King wins RUSH LM Tour Knollinger Mem; Schneider dominates Stocks for $1500; Watson & Blackshear again in Mods & Econos; 1st wins for Hilton, Teeters, Grzelak & Hensel
By Mike Leone
September 12, 2014
(Hartford, OH)…After a night off and a rainout, Sharon Speedway was back in action on a special Friday night program as the annual “Apple Festival Nationals” kicked off under dreary, October-like conditions. A record 190 cars filled the pit area for the first of two complete shows of the weekend.
Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Russell King-Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series, Chris Schneider-Homak Penn-Ohio Stock Car Series, Joel Watson-Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Adam Hilton-Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Brandon Blackshear-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, Jeff Teeters-TUSA Mod Lites, Angie Grzelak-Sportsman Dwarf Cars, and Doug Hensel-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
Making just his second Crate Late Model start of the season, Russell King captured the prestigious “Gary Knollinger Memorial” event at the speedway he grew up at. King became the fourth different winner in the four years the event has been held at the track. King also became the Sweeney RUSH Late Model Tour’s sixth straight different winner after Chad McClellan and Rick Singleton started the season off winning the first six events! King held off veteran Alan Dellinger in late race lapped traffic for the $1,500 win and the beautiful “Gary Knollinger Memorial” statue trophy.
“Anytime you can beat that guy (Dellinger) no matter what you’re racing it’s a pretty big accomplishment,” expressed the 25-year-old Bristolville, Ohio driver. “I didn’t get a chance to know Gary (Knollinger) very well, but from everything I’ve heard from the Blairs, Montgomery, and the people involved- he sounded like a really down to earth guy and I’m glad to win this race in his memory.”
The race got off to a rough start when a five-car accident ensued in turn one on the opening lap collecting Series stars Singleton, Jason Rider, Cody Dawson along with Jeremy Adamik. When racing got underway, King used the outside to power into the lead past John Waters with Dellinger, Ryan Montgomery, and Russ Byler in tow.
On lap two, Byler got by Montgomery for third. Dellinger, who has three Sweeney Weekly Series wins at Sharon this year on the $135 Bilstein “sealed” spec shocks, got under and by Waters for second down the backstretch on lap three. Byler, who is in his first full season of Late Model racing, looked strong as he ran down Waters. The two battled hard side-by-side on laps five and six before making contact. The two got crossed up in turns three and four and were sideways through the infield before Waters spun to bring out the caution with six laps recorded.
When racing resumed, another multi-car accident took place in turn one- this one including McClellan, who had worked his way forward past nine cars running the top side. He would restart at the tail. The final 19 laps would go caution-free.
Back under green, Max Blair made a great move to pass both Eric Wilson and Sharon point leader Will Thomas III to take over fifth. The pass earned him his first Driven Racing Oil “Slick Move of the Night” honor.
In the ensuing green flag laps, past Knollinger Memorial winner, Montgomery, pressured Dellinger for second, while King opened up his lead. The only thing that was going to slow King was lapped traffic. That would come into play on lap 18 as King had a half-straightaway lead.
King maintained his advantage up until two laps to go when Dellinger cut into the lead. On the last lap, Dellinger really closed in as King was dealing with heavy traffic, but when the checkered flag waved King held on by 0.468 of a second for his second career Sweeney RUSH Tour victory in the Bob Diver-owned, Diver Steel City/King Sanitary Services/Race 1-sponsored #23. It was King’s first ever Crate Late Model win at Sharon, which adds to his six career DIRTcar Big-Block Modified victories.
“Bob Diver bought the car off of us and I take care of it for him,” continued King. “I bring it out here periodically for him to run then he lets me have fun at these bigger shows. I have to thank him and his dad for letting me do this. It’s a blast with really good people. I have to thank my mom and dad, grandparents, my wife Ashley, all my crew guys, and sponsors. I got to watch my brother (Rex King, Jr.) beat up on everyone this year (DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds) so I’m glad to finally win one year.”
Dellinger, who made his fourth Sweeney Tour start of the season was a season best second as he’s yet to finish worse than eighth. Dellinger also has a pair of fourth place finishes in Bob Williams’ #8. Montgomery was a close third- less than three tenths of a second behind Dellinger. Seventh starting Andrew Wylie beat out 11th starting Blair for fourth at the finish by just 0.006 of a second as the two battled pretty much the final 19 laps! It was a good run by Wilson to finish sixth at his home track. Joe Martin, Thomas, Bobby Rohrer, and Josh Double completed the top 10.
