King returns to VL in Big-Block Mod season finale; 5th wins for Lunger, Dixon & Clark; Bowers ends 2 yr winless drought in Econos; Hilton in RUSH Mods; Creech gets #10 in Minis
By Mike Leone
September 27, 2014
(Hartford, OH)…Summer-like conditions prevailed on Saturday in the 2014 season finale as Sharon Speedway put a wrap to the 85th anniversary season. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Rex King-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Dennis Lunger, Jr.-Barris Supply RUSH Late Models, Steve Dixon-Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Adam Hilton-Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Mike Clark-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Casey Bowers-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Travis Creech-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
After winning two of the first six features of the season, Rex King went winless for nearly four months. King put an end to that winless skein as he captured his season’s third DIRTcar Big-Block Modified feature win in the 20-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply feature. The victory gave the King Family 10 wins during the 2014 season at Sharon as Rex, Jr. won six features and Russell was victorious in the RUSH Late Models in his one and only start.
The veteran Bristolville, Ohio driver chased pole-sitter Jim Rasey for the first seven laps before taking over on lap eight. King then would hold off Dave Murdick, who passed Rasey for second on lap 16, over the final five circuits. King’s 49th career Sharon win came by 1.002 over Murdick in the KMB Inc.-owned, Midway Garage Door/University Hospital/RD Banks Chevrolet/Campbell Gardening Supply/Hunyady Auction/Cintas Uniforms-sponsored #65.
Murdick was making just his third start of the season and matched his best finish from his runner-up at the “Lou Blaney Memorial” on July 30. Rasey dropped to third over Ricky Richner, and champion Rex King, Jr. Completing the top 10 were Rick Regalski, Jr., Tom Glenn, Mark Frankhouser, Dave Reges, and Carl Murdick. Heat winners were King, Jr. and Rasey.
Defending champion Dennis Lunger, Jr. started the 2014 season on fire winning four of the season’s first seven RUSH Late Model features, but like King suffered through a winless drought throughout the summer months. Lunger was also able to get back in victory lane on Saturday night in the 20-lap Barris Supply feature for his first win since June 21.
Lunger used the outside on the start to pass pole-sitter Russ Byler and held him off throughout the duration of the non-stop event timed in 6:07.790. The season’s fifth victory for the 46-year-old Albion, Pa. racer broke the tie with Will Thomas III and Alan Dellinger for the most in the division. Lunger’s 11th career win came in the Reuben Schwartz-owned, Schwartz Construction/English Tire/Carter Lumber/State Farm/Edward Jones Financial Advisor/Beacon Lubricants/Kabanatime.com/Ron and Don North-sponsored #71L.
Byler was 1.267 seconds back in second. It was a good first full Late Model season for Byler behind the wheel of the Terry Hoover-owned #00H as he finished third place in points with four runner-up finishes. Bryan Salisbury was third. Thomas, the two-time champion, passed Jamie Wrightsman on lap five to finish fourth. Wrightsman ended the season with his fifth top five finish. Heat winner Wendell Pinckney dropped from third to sixth at the finish over Dellinger, Bobby Pifer III, and Lon Emerick.
After a stellar first season driving for Tim Engles in 2013, Steve Dixon became a Sharon Speedway regular for the first time in his career in 2014. The decision paid off for venerable team as Dixon put the icing on the cake to his championship season on Saturday night winning his season’s fifth Summit Racing Equipment Modified feature. The 34-year-old hails from Smethport, Pa. some three hours away from Sharon Speedway.
A straight-up start from the heat races put Dixon on the pole for the feature and it was a lead he’d never relinquish holding off a late race charge by fifth starting Scott Stiffler for the victory. Dixon’s seventh career Sharon win came in the Engles Trucking/Backyard Bodies/Close Racing Supply-sponsored #68.
Stiffler, who passed Dwayne Clay on lap 18, was just 0.440 of a second behind in second. Stiffler ended the season strong with three straight top three finishes and five straight top seven finishes after starting the season with just two top 10s in the first seven races. Clay was third over Carl McKinney, and 12th starting Joe Gabrielson. Sixth through 10th were Jacob Eucker, Mike Potosky, newcomer Kevin Miller, Russ Dunn, and Clayton Kennedy. Heats were won by Dixon and Clay.
