King Jr, Thomas & Martin repeat; Teeters tops 34 TUSA Mod Lites for $1500; Career 1st for Hillman in Econos; Hooks wins Stocks in debut; Minis to Fuchs
By Mike Leone
May 23, 2015
(Hartford, OH)…After two straight rainouts and losing three of the first four events, Sharon Speedway was finally blessed with a sunny, cloud-free day on Saturday to complete the second “Steel Valley Thunder” program of the 86th anniversary season. The pits were full of 145 race cars including 34 of the Mod Lites in a TUSA national event.
Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Rex King, Jr.-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Will Thomas III-Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Jeff Teeters-TUSA Mod Lites, Greg Martin-Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Shaun Hooks-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Mike Hillman-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Bill Fuchs-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
Rex King, Jr. has quickly established himself as the driver to beat in the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds. One year after having a career best season winning championships at both Sharon and Lernerville Speedways, the youngster is off to a fast start in 2015. Already a winner this year at Lernerville, King made it two-for-two at Sharon winning the 30-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply feature from the sixth starting spot.
“We are doing good here to start the season,” said the 24-year-old Bristolville, Ohio racer, who can start no better than 12th next week. “I have to thank everyone that helps out, all of my sponsors, and the fans. This is awesome! I also want to thank all of our military personnel being Memorial Day Weekend and all of our fallen soldiers. Without them we wouldn’t be able to do everything we do here.”
The elder Rex King took off in the lead over Jim Rasey after an invert four from qualifying. King, Jr. was up to fourth after two laps when he nosed ahead of Garrett Krummert. He continued his march forward stealing third from Ricky Richner on lap five and drove under and past Rasey for second in turn four on lap eight. By this time, his father had built up a half-straightaway lead, but that advantage was erased when Justin Rasey spun with nine laps completed.
When racing resumed, the father-son duo raced side-by-side with “Cooter” taking the lead off turn four using the outside. The two Kings pulled away, while the battle was on for third with Rasey trying to hold off Dave Murdick and Richner. Three cautions slowed action between laps 14-17. In between, seventh starting Murdick took third from Rasey on lap 15.
The final 13 laps went non-stop with King, Jr. winning by 2.287 seconds over his father. King, Jr’s 16th career win came 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.
Murdick, Richner, and Rasey were third through fifth. Completing the top 10 were Jim Weller, Jr., Tom Glenn, Rob Kristyak, Tom Mattocks, and Bob Warren. Brad Rapp, who moved from 10th to sixth, but dropped from the event on lap 17 was awarded the hard luck and received two pit passes for next week compliments of Hovis Auto & Truck Supply. King, Jr. was fastest in qualifying over the 19-car field with a lap of 16.214.
Not only is Will Thomas III a perfect two-for-two this season in the Modifieds, but he’s a perfect two-for-two in his career starts in the division! The two-time RUSH Late Model Champion raced from the sixth starting spot to capture the 30-lap Summit Racing Equipment win, which was worth $1,000 due to hitting the 24 car count mark.
“I’ll be honest, I’m really surprised we were able to get here,” expressed the 39-year-old Sharpsville, Pa. resident. “We qualified second fastest and Steve (Dixon) was really good in qualifying tonight. There’s a really good group of racers here. We got luck on our side and have a really good car and guys that helps us out. Those guys had some trouble banging around on the restarts and we were able to get through them. Anytime we come here and win it feels great.”
Steve Dixon led the opening two laps before contact with Joel Watson sent him over the cushion. Watson led the next three laps until pitting under caution. Mike Kinney inherited the lead on lap six, but he’d never officially lead a lap as sixth starting Thomas made the pass on the restart with Dixon following in second. The next 23 laps went caution-free. Thomas had opened up a comfortable lead on Dixon until the defending champion began to close with five laps to go. Dixon then got a break when Bruce Powell brought out a caution with two laps to go.
Dixon ran hard and gave it all he had, but Thomas had the preferred line as he took his Colonial Metal Products/Barris Supply/All Star Performance/Sweet Manufacturing/King Sanitary/Russ King Racing/Wedge Motorsports/Five Star Bodies/Motorstate-sponsored #9 to his 16th career victory at the track.
