Blair wins $2K for his 1st ULMS Super LM win; Milestone 50th career Sharon Big-Block Mod win & 100th overall for King; 1st wins for Kugel & Fraley in RUSH Mods & Econos; Fuchs again in Minis
By Mike Leone
May 30, 2015
(Hartford, OH)…It’s been a rough start to the 2015 racing season at Sharon Speedway losing three of the first five events. Saturday’s forecast wasn’t a favorable one and while just about every regional speedway rained out, Sharon went on with the program and the storms dodged Hartford, Ohio holding off until shortly after the third event of the 86th anniversary season was completed in its entirety.
Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Max Blair-ULMS Super Late Models, Rex King-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Rocky Kugel-Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Ryan Fraley-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Bill Fuchs-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
The ULMS Super Late Model Series returned to Sharon on Saturday night after a two-year absence, and while Max Blair may have been a familiar face in victory lane, it was his first ever in the Super Late Models at Sharon and first career win in ULMS. Blair led all 25 laps and was never seriously challenged for the $2,000 win, but did have a scare with a lapped car on lap 12.
“I’m not sure who that fellow was, but he’s probably glad the race ended the way it ended,” stated the 25-year-old Centerville, Pa. driver. “It hurt the car. The steering wheel is off about a quarter of a turn. There’s definitely something bent in the front end, it just didn’t steer as good after that. The race track was forgiving enough you could get around it and it didn’t hurt you too bad. Anytime you have Russ King and Keith Barbara behind you, you have to be on your toes. Those yellows were killing me at the end. I just don’t have the seat time to stay calm like those guys, but we pulled it out. I have to thank Sharon Speedway for having this race. I know the car count wasn’t what everyone had hoped for. Give us another chance with better weather and let’s see if we can better that car count because I sure do love coming here.”
Blair powered around the outside to take the lead from pole-sitter John Mollick on the opening lap. Blair began to pull away from the field on lap three, while the battle for second intensified on lap five with Mollick trying to hold off Russell King and Keith Barbara. A caution for Jim Rasey with five laps scored slowed action.
When racing resumed, Mollick and King put on quite a race running side-by-side from laps six through nine battling for second. In turn four on lap nine, Mollick slipped high allowing King and Barbara to fly by. Blair had a half-straightaway lead built up by the time King made his way to second.
Near disaster struck for Blair on lap 12. Blair caught Michigan racer Jeremy Knoll in turns three and four. Blair attempted to go under him racing off turn four, but Knoll cut down which launched Blair into air. Somehow Blair was able to keep going, while the caution was displayed for Knoll.
Blair would survive two more cautions including one that set-up a two-lap shootout to the finish to win by 0.901 of a second for his eighth career Sharon win in his Murphy’s Logging/C&J Dairy/R&J Poultry/Specialty Products/Genesis Shocks-sponsored #111. King and Barbara battled over the final 14 laps swapping second back and forth numerous times before Barbara took the spot for good on lap 24. King was third over Mollick and Terry Porter. Clay Ruffo, Bill Davis, Brent Rhebergen, Josh Knoll, and Jeremy Knoll completed the top 10. Heat winners were Barbara and King. King set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 16.453 by just 0.001 of a second over Blair!
Not many drivers reach milestone victories in their career, let alone two, but to accomplish two in one night is a pretty special feat. That’s exactly what happened to Rex King on Saturday night. The veteran Big-Block Modified racer passed Dave Murdick for the lead then held off his son, Rex Jr., for his 50th career Sharon win and 100th overall on the circuit. The 30-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory also stopped Rex, Jr’s attempt at three straight wins to start the season.
“That’s pretty good, ain’t it,” expressed the happy Bristolville, Ohio winner when asked about his 100th win. “I knew we were getting close. I have a good family and crew, great sponsors, and we have great fans here- what more do you want? I can’t crash him (Rex, Jr.) because then it just costs me money.”
Murdick used the outside to take the early advantage over King. The top three of Murdick, King, and Richner pulled away from the pack, while the race was on for fourth with Kevin Bolland, Jim Weller, and Jim Rasey swapping the spots. Just before the Murdick caught traffic, the caution was displayed for Bob Warren with eight laps completed.
