King Jr breaks into Big-Block Mod victory lane for 1st of 2016; Impressive 5th win for Watson in Mods; Careers 1st for Shea in RUSH Mods; Clark & Lambert repeat in Stocks & Econos; #3 for Campbell in Minis
By Mike Leone
July 2, 2016
(Hartford, OH)…The great stretch of beautiful weather continued on Saturday as Sharon Speedway was able to complete their seventh straight event without a rain out. Fans celebrated the Fourth of July weekend on “Armed Forces Night” witnessing great racing on a fast track. The following drivers were in Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane: Rex King, Jr.-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Joel Watson-Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Justin Shea-Lyden/Red Line Oil RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Mike Clark-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Butch Lambert-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Joe Campbell-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
You knew it was only a matter of time before a King broke into Big-Block Modified victory lane at Sharon. And on Saturday night it was Rex King, Jr. with the honors leading all 20 non-stop laps riding the cushion on a fast track to his first win at Sharon since August 8, 2015. Despite his first win, King, Jr. has been consistent in the top five all season long as he extended his Hovis Auto & Truck Supply point lead. The non-stop event time was 6:01.297.
“It hasn’t been so much of a struggle, but just bad starting spots,” said the 25-year-old Bristolville, Ohio racer. “We finally found the front row with a good starting spot and everything worked in our favor tonight. I have to thank all of my guys. They deserve this more than I do. We’ve been struggling for a couple weeks; a lot of that has been driver issues, but we got that fixed tonight I hope. I have to thank all of my sponsors, fans, and my family. My oldest son is going to be mad. This is the first week he’s missed and I win.”
King, Jr. powered around Rob Kristyak on the start for the lead. Dave Murdick started third and drove under and by Kristyak for second racing off turn two on lap two. King, Jr. had a fairly comfortably advantage over Murdick that really didn’t change much until traffic in the final laps that allowed Murdick to close the gap slightly. King, Jr. made the right moves though in traffic to take the checkered flag for his 19th career win by 1.343 seconds in the KMB, Inc.-owned, Jim Brown Specialty Seed/University Hospitals/Reese Services/Professional Heating Systems/Cedar Steel/Mahan Welding & Fab/Schaeffer’s Oil/Cintas Uniform/Arrowhead Transport-sponsored #165.
Murdick’s runner-up was his best finish since his last victory on August 20, 2013. Kristyak’s third was his first top five finish since the 2011 season! Three-time winner, Jimmy Weller II,I went from sixth to fourth on the opening lap and that’s where he’d finish; meanwhile his father Jim passed Tom Glenn on lap nine to finish fifth. Completing the top 10 were Rick Richner, Rex King, Jim Rasey, Rick Regalski, Jr., and Kevin Bolland. After having shoulder surgery, Glenn made his first start since the April 16 opener, and had a top five run going before exiting the event. He was awarded the hard luck and received two pit passes compliments of Hovis. The Wellers swept the heat races.
Joel Watson put on a performance that most won’t soon forget including himself. After losing the handle and spinning on lap six, Watson charged back through the field and made a last lap turn four pass of race-long leader Shawn Shingledecker for his track-leading fifth victory of 2016 in the 20-lap Summit Racing Equipment Modified feature.
“All I can say is that shit was awesome,” expressed the happy 37-year-old Conneaut, Ohio driver. “That was probably one of the coolest wins I think I’ve ever had. He (Shingledecker) had command of the race. His car was really good. He was hitting the right marks. I think he just got off the pace a little bit on that last lap. I was going to be hunting anyways. I think he set up a little too early, and it opened the door and I shot as hard as I could and hoped I cleared him! The track was handful to drive tonight. I’m exhausted. It’ll wear you clean out when it’s like this. I have to thank the guys that work so hard on the car, my sponsors, and the fans; thank you guys for coming out and watching our races and cheering us on. I really appreciate it.”
Shingledecker used the cushion to lead the opening lap over Scott Stiffler. Watson started sixth and was halfway to the front on lap two taking third from Brandon Blackshear, but three laps later got sideways in turn four and Will Thomas III and Jacob Eucker had nowhere to go as all three got collected and spun. The top five got shuffled again when Josh Ferry spun Stiffler on the restart forcing both to the tail.
While Shingledecker continued to lead out front, positions two and on back really were swapping. Eleventh starting Jeff Johnson passed both Jeremy Double and Carl McKinney for second when racing resumed. On lap 13, Double got by McKinney and two laps later Watson followed in fourth. A caution for a spin by Eucker that saw Thomas get collected again was just what Watson needed.
