Clean sweep of TT, heat, dash & Gary Knollinger Memorial for Montgomery in Sweeeny RUSH LM Tour; Career 1st win for Middaugh in BOSS Sprints; Point leader Clark wins Stocks; Econos & Minis to Fraley & Haefke
By Mike Leone
August 17, 2013
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway hosted a special event Saturday night featuring the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series in the “Gary Knollinger Memorial” and the BOSS non-wing Sprint Car Series on a beautiful Saturday night. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Ryan Montgomery-Barris Supply RUSH Late Model Sweeney Tour, Aaron Middaugh-BOSS Sprint Series, Mike Clark-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Ryan Fraley-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Jim Haefke, Jr.-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. A pair of bikes was given away to two lucky children thanks to King Bros. and Sharon Speedway.
What a night it was for Ryan Montgomery! The 16-year-old Fairmont, West Virginia Series star made it a clean sweep of the “Gary Knollinger Memorial” setting fast time, winning his heat race, picking up his first K&N dash win then earning his third Sweeney RUSH Late Model Tour win of the season in the 30-lap feature! The win was far from easy as he had to pass standout Max Blair and hold him off in the thrilling finish. All told, Montgomery’s night was worth $2,125 plus the $100 K&N certificate and the beautiful Knollinger Memorial trophy.
“This is my first sweep,” expressed the happy winner. “I was close at Roaring Knob last month getting all but the dash. I didn’t actually get to meet Gary (Knollinger), but I heard a lot about. He was someone if you broke a hub he’d give a guy a part off his car to race, which is amazing. I’m glad they have the race for him. The lapped car was a bit of a problem. My right rear tire was going away. He (Blair) had a hard tire on so he could run through the black. The caution really helped me. It cooled our tires off and let my tire fire faster than his. I was getting me sideways in the last couple laps so I was trying to run down in the corner as hard as I could to get it to coast around so it all worked around.”
Via his dash win, Montgomery took off in the lead, while Blair passed Matt Latta for second on the opening lap as Will Thomas III and Josh Double filled out the first five after one lap. On lap three, Blair closed on Montgomery, while Thomas did the same on Latta. Blair really put the heat on Montgomery putting a nose under the leader on several occasions especially racing off turn four. They were side-by-side on lap eight as Montgomery held the lead, but on the following lap Blair made the pass for the lead in traffic to lead lap nine.
Blair began pulling away on lap 12 and by the halfway point opened up a 1.5 second lead as the laps ticked off caution-free. Thomas continued to put the heat on Latta, but just couldn’t find a way by. Blair dealt with heavy lapped traffic on laps 16-18, but continued his advantage. The complexion of the event changed when Andrew Wylie went up in smoke with 21 laps scored erasing Blair’s big lead.
When racing resumed, Thomas made the pass on the outside to grab third before a six-car accident in turns three and four with 22 laps scored. Back under green, Montgomery stayed with Blair the entire lap and had the momentum off the outside of turn four to lead lap 23. Seventh starting Mike Pegher, Jr. entered the mix taking fifth from Josh Double on lap 25 then one lap later passed Latta for fourth.
The final laps saw Montgomery and Blair race side-by-side to the thrilling finish with Montgomery holding on by just 0.181 of a second in the Jeff Montgomery-owned, T.J. Contracting/High Gear Speed Shop/Mountain State Plumbing/Central Supply/Bobby Lake Motorsports/Frankland Rearends/Genesis Racing Shocks-sponsored #12. Two events ago at Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex, Pegher edged out another standout in Pegher by just 0.132 of a second! It was also Montgomery’s third career Sharon win.
Blair was second for the second straight Tour event. Thomas matched his third place finish at the Sweeney Tour event last month at Sharon with another show position and received an extra $25 from the Knollinger Family. Pegher was fourth and leads the Sweeney Tour points by 24 over Montgomery. Latta’s fifth was his best Tour finish of the season. Josh Double, Russell King, Dennis Lunger, Jr. (also an extra $25 from the Knollinger Family), Jason Rider, and Rocky Kugel completed the top 10. Montgomery’s fast lap in Bobby Lake Motorsports “Shock the Clock” qualifying was a 17.019. Other Bobby Lake Motorsports $25 heat race winners were Latta and Thomas over the 23-car field.
Aaron Middaugh pulled off the upset victory in the 25-lap BOSS Sprint Car feature holding off point leader Brandon Spithaler without any brakes!. Not only was it Middaugh’s first ever BOSS and Sharon win, but it was the first victory of the veteran racer’s career!
“That’s usually when I run my best,” deadpanned the Polk, Ohio winner after being asked about having no brakes. “I just lifted and tried to roll it. I figured Brandon (Spithaler) was going to get me any moment and I just wanted to survive. This is better than two weeks ago when we crashed so hard we knocked the engine out of it. This wingless racing is a lot of fun. I used to run Late Models too so this is a nice blend between that and winged cars.”
