Davey Johnson & Randy Hall are big ULMS & UEMS winners on cold Saturday; Fraley & Gilliland win Econos & Minis
By Mike Leone, Chris Zuver & Matt Wertz
April 20, 2013
(Hartford, OH)…After losing six of the first seven scheduled events including three snowmobile races, two tries at an enduro/open practice, and one race event, Sharon Speedway made the decision on Saturday to go on with the racing program despite snow showers and sleet throughout the first half of the day and daytime temperatures barely getting into the low 40s. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Davey Johnson-NDRL’s ULMS Super Late Models, Randy Hall-NDRL’S UEMS Modifieds, Ryan Fraley-Econo Mods, and Scott Gilliland-Mini Stocks.
After shattering a near seven-year-old track record by four tenths of a second in qualifying with a lap of 14.994, Davey Johnson took the lead on lap four and never looked back as he held off a late rally from 2011 NDRL’s ULMS Champion Mike Knight to capture his sixth series win in his storied career. The $3,000 victory came in the 25-lap Super Late Model feature, the first of four at the speedway in 2013, and was the 27th of Johnson’s career at Sharon as he now trails all-time Super Late Model winner, Jim Bickerstaff, by 15 wins.
“This thing is good,” expressed the Greensburg, Pa. veteran. “I got this car off of Darrell Lanigan three weeks ago. I didn’t have time to get one together so he sold me one. It didn’t work out well last week, the car was good, but I knew coming to a familiar place here at Sharon it would be good. This feels like the same track, same dirt from the old half-mile days. Hats off to Darrell, and I have to thank my dad and brother, Roush-Yates Engines, Hoosier Tire, and Imperial Towing.”
Jim Rasey and Max Blair, who was piloting a Boom Briggs backup car, led the field to the green flag with Rasey taking the early lead. Rasey pulled Blair, Johnson, and Knight around the 3/8-mile oval until Johnson blasted by Blair to move into second on lap three. Johnson wasted no time as just one lap later he made his move to the bottom of the leader and made the pass for the lead.
Johnson, who was clearly the class of the field all evening, stretched his lead until a lap eight caution slowed the pace. When racing resumed, Johnson again pulled away from the field as Blair made his way past Rasey to take over the second spot. Rasey then continued to slip as Knight worked his way into the third position moving the pole-sitter back to fourth.
As the leader caught lapped traffic around the lap 18 mark, Knight and Blair battled for the second spot with Knight using the high side to complete the pass. Knight then set his sights on the ultra-fast Johnson and began to reel him in. With most of the field using the bottom groove of the track and Knight being one of the very few to venture to the high side, the gap to the leader closed quickly and as Knight was about to make his bid for the lead when on lap 25, Rasey spun in turn four to bring out the caution.
The ensuing Delaware double-file restart put Johnson by himself at the front when the green flag fell. Knight stayed with Johnson for the final five laps but was unable to mount a serious charge as Johnson took the checkered flag first in his #1J followed by Knight in second with Russell King a quiet third. Blair was fourth while Dave Hess Jr., rounded out the top five. Multi-time NDRL’s ULMS Champion Boom Briggs finished sixth followed by Keith Barbara, Garrett Krummert, Michael Davis, and Jared Miley in 10th. Heat winners were King, Knight, and Johnson over the 23-car field.
Randy Hall led all 25 laps in claiming the $1,000 NDRL’s UEMS Modified feature win. It was just the second career win at the speedway for the northern standout. “It helps starting up front,” acknowledged the Olean, New York resident. “I think the last two times we were here we didn’t even make a lap and got tore up. I got in a rhythm out there, and I’ll tell you what these new Hoosier Tires just seem like they keep getting stronger and stronger. This is our third time out this year. We’ve been fast, but just haven’t gotten a break. I have to thank Vic Vena; he owns the car, along with all of our sponsors and my crew.”
Hall grabbed the early lead from the pole position with Alan Dellinger right on his tail. After a pair of cautions on laps three and four, Hall continued to show the way, while the action behind him was torrid. Dellinger, Jack Young, Joe Gabrielson, John Boardman, Jeff Johnson, Brent Rhebergen were putting on quite a show.
The event was slowed for the third time as Steve Dixon and Paul Davis spun with 11 laps scored. Following the restart, it was four-wide off of turn two with Gabrielson clear to the outside of Dellinger, Boardman and Young. After a fourth and final caution on lap 13 as Jonathan Taylor stopped in turn three and four with a flat tire, Hall led the rest of the distance in the BMS/Killbuck Outlet/Hoosier Tire/Close Racing Supply/Close Lumber-sponsored #10.
The action behind Hall was non-stop. Rhebergen went wide on the restart and fell back, while Boardman also slid to the high side on lap 17 to lose positions. Young and Gabrielson got around Dellinger and were hooked up in a duel for second. As Hall took the checkered, all eyes were on the second place battle with Gabrielson getting the advantage with a last lap, turn four pass on the inside to claim runner-up over Young.
Opening night feature winner Jeff Johnson moved up from his 11th starting spot to finish fourth over Dellinger. Completing the top 10 were John Woodard Jr., Michael McGee, Boardman, Andy Buckley, and Jordan Eck. Heat winners were Dellinger, Steve Dixon, and Boardman over the 25-car field.
