150 cars wait through rain delay on Night 1 of Apple Festival Nat’s; Win #4 for THOMAS in FASTRAK; 1st for McKinney IN UEMS; Fox & Carothers split Open Stocks; Bowers wins Econo Mods in 1st visit; Minis to Wrightsman
By Mike Leone
September 14, 2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Hartford, OH)…The “Apple Festival Nationals” kicked off on Friday night as 150 race cars jammed the pit area. For awhile it looked like the second straight rainout and eighth of the season was a likelihood, but track officials decided to wait out the slow progressing rain. After four hours of light rain, it finally ended at 6:30 p.m. and racing got started about two and half hours later with the May 27 Open Stock Car make-up feature.
Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Will Thomas III-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Carl McKinney-UEMS Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods, Tommy Fox & Brian Carothers-Gibson Insurance Agency Open Stock Cars, Casey Bowers-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Jamie Wrightsman-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
After winning three of the first seven features this season, Will Thomas III hit a dry spell over the next seven events; however, on Friday night the FASTRAK Late Model point leader put on a stellar performance to hold off standouts Max Blair and Mike Pegher, Jr. for the 20-lap Barris Supply $1,000 feature win. The 36-year-old Sharpsville, Pa. racer is in his first full season of FASTRAK after a great asphalt career.
Thomas and Blair started third and fourth, but it was Blair flying to lead on the first lap with Thomas in tow. The two ran side-by-side on lap two with Blair holding on, but on the third circuit, Thomas made the winning move ducking under and past the FASTRAK great in turn two. Lapped traffic had just come into play on lap eight when the caution was displayed for Jason Witherite, who was subbing for rookie Lonnie Emerick.
Pole-sitter Kevin Decker was making his first appearance of the season and was having a good run going in third, but slowed to bring out the caution with 13 laps scored. This moved ninth starting Matt Latta into third with Pegher all the way up to fourth from his 19th starting spot. When racing resumed, Pegher took third from Latta and one lap later 12th starting Ben Black dropped Latta back to fifth.
Blair and Pegher were going at it side-by-side for second on lap 17, but Blair continued to hang out. Blair and Pegher had one more shot on a restart, but Thomas’ Colonial Metals/Barris Supply/All Star Motorstate/Sweet Manufacturing/Quarter Master-sponsored #9 was too much as he scored his first win since June 9. On lap four, Thomas set a new track record with a lap of 16.177!
Blair was 0.574 seconds back in second ahead of Pegher. Josh Double had a great run as well advancing from the 16th starting spot to finish fourth after getting by Black on lap 17. Black was fifth as Latta, 21st starting Eric Wilson, Bud Watson, newcomer Paul Grigsby, and Bobby Rohrer rounded out the top 10. Heat winners over the 28-car field were Black, Grigsby, and Rohrer. Pegher won the B main.
Not only had defending E-Mod track champion Carl McKinney not won a feature this year at Sharon, but the 41-year-old Mars, Pa. veteran had been shutout of victory lane on the UEMS circuit, which he currently leads the points. McKinney picked a good night to get his first of the season as he led all 25 laps to become the season’s ninth different winner. The victory was worth $1,000 in the Summit Racing Equipment main event.
McKinney started on the outside pole and took the lead at the onset over Alan Dellinger. Fourth starting Jeff Johnson passed Dellinger for second on lap four. Johnson pressured McKinney and pulled even on lap seven, but wasn’t able to make the pass. On lap 13, Johnson slipped high allowing Mike Kinney to grab second as eighth starting Steve Dixon made it a four-car race for the lead.
Johnson’s great run ended when he pitted under caution on lap 18 moving Dixon to third. Joel Watson, who started 10th, was on the move as he passed Dixon and Kinney for second on the restart. Watson ran down McKinney on lap 20 and was all over the leader with three laps to go; however, three cautions in the final laps killed Watson’s shot at the win.
