Open wheel racing’s iron man Bryan Clauson captures 1st career All Star win in Ohio Speedweek; Andy Proper wins 1st in Mini Stocks
By Mike Leone
June 21, 2016
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway hosted round five of the 34th annual Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Cometic Gasket for Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions along with the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks on a beautiful Tuesday evening. Bryan Clauson captured the Sprint Car victory, while Andy Proper brought down the curtain on the event capturing the Mini Stock special.
From Indy Cars to Midgets to Silver Crown Cars to Sprint Cars winged and wingless, Bryan Clauson has done it all this year. He’s raced all over the county as well as abroad in Australia and New Zealand. On Tuesday evening, Clauson was in Hartford, Ohio as his “Circular Insanity Tour” continued with his goal of competing in 200 races during 2016. And after 30 green flag laps, Clauson was able to add not only Sharon Speedway to his win list, but the All Star Circuit of Champions as well capturing his first career win with the Series worth $5,000. Clauson became the fifth different winner in as many nights in Ohio Speedweek.
“We were really good here last year,” acknowledged the Noblesville, Indiana open wheel star. “I knew we had a good baseline to start with. These guys worked hard on it all night. Seems like we haven’t put a whole night together but it’s been a lot of fun learning these things. These guys just keep digging and working to get better every day. I certainly didn’t expect to get a win during Ohio Speedweek so soon. I’m really proud of the guys behind me. They gave me a great race car. I just wanted to get out front and run as fast as I could. I’m glad to could put 30 (laps) together and get them a win during Ohio Speedweek.”
Chad Kemenah took charge of the main event taking the lead from pole-sitter Caleb Griffith. Kemenah had a near straightaway lead when he caught lapped traffic on lap five; however, Griffith began chewing into the lead. Kemenah got sideways in turn four and Griffith got into the back of him sending both racers spinning. This handed the lead to fourth starting Clauson with Cap Henry to second as Dean Jacobs, Danny Holtgraver, and Lee Jacobs filled out the top five.
Back under green, Larson took fifth from Jacobs on the restart. Three more laps were run until the second and final stoppage of the event occurred when Mike Bauer got upside down in turn three. He was okay. When racing resumed, ninth starting Larson continued moving forward taking fourth from Holtgraver. Meanwhile up front, Clauson had a straightaway lead built up when he entered traffic on lap 14. Clauson was able to maintain his advantage until he caught heavy traffic on lap 17 allowing Henry to close in.
Clauson though worked his way through the slower cars and was able to open his lead back up on lap 20, while Henry had his hands full with Dean Jacobs as Larson and Holtgraver closed in making it a four-car race for second. Holtgraver and Larson never let up on their battle since racing resumed on lap eight as Holtgraver regained the fourth position on lap 22.
Henry was able to close in again on Clauson with two laps to go, but it was too late as Clauson was too strong in the Matt Wood-owned, Cancer Treatment Centers of America/Elk Grove Ford-sponsored #17W as he became the 154th different driver to win a Sprint Car race in the history of the track. Henry’s second was his career best finish at Sharon. Eighth starting Holtgraver, who has three career wins at Sharon, took third away from Dean Jacobs on lap 29. Last year’s winner, Dale Blaney, who started 20th, made a great move on the final lap to pass both Larson and Dean Jacobs for fourth as Jacobs dropped to fifth.
Completing the top 10 were Larson, who continues to lead the Ohio Speedweek points, Tim Shaffer, Rico Abreu, Sheldon Haudenschild, and Lee Jacobs. Lee Jacobs set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 13.768 over the 51-car field, which was a season high for the All Stars. Dean Jacobs, Kemenah, Chris Andrews, Larson, and Holtgraver won the heat races. Josh Baughman captured the C main, while Kasey Kahne won the B main. Griffith was the dash winner to earn the feature pole starting spot. The All Stars return to Sharon on Saturday, July 9 for the $10,000 to-win “Lou Blaney Memorial”.
Making just his second start of the season, Andy Proper was victorious in the 12-lap, $300 to-win special for the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. Proper redeemed himself after breaking in the lead back on the April 16 opener, as he became the season’s sixth different winner in seven races. “I really enjoy running here- the facility is top notch,” expressed the 44-year-old Tidioute, Pa. driver. “I wish it was a little closer or I’d be down here a lot more, but when I get the opportunity I definitely come down.”
Newcomer Jordan James went from fourth into the lead on the opening lap. James looked primed for his first career win in his first ever start at the track until losing a wheel with just two laps to go. That handed the lead to ninth starting Proper, who led the final two laps for his third career win in his Kunick Automotive/Pablo K20 Honda Performance/Phillips Auto Care-sponsored #17. Todd Hanlon was second as Steve Walker II, Isaac Paden, and newcomer Cole Susice rounded out the first five. Heat winners over the 18-car field were Paden and James.
All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars (30 laps, $5,000 to-win): 1. BRYAN CLAUSON (Wood 17W) 2. Cap Henry (Coomer 21) 3. Danny Holtgraver (Grove 70) 4. Dale Blaney (CH Racing 1) 5. Dean Jacobs (Seeling 97) 6. Kyle Larson (Silva 57) 7. Tim Shaffer (Rudzik/Demyan 49) 8. Rico Abreu (24) 9. Sheldon Haudenschild (93) 10. Lee Jacobs (Lewis 81) 11. T.J. Michael (8M) 12. Stuart Brubaker (35) 13. Dave Blaney (Motter 71M) 14. Chris Andrews (Armbruster 73) 15. Kasey Kahne (4) 16. Caleb Griffith (Marshall 33M) 17. Caleb Helms (40) 18. Sean Zemunik (27z) 19. Brandon Spithaler (22) 20. Kraig Kinser (11K) 21. Bryan Sebetto (Chappel 8) 22. Dan Kuriger (08) 23. Mike Bauer (46) 24. Chad Kemenah (Hunter 10H) 25. Stuart Williams (46AU).
DNQ for the feature: Travis Philo (5T), Paul May (71M), Brandon Matus (13), Roger Campbell, Jr. (51), Jacob Wilson (07), Carson Macedo (Mintz 09X), Tayler Malsam (Rudeen 26), Josh Baughman (17), Dominic Scelzi (41X), Alex Paden (24), Gary Edwards (57), Andrew Palker (57X), Jimmy Morris III (4N), Cale Thomas (91), Brent Matus (33), Darren Pifer (23), Jason Dolick (D12), Eric L. Williams (4W), Brad Howard (49H), Andy Caruana (AUS96), George Hobaugh (40), Daniel Harding (12), Kory Crabtree (60), Carl Bowser (10), Danny Mumaw (16), Adam Kekich (5K).
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (15 laps, $300 to-win): 1. ANDY PROPER (17) 2. Todd Hanlon (7H) 3. Steve Walker II (4M) 4. Isaac Paden (24) 5. Cole Susice (98) 6. Bill Fuchs (10) 7. Logan Keney 8. Matt Rubright (X) 9. Jason Pavlick (00) 10. Jordan James (83) 11. Greg Geibel (13G) 12. Chris Leone (62) 13. Pat Drennan (24) 14. Joe Campbell (40c) 15. Summer Pitts (McCracken 64) 16. Ricky Feely (28) 17. Will Aley (Maxwell 6)-DNS 18. Josh Ehrenberg (571)-DNS.
Six-division “Steel Valley Thunder” racing returns this Saturday night, June 25 as the Lyden/Red Line Oil RUSH Sportsman Modifieds compete in a $600 to-win Bicknell Touring Series event for their “Manufacturers Night”. The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks will also be on the card. Pits open at 4 p.m., grandstands at 5, and 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.