Sharon beats the rain as Mike Knight wins $3000 in ULMS Late Models; Dave Hess becomes 8th different Mod winner in $2000 UEMS; #4 for Jeremy Double in Econo Mods
By Mike Leone
June 12, 2013
(Hartford, OH)…Despite thunderstorms in the forecast all day on Wednesday, only a few sprinkles fell in the late afternoon and early evening at Sharon Speedway and the entire Pay It Forward Foundation “Summer Bash” was run off in less than two hours. It was the 10th straight program to be completed this year at Sharon! Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Mike Knight-NDRL’s ULMS Super Late Models, Dave Hess, Jr.-NDRL’S UEMS Modifieds, and Jeremy Double-Econo Mods. NASCAR racers Ken Schrader and third generation driver Ryan Blaney were scheduled to compete. Schrader finished eighth in the Modified feature, while Blaney’s ride was a no show and unfortunately a ride couldn’t be secured at the last minute.
Mike Knight finally nailed down his first career Sharon Speedway win. Knight led all 25 laps of the NDRL’s ULMS Super Late Model feature without a challenge for the $3,000 prize. It was also his first ULMS victory of 2013.
“We didn’t think this was going to happen,” acknowledged the Ripley, New York driver. “You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t in your perspective. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, but I’m glad you decided to run! We have some of the best drivers and competition and fans in the country right here in this area. We’re on a good streak right now and doing well. I’ve been good here before, but I’m glad to get a win. I have one of the best crews out there. I’ve had some really good guys that have been with me for 10+ years.”
After a false start and a flat tire for Russell King, Knight surged into the lead over Adam Gordon and Dave Hess, Jr. The race was slowed again when Matt Urban spun with one lap scored. When racing resumed, Knight quickly distanced himself from the field and had a comfortable lead by lap four, while the battle was on for second as Gordon was trying to hold off Hess and King.
Knight continued to stretch his lead as the margin grew to a straightaway by lap seven. King and Hess battled side-by-side on laps 9 and 10. King nosed ahead of Hess for third racing off the bottom of turn two on lap 10. Two laps later, Hess slowed and exited the event, which moved Urban to fourth.
Knight was gaining about four tenths of second every lap on Gordon as he opened up a near half-lap lead at the halfway point of the event. King closed in on Gordon on lap 14 and the battle picked for second. After a good battle for several laps, King made the pass for second on lap 18. Gordon’s fine run ended when he blew a tire and slapped the backstretch fence with 21 laps scored.
The last four-lap dash to the finish went green-to-checkered as Knight faced no challenges taking the checkered flag first by a margin of 2.023 seconds in his Jay’s Auto Wrecking/Craiger Race Engines/Malone Tool & Mold/Keystone Alliance Insurance/Jim’s Automotive Parts-sponsored #9K. Knight became the 106th different driver to win a Super Late Model race at Sharon in the 406 races run all-time.
King was second over Urban, Jim Rasey, and Gordon, who returned to the track for the finish. Hess was credited with sixth. Engines issues forced John Garvin, Jr. to scratch from the feature. King set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 15.659 to earn the $50 from Zimmer’s Service Center. Knight also won the lone heat race. A disappointing seven cars showed for the second of four scheduled ULMS events in 2013.
As has been the case seemingly night in and night out, the Modifieds continue to put on the best racing of the night. Wednesday night was no different as Dave Hess, Jr. captured the 25-lap UEMS feature for his first win of the season at Sharon. Hess became the eighth different winner in 10 races this season!
“We’re still trying to figure this car out and Mike (Knight) gave us a whopping in that Late Model race so I had to come back and get some dignity back,” joked the Waterford, Pa. standout. “That was a great battle with (Jeff) Johnson up front and all of those guys. The track was fast with Mother Nature, but at least it held up long enough to get it in. We kept working in the shop and looking at the radar thinking it was going to be a washout. Then we figured at the last minute we better get going because it was looking alright and I made it work out. I have to thank my crew, the fans for coming out, and the track prep guys for getting it ready”
Two-time 2013 Sharon winner, Jeff Johnson, took charge of the event as the green flag was displayed. Steve Dixon, Mike Kinney, Vic Vena, and Ken Schrader filled out the top five after the completion of lap one. Dixon slipped high in turn four on lap two allowing Kinney to sneak by for second. Hess, who started fifth and slipped back to sixth after one lap, passed Schrader and Vena on lap two for fourth then got under and past Dixon in turn two on lap three for third.
A spin by Bruce Powell slowed action with three laps recorded. On the ensuing restart, Hess got a got bite off the bottom to pass Kinney in turn two for second. Hess quickly caught Johnson and went to work on the leader. The duo ran side-by-side on lap five, but Johnson slipped high in turn four allowing Hess to nose ahead to lead the lap. Johnson didn’t give up as his momentum around the topside of the speedway carried him back into the lead on lap six.
