4 new winners highlight 4th of July weekend racing at Sharon; Singleton wins Sweeney RUSH LM Tour; Weller III ends long drought in Big-Block Mods; Career 1st for Longwell in Econo Mods & Campbell in Minis
By Mike Leone
July 5, 2014
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway continued to be blessed with great weather as Saturday night’s Bill Emig Memorial presented by Bilstein Shock Absorbers was the seventh straight Saturday night of racing completed. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane with their first wins of the 85th anniversary season were Rick Singleton-Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series, Jimmy Weller III-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Jason Longwell-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Joe Campbell-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
The way Rick Singleton is going right now it’s hard to imagine he went over 13 months without winning a Sweeney RUSH Late Model Tour event. On Saturday night, Singleton led wire-to-wire in the 25-lap Barris Supply feature event for his fourth win in the past five Tour events! The victory was worth $1,500 plus an additional $500 for capturing the overall “Bill Emig Memorial Wild Card Weekend” title, and $100 for winning the “John Buzzard Memorial” K&N Dash. In the five Tour events he’s competed in, Singleton has earned $9,400- not bad for a $5,500 engine!
“This is a great race track,” expressed the 49-year-old Front Royal, Virginia racer after his first victory at the speedway. “If it wasn’t so far away we’d be here all of the time. Things are going real good right now. We’ve had a lot of luck on our side, but that can change in a hurry. This MBH Race Car has been so good and that’s been the difference from last year. This extra money is great and I know Clint (Enyeart) appreciates it.”
After winning the dash, Singleton took off in the lead over Russell Baird, Jr., John Waters, Ryan Montgomery, and Jorden Peters. Eighth starting Cody Dawson was on the move racing into the top five on lap two before back-peddling. Josh Double started 10th and was halfway to the front after six non-stop laps taking the position from Peters.
Meanwhile up front, Singleton had begun to pull away on lap five, while the battle was on for second. Baird was trying to hold off Waters, but in the meantime Montgomery snuck under Waters for third on lap six. The event’s only caution came for a spin by Jason Stanke with seven laps completed.
Back under green, Montgomery made the pass of Baird for second as Waters slipped high and fell out of the top five allowing Double and ninth starting Will Thomas III to grab fourth and fifth respectively. Montgomery went after Singleton on lap 10. Behind the lead duo, Double and Thomas continued their progression forward getting by Baird for third and fourth respectively on lap 11.
By lap 12, Montgomery was right on Singleton, while Double was a half-straightaway back in third. Montgomery really put the pressure on Singleton on lap 15. Double and Thomas started to close in on lap 17 trying to make it a four-car race for the lead. Singleton caught the back of the pack on lap 21 as Montgomery followed Singleton close. Coming down for the white flag, Singleton had heavy traffic looming ahead. It appeared Montgomery may have had the advantage to try and steal his first win with a last lap pass, but Singleton made a great move in traffic to seal the victory.
Singleton’s fifth career Sweeney Tour win came by 1.343 seconds over Montgomery in the Clint Enyeart-owned, Rick Singleton Rental, MBH, TC Racecars-sponsored #99*. Montgomery’s runner-up was his fifth straight top four finish as he extended his Sweeney Tour point lead over Chad McClellan. His back-to-back runner-up finishes also tied him with McClellan for second in the “Wild Card Weekend” points. The two drivers will each receive an additional $350.
“This was a great track tonight,” said the 17-year-old Fairmont, West Virginia standout. “I probably should have gambled and tried the outside at the end. I got underneath Rick a couple times, but he’s six feet taller than me and I thought otherwise! We’re going to win one of these yet, but Rick is a great driver.”
Double joined up with the Tour on Friday night and improved on his ninth place finish with a fine third place just 1.795 seconds behind Singleton at the track he won the inaugural divisional championship at in 2011. Double passed seven cars on Saturday night to earn the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger gift card.
Thomas, the 2012 Sharon Champion and current point leader, had a good run gaining five spots to finish fourth in his first Sweeney Tour start of the season. Baird’s fifth place finish was a career best effort on the Sweeney Tour and best ever at Sharon Speedway at a track the Uniontown, Pa. racer really enjoys.