After struggling on opening night, Matt Lux raced from eighth to finish third. Kinney dropped to fourth over Dwayne Clay. Mike Potosky was sixth after starting 20th to earn a $25 hard charger certificate from Summit Racing Equipment. Seventh through 10th were Carl McKinney, Shawn Shingledecker, Jamie Duncan, and Gary Sullivan. Dixon set fast time in qualifying with a 16.650.
The TUSA Mod Lites returned for the second straight year to a run a national event at the speedway. This year, a record 34 racers from five states plus Canada filled the pit area. At the end of the night it was local racer Jeff Teeters picking up the victory. The 51-year-old Warren, Ohio driver led the entire distance in an event that saw numerous accidents. Teeters, who won a $500 race last September at Sharon during the “Apple Festival Nationals, was glad Saturday’s race was only 25 as he blew up his #L1 racing off turn four on the final lap, but had just enough of a lead built up to hold on for the $1,500 win.
New York’s Joe Isabell beat Ontario, Canada’s Josh Sliter across the line for second. Ontario’s Paul Klager was fourth ahead of Delaware racer Mike Stratton. James Hill won his heat race, but had to run the B main after changing cars. Hill then won one of the B mains only to lose a motor and was unable start the feature. Joel Watson and Stratton won the other two heat races. Klager won the other B main, while Teeters won the 14-lap Dirty Dozen Shootout.
Greg Martin continues to make the three and a half hour drive from Wilson, New York to Sharon Speedway worthwhile as he went two-for-two in the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. Martin started sixth and had the lead on lap three and never looked back for the 20-lap Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing victory.
Chelsie Kriegisch, who finished third on opening night at both Sharon and Lernerville Speedways, shot from the third starting spot into the lead on the opening lap past Kole Holden and Brandon Ritchey; meanwhile Martin was already up four spots after two laps. A caution with two laps completed put Martin beside Kriegisch for the double file restart.
Martin used the outside to power into the lead, and it would be a lead he wouldn’t relinquish over the next 18 laps. The only thing to slow Martin were four cautions as Martin took the win by 2.643 seconds in his NYKDS/Jeffery Machine/Atwel Eye Care/Race 1-sponsored #4. Martin now has six career wins in 10 Sharon starts and has yet to finish worse than second!
A caution with four laps to go might have cost Kriegisch a career best runner-up as on the restart Kyle Martell passed both Nick Ritchey and Kriegisch for second. Kriegisch was sideways on lap 18 as she dropped back through the pack. The 15-year-old Martell took the checkered flag in second for the second straight race. Ritchey was third. Larry Kugel and Jerry Schaffer came back up through the pack after tangling on lap 10 to finish fourth and fifth respectively. Martin was fastest in qualifying over the 15-car field with a lap of 17.637.
Making his 2015 Sharon debut, Shaun Hooks out-dueled four-time champion Steve D’Apolito to win the 20-lap Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car feature. The 45-year-old Sandy Lake, Pa. driver took over from pole-sitter Brent Coleman at the start and led the first two laps before a caution for opening night winner, Chris Haines. D’Apolito started fourth and had passed Andy Buckley and Coleman for second before the caution.
When green replaced yellow, Hooks and D’Apolito raced side-by-side on lap three with D’Apolito nosing ahead to lead the lap. Hooks though came right back on the inside to regain the lead one lap later. Hooks pulled away at the halfway mark in lapped traffic as he stretched his lead to a half-straightaway as laps 3-15 ran caution-free. Two cautions on laps 15 and 16 bunched up the field and gave D’Apolito two more shots, but Hooks had enough to hold on for his ninth career win by 1.003 of a second in the Richard Janovick-owned #65.
D’Apolito was a strong second in his first race since early 2014. Mike Miller came from eighth to finish third over another newcomer in Jackson Humanic. Mike Clark started fifth and finished fifth. After getting to the track late and missing qualifying, Charlie Jasinski raced from 17th to eighth to earn the $25 hard charger certificate from Summit Racing Equipment. Andy Buckley turned the fastest lap in qualifying with an 18.114 over the season high 18-car field.
Mike Hillman came out on top of a wild Econo Mod feature that saw just five of the original 16 starters finish the HTMA/Precise Racing Products 20-lap race. Hillman’s victory was the first of his young career as four of the five finishers had never won a feature in their career before!
