King Jr & Thomas garner 3rd wins in Big-Block Mods & RUSH LM; Dixon repeats in Mods; 1st for Carothers in Stocks; Double continues Econo Mod dominance; #2 for Fuchs in Minis
By Mike Leone
August 3, 2013
(Hartford, OH)…After suffering four rainouts in five events along with an off night on July 13 and a special event on a threatening July 20 night, Sharon Speedway was finally blessed with a beautiful day on Saturday night as the first “Steel Valley Thunder” weekly program was completed since June 22. The 110 cars in the pit area matched the season high from the July 20 special and beat the previous “Steel Valley Thunder” high of 109 from the last show on June 22.
Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane on the Bill Kirila Memorial were Rex King, Jr.-Governor Insurance DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Will Thomas III-Barris Supply RUSH Late Models, Steve Dixon-Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Brian Carothers-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Jeremy Double-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Bill Fuchs-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. A pair of bikes was given away to two lucky children thanks to King Bros. and Sharon Speedway.
Rex King, Jr. avoided a near major accident that never happened as he charged past Jim Weller, Jr. and Skip Moore early in the race and then held off Weller for his third win of the season. King has now doubled his career win total already this season in the 20-lap Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds.
“The inside was really good on the starts,” acknowledged the 22-year-old winning. “Mr. Weller has been hot all year and anytime he rolls up beside you it’s a little nerve racking. I have to thank my whole crew, all my family, my sponsors, Sharon Speedway, and Dave Willoughby. We’re having a good time.”
Pole-sitter Moore got a good bite off the bottom of the speedway to take the early lead as third starting Weller slipped by King, Jr. A caution for Erik Martin slowed action with one lap scored. When racing resumed, Weller got into the back of Moore coming off turn two getting Moore sideways. A near major accident was avoided as Moore got straightened up and somehow no other contact was made with the field bearing down the backstretch. The benefactor was King, Jr. as he powered into the lead with Weller trailing and Brad Rapp getting past Moore for third.
Newcomer Rob Curtis brought out the second caution with five laps scored. Back under green, the man on the move was Dave Murdick, who started eighth. Murdick passed Moore on lap seven for fourth then seven laps later worked his way by Rapp for third. By the time Murdick reached third, King, Jr. and Weller had clearly pulled away from the field. Dave Reges slowed to bring out the event’s final caution with 16 laps completed.
The caution was a break for Murdick, who was able to get by Weller for second when green replaced yellow. The duo would battle over the final four laps swapping the second position back and forth, but were no match for King, Jr. whose sixth career win came by 1.354 seconds in the KMB, Inc.-owned, Jim Brown Seed Sales/Bristol Disposal/Cedar Steel/Professional Heating & Cooling/Reese Services/King Sanitary Service-sponsored #165.
Weller got back by on lap 19 for second, but Murdick made the final pass on the last lap to secure second. Despite the third place finish, Weller still maintains a 25-point lead on King, Jr. Rapp was a season best fourth in just his second start of the year. The elder King came from 13th to finish fifth and trails his son by two points in the race for second. Sixth through 10th were Moore, Jimmy Weller III, Ricky Richner, Kevin Hoffman, and Jim Rasey, who made his first start in the Big-Block Modifieds this season. Rapp and Weller III won the heat races. A solid field of 19 cars was on hand despite four of the top 10 in points MIA.
After missing opening night, defending champion Will Thomas III is slowly catching Dennis Lunger, Jr. in the
Barris Supply RUSH Late Model standings. On Saturday night, Thomas led all 20 laps of the feature and went uncontested to his season’s third victory.
“I kind of hate starting on the pole,” stated the 37-year-old Sharpsville, Pa. racer. “You have to try and figure out how to pace yourself. For me, it’s a lot easier when you have a rabbit to chase, but a win is a win. We love coming here to Sharon Speedway. It was nice to finally get a break in the weather. Sharon does a good job with this surface. All in all it’s one of best surfaces around. It’s been a tough year for my dad. He’s had a lot of surgeries. We’re just glad to get here for him.”
A heads-up start from the heat races put Thomas on the pole and he charged to the early lead, while Late Model rookie Jamie Wrightsman passed “Futures Cup” racer Clay Ruffo for second. Ruffo however would regain the second spot on lap two. Max Blair was making just his third start of the season and looking to repeat his $2,000 win on July 20. Blair drove under and past Wrightsman in turn two for third on lap four.