The new Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds featuring GM 602 crate engines, Bilstein “sealed” spec shocks, and Hoosier spec tires made their eighth appearance of the season on Saturday night and it was Adam Hilton holding off Greg Martin for his second win in the past three events.
Hilton started in sixth, but moved into second after one lap. Jeremy Zufall, who was the lucky winner of the GM 602 engine from Sweeney Chevrolet/Pace Performance last month, led the first five circuits. Zufall, who has wins this season on the circuit at America’s Motorsports Park and Lernerville Speedway, was looking for his first career Sharon win, but Hilton had other ideas taking the lead on lap six.
Martin meanwhile started fifth and took over runner-up from Zufall on lap seven. Martin hounded Hilton down to the finish of the 15-lap main, but the Series point leader would come up just 0.122 of a second shy in runner-up. Hilton, 31 of Buffalo, New York, drives his own Roar Logistics/MVP Network Consulting-sponsored #3A. Zufall was third over Andy Paden and Josh Deems, who made just his second career start in a full-size car. Paden and Ken Moy, Jr. copped the heat race victories.
In one of the strangest circumstances in memory, Mike Clark was not only awarded the 15-lap Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car feature win, but was declared the season champion by virtue of the second tiebreaker. The win was the 48-year-old Bristolville, Ohio driver’s fifth of the season.
An invert four put Clark on the pole of the feature and he led the first three laps before Gary Robinson took charge. Robinson, who was looking for his first win in several years, held down the top spot until bringing out the caution after getting into the fence with 11 laps scored. Clark regained the lead on lap 12 and had his hands full with Jeff Broniszewski over the final four laps.
Broniszewski went after Clark on the final lap and according to the transponders beat Clark at the finish by 0.013 of a second; however, track officials had Clark crossing the finish line first and in post-race tech it was determined Broniszewski’s transponder was mounted too far forward than the specified mounting location. Thus Clark was awarded his 13th career win in his King’s Sanitary Service/Champion Auto Supply/Martuccio Eye Care/Sons of Italy of Warren, Ohio-sponsored #7.
Paul Davis meanwhile entered the feature with a four-point lead on Clark in search of his first career track championship. Due to two straight victories in “Steel Valley Thunder” competition, Davis had to start the feature from the 12th starting spot. On lap 11, Davis passed Mike Miller for fourth then inherited third when Robinson retired from the event on lap 12.
Davis crossed the finish line in third meaning a tie for the championship with Clark. Sharon’s championship tiebreaker rules are most wins; both drivers won five features. The second tiebreaker is most second place finishes; Clark edged Davis three to two in that category giving Clark his second championship in as many seasons! Miller finished the event in fourth over Dan Fedorchak, who matched his season’s best finish in fifth. Davis and Robinson garnered the heat race wins.
In 2012, 14-year-old Casey Bowers swept the two-day “Apple Festival Nationals” for the Econo Mods in his first ever starts at the Speedway. The Cranesville, Pa. driver was a regular at Raceway 7 where he picked up a feature win, and in addition to the two Sharon wins was voted by a panel of over 70 media members and track officials as the 2012 Western Pennsylvania Rookie-of-the-Year. The now 16-year-old has since been a regular at Sharon over the past two seasons, but his winless drought had stretched to over two years.
Last Saturday night, Bowers tried to get by Josh Mueller on the final lap for the win only to be overtaken by champion Jeremy Double. On Saturday night, Bowers and Mueller resumed their battle in the 15-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products feature. Mueller led the first seven laps before Bowers made what would be the winning move on lap eight.
Double passed Mueller on lap 11 for second, but Bowers held on to win by 0.835 of a second to become the season’s seventh different winner in the Jody-Bowers-owned, Kaydyn Directional Boring/Building Systems/Baycreek Ready Mix/Clingerbuilt/Reddog Industries-sponsored #20. Like Clark, Double of Bristolville, Ohio also captured his second straight championship. Bowers third career win was his first at Sharon since September 15, 2012.
Mueller was third for the second straight week. Steve Haefke was fourth. One week after matching a career best finish in sixth, Mike Hillman improved that by one position with a fifth. Double and Bowers won the heat races.
