“Steel Valley Thunder” weekly 6-division racing returns Saturday
By Mike Leone
April 24, 2013
(Hartford, OH)…After a rainout and a special race event last Saturday night, weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” racing action returns to Sharon Speedway this Saturday night, April 27. Racing will get underway at 7 p.m. featuring a six-division program of 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.
Saturday’s promotion includes free admission for youth sports and scouts in uniform. Saturday’s home-cooked meal is beef macaroni with roll and butter. Once again Saturday night, one lucky boy and girl under the age of 14 will win a bicycle or scooter thanks to King Bros. This promotion will continue throughout the 2013 season.
“It’s looking like a beautiful Saturday,” stated Dave Willoughby. “Sunshine and temps near 70 will be well appreciated after fighting the weather since back to the snowmobile races and every event to date. It’ll be nice for everyone to be able to enjoy a night of racing!”
With rainouts and special events, the regional DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds are anxious to get back on the speedway. A nice field of 19 cars turned out for the April 6 opener from three different states. In the end, it was a King show as Rex, Jr. topped Rex, Sr. in the 20-lap Governor Insurance Agency feature to get an early jump on the points. While his father is a four-time track champion, “Cooter” has never won a track championship and has the early lead on his father.
Dennis Lunger, Jr. went down in the history books as the first ever RUSH-sanctioned winner in the 20-lap Barris Supply feature. Lunger will look to make it three-straight Late Model wins at Sharon Saturday and gain important points toward the $5,000 to-win Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Weekly Series Championship. A couple of Sharon racers in Josh Double and Eric Wilson went on the road and competed in the first ever Sweeney Chevrolet Touring Series event last Saturday at Hagerstown. Double, the 2011 champion, was the hard charger in the feature. Double will be making his first Sharon start of the season Saturday as will be several other racers including 2012 champion Will Thomas III.
The Modifieds are one of three divisions entering their third week of competition Saturday. Jeff Johnson was impressive winning the opener, while New York’s Randy Hall invaded for the UEMS-sanctioned event last Saturday and picked up the $1,000 victory. Another New York racer, John Boardman, has the point lead. Already 35 different drivers have participated after two weeks of action with others due out soon.
The Stock Cars will be ready to return after not competing since the April 6 opener when Mike Clark picked up the victory. Clark has won all five of his career wins in the last year and a half despite racing nearly 17 years. Clark is one of the contenders for the Gibson Insurance Agency feature, which would be his first track championship anywhere.
The Econo Mods have become an excellent class for young racers to hone their racing talents, for veteran racers still wanting to compete, and an opportunity for others to participate without spending a lot of money. Young Jeremy Double and Ryan Fraley have split wins in the first two weeks. For Fraley, who is beginning his second full season of competition, the win was the first of his career. Twelve-year-old Jacob Eucker has already led HTMA/Precise Racing Products feature laps both weeks and currently sits in a tie for third in points with Steve Burns, Jr., while trailing point leader Fraley and Double.
By virtue of his fifth career victory last Saturday night, Scott Gilliland has jumped out to the point lead in the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. Like most of the other point leaders, the Warren, Ohio driver has never won a track championship anywhere. Gilliland is up five points on 2011 champion and opening night winner Bill Fuchs. Last year’s champion and eight-time winner, Jim Haefke, Jr., is mired in sixth place in points after a tough start.
Pits open at 4 p.m. Saturday with grandstands at 5 and heat races slated for 7. Grandstand admission for those 14 and are over is $13, while children under 14 are always free. Pit passes are $25. Parking and camping is 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 @SharonSpdwy.