King & Lunger chalk up 4th Big-Block Mod & RUSH LM wins; Stiffler becomes 11th different Mod winner; Burns is 9th different Stock winner; Econos & Minis to Eucker & Gilliland
By Mike Leone
August 10, 2013
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway was back in action on Saturday night for another installment of “Steel Valley Thunder”. The weather cooperated for Fan Appreciation Night, which featured a first ever free general admission night! Fans flocked through the gates filling the frontstretch grandstands to capacity and a large turnout on the backstretch. Fans then took part in autograph night as the 105 drivers and their cars were on the frontstretch during intermission.
Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Rex King-Governor Insurance DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Dennis Lunger, Jr.-Barris Supply RUSH Late Models, Scott Stiffler-Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Tim Burns-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Jacob Eucker-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Scott Gilliland-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 surprised race-long leader Jim Weller, Jr. with a late race outside winning pass to capture his division-leading fourth of the season in the Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds. King’s wins added with his son Rex, Jr’s three victories gives the King Family seven of the 12 feature wins this season!
“The lap before (Jim) Rasey broke I ran around the top in (turns) one and two and I thought ‘boy it’s sticking pretty good’ so I better try that and it worked out well,” revealed the Bristolville, Ohio veteran. “Before Dave (Murdick) broke he was getting a run on Jim also so I think he was going to take the lead. This is perfect, all of these people need to keep coming back. I have to thank the fans, the new fans that showed up tonight, come on back every Saturday night it’s a good thing. I have a lot of good sponsors, my family, and everyone that works on this car- it’s a good deal.”
Point leader Weller raced to the early lead, while Dave Murdick and King passed Rob Curtis for second on the opening lap. Last week’s winner, King, Jr., came to a halt to bring out a caution with one-lap scored. Curtis and eighth starting Brad Rapp swapped the fourth position back and forth several times before Rapp made the pass for good on lap three.
Following a caution for Ricky Richner with five laps scored, the top three of Weller, Murdick and King pulled away from the field. Murdick really began to put the heat on Weller. Murdick was running the highline in turns three and four and with each successive lap inched further alongside Weller. Finally on lap 11, Murdick got alongside Weller off turn four and it looked to be a drag race down the frontstretch; however, apparent contact with the frontstretch fence sent Murdick’s right rear wheel flying and ending his fine run.
King and Rapp moved into second and third on the restart. When racing resumed, Weller continued to lead in search of his fourth victory. It didn’t appear like King was going to be able to overtake Weller, but a caution for Jim Rasey, who wasn’t able to clear the speedway, setup a three-lap shootout. King was able to race alongside Weller on lap 18 and had the momentum to make the winning pass off turn four.
Weller tried everything over the final two laps to get back by, but would come up 0.424 of a second short as King’s 46th career win came in the KMB Inc.-owned, GS Engine Power/Midway Garage Door/University Hospital-sponsored #65. In just his third appearance of the season, Rapp improved on last week’s fourth place with a solid third. Skip Moore had a great run coming from 15th to finish fourth matching his best finish of the season since April 27. Tom Winkle was a season best fifth in just his second appearance.
Sixth through 10th were Jimmy Weller III, Bob Warren, Ken Moy, Jr., who made his first start in several years, Carl Murdick, and Don Brown. Heat winners were Dave Murdick, Curtis, and Jim Weller, Jr. The 21-car field matched a season high from May 11.
After seeing his point lead slowly slip away in recent events, Dennis Lunger, Jr. was back in victory lane for his division-leading fourth victory of the season in the RUSH Late Models. Though it was the smallest field of the season, the 20-lap Barris Supply-sponsored event saw five different leaders with Lunger coming from seventh to the front.
“We bought this car a couple weeks ago from Doug Horton at High Gear,” stated the 45-year-old Albion, Pa. resident. “We decided we were going to bring this new car out and I’ve struggled with it. It’s been no good. I called Doug on the phone and he said to try some different things. After the heat race it was really bad, but it was night and day to the feature- that was a good car! This Warrior is different than my other Warrior. They like to run their cars a little freer that I do- I like my cars tighter so we tightened it up quite a bit and it was really good. I have to thank my crew, family, and all my sponsors. What a crowd tonight! This is outstanding- I wish it was like this every night”
Bob Diver overtook pole-sitter Russ Byler on the start and appeared like he’d be the early leader, but pushed high in turn four allowing Byler to lead the opening lap. Eric Wilson got by Diver for second on lap two. Lunger was quickly moving forward taking fourth from Josh Double on lap four then the following lap brought Double with him as they passed Diver for third and fourth respectively.
