Racing returns Saturday featuring “Heroes Night”
By Mike Leone
September 4, 2013
(Hartford, OH)…After a week off over Labor Day Weekend, Sharon Speedway returns to action this weekend for the final stretch run of the season over the next five weeks. It all starts this Saturday night, September 7 for a traditional “Steel Valley Thunder” program presented by Warehouse Sales featuring the Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Barris Supply RUSH Late Models, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. Race time is 7 p.m.
Saturday’s promotion is the annual “Heroes Night” as all fire, EMS, police, doctors, and nurses will be admitted free into the grandstands for general admission! Once again Saturday night, one lucky boy and girl under the age of 14 will win a bicycle or scooter thanks to King Bros. and Sharon Speedway. Saturday’s kitchen special is lasagna.
Sharon Speedway will be the location of the region’s only DIRTcar Big-Block Modified event of the weekend meaning the ground-pounders will get only one chance to perform. With the points quickly beginning to wind down, Jim Weller, Jr. continues to hold on to his point lead. The Hubbard, Ohio veteran is closing in on his third championship as he leads Rex King, Jr. by 44.
The youngest of the King Family has had a breakout season with four victories, but some DNFs have hindered his chances at his first championship. Dave Murdick is third. Rex King has dropped to fourth due to sitting out of action on August 24 after back-to-back flips. New Yorker Ricky Richner is fifth after losing out on his first career Sharon win to King, Jr. at the checkers last time.
After his season’s fourth victory at the last event and no finishes outside the top five in any regular event this season, defending champion Will Thomas III continues to whittle away at Dennis Lunger, Jr’s point lead in the RUSH Late Models. Thomas missed opening night and has been behind the eight-ball ever since as he trails the Albion, Pa. point leader by 29.
2011 champion Josh Double is currently third over Eric Wilson, who continues to lead the RUSH “Futures Cup” point standings for young racers. Late Model rookie Jamie Wrightsman is fifth as he continues to improve after moving out of the Mini Stock division. Saturday will be the final tune-up before the $2,000 to-win Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Tour event next weekend.
Mike Kinney has certainly had an impressive season. The Ashtabula, Ohio native has only one finish out of the top 10 in the competitive Modified division and that came back in May. Kinney has strung together eighth straight top four finishes in regular racing events to have a pretty commanding 44-point lead in search of his first title. Kinney leads Joe Gabrielson, who is coming off his season’s second win. Third through fifth are Alan Dellinger, Jeff Johnson, and Jeff Hassay. Sixty-nine different drivers have competed in the division that has featured 11 different winners!
The Stock Car count has really picked up since this summer. In fact, the last time out the division had 23 cars, which was the most in several years for a regular event! The Stock Cars have been averaging nearly 19 cars per night since June and the competition has been tough. After trouble last time for defending champion, Tim Burns, Mike Clark has opened up his point lead to 60 with just three nights remaining.
The Bristolville, Ohio has had a solid season with three victories in search of his first career championship after some 17 years of trying. Brian Carothers, Paul Davis, and Jamie Duncan currently sit third through fifth in points.
Jeremy Double, Ryan Fraley, and Jacob Eucker have clearly been the dominant three Econo Mod racers in 2013 so it’s no surprise the trio have separated themselves from the rest of the competitors in the race for the championship. Just 25 points separate the youngsters with Double leading Fraley by 21 and Eucker by 25 as all three look for their first title. Rookie Ty Rhoades has been very consistent with 10 straight top seven finishes as he’s fourth in points. Steve Burns, Jr. is the divisions only other winner besides Double, Fraley, and Eucker, but has only one win and is 133 points out of first place.
The track’s closest point race is in the Mini Stocks. Scott Gilliland’s lead has shrunk to just seven points over rookie Travis Creech. Gilliland of Warren, Ohio leads the division with six victories to Creech’s five. Defending champion, Jim Haefke, Jr., is the only other driver with a realistic shot at the title, but he trails the leader by 47, while 2011 champion Bill Fuchs is a distant fifth.
Pits open at 4 p.m. Saturday with grandstands at 5 and racing at 7. Grandstand admission for those 14 and over is $13, while children under 14 are always free. Pit passes are $25. Parking and camping is always free.
Coming up on September 13-14 will be the “Apple Festival Nationals” featuring the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds in a BRP Tour event, the Sweeney Chevrolet RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series, the UEMS Modifieds, Open Stock Cars, Econo Mods, and Mini Stocks. Preliminary action including time trials and heat races will be held on Friday night (no TT for Minis) with last chance races and features on Saturday night. Race time is 7 p.m. both nights. There will be live entertainment both nights and the vintage cars will also be competing.
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 @SharonSpdwy.