“Armed Forces Night” Saturday with a full “Steel Valley Thunder” racing program

“Armed Forces Night” Saturday with a full “Steel Valley Thunder” racing program

“Armed Forces Night” Saturday with a full “Steel Valley Thunder” racing program

By Mike Leone

June 28, 2016

(Hartford, OH)…After a terrible start weather wise to the season, Mother Nature has finally blessed Sharon Speedway with good weather and that trend is expected to continue this Saturday night (July 2).  With the second half of the 87th anniversary season set to get underway, Sharon will look to complete its seventh straight event.  The “Steel Valley Thunder” program for “Armed Forces Night” will feature 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.  Race time is 7 p.m.

Saturday’s promotion is “Armed Forces Night” as all veterans and active service personnel will be admitted free into the grandstands for general admission. Saturday’s kitchen special is hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes and a vegetable..  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.  Summit Racing Equipment $25 gift cards will also be awarded.

The Wellers have been on a tear this season in the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds. Jimmy Weller III entered 2016 with two career Big-Block Modified wins at the track and has already captured three checkered flags including last Saturday night, while his father Jim, Jr. has added a pair of victories.  Nonetheless, both are still chasing consistent Rex King, Jr., who is out in front of the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply championship chase.  King, Jr., who has yet to win a feature this year at Sharon, has a 13-point lead on Weller III and 28 points on Weller, Jr.  Rex King and Rick Richner are fourth and fifth in points as both racers are always fighting for their first wins of the season as well.

Joel Watson has now won four of the six Modified features he’s entered this year; however, one of those was the non-point make-up and missing one night has kept him from leading the Summit Racing Equipment points. It’s certainly good to have your first name start with a ‘J’ as Joe Gabrielson leads Jeff Johnson by 25, while Joel Watson and Josh Ferry complete the top four in points.  Oddly enough eight of the top 18 in points have their first names start with a ‘J’.  One-time winner, Scott Stiffler, is fifth in points.

The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds continue to churn out new winners and strong car counts. Chas Wolbert became the sixth different driver in seven Lyden/Red Line Oil races to capture feature wins after winning last Saturday’s Bicknell Tour event for his first career win.  Only point leader Brandon Ritchey has repeated as he has a 14-point lead on one-time winner, Kole Holden.  Wolbert is up to third in points with Nick Ritchey and Jerry Schaffer searching for their first wins.  The car count has ranged from 21 to last Saturday night’s record of 26.

After coming up just shy to Mike Clark two years ago, Paul Davis is bound and determined to win a Stock Car championship. Davis won the $1,500 Penn-Ohio race on June 18 for his biggest career win and backed it up winning from ninth.  Davis has lots of pressure behind him with Mike Miller trailing by eight points and Andy Buckley nine.  Miller battled hard with Clark last season only to come up shy, while Buckley’s goal is stop Clark from a fourth straight title.  Bob McCann and Clark, who each have a victory, are fourth and fifth in the Gibson Insurance Agency points.

Steve Haefke has definitely become the driver to beat in the Econo Mods. He has an amazing string of 12 straight top two finishes dating back to last season!  He’s won three of the last four features, which means he can start no better than 12th Saturday night due to two straight wins.  In the HTMA/Precise Racing Products points race, Haefke has opened up 21-point lead on Brandon Blackshear.  Brad Blackshear, Wayne Daniels, and Chris Clay complete the top five.

In 2010, back in the old Friday night bi-weekly racing program, Steve Walker II won a feature event in route to the Mini Stock championship. Walker went six years without a win or a championship, but here in 2016 the Greenville, Pa. driver has two feature wins and sits atop the Deforest Used Parts points.  Walker has just a slim four-point lead on Bill Fuchs, while Joe Campbell, Matt Rubright, and Logan Keney round out the top five.

Pits open at 4 p.m. on Saturday with grandstands at 5 and racing at 7. Admission for those 14 and over is $10, while children 13 and under are free.  Pit passes are $30.  Parking and camping are free.  Sharon has a no carry-in cooler policy.

Coming up next Saturday, July 9 will be the “Lou Blaney Memorial” presented by Ollie’s Bargain Outlet featuring Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars racing for $10,000 to-win along with The Mod Tour for big blocks battling for $2,000 to-win. Reserved and advanced tickets are on sale through SharonSpeedway.com.

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.

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