution for Bob Warren with 17 laps completed allowed King, Jr. to overtake both Murdick and Hoffman for the third spot on the restart before the final caution when rookie Jeff Monoskey spun with two laps to go. When racing resumed, Bolland was able to hold off King by 1.237 seconds for the $1,100 victory in the Bol-Tech Motorsports-owned, Boundary/CREO Systems/Bolland Machine/Cintas/Cranberry Coin & Currency-sponsored #777.
The battle over the final two laps for third was hot and heavy. Murdick passed both Hoffman and King, Jr. on lap 19, but on the final lap King, Jr. was able to nose back ahead for a season best third. Murdick edged Hoffman for fourth. Sixth through 10th were Jim Weller, Jr., Dean Pearson, Rasey, newcomer Tom Mattocks, and Carl Murdick. Heat victors over the season high 17-car field were Weller III and Dave Murdick.
One week ago, Will Thomas III charged from eighth to run down and pass FASTRAK Late Model standout Joe Martin for his first career dirt victory. On Saturday night, Thomas came from sixth and denied a first career Sharon win for Dave Airgood, Jr. with a last lap pass in the Barris Supply 20-lap feature.
“It got hairy there,” described the 36-year-old Sharpsville, Pa. former asphalt standout. “Dave (Airgood) drove a great race. I lost one like that last year, but lapped cars are part of the game. I didn’t drive a great race. I kept messing up my entry in turn three and would slide across the race track. We should have been a little bit tighter, but when we hit the black we slid a little bit more than we needed to. This is just awesome. It’s great to be able to come here and race every week. I love coming to Sharon Speedway!”
Matt Latta took off in the early lead, while Airgood passed Bobby Rohrer and Shane Bambarger for second. Thomas meanwhile picked off three cars on the opening lap to move into third. Three cautions would slow action in the first three laps, but the final 17 would go green-to-checkered.
Airgood and Thomas overtook Latta for first and second respectively on laps three and four. As the laps ticked off, Airgood would catch the back of the back on lap 12. Thomas closed in on lap 14, but Airgood did a better job in lapped traffic as he pulled back away on lap 17. Thomas though remained in striking distance in the closing laps.
On the final lap, Airgood went low in turns one and two and made contact trying to lap Lauren Longbrake. Longbrake would do a 360-spin and by the time Airgood regained his momentum, Thomas flew by and took his second straight $700 checkered flag by 1.190 seconds in his Colonial Metals/Barris Supply/All Star Motorstate/Sweet Manufacturing/Quarter Master-sponsored #9.
Airgood was able to hold on for a career best Sharon finish of second. Latta was a season best third. Billy Henry, Jr. had a strong run coming from 11th to place fourth. After finishing a close second to Henry last Sunday at Eriez Speedway and winning his first career Raceway 7 feature on Friday night, Chad Wright worked his way from 10th to finish a season best fifth. George Kowatic made his way from 18th to finish sixth over Bobby Rohrer, Bill Cunningham, Brian Booher, and Eric Wilson. Topping the heats over the 21-car field were Shane Bambarger, Latta, and Thomas.
Jack Young ended a long victory drought at Sharon Speedway as he led wire-to-wire in the 15-lap Summit Racing Equipment feature holding off a late race charge by point leader Joel Watson for his second career E-Mod win at Sharon.
“It’s been since the 90s since I’ve won here,” revealed the 44-year-old Thompson, Ohio veteran. “I’ve had so much bad luck down here and we needed to win here bad! I didn’t want to see that caution! I have to give tribute to Dave (Willoughby). What a great race track! I’ve raced at a lot of places, but I’ve never seen a track come around like this place has the last couple of years. What a great job by him and the guys that do the work here.”
While Young took the early advantage, Alan Dellinger charged by Ronnie Kahler and Bud Watson for second after one lap. Young and Dellinger quickly pulled away from the field as last week’s winner, Mike Kinney, began to pressure Bud for third. Joel Watson started back in 10th, but wasted little time moving forward as he found himself in the top five after three laps.
As the laps went caution-free, Joel was able to catch up to Kinney and Bud as he joined the battle for third on lap nine. The first and only caution was displayed with 10 laps scored when Kahler lost the handle. When green replaced yellow, Joel made a great move to pass both Kinney and Bud for third.
On lap 12, Joel passed Dellinger for second. Joel would close on leader Young and made a hard charge in turn four on the final lap, but came up 0.379 seconds short as Young celebrated his fifth career Sharon win overall in the Ken Hamilton-owned, Hamilton Excavating & Tucking/MMS Kids/Annabelle’s Diner/NuLife Resources-sponsored #67.
