1st of yr for Richner in Big Blocks; Thomas wins return of RUSH LM; Scott wins again for Engles in Mods; #4 for Martin in RUSH Mods; 1st for Moore in Stocks; Fraley repeats in Econos; Minis to Felmlee
By Mike Leone
July 18, 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Hartford, OH)…After a rain out and three special events, Sharon Speedway returned to “Steel Valley Thunder” weekly action on Saturday night for the first time since June 20. A total of 109 race cars filled the pit area on Twin-State Auto Racing Club Night. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Ricky Richner-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Will Thomas III-RUSH Late Models, David Scott-Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modifieds, Greg Martin-Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Rusty Moore-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Ryan Fraley-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Brian Felmlee-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
Ricky Richner has been a Sharon Speedway regular for three years now as he makes the weekly three-hour drive down form Niagara Falls, New York. Richner won the 2013 “Russ King Memorial” for $3,500 in 2013, but otherwise has been winless during weekly competition at Sharon. That ended on Saturday night when the veteran racer led all 30 laps of the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modified feature.
“I had a really good tire on the right rear and got a lot of bite,” explained the 55-year-old racer. “The track was perfect tonight. It had a lot of grip on the outside and I figured that was the place to be. It’s been tough this year. I want to thank my crew for working through it. It was super hot today- they never gave up and neither did I.”
Richner started second and powered around Rick Regalski, Jr. on the opening lap around the cushion for the early lead. Rex King started fourth and moved by Jimmy Weller III on lap one and then Regalski on lap two for second. Richner maintained a steady lead until King closed in on lap eight. The top two began to pull away from the field, while fifth starting Jim Weller, Jr. got by Regalski for third on lap 17. The event’s only caution slowed action with 17 laps completed when Tom Mattocks came to rest, while Tom Glenn got caught up with the lapped car of newcomer Tom Shaffer ending his night. Glenn was awarded the hard luck and received two pit passes for next Saturday compliments of Hovis.
Regalski exited the event under caution and relinquished fourth to Rex King, Jr., who then got by Weller, Jr. for third when racing resumed. Up front, King never made a serious challenge on Richner over the final 13 non-stop laps as Richner’s Jet Port Restaurant-sponsored #26 took the checkered flag first by 1.634 seconds over King. Sixth starting King, Jr. was third and was able to maintain his point lead but by just three over his father. Weller, Jr. and Weller III completed the top five. Sixth through 10th were Kevin Bolland, Regalski, Jim Rasey, Justin Rasey, and Skip Moore, who made his season debut. King, Jr. set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 16.071.
After three rainouts, the RUSH Late Models were finally able to get their first show of 2015 in the record books and it was a familiar face in victory lane as two-time champion and the division’s all-time winner, Will Thomas III, returned to prominence winning the 20-lap feature after early leader Dennis Lunger, Jr. got caught up with a lapped car.
“Dennis had a really good car,” stated the 39-year-old Sharpsville, Pa. racer. “I’d have loved to have a restart with me right next to him, but we were fortunate enough to win. I was trying to be careful back there and not run over anyone.”
Kyle Scott led the opening lap before fourth starting Lunger took over on lap two with an inside move in turn three. Clay Ruffo was trying to hold off Wyatt Scott, Thomas, and Bobby Whitling in the battle for third. Lunger opened up his lead to a straightaway on lap seven. Two laps later it was three-wide for third with Thomas getting by both Wyatt Scott and Ruffo.
After 10 non-stop laps, Lunger caught traffic on lap 10. Lunger was trying to put a lap on Lon Emerick, but contact was made resulting in heavy damage for Lunger that ended his night and gave the lead back to Kyle Scott. Scott though was unable to lead another lap as Thomas used the outside to fly into the lead. Wyatt Scott had gotten by Ruffo then inherited third when Lunger exited. The two Scott brothers battled it out for second between laps 12-14 before the 10-year younger Wyatt made the pass on lap 14.
Thomas though went unchallenged by 1.875 seconds for his third overall win of 2015 at Sharon, 14th of his career in the RUSH Late Models, and 16th of his career overall at Sharon in his Colonial Metal Products/Barris Supply/King Sanitary/All Star Performance/Motorstate/Sweet Manufacturing/Russ King Racing-sponsored #9.
In their first ever Sharon appearances, Wyatt and Kyle Scott finished second and third. Ruffo was fourth over fast qualifier Bobby Whitling, who turned a lap of 16.648. Dylan Lewis, who towed three and a half hours from Oakland, Maryland, was sixth in his first ever appearance over 18th starting Alan Dellinger, Bobby Pifer III, Joe Long, and Dave Shagla, Jr.
After picking up the ride this week in the venerable Tim Engles #68, David Scott made it three-for-three in regional Modified competition. Scott won in his debut on Wednesday night at Expo Speedway at the Trumbull County Fair, added a second win on Friday night at Little Valley Speedway, then kept the streak going on Saturday night leading all 20 laps of Summit Racing Equipment feature!