As Thomas checked out, the battle for second heated up as Blair and Josh Double closed on Ruffo. Blair got a nose under Ruffo on laps nine and ten. Blair appeared to have the pass made entering turn one on lap 10 when contact was made sending Ruffo spinning. Ruffo was done for the night and Blair pitted with a flat tire.
The final 10 laps went caution-free. Double, who gained two spots for the restart, was unable to mount a serious challenge on Thomas over the second-half of the race. Thomas’ victory was the seventh of his career in his Colonial Metal Products/Barris Supply/All Star Motorstate/Sweet Mfg. Quarter Master/King Sanitary-sponsored #9.
“Futures Cup” point leader, Eric Wilson, who started seventh, had a good night placing third after passing Wrightsman for the spot on lap 12. Wrightsman was a Late Model career best fourth as Lunger was fifth. Completing the top 10 were Bob Diver in his first Late Model start of the season, Ben Black, Russ Byler (subbing for Brian Booher), Mike Anderson, and Blair. Thomas and Ruffo won the heat races.
Sharon Speedway was never one of Steve Dixon’s favorite tracks when he ran the Crate Late Models; however, Dixon has been taking a liking to it in the Modifieds in limited appearances this season. Saturday night, Dixon led all 15 laps of the Summit Racing Equipment feature and held off a late charge by Mike Kinney for his second straight win and now has four top two finishes in just six starts this season.
“We’ve been really good wherever we race,” expressed the 33-year-old Smethport, Pa. racer. “Sharon Speedway has probably been one of the best tracks to race at this year. The surface has been awesome all year long. It’s been real racey. We lucked out and finished fourth after not getting a good draw then got the invert to put us on the outside pole. It was my perfect track to run up against the cushion- just how I like it. Mike Kinney is always good; him, Joel Watson, and Jonathan Taylor. You don’t like to see them up alongside of you, but we had a good race car and got it done!”
Dixon powered past pole-sitter Jeff Hassay on the start for the lead, while Jonathan Taylor passed three cars to advance to third after one lap. The mad scramble for second continued on lap two as fifth starting Joel Watson went by Bud Watson, Taylor, and Hassay for the spot! Dixon had quickly opened up a straightaway lead while all that was going on behind him. The lead was erased when Bob Williamson stopped to bring out the caution with three laps scored.
While Dixon took off, the race for second was still a dandy as this time Taylor passed both Hassay and Joel Watson to grab second, while Watson got by Hassay for third. By lap five, the front three quickly pulled away. Alan Dellinger, who started 10th, was on the move passing both Bud Watson and Hassay for fourth on lap six. The event’s final caution slowed action when Clayton Kennedy spun with nine laps scored.
Kinney started 12th and quietly was halfway to the front when the caution slowed action just past the mid-point of the race. Kinney cracked the top five when racing resumed then got by Dellinger for fourth on lap 11. Kinney quickly was on the charge and made a nice move to pass his good friend Joel Watson for third on lap 13. Taylor slipped high in turn two on lap 14 allowing Kinney and Joel Watson to overtake second and third.
Kinney closed in the final laps, but would run out of time as Dixon’s victory came by 2.003 seconds in the Tim Engles-owned, Engles Trucking/Close Racing Supply/Backyard Bodies-sponsored #68. It was a big night for Kinney, who not only gained 10 spots from his 12th place starting spot, but pulled away in the championship chase by 40 points over Joe Gabrielson, who dropped from the event and was credited with 19th.
Joel Watson was third. Taylor slowed on the final lap with a flat tire and coasted across the finish line in 12th allowing Dellinger and Bud Watson to finish fourth and fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Dwayne Clay, Carl McKinney, Hassay, Diver, and Chuck Recker, Jr. Heat winners over the 22-car field were Kinney, McKinney, and Dellinger.
Brian Carothers led all 15 laps of the Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars to become the seventh different winner in 12 events this season. “Most nights it’s the outside lane on the starts, but tonight there was enough bite on the track in the bottom,” explained the 34-year-old Youngstown, Ohio driver. “I hate to wish bad luck on Mr. Clark, but for any of us to catch him he needed to have one of those bad nights, and it looks like he had it tonight. We had a rough night coming home from Virginia Beach and didn’t get home until 5 this morning.”