“I’m not a man of many words so when I’m speechless it’s not saying much, but I’m speechless,” expressed the 26-year-old Warren, Ohio racer. “I saw the transmission come out of Josh’s (Ferry) car and I knew I was going to be on the front row. I was planning on how I was going to do my restart then I saw Keith (Felicetty) pull off, and I thought ‘it’s my choice what I want to do now’. We ran a limited season last year, but did a lot of work this offseason to really get to the next level with our program and it’s working out for us now.”
It looked like Josh Ferry was primed for his first career Sharon win. Ferry, the defending champion at Raceway 7, who already has wins this year at Raceway 7 and Eriez Speedway, led the first 16 laps until his transmission exploded on lap 17. That gave the lead to Keith Felicetty, another driver looking for his first career win. Felicetty though would never lead a lap as he pulled off the track under caution.
Hillman, who started ninth, was next in line to inherit the lead, and he’d hold on over the final four laps to beat Brian Foley, Jr. by 1.075 of seconds. Hillman’s win came in the Wayne Construction/King Bros.-sponsored #29. Foley was a career best second over 12th starting Junior Mechling, 16th starting Kevin Sergeff, who earned the $25 hard charger certificate from Summit Racing Equipment. Rookie Chris Clay started 14th and completed the finishers in fifth.
An opening lap spin by Jamie Scharba took out four top racers in last week’s winner Butch Lambert along with Brad Blackshear, Steve Haefke, and Scharba. Dan McEwen was the lucky recipient of a pair of pit passes for next Saturday compliments of Hovis Auto & Truck Supply as the 11th place finishing pill was drawn. Ryan Fraley, another event casualty, set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 17.841 over the season high 16-car field.
Two-time champion Bill Fuchs led wire-to-wire in the Mini Stocks to capture the 12-lap Deforest Used Parts victory. The 39-year-old Greenville, Pa. racer faced only one restart that slowed him to his all-time leading 24th career win in his RTW Industrial Contracting/Hittles Auto Supply/Chatfield Well Drilling/Kreider Tire/McKray & Haag Automotive/Mega Builders/Veados Mini Mini/Headliners Gentlemen’s Club-sponsored #10. The victory was worth $150 due to there being over 17 cars on hand.
Fifth starting Jamie Maxwell was second after passing Pete Blazczak for the spot on lap four. Adam Little, who made his season debut, was third after starting seventh. Adam Reseigh, who was late and missed his heat race, raced from 17th to fourth and earned the $25 hard charger certificate from Summit Racing Equipment. Blazczak, who won opening night, was fifth with a slowing car at the end. Heat winners over the season high 19-car field were Michael DelliQuadri and Fuchs.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (30 laps): 1. REX KING, JR. (165) 2. Rex King (65) 3. Dave Murdick (61) 4. Ricky Richner (26) 5. Jim Rasey (32) 6. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 7. Tom Glenn (83T) 8. Rob Kristyak (00) 9. Tom Mattocks (69) 10. Bob Warren (96B) 11. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 12. Tommy Marshall III (Hinkle 77) 13. Carl Murdick (6) 14. Brad Rapp (11R) 15. Garrett Krummert (29) 16. Eric Beggs (29*) 17. Justin Rasey (21) 18. Don Brown (71B) 19. Tiffany Williams (58).
Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modifieds (30 laps, $1,000 to-win): 1. WILL THOMAS III (9) 2. Steve Dixon (Engles 68) 3. Matt Lux (21) 4. Mike Kinney (3) 5. Dwayne Clay (007) 6. Mike Potosky (M20) 7. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 8. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 9. Jamie Duncan (67J) 10. Gary Sullivan (47s) 11. Bruce Powell (35) 12. Paul Davis (3D) 13. Adam Babcock (67) 14. Joel Watson (92) 15. Scott Stiffler (14) 16. Dan Davies (71D) 17. Bud Watson (2BW) 18. Amanda Stiffler (14A) 19. Matt Hay (Peterman 4) 20. Bob Williamson (93) 21. Jeff Johnson (Smith 1) 22. J.J. Bametzrieder (74) 23. Jason Longwell (Petsko 00)-DNS 24. Jacob Eucker (64)-DNS.