“We’re batting pretty good right now, but these streaks always come to an end,” stated the standout Garland, Pa. racer. “Tim (Engles) and his bunch are a great bunch of people. I’m having a lot of fun. Someday this will quit, but I’m going to ride it as long as I can. I enjoy coming down here. It’s a little far, but I’m really glad we came down. I ran the Crate Late Model here a few times for John and Janet Powell and some World of Outlaw stuff before that. The track was good. It was racey; you could race all over it.”
Scott had to withstand the challenges by Joe Gabrielson throughout the event and an uncharacteristic nine stoppages including a delay when the frontstretch bank of lights went out. Scott’s victory came by just 0.769 over Gabrielson in the Backyard Bodies/Engles Trucking/Close Racing Supply-sponsored #68.
Sixth starting Joel Watson was third over Mike Kinney, and point leader Will Thomas III, who did double duty for the first time in his career. Rounding out the top 10 were Brent Rhebergen, Scott Stiffler, newcomer Vic Vena, Bruce Powell, and another newcomer in John Scheneker, Jr. Rhebergen earned the $25 Summit Racing Equipment hard charger gift certificate after starting 16th. Thomas set fast time in qualifying with a 17.108 over the 21-car field.
Greg Martin snuck around Rocky Kugel in the closing laps of the feature to steal his fourth win in the Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. It was a big week in Ohio for the 33-year-old Wilson, New York racer as he also captured the inaugural Bicknell Racing Products Touring Series event win at the nearby Expo Speedway on Wednesday night.
An invert four from qualifying put Kugel on the pole of the 20-lap feature. After seven non-stop laps, back-to-back cautions slowed action. Back under green, Martin and sixth starting Nick Ritchey passed Kole Holden for second and third respectively. Martin chased Kugel for the next eight laps before going to the top and driving around Kugel on lap 15. Martin’s all-time division-leading eighth career win came in his NYKDS/Jeffery Machine/Atwal Eye Care/Race 1-sponsored #4 by just 0.769 of a second over Kugel.
Ritchey was third over Holden, who leads the $3,000 to-win Bicknell Racing Products Weekly Series standings as well as the “Futures Cup”. Holden also was the lucky recipient of a pair of pit passes for next Saturday compliments of Hovis Auto & Truck Supply. Larry Kugel was fifth. Martin set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 17.640.
The Stock Car feature was a wild one with a pair of multiple car accidents that claimed several of the top runners, but in the end it was Rusty Moore coming out on top for his first ever Sharon Stock Car win, and first at the track since his only win back in 1998 in the E-Mods! The 20-lap Gibson Insurance Agency victory for the 52-year-old New Castle, Pa. driver came over a season-high 20-car field.
Brent Coleman led the first eight laps in search of his first career win, but exited the event overheating under caution that claimed the runner-up and fourth place cars of Brian Carothers and Steve D’Apolito. Moore inherited the lead and led the final 12 laps holding off point leader Mike Clark and Carothers, who came from the tail to finish a close third, by 1.625 seconds in his Shaffer Auto & Exhaust/Watkins Landscape-sponsored #17M.
Dan Fedorchak battled from 16th to fourth and earned the $25 Summit Racing Equipment gift certificate for being the race’s hard charger. Jacob Billyk started ninth and finished fifth in his first ever Sharon appearance. D’Apolito set fast time in qualifying for the third time this year with an 18.142.
Ryan Fraley joined Casey Bowers as the second driver to repeat victories this season in the Econo Mods. It appears the duo are going to battle it out for the HTMA/Precise Racing Products Championship as Bowers leads Fraley now by just one-point!
The heads-up start from qualifying put Fraley on the pole due to fast qualifier Bowers winning the past two events. Fraley, 26 of Fowler, Ohio, was never challenged over the 20-lap event, but had to withstand six cautions. Fraley’s margin of victory came by 1.846 seconds in his RADA Truck Service/CD Gibbs Construction/Tri-State Trailer Sales/Clay Bros. Transmission/Lautanen Trucking/Clay Trucking-sponsored #12. Keith Felicetty raced from 11th to a season best runner-up and earned the $25 Summit Racing Equipment hard charger certificate. Bowers was third over Wayne Daniels and Chris Clay.
Brian Felmlee of Oil City, Pa. continued a trend of invaders making their first ever visits and coming away with wins in the Mini Stocks. The 47-year-old Sportsman’s Speedway standout made a last lap pass of two-time champion, current point leader, and the division’s all-time winningest driver, Bill Fuchs, to capture the 12-lap Deforest Used Parts feature event.
Pat Drennan led lap one before third starting Fuchs took charge on the second circuit. Felmlee started fifth and passed both Drennan and Joe Campbell for second on lap three. Felmlee began to close in on Fuchs on lap nine and was right on the leader for the final three laps. Felmlee appeared to make a move for the lead when Drennan spun on the final lap in front of the leaders to bring out the event’s first and only caution.
