Blair & Pegher split FASTRAK NE Tour wins as $30K distributed ON Mfg Night; Clark wins 1st in Stocks; Young, Dellinger & Haefke take E-Mods, Econos & Minis
By Mike Leone
August 18, 2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway hosted the inaugural FASTRAK Northeast “Manufacturers Night” on Saturday. Celebrating with wins in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Max Blair & Mike Pegher, Jr.-Sweeney Chevrolet GM Pace Performance FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series, Jack Young-Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods, Mike Clark-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Derek Dellinger-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Jim Haefke, Jr.-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
The night kicked off with the May 27 FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series make-up feature. In that 25-lap affair, Max Blair took advantage of a front row starting spot to lead all 25 laps for the Bill Emig Memorial victory. Blair’s record-breaking Series ninth win of the season was worth $1,500 plus an additional $500 for being the overall “Wild Card Weekend” Champion.
“The track is really fast,” expressed the 22-year-old Centerville, Pa. point leader. “The engine got really, really hot that’s why I had to get in there to cool it down. Anytime Mike Pegher is up front, you’re always worried he’s going to get by you. He’s one of the best there is. It’s fun racing with him. I didn’t know if I should take the top or bottom, but it’s Sharon so you always take the top. That’s what I did and it worked out.”
Blair rode the outside past pole-sitter Joe Martin for the lead with Pegher, Jamie Brown, and Will Thomas III in tow. Martin stuck on the bottom and raced side-by-side with Blair on laps two and three, but Blair had the momentum to continue to lead. Thomas, who started sixth, passed Brown for fourth on lap three as Ruhlman followed in fifth.
Lapped traffic came into play on lap eight as Thomas caught up to Pegher, Martin and Blair to make it a four-car race for the lead. Pegher snuck by Martin for second in turn four on lap 10. Ruhlman then caught the first four as five cars were set for a shootout, but Jason Stanke slowed to bring out the event’s only caution with 12 laps scored.
Thomas and eighth starting Josh Holtgraver got a great restart to move into third and fourth past Martin. Holtgraver though would exit the event on lap 16 yielding fourth back to Martin. Holtgraver was chosen as The Brake Man’s “Tough Brake of the Night. Blair would deal with lapped traffic over the final three laps, but Pegher wasn’t able to get by as Blair celebrated his all-time leading 21st career Northeast Touring Series victory in his Specialty Products/Rohrer Trucking/Moody & Son Welding/Genesis Shocks-sponsored #111.
Pegher was second for the fourth time this season. Thomas’ third was his 10th straight top nine finish on the Touring Series. Martin’s fifth was his best finish since a fourth on July 4 at Expo. Ruhlman was fifth. Sixth through 10th were Matt Latta, Jamie Brown, 19th starting Lauren Longbrake, Josh Double and Butch Lambert.
For awhile it looked like Max Blair was going to make it a clean sweep of the $3,500 night and his third straight Tour win, but nemesis Mike Pegher, Jr. had something to say about it this time. After finishing second in the night’s make-up feature, Pegher passed Blair on lap 20 and pulled away for just his second Tour win of the season and first since April 20 at Roaring Knob, worth $1,500. The thrilling 25 lapper was one of the best of the season as Blair and Pegher put on a quite a show for the fans trading slide jobs plus the racing through the pack was tremendous and very clean.
“We’ve been struggling all year long,” acknowledged the 26-year-old Wexford, Pa. driver. “We’ve been breaking stuff and having mechanical failures. I have to thank my crew. If it wasn’t for them coming and working on the car every night at the shop and coming to the races with me, I wouldn’t be able to do this.”
“I knew if I couldn’t get him down in (turns) one and two on that restart, I wasn’t going to get him,” continued Pegher. “He was just a little bit better than me on the outside. There was a little bit more traction on the bottom so I was hoping he’d take the outside on that restart. We’ve had our ups and downs with Max, but it’s always fun to race with him.”
For the second time of the night, Blair started second and raced into the lead; this time past Holtgraver with Pegher and sixth starting Ruhlman in third and fourth. Pegher and Holtgraver raced side-by-side on lap two with Pegher using the outside to get by for second. Thomas started eighth and was already into the top five after two laps.
Blair and Pegher began to distance themselves from the field on lap four. Pegher was right on Blair on lap five. Pegher stuck right with Blair as they caught lapped traffic on lap 11 as Pegher pulled alongside. Blair though had enough to temporarily hold on, while Ruhlman caught Holtgraver on lap 12.
