Matus comes from 18th & saves tires for huge upset career 1st All Star Sprint win in night 5 of Ohio Speedweek; #5 for Blackshear in Econo Mods & 1st ever for Batcher in Minis
By Brian Liskai & Mike Leone
June 26, 2012
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway hosted stop number five of the 30th annual Ohio Sprint Speedweek for the University of Northwestern Ohio All Star Circuit of Champions on Tuesday night. A big crowd watched youngsters Brandon Matus (All Star Sprints), Brandon Blackshear (HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods) and Jerry Batcher (Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks) capture victories and celebrate in Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane. NASCAR Sprint Car drivers Tony Stewart and Dave Blaney were part of the 43-car All Star Sprint field.
After several attempts to finish the 30-lap All Star Sprint Car feature there were only three cars in front of the field that hadn’t blown tires. It was Wampum, Pennsylvania’s Brandon “The Wheelman” Matus, who nursed his tires enough to take his first ever University of Northwestern Ohio All Star Circuit of Champions victory worth $5,000. Last season, Matus captured his career first win at Lernerville Speedway, and on Tuesday became the 150th different all-time Sprint Car winner in 647 races at Sharon Speedway.
There were several attempts at a green, white checkered finish that resulted in race-long leader Tony Stewart finally blowing his right rear, followed by then leader Kyle Larson and Dale Blaney. When the green came out, leader Logan Schuchart raced around to the white flag, but his right rear tire let go and he kept going as Matus, who started 18th, drove by and went on to the biggest win of his young career much to the delight of the local crowd.
“I wish I knew how I saved enough of my tires. Everyone knows me for loving these slick tracks. Running up in the dust under cautions helped I know that, but just easy on the throttle…that’s it,” said the 19-year-old beside his Sobczak Electric, Matus Service Center, Miller Masonry, Gressman Powersports backed machine.
“I was a bundle of nerves those last couple of green, white, checkered attempts. There are so many things going through your head…you have no idea. I didn’t know if the tire would last,” added Matus of his GF1 Chassis, Ti22 sponsored #13. “I have to thank my Mom, Dad, Sister…everybody.”
Paul McMahan would come back from an early flat tire to take second after restarting fourth on the final attempt at the finish.
“That was kind of our game plan. We didn’t have much tire left after the heat race. I thought maybe I might be able to save it but it just kept getting flatter and worse and worse. So I just decided to try and tear it up…it’s a bad thing to do but it’s what you have to do and it paid off for us tonight. We missed it by one spot. Congratulations to those guys (Matus)…he drove a heck of a race to save that tire for 30 laps…he did a heck of a job,” said McMahan beside his Bryan Grove Racing, Canton Erectors, Berlin Natural Bakery backed #45.
Another of the cars that did not require a tire change – Eric Williams of Greenville, Pa. – would come home third.
“Under that red flag (a fuel stop before the first attempt at a green, white, checkered finish) they told me I hardly had any air left in the right rear so they put some air in it and I was just hoping it would hold,” said Williams beside his Approved Toilet Rentals, McClung Auto Body, Rentools and Equipment backed #7. “I just tried to nurse it to the end. I was debating on coming here tonight…I’m glad I did.”
Tony Stewart and Dale Blaney would bring the field to the green of the 30-lap feature with Stewart blasting into the lead while Blaney had his hands full with the winner of the previous two nights, Kyle Larson with Caleb Helms, Logan Schuchart, McMahan, Tim Shaffer and Sam Hafertepe Jr. in tow. Stewart would pull away and hit lapped traffic by the sixth circuit with Blaney, Larson, Helms and Schuchart in tow.
With eight laps in the books, Stewart was mired in lapped traffic, allowing Blaney to close with Larson comfortably in third while Helps battled with Schuchart and Hafertepe for fourth. Once clear of traffic, Stewart again pulled away from Blaney, Larson, Hafertepe and Schuchart.
