Swartzlander wins Mods in 1st visit; #3 for Thomas, Blackshear & Haefke in FASTRAK L.M., Econo Mods & Minis; Last lap pass for Young in E-Mods; Davis is 1ST Stock repeat winner
June 9, 2012
(Hartford, OH)…After fighting Mother Nature at the last two events, Sharon Speedway was blessed with a warm and sunny day on Saturday for Globe Restaurant @ Truck World Night and the rescheduled RAD Racing Night. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Brian Swartzlander-Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Will Thomas III-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Jack Young-Summit Racing Equipment-E-Mods, Paul Davis-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Brandon Blackshear & Jim Dellinger (5/27/12 make-up)-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Jim Haefke, Jr. & Scott Gilliland (5/27/12 make-up)-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
Sharon Speedway lost one of its own this week as longtime E-Mod racer Scott Jones passed away from injuries sustained in an automobile accident on Thursday night. Jones started his career in the Stock Car division and even raced in the FASTRAK Late Models. A collection was taken up for the family by the drivers during intermission. All of the 50/50 receipts were donated to the family by the winner and the foundation! Jim Dellinger also donated his race winnings to the family.
It took an outsider to stop Rex King and Kevin Bolland in the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds. Making his first appearance of the season, veteran Brian Swartzlander invaded Sharon and made it a clean sweep winning both his heat race and the 20-lap Governor Insurance Agency feature. It was a perfect weekend for the 2006 track champion, who debuted a new Troyer car on Friday night at Lernerville Speedway and captured the feature win there as well.
“We just finished this car yesterday morning,” revealed the 52-year-old Leechburg, Pa. native. “We took it Lernerville and won. It’s been a great weekend- just awesome! It’s a pleasure to be back. A lot of people welcomed me back and it’s nice to race in front of these fans; lots of great people. The track was beautiful. It’s not that we don’t want to run here, but with my work schedule it’s pretty tough. Now we have an extra car it’ll be a little easier and we hope to be back. It helps starting up front, but it puts the pressure on you. You don’t get many shots at that.”
A heads-up start put Swartzlander on the pole and he took off in the lead, while Dave Murdick passed Jim Weller, Jr. for second. Rex King started sixth and was marching forward. King passed his son Rex, Jr. for fourth on lap four then drove under Weller for third racing off turn two on lap five. Justin Rasey spun with 10 laps completed erasing Swartzlander’s half-straightaway lead.
When racing resumed, King and Murdick raced hard side-by-side for second with King using a slider to take the spot. The battle was on for fourth with Weller trying to fend off King, Jr. and Bolland. Bolland got past King, Jr. for fifth on lap 15 as King began closing on Swartzlander running one to two tenths faster laps.
Just when it appeared King may be setting up for a last lap slider, his son broke in turn two creating the Delaware restart for the final lap. On the restart, Murdick made quite the move sliding past King for second, but didn’t have enough momentum to overtake Swartzlander. Swartzlander’s $1,100 victory was the 11th of his career at the track in his McCutheon Enterprises/Junior Diabetes Research Foundation #83.
Murdick was 0.732 seconds back in second for his season’s best finish as he’s finished in the top five all five nights. King was third over point leader Bolland, who passed Weller on the final lap for fourth. Skip Moore was sixth in his season debut as Dean Pearson, Chris Haines, Tom Mattocks, and Carl Murdick completed the top five. King won the other heat as a season high 18 cars were on hand.
One year ago, Will Thomas III was racing asphalt Late Models. Fast forward one year and Thomas has quickly become the driver to beat on the dirt in the FASTRAK Late Models at Sharon. Thomas tracked down and passed Matt Latta then cruised to his third win in six starts to go along with a pair of seconds and a fourth.
“At the beginning my car just wouldn’t go,” explained the 36-year-old Sharpsville, Pa. resident. “They got off to a pretty big lead and Josh Double and I raced together there for awhile. Then Bill Cunningham had a problem and my car got real, real good at the middle of the race. It feels good to win at Sharon. Sharon has been great all year, but it doesn’t matter if the race track is real smooth it still seems rough to me!. The surface has been good and when you have 90-degree weather like today it’s hard. There’s still moisture in it so hats off to them.”
Latta, a second-year racer, drove past veteran Bill Cunningham for the early lead. Thomas started third, but lost the spot to Josh Double on the start. The duo raced side-by-side on lap six with Thomas dropping last year’s track champion back to fourth. The complexity of the event changed when Cunningham slowed with eight laps completed.