Ryan Fraley became the newest youngster to garner his first career win in the Econo Mods after race-long leader Jacob Eucker exited the event in the closing laps. Fraley’s 15-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products victory was worth $350 as he became the 19th different driver to win a feature in the division, which is beginning its fourth year.
“I saw a little flame come out of his header (Eucker) then he pulled off and luckily we were able to stay out front,” described the Wheatland, Pa. racer, who is beginning his second full year of competition. “We sold last year’s car and started with a new one this year. I have to thank Paul Phillips for getting me started in racing, and Brandon and Don for building the motor.”
For the second straight race, 12-year-old Eucker took lead at the start from his pole starting position. A caution on lap one took out contender and opening night winner, Jeremy Double, with a tangle on turn three. Eucker continued to lead and pulled away through cautions on lap 8 and 13 for Dennis Dellinger, Jr.
Meanwhile, Fraley had worked his way up to second from his seventh starting slot. During this final caution, Eucker, who appeared headed for his first career Sharon victory lane, suffered a mechanical failure and headed to the pits yielding the lead to Fraley. Fraley led the rest of the distance in his #12 to win over Steve Burns, Jr., Brian Hathaway, Derek Dellinger, and Keith Felicetty. Heats were won by Double and Eucker.
Scott Gilliland ended the cold night taking home his season’s first victory in the 12-lap $200 to-win Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock feature. “Jim (Haefke) was right behind me and I kept looking to see where Bill (Fuchs) was,” revealed the Warren, Ohio victor. “They’re tough competitors, but we got one tonight! I have to thank my lovely wife, who was too cold to come tonight, my dad, and William, who works on the card.”
Gilliland jumped to the early lead over defending track champion Jim Haefke, Jr. The race’s first and only caution was displayed on lap two when rookie Brian Shay lost a wheel coming off turn four. That was the only thing that slowed Gilliland as he led the rest of the way for his fifth career win moving him into fifth place on the division’s all-time win list. Gilliand’s win came in his Lawn Wizard/NRC Management-sponsored #27. Haefke and Travis Creech hooked up in a second place battle with Haefke getting the nod. Opening night winner and 2011 champion, Bill Fuchs, was fourth over Ken Koby II. Haefke won the lone heat race.
NDRL’s ULMS Super Late Models (30 laps, $3,000 to-win): 1. DAVEY JOHNSON (1J) 2. Mike Knight (9K) 3. Russell King (56) 4. Max Blair (Briggs 99) 5. Dave Hess, Jr. (44) 6. Boom Briggs (99B) 7. Keith Barbara (17) 8. Garrett Krummert (29) 9. Michael Davis (7M) 10. Jared Miley (H1) 11. Dusty Moore (75) 12. Matt Urban (1U) 13. Dan Swartzlander (3) 14. Chris Hackett (33) 15. Brent Rhebergen (07R) 16. Greg Oakes (22) 17. Jim Rasey (32) 18. Doug Eck (03) 19. Andrew Gordon (18G) 20. Corey Conley (14) 21. Doug Glessner (17G) 22. Ken Schaltenbrand (29) 23. Robbie Blair (W11)-DNS.
NDRL’S UEMS Modifieds (25 laps, $1,000 to-win): 1. RANDY HALL (Vena 10) 2. Joe Gabrielson (58) 3. Jack Young (Hamilton 67) 4. Jeff Johnson (27) 5. Alan Dellinger (White 53) 6. John Woodward, Jr. (18) 7. Mike McGee (11M) 8. John Boardman (79.2) 9. Andy Buckley (965) 10. Jordan Eck (04) 11. Mike Potosky (M20) 12. Steve Dixon (Engles 68) 13. Vic Vena (01) 14. Ken Zimmer (62) 15. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 16. Brent Rhebergen (Rater RD1) 17. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 18. Bruce Takach (65) 19. Rusty Wheeler (6) 20. Trevor Herr (32) 21. Paul Davis (3D) 22. Jonathan Taylor (5) 23. Bruce Powell (35) 24. Larry Kugel (Petsko 00) 25. Steve Rex (27R).
HTMA Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps, $350 to-win): 1. RYAN FRALEY (12) 2. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 3. Brian Hathaway (93) 4. Derek Dellinger (19) 5. Keith Felicetty (98) 6. Junior Mechling (89) 7. Larry Root (22x) 8. Jodi Woodworth, Sr. (07) 9. Jacob Eucker (64) 10. Dennis Dellinger, Jr. (17) 11. Mike Smith (81) 12. Tyler Rhoades (12R) 13. Jeremy Double (83).
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps, $200 to-win): 1. SCOTT GILLILAND (27) 2. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 3. Travis Creech (75T) 4. Bill Fuchs (10) 5. Ken Koby II (22) 6. Jim Clay, Jr. (84J) 7. Dylan Thomas (55D) 8. Ray Gregory (82R) 9. Brian Shay (3J).
Coming up on Saturday, April 27 will be the return of “Steel Valley Thunder” featuring the Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Barris Supply RUSH Late Models, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. Race time is at 7 p.m.
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 @SharonSpdwy.