Wilson was all over Byler, who was making his second straight start in the Terry Hoover-owned #00H. Wilson made the pass for the lead driving under Byler in turn four on lap six. Lunger kept his progression to the front going when he got by Byler for second on lap seven as Double once again followed Lunger by another competitor for third.
Lunger didn’t waste any time running down Wilson and pulled alongside the leader on lap eight before making the winning pass on lap nine. Double then put the heat on Wilson on lap 11 trying to get by for second. The event’s only caution bunched up the field with 11 laps scored for a spin by Lon Emerick. Back under green, Wilson tried hard to stay with Lunger, but would lose second to Double, while Will Thomas III was able to get by Byler for fourth.
Lunger would go on for his fifth career win, which have all come since the 2012 season finale, in the Schwartz Construction-owned, Schwartz Trucking/Choices Restaurant/English Tire/State Farm Insurance Chris Brecht/Carter Lumber/R.A.W. Power-sponsored #71L. Double, who won the heat races, was 0.706 of a second back in second. RUSH “Futures Cup” point leader Wilson was third over Thomas and Byler. Jamie Wrightsman, Diver, Ben Black, and Emerick completed the field.
Scott Stiffler emerged victorious in a wild 15-lap Modified feature to become the amazing 11th different Summit Racing Equipment victor of the season in 15 races! Like Lunger, Stiffler also came from the seventh starting spot. “I saw something was going to go down when he (Potosky) pinched him against the wall; I figured I better get out of the way and let the boys go at it,” explained the 43-year-old Farmdale, Ohio driver. “Ryan came down and told me what the (Jacob) Eucker kid did (Econo Mods) and it worked. I have to thank my sponsors and everyone that helps out.”
Following his first career Modified heat race win, Gary Sullivan took off in the lead with Alan Dellinger getting by Jeff Hassay for second. Lap two was a crazy lap with Dellinger passing Sullivan for the lead, while it was three-wide for third with Stiffler getting the nod over Hassay, and Mike Potosky. A pair of caution slowed action with four laps scored.
Back under green flag conditions, Potosky was on the move as he passed both Stiffler and Sullivan for second. A caution for a spin by newcomer and veteran Bob Moskey set up a wild restart. Potosky really went after Dellinger and forced his way by prematurely the lead, but more contact continued through turns three and four as Stiffler went flying by into the lead before a caution for Clayton Kennedy with seven laps scored. Dellinger and Potosky continued going at each other and both were sent off under caution.
Action settled down over the second-half of the race as the final eight laps went caution-free. Stiffler raced on to the win by 1.182 seconds in his Integra Fabricating/Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling-sponsored #14. Last week, point leader Mike Kinney came from 12th to second; this week it was ninth to second! Kinney passed Bob Diver for the runner-up spot on lap 12 and was right there at the finish as he was able to extend his point lead to 50 over Joe Gabrielson.
Diver was third over a career best effort by Sullivan in fourth. Dwayne Clay was fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were 20th starting Gabrielson, Shawn Shingledecker, Brock Moskey and his father Bob, and Andy Buckley. Besides Sullivan, Hassay and Dellinger also picked up heat race wins over the 23-car field.
Defending Stock Car champion Tim Burns has had a consistent season sitting second in points, but had yet to crack victory lane. That all changed Saturday night when Burns led all 15 laps of the non-stop Gibson Insurance Agency feature holding off point leader Mike Clark. Burns became the ninth different winner of the season in just 13 races!
“I knew he (Mike Clark) was there,” stated the 42-year-old Greenville, Pa. racer. “The 97 (Tony Bruno) lapped car was there at the end, and I thought ‘do I go high or low, Mike likes the low so I stayed low’. This class is great. It’s the funnest to race in, and the top 10 drivers are really good. I want to thank my wife, family, and all of my friends, the sponsors on the car.”