Canadian Jorden Peters over Andrew Wylie, Alan Dellinger, Waters, and McClellan completed the top 10. Dellinger was randomly drawn for a pair of pit passes to July 19 compliments of Hovis Auto & Truck Supply. Two big drawings took place. The first was for the Lincoln Electric Power MIG 140C Machine and Utility Cart valued at over $750, and was won by Jason Stanke. The second was for a TurboStart 16-Volt Racing Battery valued at over $250 and the lucky winner was Bobby Pifer III. Baird and Singleton won the heat races over the season high 19 cars.
Jimmy Weller III has watched his dad Jim, Jr. win a pair of features this year, 28 for his career, along with two championships in Big-Block Modifieds at Sharon. Weller has been close over the years to winning a Big-Block Modified feature, but has never got it done at Sharon. On Saturday night, the NASCAR Camping World Truck racer, led the entire 20 laps unchallenged in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar-sanctioned feature.
“I can’t tell you how long it’s been,” stated the happy 28-year-old Hubbard, Ohio racer. “We were good. I don’t know how close anyone was behind me. This is a testament to all of the guys. I’m not here all the time going back and forth down south. I can’t thank dad and Corby enough along with Mr. Cub, Jeff, Chris, and my little brother does a ton. And I have to thank God- I’m living the dream. I’m traveling around racing. It can’t be any better- I’m having fun. I’ve drove asphalt so much, I sat inside there telling myself to quit driving like a sissy. Then it got better. Dad has shown the car has been there. I was lacking, so hopefully we’re back to where we should be now.
After winning his heat race, an invert two put the young Weller on the pole alongside Tom Glenn. Weller III flew into the lead and it was a lead he’d never relinquish as the caution-free event was timed in 6:23.530. Weller’s victory was actually the sixth of his career at the Hartford, Ohio oval as he also owns four wins in the Limited Sprint division along with one “410” Sprint Car victory. It was Weller’s best Big-Block Modified finish at Sharon since a runner-up on August 10, 2002! Weller’s #23 is sponsored by Liberty Steel, CFI Transportation, Hine Racing Engines, Hughes Construction, and Engine Parts Plus.
Second year Big-Block Modified racer, Rick Regalski, Jr., passed Glenn for second on lap two, but came up 2.295 seconds behind Weller. The runner-up was a career best finish anywhere for Regalski. His prior best finish this season was a sixth on June 21. Jim Rasey was third for his sixth top four finish this season. Rex King and his son Rex, Jr. started fifth and sixth and finished fourth and fifth respectively. Completing the top 10 were Jeremiah Shingledecker, Ricky Richner, Kevin Hoffman, Bob Warren, and Glenn. Richner earned another free tire from Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic for being the hard charger. Glenn picked up a pair of pit passes to July 19 compliments of Hovis Auto & Truck Supply for being the hard luck.
Jason Longwell has been fast all year and most of last year and has been in contention to win on several nights; however, lots of misfortune and bad luck has only allowed him to record a pair of top five finishes this season. On Saturday night, Longwell put it all together and ran a solid 15 laps in a dominating effort for his first career in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods.
“I’ve been the fastest car a million times, but kept breaking,” expressed the 39-year-old Burghill, Ohio driver. “It went a lot faster going a little slower. I had a pretty good race car. I could run low or high. I have to thank my guys. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t even be here today. They work every day of the week on this thing. Paul Phillips, Joel Watson, all of them- it’s pretty awesome! Without S&S Processing I wouldn’t be here either and they’re here tonight.”
It wasn’t as if Longwell started on the pole as he mired back in the 12th starting spot as two-time winner Steve Burns, Jr. took the early lead. Brandon Blackshear, another two-time winner, passed Burns on lap three for the lead, but would cut down a tire after contact between the two one lap later. When racing resumed, Longwell got by Casey Bowers for second on the restart. Longwell went after Burns and the two ran side-by-side on lap six with Longwell making the winning move before a caution came out.
The final nine laps went green-to-checkered and it was all Longwell as he drove off for a big 4.635 margin of victory in his S&S Processing-sponsored #7s. Longwell became the sixth different winner in nine races this season and 22nd overall in the history of the ultra-competitive division. Longwell was also the hard charger as he gained 11 positions and earned a $25 gift certificate from Summit Racing Equipment.