The tire situation began on lap 19 when Danny Smith suffered a flat to bring out the caution. On the restart Stewart would pull away from Blaney and Larson. Bryan Sebetto’s tire would let go on lap 23 for another yellow. And again, Stewart would blast away on the restart with Blaney, Larson, Hafertepe, Schuchart, Helps and McMahan in pursuit. With six laps to go, McMahan’s tire finally blew for another yellow. A lap and another flat, this time for Stevie Smith.
With five laps to go, the running order was Stewart, Larson, Blaney, Hafertepe, Schuchart and Eric Williams. This time the field was able to get two laps in before Stewart’s right rear left go and he retired pit side, handing the lead to Larson. But, the caution flew when several cars blew tires.
That set up the first attempt at a green, white, checkered. On the first attempt, Shaffer blew a tire, followed by Blaney on the second try, necessitating the fuel stop. On the restart, both Larson and second place running Hafertepe suffered flats, handing the lead to Schuchart, who, along with Matus and Williams, were the only cars left from the original start of the event that had not had a flat.
The green came out and Schuchart looked like he might nurse his car home to the victory. He raced around to the white, but when he entered turns one and two, his right rear let go as Matus, McMahan – who had come from the back of the backing the last five laps after getting a new right rear – and Williams applied pressure. Matus stayed glued to the rubber on the bottom and drove home to the victory.
McMahan, Williams, Mike Linder and Stevie Smith – the later two having changed flat tires late in the race – would round out the top five. Sixth through 10th were Helms, Shaffer, Larson, Schuchart, and Blaney. Stewart went out 37th and set fast time with a lap of 14.806 and would also win the dash to earn the pole starting spot for the feature. Heat winners were Danny Smith, Stevie Smith, Hafertepe, and Marty Perovich. Gravel captured the B main.
Brandon Blackshear continued his dominance of the Econo Mods by capturing his fifth win of the season. Brandon raced past his brother Brad to win the 15-lap $350 to-win HTMA/Precise Racing Products race.
“I was just cruising around the last few laps,” acknowledged the 21-year-old Brookfield, Ohio driver. “If I would have seen him I would have pushed the pedal the rest of the way. I’ve know Steve (Burns) a long time since I used to work on their Stock Cars. It’s good we can now race against each other. If I wouldn’t have had the flat Saturday I think we would have had something for him, but we’re standing here tonight so that’s all that matters.”
Starting from the fifth position, Brandon raced into second after one lap trailing Brad with Jim Dellinger following. Four cautions slowed action in the first three laps before a stretch of 10 consecutive green flag laps. During that run, the younger Blackshear slipped high in turn four on lap 12 allowing Brandon, 12th starting Steve Burns, Jr., Jeremy Double, and Dellinger by before he recovered.
After coming from eighth to fourth and recording runner-ups on June 9 and June 16, Double’s strong run ended when he brought out a pair of cautions on lap 13. This set up a two-lap shootout as Brandon added to his point lead with his all-time division leading 10th career win in the Tub’s Automotive/Blackshear Racing Engines #10.
Burns, who won last Saturday, had another strong run in the second position. Dellinger crossed the line in third over Larry Root and 10th starting Brian Hathaway. Root and Brandon Blackshear won the heat races over the 16-car field.
After just missing out on his first win on Saturday, Jerry Batcher put 12 good laps together to record his first career Sharon Speedway victory, which came in the non-stop Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock feature after a hard duel with Jamie Wrightsman.
“Rubbin’ is racing I guess,” stated the 19-year-old Saxonburg, Pa. driver. “We both got into each other, but that’s going to happen on a slick track. The track was really fast- I liked it. You could drive it in as hard as you could. The car count might have been down, but there are a lot of fast cars up here. I thought we had it last week, but threw the tire off the bead- just glad to be here tonight.”