Thomas now lined up second with Double third and May 18 winner Bobby Whitling up to fourth. When racing resumed, newcomer and ninth starting Garrett Mott snuck past Whitling for fourth. Thomas put the heat on Latta on lap 10. Two laps later, Double exited the event moving Mott up another spot to third.
Thomas made the winning move on lap 13 when he ducked under and past Latta in turns one and two. The last seven laps went uneventful as Thomas pulled away to a margin of victory by 2.230 seconds in his Colonial Metals/Barris Supply/All Star Motorstate/Sweet Manufacturing/Quarter Master-sponsored #9. Thomas also extended his point lead to 27 over Latta.
Latta’s runner-up matched a career best as he’s finished in the top five four of the six races. Mott’s third came in his first Sharon visit since May 29, 2010 and was his best finish at the track. Whitling was fourth. Booher’s fifth place effort was his first ever top five at Sharon. Rounding out the top 10 were Bob Diver, Ben Black, Shane Bambarger, Tom Copeland, and 14-year-old newcomer and Mod Lite graduate Breyton Santee. Thomas and Latta were heat winners over the 17-car field.
It’s not often when Joel Watson’s leading that he doesn’t win the feature. It’s even rarer for the E-Mod standout to lose a race on the final lap, but that’s exactly what happened in the best race of the night. On May 12, Jack Young ended a winless drought at Sharon Speedway that dated back to the 1990s. On Saturday night, he scored his second victory in four tries after an impressive pass of Watson in turn four on the final lap in the 15-lap Summit Racing Equipment feature.
“There was no laying back there you know Joel Watson,” expressed the 44-year-old Thompson, Ohio racer. “I gave it everything I had and it stuck! I think he slipped up a just a little getting into (turn) three and that’s all it takes when you’re running that hard. Joel is a hell of a competitor. I lost some ground in turns one and two, but I could get in a lot harder than him in three and was making up ground so I just stuck to it. I’m dedicating this race to Scott Jones. He was a heck of a racer. He’s been around the sport a long time and loved his family.”
Watson started on the outside pole and powered to the early lead past Jeff Johnson. Young started from third and passed Johnson for second on lap four. Young was all over Watson as he pulled even on laps seven and eight.
Behind the pair, a torrid battle was taking place for third between Johnson, Scott Stiffler, and Alan Dellinger. It was three-wide for the spot on lap nine as trio swapped the positions back and forth. On lap 13, traffic came into play. Dellinger tried passing both Johnson and a lapped car, but Johnson and Dellinger tangled in turn three bringing out the caution. Under caution, Stiffler pitted giving up third to Carl McKinney, who was running sixth.
Young stayed with Watson on the final two laps then made the winning move on the final lap driving hard into turn four and making the pass stick. Young’s third career Sharon E-Mod win and seventh overall at the track came in the Ken Hamilton-owned, Hamilton Excavating & Tucking/MMS Kids/Annabelle’s Diner/NuLife Resources-sponsored #67 and also gave him the point lead. Young became the division’s first repeat winner of the season.
Watson was just 0.079 seconds back in second. McKinney held onto third over 10th starting Shawn Shingledecker. Ronnie Kahler was a season best fifth. Sixth through 10th were Joe Gabrielson, Joe Crawford, Steve Haefke, Clayton Kennedy, and Bud Watson. Young, Joel Watson, and Johnson were heat victors over the 26-car field.
Paul Davis dominated the 15-lap Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car feature for his second win of the season. Davis became the division’s first repeat winner of the season. “The track was really good for me tonight,” explained the 51-year-old Fowler, Ohio veteran. “It started to get hard, black-slick like I like from last year. The car was great tonight. You could work the top and get on the bottom.”
Defending four-time champion Steve D’Apolito moved out to a big lead after one lap, but on lap two Jamie Scharba got sideways and collected Rod Laskey and Shaun Hooks. Davis, who started ninth, had already advanced to sixth after one lap and then passed Brian Carothers for second when racing resumed.
Davis pulled alongside D’Apolito on lap three. The two raced side-by-side for an entire lap, but Davis made the pass stick coming off turn four. The last 14 laps went caution-free as Davis pulled away to win by 4.314 seconds in his Top Notch Diner/Hover Racing/Integra Fab-sponsored #3 for his sixth career Sharon Stock Car win and ninth overall at the track.
