“Steel Valley Thunder” championship point races winding down; 6 divisions plus FASTRAK “Futures Cup” race featured Saturday
By Mike Leone
September 5, 2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Hartford, OH)…With the flip of the calendar to September, that means point championships are coming into focus and the battles will heat up over the next few weeks to determine the 2012 titlists. Saturday’s (September 8) “Steel Valley Thunder” program will include 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 “Heroes Night” with free grandstand admission for all emergency service personnel and it’s Dex Knows and Joy Global Corp Nights.
The DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds continue to churn out new winners. Last Saturday, Steve Feder became the season’s eighth different winner and joined Mark Frankhouser with their first ever big block wins. In fact, Feder’s victory was his first ever in racing and picked a great night to do it bagging the $2,000 Russ King Memorial.
Dave Murdick of Butler, Pa. has just a slim six-point advantage on four-time champion Rex King with only three point nights remaining. The youngest member of the King Family, Rex King , Jr., sits third, but trails by 84 points as it appears the title will come down to Murdick and King, Sr. Veterans Dean Pearson and Carl Murdick sit fourth and fifth.
The FASTRAK Late Models are in their second full year of competition and a new champion will be crowned as defending champion Josh Double has missed a couple nights and is mired in sixth in points. Will Thomas III of Sharpsville, Pa. leads Matt Latta by 22 points. Thomas is in his first full year of dirt racing after a stellar asphalt career, while Latta is in just his second year of racing. Fifteen-year-old Eric Wilson, who owns two career Sharon wins, is in third over former western Pennsylvania Stock Car standouts Brian Booher and Bobby Whitling.
Wilson will be one of the several FASTRAK “Futures Cup” racers that will also participate in a special race amongst themselves. Last year, Newt Tackett won this event. Thus far this season, Nico Dabecco was the first of three “Trifecta” race winners at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway. The 2012 FASTRAK Northeast Pace Performance “Futures Cup” champion will receive $1,000. These three races point totals are added to their “best 15” scores throughout the 2012 season as FASTRAK-sanctioned speedways.
Joel Watson and Jack Young just continue to finish together seemingly week in and week out in the feature events. Last Saturday, Watson just couldn’t stop Andy Buckley from his first career E-Mod feature win as he had to settle for second over the third place finishing Young. Buckley became the eighth different E-Mod winner of 2012. In the standings, Young of Thompson, Ohio leads Watson by only four points. Joe Gabrielson is a distant 60 points behind with Shawn Shingledecker and Clayton Kennedy completing the top five.
Tim Burns of Greenville, Pa. is closing in on his first ever track championship. By virtue of his second win of the season last Saturday and just a ninth place by runner-up point man Steve D’Apolito, who had to start Charlie Jasinski’s #5J from the tail after blowing the motor in his #84 after his heat win, Burns has stretched his lead to 16 with two point events remaining. Rod Laskey, Shaun Hooks, and Paul Davis are third through fifth.
The third year Econo Mod division in its first full season of weekly Saturday competition continues to produce new racers and new winners. A total of 37 different drivers have competed over the course of the season and now eight different racers have been victorious. With his triumph last Saturday, Larry Root joined fellow Modified racers Steve Feder and Andy Buckley with their first ever wins in their respective divisions.
Brandon Blackshear is trying to become the third different champion in as many years. The Brookfield, Ohio youngster has a 29-point lead over rookie Econo Mod racer Jeremy Double. Jim Dellinger, Steve Burns, Jr., and last year’s champion Junior Mechling are third through fifth. Inaugural champion, Brad Blackshear, is just out of the top 10 in 11th.
Another driver nearing his first championship is Jim Haefke, Jr. The 30-year-old Austintown, Ohio racer has a 30-point lead on last year’s champion Bill Fuchs, who has struggled over the second-half of the season. Jamie Wrightsman, Steve Walker II, and Jim Wrightsman fill out positions three through five in the points race.
Pits open at 4 p.m. on Saturday with grandstands at 5. The first heat race will hit the speedway at 7 p.m. Grandstand admission is $13, while kids 13 and under are always free. Pit passes are $25.
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.