Barbara wins 1st ever ULMS Super Late Model race at Sharon; Martz’s 1st ever Sharon win worth $1500 in Stocks; Robinson wins Econo Mods in 1st start; #6 for Fuchs in Minis
By Mike Leone
October 6, 2012
(Hartford, OH)…The 83rd anniversary season at Sharon Speedway came to a close on a chilly Saturday night with the Super Late Model/Open Stock Car Shootout that was postponed from April 21. A sharp cold front came through Friday night that dumped a lot of rain and dropped the temperature some 20 degrees, but the skies cleared late in the morning and the track crew got the speedway into shape, which featured record breaking speeds. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane Keith Barbara-ULMS Super Late Models, Rusty Martz-Gibson Insurance Agency Open Stock Cars, Rick Robinson-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Bill Fuchs-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
Despite overheating in the late stages of the event, Keith Barbara decided to stick it and stay on the speedway and it paid off as he led all 30 laps of the $3,000 to-win Super Late Model feature in the division’s only appearance of the season. The event was sanctioned by the United Late Model Series (ULMS) for the first time ever and brought a strong field of 31 cars in their next-to-last event of the season. Only Dick Barton, Chub Frank, and Boom Briggs were prior Sharon winners as the event marked the 404th Super Late Model event in the speedway’s history.
“I was overheating so much and was just peddling it the last seven laps,” explained the South Park, Pa. driver. “I was going to pull off because the three grand doesn’t pay my motor expenses, but I’m glad I stayed out. You guys kept working on the track all night and it turned out pretty good at the end there. I could see the scoreboard and I knew the 37-car (Jared Hawkins) started pretty deep in the field. This is a good Series. It’s a little north for us, but the people that run it are good people and we enjoy racing with them. I have to thank everyone that helps me out.”
Barbara drew the pole position and took off in the lead with September 23 McKean County Raceway winner Rich Gardner, Briggs, Dave Hess, Jr., and Doug Eck in tow. The first caution was displayed with three laps completed for Doug Drown. When racing resumed, Hess got a great restart passing both Briggs and Gardner for second.
Barbara had opened up a half-straightaway lead when he caught lapped traffic on lap eight. Hess was able to run down Barbara and was right on the leader on lap 13, before Jared Miley and Ken Schaltenbrand tangled to bring out caution number two. This time on the restart, Hess jumped the cushion allowing Gardner back by with eighth starting Chub Frank now up to third. Briggs and 20th starting Jared Hawkins were also able to get by for fourth and fifth before Garrett Krummert spun to bring out the caution with 13 laps scored.
Hawkins continued his progression forward taking fourth from Briggs in turn two on lap 14, while Frank passed Gardner for second. The battle then focused on the third position as Gardner tried to fend off Hawkins and Briggs; meanwhile, Frank began to close in on Barbara with 10 laps to go. Hawkins put a slider on Gardner in turn four on lap 23 to take third just as Gardner got into the fence necessitating the race’s final caution with 23 laps scored.
It was under caution that Barbara showed signs of smoke and contemplated exiting the event, but he decided to finish it out and ran the final seven non-stop laps uncontested for the most part winning by 1.029 seconds in his #17 over World of Outlaw racer Chub Frank. Barbara became the 105th different Super Late Model winner in the history of the speedway.
Frank just barely edged out Hawkins by 0.055 seconds! It was sure an impressive performance by Hawkins, who got to the speedway late and missed hot laps. He then got caught up in an accident in turn one on lap one of his heat and was forced to start at the tail of the B main, which he transferred and made his way forward in the feature.
Briggs edged out Hess for fourth. Drown came back from his early spin to finish sixth as Dutch Davies, Greg Oakes, Miley, and Brent Rhebergen rounded out the top 10. Briggs, Barbara, and Eck won the heat races. Drown captured the B main and set a new Late Model track record with a lap of 15.037.
Stock Car great Rusty Martz has won races all over the regional racing circuit, but had never won before at Sharon. That all changed Saturday night as Martz led all 40 laps of the Gibson Insurance Agency “open rules” feature for a nice $1,500 payday. Martz survived nine cautions in a race that took over one hour to complete.
“I needed this- I’ve wanted to get in victory lane here for a long time,” expressed the 34-year-old Brookville, Pa. racer. “Tonight we were on top of things. We’ve been scratching our heads all week in the garage trying to think of what we could change to be better here, and what we did worked. I can’t complain; good preparation tonight; the track was racey. The Apple Fest was a slick track, but it was fun also. I have to thank my sponsors, wife, my family, and all my friends that come out every week to watch me.”
