“Steel Valley Thunder” 6-division racing up next on Food Drive Night at Saturday
By Mike Leone
June 26, 2013
(Hartford, OH)…After completing 12 straight events, Sharon Speedway wasn’t so lucky Tuesday as thunderstorms washed out the Ohio Sprint Speedweek event. Sharon hopes for better weather this Saturday, June 29 as a full program of “Steel Valley Thunder” is on tap. Though Saturdays haven’t featured the most wonderful weather, Sharon hasn’t had a Saturday cancelled since April 13.
The weekly 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 Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks will be on the card. Racing begins at 7 p.m.
Fans are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to receive $3 off grandstand admission. Once again Saturday night, one lucky boy and girl under the age of 14 will win a bicycle or scooter thanks to King Bros. and Sharon Speedway. This promotion will continue throughout the 2013 season. Saturday’s kitchen special is wings and wedges.
Sharon is coming off a season high 109 cars in the pit area last Saturday night. This Saturday pretty much marks the mid-point of the season with three months down and three to go. Other than the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, none of the current point leaders have ever won a championship!
Speaking of the big blocks, current point leader Jim Weller, Jr. hasn’t sat at the head table at the awards banquet since 2004! The Hubbard, Ohio veteran is having one of his best seasons in a long time with three victories. Outside of a 15th place DNF on May 11, Weller hasn’t finished worse than fifth and in fact has eight top three finishes in 10 starts this season!
Weller, who was also the 2000 champion on the old half-mile track, currently has 26 career wins, which is fourth all-time and second on the active list behind Rex King. Weller ironically leads King by 21 in the standings and 30 over Rex King, Jr. Dave Murdick and Ricky Richner round out the top five in points.
Outside of the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Touring events, last Saturday featured the highest weekly car count of the season for the Barris Supply RUSH Late Models and a new winner! Matt Latta ended a disappointing season with his first victory of the year. Despite his struggles, Latta is third in points just six behind last year’s champion Will Thomas III.
Atop the standings by 39 is three-time winner Dennis Lunger, Jr., who never won a feature before at Sharon until last season’s final race! Lunger, of Albion, Pa., is the only non-Ohio driver currently leading the points at the speedway.
Seems like every week we’re talking about a new Modified winner and that continued last Saturday night when semi-regular Jonathan Taylor picked up the 15-lap Summit Racing Equipment victory. Not only was it Taylor’s first win of the season as he became the division’s ninth different winner, but the first of his career at the Harford, Ohio oval.
Mike Kinney of Ashtabula, Ohio is having the best season of his career with a pair of victories as he leads Joe Gabrielson by 18 markers. It’s a pretty tight point race as Jeff Johnson and early season point leader Alan Dellinger sit third and fourth 28 and 31 points behind respectively.
After missing three of the past four Stock Car events, Bryan Wagner returned to Sharon last Saturday night and won his second of the season and third of his career. Luckily for Wagner two of the nights he missed were non-point events. Though he’s dropped to sixth in points, Wagner is only three points out of fourth and 18 from third.
Continuing to lead the Gibson Insurance Agency points is Mike Clark. The Bristolville, Ohio driver has won two features in each of the past three seasons. Clark leads defending champion Tim Burns by 20. Clark’s worst finish is a ninth back on April 27 and in fact has finished in the top four in every event this season outside of the ninth.
Jeremy Double, Ryan Fraley, and Jacob Eucker continue to take turns at winning features in the Econo Mods. It was Double’s turn last Saturday as he won his fifth of the year to tie Scott Gilliland for most at the track. Steve Burns, Jr. is the only victor outside of those three this season. Fraley is hanging on to a three-point lead over Double and 38 over Eucker. Rookie Tyler Rhoades has strung together six straight top five finishes after averaging a 10th place finish in his first six starts.
It’s becoming apparent the Mini Stock Championship chase is going to come down to Scott Gilliland and rookie Travis Creech. Gilliland, a five-time winner, leads Creech, a four-time winner, by a shrinking margin of 36. Bill Fuchs, the 2011 champion, and Jim Haefke, Jr., the 2012, champion are a distant third and fourth in the Deforest Used Parts points.
Pits open at 4 p.m. Saturday with grandstands at 5 and heat races slated for 7. Grandstand admission for those 14 and 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.