Sodeman wins BOSS Sprints in 1st ever non-wing race on 3/8-mile track; 1st wins for Shingledecker & D’Apolito in E-Mods & Stocks; Brad Blackshear repeats in Econos; Haefke again in Minis
By Rich Berry & Mike Leone
July 14, 2012
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway was back in action on Saturday night for the second time in five days for the first ever appearance by the BOSS Sprints as the traditional non-wing cars ran for the first time at the speedway since a 2000 show on the old half-mile. Celebrating with wins in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Jack Sodeman, Jr.-BOSS Sprints, Shawn Shingledecker-Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods, Steve D’Apolito-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Brad Blackshear-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Jim Haefke, Jr.-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
In impressive fashion, Jack Sodeman, Jr. took off his wing and was able to turn back the invaders of the BOSS Sprint Cars in winning the 25 lap feature event for his first career non-wing victory. The 35-year-old North Jackson, Ohio racer is a former track champion and a winner of 10 career winged features at the track and will now go down in the history books as the first non-wing victor on the smaller configuration oval.
Three exciting heat races for the 22 BOSS Sprints were won by Dustin Smith, Steve Irwin, and Landon Simon. The top three finishers from each of those heat races redrew for the top nine positions for their 25-lap feature, with Tony Beaber and Irwin getting the coveted first row starting positions.
Irwin used the outside lane to take the lead at the drop of the green flag with fifth starting Sodeman quickly moving to second and challenging for the lead before the first caution period of the event on lap three for debris on the track. Irwin continued to lead on the restart over Sodeman, Simon, Beaber, and Gale Ruth, Jr.
Mercer Raceway Park winner, Brandon Spithaler, rolled to a stop in turn four to bring out the next caution period on lap six. Back to green, Sodeman was now heavily challenging Irwin for the race lead, making a strong challenge on the inside. Working lap eight, Sodeman dove inside entering turn three and cleared Irwin, taking over the race lead on lap nine.
Caution periods on lap 12 for Charlie Cornelius stopping and on lap 14 for Kevin Miller stopping would be the final slowdowns of the race, setting up an 11-lap battle to the finish. Sodeman continued to show the way when racing resumed, with Irwin and Simon battling for second. Simon passed Irwin on the final restart with Beaber and Aaron Middaugh filling the top five.
Sodeman held a comfortable lead, but found trouble while working race traffic on lap 19. Two cars running side-by-side blocked his path, allowing Simon to close quickly. Sodeman finally dispatched of the traffic, but now had Simon right on his bumper. Simon peeked inside during the white flag lap making a strong bid, but Sodeman was flawless on the high side in taking the $1,200 win in his #23Jr. Simon settled for a close second. Irwin, Middaugh, and Smith filled the top five. Completing the top 10 were Beaber, Sharon All Star Sprint winner Brand Matus up from 13th, Ruth, Spithaler, and Kirk Jeffries.
Despite Sprint Cars being more dangerous without wings than the winged version, the night was run in amazingly clean fashion. The only close call came during the heat race and was by eventual feature winner Sodeman. He bicycled onto his right side wheels entering turn one, sending him pointed directly towards the outside wall. But due to a masterful save, which found him inches away from the wall, he recovered without losing a position.
The scariest incident of the night came in an odd sequence on the attempted start of heat three. The field was working the backstretch, coming around to get the green flag for the start of the race. Third starting Jeffries looked as if he hit his gas petal, and it appeared that his throttle stuck open. His car took off and jumped over the left rear wheel of pole-sitter Spithaler, then it shot into the infield while picking up speed, jeopardizing the safety of the infield track workers. Jeffries though was able to spin his car while heading towards the racing surface in turns three and four, and his masterful piece of driving saw the car spin backwards to stall the engine, as it slid safely to a stop ending what could have been a frightening incident.
The 15-lap Summit Racing Equipment E-Mod feature had Jeff Hassay and Jim Turley on the front row of the starting grid, in an invert 12 start from the heat races. Hassay took the lead at the start, with Joe Gabrielson and Shawn Shingledecker up to challenge. Hassay led to the first of two caution periods in the event, the first one on lap five for an incident in turn three.
With a turn three pass, Shingledecker took over the race lead on lap six. The final caution period came on lap nine, with fourth starting Shingledecker still showing the way. Jack Young and point leader Joel Watson were making a bid to battle for the race lead; however, they ended up battling each other for second, running side-by-side on the final lap.
Shingledecker, of Franklin, Pa., took his first win of the season and third of his career at the track in his Shingledecker Welding #54s with Young taking second over Watson, from starting spots 10 and 11 respectively. Mike Kinney came from 12th to finish fourth, with Gabrielson fifth. Top runners Kinney, Watson, and Young were the heat race winners over the 24-car field.
In what’s been a disappointing season for four-time track champion Steve D’Apolito, the 34-year-old Boardman, Ohio standout was able to lead from start to finish in the 15-lap Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car feature in an event that ran the entire distance caution free for his season’s first win. D’Apolito was also able to greatly cut into Tim Burns’ point lead beating him in both the heat and feature.
An invert four start put D’Apolito and Jaime Duncan on the front row with D’Apolito gaining command early. A three-car battle for second waged near halfway between Duncan, Rod Laskey and Mike Clark, but Duncan was able to fend off Laskey as Clark faded.
D’Apolito crossed the finish line first in his D’Apolito Christmas Tree Farm/Utsinger’s Towing/Race 1-sponsored #84 for his 32nd career Sharon win. Duncan was a season best second over Laskey and Clark. Fifth place went to Paul Davis, a finish devoted entirely to his crew. His car caught fire on the second lap of the heat race, but he was able to drive towards the fire crew that worked to quickly extinguish the flames. For the size of the fire in the engine compartment, one would have thought that being back next week would have been a miracle instead of starting 14th. But repairs were made and his run from 14th netted fifth place at the finish. Laskey and Jeff Buccella took the heat race wins.