Despite starting on the pole, it was the legend Johnny Beaber racing into the lead from the outside with Middaugh, Kirk Jeffries, Mike Miller, and Tony Beaber the top five after one circuit. Jeffries slowed running in third with three laps scored and yielded the position to Miller. When racing resumed, Spithaler flew into the fourth spot then grabbed third from Tony Beaber on lap five. Miller then exited the event on lap five moving Spithaler to third.
On lap seven, it was a three-car race for the lead with Johnny Beaber trying to fend off Middaugh and Spithaler before Mike Flynn spun to bring out the caution. Back under green, the lead trio resumed their battle as Middaugh made the pass for the lead with an inside move off turn four to lead lap eight before Flynn spun again, while at the same time Francis Sesco flipped in turn three. He was okay.
When green replaced yellow, Spithaler was able to dispose of Johnny Beaber for second. The final caution was displayed when Flynn spun for the third time in the identical spot in turn two with 10 laps scored. The caution was beneficial for eighth starting Arnie Kent, who passed both Beabers in consecutive laps back under green.
The last 15 non-stop laps saw Middaugh and Spithaler pull away from the field. Spithaler tried everything as the pair were running up along the fence. Middaugh was able to hang on in his #91 for the victory over Spithaler, who started his career at Sharon in the winged Limited Sprint division. Kent was third. Tony Beaber passed his dad Johnny on lap 21 to secure fourth. Johnny dropped to fifth after leading the first seven laps.
Completing the top 10 were Michael Fischesser, Gale Ruth, Jr., Adam Miller, Bob McMillin, and Paul Kish, Jr. Heat winners were Mike Miller and Spithaler over the 17-car field. Last year’s BOSS winner and 2010 Sharon track champion, Jack Sodeman, Jr., was not in the field, but will be at Sharon on Tuesday for the “Lou Blaney Memorial”.
After getting involved in an early race accident, point leader Mike Clark charged back through the field to win his season’s third feature in a crazy, uncharacteristic caution-filled 15-lap Gibson Insurance Agency feature. “I don’t know why people do that to me, I try to race them as clean as I can,” stated the Bristolville, Ohio 47-year-old when asked about coming from the tail. “I have to thank the Lord Jesus Christ, Hoosier Tire, Wedge Motorsports, Sharon Speedway for giving me a nice track again, and all of my sponsors, my father, my wife, and son.”
Paul Davis led the first four laps before exiting the event with a flat tire under caution when the second place car of Brian Carothers spun. This gave the lead to Brent Coleman, who wouldn’t lead a lap, as on the restart the veteran Bob McCann powered into the lead. Clark was back up to fifth after five laps were scored when the fifth and final caution of the event slowed action for a three-car accident.
The caution was a big break for Clark as on the restart he passed Jason Stanke, Tim Burns, and Coleman for runner-up. Clark quickly caught McCann and the two raced side-by-side for the lead on lap eight with Clark getting by on the inside of turn four. As the last 10 laps went caution-free, Clark pulled away to win by 1.387 seconds for his seventh career win in his Sons of Italy/King’s Sanitary Service/NAPA Auto Parts Champion Heights/Martuccio Eye Care-sponsored #7.
McCann matched his season’s best finish in runner-up with his fourth top three finish in six starts. Coleman was a season best third. Carothers came back from his spin to finish fourth over 17th starting Tim Burns. Heat victors over the 19-car field were McCann and Clark.
The Econo Mod feature was similar to the Stock Car main as the event was caution-filled in the early laps and while the Stocks ran their final 10 laps caution-free, the Econo Mod final 12 went green-to-checkered. Ryan Fraley totally dominated the HTMA/Precise Racing Products event winning by over six seconds for his fourth win!
“Right before the feature Brandon (Blackshear) came over and said we’re going to try some different stuff,” revealed the 24-year-old Wheatland, Pa. winner. “He jacked the car up, changed some stuff, and it worked! We had parts break on the car the last two weeks and running over stuff with the right rear causing flat tires doesn’t help. We’ll try to keep it together and see what happens in the end. I have to thank all my sponsors and everyone that helps on the car.”
Steve Burns, Jr. led the first two laps until fourth starting Fraley took over on lap three before the sixth and final caution of the feature. Fraley’s Sunset Lanes/Eagle Soft Tees/Tri-State Trailer Sales/Blackshear Racing Engines-sponsored #12 went on to win by a margin of 6.34 seconds and closed the deficit in the point chase to 15 behind Jeremy Double.
Last week’s winner, 12-year-old Jacob Eucker, came home second after starting seventh. Eucker passed Burns for the runner-up spot on lap 13, which was a great battle as seven cars were in a pack for the spot. Burns dropped to third. Alan Atkinson’s fourth place matched his best finish from May 25. Jason Longwell was fifth. Heat winners over the 22-car field were Bowers, Butch Lambert, and Fraley. Lambert’s heat race win came by just 0.001 of a second over Burns as the two raced side-by-side swapping the lead for nearly the entire race!
