King, Jr. continues surge of new Mod winners; Double brothers win 1st in FASTRAK L.M. & Econo Mods; Watson again in E-Mods; Point leaders Burns & Haefke win in Stocks & Minis
By Mike Leone
June 30, 2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Hartford, OH)…It was another warm and sunny Saturday at Sharon Speedway for Twin-State Auto Racing Club Night on Greenville Savings Bank Night. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Rex King, Jr.-Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Josh Double-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Joel Watson-Summit Racing Equipment-E-Mods, Tim Burns-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Jeremy Double-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Jim Haefke, Jr.-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
For the first four DIRTcar Big-Block Modified events of the season it was Rex King and Kevin Bolland each winning two. Now for fourth consecutive week, a new winner has found victory lane. It started with Brian Swartzlander winning in his first appearance on June 9 followed by Jeremiah Shingledecker capturing his first career Sharon win on June 16, then last week Dave Murdick stormed to his season’s first, and on Saturday night Rex King, Jr. made a three-wide pass for the lead on a early race restart and went on for his first 20-lap Governor Insurance Agency feature win of the season.
“That was a good restart for us- I really liked it,” acknowledged the 21-year-old Bristolville, Ohio driver. “The guy on the inside was trying to jump Mr. Weller and Mr. Weller didn’t have a good restart so I was able to sneak in between both of them. My carburetor was falling off. Every time I went in the corners it would cut out. That made my car tight then I’d bounce up and hit the cushion. Luckily there was one there so I didn’t hit the wall.”
For the second straight week Jim Weller, Jr. powered into the early with Rob Kristyak, Dean Pearson, and King, Jr. in tow. On lap three, Kristyak got high in turn two allowing Pearson and King, Jr. to move up to second and third respectively. A caution for Justin Rasey and the elder Rex King slowed action with four laps completed.
On the ensuing restart, it was three-wide down frontstretch with King, Jr. splitting Weller and Pearson into the lead. King, Jr. slowed pulled away from the field opening up a half-straightaway lead when he caught lapped traffic on lap 13. His lead grew bigger when Weller exited the event on lap 14 moving Pearson up to second and Skip Moore into third. The event’s final caution was displayed with 14 laps completed when Carl Murdick spun.
Back under green flag conditions, it was the elder King making moves coming back to the front. On lap 15 both Dave Murdick and King passed Moore to take over third and fourth. The next lap saw King and Moore pass Murdick for third and fourth respectively. King then put a slider on Pearson in turn two on lap 18 to advance to second.
The elder King would run out of laps as his son “Cooter” crossed the finish line in front of him by 1.233 seconds for his third career win in the KMB, Inc.-owned, Jim Brown Seed Sales/Arrowhead Transport/Cintas/Schaeffer Oil/Reece Services/Mahan Welding & Fab/Bristol Disposal-sponsored #165.
After coming off of a tremendous 2011 season, Pearson got off to a slow start in 2012, but the 60-year-old picked up his career first Lernerville Speedway win on June 15 and on Saturday night turned in his season’s best Sharon effort in third. In just his fourth start of the season, Moore was a solid fourth for his best finish of the season. Murdick was fifth and yielded the point lead back to King, Sr. Completing the top 10 were Kevin Hoffman, Bolland, Del Rougeux, Jr., Jimmy Weller III, and Tom Mattocks. Heat winners were Bolland and Rougeux.
After winning the inaugural track championship in the FASTRAK Late Models along with two feature wins in 2011, Josh Double certainly hasn’t gotten off to the start he had hoped for in 2012. But on Saturday night, Double put on a great performance leading all 20 laps driving a great race through lapped traffic and holding off three-time winner and point leader Will Thomas III for the Barris Supply feature win. Double became the seventh different winner in nine races this season!
“We definitely have been trying to work the bugs out of this new car,” stated the 19-year-old Bristolville, Ohio racer. “I think we finally got something here. I was still a little too tight, but I definitely think we’re getting better. I saw Will (Thomas) on the scoreboard and didn’t know how close he was. I figured he was pretty close because he’s been awesome here all year so you definitely have to keep an eye on him.”
“I have to thank Russ (King),” continued Double. “Even though he’s at the Firecracker at Lernerville (Speedway) he still managed to get me a driveshaft for the night or otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to run. I have to thank my mom, dad, girlfriend, and all of my sponsors for making this possible.”
Double took off in the lead, while Thomas passed Brian Booher for second on lap one. Bill Cunningham started fifth and overtook Bob Diver for fourth on lap one then drove by Booher for third on lap two. Matt Latta, who won his career first race on June 16, was on the move from his sixth starting spot. Latta passed Diver for fifth on lap three then drove under and past Booher for fourth on lap five.
Double had pulled away to a straightaway advantage on Thomas when he caught lapped traffic on lap nine. Double had to be patient on lap 12 as Billy Cunningham, Eric Wilson, and Rusty Cade were really going at. By lap 14, Thomas had closed in on Double, while the battle was on for third with Latta all over Cunningham.