Burns raced into the lead from the pole position with Jamie Duncan and Clark in tow. Clark passed Duncan in turn two for second; meanwhile, Shaun Hooks and Brian Carothers were going at it for fourth. The duo swapped the position back and forth several times before Carothers got by for good on lap five.
Clark tried everything to get by Burns. Lapped traffic came into play on lap 11, but Burns maintained his lead. An exciting final lap saw Clark really put the heat on as it was a drag race to the checkered, but Burns came out on top for his eighth career win by just 0.074 of a second! Burns’ non-stop time was 4:48.613 in his Hittles Auto Supply/CD Gibbs Construction/Wedge Motorsports-sponsored #66.
After just one top five finish through mid-July, Duncan has really been impressive over the last three races with his first career Sharon win, a runner-up last week, and now a third place! Carothers was fourth over Hooks, who subbed for Bob McCann in the Gregg Fornataro-owned #USA 1. Heat wins went to Carothers and Burns.
Twelve-year-old Jacob Eucker thrilled the packed house with another impressive performance in the Econo Mods. Eucker’s fourth win of the season came in the 15-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products-sponsored event. “There was a lot of rubber down there and the top was loose,” explained the Hartford, Ohio driver on his winning pass. “My goal was to win one this year, but this is good. I have to thank all of my sponsors.”
Eucker started on the pole, but it was Jason Longwell taking charge on the outside into the early lead. Eucker would make the winning pass of Longwell on the inside of turns three and four on lap three. By the halfway point, Eucker stretched his lead before a caution with nine laps completed. Ryan Fraley would pass Jeremy Double and Ty Rhoades for the third spot, but a flat tire under caution with 12 laps scored ruined his chance at a victory.
Back under green for the final time, 12th starting Double passed Longwell for second on lap 14, but would run out of time to make a serious challenge on Eucker, who took the checkered flag first by just 0.554 of a second in the Matt Eucker-owned, Tom’s Sewer & Drain/Ohio Commerce Center/Dr. John Eucker/Damon Race Engines/Altitude Adjustment/Danski Dyno & Performance/Close Racing Supply-sponsored #64.
Point leader Double was able to extend his point lead over Fraley. After a pair of 18th place finishes in his Econo Mod debut, Longwell was a solid third. Rhoades continued his impressive and consistent rookie year with his eighth straight top five finish, ninth overall and 11th top 10! Butch Lambert made his second start in the Mike Hendrickson-owned #19 and recorded his second top five in fifth after starting 10th. Topping the heat races were Longwell, Double, and Eucker over the 22-car field.
With rookie Travis Creech slowly cutting into Scott Gilliland’s point lead in the Mini Stocks, Gilliland put a halt to that as he passed Creech to win his sixth of the season in the 12-lap Deforest Used Parts event, but first since June 1.
“I would have never guessed this honestly,” stated the 46-year-old Warren, Ohio racer when asked about his six win. “We’re not a point racing team; in fact, this is the first year we’ve ever tried. We came out so strong and felt like we had to keep racing for points. We’ll keep showing up and hopefully everything will work out. Free is good obviously! The fans came out in droves tonight. Sharon Speedway is the best place to race- I love this place! I have to thank Dave Willoughby, Sharon Speedway, all of the fans that came out tonight, my family, and everyone that works on the car- without them none of this would be possible!”
Creech charged from fourth into the lead on the opening lap with fifth starting Gilliland following Creech forward. The top two quickly pulled away on lap three, while sixth starting Bill Fuchs passed Mike Monreal for third. Gilliland was all over Creech and got under the leader at the halfway point, but couldn’t make the pass stick. Fuch’s would lose a wheel with seven laps scored necessitating the event’s only caution.
When racing resumed, Gilliland made the winning pass and went on for his 10th career win in his Lawn Wizard/NRC Management/VP&R/Inventive Sign & Design-sponsored #27 to move into third place on the division’s all-time win list. Creech was second over Jim Haefke, Jr., Todd Hanlon, and rookie Geof Pinch, who recorded his best finish after starting 11th. Gilliland and Creech won the heat races.
Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. REX KING (65) 2. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 3. Brad Rapp (11R) 4. Skip Moore (17M) 5. Tom Winkle (Smith 28) 6. Jimmy Weller III (23) 7. Bob Warren (96B) 8. Ken Moy, Jr. (34) 9. Carl Murdick (6) 10. Don Brown (71B) 11. Rick Ryder (Snider 189) 12. Troy Senchak (6-Pack) 13. Tommy Marshall III (Hinkle 77) 14. Jim Rasey (32) 15. Dave Murdick (61) 16. Rob Curtis (McElhaney 6 7/8) 17. Ricky Richner (26) 18. Rob McElhaney (7R) 19. Tom Glenn (83T) 20. Rex King, Jr. (165) 21. Kevin Hoffman (17H)-DNS.
Barris Supply RUSH Late Models (20 laps): 1. DENNIS LUNGER, JR. (Schwartz 71L) 2. Josh Double (38) 3. Eric Wilson (27W) 4. Will Thomas III (9) 5. Russ Byler (Hoover 00H) 6. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 7. Bob Diver (23) 8. Ben Black (27B) 9. Lon Emerick (3).
Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modifieds (15 laps): 1. SCOTT STIFFLER (14) 2. Mike Kinney (3) 3. Bob Diver (23) 4. Gary Sullivan (47s) 5. Dwayne Clay (007) 6. Joe Gabrielson (58) 7. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 8. Brock Moskey (3M) 9. Bob Moskey (33) 10. Andy Buckley (965) 11. Arlan Coy (56) 12. Jeff Hassay (10) 13. Wayne Brugmann (79) 14. Bob Williamson (93) 15. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 16. Mike Potosky (M20) 17. Alan Dellinger (White 53) 18. Clayton Kennedy (9) 19. Jeff Johnson (27) 20. Trevor Herr (32) 21. Amanda Stiffler (14) 22. Howard Fraley (217)-DSQ 23. Rick Robinson (34R)-DNS.
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. TIM BURNS (66) 2. Mike Clark (7) 3. Jamie Duncan (67J) 4. Brian Carothers (02c) 5. Shaun Hooks (Fornataro USA 1) 6. Bryan Wagner (56) 7. Ron Yarab, Jr. (Burns 70B) 8. Brent Coleman (01) 9. Jesse Brock (22B) 10. Tony Bruno (97) 11. Ray Gregory (15) 12. Jamie Gibbs (98) 13. Bob Pollock (70x) 14. Mark Hopkins (69H) 15. Dan McEwen (95) 16. Paul Davis (3)-DNS 17. Mike Kerr (25K)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. JACOB EUCKER (64) 2. Jeremy Double (83) 3. Jason Longwell (7s) 4. Ty Rhoades (12R) 5. Butch Lambert (Hendrickson 19) 6. Jamie Scharba (Petsko 00s) 7. Kevin Robinson (24R) 8. Alan Atkinson (30Too) 9. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 10. George Vestal IV (4) 11. Ryan Fraley (12) 12. Jodi Woodworth, Jr. (07) 13. Larry Root (22x) 14. Adam Babcock (67) 15. Jason Stanke (44) 16. Keith Felicetty (98) 17. Rusty Wheeler (Woodworth 6) 18. Derek Dellinger (19) 19. Jace Ferringer (02) 20. Junior Mechling (89) 21. Brian Hathaway (93)-DNS 22. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B)-DNS.
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. SCOTT GILLILAND (27) 2. Travis Creech (75T) 3. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 4. Todd Hanlon (7H) 5. Geof Pinch (36) 6. Leea Coryea (Davis 32) 7. Mike Monreal (32M) 8. Bill Fuchs (10) 9. Christi Brugmann (19) 10. Greg Schmied (97) 11. Steve Walker II (4M) 12. Pat Drennan (24)-DNS 13. Jamie Maxwell (6M)-DNS.
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.
Next Saturday (August 17) the BOSS non-wing Sprint Cars Series will be on hand joined by the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series in the $2,000 to-win “Gary Knollinger Memorial”. Also on the card will be the Stock Cars, Econo Mods and Mini Stocks. Race time is 7 p.m.
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 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 been eliminated from his racing plans nor will Tony Stewart be able to compete due his recent injury. Sharon Speedway thanks Kasey and Tony for their 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.