Shane Bambarger, Bobby Whitling, and Ryan Montgomery tangled on lap 13 right in front of the leaders in turn three. Thankfully everyone else avoided the three spinning race cars. Montgomery was selected as The Brake Man “Tough Brake of the Night.” When racing resumed, Ruhlman and ninth starting Dan Angelicchio passed Holtgraver for third and fourth respectively.
Pegher put a slider on Blair on lap 15, but Blair came back by to continue to lead. Pegher and Blair raced hard, side-by-side on laps 15-18 never touching and using the entire race track. While the front two were going at it, Ruhlman and Angelicchio had a race their own going trading third and fourth back and forth.
Thomas, the Sharon point leader, saw his streak of 10 straight top nine finishes end when he suffered a flat tire to bring out just the second and final caution of the race with 19 laps recorded. Blair chose the outside for the restart. Pegher stuck with Blair down the frontstretch and made a great move in turn one that this time stuck coming out of turn two for the lead.
Once in front, Pegher pulled and his margin of victory was 1.863 seconds to end a 16-race winless drought on the Tour. The win was Pegher’s 15th of his career, second all-time behind Blair and came in the Lynn Geisler-owned, #1 Cochran/Triple-S Auto Outlet/Alternative Power Sources/Zero Wraps-sponsored Rocket Chassis #1c.
It was a good night for Ruhlman who improved on his fifth place finish in the first feature with a third place effort. Angelicchio’s fourth place made for his eighth top five of the season in 16 starts. Holtgraver dropped to fifth, but matched his best finish of the season. Rocky Kugel had an impressive sixth for his best career Tour finish in his fifth year of racing FASTRAK. Completing the top 10 were Latta, Martin, Ben Black, and Dave Airgood.
Nico Dabecco ended the big night leading all eight non-stop laps of the Non-Qualifier for the $150 victory holding off a hard charge by Dennis Lunger, Jr. The 15-year-old Pittsburgh driver became the 25th different Non-Qualifier winner in the 32 races run all-time in the Dan Karalagas-owned Treasure Hunt Jewelers/D&T Towing/Frankland Rearend-sponsored #1Freek. Jason Stetson was third over central Pennsylvania drivers Colton Gearhart and Kyle Wiser.
Heat winners over the record 47-car field were Blair, Angelicchio, Ruhlman, Holtgraver, and Pegher, while Whitling and Bill Cunningham won the B mains. Brian Booher won the K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash.
What a season it’s been for Jack Young. After entering the year winless at the track since the late 1990s, Young has been on a tear in the E-Mods. On Saturday night, Young passed Shawn Shingledecker on a lap five restart and cruised to his fourth victory of the year in the 15-lap Summit Racing Equipment feature. The victory also propelled him into the point lead past Joel Watson.
“I love this place no matter where I start,” expressed the Thompson, Ohio veteran. “I love the high side and just ride against the wall no matter where I’m at. I have to thank my car owner Ken Hamilton and all of my great sponsors; Hoosier Tires- what a tire what else can I say.”
Young’s win came in the Hamilton Young Motorsports-owned, Hamilton Excavating/MMS Kids/Annabelle’s Diner/NuLife Resources-sponsored #67 and was the fifth of his career in the E-Mods and ninth overall at Sharon as he also owns four career Stock Car wins.
Mike Kinney started from fourth and came home second 2.245 seconds behind after passing Shingledecker on lap 13. Watson, who started seventh, got past Shingledecker on lap 14 to finish third. Shingledecker then exited the event, which moved Clayton Kennedy to fourth at the finish over Joe Gabrielson. Heat winners over the 23-car field were Kennedy, Gabrielson, and Kinney.
After winning the first two features of his career and contending for the championship right down to the wire last season, the 2012 season hasn’t been what Mike Clark had hoped for. But on Saturday night, Clark put on his best performance of the season leading wire-to-wire and going uncontested in the 15-lap Gibson Insurance Agency feature. Clark became the season’s eighth different winner in the division.
“I don’t know how far I was ahead, but the car felt real good,” expressed the 46-year-old Bristolville, Ohio racer. “I have to thank the Lord Jesus Christ, my mom and dad, son Anthony, my wife Sonya, Pat Adams has helped me all year, and all my sponsors. Mickey helped me get the car back together.”