Double was able to make the right moves and extended his lead in the closing laps to win over Thomas by 2.763 seconds in his Cortland Auto Repair/Wedge Motorsports/King Bros. Ready Mix Concrete/Thomas Heating & AC/Glunt Industries/Williams Excavating/Mahan Fab & Welding-sponsored #38. Double’s non-stop time was 6:00.638.
Cunningham was able to slip past Latta in lapped traffic at the finish by 0.002 seconds to record his first top five finish of the season! Tenth starting “Futures Cup” racer Clay Ruffo not only recorded his first career FASTRAK top five, but hadn’t finished better than 10th in his second year of FASTRAK racing. Rounding out the top 10 were Booher, Bobby Whitling, Diver, Billy Cunningham, and Wilson. Thomas and Latta won the heat races.
After getting denied from victory in the first three races, E-Mod standout Joel Watson has been on a roll as he captured his third Summit Racing Equipment feature win in the past four races on Saturday night. Watson has advanced into the point lead despite missing one race as he’s yet to finish worse than third this season!
“We decided to do a memorial to one of our crew members we lost this week,” explained the 33-year-old Conneaut, Ohio racer when asked about his new white lettering job. “Dave Will did all of the engine work and really was the glue to our team. He united me with everyone on my team right now and we miss him greatly. Nothing could ever replace him. Jeff (Johnson) was real fast. He had me worried. When he pulled off, I couldn’t believe it.”
The caution plagued event saw five yellows over the first seven laps. Jeff Johnson led the first seven circuits, but exited the event under caution handing the lead to seventh starting Watson. Two more cautions were all that slowed Watson to his ninth career win in his Northwest Restoration/Zimmer’s Service Center/Racecar Fabrication/Hoosier Tire-sponsored #92. Watson has moved from a five-way tie for eighth on the division’s all-time win list at the beginning of the season to sixth.
Shingledecker had another solid run matching his season’s best finish in runner-up. Andy Buckley ran in the top five for the entire race. He inherited fourth when Johnson pitted then passed Bud Watson for third on the restart; a position he’d hold to the checkered flag for his first top five of the season. Mike Kinney came from ninth to place fourth over 13th starting Jack Young, who entered the night as the point leader. Heat victors over the 21-car field were Kinney, Clayton Kennedy, and Watson.
It was a perfect night for Tim Burns in the Stock Cars. Burns drew the best pill of the night (three), won his heat race, got the heads up start for the feature, and then led all 15 laps of the Gibson Insurance event to extend his point lead.
“When I went through that dust over there I couldn’t see anything,” revealed the 40-year-old Greenville, Pa. driver. “I couldn’t even see the air cleaner- it was that bad. That was pretty rough. The front of the car is terrible- I can’t believe I won! It’s towed out probably two inches. I’ll tell you, I drove my butt off after that thing was bent! I have to thank my wife, my engine guy Kip, and my sponsors.”
Burns ironically started alongside second place point man Steve D’Apolito, who also won his heat race. Burns raced to the lead, while third place point man Rod Laskey was all over D’Apolito. A caution was displayed with one lap completed for Ray Gregory, who broke a driveshaft.
When racing resumed, sixth and eighth starting Jamie Scharba and Brian Carothers advanced to fourth and fifth respectively. Carothers then passed Scharba for fourth on lap three. Burns began to pull away, while the laps ticked off under green flag conditions. The battle was on for second and then further back for fourth.
All hell broke loose on laps six and seven. Paul Davis ran out of room on the speedway and got down into the infield throwing up a cloud of dust in turn two. Newcomer Jeff Buccella broke and slowed going down the backstretch. Jamie Gibbs then slowed in turn two. While all of this was taking place, the leaders were quickly approaching. Burns couldn’t see and lifted and made contact; D’Apolito did the same and got blasted in the rear end by Laskey ending the night for those two racers.
When action was cleaned up, only one more caution would slow Burns’ run to his second win of the season and sixth of his career in his Hittles Auto Supply/Wedge Motorsports-sponsored #66. Mike Clark passed Carothers on lap nine to finish a season best second. Carothers was third over Davis and Shaun Hooks.
Just when it appeared Steve Burns, Jr. had won for the second straight Saturday along with his runner-up on Tuesday night in the Econo Mods, the 22-year-old racer came up two pounds light at the scales giving Jeremy Double his first career win in the 15-lap Summit Racing Equipment feature.
Burns started fourth and had the lead on the first lap with sixth starting Brandon Blackshear up to second. Brian Hathaway started seventh and was up to third, but under caution with three laps scored tangled with Blackshear. This moved Double up to second for the restart.
Double would follow Burns to the finish in the caution-filled event coming up one-half second behind for what appeared to be his third runner-up in the last six races, but would be credited with the victory following the disqualification of Burns. The 16-year-old Bristolville, Ohio driver’s win came in his Cortland Auto Repair/Wedge Motorsports-sponsored #83.
Brad Blackshear came back from an early spin to finish second. Larry Root was third. Rookie George Vestal IV was fourth in just his fifth career race. Former asphalt racer Jeff Mundell was credited with a fifth in his third race. Heat winners were Brandon Blackshear and Root.
