Weller III repeats in Big-Block Mods; 3rd wins for Dellinger, Martin & Double in RUSH LM, RUSH Mods & Econos; Kinney rallies to #2 in Mods; Davis & Creech again in Stocks & Minis
By Mike Leone
August 23, 2014
(Hartford, OH)…After disappointingly losing four straight weeks of racing, great weather on Saturday allowed Sharon Speedway to complete the third straight night of racing before the Labor Day Weekend break. And for the third straight week, over 100 cars were pit side with 117 on hand to do battle in the final race in August as part of the 85th anniversary season.
Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Jimmy Weller III-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Alan Dellinger-Barris Supply RUSH Late Models, Mike Kinney-Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Greg Martin-Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Paul Davis-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Jeremy Double-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Travis Creech-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. Jeremy Zufall was the lucky winner of the GM 602 engine giveaway valued at $3,200 from Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC/Pace Performance in the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds.
On July 5, Jimmy Weller III finally broke into victory lane in the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds for the first time in his career at Sharon. They always say the first one is the toughest as four races later the second generation driver left little doubt in the 20-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply feature leading from green-to-checkered over the tough King tandem. It was the 13th time in 14 races this season a Weller or King was victorious!
“We raced on Thursday and I’m going to be honest- I’m a little tired,” revealed the NASCAR Camping World Truck racer and Hubbard, Ohio native. “That Bristol race on Thursday wore me out a bit. This car was great. John Corbin, Chris Chaky, and the guys are doing so much when I’m not here. My little brother, Dan, and Josh is here, Mr. Cupp- they do so much for my dad. It makes it fun when I’m here to get back into a car that can win. I can move around the track and know the car is going to work. The last couple weeks I’ve washed the car then took off. I have all the trust in the world in these guys.”
Pole-sitter Justin Rasey lost the handle in turns one and two on the opening lap and collected heat race winner Tom Glenn ending the night for both drivers. Glenn was awarded the hard luck award and received two complimentary pit passes from Hovis Auto & Truck Supply for September 6. The accident moved Weller III to the pole and he took off in the lead while it was three-wide for second with Rex King, Jr., Rex King, and Rick Regalski, Jr. going at it.
No changes took place in the top three spots for the duration of the event. Three cautions slowed action on laps five, eight, and 11. Several times throughout the event, the father-son King duo raced side-by-side, but young “Cooter” wouldn’t let his father by. With the last nine laps going non-stop, the Kings remained within striking distance, but Weller III would hang on by 0.709 of a second in the Liberty Steel/CFI Transportation/Hine Racing Engines/Hughes Construction/Engine Parts Plus-sponsored #23. It was Weller’s seventh career win overall at the speedway to go along with 1 “410″ Sprint win and four Limited Sprint victories.
King, Jr. was able to maintain a 14-point lead over his father in the championship race. After pitting early on, Ricky Richner charged through the pack to finish fourth after passing both Regalski and Tom Mattocks for the spot on lap nine. Mattocks was a season best fifth. Completing the top 10 were Regalski, Jim Rasey, Carl Murdick, Bob Warren, and Mark Frankhouser. Along with Glenn, King won the other heat race.
Alan Dellinger was back in victory lane for the second time in three weeks and third time this season in the RUSH Late Models. Dellinger put on one of the biggest dominations seen in any division this year winning by over one-half of a lap in the 20-lap Barris Supply feature! Dellinger continues to impress on the $135 Bilstein “sealed” spec shock option that is beginning to gain popularity in a division that has over 300 cars in the region.
“The green-to-checkered always helps,” explained the 50-year-old Hermitage, Pa. resident. “I didn’t want to let Will (Thomas) get a shot to beat me on the restart. He always seems to do that! We were good and I wasn’t even running it as hard as she goes. I was just trying to save that left rear. The left rear was finally a new tire, but the right rear was an old used. We argued about that. They wanted to put a new one on this time, I said let’s put the used one on and it’ll be better. You don’t have to do anything to these sealed Bilstein shocks. You just bolt them on and run them all year long. I have to thank Bob Williams, his son Jeff, and Bob Jones. They work on the car and we’re having a good time!”
Dellinger took the early lead, while Bob Diver moved past Jamie Wrightsman for second on lap one. Wrightsman lost the handle on lap two and collected Bobby Pifer III. That would be the only caution of the event as the final 19 laps went non-stop. On the restart, sixth starting point leader Will Thomas III moved into fourth. While Dellinger pulled away from the field, the battle was on for second by lap four as Diver was trying to hold off Russ Byler and Thomas.
