King Jr & Martin make it 3 wins in 4 races in Big-Block & RUSH Mods; Lux flies to 1st Mod win; Bowers is 4th different Econo winner; 1st for Carothers in Stocks; Hensel invades & wins Minis
By Mike Leone
June 6, 2015
(Hartford, OH)…After losing three of the first four events to start the 2015 season, Sharon Speedway was able to complete its third straight program on a beautiful Saturday evening to kickoff the big month of June. The pits were filled with 107 race cars. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Rex King, Jr.-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Matt Lux-Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Greg Martin-Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Brian Carothers-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Casey Bowers-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Doug Hensel-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
Rex King, Jr. has certainly raised the bar to his fellow competitors in the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds. The defending Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Champion picked up his third win in four races. The youngest of the King Family made up for Friday night at Lernerville when he was passed for the win the final lap by Brian Swartzlander. The 30-lap win for King, Jr. kept the Kings a perfect four-for-four this season at Sharon. The 23 cars were a season high just missing the $1,500 to-win higher payoff bonus by one car.
“Everyone is going to start thinking we’re cheating if we keep winning,” joked the 24-year-old Bristolville, Ohio driver. “They watered the track and I knew it was going to be pretty dirty and it was. I knew we had to get there fast because as soon as it started blowing off it was going be one lane. Luckily we got there quick enough. I have to thank all of my sponsors, my parents and grandparents, all of the fans, my crew- they’re second to none. We’re pretty fortunate to be in the situation we’re in and we like taking advantage of it.”
Pole-sitter Jim Rasey took off in the lead, while fifth starting King, Jr. flew into second at the completion of lap one ahead of his father, who was last week’s winner. King, Jr. made the winning move on lap three taking the top spot away from Rasey on the backstretch. After nine fast-paced laps, the caution was displayed for Jimmy Weller III, who spun in turn four.
When racing resumed, it was a four-car race for the lead with King, Jr. out front over his father, Swartzlander, and Erick Rudolph, who were all able to overtake Rasey. Rudolph made the pass of Swartzlander on the bottom of turn four on lap 14 for third. The event’s second and final caution was displayed when Jim Turley spun in turn one and was clipped by Rick Regalski, Jr. with 24 laps scored.
The final six laps went green-to-checkered with King, Jr. winning by 1.041 seconds 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. It was the 17th career win for King, Jr. moving him into a tie with Ron Smoker for ninth on the all-time win list.
King and Rudolph battled hard for position two over the second half of the race at times running side-by-side, but King had the momentum and the preferred line to finish second. Rudolph was third in his first start of 2015 driving a team car to owner Randy Chrysler of New York. Swartzlander and Rasey were fourth and fifth.
Completing the top 10 were 11th starting Brad Rapp, Ricky Richner, newcomer Kevin Hoffman, Rob Kristyak, and Carl Murdick, who celebrated his 78th birthday. Garrett Krummert set fast time for the second time this season with a lap of 16.286. Steve Barr, who made his first appearance of 2015, was award the hard luck after mechanical woes ended his night on his first lap of qualifying. Barr will receive two pit passes for next Saturday night compliments of Hovis Auto & Truck Supply.
Matt Lux, who has returned to the Modified class in 2015, put a stop to division newcomer Will Thomas’ perfect two-for-two streak. If it weren’t for a spin and a flat tire by Thomas, Lux might have been challenged for the 30-lap Summit Racing Equipment feature.
“I was so mad at that race car,” revealed the 40-year-old Franklin, Pa. driver. “It didn’t feel good at all and going to the top was a sheer frustration move. After I found it, I settled down and got it under control and it was better. The guys always tease me that I’m a grass mower running the bottom, but sometimes you have to run the top. Nice race track tonight. You could run top or bottom. Everything seemed pretty good for us. This is a rough transition for me so it’s nice it’s coming together, and everyone can start enjoying it.”
