Lou Blaney Memorial Tuesday; Blaney Brothers look to fend off invaders with Sprints; BRP Mod Tour also featured
By Mike Leone
August 16, 2013
(Hartford, OH)…The Lou Blaney Memorial is an event racers and fans look forward to each year. This year’s event will take place this Tuesday, August 20 as the fifth annual edition will feature “410” Sprint Cars and DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds. Ollie’s Bargain Outlet will again present the benefit for the Alzheimer’s Association. Racing will begin at 7 p.m.
For the second straight year, Sprint Cars will race for $5,000 to-win! The 30-lap feature will pay $300 to-start. This year, the Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modified will be sanctioned by the BRP Tour and will race for $2,000 to-win!
There has yet to be a repeat winner in the four prior “Lou Blaney Memorial” Sprint Car events. Tony Stewart won the inaugural event in 2009. Mike Lutz has been the only local winner taking the 2010 version for Jim Chappel, who currently has Rod George behind the wheel. Texan Sam Hafertepe, Jr. won in 2011, while Californian Brad Sweet topped last year’s event.
Dave Blaney, winner of 27 Sprint Car features at Sharon in addition to two Modified mains, would certainly love to add his name as a winner to this prestigious event, as would his brother Dale. The youngest of Lou’s sons has 13 career Sprint Car feature wins at Sharon including the 2011 Ohio All Star Speedweek event. Dale is the current All Star point leader and now has amassed 98 career wins, which ties him with Kenny Jacobs for most all-time. Dave meanwhile has had a pretty good year racing Sprint Cars part-time with victories at Port Royal and Hagerstown Speedways.
Unfortunately for the first time in five years, Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne will not be part of “Lou Blaney Memorial”. Though initially announced as participants, Kahne eliminated his own personal Sprint Car racing in 2013, and as everyone knows, Stewart broke his leg a little over a week ago at Oskaloosa, Iowa.
Ed Lynch, Jr. is the speedway’s all-time leading Sprint Car winner at 50 and is expected to be part of the field. Pittsburgh’s Danny Holtgraver has taken to the road full-time for the first time in his career driving the Bryan Grove/Rob Hunter #45. Holtgraver is currently third in national All Star points with a pair of victories. In addition to his All Star win at Mercer, Holtgraver has three other victories at Mercer. He was also the big $10,000 “King of the 360s” winner in February at East Bay.
Other top locals expected to challenge for the victory include standout Rod George, former track champion Jack Sodeman, Jr., BOSS wingless and Lernerville point leader Brandon Spithaler, former Lernerville champion Carl Bowser, Brian Ellenberger, Mercer defending champion and current point leader Eric Williams, Dan Kuriger, last year’s Ohio Speedweek winner Brandon Matus, Adam Kekich, and others. Several Ohio and central Pa. racers have also expressed interest in the event.
Note to Sprint Car teams: the national Sprint Car Hoosier Tire rule will be in effect, qualifying time trials will be used, and no methanol will be sold at the speedway.
“410” Sprint Car Feature Purse: 1. $5,000 2. $2,500 3. $1,200 4. $1,000 5. $800 6. $700 7. $650 8. $600 9. $550 10. $500 11. $400 12. $375 13. $350 14. $340 15. $330 16. $320 17. $310 18-24. $300. $100 Tow/Non-Qualifier.
There has yet to be a repeat “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner in the Modifieds either! New York legend Jack Johnson captured the 2009 race, while local Ohio drivers Jim Rasey and Rob Kristyak stole the thunder in 2010 and 2011. Last year, Kevin Bolland won the prestigious event.
New York top runner Chad Brachmann is the current BRP Tour point leader with three victories in the first five events! New Yorker Ricky Richner won the Eriez Speedway event, while Dave Murdick is the only local winner this year taking the Expo Speedway event last month. Brachmann has a 17-point lead in the BRP standings on Richner, who has also been a Sharon regular for the first time in his career this year. Kevin Hoffman, Jeremiah Shingledecker, and Rex King complete the top five in points.
Sharon’s Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds have been very competitive this season and have had a resurgence in car counts ever since about mid-season last year. Jim Weller, Jr. has had a tremendous season leading the points with 10 top three finishes including three victories! Rex King and his son “Cooter” also each have three victories. Dave Murdick and Brian Swartzlander also have a win each, while numerous other top racers have been very close to cracking victory lane.
Friends of Lou Blaney will again attend the Memorial Event to help celebrate the life and accomplishments of the Hall of Fame driver, who won more than 600 feature victories during a five-decade career. The legend has at least 121 Modified wins and another 11 documented in a Sprint Car at Sharon alone. Blaney passed away in 2009 after battling Alzheimer’s.
Tickets are on sale by calling 330-772-5481 or by going to SharonSpeedway.com. Advance ticket holders will be granted admission one hour earlier at 3 p.m. for preferred seating. Gates will open for all others at 4 p.m. Warm-ups will begin at 6:10 followed by time trials. Racing will begin at 7 p.m. Adult grandstand admission is $20. Kids 13 and under are free. Pit passes are $35.
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.