Dellinger was third over Kinney and Bud Watson, who made his second straight start in the Jim White #53. Completing the top 10 were Jeff Johnson, Joe Gabrielson, Shawn Shingledecker, Jim Turley, and newcomer Kevin Miller. Heat winners were Young and Bud Watson.
Last season, Tim Burns won over $3,100 taking two of the season’s biggest Open Stock Car victories. This season, Burns is concentrating on Sharon and is chasing after his first championship. On Saturday night, Burns became the third different winner in as many weeks holding off Shaun Hooks for the 15-lap Gibson Insurance Agency victory. Burns also took over the point lead as well.
“We’re running for points this year so we’re trying to do everything we can to stay up front,” acknowledged the 40-year-old Greenville, Pa. victor. “The top 10 guys are just unbelievable- they’re all doing a great job. I can just imagine how close everyone was behind me. I could hear the buzzing in my ear so I knew they were there. I have to thank my sponsors, my wife, and Kip- boy he does a great job on these engines.”
Burns led from the pole, while Hooks passed newcomer Pat Adams for second on the initial lap. An unusual five cautions slowed action in the first four laps, but after that the last 11 would go non-stop. Following the final caution, sixth starting Steve D’Apolito passed both Rod Laskey and Brian Carothers for third.
Back up front, Burns continued to keep a steady advantage over Hooks. The battle was on for third as last week’s winner Carothers took back the spot from D’Apolito on lap 10. Burns had just enough to hold off Hooks for his fifth career win in his Hittles Auto Supply/Wedge Motorsports-sponsored #66.
Carothers was third. D’Apolito, who never finished worse than sixth last season, was able to barely hold off 11th starting Mike Clark for fourth as he has maintained that streak this year. Picking up heat race wins over the season high 19-car field were D’Apolito and Jamie Scharba.
Brian Hathaway was close to victory so many times last season. On Saturday night, Hathaway was the beneficiary of opening night winner Brad Blackshear’s blown motor on the final lap as became the third different winner in as many weeks in the Econo Mods with his career first victory in the 15-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products feature.
“Oh boy,” was what the 18-year-old Bristolville, Ohio racer said he was thinking on the final lap. “It was the longest third and fourth corner I’ve ever taken in my life. I’m racing for points this year. I wanted to win, but I really didn’t have any expectations.”
Pole-sitter Derek Dellinger charged into the early with Jackson Humanic and Jim Dellinger trailing. Humanic would get caught up in an accident on lap three and then Derek spun out in turn one on lap nine. These unfortunate events handed the lead over to Jim Dellinger with seventh starting Hathaway up to second.
Blackshear had started back in 19th and following the caution was able to pass both brother Brandon and Hathaway for second. Hathaway didn’t give up as he nosed back ahead for second on lap 11. While the battle raged for second, they were actually able to close on Jim Dellinger and it was three-wide for the lead on lap 12 with Brad going from third to first. Hathaway then was able to get by Jim Dellinger for second on lap 14, which turned out to be the winning move as Blackshear would go up in smoke going down the backstretch on the final lap.
Hathaway flew by into the lead then held off Brandon Blackshear as brother Brad slowly coasted to a stop in turn three, but it was long enough for Hathaway to clear the checkered flag in the Cecil Hathaway-owned, Drake/Gold Connection/Mahan Welding/Campbell’s Gardening/Wedge Motorsports-sponsored #93. Hathaway became the 13th different winner in the division’s third year.
Jim Dellinger crossed the finish line in third with Junior Mechling and Steve Burns, Jr. rounding out the top five as all three racers recorded their season best finishes. Heat winners were Jeremy Double, Mechling, and Jim Dellinger over the 21-car field.
After it appeared he was headed to victory in both of the first two races only to slow in the lead in the closing laps, Scott Gilliland was able to take the checkered flag first this time to become the third different winner in as many 12-lap Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock features this season.
“This should have been our third win,” stated the 45-year-old Warren, Ohio driver. “It’s shut off on us twice. We’ve had electrical problems and have been all through this car. We thought we had it fixed last week, but it shut off with two laps to go. I’m not sure if we fixed the problem or not, but we made it 12 laps this time! Not only is Bill (Fuchs) the best racer here, but he’s the best in the area. I have a lot of respect for that team. They made everyone else step it up and really I owe this to him.”