King made the inside work on the restart as he led lap eight. Problems for fast qualifier Garrett Krummert with 10 laps completed awarded him the hard luck as he earned two pit passes for next Saturday compliments of Hovis Auto & Truck Supply. Bolland and 12th starting King, Jr. were on the move as they passed Weller for third and fourth on laps 11 and 14 respectively.
A caution for Justin Rasey’s spin bunched up the field at the halfway point. A wild lap 16 saw a three-wide battle for second with King, Jr. coming out on top over Murdick and Bolland. King, Jr. would have two restarts alongside his father, but wasn’t able to get it done as King, Sr. took the win by 1.620 seconds in the KMB Inc.-owned, Midway Garage Door/University Hospital/RD Banks Chevrolet/Campbell Gardening Supply/Hunyady Auction/Cintas Uniforms-sponsored #65.
Weller came back to get third. Brad Rapp advanced from his 11th starting spot to place fourth. Murdick, who led the first seven laps, faded to fifth. Completing the top 10 were Bolland, Jim Rasey, Tom Glenn, Jim Turley, and Tom Mattocks. Krummert’s fast lap was a 16.468 over the 19-car field.
Rocky Kugel put a stop to Greg Martin’s streak of two straight wins in the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds at Sharon and three straight on the Bicknell Racing Products Weekly Series circuit. Kugel led all 20 laps of the Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing feature holding off 12th starting Martin for his first win of 2015.
“I knew Greg Martin would be coming,” stated the 38-year-old East Liverpool, Ohio driver. “I just kept trying to keep my line, be patient, hit the same mark every lap, and it paid off because I see the #4 (Martin) finished second. We’ve been having some problems the last couple weeks. My dad blew his motor up last week. He came down at 4 o’clock this morning. We had my carburetor in 10 pieces sitting on my workbench and rebuilt it. Big hats off to him. Without him I couldn’t be doing this. He’s been around a long time. We love racing. I want to thank the fans for coming out, and hope we put on a good show.”
Kugel took off in the lead over Jerry Schaffer and Steve Burns, Jr. Kugel quickly began to pull away, while the battle was on for fourth with Kole Holden trying to fend off Chelsie Kriegisch, Nick Ritchey, and Martin. Following a caution for a spin by Jeff Hughes, Ritchey and Martin were able to move into fourth and fifth past Holden and Kriegisch. Ritchey and Martin then ran down Burns and the race was on for third on lap eight. Martin inched past Ritchey for fourth on lap nine then battled with Burns side-by-side over the next four laps until Hughes and Brandon Ritchey tangled with 14 laps scored.
When green replaced yellow, Kugel pulled away as the race for second now heated up. It was three-wide with Schaffer keeping the position, while Martin grabbed third from Burns with Ritchey following in fourth on lap 17. Martin would get past Schaffer for second on lap 18. Martin though would run out of time at mounting any charge at Kugel, who took his Paper Services-sponsored #1 to his second career victory by 0.735 of a second. Schaffer’s third was his best of the season. Nick Ritchey was fourth over Burns. Martin set fast time for the third straight race with a lap of 17.991 by just 0.025 over Kugel.
Ryan Fraley became the third different Econo Mod winner in as many races stealing a win away from race-long leader Jamie Scharba with two laps to go in the 20-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products feature. “It worked around the top,” explained the 26-year-old Fowler, Ohio driver. “My dad and Johnson said go to the bottom, but I don’t think it would work down there because it was pretty tight. I lost the race on opening night trying that so I figured I might as well do it again. It’s going to be a fun year.”
Scharba looked strong setting the pace out front in a race that was marred by eight cautions. Fraley started fourth and made his way to second on lap six. Fraley had seven shots lining up alongside Scharba but it took until the final restart when he made the winning pass on lap 19. Casey Bowers followed in second. Bowers battled Fraley to the finish, but Fraley held on by 0.496 of a second for his sixth career win in his RADA Truck Service/CD Gibbs Construction/Tri-State Trailer Sales/Clay Bros. Transmission/Lautanen Trucking/Clay Trucking-sponsored #12.