Second year racer Jim Haefke, Jr. won for the fourth time in the past seven races and fifth overall on the season as he took over the point lead in the Mini Stocks following the 12-lap Deforest Used Parts feature.
“That’s a brand new car Bill Fuchs has tonight and I didn’t know what it was going to do,” explained the 30-year-old Austintown, Ohio racer. “I don’t know what’s going on with the car count. I don’t want to be fast where they don’t want to come back. I want a lot more cars. Without this car I wouldn’t be here. I have to thank my family, my crew, my wife, and all of my sponsors.”
After a caution for Pete Blazczak on the first lap, the event ran non-stop. Bill Fuchs took the lead, while Haefke went from fourth to second. Haefke caught Fuchs on lap three. The two ran side-by-side on lap four with Fuchs on the bottom and Haefke on the top. Haefke was able to make the pass stick to lead lap four.
Haefke caught traffic on lap nine, but Fuchs’ night in his new car ended on lap 10 when he pulled to the infield. Haefke went on to win by one-half lap as he matched Brandon Blackshear as the track’s top winners of the season in his Diver Steel City Auto Crushing/AAMCO Transmission-sponsored #421.
Sixty-three-year-old Dale Monreal was a career best second as was 16-year-old rookie Gina Thompson in third and Ray Kennedy in fourth. Steve Walker II completed the top five. Haefke won the lone heat race.
Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. REX KING, JR. (165) 2. Rex King (65) 3. Dean Pearson (8J) 4. Skip Moore (17M) 5. Dave Murdick (61) 6. Kevin Hoffman (17H) 7. Kevin Bolland (777) 8. Del Rougeux, Jr. (20D) 9. Jimmy Weller III (31W) 10. Tom Mattocks (69) 11. Justin Rasey (21) 12. Dave Reges (27R) 13. Bob Warren (96B) 14. Carl Murdick (6) 15. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 16. Rob Kristyak (00) 17. Bob Monoskey (22).
Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models (20 laps): 1. JOSH DOUBLE (38) 2. Will Thomas III (9) 3. Bill Cunningham (59) 4. Matt Latta (21) 5. Clay Ruffo (14R) 6. Brian Booher (Hoover 00H) 7. Bobby Whitling 8. Bob Diver (23) 9. Billy Cunningham (44c) 10. Eric Wilson (27W) 11. Rusty Cade (47) 12. Tom Copeland (98) 13. Lonnie Emerick (3).
Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods (15 laps): 1. JOEL WATSON (92) 2. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 3. Andy Buckley (965) 4. Mike Kinney (3) 5. Jack Young (Hamilton 67) 6. Bud Watson (White 53) 7. Steve Haefke (73) 8. Clayton Kennedy (9) 9. Jim Turley (117) 10. Mike Monreal (071) 11. Dale Monreal (7) 12. Paul Phillips (11SS) 13. Ronnie Kahler (7R) 14. Joe Crawford (25) 15. Jeff Johnson (27) 16. Joe Gabrielson (58) 17. Scott Stiffler (14) 18. Jeff Hassay (10) 19. Nathan Loney (10) 20. Howard Fraley (217)-DNS 21. Bob Williamson (93)-DNS.
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. TIM BURNS (66) 2. Mike Clark (7) 3. Brian Carothers (02c) 4. Paul Davis (3) 5. Shaun Hooks (Janovick 65) 6. Charlie Jasinski (5J) 7. Jamie Duncan (67J) 8. Jessie Brock (22B) 9. Jamie Scharba (00S) 10. Ron Yarab, Jr. (Burns 70B) 11. Steve D’Apolito (84) 12. Rod Laskey (Sloss 44S) 13. Jamie Gibbs (98) 14. Jeff Buccella (Davis 915) 15. Walter Yourem (*22) 16. Ray Gregory (15).
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. JEREMY DOUBLE (83) 2. Brad Blackshear (19) 3. Larry Root (22x) 4. George Vestal IV (4) 5. Jeff Mundell (11) 6. Keith Felicetty (Mechling 98) 7. Amanda Stiffler (14) 8. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (Turley 17) 9. Junior Mechling (89) 10. Brandon Blackshear (10) 11. Brian Hathaway (93) 12. Jim Dellinger (Turley 1) 13. Corey Skully (21) 14. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B)-DSQ 15. Jeff Solinger (77)-DSQ 16. Bob Diver (23)-DNS.
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. JIM HAEFKE, JR. (421) 2. Dale Monreal (77) 3. Gina Thompson (Webber 25) 4. Ray Kennedy (18) 5. Steve Walker II (4M) 6. Jake Monreal (32M) 7. Bill Fuchs (10) 8. Tommy Davis (32) 9. Pete Blazczak (77) 10. Greg Schmied (97)-DNS.
There will be no racing on Saturday, July 7, but coming up on Tuesday, July 10 will be the fourth annual “Lou Blaney Memorial” presented by Ollie’s Bargain Outlet featuring the “410” Sprint Cars for $5,000 to-win along with the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds for $2,000 to-win. Alzheimer’s Association Benefit Event will include NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, and Dave Blaney competing in Sprint Cars. Tickets are on sale by going to www.sharonspeedway.com or by calling 330-772-5481.
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.