TUSA Mod Lites (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. JEFF TEETERS (L1) 2. Joe Isabell (6J) 3. Josh Sliter (17) 4. Paul Klager (1EH) 5. Mike Stratton (23) 6. Rod Jones (820) 7. Jacob Bova (28J) 8. Aaron Meister (46) 9. Tracy Fritter (59) 10. David Brown (33) 11. Glen Teeter (40) 12. Doug Jones (X) 13. Derek Wagner (61) 14. Kacy Campbell (1KC) 15. Joel Watson (Reed R88) 16. Jason Darocha (5) 17. Mark Marcucci (8M) 18. Keith Smith (16) 19. Ken Meadows (21) 20. Shane Webb (267) 21. Josh Christopher (27) 22. Rob Misener (6) 23. Jimmy Wills (22W) 24. Tiffany Williams (58) 25. James Hill (1)-DNS. DNQ: Mike Flockerzi (44), Shane Pfeuffer (67), Anthony Covicchia (41), Nick Nosh (27N), Jeff Isabell (5J), Richard Lawson (717), Cole Petrelle (84), Charlie Armstrong (45A), Jeff May (23X).
Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (20 laps): 1. GREG MARTIN (4) 2. Kyle Martell (8) 3. Nick Ritchey (77N) 4. Larry Kugel (0) 5. Jerry Schaffer (14) 6. Kole Holden (2) 7. Rocky Kugel (1) 8. Justin Shea (14s) 9. Chelsie Kriegisch (Schaffer 10) 10. Will Schaffer (4) 11. Jeff Hughes (22) 12. Michael Kristyak (404) 13. Brandon Ritchey (17) 14. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 15. Andy Paden (24).
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (20 laps): 1. SHAUN HOOKS (Janovick 65) 2. Steve D’Apolito (84) 3. Mike Miller (T6) 4. Jackson Humanic (Kellogg 17K) 5. Mike Clark (7) 6. Jesse Brock (22B) 7. Charlie Jasinski (5J) 8. Tony Bruno (97) 9. Brian Mulichak (36D) 10. Shane Smith (299) 11. Chris Haines (35H) 12. Brian Carothers (02c) 13. Travis Creech (75T) 14. Andy Buckley (965) 15. Brent Coleman (01) 16. Jarrot Moore (Norman 3x) 17. Dave Myers (Burns 70B) 18. Rod Laskey (1R)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (20 laps): 1. MIKE HILLMAN (29) 2. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 3. Junior Mechling (89) 4. Kevin Sergeff (17) 5. Chris Clay (99) 6. Josh Ferry (33) 7. Keith Felicetty (98) 8. Wayne Daniels (4) 9. Bob Burk, Jr. (72c) 10. Casey Bowers (20) 11. Dan McEwen (44M) 12. Ryan Fraley (12) 13. Jamie Scharba (11S) 14. Butch Lambert (Hendrickson 19) 15. Steve Haefke (41) 16. Brad Blackshear (19).
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps, $150 to-win): 1. BILL FUCHS (10) 2. Jamie Maxwell (6) 3. Adam Little (99) 4. Adam Reseigh (2) 5. Pete Blazczak (77) 6. Michael DelliQuadri (77D) 7. Matt Rubright (X) 8. Mitch Stokes (6M) 9. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 10. Tim McAninch (43) 11. Greg Schmied (97) 12. Rick Wilson, Jr. (55) 13. Logan Keney (16) 14. Joe Keney (15K) 15. Jeff Little (42) 16. Joe Campbell (40c) 17. Steve Walker II (4M)-DNS 18. Pat Drennan (Sirrine 24)-DNS 19. Geof Pinch (36)-DNS.
Friday night will be the first “Summer Jam & BBQ Series with “Key West” and Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band. Gates open at 6 p.m. with the performance beginning at 9. Admission is $5. Next Saturday night will be the return of the Super Late Models in a ULMS-sanctioned event for $2,000 to-win plus DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Econo Mods, and Mini Stocks. Admission is $15 for those 14 and over. Pit passes are $30. Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5 and group qualifying at 7.
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.