Defending Mini Stock champion Travis Creech started the 2014 season red hot winning six of the first eight features then was shutout of victory lane for over two months. Creech though finished his sophomore season on fire winning the season’s final features and four of the final five! And despite his track-leading 10th feature win on Saturday night in the 12-lap Deforest Used Parts feature, the 26-year-old Niles, Ohio racer came up seven points shy of his second straight title to Bill Fuchs.
Newcomer Jason Shaw led seven of the first eight laps before 12th starting Creech made his way to the point. Once in front, Creech went on to his 16th career victory in the Elite Coleman/JLB Trucking/CLR Electric-sponsored #75T. Shaw, of Canton, Ohio, was runner-up over Pete Blazczak, Jim Haefke, Jr., and Jamie Maxwell. Fuchs, of Greenville, Ohio, was a disappointing 14th and despite just one victory in 2014, the division’s all-time leading feature winner, captured his second career title, but first since 2011. Adam Reseigh and Blazczak were heat race winners.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. REX KING (65) 2. Dave Murdick (61) 3. Jim Rasey (32) 4. Ricky Richner (26) 5. Rex King, Jr. (165) 6. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 7. Tom Glenn (83T) 8. Mark Frankhouser (03) 9. Dave Reges (27R) 10. Carl Murdick (6) 11. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 12. Bob Warren (96B).
Barris Supply RUSH Late Models (20 laps): 1. DENNIS LUNGER, JR. (Schwartz 71L) 2. Russ Byler (Hoover 00H) 3. Bryan Salisbury (126) 4. Will Thomas III (9) 5. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 6. Wendell Pinckney (11) 7. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 8. Bobby Pifer III (6P) 9. Lon Emerick (3).
Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modifieds (20 laps): 1. STEVE DIXON (Engles 68) 2. Scott Stiffler (14) 3. Dwayne Clay (007) 4. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 5. Joe Gabrielson (58) 6. Jacob Eucker (64) 7. Mike Potosky (M20) 8. Kevin Miller (4M) 9. Russ Dunn (White 53) 10. Clayton Kennedy (9) 11. Jeff Hassay (10) 12. Jesse Gould (2G) 13. Brian Hutchko (57) 14. Amanda Stiffler (14A) 15. Jamie Duncan (67J) 16. Howard Fraley (217) 17. Brian Douglass (214) 18. Mike Monreal (71)-DNS 19. Wayne Brugmann (79)-DNS.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (15 laps): 1. ADAM HILTON (3A) 2. Greg Martin (4M) 3. Jeremy Zufall (20Z) 4. Andy Paden (24) 5. Josh Deems (9D) 6. Larry Kugel (0) 7. Ken Moy, Jr. (34) 8. Michael Kristyak (404) 9. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 10. Will Schaffer (4) 11. Chelsie Kriegisch (Schaffer 4c)-DNS.
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. MIKE CLARK (7) 2. Jeff Broniszewski (08) 3. Paul Davis (3) 4. Mike Miller (666) 5. Dan Fedorchak (Bruno x7) 6. Charlie Jasinski (5J0 7. Jeff Kravec (5K) 8. Gary Robinson (44R) 9. Jamie Gibbs (98) 10. Dave Myers (Burns 70B) 11. Mark Hopkins (69H) 12. Steve Burns, Jr. (Duncan 67J) 13. Brian Mulichak (36D).
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. CASEY BOWERS (20) 2. Jeremy Double (83) 3. Josh Mueller (01) 4. Steve Haefke (41) 5. Mike Hillman (29) 6. Alan Atkinson (32) 7. Adam Babcock (67) 8. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 9. Ty Rhoades (12R) 10. Jason Longwell (7s)-DNS 11. George Vestal IV (4)-DNS.
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. TRAVIS CREECH (75T) 2. Jason Shaw (1) 3. Pete Blazczak (77) 4. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 5. Jamie Maxwell (6) 6. Rick Wilson, Jr. (55) 7. Adam Reseigh (2) 8. Tim McAninch (43) 9. Robert Wagner (35) 10. Anthony Jasinski (300) 11. Christi Brugmann (19) 12. Logan Keeney (16) 13. Pat Drennan (Sirrine 24) 14. Bill Fuchs (10) 15. Geof Pinch (36) 16. Michael DelliQuadri (8) 17. Cole Brugmann (12)-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.