Wrightsman took off in the lead from the pole-position with Steve Walker II, sixth starting point leader Bill Fuchs, Batcher, and four-time winner Jim Haefke, Jr. chasing. Fuchs slowed on the backstretch and pulled to the infield on lap two, while Batcher passed Walker to take over second. Walker then exited the event on lap five moving seventh starting Haefke into third.
Batcher was all over Wrightsman on lap six as the top three pulled away. Batcher pulled alongside Wrightsman on lap nine and the duo raced side-by-side for the next two laps before Batcher got by with contact. Batcher went on for the $200 victory in his Blazczak Salvage-sponsored #7. Wrighstman, won the lone heat race, would settle for second over Haefke. Jeff Webber and Jim Wrightsman were a distant fourth and fifth respectively.
All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars
Qualifying – Kistler Engines: 1. 14-Tony Stewart, 14.806; 2. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 15.020; 3. 1K-Kyle Larson, 15.088; 4. 83-Tim Shaffer, 15.104; 5. 2M-Dallas Hewitt, 15.141; 6. 2-Dale Blaney, 15.145; 7. 89G-David Gravel, 15.157; 8. 2L-Ed Lynch, 15.174; 9. 40-Caleb Helms, 15.192; 10. 45-Paul McMahan, 15.206; 11. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr., 15.212; 12. 3L-Mike Linder, 15.214; 13. W20-Greg Wilson, 15.247; 14. 35-Stuart Brubaker, 15.255; 15. 7-Eric Williams, 15.263; 16. 24H-Bryan Sebetto, 15.323; 17. 33-Brent Matus, 15.343; 18. 5B-Adam Anderson, 15.364; 19. 3-Pete Miller III, 15.364; 20. 13-Brandon Matus, 15.382; 21. 4-Danny Smith, 15.389; 22. 19-Stevie Smith, 15.395; 23. 46AU-Stuart Williams, 15.415; 24. 17-Marty Perovich, 15.486; 25. 5T-Travis Philo, 15.519; 26. 94-Rob Chaney, 15.556; 27. 30C-Lance Dewease, 15.563; 28. 29-Shane Stewart, 15.565; 29. 6-Bill Rose, 15.613; 30. 5K-Adam Kekich, 15.616; 31. 24-Brian Steinman, 15.630; 32. O8-Dan Kuriger, 15.654; 33. 54-Cap Henry, 15.720; 34. 55-Brad Bowman, 15.776; 35. 8-Mike Lutz, 15.788; 36. 60-Jody Keegan, 15.839; 37. 55X-Dave Blaney, 15.853; 38. 22S-Brandon Spithaler, 15.905; 39. 23-Jimmy Light, 15.926; 40. 71AU-Ryan Davis, 15.991; 41. D4-Danny Holtgraver, 16.101; 42. 4K-Kody Kinser, 16.204; 43. 55AU-Luke Bowey, 16.237
Heat 1 – Kears Speed Shop (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 4-Danny Smith ; 2. 33-Brent Matus ; 3. W20-Greg Wilson ; 4. 14-Tony Stewart ; 5. 40-Caleb Helms ; 6. D4-Danny Holtgraver ; 7. 2M-Dallas Hewitt ; 8. 55X-Dave Blaney ; 9. 6-Bill Rose ; 10. 54-Cap Henry ; 11. 5T-Travis Philo
Heat 2 – All Pro Aluminum Heads (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 19-Stevie Smith ; 2. 45-Paul McMahan ; 3. 2-Dale Blaney ; 4. 35-Stuart Brubaker ; 5. 1S-Logan Schuchart ; 6. 55-Brad Bowman ; 7. 5B-Adam Anderson ; 8. 22S-Brandon Spithaler ; 9. 94-Rob Chaney ; 10. 5K-Adam Kekich ; 11. 4K-Kody Kinser
Heat 3 – Dragon Race Fuel (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. ; 2. 46AU-Stuart Williams ; 3. 3-Pete Miller III ; 4. 7-Eric Williams ; 5. 1K-Kyle Larson ; 6. 30C-Lance Dewease ; 7. 89G-David Gravel ; 8. 23-Jimmy Light ; 9. 8-Mike Lutz ; 10. 24-Brian Steinman ; 11. 55AU-Luke Bowey