Clark raced ahead of Jamie Scharba on the start, while Steve D’Apolito went from fifth into third. Clark immediately began to pull away, while the battle was on for second. Scharba was trying to fend off D’Apolito, Rod Laskey, Brian Carothers, and Shaun Hooks. Clark stretched his lead to a straightaway at the halfway point before a caution for a spin by Jesse Brock.
When racing resumed on lap nine, D’Apolito passed Scharba for second. D’Apolito would get a shot at Clark on a restart with nine laps completed, but Clark was too strong as he pulled away to win by 2.106 seconds in his NAPA/Paris Café/Wedge Motorsports-sponsored #7. D’Apolito, the four-time champion, is now tied for the point lead after his second place finish coupled with a 10th by Tim Burns. Scharba faded to third over Laskey and Hooks. Heat winners were Hooks and Gary Robinson.
After winning his career first last year, Derek Dellinger returned to victory lane for the first time this season in the Econo Mods. Dellinger passed race-long leader Kevin Robinson with some contact on lap 11 in the 12-lap time-shortened HTMA/Precise Racing Products feature.
“I figured I might as well go for,” said the 18-year-old Niles, Ohio racer. “I kind of slid up into him (Robinson), but I’ll take it. I knew the time was getting down there and they were telling us on the radio so I went for on that last corner.”
Robinson drove the race of his life leading the first 10 circuits, but the sixth starting Dellinger was able to get by following a caution. Dellinger led one more lap before time expired after Robinson spun in turn four ruining a career best finish. Dellinger became the division’s seventh different winner of the season in his #119.
Larry Root came from seventh for a season best runner-up. After getting spun on lap nine, Steve Burns, Jr. came from last to finish third in the final four laps. Former asphalt racer Jeff Mundell was a career best fourth after starting 16th. Junior Mechling completed the top five. Heat winners were Brandon Blackshear and Jeremy Double.
Jim Haefke, Jr’s domination of the Mini Stocks continued with his track-leading eighth victory of the season. The sophomore racer ended 2012 without a win, but has taken over as the guy to beat this year from defending champion Bill Fuchs, who has had a disappointing season. Haefke went from third to first on lap four and cruised to the 12-lap Deforest Used Parts victory.
“That caution helped me a lot,” acknowledged the 30-year-old Austintown, Ohio point leader. “I don’t want it to be like this. I want him (Fuchs) out here. I have to thank my family, my friends, my crew, and Sharon Speedway.”
Haefke started the event from sixth and made his way to third after one lap. Following a red for a fire under the hood of Jake Monreal’s #32 with three laps scored, Haefke made the winning move passing both Ken Koby II and leader Ray Gregory. Two more cautions were all that slowed Haefke’s Diver Steel City Auto Crushing/AAMCO Transmission-sponsored #421 to the checkered flag.
Gregory and Ray Kennedy recorded their best finishes of the season in second and third respectively. Gina Thompson came from eighth to place fourth for second top five of the year. Christi Brugmann was the second female across the line for her career best finish in fifth. Heat victors were Haefke and Koby.
FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series May 27, 2012 Bill Emig Memorial Make-up Feature (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. MAX BLAIR 2. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Geisler 1c) 3. Will Thomas III (9) 4. Joe Martin (55) 5. Chad Ruhlman (Suppa 4s) 6. Matt Latta (Bidwell B1D) 7. Jamie Brown (135) 8. Lauren Longbrake (27) 9. Josh Double (38) 10. Butch Lambert (27) 11. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325x) 12. John Over (K2) 13. Brad Kling (Powell 100) 14. Nico Dabecco (Karalagas 1Freek) 15. Shane Bambarger (68B) 16. Clay Ruffo (14R) 17. Doug Horton (Dalton D2) 18. Ryan Montgomery (12) 19. Bobby Rohrer (11) 20. Josh Holtgraver (00) 21. Jason Stanke (44) 22. Bobby Whitling (7W) 23. John Garvin, Jr. (J4)-DNS 24. Kyle Lukon (1)-DNS 25. Jason Genco (29J)-DNS 26. Billy Henry, Jr. (McGee 21*)-DNS 27. Colton Flinner (75)-DNS 28. Tom Bateman (B8)-DNS 29. Bud Watson (Lukon 1B)-DNS. DNQ: Andrew Satterlee (2), Michael Mitchell (19).
FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series Race #19 (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. MIKE PEGHER, JR. (Geisler 1c) 2. Max Blair (111) 3. Chad Ruhlman (Suppa 4s) 4. Dan Angelicchio (14) 5. Josh Holtgraver (00) 6. Rocky Kugel (21KRT) 7. Matt Latta (Bidwell B1D) 8. Joe Martin (55) 9. Ben Black (27B) 10. Dave Airgood, Jr. (42) 11. Josh Double (38) 12. Brian Booher (Hoover 00H) 13. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. (8) 14. Brad Kling (Powell 100) 15. Butch Lambert (27) 16. Andrew Wylie (84) 17. Eric Wilson (27W) 18. Justin Tatlow (Kratts 81) 19. Jason Knowles (4) 20. Dereck Frank (16) 21. Will Thomas III (9) 22. Bill Cunningham (59) 23. Chad Wright (6) 24. Shane Bambarger (68B) 25. Ryan Montgomery (12) 26. Bobby Whitling (7W).
Non-Qualifier (8 laps, $150 to-win): 1. Nico Dabecco (Karalagas 1Freek) 2. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L) 3. Jason Stetson (69s) 4. Colton Gearhart (Willar T3) 5. Kyle Wiser (Price 34) 6. W.L. Stile (2$) 7. Clay Ruffo (14R) 8. Pat Willar (39) 9. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325x)-DNS 10. Junior Peters (00)-DNS 11. Jamie Brown (135)-DNS 12. Bobby Pifer III (6P)-DNS 13. Bobby Rohrer (11)-DNS 14. Joel Prosser (77)-DNS 15. Lauren Longbrake (27)-DNS 16. Chad Shearer (42c)-DNS 17. Bob Diver (23)-DNS 18. Breyton Santee (9)-DNS 19. John Over (K2)-DNS 20. Doug Horton (46)-DNS 21. Jason Stanke (44)-DNS.
Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods (15 laps): 1. JACK YOUNG (Hamilton 67) 2. Mike Kinney (3) 3. Joel Watson (92) 4. Clayton Kennedy (9) 5. Joe Gabrielson (58) 6. Andy Buckley (965) 7. Bud Watson (White 53) 8. Carl McKinney (6M) 9. Joe Crawford (25) 10. Jim Turley (117) 11. Bob Williamson (93) 12. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 13. Jeff Hassay (10) 14. Ed Wilson (33) 15. Howard Fraley (217) 16. Ronnie Kahler (7R) 17. Chris Myers (Beck 357) 18. Paul Phillips (11SS) 19. Dale Monreal (7) 20. Dustin Fraley (127) 21. Mike Monreal (071) 22. Jeff Johnson (27) 23. Scott Stiffler (14)-DNS.
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. MIKE CLARK (7) 2. Steve D’Apolito (84) 3. Jamie Scharba (00s) 4. Rod Laskey (Sloss 44s) 5. Shaun Hooks (Janovick 65) 6. Paul Davis (3) 7. Jamie Duncan (67J) 8. Brian Carothers (02c) 9. Jeff Buccella (Davis 915) 10. Tim Burns (66) 11. Ron Yarab, Jr. (Burns 70B) 12. Charlie Jasinski (5J) 13. Jesse Brock (22B) 14. Pat Adams (93) 15. Gary Robinson (44R) 16. Bob Pollock (70X) 17. Mike Aley (9)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (12 laps): 1. DEREK DELLINGER (119) 2. Larry Root (22x) 3. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 4. Jeff Mundell (11) 5. Junior Mechling (89) 6. Corey Skully (21) 7. George Vestal IV (4) 8. David Atkins (30Too) 9. Keith Felicetty (Mechling 98) 10. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 11. Kevin Robinson (24R) 12. Jim Dellinger (Turley 1) 13. Jeremy Double (83) 14. Amanda Stiffler (14) 15. Cameron Nastasi (99) 16. Brandon Blackshear (10) 17. Dennis Dellinger (Turley 117).
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. JIM HAEFKE, JR. (421) 2. Ray Gregory (Doyle 37) 3. Ray Kennedy (18) 4. Gina Thompson (Webber 25) 5. Christ Brugmann (Monreal 19) 6. Jeff Little (42) 7. Steve Walker II (4M) 8. Ken Koby II (11) 9. Jake Monreal (32) 10. Jim Wrightsman (12J) 11. Bill Fuchs (10) 12. Jimmy Davis (32)-DNS 13. Jamie Wrightsman (21J)-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.