$2,000 “Gary Knollinger Memorial” for FASTRAK NE Late Model Touring Series highlights Saturday’s racing action
By Mike Leone
June 19, 2012
(Hartford, OH)…After a pair of rainy race nights, Sharon Speedway has gotten back in the groove with two straight nights of racing and hopes that trend continues this Saturday night for the running of the second annual “Gary Knollinger Memorial”.
The race program will feature the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series along with the Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. The Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods will have the night off. Race time is 7 p.m.
The FASTRAK Late Models have become wildly popular in the region. The division was added as one the two headlining divisions in 2011. The Touring Series has been featured 10 times at Sharon over the past three seasons with seven different winners! Max Blair, who won the Bill Emig Memorial Night 1 on May 26, is a three-time winner and enters as the defending winner of the Knollinger Memorial, while Josh Holtgraver is the only other repeat winner. Other Touring winners at Sharon include Mike Pegher, Jr., David Scott, the late Knollinger, George Kowatic, and Ryan Montgomery.
Sharon point leader, Will Thomas III of Sharpsville, Pa., is in his first full season of FASTRAK and has been off to a fast start with three wins and a trio of runner-up finishes. Thomas is currently 13th in Touring points and will look to improve that standing with another race at his home track. After finishing runner-up a week ago to Thomas, Matt Latta turned the tables beating Thomas for his first career win last Saturday at Sharon.
Saturday’s 30-lap feature will pay a cool $2,000 to-win! Blair, a three-time Touring Series Champion, currently leads the points by 42 over Butch Lambert. Montgomery, the 15-year-old West Virginian who won the final Touring race last season, is fourth in points after winning his second career Touring feature last Saturday at McKean County Raceway.
The Knollinger Memorial pays tribute to the fallen FASTRAK star, who considered Sharon one of his favorite tracks and was the site of his first and only career Touring victory. Friends and family of the Knollingers will again be on hand.
After Rex King and Kevin Bolland split the first four DIRTcar Big-Block Modified events this season at Sharon, it’s taken a pair of outsiders to stop the duo. Brian Swartzlander made his first start of the season a successful one winning on June 9 and last Saturday saw Jeremiah Shingledecker win his first career Sharon feature.
The point race is a very tight amongst the top three racers as Bolland leads Dave Murdick by only three points and King by just four! Murdick has been knocking on the door for his first win of the season with runner-up finishes each of the past two weeks to pull ahead of King- the division’s defending champion.
Though not huge on car count, the competitiveness of the Stock Cars certainly cannot be questioned. Last Saturday, Shaun Hooks became the division’s sixth different winner in seven races this season! Add in the fact that four-time champion Steve D’Apolito, 2011 runner-up Mike Clark, veteran Charlie Jasinski, and top runners Bruce Redman and Jamie Scharba haven’t even won a race yet and you can see just how tough the competition is weekly. Week three winner, Tim Burns, has pulled out to a 17-point lead over D’Apolito in search of his first championship.
There is no denying the #10s of Brandon Blackshear in the Econo Mods and Bill Fuchs in the Mini Stocks have been the drivers to beat in their respective divisions at the track where Lou Blaney’s #10 carved out a legacy; however, their wins haven’t been quite as easy this season.
Blackshear captured his track leading fourth feature win, but for the second straight week had his hands full with 16-year-old Jeremy Double, whose been close to a career first win. Blackshear only leads Bristolville, Ohio’s Brian Hathaway by 20 and three more points back is another Bristolville driver in Double.
Fuchs meanwhile is coming off his first championship season in which he won a record 10 feature. This season the wins to date have been harder to come by as the competition level has increased. Fuchs was able to win #3 last week, but clings to just a 13-point lead over Jim Haefke, Jr., who has had a breakout season with the first three wins of his career.
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 $30. Kids 13 and under are always free.
Don’t forget coming up next Tuesday (June 26) will be the 30th annual Ohio Speedweek for the All Star Circuit of Champion Sprint Cars paying $5,000 to-win plus Econo Mods and Mini Stocks. Note: the open practice scheduled for Wednesday, June 27 has been cancelled.
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 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.