Just 2 “Steel Valley Thunder” championship point races remain beginning with Saturday’s 5-division program
By Mike Leone
September 19, 2012
(Hartford, OH)…After a successful two-day “Apple Festival Nationals,” Sharon Speedway will resume weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” competition Saturday night featuring the Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. The Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars will have the night off. Race time is 7 p.m.
The DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds had last weekend off following the September 8 rainout so it’s been three weeks since the ground-pounders have hit the dirt. Steve Feder became the season’s eighth different winner with his $2,000 Russ King Memorial victory on September 1. Saturday will be the weekend’s only big-block race in the region.
Dave Murdick of Butler, Pa. has just a slim six-point advantage on four-time champion Rex King with only two 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 coming off a big weekend in which Will Thomas III added his division-leading fourth win of the season on Friday, then on Saturday Chad Wright became the amazing 11th different winner of the season with his first career Northeast Touring Series victory.
FASTRAK is 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. Thomas 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.
The “Apple Festival Nationals” brought in the United E-Mod Series, but it was defending track champion Carl McKinney and current runner-up point man Joel Watson garnering the $1,000 wins over the big fields of 33 and 41 respectively. Jack 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.
The third year Econo Mod division in its first full season of weekly Saturday competition continues to produce new racers and new winners. Last weekend, newcomer and Raceway 7 regular Casey Bowers invaded and swept the $700 weekend. The Cranesville, Pa. teen became the youngster driver to win a feature at 14 years of age.
A total of 39 different drivers have competed over the course of the season and now nine different racers have been victorious. 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.
It was a dismal weekend for Mini Stock point leader Jim Haefke, Jr. as he could only muster a fourth on Friday night and then got caught up in a big accident that heavily damaged his car. Haefke could only watch as Jamie Wrightsman swept the $400 weekend for his third straight win.
Haefke, 30 of Austintown, Ohio, has a 30-point lead on last year’s champion Bill Fuchs. 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.