Carl McKinney led the first four laps of the feature until a caution for a spin by Jeff Johnson. On the ensuing restart, Dwayne Clay powered into the lead. Lux started second, but fell back to fourth on lap five before a caution for Clayton Kennedy, who made his first start of the season.
Back under green, Lux went to the topside and made it work passing Bruce Powell and McKinney for second. Lux stayed on the top and carried that momentum to run down Clay and drove right around him for lead in turns one and two on lap eight. Thomas started in 11th and was up to third on lap 10 passing McKinney then drove under Clay for second at the halfway point. Thomas was running the fastest laps of the race on the bottom, but would spin running second then three laps later slowed with a flat tire.
The final 12 laps saw Lux maintain his lead and took the checkered flag first for his fifth career win by 1.773 seconds in his Cranberry Performance Plus/McCool’s Signs & Graphics/Les Frickshun/Wedge Motorsports/M3 Autosports-sponsored #21. Clay was second over McKinney. Thomas worked his way back to finish fourth and received a $25 gift certificate for being the Summit Racing Equipment hard charger. Powell was fifth.
Sixth through 10th were 13th starting Mike Kinney, newcomer Joe Gabrielson, Paul Davis, Shawn Shingledecker, and Howard Fraley, who received two pit passes for next Saturday by a lucky draw compliments of Hovis Auto & Truck Supply. Scott Stiffler set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 17.357.
Like King, Jr., Greg Martin made it three wins in four tries this season in the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. Ironically just like King, Jr., Martin finished second last week after being required to start 12th. Martin’s win came in the 20-lap Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing feature event, which was a Bicknell Racing Products RUSH Weekly Series event.
“These guys are really making it tough on me,” stated the 33-year-old Wilson, New York resident. “The track has been real, real bitey. It’s real tough to pass in these crate cars when it’s like that, but hey you have to do it. I have to thank my crew; dad and Sid they come on down. Also have to thank Race 1- Brad has been great, all of the fans for coming out, and all of the staff for working on a Saturday night.”
Martin started second and took the lead on the opening lap from Kole Holden. Jerry Schaffer moved past Holden on lap three for runner-up. The only thing that slowed Martin to victory were four cautions between laps 6-17. Schaffer tried several different methods, but was unable to get by Martin on the double file restarts. Martin’s all-time division leading seventh career win came in his NYKDS/Jeffery Machine/Atwel Eye Care/Race 1-sponsored #4 by 1.409 seconds over Schaffer, who recorded his season’s best finish.
Nick Ritchey passed Holden on lap four to finish third for the second time this season. Steve Burns, Jr. was a season best fourth over Holden, who dropped to fifth. Schaffer became the first driver in four nights to out-qualify Martin with a lap of 17.814 by just 0.003 over Martin. The 15-car field matched the all-time high for the division.
Brian Carothers came out on top of the Stock Cars to become the third different winner in as many races. Carothers had to pass defending two-time champion Mike Clark for the victory in the 20-lap Gibson Insurance Agency feature. “I knew I could out-handle (Mike) Clark I just didn’t know if I had enough motor to get by him,” explained the 36-year-old Youngstown, Ohio racer. “Luck was on our side tonight. I’m a little tired. I wanted that one pretty bad. I have to thank all of my sponsors, my crew, my family, and my girlfriend. This is her first win to be here for us so it’s a pretty special one for me inside.”
Christian Schneider led the opening six laps before he couldn’t avoid the spun cars of rookies Shane Smith and Jordan Duncan. Fifth starting Brian Carothers inherited the lead, while eighth starting Clark moved into second past Brent Coleman when racing resumed. A caution for a spin by Tony Bruno brought action to a halt with 11 laps completed as the final nine went green-to-checkered.