Carothers took off in the lead over defending champion Tim Burns, Bob McCann, Jamie Duncan, and Bruce Redman. Point leader Mike Clark started seventh and was on the move passing both Redman and Duncan for fourth on lap two. A three-car accident slowed action with two laps scored. When racing resumed, Duncan got back by Clark for fourth. On lap four, Burns slipped high and it was four-wide for second with McCann and Duncan advancing to second and third.
Burns slowed on lap five and Bob Pollock spun to bring out the caution. Back under green flag conditions, Redman passed Duncan for third on lap seven. The battle for third was hot and heavy as it was three-wide on lap 10. Bryan Wagner split Duncan and Redman to take the spot. Dan McEwen then spun to bring out the caution with 10 laps scored. Under caution, Wagner and Redman both exited.
While all of the craziness was happening behind him, Carothers was happy to be up front as he led the final five laps to win by 2.398 seconds for his fifth career victory in his Boardman Steel/Acura of Boardman/Don’s Hair Den/Select Body Service/Southern Auto Parts/Performance Specialty-sponsored #02c. Duncan, who won the July 20 special for his first career Sharon win, got by McCann on the final restart to place second. McCann was third. Burns rejoined the field and came back to grab fourth. Rookie Brent Coleman recorded his second fifth place effort of the season. McCann and Duncan won the heat races over the 18-car field.
Jeremy Double survived a caution-plagued 15-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mod feature for his track-leading sixth win of the season! Double’s second straight win coupled with Ryan Fraley’s 13th place finish propelled Double into the point lead by 16.
George Vestal IV led the opening lap before fifth starting Derek Dellinger took over on lap two following a restart. Double started sixth and was halfway to the front after two laps. Double then passed Vestal for second on lap three and four laps later made the winning pass of Dellinger. Double survived several more cautions and would beat Dellinger by 1.748 seconds in his Cortland Auto Repair/Wedge Motorsports/Thomas Heating & Cooling/King Bros./Russ King Racing-sponsored #83. The victory was Double’s third win in the past four races and eighth of his career.
Rookie Ty Rhoades continues his impressive season as his third place finish was eighth top five of the season. Rhoades has yet to finish worse than fifth in his last seven starts! Steve Burns, Jr. came from 20th to finish fourth. Vestal entered the night with a 10th place as his best finish and easily beat that with his best effort since a fourth on June 30, 2012. Heat winners were Jacob Eucker, Rusty Wheeler, and Jason Longwell over the 23-car field.
All-time division leading winner, Bill Fuchs, came out on top of a wild 12-lap Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock feature for his first victory since opening night back on April 6! “We’ve blown up three motors and flipped a car this year,” revealed the 37-year-old Greenville, Pa. driver. “This is a brand new chassis we built over the winter and is just the third race for this car. I want to thank all my sponsors and definitely send a special thanks to the Crash Family. They really take care of us. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to come out here and do this every week. You’re not going to find a better man than Mr. Crash and he’s going to be sadly missed in the racing community.”
Point leader Scott Gilliland charged from the fifth starting spot into the lead after one lap over Jim Haefke, Jr. and Travis Creech. Creech passed Haefke for second on lap two as the top four of Gilliland, Creech, Haefke, and Fuchs distanced themselves from the field. After six non-stop laps, traffic came into play. With the top four bearing down, the lapped car of Nelson Johnson IV was a sitting duck. Gilliland made heavy contact into the rear of Johnson and collected Creech and Haefke.
Fuchs avoided the melee and was the next man standing as he inherited the lead and led the final six non-stop laps for his 21st career win in his RTW Industrial Contracting/Hittles Auto Supply/Chatfield Well Drilling/Kreider Tire-sponsored #10. Haefke rejoined the field after the accident and made his way back to second at the finish after getting by rookie Tim McAninch on lap 10. McAninch was third over Steve Walker II and Greg Schmied. Fuchs and Gilliland topped the heat races.
Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. REX KING, JR. (165) 2. Dave Murdick (61) 3. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 4. Brad Rapp (11R) 5. Rex King (65) 6. Skip Moore (17M) 7. Jimmy Weller III (23) 8. Ricky Richner (26) 9. Kevin Hoffman (17H) 10. Jim Rasey (32) 11. Carl Murdick (6) 12. Rick Ryder (Snider 189) 13. Tom Mattocks (69) 14. Dave Reges (27R) 15. Bob Warren (96B) 16. Jim McCowen (Elhaney 7) 17. Rob Curtis (McElhaney 6 7/8) 18. Erik Martin (29E) 19. Kevin Green (74)-DNS.
