All 5 winners Saturday get 1st wins including Briggs in ULMS Super Lates, Blair in RUSH LM Tour, Dixon in UEMS Mods, Duncan in Stocks & Blazczak in Minis; Whitling wins Sweeney engine giveaway
By Mike Leone
July 20, 2013
(Hartford, OH)…Despite heavy morning rain and a rain delay before the start of the heat races, Sharon Speedway finally was able to defeat Mother Nature on Saturday night completing the first race event since June 22. Sharon had completed 12 straight race events then suffered three straight rainouts and was off last Saturday night. A season high 110 cars were on hand and a great crowd filled the grandstands.
Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Boom Briggs-NDRL’s ULMS Super Late Models, Max Blair-Sweeney Chevrolet RUSH Late Model Touring Series, Steve Dixon-UEMS Modifieds, Jamie Duncan-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, and Pete Blazczak-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
The NDRL’s ULMS Super Late Models made their third of four appearances of 2013 and it was Boom Briggs becoming the third different winner. Briggs held off challenges most of the event from Brent Rhebergen and a last lap surge by Keith Barbara for the $3,000 payday and his first ULMS win in two seasons.
“I needed this,” acknowledged the Bear Lake, Pa. racer. “We’ve had a tough couple years. Brent (Rhebergen) is hungry too. Hats off to him. He’s struggled too with his program. Everyone thought we were beating and banging in the heat race, but it was just the track. We’ve been friends for a long time- that was just hard racing. Starting position means a lot with these cars. The competition is really close. I just tried to be smooth and keep it on the bottom.”
Briggs took off in the lead, while Rhebergen and Dave Hess, Jr. passed King for second and third. Jason Dupont spun to bring out the caution with two laps scored. The next 21 laps would go caution-free. When racing resumed, Rhebergen was all over Briggs trying to find a way by, while Hess had his hands full with King, Mike Knight, Keith Barbara, and Jared Miley.
On lap 12, Briggs was able to get away as Rhebergen had trouble negotiating the lapped car of Hiram Bachman, but three laps later Rhebergen closed back in. On lap 19, Rhebergen pulled even, but Briggs maintained the lead. Behind the front duo, it was three-wide for third on lap 21 with Knight grabbing fourth. Knight then slipped high on lap 23 allowing Barbara to move past both King and Knight for fourth.
A caution with 28 laps scored set up a two-lap shootout. Barbara got a great restart as he passed both Hess and Rhebergen for second. Barbara went after Briggs on the final lap, but came up 0.521 of a second shy. Rhebergen edged out King and Hess for third. Miley, Jim Rasey, Dupont, Greg Oakes, and Matt Urban completed the top 10. Heats were won by King and Barbara.
Max Blair dominated the 30-lap Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series feature event joining Mike Pegher, Jr. as the Tour’s only repeat winners after 11 events. Four late race restarts with Pegher alongside were all that slowed Blair to victory. It was a big night for Blair as the victory was worth $2,000 plus an additional $1,000 for being crowned the “Cross the Borders” Speedweek Champion!
“I wasn’t sure if it was enough to win the Speedweek points or not,” acknowledged the 23-year-old Centerville, Pa. driver. “I knew it had to be close. That was real tough luck for Ryan (Montgomery), but we had a tough night last Saturday at Pittsburgh so one bad night out of five is how it goes I guess. I’ve raced here a bunch and without a doubt hands done this was the nicest this place has ever been. You could move around and lap race cars and use parts of the track you normally can’t here. Whatever you did tonight, keep doing it! ”
Via his K&N Dash victory, Blair quickly raced out to the lead as Pegher was able to pass Matt Latta for second. Latta was third after one lap, while defending track Will Thomas III got by Ryan Montgomery on the opening lap for fourth. Thomas continued moving forward taking third from Latta on lap two.
Blair began extending his lead on lap four as he pulled away from the pack, while Thomas began pressuring Pegher for second. Blair had a three-second lead built up when he caught lapped traffic on lap 10. The lapped cars didn’t slow Blair at all and in fact was able to increase his lead to four seconds over Pegher at the halfway point.
