Sharon crowns King Jr, Thomas, Dixon, Clark, Double & Fuchs Champs at 2014 Awards Banquet; Braymer & Kinter inducted into HoF
By Mike Leone
February 7, 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Yankee Lake, OH)…Sharon Speedway officially put the wraps on the 85th anniversary season on Saturday night as the Yankee Lake Ballroom hosted the annual awards banquet and dinner as well over 300 people attended the affair. The top 10 drivers in 2014 points in 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 Mod, and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks were honored. Several other special awards were handed out.
Sharon Speedway opened in 1929 and is the longest continually operating family-owned speedway in the country. Two more drivers added their names to the Sharon Speedway Hall of Fame. John Braymer and Bill Kinter were inducted into the 2014 class. Both western Pa. drivers had tremendous success in the 1980s and 1990s before calling it a career.
Braymer of Hermitage, Pa. drove the famed blue #17 to 22 victories in the Big-Block Modified division in addition to capturing three championships (1988, 1989, 1991). Braymer is still sitting fifth on the division’s all-time win list. Kinter was a popular Stock Car racer in his yellow and black #04 and took the checkered flag first 28 times, good still for fourth on the division’s all-time win list. The Meadville, Pa. driver won championships in 1989 and 1990.
Kate Blaney was awarded the prestigious “Bill Kirila Memorial” Award. Kate, the wife of legend Lou Blaney and mother to greats Dave and Dale Blaney, has run the track office and headed up the marketing department since the Blaneys gained ownership of the Speedway in 2002. Kate recently announced her retirement at the Speedway after completing her 13th year. Kate is looking forward to spending time watching her grandson Ryan expand his NASCAR career. Kaye’s brother Tom Keir accepted the award on her behalf.
The track’s “Rookie-of-the-Year” Award was handed out to Joe Campbell. The Austintown, Ohio driver was a “true” rookie and competed in the Mini Stock division where he garnered one feature win, five top 5s, and 8 top 10s on his way to a sixth place finish in the point standings.
Former Stock Car racer Russ Byler completed his first full season behind the wheel of a Late Model and was recognized as the Speedway’s “Most Improved” racer. The New Castle, Pa. driver took over the driving chores of the Terry Hoover-owned #00H replacing Brian Booher during the 2013 season. In 2014, Byler reeled off six 6 top 5s and 11 top 10 finishes in route to a fine third place in the RUSH Late Model points.
Clayton Kennedy was awarded the infamous “Hard Luck” honors. Despite being fast and up near the front many nights during the 2014 season, luck just wasn’t on the Mars, Pa. driver’s side. Kennedy was only able to record 2 top 5 finishes in 16 starts and a disappointing seventh place standing in the Modified division.
The DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds have been one of the headlining divisions at the Speedways since the track went to dirt in 1981. In 2013, Rex King, Jr. won the “Drive to be a Champion” Lou Blaney Memorial crown, but came up short on the track championship. This year, the Bristolville, Ohio driver had a career year as he not only repeated the $1,010 “Drive to be a Champion” title, but also captured his first career track championship. NASCAR racer Ryan Blaney presented the “Drive to the be a Champion” title to King in memory of his grandfather.
The youngest King led the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply-sponsored division with six victories including the $2,000 “Lou Blaney Memorial” BRP Tour win on July 30 in the KMB Inc.-owned, Jim Brown Seed Sales/Bristol Disposal/Reese Services/Professional Heating Systems/Jet Inc/Cedar Steel/Mahan Welding & Fab/Schaeffer Oil/Cintas Uniform/Cleer Excavation-sponsored #165.
2013 champion, Jim Weller, Jr., had five wins including both the “Johnny Zdelar Memorial” ($3,000) and the “Russ King Memorial” ($2,000). Other winners were Rex King (three), Jimmy Weller III (two), and Brian Swartzlander.
For the second time in three years, Will Thomas III garnered the Barris Supply RUSH Late Model Championship. The nearby Sharpsville, Pa. racer won four feature events and had a stellar 13 top 5 finishes in 15 starts! Thomas won an unprecedented three straight feature events during the summer and now has 13 for his career, which is tops all-time in the division. Thomas piloted the Colonial Metal Products/Barris Supply/King Sanitary/All Star Performance/Motorstate/Sweet Manufacturing/Russ King Racing-sponsored #9.
2013 champion, Dennis Lunger, Jr. had a strong year leading the division with five victories. Alan Dellinger returned to the wheel of Bob Williams’ #8 and won four features. The Sweeney Tour events were won by Rick Singleton (“Bill Emig Memorial”) and Russ King (“Gary Knollinger Memorial”).
The Modified division has probably been the strongest and most-competitive at the Speedway the last few years. Once again, over 20 cars were averaged per night and there was a new champion sitting at the head table. Western Pa. car owner Tim Engles has forged a strong team with driver Steve Dixon. The duo focused on Sharon for the first time and was rewarded with the track championship.
Dixon was shutout of victory lane until June 14 and that started a hot streak of five victories over the course of the season’s final 10 events in the Engles Trucking/Backyard Bodies/Close Racing Supply-sponsored #68! Joel Watson matched Dixon for a division-high five victories. 2013 champion, Mike Kinney, was the division’s only other multiple winner at three. Single victories went to Carl McKinney, Dwayne Clay, and Joe Gabrielson.
After going nearly two decades before capturing a track championship, Mike Clark was able to repeat the feat in the Stock Car division! It was far from easy though as the Bristolville, Ohio racer actually tied Paul Davis in points; however, was awarded the championship in the second tiebreaker.
