Doubleheader weekend planned with “Summer Jam & BBQ Series” Friday followed by FREE “Fan Appreciation Night” with a full night of racing Saturday
By Mike Leone
May 17, 2016
(Hartford, OH)…After losing three of the last four weeks racing action, Sharon Speedway is hoping for better weather this weekend as the first installment of “Summer Jam & BBQ Series” will take place on Friday night (May 20) followed by FREE “Fan Appreciation Night” on Saturday night. Entertainment will get underway at 7 p.m. on Friday night, while racing hits the speedway at 7 p.m. for “Steel Valley Thunder” on Saturday night presented by Sims Buick.
Friday’s program is highlighted by “ESC4P3” – a “Journey” Tribute Band after “Ronnie V & Friends” open at 7 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m. A barbeque menu will be available throughout the night. Free camping is available for the entire weekend. Admission is $7. “E5C4P3”, based out of Cleveland, is known today as the original and best “Journey” tribute bands to ever exist. The band covers the music with a note-for-note accuracy that is second to none and performs each show with the high-energy excitement of a real “Journey” concert as well as visually recreating the essence of early 80s Journey. Focusing on the ‘Steve Perry era’, “E5C4P3” covers all the hits from ‘Lights’ and ‘Wheel In The Sky’ to ‘Separate Ways’ and ‘Be Good To Yourself’ including occasional surprises for all the die-hard Journey fans.
All grandstand attendees on Saturday night will be admitted FREE for the annual “Fan Appreciation Night” that will also include an on-track autograph session with all racers and their cars at intermission. It’ll be a full night of “Steel Valley Thunder” racing featuring the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Lyden/Red Line Oil RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
Fans will have a chance to register for four tickets that will be given away to the July 2 Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt, and Old Dominion concert that will be held July 2 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. There will be several of these promotion giveaways held throughout the year at Sharon.
Saturday’s kitchen special is meatloaf with mashed potatoes and corn. Hovis Auto & Truck Supply will award six complimentary pit passes for the following week; a pair going to the hard luck driver in DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, a pair to a lucky driver in the division that competes first, and a pair to a lucky fan. Thanks to an anonymous donor, an extra $50 will be awarded to position five at all “Steel Valley Thunder” events for the Big-Block Mods, RUSH Sportsman Mods, and Stock Cars.
Jim Weller, Jr. looked like he was on a mission May 7 as he raced from sixth past early leader Rex King, Jr., who has been the driver to beat in recent seasons, to capture the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modified feature. You can always figure on Weller to win a couple races per year and he quickly got the first one out of the way and in doing so captured his milestone 40th career overall victory at Sharon. It was his 34th career Big-Block Modified win at the track, which is fourth all-time and second amongst active racers behind the elder Rex King’s 51 scores. Weller hasn’t competed for the point title since 2013, the last year someone other than a King won it.
Joel Watson has certainly been the perennial favorite in the Modified division in recent years as he’s climbed the ladder on the all-time win list to second. Watson has a long ways to go catch Alan Dellinger’s mark of 87 wins; however, Watson has been fast out of the gate going two-for-two winning the $2,000 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up on April 16 and repeating on May 7. The Conneaut, Ohio driver now has 23 victories in the division. Scott Stiffler is not far down the line with 17 wins and it looked like he might add his 18th until dropping from the event in the lead. Mike Potosky was an impressive second place.
Year three of the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds has seen tremendous growth. After competing on a limited basis in 2014, the class joined the “Steel Valley Thunder” program last year and was attracting about 15 cars per night. Both Lyden/Red Line Oil races this year have featured 24 cars as a total of 26 different ones have already competed with several others still expected out in the coming weeks. Even though defending champion Greg Martin won the make-up feature on April 16, Martin will not be a regular this season leaving the door wide open as was the case May 7. Kyle Martell and Justin Shea were battling for their first career win until Martell caught an infield tire late in the race taking out both drivers. That gave the lead to Brandon Ritchey, who went on for his first career win worth $500 due to the full field of cars!
The Stock Cars also pulled a big number of competitors at the last event as 45 filled the pit area for the opener of the five-race Penn-Ohio Mini Series. While Rob Shook won his first career race at Sharon for the $2,000 Penn-Ohio make-up on April 16, Chris Schneider added $1,000 to his bank account winning his fourth career Sharon race last Saturday night. The Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars will be running for a minimum of $500 weekly this year as long as there are at least 14 cars and if there 24 or more, the ante will be upped to $700! Mike Clark is going after his unprecedented fourth straight division title.
Butch Lambert has found a nice home in the Econo Mod division recently after years of running Stock Cars, E-Mods, and RUSH Late Models. Lambert is a teammate with Modified racer Carl McKinney driving for Mike Hendrickson. Lambert now has three victories in the division and could be the guy to beat for the HTMA/Precise Racing Products title if he chooses to go after it. Lambert passed Steve Haefke for the win on May 7.
Two Greenville, Pa. drivers went at it in the Mini Stocks at their last show as Steve Walker II nosed out the division’s all-time winner, Bill Fuchs. The victory for Walker ended a six-year winless drought. Ironically back in 2010 when Walker last won, he captured the point title. It won’t be easy though to dethrone Fuchs, who owns three Deforest Used Parts championships and 27 victories.
On Saturday, pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5 and racing at 7. Grandstand admission is of course free as is parking and camping! Pit passes are $30. 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.