Dixon and Kinney battled for the win on Saturday night with Kinney scoring his first of 2013. They resumed their battle on Wednesday night, but this time for the third spot. Dixon passed Kinney for the position on lap five. Meanwhile back up front, Hess regained the lead for good on lap nine as his pass stuck on the bottom of turn three. Kinney retook third from Dixon on lap 13. Kirk Bradley, who made his first start, spun with 18 laps completed.
Back under green flag conditions, Dixon got under Kinney to take third on lap 19. Johnson’s solid run ended in a puff of smoke bringing out the third and final caution with 21 laps recorded. This moved Dixon to second followed by Kinney, and Watson. In the last four laps, Hess was able to hold on in his Hess’ Garage/Beacon Lubricants-sponsored #44 to win by just 1.063 of a second for his third career Sharon win.
Dixon was second for the second time in five days! Ninth starting Watson passed good friend Kinney on the final lap to claim third. Kinney dropped to fourth. Jonathan Taylor, who arrived late and missed time trials, charged from 17th to a fine fifth place effort. Completing the top 10 were 16th starting Mike Potosky, Vena, Schrader, Andy Buckley, and Randy Hall. Johnson set fast time in qualifying by just 0.002 of a second over Hess to earn the $50 from Zimmer’s Service Center! Johnson, Dixon, and Vena won the heats over the 24-car field.
After a disappointing finish on Saturday, Jeremy Double bounced back to win his division leading fourth of the season in the Econo Mods. The 15-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products victory was worth $350. “We were a little low on power, but there was brown down low and it slicked off up top,” explained the 17-year-old Bristolville, Ohio racer. “It pushed every time I went up there. I overreacted in the crash Saturday and luckily it wasn’t as bad as I thought when it happened. It was good to go and it handles just as good as before! I have to thank my dad and Uncle Skip for fixing the nose and getting everything welded back up.”
Double started third, but when pole-sitter Larry Root moved up a groove on the start, it left a hole wide open and Double seized the opportunity. Double got a great bite off the bottom and had the lead at the flag stand. It was a lead he’d never relinquish. Two cautions were all that slowed his run to his sixth career victory in his Cortland Auto Repair/Wedge Motorsports/Thomas Heating & Cooling/King Bros./Russ King Racing-sponsored #83. The final caution with nine laps completed erased a straightaway advantage.
Twelve-year-old Jacob Eucker started fifth and was up to third after one lap. Eucker took over second on lap two when Root slipped high. Eucker, who has two wins this season, was no match for Double as he came up 2.518 seconds shy. Point leader Ryan Fraley worked his way from 15th to finish third. Ty Rhoades continues his strong runs as the rookie placed fourth after starting eighth. Steve Burns, Jr. also made progress through the field recording a fifth after starting 12th. Brian Hathaway and Eucker collected heat race wins.
Julian Bennett and Taylin Gentry were the winners of the kids bike giveaways courtesy of King Bros. and Sharon Speedway.
NDRL’s ULMS Super Late Models (25 laps, $3,000 to-win): 1. MIKE KNIGHT (9) 2. Russell King (56) 3. Matt Urban (1U) 4. Jim Rasey (32) 5. Adam Gordon (18G) 6. Dave Hess, Jr. (44) 7. John Garvin, Jr. (J4)-DNS.
NDRL’S UEMS Modifieds (25 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. DAVE HESS, JR. (44) 2. Steve Dixon (Engles 68) 3. Joel Watson (92) 4. Mike Kinney (3) 5. Jonathan Taylor (5) 6. Mike Potosky (M20) 7. Vic Vena (01) 8. Ken Schrader (9) 9. Andy Buckley (965) 10. Randy Hall (Vena 10) 11. Howard Fraley (217) 12. Ken Zimmer (62) 13. Richard Michael, Jr. (17x) 14. Jeff Johnson (27) 15. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 16. Kirk Bradley (5B) 17. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 18. Jack Young (Hamilton 67) 19. Brian Douglas (214) 20. Larry Kugel (Petsko 00) 21. Bruce Powell (35) 22. Joe Gabrielson (58)-DNS 23. Dustin Fraley (127)-DNS 24. Gary Sullivan (47s)-DNS.
HTMA Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps, $350 to-win): 1. JEREMY DOUBLE (83) 2. Jacob Eucker (64) 3. Ryan Fraley (12) 4. Ty Rhoades (12R) 5. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 6. Brian Hathaway (93) 7. Jason Stanke (44) 8. Larry Root (22x) 9. Alan Atkinson (30Too) 10. Junior Mechling (89) 11. Keith Felicetty (98) 12. Gina Thompson (Webber 25) 13. Jace Ferringer (02) 14. Mike Hillman (29) 15. Adam Babcock (67)-DNS.
Coming up on Saturday, June 15 is “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. It’s a Father’s Day Celebration with just $7 grandstand admission for all dads! It’s also Pittsburgh Circle Track Club Night with free grandstand admission for all card-carrying members. 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.