Murdick & King split Mod mains but Shingledecker wins $1K DIRTcar bonus; Wilson is 9th different FASTRAK LM winner; Win #2 for Gabrielson, Hooks & Burns; Haefke continues domination in Minis
By Mike Leone
August 4, 2012
(Hartford, OH)…After a rainout, Sharon Speedway was back in action on a sultry Saturday night for the Bill Kirila Memorial “Fan Appreciation Night”. A large crowd and a season high 128 cars filled the pit area. Fans took advantage of the reduced $8 general admission price, and enjoyed autographs on the speedway during intermission.
Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Dave Murdick & Rex King-Governor Insurance DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Eric Wilson-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Joe Gabrielson-Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods, Shaun Hooks-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Steve Burns, Jr.-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Jim Haefke, Jr.-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
It was a huge night for the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds as they had their May 27 make-up feature in addition to a complete program that included the $1,000 Lernerville/Sharon Weekend Bonus. A season high 29 cars turned out for the event, which awarded the racers with the higher payout structure and increased tow money. Seventeen drivers competed both nights and made themselves eligible to compete at the World Finals for the Super DIRTcar Series events November 1-3 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
The night began with the 20-lap Governor Insurance make-up feature, which was simply dominated by Dave Murdick. After losing a motor the night before, the Butler, Pa. racer inherited the lead on lap three when Tom Mattocks went up in smoke. The last 18 laps then went green-to-checkered as Murdick lapped up to the fifth place spot taking the checkered flag by 6.399 seconds over his nearest competitor for the $1,500 win. Murdick’s second win of the season was his fifth of his career in his Steve’s Auto Body-sponsored #61.
Second generation racer Shawn Fleeger had a great run in his season debut with a career best second. Fleeger started fourth and actually passed Rex King for runner-up on lap three. Fleeger slipped high in turn four on lap five yielding the spot back to King. King’s smoking car exited the event on lap seven and gave second back to Fleeger, which he would hold on to for the duration. Jim Rasey came from eighth to place third, which was his season best effort.
Also turning in their best finishes of the season were Jimmy Weller III and Eric Gabany in fourth and fifth respectively. Weller started from 13th and Gabany 12th. Completing the top 10 were Rex King, Jr., Carl Murdick, Rick Ryder, Bob Warren, and Rex King.
In the night’s regularly scheduled Governor Insurance DIRTcar Modified event, Rex King led wire-to-wire for his third victory of the season tying Kevin Bolland for tops in the division. King’s win wasn’t easy as he had to run his son’s #165 after engine woes in the make-up feature, then had to hold off a hard charge by Jeremiah Shingledecker. King’s $1,200 win was the 42nd of his career and came in the KMB, Inc.-owned, Jim Brown Seed Sales/Arrowhead Transport/Cintas/Schaeffer Oil/Reece Services/Mahan Welding & Fab/Bristol Disposal-sponsored #165.
Shingledecker started fourth and passed Rob Curtis for third on lap three. Following a caution with five laps completed for a tangle involving Carl Murdick, Don Brown, and newcomer Max Smoker, Shingledecker passed Kevin Hoffman for second. Shingledecker would get two restarts, but wasn’t able to get around King as he came up 0.584 seconds short. Shingledecker though not only earned $800 for runner-up for the second straight night, but pocketed the $1,000 two-night bonus and four pit passes to the World Finals!
Hoffman matched his season best finish with his second straight third place finish. Brad Rapp came from eighth to finish fourth- his best of the season in just his second start. Friday night’s Lernerville winner, Brian Swartzlander, was fifth and came up four points shy to Shingledecker. Rounding out the top 10 were Steve Feder, Rasey, Dean Pearson, Skip Moore, and Gabany, who had a solid weekend in his “358” as he finished fourth at Lernerville. Heat victors were Pearson, Rapp, and Feder, while newcomer Jerry Schaffer won the B main.
Last August, 14-year-old rookie Eric Wilson held off some of the region’s best FASTRAK Late Model racers to score an upset win at Sharon Speedway. The third generation racer has certainly experienced some highs and lows over his two-year FASTRAK career, and on Saturday night Wilson continued to persevere as he captured a popular win in the 20-lap Barris Supply feature.
The Pace Performance “Futures Cup” Cortland, Ohio racer started on the pole, but actually dropped back to fourth after one lap as Dave Airgood took command. It was three-wide for second as Wilson got shuffled back with Bobby Whitling and Mike Pegher, Jr. taking over second and third. Wilson would fall as far back as fifth as he lost fourth to Bill Cunningham on lap three. On lap four both Whitling and Pegher slowed to bring out the caution.
Two more laps were completed before a scary accident took place. Bob Diver got sideways and Clay Ruffo hit him full speed launching into the air on the frontstretch. Ruffo somehow didn’t get upside down and was okay. When racing resumed, Wilson made a three-wide move with Cunningham to overtake the top two spots.