Fuchs chose the inside for the double-file restart, but Felmlee made the outside work to take the checkered flag to become the season’s sixth different winner in seven races in his Sugarcreek Towing/Brauns Refuse-sponsored #28. Fuchs, Campbell, Matt Rubright, and Steve Walker II completed the top five. Walker earned the $25 Summit Racing Equipment hard charger certificate for gaining five positions. Rubright and Felmlee captured the heat race wins.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (30 laps): 1. RICK RICHNER (26) 2. Rex King (65) 3. Rex King, Jr. (165) 4. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 5. Jimmy Weller III (23) 6. Kevin Bolland (777) 7. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 8. Jim Rasey (32) 9. Justin Rasey (21) 10. Skip Moore (17M) 11. Tom Glenn (83T) 12. Tom Mattocks (69) 13. Tom Shaffer (34).
RUSH Late Models (20 laps): 1.WILL THOMAS III (9) 2. Wyatt Scott (X3) 3. Kyle Scott (3JR) 4. Clay Ruffo (14R) 5. Bobby Whitling (7W) 6. Dylan Lewis (44) 7. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 8. Bobby Pifer III (6P) 9. Joe Long (71) 10. Dave Shagla, Jr. (6) 11. Khole Wanzer (01W) 12. W.L. Stile (1W) 13. Steve Hollabaugh (3) 14. Russ Byler (Hoover 00H) 15. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L) 16. Lon Emerick (3) 17. Bryan Salisbury (126) 18. Reuben Schwartz (71I).
Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modifieds (25 laps): 1. DAVID SCOTT (Engles 68) 2. Joe Gabrielson (58) 3. Joel Watson (92) 4. Mike Kinney (3) 5. Will Thomas III (9) 6. Brent Rhebergen (Davies 71D) 7. Scott Stiffler (14) 8. Vic Vena (01) 9. Bruce Powell (35) 10. John Scheneker, Jr. (65) 11. Ron Jaeger (5) 12. Steve Burns, Jr. (Duncan 67J) 13. J.J. Bametzrieder (74) 14. Russ Dunn (White 53) 15. Bob Williamson (93) 16. Amanda Stiffler (14A) 17. Dwayne Clay (007) 18. Gary Murphy (85) 19. Jason Longwell (Petsko 00) 20. Jeff Johnson (Smith 1) 21. Paul Davis (3D).
Weller Hughes Contracting & Developing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (20 laps): 1. GREG MARTIN (4) 2. Rocky Kugel (1) 3. Nick Ritchey (77N) 4. Kole Holden (2) 5. Larry Kugel (0) 6. Andy Paden (24) 7. Brandon Ritchey (17) 8. Michael Kristyak (404) 9. Josh Deems (9D) 10. Chelsie Kriegisch (Shaffer 10) 11. Justin Shea (14s) 12. Jessica Kriegisch (Shaffer 28) 13. Will Schaffer (4).
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (20 laps): 1. RUSTY MOORE (17M) 2. Mike Clark (7) 3. Gary Robinson (44R) 4. Dan Fedorchak (x7) 5. Jacob Billyk (4) 6. Chris Haines (35H) 7. Brian Mulichak (36D) 8. Mark Hopkins (69H) 9. Brian Carothers (02c) 10. Tim Deutsch (11D) 11. Dillon Kineston (19) 12. Mike Miller (T6) 13. Brent Coleman (01) 14. Steve D’Apolito (84) 15. Jesse Brock (22B) 16. Troy DeZarn (21D) 17. Shawn Smith (36) 18. Dave Myers (Burns 70B) 19. Tony Bruno (97) 20. Charlie Jasinski (5J).
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (20 laps): 1. RYAN FRALEY (12) 2. Keith Felicetty (98) 3. Casey Bowers (20) 4. Wayne Daniels (4) 5. Chris Clay (99) 6. Junior Mechling (89) 7. Dan McEwen (44) 8. Steve Haefke (41) 9. Jason Longwell (7s) 10. George Vestal IV (4) 11. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 12. Jamie Scharba (11S).
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. BRIAN FELMLEE (28) 2. Bill Fuchs (10) 3. Joe Campbell (40c) 4. Matt Rubright (X) 5. Steve Walker II (4M) 6. Michael DelliQuadri (77D) 7. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 8. Jeff Little (42) 9. Tim McAninch (43) 10. Joe Keney (15K) 11. Pat Drennan (Sirrine 24) 12. Rick Wilson, Jr. (55).
Coming up next Friday (July 24) is the third “Summer Jam & BBQ” featuring “The Next Doors” and “Ball and Chain”. Gates open at 7 with music getting underway at 7. Admission is $5. Then on Saturday (July 25) is the rescheduled FREE” Fan Appreciation” and driver autograph night featuring all six weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” divisions. Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing 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.