Clark’s victory in the September 27 season finale was huge as it not only tied him for the title with Davis, but also with five victories. Clark was then given the nod in the second tiebreaker, which was second place finishes; three to two. The 48-year-old Clark drove the King’s Sanitary Service/Champion Auto Supply/Martuccio Eye Care/Sons of Italy of Warren, Ohio-sponsored #
7 to the Gibson Insurance Agency Championship.
Only three other Stock Car drivers were victorious in 2014. Chris Schneider swept the two-day “Apple Festival Nationals” for the Penn-Ohio Series, while Bryan Wagner earned two victories, and Shaun Hooks one.
With a spec shock rule in place in 2014, the competitiveness of the Econo Mod division increased. Seven different drivers captured feature event victories, but in the end it was Jeremy Double winning the HTMA/Precise Racing Products title for the second straight year! Double had an amazing 14 top 5 finishes in 15 starts including four victories.
Despite missing a night early in the season, Double was never really challenged for the championship due to his extraordinary consistency in his Cortland Auto Repair/Wedge Motorsports/Thomas Heating & Cooling/King Bros/Russ King Racing/Mahan Welding & Fab/Pioneer Sports & Supply-sponsored #83. He became the third championship driver to reside from Bristolville, Ohio!
Brandon Blackshear added five more victories to his career total, bumping the all-time division-leading number to 16. Steve Burns, Jr. and Jason Longwell added a pair of victories with Longwell’s being his career firsts. Single victories went to Tim Deutsch, Ryan Fraley, and Casey Bowers.
After getting denied the last two years, Bill Fuchs returned to his 2011 championship form nailing down the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock crown. Despite winning just one feature event, the Greenville, Pa. driver outgained Travis Creech by seven points. Creech, the 2013 champion, won an amazing 10 feature events including the final three; however, two of those were non-point events and Creech missed some action earlier in the year.
Fuch’s lone win came back on June 7 and was his division’s all-time leading 23rd of his career and came in the his RTW Industrial Contracting/Hittles Auto Supply/Chatfield Well Drilling/Kreider Tire/McKray & Haag Automotive/Mega Builders/Veados Mini Mart/Headliners Gentleman Club-sponsored #10. Fuch’s young daughter gave his acceptance speech.
Six other racers captured feature wins including Scott Gilliland, Adam Little, Joe Campbell, Pete Blazczak, Jim Haefke, Jr., and Doug Hensel. Little and Campbell were both career first wins for the rookie racers, while Hensel’s was his first ever at the Speedway and came in night one of the “Apple Festival Nationals”.
Jim Pollock emceed the event and announced some of the several changes coming for this year’s 86th anniversary season, which will be detailed in an upcoming press release. The 2015 season will officially get underway on Saturday, April 25.
FINAL Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Top 10: 1. REX KING, JR. (165) 640 2. Rex King (65) 628 3. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 563 4. Jim Rasey (32) 539 5. Rick Richner (26) 518 6. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 494 7. Jimmy Weller III (23) 481 8. Tom Glenn (83T) 453 9. Bob Warren (96B) 420 10. Carl Murdick (6) 354.
FINAL “Drive to be a Champion” DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Top 10: 1. REX KING, JR. (165) 298 2. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 294 3. Rex King (65) 292 4. Jim Rasey (32) 252 5. Jimmy Weller III (23) 240 6. Rick Richner (26) 236 7. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD) 222 8. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 211 9. Tom Glenn (83T) 188 10. Bob Warren (96B) 175.
FINAL Barris Supply RUSH Late Model Top 10: 1. WILL THOMAS III (9) 556 2. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L) 472 3. Russ Byler (Hoover 00H) 454 4. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 433 5. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 429 6. Lon Emerick (3) 338 7. Bobby Pifer III (6P) 305 8. Bobby Whitling (7W) & Eric Andrus (54) 255 10. Clay Ruffo (14R) 294.
FINAL Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modified Top 10: 1. STEVE DIXON (Engles 68) 542 2. Russ Dunn (White 53) 476 3. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 473 4. Mike Kinney (3) 450 5. Dwayne Clay (007) 441 6. Joel Watson (92) 436 7. Clayton Kennedy (9) 411 8. Jacob Eucker (64) 400 9. Jeff Johnson (27) 398 10. Scott Stiffler (14) 339.
FINAL Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car Top 10: 1. MIKE CLARK (7) 538 2. Paul Davis (3) 538 3. Bryan Wagner (56) 441 4. Brian Carothers (02c) 425 5. Dave Myers (Burns 70B) 297 6. Brent Coleman (01) 291 7. Brian Mulichak (36D) 285 8. Gary Robinson (44R) 264 9. Jamie Gibbs (98) 225 10. Tony Bruno (97) 213.
FINAL HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mod Top 10: 1. JEREMY DOUBLE (83) 529 2. Casey Bowers (20) 476 3. Josh Mueller (01) 445 4. Ty Rhoades (12R) 444 5. Brandon Blackshear (10) 406 6. Alan Atkinson (32) 400 7. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 398 8. Jason Longwell (7s) 395 9. Steve Haefke (41) 381 10. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 373.
FINAL Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock Top 10: 1. BILL FUCHS (10) 564 2. Travis Creech (75T) 557 3. Jamie Maxwell (6) 521 4. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 501 5. Tim McAninch (43) 471 6. Joe Campbell (40c) 405 7. Pat Drennan (Sirrine 24) 392 8. Geof Pinch (36) 359 9. Rick Wilson, Jr. (55) 342 10. Steve Walker II (4M) 292.
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.