On the double file restart, Watson passed both Double and Johnson for second using the outside. Watson would actually give second back to Johnson on lap 17, but regained the spot again on lap 18. He now set his sights on Shingledecker. Both drivers love the top side of Sharon and especially Saturday when there was a cushion so Watson knew he’d have to make the bottom work. On the final lap, Watson dove low entering turn three and performed the winning slide job! Watson took the checkered flag by 0.469 of a second for his 26th career win at Sharon in his Northwest Restoration/Zimmer’s Service Center/Close Racing Supply/Absolute Powder Coating/Rod’s Rigging/955 Automotive/Custom Automation & Machine/Lake Shore Auto Parts/H&K Donuts-sponsored #92.
Shingledecker’s second had to be disappointing, but matched his May 28 finish in his first start of the season. Double, Johnson, and McKinney were third through fifth. Point leader Joe Gabrielson raced from 15th to sixth to earn the $25 Summit Racing Equipment hard charger certificate. Thomas, Ferry, Rich Jaeger, and Eucker completed the top 10. McKinney and Shingledecker won the heat races.
It’s been a disappointing sophomore season for Justin Shea in the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds throughout the region. Shea has been fast on numerous nights this year, but the finishes just haven’t shown it. On Saturday night, the power steering went out as Shea was in the lead, but he was still able to hold off Brian Schaffer for his first career win in the 15-lap Lyden/Red Line Oil feature. Not only was it Shea’s first ever win at Sharon, but was his first top five finish in his 12th career start at the track. The highly competitive division produced its seventh different winner in eight races this season!
“This has been a struggle to get here,” acknowledged the 34-year-old Franklin, Pa. driver. “It takes a lot of persistence and it feels good. This is a great group of guys and girls to race with. We’re like a big family. We missed the setup a little bit for the feature. The car was a little looser than we’d like it to be, but it was good enough and that’s all that matters. It takes a lot of work to keep two cars going. My wife helps outs a lot, my father-in-law Pat has been a huge help. I can’t thank everyone enough. I’m having a great time.”
Shea took over the top spot using the outside to pass Schaffer. Kyle Martell, who won his first career feature on June 18, started sixth and moved into the top five on the opening lap then passed Michael Kristyak for fourth on lap three. Martell continued moving forward as he drove under and by Jerry Schaffer for third on lap four. Shea and Brian Schaffer had distanced themselves from the field by the time Martell got to third. The event’s only caution was displayed when Chas Wolbert, who won his first career feature last Saturday, spun with eight laps completed.
The final 12 laps went green-to-checkered as Shea held off Schaffer to win by just 0.395 of a second in his Bradley’s Boarding & Grooming/Justin Shea Enterprises-sponsored #14s. Schaffer, who appeared to be headed to his first win last Saturday until he thought the white flag was the checkered and settled for second, has now finished runner-up for three straight races! Martell was a close third. Ninth starting Kole Holden worked his way to fourth ahead of point leader Brandon Ritchey, who started 14th. Brian Schaffer and Shea won the heat races over the 20-car field.
It’s been an up and down season for Mike Clark, who is trying to win an unprecedented fourth straight Stock Car championship. On Saturday night, Clark returned to glory leading all 15 laps of Gibson Insurance Agency feature as he held off point leader Paul Davis denying him of a third straight victory.
“I’m telling you what it’s been like a second full-time job the last two weeks,” explained the 50-year-old Bristolville, Ohio veteran about having to repair his car after accidents. “I didn’t like that at all, and really needed this to get back with it. All I can do is thank the Lord I stayed out front and held on for those restarts. When you’re leading the race, it’s hard to set the pace. Those guys behind you know how hard to push it so you just try and be smooth and keep a fender ahead of them. I’d like to thank all of the fans for coming out and watching us tonight- it’s a beautiful night.”
Clark powered around pole-sitter Shane Smith to take charge at the beginning of the race with fourth starting Mike Miller moving to second. Sixth starting Brian Carothers and eighth starting Davis followed Clark and Carothers as the outside starters in the first four rows took over the top four spots on the opening lap. Clark and Carothers had a tremendous side-by-side race swapping position three several times before Davis took over for good on lap nine. A caution for a spin by Dan Fedorchak slowed action with nine laps completed.
When racing resumed, it was three-wide for second with Clark and Carothers getting by Miller. A caution for Mini Stock graduated Jamie Maxwell bunched up the field for a two-lap shootout to the finish. Clark was able to keep Davis at bay winning by just 0.277 of a second in his Martuccio’s Eye Care/Ohio Inn/Son’s of Italy/Wedge Motorsports/May’s Towing/Trumbull County Auto Parts/Hoosier Tire/Russ King Racing/Minor’s Performance-sponsored #7. Davis received a $25 Summit Racing Equipment gift certificate for being the hard charger. Miller, Carothers, and Jacob Billyk completed the first five. Davis and Billyk were the heat race winners.
Butch Lambert made a winning season debut in the Econo Mods on May 7. Since then, Lambert has competed in just two events. Lambert was back in action on Saturday night after a month off and improved his season’s winning percentage to 50% coming on top of the 15-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products feature after a race-long battle with Brandon Blackshear.