Max Lux finished just outside the top 10 in 11th in his first start of the season driving a team car to Dennis Lunger, Jr. Lux started 19th and that earned him the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger” gift card. Lux was also drawn as the lucky winner of a pair of pit passes for next Saturday’s Sweeney Weekly Series event at Sharon compliments of Hovis Auto & Truck Supply.
Joel Prosser once again brought his #38K Gary Knollinger tribute car to the event. Prosser, of New Martinsville, West Virginia, was a good friend of his late fellow West Virginia racer. Making his first RUSH start of the season, Prosser was the last car on the lead lap in 19th and received the Moroso custom fit plug wire set also compliments of Crate Innovations. Heat race winners over the Sharon season high 35-car field were Byler, Wylie, Dellinger, and Thomas, while Lunger and McClellan won the last chance B mains. Rick Singleton won the K&N Dash and received a $100 certificate.
The Homak Penn-Ohio Stock Car Series made their first ever appearance and it was Chris Schneider of Springdale, Pa. putting on an impressive, dominating performance. What was originally to be a $700 to-win race turned into a $1,500 payday for the 20-lap payday for Schneider due to many sponsors of the Series and contributors to Series Director Shaun Hooks.
Despite starting 10th, Schneider took over from Bob McCann on lap 11 after a side-by-side battle for a couple laps. With the final 12 laps going green-to-checkered, Schneider’s margin of victory was a huge 9.181 seconds in his #55 for his second career win at the Speedway. The veteran McCann, who led laps five through nine, was second in his season debut. Rusty Moore, who led the opening lap, dropped to third over Shaun Hooks, who led laps two through five. Curt Bish came from 20th to fifth and earned a $25 gift certificate from Summit Racing Equipment for being the hard charger.
Heat winners were Rod Laskey, Tim Burns, Schneider, and Mike Clark, while Bish and Mike Miller won the B mains. Burns broke the track record twice during his heat race with a new standard of 17.858. A season high 37 cars were on hand. Series sponsor, Homak, gave away a tool box to a lucky fan valued at $1800.
Even with an experimental new format and a tie for a season high 28 cars, Joel Watson found his way to victory lane for the division-leading fifth time this season in the Modifieds. The Conneaut, Ohio driver’s 30-lap Summit Racing Equipment feature victory was worth $700, but was his first since June 7.
Watson started fifth and was already up to second after one lap. Watson made the winning move on a restart on lap three and survived four more cautions for his 19th career win in his Northwest Restoration/Zimmer’s Service Center/Lakeshore Auto Parts/Custom Automated Machine/BMS/BSB Manufacturing-sponsored #92.
Seventh starting Gary Eicher was a strong second in his season debut, just 1.215 seconds behind Watson. Mike Kinney improved one position from his fourth starting spot to finish third over pole-sitter Joe Gabrielson, who led the first two laps. Jeff Johnson was fifth. Steve Dixon set fast time in group qualifying with a lap of 17.151 to earn a $50 certificate from Wedge Motorsports, but would lose a motor running second in the feature on lap 11.
The new Sweeney Chevrolet RUSH Sportsman Modifieds made their sixth appearance of the season and there was a new face in victory lane. Series point leader Adam Hilton entered the night with four victories on the circuit, but had yet to win at Sharon. That changed on Friday night as the Buffalo, New York driver made a late race pass of veteran Jerry Schaffer for the 15-lap win.
Schaffer started from the pole and would lead the first 10 laps fighting off the challenges of several racers behind him. Hilton meanwhile started fifth, was fourth after one lap, took third from Ken Moy, Jr. on lap five, and then got by Larry Kugel on lap eight for second. Hilton went to work on Schaffer and made the winning pass off the outside of turn four on lap 11 and went on for the victory in his Roar Logistics/MVP Network Consulting #3A. The race’s non-stop time was 4:58.434. Martin, who had to start 10th due to winning the last two shows, passed Schaffer on the final lap to place second. Schaffer dropped to third over Kugel and Moy. Martin won the heat race.
After losing a race for jumping a restart back on May 24, Jeff Teeters came back to win the second appearance of the season by the TUSA Mod Lites. The veteran North Jackson, Ohio driver’s victory was worth $500. Teeters started fifth and had the lead from George Englert on lap six. It was a lead Teeters’ wouldn’t relinquish in his #L1 as he took the victory over Levi Spinneweber, Kenny Meadows, Mark Marcucci, and Aaron Meister. Tenth starting Marcucci picked up an extra $50 for the hard charger from Joe’s Radiator. Meister and Englert were heat race winners over the 14-car field.
