Season finale a big one Saturday featuring ULMS Super Late Model invasion for $3,000 & Open Stock Cars for $1,500
By Mike Leone
October 3, 2012
(Hartford, OH)…Nearly six months ago a rainy Saturday forced the much-anticipated invasion by the ULMS Super Late Models and Open Stock Car Shootout to be postponed to October 6. That show is now all that remains to conclude a successful 2012 season at the Hartford, Ohio oval. The curtains will close on the 83rd anniversary season this Saturday (October 6) with the United Late Model Series (ULMS), Open Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. Group qualifying for the Stocks will get underway at 6 p.m. followed by heat racing action.
“Hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate Saturday,” expressed third year GM Dave Willoughby. “It was a shame to lose the event in the spring. This should be a great show for the both the fans and racers. The Super Late Models have played an important part in the history of Sharon Speedway and we always enjoy bringing them in. The ULMS Series has had a great season and Open Stock Car racers have always been tremendous racers with some of the region’s top talent battling it out.”
Though fans have become accustomed to great racing the last two years on a weekly basis from the FASTRAK Late Models with an amazing 12 different winners this season, this Saturday they’ll have the night off as the high-powered Super Late Models return to Sharon for their only appearance of the season. The event will be sanctioned by ULMS for the first time with a cool $3,000 going to the 30-lap feature winner! ULMS attracted their first title sponsor this year in Kennedy Motorsports, which will offer the season ending champion a record $5,000 payday.
Boom Briggs of Bear Lake, PA will lead the ULMS contingent. Briggs is still looking for his first win of the year and just like his 2010 championship year, consistency has kept him near or on top of the point chart all year long. Briggs has a win at Sharon and would love to get his first win of 2012 in the ULMS debut at the speedway.
“Hollywood” Mike Knight, who suffered a blown motor while leading at Bradford last month, is still second in points, but will need some luck to catch Briggs. Jason Dupont, Matt Lux, and Rookie-of-Year driver, Billy Dickson, round out the top five. A quality field of entries is expected on hand with most recent ULMS winners, Rich Gardner, Greg Oakes and Chris Hackett all expected along with West Virginia star Doug Horton. No other regional special events are slated this weekend.
There have been 403 Super Late Model races contested at Sharon Speedway over the years between the asphalt and dirt track with 104 different winners. Jim Bickerstaff leads the all-time win list with 42 checkered flags. Davey Johnson, who was a prolific winner in the 80s and 90s, still competes today and has 26 victories. Donnie Moran, who competed at last year’s All Star event, has eight wins.
In the past, Sharon had opened their season with the Open Stock Car Shootout. This year, the schedule was altered as the event was moved in conjunction with the first ever appearance by ULMS on April 21. The goal was additional cars would be ready to compete in the event; now with that postponement, it sets the stage for a big season finale and with no other racers taking place regionally, a big field is expected. Saturday’s 40-lap feature will again pay $1,500 to-win!
Stock Cars will begin the night with group qualifying at 6 p.m. The fastest six cars will move on the inverted dash that will determine the first six starting spots of the feature. The remainder of the field will go heads up on time in heat races.
At last year’s event, Tim Burns pulled off an upset for his biggest career win, but showed it was no fluke later in the season backing it up at the $1,000 “Apple Festival Nationals”. The Greenville, Pa. racer since went on to have a breakout 2012 season with three victories and his first Sharon track championship.
This year’s Open Stock Car events have been won by Chris Schneider ($500), Brian Carothers ($750), Tommy Fox ($1,000), and Rod Laskey ($1,000). The wins by Schneider and Fox were their first ever at the speedway, while Carothers and Laskey’s victories marked their biggest paydays.
The Econo Mods are concluding their third year of competition and will be on the program for $350 to-win. After racing bi-weekly in 2010 and for most of 2011, the two-barrel division has quickly grown from late season 2011 through this season. Forty-two different cars have competed with a record high 23 each night during the recent “Apple Festival Nationals”. Brandon Blackshear joined his brother Brad (2010) as a champion in the division and became the third different one in three years (Junior Mechling 2011).
The Mini Stocks will round out the event with extra money on the line as $200 will go to the winner. Like the “Apple Festival Nationals,” the rules have been opened up to allow the six-cylinders to compete. Jim Haefke, Jr. led all divisions at the speedway with eight features wins on his way to his first track championship; however, Haefke has struggled in recent weeks not finishing better than fourth since August 18 and has three finishes of 12th of worse.
ULMS charges a $30 entry fee for the Super Late Models. Stock Cars that did not pre-register for the original April 21 event will have to pay a $50 entry fee. There are no registration or entry fees for the Econo Mods or Mini Stocks.
Pits open at 3 p.m. with grandstands at 4. Hot laps for the Late Models will get underway at approximately 5:30. Adult admission is $15 and pit passes are $30. Students 13 and under are always free.
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.