Watson got a terrible restart on the one-lap shootout to the finish as McKinney had clear sailing to his seventh career win in the Mike Hendrickson-owned Townsend Gas & Oil/Whitehalls Garage/The Gallery/Hoosier Tire/Brad Penn/All Star Performance/Holden Gas & Oil-sponsored #6M. Dixon, Kinney, 12th starting Brent Rhebergen, and Jonathan Taylor all got by Watson on the final lap. Watson dropped to sixth over Randy Hall, Leonard Enos, Vic Vena, and Joe Crawford. Heat wins over the 33-car field went to Dellinger, Hall, McKinney, and Johnson. Andy Buckley and Shane Crotty won the B mains.
The night kicked off with the May 27 Open Stock Car make-up feature and it was Tommy Fox winning his first ever at the track. The race was shortened to 15 laps as just 12 cars made the call for the $750 to-win Gibson Insurance Agency feature. The Jamestown, New York racer became the ninth different winner of the season.
Sharon point leader Tim Burns set the pace for the first nine laps, but a spin by the runner-up car of Rusty Wheeler was costly. The first caution moved sixth starting Fox into second and when racing resumed, Fox made the winning pass of Burns in turn four. Fox led the final laps for the win in his #80. Mike Clark passed Burns on the final lap to place second. Third through fifth were Burns, Rod Laskey, and Bobby Whitling, who started last after subbing for Curt Bish.
In the night’s regularly scheduled 20-lap event, Brian Carothers put on the best ever performance of his career charging from the 19th starting position to win the $500 Gibson Insurance Agency event. The victory was the 33-year-old Youngstown, Ohio racer’s second of the season and just fourth of his career.
Veteran Bob McCann took off in the lead. Bob Schwartzmiller started eighth and made his way to second on lap six passing pole-sitter Jamie Scharba. Schwartzmiller was right on McCann on lap nine and continued to pressure the leader, while Scharba and Carothers made it a four-car race for the lead on lap 13. Carothers passed Scharba for third on lap 16.
Then on lap 19, several cars at the back of the pack got tangled up in front of the leaders. McCann dove low to miss the accident, but Schwartzmiller got crossed up. Carothers moved up to second for the restart. When racing resumed, Carothers made the winning pass and led the final two laps for the popular win in his Boardman Steel/Acura of Boardman/Don’s Hair Den/Lawless Industries/Select Body Service/Southern Auto Parts-sponsored #02c.
Scharba was also able to get by McCann to match his season best effort in second and just third top five of the season. McCann dropped to a disappointing third. Fox ended a great night with a fourth over Laskey, who also recorded his second top five of the night. Chris Withers, Fox, Shaun Hooks, and Bobby Heim won the heat races over the season-high 46-cat field. Joe Rohrer and Rusty Moore won the B mains.
Making his first ever appearance, recently turned 14-year-old Casey Bowers put on a dominating performance leading wire-to-wire in the 15-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mod feature to become the youngest winner in the 84-year history of the Hartford, Ohio oval. Bowers was the season’s ninth different winner in the highly-competitive division, which produced a record car count on Friday night of 23 cars. The victory for the Cranesville, Pa. driver was worth $350.
Bowers survived seven caution periods and held off a late charge by three-time winner Jim Dellinger for the win in the Jody Bowers-owned #20. Dellinger started sixth and passed Jeff Christy for second on lap 13, but would come up 0.765 seconds behind. Jackson Humanic came from 12th to place third over 15th starting Derek Dellinger. Christy dropped to fifth. Steve Burns, Jr., Bowers, and Christy captured heat race wins.
After finishing second for five straight weeks and seven times in the season’s first 10 races, Jamie Wrightsman has really picked up the pace winning for the third time in the past six races. The 22-year-old Cortland, Ohio driver’s $200 win came in the 12-lap Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock feature, which was opened up to allow six-cylinders to compete.