D’Apolito was second for the second straight regular race as his streak of top six heat and features finishes continues since the beginning of last season. Carothers was third. Point leader Tim Burns came from 11th to finish fourth over Laskey. Charlie Jasinski and Burns won the heat races.
Jim Dellinger opened the night leading all 15 laps of the May 27 $350 to-win HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mod make-up feature. Two cautions were all that slowed the 46-year-old Farmdale, Pa. driver for his second win in the past three races in the Jim Turley #1. Jackson Humanic started fourth and finished second after inheriting the position when Brandon Blackshear exited the event on lap 12. Steve Burns, Jr., Brian Hathaway, and Jeremy Double rounded out the top five.
In the night’s regularly scheduled Econo Mod feature, Brandon Blackshear rolled on to his division-leading third win. The victory was far from easy as he had to fend off Jeremy Double for the victory.
“That was a long race,” said the 21-year-old Brookfield, Ohio racer. “I caught one of those ruts getting in there and it didn’t want to turn, but I let the old motor carry me through the corners and it worked out. These are the same tires we’ve run on the car all year. They are getting worn out. I may have to talk Tub (Tessean) into getting me a new set. Tub is easy on tires- he won’t buy one unless he has to! I dedicated my win last night (Raceway 7) to Scott Jones and I’m going to do that to him and his family tonight too.”
Blackshear started sixth and flew into the lead on the opening lap with Double passing Kevin Robinson for second. The event was plagued with seven cautions. Double stayed right with Blackshear and for awhile it appeared may overtake the division’s top runner, but Blackshear had just enough to hold on by 0.799 seconds. Blackshear’s all-time division-leading eighth career win came in the Tub’s Automotive/Blackshear Racing Engines-sponsored #10.
Double, a former Mini Stock racer, had a solid run for a career best finish in his first year in the division. Double has yet to finish worse than seventh in any of the seven features to date. Steve Burns, Jr. was third for the second time of the night as Larry Root and Dellinger were fourth and fifth. Brandon and Brad Blackshear won the heat races over the 19-car field.
Warren, Ohio’s Scott Gilliland started the night off right with a wire-to-wire victory in the 12-lap non-stop Deforest Used Parts May 27 make-up feature. Gilliland had to hold off fourth starting Jamie Wrightsman, who challenged him over the final four laps. Gilliland’s fourth career victory was worth $200 in his Lawn Wizard/NRC Management/Dybrook Products-sponsored #27. Third through fifth were Bill Fuchs, Jim Haefke, Jr., and Steve Walker II.
Jim Haefke, Jr. became the Mini Stock’s top winner of the season with his third victory in the 12-lap regularly scheduled feature. “The track was a lot different than the last time I won,” expressed the 30-year-old Austintown, Ohio racer. “This division is so competitive. I have to thank my wife, who wasn’t here the last time I won, all my friends, family, and sponsors, and Sharon Speedway who puts on a good show.”
Haefke started fifth and didn’t waste any time taking the lead on the first circuit. Wrightsman, who started alongside Haefke, followed him to second after one lap. Bill Fuchs and Gilliland started together in row five and the found their way to third and fourth. A caution with six laps scored setup a six-lap shootout to the finish. The foursome of Haefke, Wrightsman, Fuchs, and Gilliland battled hard, but it was Haefke’s Diver Steel/AAMCO Transmission-sponsored #421 taking the checkered flag first.
Wrightsman recorded his second runner-up of the night. Fuchs was third for the second time of the night as the defending champion continues to lead the points. Gilliland was fourth over Jake Monreal, who was a career best fifth. Fuchs and Gilliland were heat victors over the 15-car field.
Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. BRIAN SWARTZLANDER (83) 2. Dave Murdick (61) 3. Rex King (65) 4. Kevin Bolland (777) 5. Jim Weller, Jr., (31) 6. Skip Moore (17M) 7. Dean Pearson (8J) 8. Chris Haines (35H) 9. Tom Mattocks (69) 10. Carl Murdick (6) 11. Rob Kristyak (26z) 12. Don Brown (71B) 13. Bob Warren (96B) 14. Rex King, Jr. (165) 15. Justin Rasey (21) 16. Rick Ryder (Snider 189)-DNS 17. Jeff Monoskey (22)-DNS 18. Del Rougeux, Jr. (20D)-DNS.
Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models (20 laps): 1. WILL THOMAS III (9) 2. Mat Latta (21) 3. Garrett Mott (43x) 4. Bobby Whitling (7W) 5. Brian Booher (Hoover 00H) 6. Bob Diver (23) 7. Ben Black (27B) 8. Shane Bambarger (68B) 9. Tom Copeland (98) 10. Breyton Santee (9) 11. Eric Wilson (27W) 12. Jason Stanke (44) 13. Josh Double (38) 14. Tom Bateman (B8) 15. Bill Cunningham (59) 16. Lonnie Emerick (3) 17. Jason Longwell (114).
Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods (15 laps): 1. JACK YOUNG (Hamilton 67) 2. Joel Watson (92) 3. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 4. Shawn Shingledecker (54S) 5. Ronnie Kahler (7R) 6. Joe Gabrielson (58) 7. Joe Crawford (25) 8. Steve Haefke (73) 9. Clayton Kennedy (9) 10. Bud Watson (White (53) 11. Howard Fraley (217) 12. Jeff Hassay (10) 13. Jim Turley (117) 14. Trevor Herr (32) 15. Bob Williamson (93) 16. Dale Monreal (7) 17. Jeff Johnson (27) 18. Alan Dellinger (Petsko 00) 19. Scott Stiffler (14) 20. Mike Monreal (071) 21. Wayne Brugmann (79) 22. Paul Phillips (11SS) 23. Mike Kinney (3) 24. Bruce Powell (35)-DNS 25. Chris Myers (Beck 357)-DNS 26. Andy Buckley (965)-DNS.
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. PAUL DAVIS (3) 2. Steve D’Apolito (84) 3. Brian Carothers (02c) 4. Tim Burns (66) 5. Rod Laskey (Sloss 44s) 6. Charlie Jasinski (5J) 7. Jesse Brock (22B) 8. Jamie Duncan (67J) 9. Jamie Scharba (00S) 10. Carl Davis (Gregory 15) 11. Mike Clark (7) 12. Shaun Hooks (Janovick 65) 13. Troy DeZarn (21D)-DNS 14. Bruce Redman (27)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. BRANDON BLACKSHEAR (10) 2. Jeremy Double (83) 3. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 4. Larry Root (22x) 5. Jim Dellinger (Turley 1) 6. Junior Mechling (89) 7. Kevin Robinson (24R) 8. Keith Felicetty (Mechling 98) 9. Brian Hathaway (93) 10. Brad Blackshear (19) 11. Derek Dellinger (119) 12. Kevin Sevacko (76) 13. Bob Williams (8) 14. Mike Smith (81) 15. Amanda Stiffler (14) 16. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (Turley 17) 17. Jeff Christy (Berry 91) 18. Ryan Fraley (12SS)-DNS 19. Jackson Humanic (17)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods 5/27/12 Make-up (15 laps, $350 to-win): 1. JIM DELLINGER (Turley 1) 2. Jackson Humanic (17) 3. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 4. Brian Hathaway (93) 5. Jeremy Double (83) 6. Bob Williams (8) 7. Kevin Robinson (24R) 8. Derek Dellinger (119) 9. Junior Mechling (89) 10. Jeff Christy (Berry 91) 11. Keith Felicetty (Mechling 98) 12. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (Turley 17) 13. Brandon Blackshear (10) 14. Ryan Fraley (12SS) 15. Jace Ferringer (02)-DNS 16. Amanda Stiffler (14)-DNS.
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. JIM HAEFKE, JR. (421) 2. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 3. Bill Fuchs (10) 4. Scott Gilliland (27) 5. Jake Monreal (32) 6. Ray Kennedy (98) 7. Dale Monreal (77) 8. Martha Doyle (37) 9. Ken Koby II (22) 10. Ashley Britsky (25) 11. Steve Walker II (4M) 12. Gina Thompson (Webber 25) 13. Rick Wilson (77) 14. Jim Wrightsman (12J)-DNS 15. Stacy Neubecker (5)-DNS.
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks 5/27/12 Make-up (12 laps, $200 to-win): 1. SCOTT GILLILAND (27) 2. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 3. Bill Fuchs (10) 4. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 5. Steve Walker II (4M) 6. Jim Wrightsman (12J) 7. Ray Kennedy (18) 8. Pete Blazczak (77)-DNS 9. Jerry Batcher (7)-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.