By virtue of winning the dash, Martz started on the pole and took off in the lead. Chris Schneider went from fourth to second on the opening lap past Tommy Fox and Corey McPherson. Schneider caught Martz and the two raced side-by-side for several laps with Martz able to hold on to the lead.
Fox, who won the May 27 make-up during the $750 “Apple Festival Nationals” on September 14, looked strong as he passed McPherson for third on lap five. Fox then advanced to second past Schneider following a restart on lap 10. It was short-lived though as he got sideways on lap 16 allowing Schneider, 13th starting Rod Laskey, and Shaun Hooks to go by for positions two through four. This took place right before a scary accident that saw McPherson and Pat Fielding both take nasty flips in turn two. Both drivers were shaken, but okay.
When things settled down, Fox began to make his way back forward as he passed Hooks for fourth on lap 20. Schneider got high again on lap 23 as Laskey, Fox, and Hooks moved up to spots two through four. The race’s final stoppage came with 32 laps scored when Greg Fenno’s motor let go. On the ensuing restart, Fox overtook Laskey for second.
Martz though was too strong as his Coleman Well Services/Mid-State Metals/Redline Performance-sponsored #16M took the checkered flag by 2.866 seconds over Fox to become the season’s 10th different winner and 196th all-time in 829 races completed. Fox earned $800 for second. Laskey, who won the $1,000 “open rules” event on September 15, finished third and received $500. Schneider got back by Hooks on lap 38 to finish fourth. Hooks was fifth after coming back from an early race spin.
Sixth through 10th were 17th starting Rusty Moore, Jason Fosnaught, Jamie Duncan, Willie Aley, and Brent Johnson. Heat winners were Tim Burns, Hooks, and Fenno. Burns set a new track record on three consecutive laps in his heat with the final being a 17.622 to set a new standard. Martz won the dash, which featured the fastest six cars from qualifying inverted. Rusty Wheeler set fast by a margin of 0.356 seconds over Schneider with a lap of 18.186 seconds. Wheeler’s night though came to a screeching halt in the dash when his throttle stuck and he hit the turn one fence head-on. Thirty-six cars were on hand.
Rick Robinson jumped behind the wheel of his Econo Mod that’s been driven the last two years by his son Kevin and won his first feature since May 7, 2010. Robinson was the benefactor of Jeremy Double’s misfortunate in the 15-lap $350 to-win HTMA/Precise Racing Products feature. Robinson became the amazing 10th different winner of the fast-growing third year division that featured some 45 different racers this year!
“I waited all year and it was my turn,” joked the Stoneboro, Pa. veteran. “Jeremy had us all covered. I don’t know what broke, but he was gone. I have to thank all of my sponsors. Thomas Heating & Cooling bought us a new right rear tire that was on the car tonight.”
Double quickly took off in the lead. Jace Ferringer got sideways on the opening lap allowing Todd Canter, Bob Williams, Steve Haefke, and seventh starting Robinson to go by. Williams slowed on lap three and several cars took evasive action as Robinson flew into third.
After eight non-stop laps, Keith Felicetty brought out the first caution and erased Double’s near half-lap margin. Double appeared headed for his second straight win and third of the year, but on the restart, broke and a pile-up ensued that collected runner-up of Canter, fourth place of George Vestal IV, Larry Root, and newcomer Nick Mohawk.
Robinson was able to avoid his second near miss of the night as he led the final seven laps holding off several side-by-side challenges by Jace Ferringer for the victory. It was Robinson’s seventh career win overall at Sharon in his Robinson Automotive/Cusick Tools/Thomas Heating & Cooling/Bobby’s Wing Shack/Cenpeco Oils-sponsored #24R.
Ferringer got sideways again- this time on the frontstretch coming down for the checkered, which allowed Casey Bowers to place second. Bowers, who swept the two-day “Apple Festival Nationals”, started 13th in just the 14-year-old’s third start of the year at Sharon. Felicetty improved on last week’s career best fifth place with a fourth over Haefke. Double and Ferringer won the heat races.
After starting the year strong winning three of the first eight features in defense of his Mini Stock Championship, Bill Fuchs hit a mid-season slump with finishes of seventh or worse in seven out of nine races ruining his shot at another championship. Fuchs though rebounded at the end of the season with two straight wins and three over the final six 12-lap Deforest Used Parts features.
“It was a great run,” acknowledged the 37-year-old Greenville, Pa. resident. “We really wanted this one bad. We’ve struggled throughout the year having our ups and downs as everyone has seen, but you just have to hang in there and hold your head up high. We’ll take this and second in points with the rough year. I have to thank my sponsors, my family, the fans for sticking around, and Dave Willoughby for putting on a good show.”