Carothers chose the outside on the double file restart, but Clark was able to overtake him for the lead on lap 12. Carothers though didn’t go away as he retook the lead on lap 15. Contact was made that eventually would give Clark a flat tire. Carothers then drove away to win by 2.566 seconds for his sixth career win in his Boardman Steel/Acura of Boardman/Lawless Industries/Don’s Hair Den/529 Design/Select Body Service/Southern Auto Parts-sponsored #02c.
Clark limped across the line in second barely holding off Mike Miller, which ironically gives Clark the point lead by one over Miller. Schneider raced back through the pack to finish fourth over Coleman. Travis Creech was awarded the $25 gift certificate by Summit Racing Equipment for being the hard charger advancing 10 spots to finish seventh. Clark set fast time in qualifying over the season-high 19-car field with a lap of 18.093.
Casey Bowers became the season’s fourth different winner in as many races in the ultra-competitive Econo Mod division. Bowers led from start-to-finish, but it was hardly an easy victory as he had several challengers and had to withstand seven caution periods throughout the 20-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mod feature.
“Every time the caution came out I’d see Ryan (Fraley) coming on the outside, but I just kept running it in harder and harder into turn one and we got it done,” explained the 16-yeard-old Cranesville, Pa. racer. “I tried to come in up real high and come down off the bottom and get a good run down the straightaway. I have to thank my mom and dad- without them I couldn’t do it, all of my crew, and sponsors.”
After winning last week, Ryan Fraley had to start sixth. He passed Keith Felicetty for third on lap two then Brad Blackshear for second on lap five bringing Jason Longwell with him in third. Longwell and Fraley raced hard for second side-by-side on laps 17 and 18 with Longwell getting the spot before he spun out of second one lap later. Fraley had a shot alongside Bowers for the one-lap shootout to the finish, but Bowers held on by 0.770 of a second for his fourth career win in the Jody Bowers-owned, Baycrete Ready Mix/Clingerbuild E-Mods/BSI/955 Automotive/Lath Rop Electric-sponsored #20.
Fraley leads the points now by just one over Bowers! Ty Rhoades worked his way from 11th to finish third and earned the $25 Summit Racing Products gift certificate for being the hard charger. Steve Haefke and Felicetty were fourth and fifth. Bowers set fast time over the season high 17-car field with a lap of 18.422 by just 0.013 of a second over Fraley.
Last year Doug Hensel made a winning debut at Sharon during the “Apple Festival Nationals”. On Saturday night, Hensel returned to dominate all 12 laps of the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. Hensel took advantage of a night off from his regular track, Wayne County Speedway, where he currently leads the points to pick up the victory, which was worth $150 due to there being 18 cars.
“I love this place and I’ll definitely be back,” expressed the 28-year-old Wooster, Ohio drive, who made the 100-mile tow to Sharon. “I don’t get a chance to come up here much. We haven’t raced the last two weeks at Wayne County so I said let’s go to Sharon. This is a 1992 Honda Accord. There aren’t many of them on the race track and that’s what I like about it. I went to practice and tried five different struts on the right side to make it turn and I found two that makes it handle like a dream, and it has the power too. I’m running third gear so I have to run smaller tires. I have to thank my sponsors and everyone that’s ever helped me. It’s been a good year so far.”
Hensel drew the pole position and the only thing to slow his dominating run were a pair of cautions, one with four laps completed and the other with 11 laps completed. Hensel’s second career win came in his B.S. Express Motorsports/Finish Line Auto Body/Fast Lane Towing-sponsored #18 over Jamie Maxwell. Dan Marshall and Mitch Reichard finished third and fourth in their first starts. Matt Rubright was fifth. Michael DelliQuadri earned the $25 Summit Racing Equipment gift certificate for being the hard charger as he gained five positions to finish eighth. Heat winners were Maxwell and Adam Reseigh.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (30 laps): 1. REX KING, JR. (165) 2. Rex King (65) 3. Erick Rudolph (Chrysler 21R) 4. Brian Swartzlander (83) 5. Jim Rasey (32) 6. Brad Rapp (11R) 7. Ricky Richner (26) 8. Kevin Hoffman (00) 9. Rob Kristyak (00) 10. Carl Murdick (6) 11. Justin Rasey (21) 12. Garrett Krummert (29) 13. Bob Warren (96B) 14. Tom Glenn (83T) 15. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 16. Jim Turley (117) 17. Jimmy Weller III (23) 18. Dave Murdick (61) 19. Randy Chrysler (21K) 20. Erik Martin (29E) 21. Tom Mattocks (69) 22. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13)-DSQ (unsportsmanlike conduct) 23. Steve Barr (25B)-DNS.
Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modifieds (30 laps): 1. MATT LUX (21) 2. Dwayne Clay (007) 3. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 4. Will Thomas III (9) 5. Bruce Powell (35) 6. Mike Kinney (3) 7. Joe Gabrielson (58) 8. Paul Davis (3D) 9. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 10. Howard Fraley (217) 11. Scott Stiffler (14) 12. Clayton Kennedy (9) 13. Bob Williamson (93) 14. Jeff Johnson (1) 15. Jacob Eucker (64)-DNS.
Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (20 laps): 1. GREG MARTIN (4) 2. Jerry Schaffer (14) 3. Nick Ritchey (77N) 4. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 5. Kole Holden (2) 6. Brandon Ritchey (17) 7. Josh Deems (9D) 8. Will Schaffer (4) 9. Jeff Hughes (22) 10. Kyle Martell (8) 11. Chelsie Kriegisch (10) 12. Rocky Kugel (1) 13. Justin Shea (14s) 14. Michael Kristyak (404) 15. Jim Bryce (30x).
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (20 laps): 1. BRIAN CAROTHERS (02c) 2. Mike Clark (7) 3. Mike Miller (T6) 4. Christian Schneider (M5) 5. Brent Coleman (01) 6. Brett McDonald (25) 7. Travis Creech (75T) 8. Charlie Jasinski (5J) 9. Tony Bruno (97) 10. Shane Smith (299) 11. Troy DeZarn (21D) 12. Dan Fedorchak (Bruno x7) 13. Brian Mulichak (36D) 14. Jesse Brock (22B) 15. Gary Robinson (44R) 16. Jordan Duncan (67J) 17. Dave Myers (Burns 70B) 18. Chris Schneider (55) 19. Steve D’Apolito (84)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (20 laps): 1. CASEY BOWERS (20) 2. Ryan Fraley (12) 3. Ty Rhoades (12R) 4. Steve Haefke (41) 5. Keith Felicetty (98) 6. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 7. Dan McEwen (44) 8. Junior Mechling (89) 9. Josh Mueller (01) 10. Kevin Sergeff (17) 11. Wayne Daniels (4) 12. Chris Clay (99) 13. Jason Longwell (7s) 14. Brad Blackshear (19) 15. Robert Simmons (4RJ) 16. Jamie Scharba (11s) 17. George Vestal IV (4)-DNS.
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps, $150 to-win): 1. DOUG HENSEL (18) 2. Jamie Maxwell (18) 3. Dan Marshall (76M) 4. Mitch Reichard (29) 5. Matt Rubright (X) 6. Joe Keney (15K) 7. Mitch Stokes (6M) 8. Michael DelliQuadri (77D) 9. Bill Fuchs (10) 10. Greg Schmied (97) 11. Rick Wilson, Jr. (55) 12. Todd Hanlon (7H) 13. Jeff Little (42) 14. Joe Campbell (40C) 15. Adam Reseigh (2) 16. Steve Walker II (4M)-DNS 17. Pat Drennan (Sirrine 24)-DNS 18. Adam Little (99)-DNS.
Coming up this Saturday night (June 13) is the annual “Fan Appreciation Night” featuring FREE general admission plus autographs during intermission! It’ll be a full “Steel Valley Thunder” program plus the RUSH Late Models. 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.