Scharba dropped to third over Keith Felicetty and Brad Blackshear. Newcomer Gary Miller, Jr. raced from 11th to sixth and earned the $25 Summit Racing Equipment hard charger gift card. Fraley also set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 18.268.
In 2014, Bill Fuchs captured his second track championship, but won just one feature event. Fuchs is already off to a fast start in 2015 as he won for the second straight week in the Mini Stocks. The point leader’s victory came in the 12-lap Deforest Used Parts feature. “I’ve been racing with Pete (Blazczak) for a long time. He’s a great racer. I enjoy racing with him. The name of the game is consistency and maintaining the car if you’re running for a points championship. I have to thank all of my sponsors for allowing us to come out here and race.”
Opening night winner, Pete Blazczak, who is chasing after the championship for the first time, raced to the early lead and set the pace out front for the first three laps until slowing in the lead. Fuchs then inherited the lead and led the final nine laps for his 25th career win in his Crash Auto Wrecking/RTW Industrial Contracting/Higbee Family-sponsored #10.
Jamie Maxwell batted his way from eighth to finish second. Adam Reseigh was late and missed his heat race for the second straight week, but charged through the field to finish a close third, and also earned the $25 Summit Racing Equipment hard charger certificate for the second straight week. Blazczak and Fuchs won the heat races over the 16-car field.
ULMS Super Late Models (25 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. MAX BLAIR (111) 2. Keith Barbara (17) 3. Russell King (56) 4. John Mollick (4J) 5. Terry Porter (32) 6. Clay Ruffo (14R) 7. Bill Davis (3D) 8. Brent Rhebergen (07R) 9. Josh Knoll (87K) 10. Jeremy Knoll (7K) 11. Russ Byler (Hoover 00H) 12. Jim Rasey (32).
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (30 laps): 1. REX KING (65) 2. Rex King, Jr. (165) 3. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 4. Brad Rapp (11R) 5. Dave Murdick (61) 6. Kevin Bolland (777) 7. Jim Rasey (32) 8. Tom Glenn (83T) 9. Jim Turley (117) 10. Tom Mattocks (69) 11. Carl Murdick (6) 12. Jimmy Weller III (23) 13. Garrett Krummert (29) 14. Justin Rasey (21) 15. Rob Kristyak (00) 16. Ricky Richner (26) 17. Shawn Kozar (3K) 18. Bob Warren (96B) 19. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13)-DNS.
Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (20 laps): 1. ROCKY KUGEL (1) 2. Greg Martin (4) 3. Jerry Schaffer (14) 4. Nick Ritchey (77N) 5. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 6. Chelsie Kriegisch (Schaffer 10) 7. Kyle Martell (8) 8. Michael Kristyak (404) 9. Kole Holden (2) 10. Will Schaffer (4) 11. Jeff Hughes (22) 12. Brandon Ritchey (17) 13. Jim Bryce (30X).
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (20 laps): 1. RYAN FRALEY (12) 2. Casey Bowers (20) 3. Jamie Scharba (11s) 4. Keith Felicetty (98) 5. Brad Blackshear (19) 6. Gary Miller, Jr. (1M) 7. Junior Mechling (89) 8. Chris Clay (99) 9. Jacob Eucker (Daniszewski 01) 10. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 11. Wayne Daniels (4) 12. Mike Hillman (29) 13. Dan McEwen (44) 14. Robert Simmons (4RJ).
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. BILL FUCHS (10) 2. Jamie Maxwell (6) 3. Adam Reseigh (2) 4. Logan Keney (16) 5. Tim McAninch (43) 6. Matt Rubright (X) 7. Mitch Stokes (6M) 8. Joe Keney (15K) 9. Michael DelliQuadri (77) 10. Steve Walker II (4M) 11. Pete Blazczak (77) 12. Joe Campbell (40C)-DNS 13. Travis Creech (75T)-DNS 14. Adam Little (99)-DNS 15. Cole Longwell (1)-DNS 16. Pat Drennan (Sirrine 24)-DNS.
Next Saturday night will be a full “Steel Valley Thunder” program of DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Modifieds, RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Stock Cars Econo Mods, and Mini Stocks. Kids bike races will be held at intermission. Admission is just $10 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. ###