Wilson had to survive one more caution and challenges by a bevy of competitors in his father Chris’ Brothers Pizza of Cortland/Simpson Racing Equipment-sponsored #27W. Wilson became the ninth different FASTRAK winner in 11 races this season. The battle for second through sixth was hot and heavy and switched numerous times. Cunningham, who won Friday night at Raceway 7, came up 0.621 seconds behind for his best finish of the season. Matt Latta came from eighth to finish third after passing Airgood on lap eight.
Airgood dropped to fourth over 11th starting Dennis Lunger, Jr. in just his second start of the year. Completing the top 10 were point leader Will Thomas III, Rocky Kugel, Jason Reagle in his season debut, Rusty Cade, and Brian Booher. Wilson and Airgood won the heat races over the 18-car field.
While it’s been the case all year seemingly everywhere they race, Joel Watson and Jack Young were battling it out in the E-Mods, but it wasn’t for first and second this time as Joe Gabrielson led all 15 laps of the Summit Racing Equipment feature for his second win.
The 24-year-old Bristolville, Ohio driver had Watson right on his bumper for the final nine laps, but was able to hold on by 1.169 seconds for his fourth career win in the Bill Gabrielson, Sr.-owned, Awesome Signs & Shirts/Reese Services/Husband 4 Hire Handyman/Integra Racing Shocks/Keyer’s Part City Racing-sponsored #58.
Watson started fourth and passed Matt Lux for third on the opening lap. Watson got around Clayton Kennedy for second on lap three. Jack Young started right behind Watson in sixth and followed him forward taking third from Kennedy on lap three. The duo stayed together for the duration, but had to settle for second and third respectively. Watson leads Young by just three points. Kennedy dropped to fourth over Lux, who was subbing for Shawn Shingledecker in the #54s. Gabrielson and Young were heat race winners over the 20-car field.
The Stock Car feature was a wild one as some nine cars battled hard for the victory, but in the end it was Shaun Hooks garnering his second win of the season in the 15-lap Gibson Insurance event.
The 42-year-old New Castle, Pa. driver started on the pole, but it was Jamie Duncan taking command at the start. Hooks and Duncan went at it running side-by-side on lap three as Duncan continued to lead. Hooks made his winning move on lap five following a restart. A scary accident took place when Andy Thompson flipped hard in turn three with six laps completed. He was okay.
The final nine laps went caution-free. Duncan would spin running second on lap 12. Eighth starting Tim Burns and seventh starting Steve D’Apolito had made their way forward and somehow missed the spinning Duncan, who never stopped. Burns quickly closed on Hooks in the final laps, but came up 0.521 seconds short. Hooks’ sixth career win came in 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.
Burns was able to extend his point lead to 14 over D’Apolito, who finished third. Brian Carothers came from 10th to finish fourth over 12th starting Paul Davis. Heat winners over the season-high 21-car field were Davis, Bruce Redman, and Carothers.
The HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mod feature was a caution-plagued event that was slowed nine times and was shortened to 10 laps after the 30-minute time limit expired. Steve Burns, Jr. started on the pole and never relinquished it for his second victory. The 22-year-old Masury, Ohio driver’s fourth career Sharon win came in the Steve Burns, Sr.-owned, Penn Ohio Electric/T&D Landscaping/Rien Construction/Country Convenience/Laddies Sky Club/Warehouse Sales/Tight Seal Glass Block/Dr. Caquadi-sponsored #70B.
Brad Blackshear started sixth and was up to third after one lap. Blackshear then passed Jim Dellinger for second on lap four. Blackshear caught Burns on lap six, but wasn’t able to mount a challenge with all of the cautions. Jeremy Double was third for his ninth top five of the season. Point leader Brandon Blackshear came back to finish fourth after being spun by Brian Hathaway. Ryan Fraley was fifth. Brad Blackshear and Bob Diver topped the heat races over the 19-car field.
The Mini Stocks produced their biggest car count of the season at 21, but 16 would take the green flag in the nightcap. A heads-up start put top winners and heat victors Jim Haefke, Jr. and Bill Fuchs on the front row. Haefke would bolt into the lead at the start. Jamie Wrightsman started fifth and advanced to third after one lap. Wrightsman passed Fuchs for second on lap three.
The top three pulled away from the pack, but Haefke was too much as the 30-year-old Austintown, Ohio point leader picked up his track leading seventh win in his Diver Steel City Auto Crushing/AAMCO Transmission-sponsored #421. Wrightsman beat out Fuchs for second. Tommy Davis charged from 14th to finish fourth for his second top five in just three starts. Ken Koby II, who started 16th, finished fifth for third time in the past four races. Haefke and Wrightsman won the heats.
Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds May 27, 2012 make-up (20 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. DAVE MURDICK (61) 2. Shawn Fleeger (88) 3. Jim Rasey (32) 4. Jimmy Weller III (31) 5. Eric Gabany (3E) 6. Rex King, Jr. (165) 7. Carl Murdick (6) 8. Rick Ryder (Snider 189) 9. Bob Warren (96B) 10. Rex King (65) 11. Justin Rasey (21) 12. Tom Mattocks (69) 13. Bob Monoskey (22) 14. Del Rougeux, Jr. (20D)-DNS 15. Kevin Bolland (777)-DNS 16. Erik Martin (29E)-DNS.
Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps, $1,200 to-win): 1. REX KING (65) 2. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD) 3. Kevin Hoffman (17H) 4. Brad Rapp (11R) 5. Brian Swartzlander (83) 6. Steve Feder (45) 7. Jim Rasey (32) 8. Dean Pearson (8J) 9. Skip Moore (17M) 10. Eric Gabany (3E) 11. Rob Curtis (McElhaney 6 7/8) 12. Rob Kristyak (00) 13. Gary Smoker (516) 14. Ron Eperthener, Jr. (333) 15. Bob Warren (96B) 16. Rick Ryder (Snider 189) 17. Shawn Fleeger (88) 18. Dave Murdick (61) 19. Dave Reges (27R) 20. Jimmy Weller III (31) 21. Jerry Schaffer (4) 22. Carl Murdick (6) 23. Max Smoker (5) 24. Don Brown (71B) DNQ: Troy Willoughby (83W), Justin Rasey (21), Tom Mattocks (69), Rex King, Jr. (165), Jeff Monoskey (22).
Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models (20 laps): 1. ERIC WILSON (27W) 2. Bill Cunningham (59) 3. Matt Latta (21) 4. Dave Airgood, Jr. (42) 5. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L) 6. Will Thomas III (9) 7. Rocky Kugel (21KRT) 8. Jason Reagle (888) 9. Rusty Cade (47) 10. Brian Booher (Hoover 00H) 11. Tom Copeland (98) 12. Lonnie Emerick (3) 13. Jason Stanke (44) 14. Bob Diver (23) 15. Clay Ruffo (14R) 16. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Geisler 1c) 17. Bobby Whitling 18. Josh Double (38)-DNS.
Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods (15 laps): 1. JOE GABRIELSON (58) 2. Joel Watson (92) 3. Jack Young (Hamilton 67) 4. Clayton Kennedy (9) 5. Matt Lux (Shingledecker 54s) 6. Bud Watson (White 53) 7. Andy Buckley (965) 8. Jeff Johnson (27) 9. Steve Haefke (73) 10. Jeff Hassay (10) 11. Chris Myers (Beck 357) 12. Jim Turley (117) 13. Paul Phillips (11SS) 14. Gary Sullivan (47s) 15. Bill Cunningham (Hamilton 67K) 16. Mike Monreal (071) 17. Bob Williamson (93) 18. Ronnie Kahler (7R) 19. Wayne Brugmann (79) 20. Trevor Herr (32)-DNS.
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. SHAUN HOOKS (Janovick 65) 2. Tim Burns (66) 3. Steve D’Apolito (84) 4. Brian Carothers (02c) 5. Paul Davis (3) 6. Rod Laskey (44s) 7. Jeff Buccella (Davis 915) 8. Bruce Redman (27) 9. Jamie Duncan (67J) 10. Jesse Brock (22B) 11. Andy Thompson (5) 12. Walt Yourema, Jr. (*22) 13. Charlie Jasinski (5J) 14. Jamie Scharba (00s) 15. Mike Clark (7) 16. Ron Yarab, Jr. (Burns 70B) 17. Gary Robinson (44R) 18. Jamie Gibbs (98) 19. Buck Buchanan, Jr. (93B) 20. Dan Fedorchak (Bruno x7) 21. Carl Davis (Gregory 15)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (10 laps/time shortened): 1. STEVE BURNS, JR. (70B) 2. Brad Blackshear (19) 3. Jeremy Double (83) 4. Brandon Blackshear (10) 5. Ryan Fraley (12SS) 6. Jim Dellinger (Turley 1) 7. Keith Felicetty (Mechling 98) 8. Jeff Mundell (11) 9. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (Turley 17) 10. Kevin Robinson (24R) 11. Amanda Stiffler (14) 12. Brian Hathaway (93) 13. Derek Dellinger (119) 14. Junior Mechling (89) 15. Bob Diver (23) 16. Mike Smith (81) 17. Larry Root (22x) 18. Cameron Nastasi (99N) 19. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR).
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. JIM HAEFKE, JR. (421) 2. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 3. Bill Fuchs (10) 4. Jimmy Davis (32) 5. Ken Koby II (22) 6. Jim Wrightsman (12J) 7. Ray Gregory (Doyle 37) 8. Christi Brugmann (19) 9. Matt Cwynar (21c) 10. Steve Walker II (4M) 11. Jeff Little (42) 12. Rob McElhaney (7R) 13. Greg Schmied (97) 14. Gina Thompson (Webber 25) 15. Brandon Cornelius (c11) 16. Matt Pegher (09) 17. Pete Blazczak (77)-DNS 18. Zachary Myers (91z)-DNS 19. Ray Kennedy (18)-DNS 20. Jake Monreal (32)-DNS 21. Mike Hillman (29)-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.