Junior Mechling and Steve Burns led the 15-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mod feature to the green flag with Burns leading from the start. After a lap four restart, point leader Brandon Blackshear made an inside bid working lap five, making the pass in turn two to take the lead on lap six.
After a pair of yellows on laps nine, Blackshear resumed in the lead and appeared to be on his way to victory. However, while working lap 13, his car began slowing as it appeared that he had a tire going flat. Burns and Brad Blackshear were battling side-by-side for second, and soon it was a three-wide sandwich racing for the lead. Three-wide did not work though, and Brad Blackshear slipped through, while brother Brandon and Burns brought out the yellow flag with one-lap remaining in the race.
Brandon Blackshear, 17 of Brookfield, Ohio, went on to win the one-lap dash his first victory since opening night on April 7 in the Don Blackshear-owned, Blackshear Automotive/CC Games & Music/Intense Fab/Steve Bible Insurance/Milk Barn-sponsored #19.
Seventh starting Jim Dellinger outdueled Jeremy Double in the battle for second. Ironically, Jeremy’s brother Josh, the defending FASTRAK champion, also finished third in a Northeast Tour race across the border at Mercer Raceway Park. Veteran Bob Williams recorded his second straight top five finish, but best of the season in fourth. Junior Mechling completed the top five. Heat wins went to Double and Brandon Blackshear.
Jim Haefke, Jr. became the track’s top winner as he notched victory number six in the Mini Stock 12-lap main presented by Deforest Used Parts. Starting sixth, the 30-year-old Austintown, Ohio driver marched his way forward quickly as Jamie Wrightsman took over the lead on lap two. Haefke was already up to second at this point, and was making a bid for the top spot. With an inside pass in turn two while working lap four, Haefke took the lead as lap five was scored.
The race appeared to be headed to the finish caution-free, but Jake Monreal stopped in turn one to force the event’s only caution period with 11 of the 12 laps completed. Wrightsman made a brief challenge on the restart, but Haefke held on to pick up the victory in his Diver Steel City Auto Crushing/AAMCO Transmission-sponsored #421. Wrightsman settled for a close second over a season best finish by Tommy Davis. Leo Hanlon was fourth in his first appearance over Ken Koby II. Heat winners were Wrightsman and Haefke.
BOSS Non-Wing Sprints (25 laps): 1. JACK SODEMAN, JR. (23JR) 2. Landon Simon (45) 3. Steve Irwin (1) 4. Aaron Middaugh (91) 5. Dustin Smith (37) 6. Tony Beaber (3T) 7. Brandon Matus (13) 8. Gale Ruth, Jr. (5x) 9. Brandon Spithaler (Burkey 57B) 10. Kirk Jeffries (59J) 11. Daryl Stimeling (30) 12. Mark Cassella (91) 13. Chuck Wilson (31) 14. Lewie Christian (8) 15. Bob McMillen (5) 16. Gale Ruth (1R) 17. Adam Miller (24M) 18. Charlie Cornelius (C9) 19. Paul Kish (VanTassel 69X) 20. Brent Matus (33) 21. John McCracken, Sr. (63) 22. Mike Lutz (1)
Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods (15 laps): 1. SHAWN SHINGLEDECKER (54s) 2. Jack Young (Hamilton 67) 3. Joe Watson (92) 4. Mike Kinney (3) 5. Joe Gabrielson (58) 6. Clayton Kennedy (9) 7. Bruce Powell (35) 8. Brian Douglas (214) 9. Jeff Hassay (10) 10. Chris Myers (Beck 357) 11. Jim Turley (117) 12. Gary Sullivan (47s) 13. Ronnie Kahler (7r) 14. Paul Phillips (11ss) 15. Trevor Herr (32) 16. Mike Monreal (071) 17. Arlan Coy (56) 18. Bob Williamson (93) 19. Ed Wilson (33) 20. Scott Stiffler (14) 21. Wayne Brugmann (79) 22. Howard Fraley (217) 23. Bud Watson (White 53)-DNS 24. Dale Monreal (7)-DNS.
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. STEVE D’APOLITO (84) 2. Jamie Duncan (67J) 3. Rod Laskey Sloss (44s) 4. Mike Clark (7) 5. Paul Davis (3) 6. Tim Burns (66) 7. Jeff Buccella (Davis 915) 8. Brian Carothers (02c) 9. Shaun Hooks (Janovick 65) 10. Ron Yarab, Jr. (Burns 70b) 11. Jeff Kravec (5k) 12. Walt Yourema, Jr. (*22) 13. Jesse Brock (22b) 14. Charlie Jasinski (5J) 15. Carl Davis (Gregory 15)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. BRAD BLACKSHEAR (19) 2. Jim Dellinger (Turley 1) 3. Jeremy Double (83) 4. Bob Williams (8) 5. Junior Mechling (89) 6. Keith Felicetty (Mechling 98) 7. Larry Root (22x) 8. Steve Burns, Jr. (70b) 9. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (Turley 17) 10. Brandon Blackshear (10) 11. George Vestal IV (4) 12. Corey Skully (21) 13. Kevin Robinson (24r) 14. Amanda Stiffler (14).
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. JIM HAEFKE, JR. (421) 2. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 3. Jimmy Davis (32) 4. Leo Hanlon (1R) 5. Ken Koby II (11) 6. Jim Wrightsman (12J) 7. Gina Thompson (Webber 25) 8. Christi Brugmann (Monreal 77) 9. Jake Monreal (32) 10. Martha Doyle (37) 11. Ray Kennedy (18) 12. Bill Fuchs (10).
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.