“Steel Valley Thunder” program returns Saturday; Lincoln Electric Welder giveaway plus kids bike races also on tap
By Mike Leone
August 23, 2012
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway will close out the month of August this Saturday (August 25) with another “Steel Valley Thunder” program featuring the Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. Race time is 7 p.m.
Saturday is Lincoln Electric Night as they will give away a Power Mig 140C machine & utility cart (valued at $700) to one lucky FASTRAK Late Model driver. All competing FASTRAK drivers will be eligible for the prize. Decals are required. Lincoln Electric also gave away an identical prize last Saturday as part of the inaugural FASTRAK Northeast “Manufacturers Night”. Last week’s prize was won by Jason Knowles of Corning, New York.
Saturday is also the second Kids Bike Race Night. Kids 3-12 will be eligible to compete on the frontstretch during intermission. Helmets are required. Saturday’s home-cooked meal special is chicken cutlets and baked potato for $6.
With the end of August upon us, it’s the championship stretch run in all divisions. Rex King continues to lead the DIRTcar Big-Block Modified points by 10 over Dave Murdick. The Bristolville, Ohio veteran is in search of his third straight title and fifth of his career, while Murdick won his only championship in 2008. The Modified counts have picked up from mid-season on. In fact, the last event drew a season-high 29 cars! A good field is expected considering the division hasn’t raced at the track since August 4 plus nearby Mercer Raceway Park will not be running the “358” Modifieds. It’ll also be the final tune-up before the September 1 Russ King Memorial BRP Tour event.
Will Thomas III has pretty much been in charge of the FASTRAK Late Model points since the season’s onset. On the second night of the season, he won his first career dirt race on May 5. From that point on, Thomas has stayed atop the leader board adding two more wins in addition to Northeast Touring Series victories at Expo Speedway and Mercer Raceway Park. Second-year racer Matt Latta is still 27 points back of Thomas with one victory. FASTRAK is coming off a season high car count of 47 at the “Manufacturers Night” last Saturday in which $30,000 of products were given away.
The E-Mod division is one of the tighter races as Jack Young and Joel Watson have battled all year long. Currently, Young of Thompson, Ohio has a two-point advantage on Watson for the point lead. Though both drivers have been standouts at the speedway over the years, neither racer owns at Sharon Speedway championship.
Sharon is also part of the HTMA/Precise Racing Products Hoosier Tire E-Mod Bonus Program, which takes into account racers’ best 20 finishers that are Hoosier shod throughout the season. In this $2,000 to-win championship, Watson leads Young by 11 points. Mike Kinney, another Sharon racer, is currently third in points. The top 15 racers will share in an $11,525 cash point fund, while drivers finishing 16th through 30th in points will receive contingencies!
Steve D’Apolito has remained within striking distance of Tim Burns all season long in the Stock Cars. Last Saturday, the four-time champion made a big leap by virtue of his runner-up in the feature and third place heat finish compared to Burns 10th place feature finish and fifth place heat race. The duo are now tied at 418 points heading into Saturday’s affair.
Rod Laskey is currently third in points, but just 28 points separate positions three through six in the championship race. Mike Clark sits fifth in the standings after his first victory of the season last Saturday.
Action has heated up in the Econo Mods as it’s become a real battleground on the speedway. Through it all, Brandon Blackshear continues to lead the points and has a comfortable 34-point lead over Jeremy Double, who is in his first year in the division. The elder of the Blackshear brothers would like to join inaugural champion, brother Brad, as a champion of the third year division. Last year’s champion, Junior Mechling, sits just fifth in points without a victory.
Last year it was the Bill Fuchs show in the Mini Stocks; this year the torch has been turned over to Jim Haefke, Jr. The Austintown, Ohio driver has pulled out to a commanding 51-point lead over Fuchs by virtue of a track-leading eight feature wins. Fuchs won his three races in the first half of the season, but had really struggled from June 16 on not finishing better than third in feature with only one heat race win since. Fuchs still has a 56-point cushion on the third place point man of Jamie Wrightsman.
Pits open at 4 p.m. on Saturday with grandstands at 5. Race time is 7. Grandstand admission is $13, while kids 13 and under are always free. Pit passes are $25.
Coming up on Wednesday, August 29 will be another open practice. Gates open at 4 with practice 5 until dark. Pit passes are $20. All cars are welcome. Next Saturday’s Russ King Memorial will also include the E-Mods, Stock Cars, Econo Mods, and Mini Stocks.
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.