Pegher was able to break away from Thomas, while Thomas had his hands full in intense battle for third as Latta, Montgomery, and Jorden Peters were putting the heat on Thomas. After 23 non-stop laps, Jason Rider, who was making his second Tour start, spun to bring out the first caution. Two more laps were completed before another caution when Peters went up in smoke.
Latta and Montgomery were really going at it for fourth as Montgomery had taken the spot on lap 25 before the caution. When racing resumed, it appeared the two made contact on the restart and a 13-car pileup ensued in turn one. Most of the cars would resume including Montgomery, but it was a tough break for the West Virginia teen, who entered the night as the Speedweek point leader and would end up losing the title by just five points.
Three more laps were completed until the event’s final caution when Bobby Pifer III and Montgomery got tangled up. It was Pegher’s last shot at Blair, but Blair wasn’t to be denied as he held off Pegher in the final two laps by 0.734 of a second in his Specialty Products/Moody & Son Welding/Wescoat Excavating/Bobby Lake Motorsports/Genesis Shocks/VP Racing Fuels-sponsored #111 Rocket Chassis.
The victory was Blair’s first win of the season in the Barris Supply-sponsored division at Sharon and sixth of his career. It was Blair’s fifth top five in just six Tour starts this year and propelled him up four positions to 10th in the standings. It was also Blair’s eighth RUSH-sanctioned win of the season as he garners important points toward the $5,000 to-win Sweeney Weekly Series and $3,000 to-win Pace “Summer Chase” Championships.
“Anytime Mike is second you have to be worried and be on your toes,” stated Blair. “Nobody in the country restarts better than he does, but I think we’re catching him on the restart game. I couldn’t do any of this without my dad- he makes it all possible. He actually left his car at home so we could focus on my car to win the Speedweek for the third year in a row. I have to thank all of my sponsors and crew because without them I couldn’t do it.”
Pegher’s second was worth $1,000 and was his eighth top five Tour finish extending his point lead. Pegher entered the night just five points up on Rick Singleton, but Singleton was unable to make it after several flat tires on his way to the speedway. Drivers finishing third through fifth all recorded their best Tour finishes of the year including Thomas, Dan Angelicchio and 15th starting Eric Wilson. Justin Tatlow came from 22nd to finish sixth over Rocky Kugel, who started 13th, Rider, Matt Glanden, and 19th starting Nico Dabecco.
Bobby Whitling finished 11th in the feature, but his night will be remembered for winning the GM 604 engine valued at over $5,500 compliments of Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC and Pace Performance. The 40-year-old Franklin, Pa. driver couldn’t have been more thrilled as he was planning on putting a second car together and the new engine couldn’t have come at a better time! Whitling joins past winners Ben Black (2011) and Paul Jablonski (2012) as winners of the engine giveaway at Sharon.
Heat race winners over the 26-car field were Thomas, Montgomery, and Pegher. Thomas picked up an additional $100 for the Bobby Lake Motorsports “Shock the Clock” fast qualifier with a lap of 16.570. Blair won the K&N Dash.
After a pair of runner-up finishes last month, Steve Dixon finally captured his first career Sharon Speedway victory in stellar performance with Dave Hess, Jr. Dixon’s 25-lap win came in the $1,000 to-win UEMS Modified feature as he became the amazing 10th different winner of the season in the Summit Racing Equipment-sponsored division!
“We lost the air cleaner and ran a bunch of laps without it,” acknowledged the 33-year-old Smethport, Pa. driver. “Hopefully my car owner doesn’t fire me for that one. We were leading so hopefully the dirt was flying over it and nothing got down in there. I was up there on the wall. You have to run up there- that’s where it’s fast. We’ve been good this year since we started, but have been building and getting faster and faster. I would have never dreamt we’d have had this kind of July so far, but we’re on a roll so hopefully we can keep it going.”