The battle continued lap after lap, while Dellinger increased his lead. After running side-by-side for many laps, Byler nosed ahead on lap 13, while Thomas followed one lap later. Even with Byler and Thomas moving into second and third, Dellinger’s lead grew every lap. In fact, the lead was over 10 seconds on the final lap before Dellinger backed off at the finish. His margin of victory was still 8.746 seconds in the unsponsored Bob-Williams-owned #8. Dellinger’s fourth career Sharon Crate Late Model win was the amazing 163rd overall at the Hartford, Ohio oval.
Byler matched his career best Late Model runner-up finish from May 10 with his fifth top five of the season in his first full year in the Terry Hoover-owned #00H. Thomas’ third inched him another step closer to his second title in three years. Ninth starting Bryan Salisbury passed Diver on the final lap to claim fourth as the newcomer recorded his second top four finish in as many events. Diver dropped to fifth over Lon Emerick, Pifer, Wrightsman, Eric Andrus, and Dennis Lunger, Jr. Thomas won the heat race.
There’s not many times Modified standout Joel Watson loses a race when he’s leading, but that very thing happened on Saturday night when his good friend Mike Kinney surprised him with an outside pass in the second half of the event as the defending champion stole just his second win of the season in the Summit Racing Equipment-sponsored division. It was the second straight week that 24 or more cars were on hand resulting in the $700 to-win, $100 to-start payoff!
“I thought he might take it up there,” stated the 40-year-old Ashtabula, Ohio driver. “I thought he seen me poke up around there on the last restart. He didn’t go for it and I was like ‘yea’ so it worked out good for me! I was glad to see my engine fire out of the hole the last time and we were able to pull it off. That was a good race! There’s some really good competition in this class. I have to thank all of my sponsors and my crew, who help me out so much. I have to thank Dave (Willoughby) and the whole staff. The track is always great every night we come here. I can’t thank you guys enough for an awesome track.”
Watson started second and inherited the lead after Scott Stiffler drove in too hard in turn one and lost the handle and collected several other cars. Three more cautions slowed action in the first 11 laps. On the final restart, Kinney made the outside lane work as he drove around Watson racing off turn two to lead lap 12. Watson stayed right with Kinney over the final nine non-stop laps, but Kinney would hold on for his sixth career win by 0.766 of a second FliNbiU Graphics/Watson Fabrication/TJ Racing Transmission/Close Racing Supply/Handi4u Home Improvements/Inter Group-sponsored #3.
It was a good battle for third for much of the event as Russ Dunn nailed down the spot with a pass of Dwayne Clay on lap 16. Clay would fall out of the top five to sixth at the finish as Carl McKinney and point leader Steve Dixon grabbed fourth and fifth. Stiffler came back to finish seventh over Paul Davis, Jesse Gould, and Jamie Duncan. Denny Crawford raced from 24th to 11th to earn the $25 Summit Racing Equipment hard charger certificate. Heat winners over the 24-car field were Dunn, Watson, and Stiffler.
Making their fifth appearance of the season, Greg Martin charged from the sixth starting spot to win the 15-lap non-stop feature for the second straight race and third time this season in the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. After matching a region-high 11-car field at the last two events, a record 12 cars were on hand Saturday night for the new division that continues to receive interest.
“It’s not easy out there- these guys are really good,” stated the 32-year-old Wilson, New York driver. “Rocky (Kugel) has come around real nice, Adam (Hilton) is a competitor with me in New York. The other guys are coming and have great equipment down here. We’ve been doing the crate motor deal for five years so I’m a little more adapted to the crate motor driving style. It’s great to come down here. It’s a beautiful facility, great fans, and the way you guys treat us here is unbelievable. It would have been great to win the motor, but I’m sure Jeremy (Zufall) is ecstatic. Sweeney does a great job helping out the Series. We appreciate them so much.”
Rocky Kugel took over the top spot from pole-sitter Ken Moy, Jr. on the opening lap. Martin was halfway to the front after getting by Moy on lap two. Martin closed in on Series point leader Adam Hilton on lap seven. The two New York racers battled side-by-side on laps eight and nine before Martin made the inside pass racing off turn two on the ninth circuit.