After a caution on the opening lap for defending champion Bill Fuchs, the feature went green-to-checkered with Wrightsman leading the entire way from his outside pole position starting spot. Wrightsman’s second straight win and fifth of his career came in his King Bros. Concrete/Russ King Racing/Primetime Plumbing & Heating/Cornwell Tools/M.S. Farms/GPMS/Quality Auto Body-sponsored #21J.
Carlos Aponte’s first visit of the season was a successful one as he placed second. Aponte started sixth and took the runner-up spot on lap nine from Ray Gregory. After only one top 10 finish in his first six starts, Gregory has come alive with four straight top three finishes. Point leader Jim Haefke, Jr. was fourth after starting 11th and Jimmy Davis rounded out the top five. Heat winners over the 20-car field were Fuchs and Ken Koby II. It was Koby’s fourth straight heat race win as he continues to look for his first career feature win.
Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models (20 laps, $1,000 to-win): 1. WILL THOMAS III (9) 2. Max Blair (111) 3. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Geisler 1c) 4. Josh Double (38) 5. Ben Black (27B) 6. Matt Latta (Bidwell B1D) 7. Eric Wilson (27W) 8. Bud Watson (Copeland 98) 9. Paul Grigsby (24) 10. Bobby Rohrer (11) 11. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325x) 12. Butch Lambert (27) 13. Brian Booher (Hoover 00H) 14. Nico Dabecco (Karalagas 1Freek) 15. Jason Witherite (Emerick 3) 16. Chad Shearer (42c) 17. Jamie Brown (135) 18. Clay Ruffo (14R) 19. Russ Dunn (47) 20. Brad Kling (Powell 100) 21. Bobby Whitling (7W) 22. Kevin Decker (07) 23. George Kowatic (5) 24. Chad Wright (6) DNQ: Scott Fitch (28F), Wendell Pinckney (11), Jeremy Adamik (7).
Pace Performance FASTRAK Northeast “Futures Cup” Trifecta Race (6 laps, $200 to-win): 1. Eric Wilson (27W) 2. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325x) 3. Nico Dabecco (Karalagas 1Freek) 4. Clay Ruffo (14R).
UEMS Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods (25 laps, $1,000 to-win): 1. CARL MCKINNEY (Hendrickson 6M) 2. Steve Dixon (Engles 68) 3. Mike Kinney (3) 4. Brent Rhebergen (Rater RD1) 5. Jonathan Taylor (5) 6. Joel Watson (92) 7. Randy Hall (10) 8. Leonard Enos (27) 9. Vic Vena (01) 10. Joe Crawford (25) 11. Ken Zimmer (62) 12. Clayton Kennedy (9) 13. Russ Dunn (Clinger 222) 14. Alan Dellinger (Petsko 00) 15. Jack Young (Hamilton 67) 16. Shane Crotty (4) 17. Joe Gabrielson (58) 18. Andy Buckley (965) 19. Al Brewer (71) 20. John Boardman (79.2) 21. Jeff Johnson (27) 22. Michael McGee (11M) 23. Bud Watson (White 53) 24. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) DNQ: Howard Fraley (217), Jeff Hassay (10), Richard Michael, Jr. (17x), John Boyd (1), Jim Turley (117), T.J. Downs (0), Gary Sullivan (47s), Bill Yohe (13), Vince Crisanti (221).
Gibson Insurance Agency Open Stock Cars 5/27/12 Make-up (15 laps, $750 to-win): 1. TOMMY FOX (80) 2. Mike Clark (7) 3. Tim Burns (66) 4. Rod Laskey (Sloss 44s) 5. Bobby Whitling (Tarr 29) 6. Shaun Hooks (Janovick 65) 7. Dave Ferringer (02) 8. Pat Fielding (23) 9. Chris Schneider (55) 10. Jesse Brock (22B) 11. Bob McCann (Fornataro USA1) 12. Rusty Wheeler (44) 13. Jamie Scharba (00S)-DNS 14. Steve Horvath (2H)-DNS 15. Jamie Gibbs (98)-DNS.
