FREE general admission & autograph night on tap Saturday with a full “Steel Valley Thunder” program
By Mike Leone
June 10, 2014
(Hartford, OH)…Great summer weather has blessed Sharon Speedway each of the past three race nights and it appears that trend will continue for this Saturday night’s (June 14) rescheduled FREE Fan Appreciation & Autograph Night! The “Steel Valley Thunder” week seven program as part of the 85th anniversary season will include the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply 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.
Back by popular demand is FREE general admission night! Last year’s promotion in August drew a huge crowd and officials are hoping the same for this Saturday night. Fan Appreciation Night was originally scheduled for May 17, but rain forced the event to be rescheduled to this Saturday night’s “Father’s Day Celebration. The event will also include an on-track autograph session during intermission featuring the cars and stars from all six of the competing divisions. This is a great once-per-year opportunity for fans to get an up close look at the mighty machines and meet their heroes with photo and autograph opportunities.
Can someone stop the Kings or Jim Weller in the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds!? If not, one of the three racers will be the first to win three Hovis Auto & Truck Supply features and most likely take over or maintain the points lead. The crazy, close competition has featured Rex King, his son Rex, Jr. and Jim Weller, Jr. alternate victories this season with each winning two. The elder King leads his son by just two points, while Weller is only three points out of the top spot! Jim Rasey suffered his first DNF of the season and lost ground in the championship chase as he sits fourth 34 points back. New York’s Ricky Richner, who is a regular for the second straight year, is fifth.
The same sort of question is being asked in the RUSH Late Models, but it’s been one driver that’s dominated action each of the past three events. Will Thomas III is the first driver in the history of the division to win three straight features! An unprecedented fourth straight win is going to be tough as he’s going to be relegated to last place due to his three straight wins. The 2012 champion leads Russ Byler by 34 points. Byler is due for his first career Late Model win as he’s recorded a pair of second place finishes and has yet to finish worse than seventh this season. Dennis Lunger, Jr. and Jamie Wrightsman are tied for third over Clay Ruffo in the Barris Supply standings. Three new visitors on Saturday night brought the total to 31 different racers this year.
Joel Watson is one of two racers at the Speedway that have already picked up four feature wins! The Conneaut, Ohio driver has soared up the all-time Modified win list in recent years as he’s now tied for second with Jeff Johnson at 18 wins! Watson has a commanding 47-point lead over Steve Dixon, who is still searching for his first win of the season. One-time winner and defending champion, Mike Kinney, is third. Russ Dunn and Johnson round out the top five of the Summit Racing Equipment point race.
Defending champion Mike Clark is starting to show his muscle and take a stronghold on the Stock Cars once again. The Bristolville, Ohio driver is coming off his season’s third feature win and has increased his point lead to 14 over one-time winner Paul Davis. Last year, Clark doubled his career win total with four feature wins and is already just one win always from matching that. Third through fifth in points are Jamie Duncan, Brian Carothers, and Bryan Wagner.
A lot of scrambling has taken place in the Econo Mod division thus far this year. Casey Bowers was less than one lap away from becoming the fifth different winner in as many events last Saturday night, but instead Steve Burns, Jr. stole the win away to become the first repeat winner. Ty Rhoades was presented a plaque from Walt Wimer at intermission as the 2013 Western PA Rookie of the Year as a co-winner with Travis Creech. Though Rhoades’ sophomore season of racing hasn’t been as good as last year, he finds himself atop the HTMA/Precise Racing Products standings. Rhoades would love to garner his first career win and extend his point lead this Saturday night. Brandon Blackshear trails Rhoades by seven points with Jeremy Double, Burns, and George Vestal IV completing the top five. Amazingly just 26 points separates the top eight drivers in points!
Bill Fuchs had to be thinking ‘finally’! The Mini Stock all-time division winner picked up his first win last Saturday night since the “Apple Festival Nationals” last September. Fuchs has knocked on the door all season long. In fact, the Greenville, Pa. racer has yet to finish worse than fourth in any of the six features to date this season! That consistency has kept him only one-point behind defending champion and four-time winner, Travis Creech, in the Deforest Used Parts standings. Jamie Maxwell, Scott Gilliland, and Jim Haefke, Jr. are third through fifth.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply will again award six complimentary pit passes for the following week; a pair going to the hard luck driver in DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, a pair to a lucky driver in the division that competes first, and a pair to a lucky fan. Summit Racing Equipment will award $25 gift cards to the hard charger in the Modified, Stock Car, and Econo Mod divisions. Sweeney Chevrolet/Pace Performance will award $50, $25, and $25 certificates to the top three GM 602 crates in the Econo Mods that have been purchased through them or have secondary seals.
Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5, drivers meeting at 6:30 and heat races slated for 7. Grandstand admission is of course FREE. Pit passes are $30.
Don’t forget coming up on Tuesday, June 24 is the Ohio Speedweek for the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars in a $5,000 to-win event along with the TUSA Mod Lites. Advance tickets are on sale, which admits the holder grandstand access one-hour early at 3 p.m. Tickets go on sale at 4 p.m.
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.