Full “Steel Valley Thunder” program plus TUSA Mod Lites, performance by Megan McGowan & more Saturday presented by Deforest Used Parts
By Mike Leone
May 21, 2015
(Hartford, OH)…After two straight rain outs and three in the first four weeks, Sharon Speedway is hoping to get back on track this Saturday night (May 23) with great weather predicted. Week number two of the 86th anniversary season will feature a full “Steel Valley Thunder” program including the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks, and an appearance by the TUSA Mod Lites. Saturday’s event is being presented by Deforest Used Parts. Group qualifying begins at 7 p.m.
Seventeen-year-old Morgan McGowan of Hubbard, Ohio will sing in the pavilion behind the grandstands shortly after the gates at 5 p.m. until race time. Saturday’s kitchen special is baked chicken, potato and vegetable. Beer proceeds will benefit local police and fire departments.
The 50/50 raffle will benefit Jordan Baer, a 25-year-old from Girard, Ohio. Baer graduated with honors from Girard High School in 2008 and recently Pittsburgh Art Institute. In 2008, right after high school graduation Jordan became ill. He was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy and later pulmonary hypertension due to a virus that infected his heart.
Also, thanks to Fin Feather & Fur, tickets will go on sale for a Barnett Crossbow Recruit Compound that will be raffled off at Fan Appreciation Night on June 13. Tickets are $5.
Joining the weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” divisions is the TUSA Mod Lites in a $1,500 to-win national event. New York’s Derek Wagner won last year’s event in his first ever appearance, while Jeff Teeters captured a $500 event in September during the “Apple Festival Nationals”.
The DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds had the highest car count on opening night with 22 cars in the pits. Defending track and Lou Blaney Memorial “Drive to be a Champion” titlist, Rex King, Jr. wasted little time showing he’s going to be force to repeat with his opening night win. Brian Swartzlander and Dave Murdick looked to be contenders until dropping from the event late with overheating problems. Swartzlander already has a pair of victories at Lernerville Speedway.
Not many times does a newcomer to a division win a feature out the box, but Will Thomas did it on the May 2 opener in the Modifieds and pocketed the $700 increased payout. Modifieds are reminded that, 24 cars or more will result in $1,000 to-win and an increased payoff! It was a rough night for defending track champion, Steve Dixon, who crashed in qualifying ending his night. Past champions Mike Kinney and Joel Watson were right there in second and third.
It was good to see a record 15 RUSH Sportsman Modifieds on hand for their first race as being a weekly division. The class attracted between 10 and 13 on a limited schedule in their inaugural 2014 season. Several other new racers are expected in the coming weeks like 14-year-old Jeremy Weaver, Justin Shea, Joe Plesniak, Jim Bryce, Jerry Schaffer, last year’s inaugural winner Jordan Eck, Josh Chaney, Michael Miller, and more. It was a familiar face in victory lane though as Greg Martin won his fifth career race at the track. Martin, who travels three and a half hours to race, has yet to finish worse than second in his nine starts at the speedway.
The Econo Mod division was very competitive in 2014 and with standouts Jeremy Double and Brandon Blackshear the latest to move up to the Modifieds, look for more new winners in 2015. Butch Lambert started the trend off winning the opener for his first career Sharon win. Lambert has been a veteran racer in the Stock Cars, Modifieds, and RUSH Late Models over the years, but had never been able to win at the Hartford, Ohio oval.
The Mini Stocks brought out a solid field of 17 cars on May 2 missing their car count bonus payoff by one car. It’s always good to see Pete Blazczak make the hour and a half tow up from Gibsonia, Pa., and it proved successful as he captured the victory. Blazczak stated in victory lane he expects to be a weekly competitor at Sharon in 2015. He was able to beat two-time champion and the division’s all-time winner, Bill Fuchs. Look for some new Mini Stock winners as well with 16-time 2013-2014 winner, Travis Creech, moving up to the Stock Cars.
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, Econo Mod, and Mini Stock divisions.
Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5, and group qualifying slated for 7. Admission for those 14 and over is $10. Pit passes are $30. As always, children under 13, parking, and camping is always FREE! Sharon has a no carry-in cooler policy.
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.