The Econo Mods also ran under the group qualifying/no heat race format and like the Modifieds, there was a familiar face in victory lane as Brandon Blackshear made a late race pass of point leader Josh Double for the 25-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products feature victory. It was the Brookfield, Ohio driver’s fifth win of the season, and was worth a season high $350 plus an extra $50 halfway bonus leader from King Sanitary Services.
Following a restart, Double passed Josh Ferry for the lead on lap six. Double would hold down the lead until lap 13 when Blackshear went to the outside of Double on a restart to take his division-leading 15th career win in his Tubs Automotive/Clay Bros. Trucking/Deforest Used Parts/Intense Fabricating/Blackshear Racing Engines-sponsored #10. Double was second over Ferry, Josh Mueller, and Butch Lambert, who came from the tail after pitting with a flat tire.
Keith Felicetty was seventh and received a $50 certificate from Sweeney/Pace Performance for being the highest finisher with an eligible GM 602 engine. Adam Babcock raced from 20th to 10th to earn his first hard charger worth a $25 gift certificate from Summit Racing Equipment. Ryan Fraley set fast to earn a $50 certificate from Wedge Motorsports as he was the only driver to qualify under 18 seconds with a lap of 17.908. A season high 21-car field was on hand.
In their first appearance in three years, Angie Grzelak captured the 12-lap Sportsman Dwarf Car feature for her first career Sharon victory and what is believed to be the first ever win by a female racer in the history of the Speedway, which is celebrating its 85th anniversary. The Hubbard, Ohio driver also captured the $100 bonus put up by her father’s Joe’s Radiator business.
While Grzelak led every lap in the Joe’s Radiator #57, she had to hold off a staunch late race challenge by Steve Mix for the victory. Third through fifth were Rod Jones, Ted Williams, and Steve Mix, Jr. Mike Sparks came from 17th to finish ninth and earned a $50 hard charger bonus from Joe’s Radiator. Heat winners were Williams and Jones over the 17-car field.
Making his first ever appearance, Wayne County Speedway standout Doug Hensel held off Sharon dominator Travis Creech to win the 12-lap Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock feature. The victory was worth $200 for the Wooster, Ohio racer. Hensel led the entire distance in his #18 to become the season’s eighth different winner. Creech started back in seventh and passed Ray Soos on lap three for second. Creech challenged Hensel in the second-half of the event, but had to settle for a close second. Jason Easler was third over newcomer Bobby Siegel and Steve Walker II. Heat race winners over the record 28-car field were Carlos Aponte, Easler, and Creech.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series “Gary Knollinger Memorial” (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. RUSSELL KING (Diver 23) 2. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 3. Ryan Montgomery (12) 4. Andrew Wylie (84) 5. Max Blair (111) 6. Eric Wilson (27W) 7. Joe Martin (55) 8. Will Thomas III (9) 9. Bobby Rohrer (11) 10. Josh Double (38) 11. Matt Lux (Schwartz 21L) 12. Robby Marhefka (99FM) 13. Bobby Whitling (7W) 14. Rick Singleton (Enyeart 99*) 15. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 16. Ralph Morgan, Jr. (Powell 100) 17. Jason Rider (Wade 76) 18. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 19. Joel Prosser (77) 20. Chad McClellan (119) 21. Jeremy Adamik (7J) 22. W.L. Stile (1W) 23. Russ Byler (Hoover 00H) 24. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L) 25. Eric Andrus (54) 26. Cody Dawson (36). DNQ: Joe Long (71), Bryan Salisbury (126), Bobby Pifer III (6P), Mike Laughard (38L), Chris Frank (49), Russell Baird, Jr. (17), Lon Emerick (3), Jeff Haynes (27J), Matt Latta (21).
Homak Penn-Ohio Stock Car Series (20 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. CHRIS SCHNEIDER (55) 2. Bob McCann (USA1) 3. Rusty Moore (17M) 4. Shaun Hooks (68) 5. Curt Bish (29) 6. Ed Bolyard II (Patrick 05) 7. Rusty Martz (16M) 8. Shane Applebee (419) 9. Tim Burns (66) 10. Brett McDonald (25) 11. Paul Davis (3) 12. Shaun Fawcett (214) 13. Chris Withers (21W) 14. Jeff Broniszewski (08) 15. Mike Miller (666) 16. Dan McEwen (44) 17. Bobby Heim (92) 18. Charlie Jasinski (5J) 19. Jesse Brock (22B) 20. Mike Clark (7) 21. Rod Laskey (Miller 1M) 22. Dave Myers (Burns 70B) 23. Gary Robinson (44R) 24. Pat Fielding (23)-DNS. DNQ: Ryan Newman (12), William Hurrelbrink (c8), Tony Bruno (97), Brian Mulichak (36D), Mark Hopkins (69H), Bret McCarthy (33), Tyler Thompson (T2), Bryan Wagner (56), Randy Wyant (11T), Gary Fisher (99F), Gary Miller, Jr. (Laskey 1R), Bob Schwartzmiller (28s).
Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modifieds (30 laps, $700 to-win): 1. JOEL WATSON (92) 2. Gary Eicher (14) 3. Mike Kinney (3) 4. Joe Gabrielson (58) 5. Jeff Johnson (27) 6. Brent Rhebergen (Rater RD1) 7. Scott Stiffler (14) 8. Mike Potosky (M20) 9. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 10. Jacob Eucker (64) 11. Bruce Powell (35) 12. Michael McGee (11M) 13. Clayton Kennedy (9) 14. John Boardman (79.2) 15. Russ Dunn (White 53) 16. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 17. Steve Rex (27R) 18. Dwayne Clay (007) 19. Paul Phillips (44) 20. Brian Douglas (214) 21. Amada Stiffler (14A) 22. Jeff Hassay (10) 23. Jamie Duncan (67J) 24. Steve Dixon (Engles 68) 25. Paul Davis (3D) 26. Bob Williamson (93) 27. Darren Fraley (217)-DNS 28. Dan Davies (71D)-DNS.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (15 laps): 1. ADAM HILTON (3A) 2. Greg Martin (4) 3. Jerry Schaffer (4) 4. Larry Kugel 5. Ken Moy, Jr. (34) 6. Jeremy Zufall (20) 7. Chad Reitz (Paden 24) 8. Jeremy Paup (X) 9. Will Schaffer (4W) 10. Michael Kristyak (404).
TUSA Mod Lites (15 laps, $500 to-win): 1. JEFF TEETERS (L1) 2. Levi Spinneweber (27) 3. Kenny Meadows (Teague 10T) 4. Mark Marcucci (8M) 5. Aaron Meister (46) 6. Jacob Bova (28J) 7. Chris Logan (21) 8. Keith Smith (16) 9. Tim Prelog (06) 10. George Englert (11x) 11. Jason Darocha (5) 12. Jim Gump (71) 13. Jim Good (31)-DNS 14. Mike Spinneweber (67)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (25 laps, $350 to-win): 1. BRANDON BLACKSHEAR (10) 2. Jeremy Double (83) 3. Josh Ferry (33) 4. Josh Mueller (01) 5. Butch Lambert (Hendrickson 19) 6. Alan Atkinson (32) 7. Keith Felicetty (98) 8. Todd Canter (Mechling 89) 9. Kevin Sergeff (17s) 10. Adam Babcock (67) 11. George Vestal IV (4) 12. Ryan Fraley (12) 13. Ty Rhoades (12R) 14. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 15. Bob Diver (23) 16. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 17. Steve Haefke (41) 18. Jason Longwell (7s) 19. Casey Bowers (20) 20. Wayne Daniels (4) 21. Mike Hillman (29)-DNS.
Sportsman Dwarf Cars (12 laps): 1. ANGIE GRZELAK (57) 2. Steve Mix (3) 3. Rod Jones (82) 4. Ted Williams (48) 5. Steve Mix, Jr. (85) 6. Art Williams (1) 7. Larry Rhoads (33) 8. Tiffany Williams (58) 9. Mike Sparks (45) 10. Larry Went (97) 11. Jerry Langley, Jr. (31) 12. Kelly Teeters (L1) 13. Joey Grzelak (888) 14. Tim Chambers (7) 15. Bill VanFossen (82) 16. Teddy Williams II (88) 17. Chris Jewell (917).
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps, $200 to-win): 1. DOUG HENSEL (18) 2. Travis Creech (75T) 3. Jason Easler (02) 4. Bobby Siegel (91) 5. Steve Walker II (4M) 6. Raymond Soos (65) 7. Scott Gill (11) 8. Pat Drennan (Sirrine 24) 9. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 10. Pete Blazczak (77) 11. Charley Roberts (6s) 12. Logan Keney (16) 13. Tyler Fulton (09) 14. Derek Weisent (47) 15. Rick Wilson, Jr. (55) 16. Ray Kennedy (18) 17. Bill Fuchs (Westfall 0) 18. Carlos Aponte (52) 19. Clay Garing (14) 20. Kyle Atkins (90) 21. Michael Delliquadri (8) 22. Joe Campbell (40C) 23. Geof Pinch (36)-DNS 24. Tyler Blake (412)-DNS 25. Robert Wagner (35)-DNS 26. Adam Reseigh (2)-DNS 27. Leea Coryea (00c)-DNS 28. Danny Westfall (Fuchs 10)-DNS.
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.