Hess, who won Friday night over Dixon at Lernerville Speedway, resumed their battle for the lead as they started one-two. The duo quickly pulled away from the third place running Jeff Johnson. Dixon was all over Hess and made the winning move on lap eight when Hess bobbled on the cushion in turns one and two.
Lapped traffic was coming into play on lap 12, but the first and only caution of the event was displayed when Gary Sullivan slowed with 13 laps scored. Hess would stay within striking distance over the final 12 laps, but Dixon would hold on by 0.747 of a second in the Tim Engles-owned, Engles Trucking/Close Racing Supply/Backyard Bodies-sponsored #68.
Hess recorded his second top five of the night improving on his fifth in the Super Late Models. Johnson ran third for the entire duration. Brent Rhebergen passed Randy Hall on lap 14 to finish fourth. Joel Watson came from 15th to finish fifth after getting by Hall on the final lap. Sixth through 10th were Hall, Jonathan Taylor, Shane Crotty, Scott Stiffler, and Mike Kinney. Heat winners over the season-high 28-car field were Dixon, Kinney, and Hess. Dwayne Clay won the B main.
After 10 years of trying, Jamie Duncan finally parked his ride in victory lane at Sharon Speedway. Duncan picked a good night to do it as the 20-lap Governor Insurance Agency Stock Car special paid $500 to-win plus he also won the $150 to-win Old 82 Auto Mart Dash!
“This feels great,” stated the jubilant 47-year-old Brookfield, Ohio driver. “I have to thank my crew. My buddy Lenny just bought me two new tires for the rear for this race. That helped because all used stuff doesn’t work. The bottom worked good for me tonight. I have to thank my wife for sticking with me all this time.”
Tim Burns went from fourth to first on the opening lap as Paul Davis and fifth starting Mike Clark trailed. After a spin by Mike Kerr, action was hot and heavy on the restart as sixth starting Duncan flew into second, while it was three-wide for third with Clark, Davis, and eighth starting Rod Laskey.
By the halfway point, it was a four-car race for the lead as defending champion Burns was trying to nab his season’s first win; however, trouble struck for Burns as he broke coming down for lap 16. That handed the lead to Duncan and he was able to hold off point leader Clark to win by just 0.351 of a second in his Diversified Maintenance-sponsored #67J.
Laskey and Brian Carothers were able to get past Davis to finish third and fourth respectively. Davis dropped to fifth. Winning the heat races were Laskey and Carothers as the 19 cars on hand was the most of the season for the division’s regular rules format.
Making just his fourth start of the season, Pete Blazczak picked up the 12-lap Deforest Used Parts $200 to-win Mini Stock special event, which went caution-free! “I’m glad to get one here,” expressed the 41-year-old Gibsonia, Pa. racer. “It’s hard to pass here once you get up to speed and everyone is fast- it’s an even match. I thought something was wrong after the heat races. We changed the tires and tightened it up. I told everyone just go by me if I’m going slow, but I guess I wasn’t slow! I have to thank my dad and Jerry Batcher for helping me out.”
Newcomer Josh Eakman led the opening lap over defending champion Jim Haefke, Jr., pole-sitter Matt Cwynar and Blazczak. Haefke took over the lead on lap two with Blazczak following. Haefke and Blazczak quickly distanced themselves from the field on lap three, while newcomer Robert Workman passed Eakman for third.
Blazczak was all over Haefke on lap five and two laps later made the winning pass going down the backstretch into turn three. Blazczak went on for his fourth career win in his Blazczak’s Salvage-sponsored #77. Haefke was second. Travis Creech, who won the last two races, came from 15th to finish third after getting by Workman on lap five. Workman was fourth over eighth starting Bill Fuchs. Fuchs and point leader Scott Gilliland won the heat races over the season-high 19-car field.
