BLAIR OPENS BILL EMIG MEMORIAL WITH $1,500 FASTRAK NE L.M. TOUR WIN; WATSON WINS $1,000 UEMS; SCHNEIDER WINS 1ST EVER AT SHARON IN STOCKS; BLACKSHEAR & HAEFKE REPEAT IN ECONO MODS & MINIS
By Mike Leone
May 26, 2012
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway kicked off the two-day Bill Emig Memorial on Saturday night on a sunny and hot 90-degree day as part of the Memorial Day Weekend Celebration. After losing three straight events to end April, Saturday marked the fourth straight completed show to begin the month of May. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Max Blair-FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series, Joel Watson-United E-Mod Series, Chris Schneider-Open Stock Cars, Brandon Blackshear-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Jim Haefke, Jr.-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
It’s hard to imagine, but the 2012 season for three-time FASTRAK National Weekly and three-time Northeast Touring Champion Max Blair has gotten off to a better start than any of his prior four. On Saturday night, Blair performed a clean sweep of his heat race, the $100 John Buzzard Memorial K&N Dash, and the 25-lap Barris Supply $1,500 to-win feature for his unprecedented third straight Tour win and fourth in five races this season. Blair also received the $100 Genesis Shocks “Top Dog of the Night” certificate.
“I really struggle here- this feels great to be able to get a big win at Sharon,” acknowledged the 22-year-old Centerville, Pa. winner. “We won the Gary Knollinger Memorial race last year, but the planets or something were aligned perfect that night. You could race on the track tonight. It was a little rough on the bottom, but sometimes you have to give and take a little bit. I was right in the middle all night long, but you start on the front row and you don’t know any different so you run where you’ve run all night then he (Pegher) goes blowing on by you on the bottom so I knew I had to move down.”
Blair raced to the early lead with Pegher, Billy Henry, Jr., Clay Ruffo, and Andrew Satterlee filling the top five after one lap. Pegher got under Blair in turns one and two on lap two and the standouts raced side-by-side with Pegher getting by coming off of turn four for the lead. Satterlee passed Ruffo for fourth on lap two as 11th starting Dan Angelicchio followed in fifth one lap later.
The first caution occurred when John Garvin, Jr., Lauren Longbrake, and Michael Mitchell tangled in turn four with four laps scored. On the ensuing restart, Angelicchio made a great move to pass both Satterlee and Henry for third. Another driver on the move was two-time Sharon winner Will Thomas III. Thomas started 10th and made his way to the top five by lap eight getting around Henry.
Back up front, Pegher continued to set the pace, while Angelicchio caught Blair on lap nine. Angelicchio drove under and past Blair in turn four for runner-up on lap nine, but two laps later Blair returned the favor with an identical move. Thomas was able to gain the fourth position on lap 12 dropping Satterlee back another position. By now Thomas was a half-straightaway back of the front three, but slowly cut into the lead until the caution was displayed for a spin by Shane Bambarger.
When green replaced yellow, Blair made his winning pass driving around Pegher off the topside of turn two to lead lap 20. Pegher wasn’t about to go away as he stuck right with Blair, and the duo made contact on lap 21, but Blair continued to lead. Pegher’s night would come to an unfortunate end with a flat tire with 22 laps scored.
Joe Martin had raced just outside of the lead pack for most of the night, but was able to work his way into the top five then inherited fourth following the flat by Pegher. On the restart, Martin then overtook Thomas for third. Up front, Angelicchio tried everything, but wasn’t able to get by as Blair would go on for his all-time leading 16th career Tour win. It was Blair’s first Sharon win of the season and fourth of his career in his Specialty Products/Rohrer Trucking/Moody & Son Welding/Genesis Shocks-sponsored #111.
Angelicchio, Martin, and Thomas turned in their season best performances in second through fourth. Steve Dixon, who has really struggled at Sharon over the years turned in a solid fifth after starting 17th in just his second Tour start of the season. Sixth through 10th were John Over, 21st starting John Garvin, Jr., last week’s winner Bobby Whitling, last year’s champion Josh Double, and 22nd starting Chad Ruhlman.
Olean, New York’s Junior Peters ended the night winning his first ever six-lap FASTRAK non-qualifier event. Peters led every lap over Brad Kling, Jason Stanke, and Bud Watson completed the field of eight possible entrants. Heat winners over the season-high 34-car field were Henry, Satterlee, Blair, and Pegher, while Dalton and Garvin captured the B mains. Max Blair captured the $100 to-win K&N Filter John Buzzard Memorial Dash. Buzzard was a former Bill Emig racer, who lost his life in an accident at Expo Speedway in 1975. John’s wife Diane, daughters Denise and Cheryl, brothers Larry and Rich, along with his grandchildren were in attendance.
