Sharon honors champions & top racers at 2015 awards banquet; Gault & Aikens inducted into Hall of Fame
By Mike Leone
February 27, 2016
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway put the final wraps to the 2015 racing season on Saturday night as the Yankee Lake (OH) Ballroom hosted the annual awards banquet and dinner. Celebrating at the head table as champions for the 86th anniversary season were Rex King-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Will Thomas III-Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modifieds, Greg Martin-RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Mike Clark-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Ryan Fraley-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Bill Fuchs-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. The top 10 drivers in each division received point fund monies and hardware.
Sharon inducted three more individuals into its Hall of Fame. The 2015 class included Glenn Gault and the husband-wife duo of Lee and Shirley Aiken. Gault of Girard, Ohio was a standout racer on both the asphalt and dirt winning 16 features in the Super Late Model class in addition to winning the 1979 championship on asphalt and the 1986 championship on dirt. His son and current racer, Glenn, Jr. accepted the award. The Aikens of Kinsman, Ohio were longtime officials at the speedway until their health worsened. Lee passed away in 2013 at the age of 75 ; meanwhile, Shirley, who ran the pit board, worked up until recent years and is still a regular visitor to the track.
Special award winners were Kole Holden-Rookie-of-the-Year, Mike Miller-Most Improved, and Pat Drennan-Hard Luck. Holden of Tiona, Pa. was a former Go-Kart standout, and was able to record 5 top 5s and 9 top 10s in route to a third place finish in the RUSH Sportsman Modified division. Miller of East Hickory, Pa. had a breakout season in the Stock Cars winning the first race of his career in addition to 7 top 5s and 9 top 10s in route to a third place finish in points. Miller even led the points early on. After finishing seventh in the Mini Stock points in 2014 with 12 top 10s, Drennan had a disappointing season slipping to 10th in points with only 3 top 10s.
Rex King denied his son Rex, Jr. of defending his 2014 title by capturing the 2015 Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modified crown. The veteran Bristolville, Ohio racer matched the late Lou Blaney with his fifth track championship, the most all-time for the division. The elder King has now won championships in 1985, 1996, 2010, 2011, and 2015. King drove the KMB Inc.-owned, University Hospitals/G S Engine Repair/RD Banks Chevrolet/Campbell Indoor Gardening Supply/Hunyady Auction/Cintas Uniforms/Mahan Welding & Fab/Schaeffer Oil/Midway Garage Door-sponsored #65 to two feature victories and led the division with 11 top 5s and 12 top 10s. His first win of the season was his milestone 50th of his career in the division at Sharon alone.
While he came up eight points shy to his father in the weekly points, Rex King, Jr. captured his third straight “Drive to be a Champion” title honoring Lou Blaney and earned $1,010. The system takes into account drivers’ best 10 finishes throughout the season in addition to 10 bonus points for supporting the “Lou Blaney Memorial”. Rex, Jr. edged out his father by just two points.
For the second straight year and third time in the past four years, Will Thomas III sat at the championship head table; however, this time it wasn’t in the RUSH Late Models, but instead the Modifieds as the Sharpsville, Pa. former asphalt standout continued his good fortunes since his transition to dirt track racing. Thomas led the Summit Racing Equipment-backed division with three victories and 10 top 10 finishes in his Colonial Metal Products/Barris Supply/All Star Performance/Sweet Manufacturing/King Sanitary/Russ King Racing/Wedge Motorsports/Five Star Bodies/Motorstate-sponsored #9.
After competing part-time in 2014, the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds joined the “Steel Valley Thunder” weekly card in 2015. Car counts grew to 15 cars per night and the growth is expected to continue in 2016 as Lyden Oil/Red Line comes on board as the divisional sponsor. Capturing the inaugural championship was Greg Martin. The Wilson, New York driver made the three and half hour trip south pay off winning six times. Martin never finished worse than third giving him 10 top 3 finishes in as many starts in his NYKDS/Jeffery Machine/Atwal Eye Care/Race 1-sponsored #4. Those finishes also propelled him to the $3,000 RUSH Bicknell Racing Products Weekly Series Championship!
For the third consecutive year, Mike Clark captured the Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car Championship. Clark is now just one title shy of Steve D’Apolito’s leading four championships. The Bristolville, Ohio veteran won two features upping his career total to 15, and led the division with 8 top 5s and 9 top 10s in his Martuccio Eye Care/Champion Supply/Son’s of Italy of Warren/Wedge Motorsports/May’s Towing/Trumbull County Auto Parts/Minor’s Performance/Hoosier Tire-sponsored #7.