Kugel had 1.2 second lead by the time Martin got to second with six laps to go. Martin began to close in on the leader on lap 12 and was right on Kugel on lap 13. The two raced side-by-side on lap 14 with Martin going to the outside to make the winning pass off turn four. Martin took his overall fourth win of the season in the Series by 0.549 of a second in his Jeffrey Machine/NYDKS Go-Kart Series/Atwell Eye Care/Foster Tire/Triple-D Towing/Regional Haulage-sponsored #4. The event’s non-stop time was 5:01.371. Kugel, who won on June 28, was a disappointed runner-up. Hilton was third over Moy, who recorded his second straight fourth place finish. Andy Paden was fifth. Heat winners were Martin and Moy.
Start Paul Davis on the pole and he’s going to be tough to beat. That was the case Saturday night as the 54-year-old veteran Fowler, Ohio driver led all 15 laps of the non-stop Gibson Insurance Agency feature for his fourth win of the season matching point leader Mike Clark for the tops in the division. The event was timed non-stop in 5:09.180.
Davis took off in the lead with Gary Robinson in tow. Clark started sixth and was up to fourth after one lap. Bryan Wagner and Clark raced side-by-side on laps three, four, and five before Clark grabbed the third position when Wagner slipped high in turn two. Clark ran down Robinson on lap eight and was right on the veteran on lap nine. While Davis checked out winning by 3.908 seconds, Robinson and Clark put on an amazing, clean side-by-side battle for the last six laps of the event with Clark nosing ahead at the finish. For Davis, it was his 16th career Stock win at Sharon and 19th overall in his Hover Racing/GCM Enterprises/Don Williams Excavating/Advance Auto Parts/Tub’s Automotive-sponsored #3.
Wagner was fourth over Brian Carothers, who recorded his 10th top five finish in 11 races! Dan McEwen came from 15th to finish eighth to earn the $25 Summit Racing Equipment hard charger certificate. Dave Myers was selected as the lucky recipient of two pit passes for September 6 compliments of Hovis Auto & Truck Supply. Clark and Davis won the heat races.
Defending champion Jeremy Double took another step closer to repeating his Econo Mod championship following his season’s third win in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products division. Double beat out the division’s all-time winner Brandon Blackshear in the 15-lap main.
“We don’t have quite as much motor as Brandon (Blackshear),” stated the 18-year-old Bristolville, Ohio racer. “I knew if I could stay on the bottom I’d be alright. It’s mainly about staying where you need to be on the track. It’s real easy up top to slip off. The bad thing about leading is you don’t know where everyone else is. We passed Timmy (Deutsch) on the bottom and he was up top so I figured if I stayed there I’d be okay. There’s a lot more competition this year.”
Tim Deutsch led the opening two laps before Double made the winning pass driving under the leader in turn two on lap three. Double quickly pulled away from the field on lap four, while Blackshear drove around Deutsch for second off the outside of turn four. Butch Lambert followed taking third from Deutsch one lap later. Four cautions slowed action between laps 6-12 giving Blackshear four chances alongside Double, but the youngster was too strong as his victory was the 12th of his career in his Cortland Auto Repair/Wedge Motorsports/Thomas Heating & Cooling/King Bros/Russ King Racing/Mahan Welding & Fab/Pioneer Sports & Supply-sponsored #83.
Blackshear was 0.673 of a second back in runner-up. Lambert made his season debut last week and was running third before losing the driveshaft. On Saturday night, Lambert solidified the third place finish over Alan Atkinson, who recorded his fifth top four finish in the last five races! Steve Haefke came from 12th to place fifth. Casey Bowers earned the $25 Summit Racing Equipment hard charger certificate after advancing from 18th to seventh. Jace Ferringer and Steve Burns, Jr. topped the heat races. Twenty cars were on hand for the second straight week and third time this season matching a high car count for the year.
After winning six of the first eight features this year and 12 of the last 23 dating back to last season, Travis Creech hit a mid-season slump. But on Saturday night, Creech was back in victory lane after a two-month plus drought capturing his track leading seventh of the season in the 12-lap Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. “That was blast,” exclaimed the 26-year-old Niles, Ohio driver. Pete (Blazczak) and I were talking all night about setting these things up. I didn’t mean to get into him like that.”
Two cautions slowed action before a lap was completed. Rookie Joe Campbell, who has a feature win this season, led the opening lap before August 9 winner Pete Blazczak flew into the lead on lap two. Blazczak would lead until lap 11 when Creech took over the top spot. Creech went on for his 13th career win in his May’s Towing/Elite Coleman/JLB Trucking-sponsored #75T.