Last year’s top winner Joel Watson picked a good night to get his season’s first win. The five-time 2011 winner captured the $1,000 to-win United E-Mod Series 25-lap Summit Racing Equipment feature event to become the fifth different winner in as many races. “The front of the field was just awesome,” stated the 33-year-old Conneaut, Ohio racer. “Half of the field up there were my idols six years ago, now I’m up there with them!”
Opening night winner Brent Rhebergen grabbed the early lead from pole-sitter Jack Young. Fifth and sixth starting Alan Dellinger and Watson overtook second and third respectively from Young on lap six. One lap later, Watson made his winning move passing both Dellinger and Rhebergen for the lead.
A caution slowed action for the final time with 14 laps completed. When racing resumed, Watson began to pull away, while the battle raged for second between Dellinger and Rhebergen. The duo raced hard side-by-side for second on laps 16 through 19. With five laps to go, Watson stretched his lead to a straightaway. On lap 21, Dellinger finally made the pass for runner-up. Watson though was too much in his Northwest Restoration/Zimmer’s Service Center/Racecar Fabrication/Hoosier Tire-sponsored #92 as he raced on for his seventh career win.
Dellinger edged out Rhebergen for second. Young dropped to fourth over 11th starting Vic Vena. Sixth through 10th were Dan Davies, Carl McKinney, Randy Hall, Mike Potosky, and Howard Fraley. Heat winners over the season high 37-car field were Hall, Watson, Young, and Shawn Shingledecker. Andy Buckley and Russ Dunn won the two B mains.
Making his first start of the season, Stock Car veteran Chris Schneider invaded Sharon and came away with his first career win at the track in the $500 to-win 20-lap Gibson Insurance Agency feature, which were under the “open” rules.
“You get some of the best guys for these open shows,” stated the 33-year-old Springdale, Pa. racer. “It’s really cool the tracks put these special shows on for the Stock Cars and the other divisions. I wish more people would come and support them, but this wasn’t a bad night. I saw the other divisions running good on the bottom even though it’s generally a middle to outside track. I figured they would have to pass me on the outside so it worked out.”
Rusty Wheeler took off in the lead over track regulars Brian Carothers and Mike Clark. Schneider started in fifth and passed Clark for third on lap two then took over second from Carothers on lap four. Shaun Hooks had started alongside Schneider in sixth and worked his way to third on lap five passing Carothers.
Schneider made a daring, winning three-wide pass on lap six. Schneider had pulled even with Wheeler on lap six. The duo was side-by-side on the backstretch. Entering turn three they approached the lapped car of Jamie Gibbs. Schneider ducked under her as Wheeler went high. Schneider came out with the lead. Hooks then would get by Wheeler for second on lap eight.
After 10 non-stop laps the caution was displayed for a spin by Gibbs. Two more cautions slowed action on laps 12 and 13 before the final seven went caution-free. Hooks was all over Schneider trying every move possible, but Schneider had just enough to hold on in his S&S Chassis #55. Hooks was runner-up for the second time in the past three weeks. Clark and last week’s winner, Rod Laskey, went at it for third with Clark getting the nod. Tim Burns was fifth. Wheeler and Clark were the heat winners over the 18-car field.
Brandon Blackshear became the first Econo Mod repeat winner of the season with a wire-to-wire victory in the $350 to-win 15-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products feature. “Tubby (Tessean) has this thing going good,” acknowledged the 21-year-old Brookfield, Ohio driver. “We are just having a blast. When they came up to me and told me I was starting on the pole, I couldn’t believe it. There are a lot of good cars out there. They are stepping up the program.”
Blackshear was never seriously challenged in the Don Blackshear-owned, Tub’s Automotive/Blackshear Racing Engines-sponsored #10 as four cautions were all that slowed him to his division all-time leading seventh career win. Jackson Humanic raced from the 16th starting spot to finish second for the second time in three starts this season. Humanic and Brad Blackshear passed Jeremy Double for the second and third positions on laps 10 and 11 respectively. Double was fourth ahead over last week’s winner Jim Dellinger. Dellinger and Brandon Blackshear were heat winners.
Opening night winner, Jim Haefke, Jr., returned to victory lane in the Mini Stocks leading all 12 laps of the $200 to-win Deforest Used Parts feature. It was just the second career win for the second-year racer. “I’ll tell you, once I got out front there was no stopping me,” expressed the 30-year-old Austintown, Ohio resident. “I never lifted. Once the track gets in, it’s good for us. I knew they were coming.”