Gibson Insurance Agency Open Stock Cars (20 laps, $500 to-win): 1. BRIAN CAROTHERS (02c) 2. Jamie Scharba (00S) 3. Bob McCann (Fornataro USA1) 4. Tommy Fox (80) 5. Rod Laskey (Sloss 44s) 6. Chris Schneider (55) 7. Bobby Whitling (Tarr 29) 8. Tim Deutsch (11D) 9. Bobby Heim (92) 10. Joe Rohrer (RT8) 11. Chris Withers (21W) 12. Ryan Blood (Zimmer 24) 13. Pat Fielding (23) 14. Eric Reinwald (72II) 15. Bob Schwartzmiller (28s) 16. Colton Gearhart (Scott T3) 17. Rusty Wheeler (44) 18. Rusty Moore (17M) 19. Brett McDonald (25) 20. Tim Burns (66) 21. Ron Yarab, Jr. (Burns 70B) 22. Shaun Hooks (Janovick 65) 23. Jamie Duncan (67J) 24. Randy Wyant (11T) 25. Ed Bolyard (Patrick 05)-DNS DNQ: Corey McPherson (c33), Dave Ferringer (02), Gary Robinson (44R), Charlie Jasinski (5J), Greg Unrue (Johnston 15J), Jim Bendishaw (Moler 41), Buck Buchanan, Jr. (93B), Ryan Moyer (13x), Mike Duritsky, Jr. (90J), Brandon Johnston (14J), Tim Boozel (Sloss 4HS), Duane Grinnell (17G), Joey Zambotti (48), Paul Davis (3), Leigh Wheeler (2W), Mike Duritsky (90), Jeff Buccella (Davis 915), Jesse Brock (22B), Mike Clark (7), Russ Byler (06R), Tony Bruno (97).
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps, $350 to-win): 1. CASEY BOWERS (20) 2. Jim Dellinger (Turley 1) 3. Jackson Humanic (17) 4. Derek Dellinger (119) 5. Jeff Christy (Berry 91) 6. Brandon Blackshear (10) 7. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 8. Amanda Stiffler (14) 9. Steve Haefke, Jr. (19) 10. Bob Williams (8) 11. Brian Hathaway (93) 12. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 13. Larry Root (22x) 14. George Vestal IV (4) 15. Kevin Robinson (24R) 16. Corey Skully (21) 17. Keith Felicetty (Mechling 98) 18. Jace Ferringer (02) 19. Jeremy Double (83) 20. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (Turley 17) 21. Todd Canter (Nastasi 99) 22. Jeff Mundell (11) 23. Jeff Webber (25).
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps, $200 to-win): 1. JAMIE WRIGHTSMAN (21J) 2. Carlos Aponte (9) 3. Ray Gregory (Doyle 37) 4. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 5. Jimmy Davis (32) 6. Ken Koby II (11) 7. Mitch Stokes (6M) 8. Todd Gabriel (33G) 9. Logan Keney (Stokes 16M) 10. Matt Pegher (09) 11. Charlie Roberts (42E) 12. Jeff Little (42) 13. Gina Thompson (Webber 25) 14. Mike Hillman (29) 15. Jim Wrightsman (12J) 16. Joe Keney (15K) 17. Bill Fuchs (10) 18. Steve Walker II (4M) 19. Pete Blazczak (77) 20. Ray Kennedy (18).
Night 2 of the “Apple Festival Nationals” will be tonight (September 15) featuring the FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series for $1,200 to-win, United E-Mod Series for $1,000 to-win, Open Stock Cars for $1,000 to-win, Econo Mods for $350 to-win, and Mini Stocks for $200 to-win. Gates open at 4 p.m. with racing at 6.
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.