NDRL’s ULMS Super Late Models (30 laps, $3,000 to-win): 1. BOOM BRIGGS (99B) 2. Keith Barbara (17) 3. Brent Rhebergen (07R) 4. Russell King (56) 5. Dave Hess, Jr. (44) 6. Jared Miley (H1) 7. Jim Rasey (32) 8. Jason Dupont (NO7) 9. Greg Oakes (22) 10. Matt Urban (1U) 11. Ryan Markham (5M) 12. Mike Knight (9K) 13. Hiram Bachman (92) 14. John Britsky (18) 15. Wally Fox (90) 16. Michael Oakes (22X) 17. Matt Lux (21)-DNS.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series (30 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. MAX BLAIR (111) 2. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Geisler 1c) 3. Will Thomas III (9) 4. Dan Angelicchio (14) 5. Eric Wilson (27W) 6. Justin Tatlow (81) 7. Rocky Kugel (21KRT) 8. Jason Rider (Wade 76) 9. Matt Glanden (01) 10. Nico Dabecco (Karalagas 15D) 11. Bobby Whitling (7W) 12. Ryan Montgomery (12) 13. Brian Booher (Hoover 00H) 14. Butch Lambert (27) 15. Bobby Pifer III (6P) 16. W.L. Stile (1W) 17. Matt Latta (21) 18. Jorden Peters (11P) 19. Andrew Wylie (84) 20. Josh Holtgraver (00) 21. Joe Martin (55) 22. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 23. Brad Blackshear (19) 24. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L) 25. Clay Ruffo (14R)-DNS 26. Josh Double (38)-DNS.
UEMS Modifieds (25 laps, $1,000 to-win): 1. STEVE DIXON (Engles 68) 2. Dave Hess, Jr. (44) 3. Jeff Johnson (27) 4. Brent Rhebergen (Rater RD1) 5. Joel Watson (92) 6. Randy Hall (Vena 10) 7. Jonathan Taylor (5) 8. Shane Crotty (4) 9. Scott Stiffler (14) 10. Mike Kinney (3) 11. Vic Vena (01) 12. Clayton Kennedy (9) 13. Evan Taylor (7) 14. Mike Potosky (M20) 15. Andy Buckley (965) 16. Ken Zimmer (62) 17. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 18. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 19. Rocky Kugel (Beck 357) 20. Howard Fraley (217) 21. Dwayne Clay (007) 22. Gary Sullivan (47s) 23. Jeff Hassay (10) 24. Joe Gabrielson. DNQ: Jake Eller (14*), Dustin Fraley (127), Amanda Stiffler (14A), Brian Douglas (214).
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (20 laps, $500 to-win): 1. JAMIE DUNCAN (67J) 2. Mike Clark (7) 3. Rod Laskey (1R) 4. Brian Carothers (02c) 5. Paul Davis (3) 6. Ron Yarab, Jr. (Burns 70B) 7. Andy Thompson (5) 8. Jason Stanke (44) 9. Bob Sloss (44s) 10. Jamie Gibbs (98) 11. Bob McCann (Fornataro USA1) 12. Tim Burns (66) 13. Bret McCarthy (33) 14. Mike Miller (666) 15. Mike Kerr (25K) 16. Brent Coleman (01) 17. Jeff Buccella (Davis 915)-DNS 18. Jesse Brock (22B)-DNS 19. Tony Bruno (97)-DNS.
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps, $200 to-win): 1. PETE BLAZCZAK (77) 2. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 3. Travis Creech (75T) 4. Robert Workman (76) 5. Bill Fuchs (10) 6. Tim McAninch (43) 7. Scott Gilliland (27) 8. Jason Johnson (43R) 9. Ray Gregory (82R) 10. Matt Cwynar (21) 11. Pat Drennan (24) 12. Josh Eakman (6) 13. Steve Walker II (4M) 14. Leea Coryea (Davis 32) 15. Jamie Maxwell (6M) 16. Geof Pinch (36) 17. Nelson Johnson (3)-DNS 18. Ashley Britsky (25)-DNS 19. Zach Downes (48)-DNS.
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 www.twitter.com/sharonspdwy.