Haefke’s run to the checkered flag was slowed by only one caution in his Diver Steel/AAMCO Transmission-sponsored #421. Scott Gilliland came from fifth to second on the opening lap, but that was as far as he would get. Bill Fuchs passed Jamie Wrightsman on lap six to finish third. Wrightsman was fourth over Lucas Sprouse, who made his first start of 2012. Heat wins went to Wrightsman and Fuchs.
FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. MAX BLAIR (111) 2. Dan Angelicchio (14) 3. Joe Martin (55) 4. Will Thomas III (9) 5. Steve Dixon (50) 6. John Over (K2) 7. John Garvin, Jr. (J4) 8. Bobby Whitling (7W) 9. Josh Double (38) 10. Chad Ruhlman (Suppa 4s) 11. Matt Latta (Bidwell B1D) 12. Butch Lambert (27) 13. Ryan Montgomery (12) 14. Brian Booher (Hoover 00H) 15. Michael Mitchell (19) 16. Lauren Longbrake (27) 17. Jamie Brown (135) 18. Chad Wright (6) 19. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Geisler 1c) 20. Nolan Dalton (D2) 21. Shane Bambarger (68B) 22. Andrew Satterlee (2) 23. Clay Ruffo (14R) 24. Billy Henry, Jr. (McGee 21*) 25. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325x).
FASTRAK Non-Qualifier Race (6 laps, $150 to-win): 1. Junior Peters (00) 2. Brad Kling (Powell 100) 3. Jason Stanke (44) 4. Bud Watson (Lukon 1B) 5. Josh Holtgraver (00)-DNS 6. Alan Dellinger (Longwell 114)-DNS 7. George Kowatic (5)-DNS 8. Bobby Rohrer (11)-DNS.
United E-Mod Series (25 laps, $1,000 to-win): 1. JOEL WATSON (92) 2. Alan Dellinger (Petsko 00) 3. Brent Rhebergen (Rater RD1) 4. Jack Young (Hamilton 67) 5. Vic Vena (01) 6. Dan Davies (71D) 7. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 8. Randy Hall (10) 9. Mike Potosky (M20) 10. Howard Fraley (217) 11. Leonard Enos (27) 12. Steve Dixon (Engles 68) 13. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 14. Shane Crotty (4) 15. Kyle Inman (20K) 16. Joe Gabrielson (58) 17. Andy Buckley (965) 18. Ronnie Kahler (7R) 19. John Boardman (79.2) 20. Jeff Hassay (10) 21. Jeff Johnson (27) 22. Russ Dunn (Clinger 222) 23. Mike Kinney (3) 24. Jim Turley (117) DNQ: Bud Watson (White 53), Wendell Pinckney (1J), Scott Jones (71J), Brian Douglas (214), Vince Crisanti (221), Mike Monreal (071), Dale Monreal (7), Trevor Herr (32), Paul Phillips (11SS), Rob Mellinger (55), Jackson Humanic (17), Steve Haefke (73), Wayne Brugmann (79).
Open Stock Cars (20 laps, $500 to-win): 1. CHRIS SCHNEIDER (55) 2. Shaun Hooks (Janovick 65) 3. Mike Clark (7) 4. Rod Laskey (Sloss 44s) 5. Tim Burns (66) 6. Tommy Fox (80) 7. Brian Carothers (02c) 8. Rusty Wheeler (44) 9. Charlie Jasinski (5J) 10. Jesse Brock (22B) 11. Casey Harmon (23) 12. Dan Lewis (64) 13. Jamie Scharba (00s) 14. Jamie Gibbs (98) 15. Steve Horvath (2H) 16. Russ Stanke (44) 17. Bob McCann (USA-1) 18. Ron Yarab, Jr. (Burns 70B)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps, $350 to-win): 1. BRANDON BLACKSHEAR (10) 2. Jackson Humanic (17) 3. Brad Blackshear (19) 4. Jeremy Double (83) 5. Jim Dellinger (Turley 1) 6. Jace Ferringer (02) 7. Jeff Christy (Berry 91) 8. Brian Hathaway (93) 9. Bob Williams (8) 10. Junior Mechling (89) 11. Keith Felicetty (Mechling 98) 12. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (Turley 17) 13. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 14. Derek Dellinger (119) 15. Ryan Fraley (12SS) 16. Kevin Robinson (24R) 17. George Vestal II (4)-DNS.
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps, $200 to-win): 1. JIM HAEFKE, JR. (421) 2. Scott Gilliland (27) 3. Bill Fuchs (10) 4. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 5. Lucas Sprouse (24s) 6. Ken Koby II (22) 7. Steve Walker II (4M) 8. Jim Wrightsman (12J) 9. Stacy Neubecker (5) 10. Mike Monreal (32) 11. Gina Thompson (25) 12. Randy Sprouse (23s).
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.