Fuchs passed Rob McElhaney on the start and the only thing that slowed his efforts was a caution for debris with four laps completed. The final eight laps went green-to-checkered with Fuchs taking the $200 win for his sixth victory of the year and all-time division leading 19th of his career in his RTW Industrial Contracting/Hittles Auto Supply/Chatfield Well Drilling/Kreider Tire/McCray & Haag Automotive/Headliners & Stilettos Gentlemen’s Club/Veados Mini Mart-sponsored #10.
For a second straight race, Shane Smith finished second to Fuchs in just his second appearance of the season. Smith started fourth and passed McElhaney following the restart. McElhaney dropped to third. Ken Koby II crossed the finish in fourth, but was docked two spots for rough driving throughout the event. Ray Gregory was credited with fourth and Nick Groves fifth. Smith won the lone heat race.
ULMS Super Late Models (30 laps, $3,000 to-win): 1. KEITH BARBARA (17) 2. Chub Frank (1*) 3. Jared Hawkins (Lake 37) 4. Boom Briggs (99B) 5. Dave Hess, Jr. (44) 6. Doug Drown (63) 7. Dutch Davies (40) 8. Greg Oakes (22) 9. Jared Miley (H1) 10. Brent Rhebergen (07R) 11. Scott Gurdak (Briggs 99G) 12. Charles Powell, Jr. (94) 13. Jason Dupont (No7) 14. Chris Hackett (33) 15. Rich Gardner (Tobber 1G) 16. Doug Eck (03) 17. Garrett Krummert (29) 18. Jim Rasey (32) 19. Ken Schaltenbrand (29) 20. Chuck Parker (72) 21. John Garvin, Jr. (J4) 22. Terry Porter (32) 23. Tom Bateman (B8) 24. Mike Blose (5) 25. Billy Dickson (32)-DNS 26. Matt Lux (21)-DNS DNQ: Tom Shaffer (47), Damon Haught (33c), Chris Schneider (55), Dick Barton (Lacki 14B), Tyler Dietz (35).
Gibson Insurance Agency Open Stock Cars (40 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. RUSTY MARTZ (16M) 2. Tommy Fox (80) 3. Rod Laskey (Sloss 44s) 4. Chris Schneider (55) 5. Shaun Hooks (Janovick 65) 6. Rusty Moore (17M) 7. Jason Fosnaught (20J) 8. Jamie Duncan (67J) 9. Willie Aley (9) 10. Brent Johnson (22) 11. Dan McEwen (44M) 12. Paul Davis (3) 13. Tim Burns (66) 14. Greg Fenno (71) 15. Danny Exley (Tarr 29) 16. Corey McPherson (c33) 17. Pat Fielding (23) 18. Chris Withers (21W) 19. Pat Weldon (45) 20. Brian Carothers (02c) 21. Dwight Boice (528) 22. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 23. Bob McCann (Fornataro USA1) 24. Jamie Scharba (00S) 25. Rusty Wheeler (44)-DNS DNQ: Kevin Hill (98), Garrett Calvert (77), Eric Reinwald (72II), Mike Hudzik (31H), Gary Koteles (Ball 13), Joey Zambotti III (48), Mike Harmon (09JR), Bob Sloss (4HS), Jesse Brock (22B), Bob Schwartzmiller (28s), Ed Bolyard (Patrick 05).
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps, $350 to-win): 1. RICK ROBINSON (24R) 2. Casey Bowers (20) 3. Jace Ferringer (02) 4. Keith Felicetty (Mechling 98) 5. Steve Haefke (Skully 21) 6. Junior Mechling (89) 7. Larry Root (22x) 8. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 9. Jeremy Double (83) 10. Todd Canter (Nastasi 99) 11. Nick Mohawk (64) 12. George Vestal IV (4) 13. Bob Williams (8) 14. Kevin Sergeff (17)-DNS.
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps, $200 to-win): 1. BILL FUCHS (10) 2. Shane Smith (299) 3. Rob McElhaney (7R) 4. Ray Gregory (Doyle 37) 5. Nick Groves (65) 6. Ken Koby II (11) 7. Marty Warren (05) 8. Steve Walker II (4M) 9. Justin Soltis (Webber 25)-DNS.
The 2013 season will kickoff with “Circle Track Showdown” Snowmobile races on Saturday, January 12 and Saturday, January 26! The 2012 awards banquet and dinner will be held on Saturday, February 2 at the Yankee Lake Ballroom, just north of Brookfield, Ohio on Route 7.
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.