Latta nails down career 1st win FASTRAK L.M.; Shingledecker wins 1st ever at Sharon in Mods; Hooks wins 1st of season in Stocks; Watson, Blackshear & Fuchs add to win totals
By Mike Leone
June 16, 2012
(Hartford, OH)…It was another warm and sunny Saturday at Sharon Speedway for Pittsburgh Circle Track Club Night on Father’s Day Weekend. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Matt Latta-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Jeremiah Shingledecker-Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Joel Watson-Summit Racing Equipment-E-Mods, Shaun Hooks-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Brandon Blackshear-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Bill Fuchs-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
Former go-kart racer Matt Latta is in just his second year of auto racing, but over the past two seasons you would have never know it as he’s knocked on the door for victory several times. Latta learned the trade being a crewman on the Scott Bidwell-owned #B1D E-Mods and FASTRAK Late Models before making the move to racing on his own last season with his brother. For 2012, Latta and his brother teamed with Bidwell for a two-car effort.
On Saturday night, the soon to be 20-year-old Conneaut Lake, Pa. resident flew from his fourth starting spot into the lead on the opening lap and held off three-time winner Will Thomas III for the 20-lap Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Model feature win. Ironically, one week ago it was Thomas stealing a first career win away from Latta and on Friday night Latta finished runner-up to Max Blair at Raceway 7, but on Saturday night Latta wasn’t about to let it happen again.
Latta’s $700 win came in the Tim Latta-owned, Ball & Auto Scrap/Fame RV Center/Maloney Tool & Mold/Springs Auto Body Shop/Saegertown Hardware/Building Innovations/Dr. Lisa Phelps/BRA-VOR Tool & Die-sponsored #21. Latta joined Thomas and Bobby Whitling as career first FASTRAK winners this year and became the 19th different FASTRAK winner in the 35-race history of the division at Sharon
Point leader Thomas meanwhile started ninth and cracked the top five on lap eight passing Whitling. Thomas moved ahead of Alan Dellinger for fourth one lap later then grabbed third on lap 11 from defending track champion Josh Double. On lap 15, Thomas disposed of fifth starting Michael Mitchell for runner-up. Thomas chased Latta to the finish coming up 0.859 seconds shy for his runner-up finish.
Mitchell held off Double for a season best third. Whitling recorded his third straight top five finish in fifth! Sixth through 10th were Dellinger, Randy Wyant, pole-sitter Tom Copeland, Jason Stanke and Brian Booher. George Kowatic and Thomas won the heat races.
Jeremiah Shingledecker has been without a doubt one of the region’s top Big-Block Modified racers since winning his first feature in 2005 at Tri-City Speedway; however Sharon was a track that always eluded Shingledecker. When Sharon made the decision to go DIRTcar-sanctioned in 2012, Shingledecker threw his support at the speedway; however, car and engine woes suffered throughout the season at other area speedways has seen him limited to just three appearances prior to Saturday night. Shingledecker though had finished in the top five in all three visits including a season opening runner-up.
On Saturday night, the recently-turned 35-year-old Polk, Pa. racer led all 20 laps of the Governor Insurance Agency feature for his first career Sharon win. The $1,100 win came aboard the Mike Shingledecker-owned, ASAP Asphalt/Village Auto/Steve’s Teez/T&D Machine/The Garage Bar & Grill/Bilstein Shocks/Keizer Wheels/FK Rod Ends-sponsored #37MD Bicknell.
Dave Murdick started sixth and passed Skip Moore, Jim Rasey, and Carl Murdick on the opening lap for third. Murdick then overtook Rob Kristyak for second on lap two. Murdick though would be unable to pass Shingledecker trailing him to the line by 0.722 seconds as he recorded his second straight runner-up and impressive sixth top five in as many starts.
Rex King battled his way from ninth to finish third over last week’s winner Brian Swartzlander, who started 10th. Rex King, Jr. was fifth. Completing the top 10 were Kevin Bolland, Moore, Dean Pearson, Chris Haines, and Carl Murdick. Swartzlander and Rex King won the heat races.
Joel Watson came from the sixth starting spot to capture his second win of the season in the 15-lap Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods. The 33-year-old Conneaut, Ohio star passed Jeff Johnson on a lap nine restart and pulled away by 1.894 seconds at the finish for his eighth career win in his Northwest Restoration/Zimmer’s Service Center/Racecar Fabrication/Hoosier Tire-sponsored #92.
Point leader Jack Young continued his strong performance with a third. Clayton Kennedy came from 18th to finish fourth over a season best effort by Steve Haefke. Joe Gabrielson and Young won the heat races over the 20-car field.
Last season, Shaun Hooks invaded Sharon and captured the “Apple Festival Nationals” night one preliminary victory for the “open” Stock Cars on September 16. This season, the 42-year-old New Castle, Pa. racer decided to make Sharon Speedway his home. Hooks recorded a pair of runner-up finishes in the month of May, but was caught up in a hard accident one week ago.
On Saturday night, Hooks raced his way from the sixth starting spot to third after one lap in the 15-lap Gibson Insurance Agency feature. Hooks then passed Jamie Duncan for second on lap two. After hounding race-long leader Bruce Redman for five laps, Hooks made the winning move on lap seven. The former Mercer Raceway Park track champion and “Little Guy Nationals” winner went on for his fifth career win the Richard Janovick-owned, Doran Concrete/Hooks Cycle/Benny Lombardo Auto Sales/Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic/Precise Racing Products/Genesis Shocks/Hyperco/Brake Man-sponsored #65.
Jamie Scharba, point leader Tim Burns, and Rod Laskey all got by Redman from lap 11 on to finish in the second through fourth places respectively. Redman dropped to fifth at the finish. Charlie Jasinski and Steve D’Apolito won the heat races, while Scharba claimed the Old 82 Automart dash victory.
