Huge “Apple Festival Nationals” Friday & Saturday; Complete shows each day featuring most of the region’s divisions
By Mike Leone
September 9, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Hartford, OH)…After losing four events to Mother Nature and being off two other Saturday nights since July 12, Sharon Speedway is hoping the weather cooperates for the big “Apple Festival Nationals” this weekend. A complete show will be run both Friday and Saturday night (September 12-13) as most of the region’s divisions are featured in this annual extravaganza!
Friday’s program will feature the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series in the $1,500 to-win “Gary Knollinger Memorial” along with the (E) Modifieds ($700 to-win), Homak Penn-Ohio Stock Car Series ($1,000 to-win), RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, TUSA Mod Lites, Econo Mods, Sportsman Dwarf Cars, and Mini Stocks.
Then on Saturday, the Big-Block Modifieds highlight the program in the “Russ King Memorial” for the BRP Tour. The (E) Modifieds and Homak Penn-Ohio Stock Cars will also compete for $1,000 to-win. The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Econo Mods, and Mini Stocks will also return for another complete program. Kids Power Wheels races will be held at intermission for the first time ever!
Homak Tools will present Friday night’s program. They will be giving away a GOLSS Blue 36″ H2Pro 2pc Combo Toolbox valued at $1,799 to a lucky fan on Friday night and one to a lucky Stock Car driver on Saturday night!
Homak Tools is the presenting sponsor of the new Penn-Ohio Stock Car Series in 2014 that will be running its first ever Sharon events this weekend. Thanks to Scott Hooks of Hooks Auto, $300 has been added to the winner’s share on Friday night in memory of his brother Jim. This means the features both nights will pay $1,000 to-win, $100 to-start! No entry fees will be charged! The Penn-Ohio Series has featured six different winners in seven events! Only Chris Schneider has been able to repeat, while single victories have gone to Curt Bish, Chris Withers, Shaun Hooks, and Rusty Martz.
The Sweeney RUSH Late Model Tour will make its second and final visit of the season on Friday night. Back on July 5, Rick Singleton won his first career race at the speedway as part of the “Bill Emig Memorial”. Friday event will be the fourth annual “Gary Knollinger Memorial”. Knollinger was a top Crate Late Model racer from Triadelphia, West Virginia that tragically lost his life after being struck by an automobile near his business. Sharon was Knollinger’s favorite track and the site of his first career Touring Series win. Past winners of the event include Max Blair (2011), Joe Martin (2012), and Ryan Montgomery (2013). Speaking of Montgomery, the 17-year-old from Fairmont, West Virginia is the current Series point leader.
As part of Friday’s RUSH program, former NASCAR racer Randy LaJoie will bring his Safer Racer Tour to the speedway. “The Safer Racer Tour will allow many drivers in various divisions to be informed on current safety systems, answer questions and display better containment seats. Safer Racer will give recommendations to all drivers that would like one,” stated LaJoie. LaJoie will have a display set up with various equipment from his The Joie of Seating. In addition, LaJoie will give a presentation that will be open to everyone before the night’s events as well as speaking to each RUSH racer individually.
While the Barris Supply Late Models will highlight Friday, the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds will be the featured attraction on Saturday in a memorial of their own. The “Russ King Memorial” is always one of the biggest Modified events in the region, which attracts a large car count with racers from all over the region.
This year’s event is again sanctioned by BRP and will pay $2,000 to-win sponsored by King Bros. Redi Mix. The BRP made a stop at Sharon on July 30 for the “Lou Blaney Memorial” and it was track point leader Rex King, Jr. taking the victory. Rex King, who is runner-up in Sharon’s weekly points, has a pair of BRP Tour wins this year, while Dave Murdick and Lonny Riggs have also been victorious. Murdick is the current point leader.
To date, there have been 28 “Russ King Memorial” events run with 15 different winners. The late Lou Blaney leads the win list at five. The top active racers include Rex King and Jim Rasey with three wins each, which is tied for second with the retired hall of fame racer Bob Kraus. The last two years have been upsets with Steve Feder winning the 2012 version and Ricky Richner last season- both were their first career wins at the speedway. One of the biggest upsets took place in 2008 when the “358” of Lonny Riggs won his first career Sharon feature!
The Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds have drawn the highest weekly car counts and is probably the most competitive division at the track. A strong car count is expected both nights with $700 and $1,000 on the line to win, $100 to-start each night. The Modifieds will group qualify to determine the feature line-up (maximum eight invert) both nights. If more than a full field of cars is present, the top 18 will be locked in from time with the remainder running a last chance B main to fill out the 24 starters. The fast qualifier will receive a $50 gift certificate from Wedge Motorsports.
The HTMA/Precise Racing Products will run under the same format as the Modifieds both nights. While the Econo Mods typically race for $200 to-win, the ante will be upped this weekend with $350 up for grabs Friday night and a season high $500 to-win on Saturday night!
The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will return for their sixth and seventh appearances of the season. New York’s Greg Martin has had a handle on the competition winning three of the shows, while Jordan Eck and Rocky Kugel have also been victorious. Ironically, Series point leader Adam Hilton, who has four victories on the circuit, has yet to win at Sharon this season as he hopes to capture the $3,000 title.
The Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock car counts have really been up the three nights of competition in August. Look for a solid field of cars with $200 to-win each night and many regional speedways not in action.
Also part of the Friday program will be the TUSA Mod Lites and the Sportsman Dwarf Cars. Many of the competitors race weekly at Deerfield Speedway and Mercer Raceway Park and always enjoy a chance to compete at Sharon. The Mod Lites last appeared at Sharon on May 24 when Derek Wagner topped a 25-car field. The Dwarf Cars haven’t competed at Sharon since 2011 when they were part of the bi-weekly Friday night program. A total of 15 races have been run for the division. Josh Walker leads the list with seven wins.
There will be live entertainment after the races both nights; Friday night by Chad Morrow and Saturday night by “Fast Freddie” from 93.3 The Wolf. Breakfast will be served Saturday morning from 8-11 a.m. and lunch from 12-2 p.m. Free camping is available on the grounds from Wednesday night on. Also on Saturday at 12 p.m., a cornhole tournament will be held behind the main grandstands. The cost to enter is $20 per team with all proceeds going to the Northeast Ohio Adoption (N.O.A.S.) program. Participants are asked to be present 30 minutes prior to game time.
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.
Pit gates open at 4 p.m. both days. Grandstands open at 5 p.m. on Friday and 4 on Saturday. Warm-ups will get underway at 6 p.m. on Friday night followed by group qualifying for the Modifieds and Econo Mods with heat races at approximately 7. On Saturday, everything is 30 minutes earlier. Admission for those 14 and over is $13 each day or $22 for a two-day pass. Pit passes are $30 each day or $55 for a two-day pass. As always, children under 13, parking, and camping is always FREE!
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.