Barris Supply RUSH Late Models (20 laps): 1. WILL THOMAS III (9) 2. Josh Double (38) 3. Eric Wilson (27W) 4. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 5. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L) 6. Bob Diver (23) 7. Ben Black (27B) 8. Russ Byler (Hoover 00H) 9. Mike Anderson (72) 10. Max Blair (111) 11. Clay Ruffo (14R) 12. John Over (K2)-DNS 13. Lon Emerick (3)-DNS.
Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modifieds (15 laps): 1. STEVE DIXON (Engles 68) 2. Mike Kinney (3) 3. Joel Watson (92) 4. Alan Dellinger (53) 5. Bud Watson (2BW) 6. Dwayne Clay (007) 7. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 8. Jeff Hassay (10) 9. Bob Diver (23) 10. Chuck Recker, Jr. (17R) 11. Clayton Kennedy (9) 12. Jonathan Taylor (5) 13. Wayne Brugmann (79) 14. Mike Monreal (71M) 15. Trevor Herr (32) 16. Jeff Johnson (27) 17. Gary Sullivan (47s) 18. Andy Buckley (965) 19. Joe Gabrielson (58) 20. Bob Williamson (93) 21. Tim Deutsch (751)-DNS 22. Brian Metterle (4M)-DNS.
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. BRIAN CAROTHERS (02c) 2. Jamie Duncan (67J) 3. Bob McCann (Fornataro USA1) 4. Tim Burns (66) 5. Brent Coleman (01) 6. Dan McEwen (95) 7. Jamie Gibbs (98) 8. Bob Pollock (70X) 9. Ray Gregory (15) 10. Bryan Wagner (56) 11. Bruce Redman (27) 12. Ron Yarab, Jr. (Burns 70B) 13. Mike Clark (7) 14. Paul Davis (3) 15. Jesse Brock (22B) 16. Mike Kerr (25K) 17. Mike Lesky (5L) 18. Tim Emery (17)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. JEREMY DOUBLE (83) 2. Derek Dellinger (19) 3. Ty Rhoades (12R) 4. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 5. George Vestal IV (4) 6. Jacob Eucker (64) 7. Keith Felicetty (98) 8. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 9. Rusty Wheeler (Woodworth 6) 10. Jason Stanke (44) 11. Brian Lacey (51) 12. Adam Babcock (67) 13. Ryan Fraley (12) 14. Jodi Woodworth, Sr. (07) 15. Kevin Robinson (24R) 16. Larry Root (22x) 17. Alan Atkinson (30Too) 18. Jason Longwell (7s) 19. Jamie Scharba (Petsko 00s) 20. Brian Hathaway (93) 21. Jeff Webber (25) 22. Casey Bowers (20) 23. Cole Ruffo (12R)-DNS.
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. BILL FUCHS (10) 2. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 3. Tim McAninch (43) 4. Steve Walker II (4M) 5. Greg Schmied (97) 6. Christi Brugmann (19) 7. Pat Drennan (24) 8. Jeff Little (42) 9. Scott Gilliland (27) 10. Travis Creech (75T) 11. Geof Pinch (36) 12. Nelson Johnson IV (3) 13. Jim Clay, Jr. (84J) 14. Jake Monreal (32M) 15. Leea Coryea (Davis 32)-DNS.
This Saturday, August 10 is Fan Appreciation Night with FREE general admission featuring the weekly six divisions in a “Steel Valley Thunder” program! Racing begins at 7 p.m.
Don’t forget, coming up on Wednesday, August 14 will be the “Charlie Daniels Band” performing at the speedway along with the Huckin Fillybillys. Advance tickets are $33 or $37 at the gate. Advance tickets can be purchased online, at the speedway office, or at Yankee Lake Carryout.
The Lou Blaney Memorial Alzheimer’s Association Benefit Event is nearing on Tuesday, August 20 featuring the “410” Sprint Cars for $5,000 to-win plus the BRP Big-Block Modifieds Tour for $2,000 to-win. It’s NASCAR Night with Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson and Dave Blaney competing in Sprint Cars; however, unfortunately, Kasey Kahne will be unable to participate due to the fact that Sprint Car racing has all been eliminated from his racing plans. Sharon Speedway thanks Kasey for his great support of this event over the years.
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.