Racing returns Saturday for full “Steel Valley Thunder” program on “Heroes Night”
By Mike Leone
September 2, 2014
(Hartford, OH)…After a weekend off, Sharon Speedway is set to begin the final month of racing for the 2014 season this Saturday night (September 6). The “Steel Valley Thunder” 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 the 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!
It’s definitely been tough for drivers with last names other than King or Weller this season in the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds. In fact, the foursome has accounted for 13 of the 14 Hovis Auto & Truck Supply feature wins this season! Only non-regular Brian Swartzlander has been able to break into victory lane, and that was back on June 22. Five-time winner Rex King, Jr. leads his father by 14 points, while Jim Weller, Jr. took himself out of contention missing the last event on August 23 won by his son Jimmy. It’s been a good season for Weller III, who has won the first two Modified races of his career at Sharon and worked his way up to fifth in points. Ahead of Weller III in points is Jim Rasey, who continues to search for his first win of the season.
The RUSH Late Models have had a similar dominance between Will Thomas III, Dennis Lunger, Jr., and Alan Dellinger. Dellinger was the most recent winner with his season’s third win on August 23, while 2012 champion Thomas and 2013 champion Lunger are tied with four wins apiece. The only other winner was Rick Singleton on July 5 for the Sweeney Tour event. Thomas is nearing his second Barris Supply championship in three years as he leads Lunger by 78 points. Russ Byler continues to impress in his first full season in a Late Model as he’s third in points over Jamie Wrightsman and Dellinger, who will look for his fourth win on Saturday.
With over a full field of cars at the last two events, the Modified drivers have competed for the high purse structure- meaning $700 to-win, $100 to-start! Steve Dixon continues to close in on his first track championship in his first full season of competing, but leads former champion Joel Watson by just 21 in the Summit Racing Equipment standings. Russ Dunn has a two-point advantage on August 23 winner and defending champion Mike Kinney in the battle for third. Carl McKinney, who won last Saturday night at McKean County Raceway, is fifth.
The Stock Cars have seen a rise in car count at the last three completed events. It’s a tight championship race as four drivers are still in the hunt, though it appears like it’ll come down to Mike Clark and Paul Davis, who have been the division’s hotshoes again. Both Clark and Davis are tied with four wins, and in the Gibson Insurance Agency standings it’s defending champion Clark with a nine-point advantage. Brian Carothers and Bryan Wagner are still alive in third and fourth respectively. Brent Coleman is a distant fifth.
Like Clark in the Stocks, Jeremy Double is also vying for his second consecutive track championship in the Econo Mods. Double’s point lead though is a little more secure as he holds a 39-point lead over the division’s all-time winner Brandon Blackshear. Teenager Casey Bowers won back-to-back events in the first two races of his career at the “Apple Festival Nationals” two years ago, but hasn’t been able to win since. Bowers has been consistent though as he’s third in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products points, but just two up on Ty Rhoades and three on Jason Longwell.
Travis Creech ended a two-month drought winning the Mini Stocks on August 23. It was Creech’s track-leading seventh win, but trails the division’s all-time winner, Bill Fuchs, by 31 in the Deforest Used Parts points. Jamie Maxwell, who is third in points, continues to chase after his first career win. Jim Haefke, Jr. and Tim McAninch are fourth and fifth in points respectively.
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. HTMA/Precise Racing Products will award a free tire to the driver chosen that suffered that hardest luck.
Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5, drivers meeting at 6:30 and heat races slated for 7. Admission for those 14 and over is $13. Pit passes are $30. As always, children under 13, parking, and camping is always FREE!
Coming up on Friday and Saturday, September 12-13 is the annual “Apple Festival Nationals”. Complete shows will be run each day featuring many of the region’s divisions. Discounted two-day grandstand and pit passes are available.
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.