Heat 4 – Kinsler Fuel Injection (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 17-Marty Perovich ; 2. 13-Brandon Matus ; 3. 24H-Bryan Sebetto ; 4. 83-Tim Shaffer ; 5. 29-Shane Stewart ; 6. 3L-Mike Linder ; 7. O8-Dan Kuriger ; 8. 2L-Ed Lynch ; 9. 60-Jody Keegan ; 10. 71AU-Ryan Davis
Dash – Outerwears Performance Products (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 6 starting positions of A-feature: 1. 14-Tony Stewart ; 2. 2-Dale Blaney[-] ; 3. 40-Caleb Helms ; 4. 1K-Kyle Larson ; 5. 1S-Logan Schuchart ; 6. 83-Tim Shaffer
B-Main – MSD Ignition (12 Laps – Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 89G-David Gravel ; 2. 2L-Ed Lynch ; 3. 30C-Lance Dewease ; 4. 3L-Mike Linder ; 5. 5T-Travis Philo ; 6. 2M-Dallas Hewitt ; 7. 54-Cap Henry ; 8. 6-Bill Rose ; 9. 94-Rob Chaney ; 10. D4-Danny Holtgraver ; 11. 55-Brad Bowman ; 12. 55X-Dave Blaney ; 13. 5B-Adam Anderson ; 14. 60-Jody Keegan ; 15. 22S-Brandon Spithaler ; 16. 8-Mike Lutz ; 17. 71AU-Ryan Davis ; 18. 55AU-Luke Bowey ; 19. 5K-Adam Kekich ; 20. 24-Brian Steinman
A-Main – University of Northwestern Ohio (30 Laps, $5,000 to-win): 1. 13-Brandon Matus; 2. 45-Paul McMahan; 3. 7-Eric Williams; 4. 3L-Mike Linder; 5. 19-Stevie Smith; 6. 40-Caleb Helms; 7. 83-Tim Shaffer; 8. 1K-Kyle Larson; 9. 1S-Logan Schuchart; 10. 2-Dale Blaney; 11. 89G-David Gravel; 12. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr.; 13. 4-Danny Smith; 14. W20-Greg Wilson; 15. 33-Brent Matus; 16. 24H-Bryan Sebetto; 17. 17-Marty Perovich; 18. 30C-Lance Dewease; 19. 46AU-Stuart Williams; 20. 3-Pete Miller III; 21. 14-Tony Stewart; 22. 29-Shane Stewart; 23. 35-Stuart Brubaker; 24. 2L-Ed Lynch
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (20 laps, $350 to-win): 1. BRANDON BLACKSHEAR (10) 2. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 3. Jim Dellinger (Turley 1) 4. Larry Root (22x) 5. Brian Hathaway (93) 6. Kevin Robinson (24R) 7. George Vestal IV (4) 8. Brad Blackshear (19) 9. Jeremy Double (83) 10. Ryan Fraley (12ss) 11. Junior Mechling (89) 12. Jace Ferringer (02) 13. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (Turley 17) 14. Keith Felicetty (Mechling 98) 15. Mike Smith (81) 16. Amanda Stiffler (14).
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps, $200 to-win): 1. JERRY BATCHER (7) 2. Jamie Wrighstman (21J) 3. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 4. Jeff Webber (25) 5. Jim Wrightsman (12J) 6. Steve Walker II (4M) 7. Bill Fuchs (10).
The 410 Sprint Cars will return next to Sharon as part of the fourth annual Lou Blaney Memorial presented by Ollie’s Outlet Bargain on Tuesday, July 10 for a another $5,000 to-win feature. The Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds will also be on the card for $2,000 to-win. The Alzheimer’s Association Benefit event will feature NASCAR’s Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, and Dave Blaney racing Sprint Cars.
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.