“Lou Blaney Memorial” to feature All Stars Sprints for the 1st time w/ $10,000 on the line Saturday; BRP Mod Tour & several activities to benefit Alzheimer’s Assoc also on tap
By Mike Leone
July 8, 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Hartford, OH)…After a successful Ohio Speedweek event with the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars two weeks ago, Tony Stewart’s new group will return to Sharon Speedway this Saturday (July 11) for the seventh annual “Lou Blaney Memorial” along with the BRP Modified Tour presented by Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. Activities to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association will begin at 1:30 p.m. leading up to warm-ups at 6:15.
Saturday’s “Lou Blaney Memorial” will be the richest payoff in the history of the event as a record $10,000 will be on the line for the feature winner, and for the first time the event will be under the All Stars’ sanction! In addition, 20-time World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser will compete in the event for the first time ever in the famed #11 owned by Stewart. There will also be an autograph session with Kinser from 5-5:40.
There has yet to be a repeat winner in the six prior “Lou Blaney Memorial” Sprint Car events! Tony Stewart won the inaugural event in 2009. Mike Lutz was the first local winner taking the 2010 version for Jim Chappel. Texan Sam Hafertepe, Jr. won in 2011, while Californian Brad Sweet, who now races with the World of Outlaws, was victorious in 2012. Jack Sodeman, Jr. became the second local driver to win the prestigious event in 2013, while Dave Blaney won his father’s memorial for the first time last year.
All of the All Stars’ racers are still chasing point leader Dale Blaney. The hometown favorite was a winner at Sharon for the Ohio Speedweek event, which was one of his Series leading seven victories. Blaney owns 14 career wins now at the track he grew up racing at and the site of his first two career wins. Dale’s brother Dave Blaney will be looking to repeat his victory at last year’s “Lou Blaney Memorial. The elder Blaney, a former World of Outlaw champion, has 28 career wins at Sharon.
Blaney has a 147-point lead on Cody Darrah. Chad Kemenah is third in the standings. Greg Wilson and Sheldon Haudenschild really heated up of late and have moved into fourth and fifth in points. Completing the top 10 are Tim Shaffer, Danny Holtgraver, Ryan Smith, Parker Price-Miller, and Caleb Helms.
Several top local talent like Sharon’s all-time leading feature winner Ed Lynch, Jr., two-time track champion Jack Sodeman, Jr., defending Mercer Champion Eric Williams, recent Lernerville winner A.J. Flick, former Ohio Speedweek Sharon winner Brandon Matus, former Lernerville Champion and BOSS non-wing racer Brandon Spithaler, Mercer winner Adam Kekich, and others are expected.
The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds will round out the show in a BRP Tour-sanctioned event paying $2,000 to-win. Rex King is the current BRP Tour point leader after two events by one over his son Rex, Jr., who leads the Sharon points with three victories.
There has yet to be a repeat “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner in the Modifieds either! New York legend Jack Johnson captured the 2009 race, while local Ohio drivers Jim Rasey and Rob Kristyak stole the thunder in 2010 and 2011. Kevin Bolland won the prestigious event in 2012 and fellow western Pa. racer Dave Murdick joined him in 2013. Last year, King, Jr. won the event part of his dream season. The locals have won five straight “Lou Blaney Memorials”…will an outsider end that trend or will we get a seventh different winner!?
Friends of Lou Blaney will again attend the Memorial Event to help celebrate the life and accomplishments of the Hall of Fame driver, who won more than 600 feature victories during a five-decade career. The legend has at least 121 Modified wins and another 11 documented in a Sprint Car at Sharon alone. Blaney passed away in 2009 after battling Alzheimer’s.
Racing won’t be the only attraction at Sharon on Saturday. Both grandstand and pit gates will open at noon for the festivities, which get underway at 1:00 p.m. with a corn hole tournament. Also beginning at 1:30, kids can enjoy sack and running races, ball throwing contests, and more. A dunk tank will be setup as fans can try and dunk the Blaney girls to raise money for Alzheimer’s Association. Money can be earned by the top competitors. There will be a limited concession menu open in the main grandstand area beginning at noon.
At 4 p.m. fans can enjoy dinner with the Blaneys along with friends and family. The cost is $13 with proceeds benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association. You must call Kate Blaney at 330-240-8975 for a reservation.
A silent auction of many, varied baskets will be available for everyone to bid on and then a live auction of wonderful race memorabilia and sports related items will be sold off to the highest bidder. The silent auction will be all afternoon with the live auction beginning around 5 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. There is a complete list of live auction items listed on the Lou Blaney Memorial Facebook page as well as Sharon’s website at www.sharonspeedway.com.
2014 Ms. Motorsports runner-up and 2014 Miss Area Auto Racing News, Lainey Reinard, who is the 2015 Miss Dirt Dog will be on hand.
A drivers meeting is tentatively scheduled for 5:45 p.m. with Sprint engine starts at 6, warm-ups at 6:15 with qualifying at approximately 6:30 and racing to follow. Adult admission is $22. Pit passes are $35. 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.