Ryan Fraley and Casey Bowers battled neck and neck for the Econo Mod crown for much of the year as both drivers were hungry for their first championship. In the end it was Fraley pulling away late to out-number Bowers by 28 points in his RADA Truck Service/CD Gibbs Construction/Tri-State Trailer Sales/Clay Bros. Transmission/Lautanen Trucking/Clay Trucking-sponsored #12. Both racers had three feature wins and 11 top 10 finishes; however, Fraley of Fowler, Ohio had two more top 5 efforts.
Bill Fuchs repeated his 2014 championship taking the Deforest Used Parts crown again in 2015 and has now won the Mini Stock title three of the last five years. The Greenville, Pa. driver was never challenged for the championship as he out-gained runner-up and rookie Matt Rubright by 79 points. Fuchs won four times and in fact the only other driver to win a feature that finished in the top 10 in points was fifth place Joe Campbell, who won just one feature. Fuchs had at least twice as many top 5s as and other driver with 12 and his perfect 13 top 10 finishes in 13 races led the way. Fuchs has increased his all-time leading Mini Stock win total to 27 in his Crash Auto Wrecking/RTW Industrial Contracting/Higbee Family-sponsored #10.
The 2016 season at Sharon will begin with the twice rained out night two of the “Apple Festival Nationals” from 2015 on Saturday, April 16. There will also be an open practice on Friday, April 15. Following the Lucas Oil/RUSH Late Model Tour event on April 22, weekly racing will get underway with “Steel Valley Thunder” on Saturday, April 30. A big season is in the works, stayed tuned throughout the winter months for updates.
FINAL 2015 Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Top 10 Points: 1. REX KING (65) 440 2. Rex King, Jr. (165) 432 3. Rick Richner (26) 381 4. Jim Rasey (32) 342 5. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 340 6. Tom Glenn (83T) 280 7. Carl Murdick (6) 273 8. Garrett Krummert 257 9. Rick Regalski, Jr. 256 10. Rob Kristyak 240.
FINAL 2015 “Drive to be a Champion” DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Top 10 Points: 1. Rex King, Jr. (165) 292 2. Rex King (65) 290 3. Rich Richner (26) 251 4. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 238 5. Jim Rasey (32) 211 6. Tom Glenn (83T) 170 7. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 169 8. Garrett Krummert (29) 168 9. Carl Murdick (6) 161 10. Kevin Bolland (777) 158.
FINAL 2015 Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modified Top 10 Points: 1. Will Thomas III (9) 368 2. Mike Kinney (3) 365 3. Dwayne Clay (007) 328 4. Jeff Johnson (1) 261 5. Paul Davis (3D) 255 6. Joel Watson 225 7. Joe Gabrielson & Jacob Eucker (64) 208 9. Scott Stiffler 207 10. J.J. Bametzreider 177.
FINAL 2015 RUSH Sportsman Modified Top 10 Points: 1. Greg Martin (4) 419 2. Nick Ritchey (77N) 400 3. Kole Holden (2) 354 4. Brandon Ritchey (17) 328 5. Rocky Kugel (6R) 327 6. Michael Kristyak (404) 325 7. Kyle Martell (8) 308 8. Chelsie Kriegisch (10) 303 9. Will Schaffer (4) 264 10. Josh Deems (9D) 258.
FINAL 2015 Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car Top 10 Points: 1. Mike Clark (7) 398 2. Brian Carothers (02c) 377 3. Mike Miller (T6) 372 4. Brian Mulichak (36D) 281 5. Tony Bruno (97) 265 6. Tim Deutsch (11D) 246 & Gary Robinson (44R) 246 8. Dan Fedorchak (x7) 218 9. Troy DeZarn (21D) 217 10. Jacob Billyk (4) 192.
FINAL 2015 HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mod Top 10 Points: 1. Ryan Fraley (12) 458 2. Casey Bowers (430) 3. Keith Felicetty (98) 4. Jamie Scharba (11S) 354 5. Steve Haefke (41) 347 6. Wayne Daniels 337 7. Chris Clay (99) 330 8. Brad Blackshear (19) 310 9. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR) 288 10. Butch Lambert (19) 269.
FINAL 2015 Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock Top 10 Points: 1. Bill Fuchs (10) 490 2. Matt Rubright (X) 411 3. Jamie Maxwell (6) 387 4. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 341 5. Joe Campbell (40c) 324 6. Joe Keney (15K) 301 7. Michael DelliQuadri (77D) 300 8. Logan Keney (16) 279 9. Tim McAninch (43) 261 10. Pat Drennan (24).
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.