Brandon Blackshear continued on his march to rewrite the history books with his track leading fourth feature win of the season, which came in the 15-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mod main.
The 21-year-old Brookfield, Ohio resident started back in 10th, but was halfway to the front after one lap. Blackshear passed Steve Burns, Jr. on lap four for fourth, Brian Hathaway for third on lap five then overtook two-time winner Jim Dellinger for runner-up on lap seven. Blackshear then made his winning pass of Jeremy Double on lap 10 and for the second straight week beat the 16-year-old to the checkered flag.
Blackshear’s win was his all-time division-leading ninth of his career in the Tub’s Automotive/Blackshear Racing Engines #10. Brian Hathaway charged from the 13th starting spot to finish third over Dellinger and Larry Root. Root and Dellinger were heat race victors. Jeff Mundell and Ed Cornell made their season debuts bringing the total number of competing cars up to 28 this season for the third year division in its first season of weekly competition.
While the #10 of Brandon Blackshear has dominated the Econo Mods, the #10 of Bill Fuchs has done the same over the past few seasons in the Mini Stocks. The 36-year-old Greenville, Pa. driver joined Blackshear in victory lane for the third time this season tying Jim Haefke, Jr. for the most wins in the division this season.
Fuchs and Haefke ironically started side-by-side in row number three. The duo was up to second and third respectively after one lap. One lap two, Fuchs made the winning pass of Ken Koby II, while Haefke followed one lap later. Haefke chased Fuchs the remainder of the way, but Fuch’s RTW Industrial Contracting/Hittles Auto Supply/Chatfield Well Drilling/Kreider Tire/McCray & Haag Automotive/Headliners & Stilettos Gentlemen’s Club/Veados Mini Mart-sponsored #10 was simply too much for his 16th career win.
Haefke, who has certainly been the season’s most improved driver at the track, recorded his sixth top five finish in seven races with his worst finish being a seventh. Jerry Batcher raced in the top five the entire race and finished fourth ahead of Koby, who dropped to fifth. Fuchs and Batcher picked up heat race wins.
Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models (20 laps): 1. MATT LATTA (21) 2. Will Thomas III (9) 3. Michael Mitchell (19) 4. Josh Double (38) 5. Bobby Whitling (7W) 6. Alan Dellinger (Longwell 114) 7. Tom Copeland (98) 8. Randy Wyant (11T) 9. Jason Stanke (44) 10. Brian Booher (Hoover 00H) 11. George Kowatic (5) 12. Bill Cunningham (59) 13. Eric Wilson (27W) 14. Joel Prosser (77)-DNS 15. Lonnie Emerick (3)-DNS.
Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. JEREMIAH SHINGLEDECKER 2. Dave Murdick (61) 3. Rex King (65) 4. Brian Swartzlander (83) 5. Rex King, Jr. (165) 6. Kevin Bolland (777) 7. Skip Moore (17M) 8. Dean Pearson (8J) 9. Chris Haines (35H) 10. Carl Murdick (6) 11. Tom Glenn (83T) 12. Bob Warren (96B) 13. Jim Rasey (21) 14. Rick Ryder (Snider 189) 15. Rob Kristyak (26z).
Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods (15 laps): 1. JOEL WATSON (92) 2. Jeff Johnson (27) 3. Jack Young (Hamilton 67) 4. Clayton Kennedy (9) 5. Steve Haefke (73) 6. Bud Watson (White 53) 7. Joe Gabrielson (58) 8. Mike Monreal (071) 9. Bob Williamson (93) 10. Dale Monreal (7) 11. Trevor Herr (32) 12. Alan Dellinger (Petsko 00) 13. Jim Turley (117) 14. Paul Phillips (11SS) 15. Howard Fraley (217) 16. Jeff Hassay (10) 17. Ronnie Kahler (7R) 18. Scott Stiffler (14) 19. Wayne Brugmann (79) 20. Brian Douglas (214).
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. SHAUN HOOKS (Janovick 65) 2. Jamie Scharba (00S) 3. Tim Burns (66) 4. Rod Laskey (Sloss 44s) 5. Bruce Redman (27) 6. Mike Clark (7) 7. Paul Davis (3) 8. Steve D’Apolito (84) 9. Mike Hudzik (31H) 10. Ron Yerab (Burns 70B) 11. Jamie Duncan (67J) 12. Gary McGregor (79) 13. Carl Davis (Gregory 15) 14. Charlie Jasinski (5J)-DNS 15. Dan McEwen (44M)-DNS 16. Jamie Gibbs (98)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps): BRANDON BLACKSHEAR (10) 2. Jeremy Double (83) 3. Brian Hathaway (93) 4. Jim Dellinger (1) 5. Larry Root (22x) 6. Jim Dellinger (Turley 1) 7. Kevin Robinson (24R) 8. Keith Felicetty (Mechling 98) 9. Corey Ruffo (12R) 10. Amanda Stiffler (14) 11. Brad Blackshear (19) 12. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (Turley 17) 13. Jeff Mundell (11) 14. Ed Cornell (55) 15. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 16. Kevin Sevacko (76) 17. Derek Dellinger (119)-DNS.
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. BILL FUCHS (10) 2. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 3. Steve Walker II (4M) 4. Jerry Batcher (7) 5. Ken Koby II (22) 6. Clay Ruffo (Wrightsman 21J) 7. Jim Wrightsman (12J) 8. Christy Brugmann (Monreal 77) 9. Jake Monreal (32) 10. Gina Thompson (Webber 25) 11. Greg Schmied (97) 12. Rick Wilson (77) 13. Mike Hillman (29) 14. Ray Gregory (Doyle 37)-DNS 15. Scott Gilliland (27)-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.