Defending champion and current point leader, Jeremy Double, came back from an early race accident to finish second after getting by Burns on lap 14. Bowers also got by Burns on the final lap to finish third. Burns dropped to fourth over Jace Ferringer, who was making just his second start of the season. Blackshear and Burns won the heat races over the 19-car field. Keith Felicetty was the highest finishing GM 602 picking up a $50 gift card from Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC/Pace Performance.
For the second straight week a rookie racer won the Mini Stock feature for a career first win! Last week it was Adam Little, this Saturday night Joe Campbell led from green-to-checkered in the 12-lap Deforest Used Parts feature to become the fifth different winner of the season.
“I’m very excited,” expressed the 30-year-old Austintown, Ohio resident. “We’ve been fighting real hard to get here and I’m real happy to be here. I love the track when it’s wet like this the last two weeks. I said tonight is it. If I’m going to do it, it’s going to be tonight.”
Campbell started fourth, but it was three-wide on the opening lap as Campbell made his way to the front. The race was slowed just one time for a spin by Travis Creech after getting hit by Jamie Maxwell with five laps scored. Point leader Bill Fuchs chased Campbell for the duration, but wasn’t able to mount a serious challenge as Campbell became the 21st different winner in the history of the division in his unsponsored #40C.
Jim Haefke, Jr. started sixth and passed Tim McAninch for third on lap seven. He closed in on Fuchs, but slipped high in the closing laps and settled for third. McAninch was fourth over pole-sitter Rick Wilson, Jr., who was fifth for the second straight week. McAninch and Campbell copped the heat race wins.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. RICK SINGLETON (Enyeart 99*) 2. Ryan Montgomery (12) 3. Josh Double (38) 4. Will Thomas III (9) 5. Russell Baird, Jr. (17) 6. Jorden Peters (11P) 7. Andrew Wylie (84) 8. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 9. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 10. Chad McClellan (119) 11. Eric Wilson (27W) 12. Cody Dawson (36) 13. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L) 14. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 15. Bobby Pifer III (6P) 16. Jason Rider (Wade 76) 17. Clay Ruffo (14R) 18. Lon Emerick (3) 19. Jason Stanke (44).
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. JIMMY WELLER III (23) 2. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 3. Jim Rasey (32) 4. Rex King (65) 5. Rex King, Jr. (165) 6. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD) 7. Ricky Richner (26) 8. Kevin Hoffman (00H) 9. Bob Warren (96B) 10. Tom Glenn (83T) 11. Ralph McBride (R13) 12. Rodney Beltz (64) 13. Carl Murdick (6) 14. Jim Weller, Jr. (31)-DSQ (unsportsmanlike conduct).
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. JASON LONGWELL (7s) 2. Jeremy Double (83) 3. Casey Bowers (20) 4. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 5. Jace Ferringer (02) 6. Josh Mueller (01) 7. Mike Hillman (29) 8. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 9. Keith Felicetty (98) 10. Jeff Webber (25) 11. Bob Burk (12c) 12. Adam Babcock (67) 13. Brandon Blackshear (10) 14. Steve Haefke (41) 15. Alan Atkinson (32) 16. Ty Rhoades (12R) 17. Junior Mechling (89) 18. Bret McCarthy (33)-DNS 19. Jackson Humanic (17)-DNS.
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. JOE CAMPBELL (40C) 2. Bill Fuchs (10) 3. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 4. Tim McAninch (43) 5. Rick Wilson, Jr. (55) 6. Jamie Maxwell (6) 7. Geof Pinch (36) 8. Ray Kennedy (18) 9. Pat Drennan (Sirrine 24) 10. Ed Roberts (6s) 11. Steve Walker II (4M) 12. Travis Creech (75T) 13. Adam Little (99)-DNS 14. Dan Nagy (17B)-DNS.
There will be no racing this Saturday night (July 12) due to the Trumbull County Fair. Racing will return on Saturday, July 19 with a full six-division shows of DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, RUSH Late Models, Modifieds, Stock Cars, Econo Mods, and Mini Stocks. Racing begins at 7 PM.
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.