It hasn’t been the year Jim Haefke, Jr. had envisioned after dominating the Mini Stocks and winning the championship in 2012; however, on Saturday night, Haefke was the benefactor of several other racers’ misfortunes to capture his second 12-lap Deforest Used Parts win. “With all this rough driving it feels good to get a win with clean racing,” acknowledged the 31-year-old Austintown, Ohio driver. “I have to thank my crew, my dad, Tonya, my wife who is not here, my sponsors, Sharon Speedway.”
Steve Walker II led the first lap before rookie Travis Creech made the pas with an inside move in turn one on lap two and Haefke followed in turn four taking second. Creech looked like he was well on his way to his fifth win until his right rear wheel got bent on lap seven. Haefke ran Creech down and made the pass for the lead, while Walker followed in second one lap later. Creech came to rest with nine laps scored bringing out the event’s first and only caution.
Haefke held on over the final three laps in his Diver Steel City Auto Crushing/AAMCO Transmission/Killer Racing Decals-sponsored #421for his 10th career win tying Scott Gilliland for third on the all-time win list. Walker’s runner-up was his best since the 2011 season. Tim McAninch, Pat Drennan, and Pat Hanlon completed the top five. Heat winners were Creech and Walker. Point leader Scott Gilliland got taken out by Ray Gregory in the heat race with Gregory getting upside down and Gilliland junking his car.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series “Gary Knollinger Memorial” (30 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. RYAN MONTGOMERY (12) 2. Max Blair (111) 3.Will Thomas III (9) 4. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Geisler 1c) 5. Matt Latta (21) 6. Josh Double (38) 7. Russell King (Diver 23) 8. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L) 9. Jason Rider (Wade 76) 10. Rocky Kugel (21KRT) 11. Butch Lambert (27) 12. W.L. Stile (1W) 13. Eric Wilson (27W) 14. Joe Martin (55) 15. Cody Dawson (36) 16. Rick Singleton (Enyeart 99*) 17. Lon Emerick (3) 18. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 19. Joel Prosser (77) 20. Russell Byler (Hoover 00H) 21. Andrew Wylie (84) 22. Tim Cole (9T) 23. Bobby Whitling (7W).
BOSS Non-Wing Sprint Series (25 laps): 1. AARON MIDDAUGH (91) 2. Brandon Spithaler (Burkey 57B) 3. Arnie Kent (18) 4. Tony Beaber (3T) 5. Johnny Beaber (3J) 6. Michael Fischesser (4) 7. Gale Ruth, Jr. (5x) 8. Adam Miller (24M) 9. Bob McMillin (5) 10. Paul Kish, Jr. (4c) 11. Chad Wilson (14) 12. Mike Flynn (12) 13. Francis Sesco (2s) 14. Mike Miller (82) 15. Kirk Jeffries (59J) 16. Aaron Fry (14) 17. Butch Beasley (1).
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. MIKE CLARK (7) 2. Bob McCann (Fornataro USA1) 3. Brent Coleman (01) 4. Brian Carothers (02c) 5. Tim Burns (66) 6. Gary Robinson (44R) 7. Paul Davis (3) 8. Ron Yarab, Jr. (Burns 70B) 9. Jason Stanke (44) 10. Jesse Brock (22B) 11. Mike Miller (666) 12. Bob Pollock (70X) 13. Michael Lesky (5L) 14. Bret McCarthy (33) 15. Jamie Duncan (67J) 16. Jamie Gibbs (98) 17. Bryan Wagner (56) 18. Mark Hopkins (69H)-DNS 19. Tim Emery (17)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. RYAN FRALEY (12) 2. Jacob Eucker (64) 3. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 4. Alan Atkinson (30Too) 5. Jason Longwell (7s) 6. Butch Lambert (Hendrickson 19) 7. Ty Rhoades (12R) 8. Rusty Wheeler (Woodworth 6) 9. Jeremy Double (83) 10. Steve Haefke (41) 11. Jason Stanke (44) 12. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 13. Larry Root (22x) 14. Adam Babcock (67) 15. Junior Mechling (89) 16. Pat Adams (39) 17. Steve Samuelson (80JR) 18. George Vestal IV (4) 19. Keith Felicetty (98) 20. Casey Bowers (20) 21. Jamie Scharba (Petsko 00s) 22. Kevin Robinson (24R).
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. JIM HAEFKE, JR. (421) 2. Steve Walker II (4M) 3. Tim McAninch (43) 4. Pat Drennan (24) 5. Pat Hanlon (7H) 6. Geof Pinch (36) 7. Travis Creech (75T) 8. Jamie Maxwell (6M) 9. Bill Fuchs (10)-DSQ 10. Ray Gregory (82R)-DSQ 11. Scott Gilliland (27)-DNS.
Coming up on Tuesday (August 20) is the Lou Blaney Memorial Alzheimer’s Association Benefit Event featuring the “410” Sprint Cars for $5,000 to-win plus the BRP Big-Block Modifieds Tour for $2,000 to-win. Gates open at 4 p.m. with warm-ups at 6:10 followed by Sprint Car time trials and racing at 7.
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.