Sharon looks to complete 3rd straight Saturday of “Steel Valley Thunder” on Armed Forces Night
By Mike Leone
May 15, 2012
(Hartford, OH)…Following a successful opener and then three straight rain outs, Sharon Speedway fans and racers have gotten back in the groove the past two Saturday nights with exciting racing action. Sharon will look to make it three-in-a-row this Saturday night (May 19) with another “Steel Valley Thunder” program featuring the Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. It’s Warehouse Sales Night. Race time is 7 p.m.
With Memorial Day Weekend fast approaching, Saturday is Armed Forces Night with free grandstand admission for those heroes. Fans can enjoy this week’s home-cooked special in the kitchen of kielbasa sauerkraut and mashed potatoes for just $6.
“It’s nice to finally get some nice weather,” stated third year GM Dave Willoughby. “April was so frustrating after such a great opener. May has been great so far with tremendous racing! The early outlook is for good weather again Saturday so we look forward to seeing all of the fans and racers Saturday at Sharon. We invite all those in the armed forces out to be our guests Saturday.”
Kevin Bolland and Rex King were the two dominant DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds in 2011. The duo have continued to set the pace after three events in 2012. Bolland of New Brighton won the opening event then again this past Saturday night as he has a 13-point lead on King, who was the May 5 winner and finished a close runner-up last week. Interestingly though King has 40 career Sharon wins to Bolland’s 20.
Drivers like Dave Murdick, Jeremiah Shingledecker, Rex King, Jr., Jim Weller, Jr., Kevin Hoffman, Dean Pearson, Rob Kristyak, and Jim Rasey are always fast and would certainly like to unseat the two leaders.
It didn’t take former asphalt standout Will Thomas III long to figure out the FASTRAK Late Models. Thomas snuck past Dave Airgood, Jr. in lapped traffic on Saturday night to capture his second straight win in the division and extended his point lead to 19 over opening night winner George Kowatic. The Sharpsville, Pa. racer is in his first full season of dirt racing after making the switch late last summer. Saturday will be FASTRAK’s final tune-up before the two-day Bill Emig Memorial “Wild Card Weekend” over Memorial Day Weekend next Saturday and Sunday.
The depth and quality of the E-Mod division is second to none at Sharon. Last Saturday, Jack Young ended a long winless drought at Sharon that dated back to the late 1990s as he held off the always fast Joel Watson. Watson of Conneaut, Ohio leads Young in the standings by six heading into Saturday. Already 39 different drivers have competed in the three shows to date.
After just 14 cars in each of the first two weeks of racing, it was good to see the Stock Car count back up as 19 were in the pits last week with several addition cars expected out in the coming weeks. The Stocks have already featured three different winners in three weeks including opening night winner Paul Davis, Brian Carothers, and most recently Tim Burns.
Burns is chasing after his first championship this year and the Greenville, Pa. racer currently leads Carothers and Steve D’Apolito by 14 points. D’Apolito already has an unprecedented four championships in the division.
The Econo Mod division is in its third year of existence, but first ever as a weekly attraction. In three shows there have been three different winners (Brad Blackshear, Brandon Blackshear, and Brian Hathaway) along with 25 different drivers competing. Last year, a record 17 cars was achieved on two different occasions; however, this year the car count has been at least 20 for all three shows!
Brandon Blackshear has a 13-point lead on Hathaway, who earned his first career win last Saturday night. Lurking behind is teenager Jeremy Double, who competed in the Mini Stocks each of the past two seasons, and defending champion Junior Mechling.
Despite having the lowest car count of the six divisions, the Mini Stocks have also produced three different winners in as many nights. Jim Haefke, Jr., Bill Fuchs, and Scott Gilliland have each been victorious once. Fuchs and Gilliland are tied atop the standings with Haefke just six markers behind.
Pits open at 4 p.m. on Saturday with grandstands at 5 on Saturday. Race time is 7 p.m. Adult admission is $13 and pit passes are $25. Students 13 and under are always free.
The third open practice of the season will take place on Wednesday, May 23 from 5 p.m. until dark.
The big Bill Emig Memorial Weekend is coming up next weekend with two days of racing on both Saturday and Sunday. The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Pace Performance FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series will be featured both nights for $1,500 to-win as will the Open Stock Cars, Econo Mods, and Mini Stocks. The United E-Mod Series will race for $1,000 to-win on Saturday night, while the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds will battle for $1,500 on Sunday. Sunday will also be “Race for the Cure” – An American Cancer Society Benefit Event.
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.