Great weather in the forecast Saturday for another round of “Steel Valley Thunder”
By Mike Leone
May 1, 2013
(Hartford, OH)…After a miserable start with weather to the 2013 racing season at Sharon Speedway, things finally broke last Saturday with a beautiful sunny 70-degree day. The sunny, warming trend is to continue right into the weekend as another clear, mild day is predicted for this Saturday, May 4. It’ll be another installment of “Steel Valley Thunder” 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. Racing begins at 7 p.m.
Who will be the first to stop the Kings in the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds!? Opening night saw Rex, Jr. lead all 20 laps of the Governor Insurance Agency feature and last Saturday it was Rex, Sr. doing the same. In recent years, the Big-Block Modified counts have been low at the beginning of the season and then increased by mid-year, but so far a respectable 18 cars were at each of the first two shows with 23 different drivers competing to date. The elder King currently leads “Cooter” by three markers.
Mike Pegher, Jr. made quick work of the RUSH Late Model competition last Saturday. After getting by Billy Henry, Jr. on lap three for runner-up, Pegher chased race-long leader Bobby Whitling for nearly 10 laps before making a breathtaking move in lapped traffic splitting Whitling and the lapped car for the winning move. It was a busy day for Pegher, who won earlier in the day at Pittsburgh, then beat feet to Sharon just in time for action to accumulate important points toward the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Weekly Series Championship. Opening night winner, Dennis Lunger, Jr., has an eight-point advantage on “Futures Cup” contender Eric Wilson in the Barris Supply point battle.
The competition in the Modified division is always stout. This year is no different with three winners in as many races. Jeff Johnson got his season off to a fast start winning opening night, while Randy Hall won the UEMS special on week two, then Alan Dellinger came out on top of a wild three-wide battle in the closing laps to win last week’s feature. Dellinger, the division’s all-time winner, currently has a five-point lead on Shingledecker. Already 40 different racers have participated this season in the Summit Racing Equipment-presented class!
While the Stock Cars no longer draw the big car count numbers of years past, the competition level is top notch and generally features the tightest point races. Mike Clark and Paul Davis, who have been adding wins at a much more frequent pace the last couple seasons, have won the first two shows. Defending champion, Tim Burns, has the point lead by one over Clark and Brian Carothers. Just four points separates the top six cars in the battle for the Gibson Insurance Agency title!
After just 13 cars each of the first two weeks, the count rose to 20 last Saturday in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods. That trend is expected to continue as the season progresses. The competition is pretty equal as youngsters Jeremy Double, Ryan Fraley, and Steve Burns, Jr. have picked up victories to date. Twelve-year-old Jacob Eucker has led laps all three features and it won’t be long until he finds victory lane. Burns has a one-point lead on Fraley with Double and Eucker not far behind.
In 2011 it was Bill Fuchs dominating the Mini Stocks for his first career championship. Last year, Jim Haefke, Jr. emerged as the driver to beat to capture his first ever championship. This year, Scott Gilliland has had the upper hand so far winning two features and leads the early Deforest Used Parts championship chase. The Warren, Ohio racer has the biggest point lead of all of the six divisions as he has an 22-point margin over Fuchs.
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.
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.