Blazczak crossed the finish in second, but was docked two spots for jumping the restart. That moved point leader and seventh starting Bill Fuchs to second at the finish over last week’s winner Jim Haefke, Jr., who started eighth. Blazczak was credited with fourth over Campbell, who dropped to fifth. Campbell and McAninch won the heat races over the 19-car field.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. JIMMY WELLER III (23) 2. Rex King, Jr. (165) 3. Rex King (65) 4. Ricky Richner (126) 5. Tom Mattocks (69) 6. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 7. Jim Rasey (32) 8. Carl Murdick (6) 9. Bob Warren (96B) 10. Mark Frankhouser (03) 11. Kevin Green (74) 12. Shawn Kozar (3K) 13. Ronnie Kahler (75) 14. Dave Reges (27R) 15. Justin Rasey (21) 16. Tom Glenn (83T).
Barris Supply RUSH Late Models (20 laps): 1. ALAN DELLINGER (Williams 8) 2. Russ Byler (Hoover 00H) 3. Will Thomas III (9) 4. Bryan Salisbury (126) 5. Bob Diver (23) 6. Lon Emerick (3) 7. Bobby Pifer III (6P) 8. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 9. Eric Andrus (54) 10. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L).
Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modifieds (20 laps, $700 to-win): 1. MIKE KINNEY (3) 2. Joel Watson (92) 3. Russ Dunn (White 53) 4. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 5. Steve Dixon (Engles 68) 6. Dwayne Clay (007) 7. Scott Stiffler (14) 8. Paul Davis (3D) 9. Jesse Gould (2G) 10. Jamie Duncan (67J) 11. Denny Crawford (75) 12. Eric Singhaus (45) 13. Bob Williamson (93) 14. Evan Taylor (7) 15. Jacob Eucker (64) 16. Clayton Kennedy (9) 17. Bruce Powell (35) 18. Jonathan Taylor (5) 19. Jeff Johnson (27) 20. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 21. Amanda Stiffler (14A) 22. Ron Jaeger (5) 23. Paul Phillips (44) 24. Brian Hutchko (57).
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (15 laps): 1. GREG MARTIN (4) 2. Rocky Kugel (1) 3. Adam Hilton (3A) 4. Ken Moy, Jr. (34) 5. Andy Paden (24) 6. Jeremy Paup (X) 7. Jeremy Zufall (20) 8. Larry Kugel (0) 9. Will Schaffer (4) 10. Chelsie Kriegisch (Schaffer 4C) 11. Michael Kristyak (404) 12. Walt Tutak (71)-DSQ.
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. PAUL DAVIS (3) 2. Mike Clark (7) 3. Gary Robinson (44R) 4. Bryan Wagner (56) 5. Brian Carothers (02c) 6. Mike Miller (666) 7. Andy Thompson (5) 8. Dan McEwen (44) 9. Jamie Scharba (Kerr 25K) 10. Bret McCarthy (33) 11. Brian Mulichak (36D) 12. Jamie Gibbs (98) 13. Tony Bruno (97) 14. Charlie Jasinski (5J) 15. Dave Myers (Burns 70B) 16. Brent Coleman (01)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. JEREMY DOUBLE (83) 2. Brandon Blackshear (10) 3. Butch Lambert (Hendrickson 19) 4. Alan Atkinson (32) 5. Steve Haefke (41) 6. Ty Rhoades (12R) 7. Casey Bowers (20) 8. Jake Mueller (01) 9. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 10. George Vestal IV (4) 11. Mike Hillman (29) 12. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 13. Todd Canter (Mechling 89) 14. Robert Simmons (4RJ) 15. Keith Felicetty (98) 16. Wayne Daniels (4) 17. Adam Babcock (67) 18. Jace Ferringer (02) 19. Jason Longwell (7s) 20. Tim Deutsch (8).
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. TRAVIS CREECH (75T) 2. Bill Fuchs (10) 3. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 4. Pete Blazczak (77) 5. Joe Campbell (40C) 6. Tim McAninch (43) 7. Jamie Maxwell (6) 8. Pat Drennan (Sirrine 24) 9. Steve Walker II (4M) 10. Thomas Garing (14) 11. Charley Roberts (6s) 12. Ray Kennedy (18) 13. Rick Wilson, Jr. (55) 14. Dan Nagy (17B) 15. Tyler Fulton (09) 16. Jeff Little (42) 17. Robert Wagner (35)-DNS 18. Darrin West (Hardway 12J)-DNS 19. James Edison (01)-DNS.
There will be no racing over Labor Day Weekend. “Steel Valley Thunder” racing returns on Saturday, September 6 for a six-division show as the final month of racing for 2014 kicks off.
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.