Gilliland started from the third position and passed Ken Koby II on the first lap for second. Following a caution for debris, Gilliland took charge of the event passing Jamie Wrightsman. Gilliland would survive two restarts and a challenge by defending champion and the division’s all-time winner Bill Fuchs for his third career victory in his Lawn Wizard/NRC Management/Dybrook Products-sponsored #27.
Fuchs started back in sixth and made a three-wide pass of Koby and Wrightsman on lap eight to take second, but just didn’t have enough as he had to settle for runner-up. Pole-sitter Wrightsman dropped to third at the finish over opening night winner Jim Haefke, Jr. and Stacy Neubecker, who recorded his third straight top five effort. Heats were won by Fuchs and Wrightsman.
Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. KEVIN BOLLAND (777) 2. Rex King (65) 3. Rex King, Jr. (165) 4. Dave Murdick (61) 5. Kevin Hoffman (17H) 6. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 7. Dean Pearson (8J) 8. Jim Rasey (32) 9. Tom Mattocks (69) 10. Carl Murdick (6) 11. Tom Glenn (83T) 12. Bob Warren (96B) 13. Jeff Monoskey (22) 14. Rob Kristyak (00) 15. Jimmy Weller III (31W) 16. Chris Haines (35H) 17. Justin Rasey (21).
Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models (20 laps): 1. WILL THOMAS III (9) 2. Dave Airgood, Jr. (42) 3. Matt Latta (21) 4. Billy Henry, Jr. (McGee 21*) 5. Chad Wright (6) 6. George Kowatic (5) 7. Bobby Rohrer (11) 8. Bill Cunningham (44c) 9. Brian Booher (Hoover 00H) 10. Eric Wilson (27) 11. Bobby Whitling (7W) 12. Jason Stanke (44) 13. Lauren Longbrake (27) 14. Randy Wilson (McGee 13) 15. Alan Dellinger (Longwell 114) 16. Josh Double (38) 17. Bob Diver (23) 18. Lonnie Emerick (3) 19. Shane Bambarger (68B) 20. Clay Ruffo (14R) 21. Tom Copeland (98)-DNS.
Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods (15 laps): 1. JACK YOUNG (Hamilton 67) 2. Joel Watson (92) 3. Alan Dellinger (Petsko 00) 4. Mike Kinney (3) 5. Bud Watson (White 53) 6. Jeff Johnson (27) 7. Joe Gabrielson (58) 8. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 9. Jim Turley (117) 10. Kevin Miller (4M) 11. Scott Jones (71J) 12. Jeff Hassay (10) 13. Ronnie Kahler (7R) 14. Trevor Herr (32) 15. Brian Douglas (214) 16. Paul Phillips (11SS) 17. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 18. Joe Crawford (25)-DNS 19. Scott Stiffler (14)-DNS.
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. TIM BURNS (66) 2. Shaun Hooks (Janovick 65) 3. Brian Carothers (02c) 4. Steve D’Apolito (84) 5. Mike Clark (7) 6. Paul Davis (3) 7. Rod Laskey (Sloss 44s) 8. Pat Adams (93) 9. Ron Yerab (Burns 70B) 10. Allan Hudzik (31H) 11. Buck Buchanan, Jr. (93B) 12. Bobby Barnett (3B) 13. Ray Gregory (15) 14. Andy Thompson (5) 15. Bruce Redman (27) 16. Eric Williams (4W) 17. Ralph Roberts (6R) 18. Jamie Scharba (00S) 19. Charlie Jasinski (5J).
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. BRIAN HATHAWAY (93) 2. Brandon Blackshear (10) 3. Jim Dellinger (Turley 1) 4. Junior Mechling (89) 5. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 6. Derek Dellinger (119) 7. Jeremy Double (83) 8. Corey Skully (21) 9. Brad Blackshear (19) 10. Kevin Sevacko (76) 11. Jeff Christy (Berry 91) 12. Larry Root (22x) 13. Kevin Robinson (24R) 14. Mike Smith (81) 15. Jackson Humanic (17) 16. Ryan Fraley (12SS) 17. Keith Felicetty (Mechling 98) 18. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (Turley 17) 19. Bob Williams (8) 20. Amanda Stiffler (14) 21. Alan Brewer (40)-DNS.
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. SCOTT GILLILAND (27) 2. Bill Fuchs (10) 3. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 4. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 5. Stacy Neubecker (5) 6. Tommy Davis (32) 7. Ken Koby (22) 8. Gina Thompson (Weber 25) 9. Jim Wrightsman (12J) 10. Steve Walker II (4M) 11. Jim Siwula (711) 12. 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 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.