“He (Blackshear) made me work for that one,” stated the 43-year-old Valencia, Pa. resident. “I was having a good time. I was surprised he took the inside so he committed me to the top. He got away from me there for awhile. I settled down and knew I’d have to make the top work and started reeling him. He’s a good guy. I like racing with him. I don’t know what happened, but I was looking forward to the last lap. The top was real good in (turns) one and two. I was kind of worried because the last time I was here I jumped the cushion. This car is so tight. Mike (Hendrickson) keeps working on it and making it better and better for me. It was awesome tonight that’s for sure. I have to thank Mike and his whole family. He let me take a couple weeks off so this one is for him.”
Blackshear and Lambert brought the field to green with Lambert using the outside to barely lead lap one. The two raced side-by-side for the first four laps until Blackshear took over on the fourth circuit. Twelfth starting Steve Haefke made his way to front as he got by Kyle Miller for third on lap five then got the break he needed when an infield yuke tire that had got put on its side earlier in the event got hit and sent rolling across the infield and onto the frontstretch to cause a caution with six laps scored.
The final nine caution-free laps featured a three-car race between Blackshear, Lambert, and Haefke. Lambert was able to work his way alongside Blackshear on the outside of lap 13. The two again raced side-by-side for the lead the next two laps. Lambert appeared to have the pass made for the lead with the white flag in sight as Blackshear broke and exited into the infield. Lambert went on to beat out Haefke by 2.164 seconds in the Mike Hendrickson-owned, Townsend Gas & Oil/Whitehill’s Garage/Leisure Time Power Sports/Hoosier Tires/Brad Penn Oil/Eibach Springs-sponsored #19.
While point leader Haefke was unable to win his third straight feature, he was able to extend his amazing streak of top two finishes to 13 straight features dating back to last season! Eighth starting Haley Lapcevich crossed the finish line in third, but was disqualified in post-race tech for an illegal carburetor, which moved Mitchell Wright to third for his career best finish. Jeff Mundell and Wayne Daniels were fourth and fifth. Bret McCarthy finished 12th in his season debut and was the lucky recipient of a pair of pit passes compliments of Hovis. Blackshear and Haefke won the heat races.
Joe Campbell became the top Mini Stock winner of the season as he chalked up his third Deforest Used Parts victory in the 12-lap feature that went non-stop. “That was a blast,” said the 32-year-old Austintown, Ohio driver. “The track was rough, but it was fast; felt like an Enduro at Lernerville when they put us out there at midnight- fast but rutted up. This car really runs. We put this motor together with our bare hands. We didn’t buy it- it runs good. I have to thank everyone that helps me out and all of my sponsors.”
Campbell started fourth and made his way by Mitch Stokes, Logan Keney, and Will Aley on the first lap for the lead. Keney passed Aley on lap two for second, but wouldn’t have anything for Campbell who stretched his lead and took the win by more than a straightaway. Campbell’s fifth career win came in his Custom Metal Works of Austintown/DCS Truck & Trailer Repair/Statton-Borowski Funeral Home/Henry’s Dynatorium/McGuire’s Coney Island/Tub’s Automotive/Utsinger’s Towing/Superior Auto Body/West Side Tire-sponsored #40c. Keney was a career best second over Aley, Stokes, and point leader Steve Walker II. Aley won the lone heat race.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. REX KING, JR. (165) 2. Dave Murdick (61) 3. Rob Kristyak (00) 4. Jimmy Weller III (23) 5. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 6. Rick Richner (26) 7. Rex King (65) 8. Jim Rasey (21) 9. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 10. Kevin Bolland (777) 11. Bob Warren (96B) 12. Shawn Kozar (3K) 13. Tom Glenn (83T).
Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modifieds (20 laps): 1. JOEL WATSON (92) 2. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 3. Jeremy Double (83) 4. Jeff Johnson (27) 5. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 6. Joe Gabrielson (58) 7. Will Thomas III (9) 8. Josh Ferry (33) 9. Rich Jaeger (5) 10. Jacob Eucker (64) 11. Scott Stiffler (14) 12. Jim White, Jr. (53) 13. Brandon Blackshear (10) 14. Amanda Stiffler (14A) 15. Bob Williamson (93) 16. Adam Babcock (67)-DNS.
Lyden/ Red Line Oil RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (15 laps): 1. JUSTIN SHEA (14s) 2. Brian Schaffer (41) 3. Kyle Martell (8) 4. Kole Holden (2) 5. Brandon Ritchey (17) 6. Josh Deems (9D) 7. Jerry Schaffer (14) 8. Michael Kristyak (404) 9. Chelsie Kriegisch (10) 10. Jessica Shea (24s) 11. Jeremy Weaver (35W) 12. Tiffany Williams (58) 13. Steve Slater (35) 14. Preston Cope (24P) 15. Blaze Myers (43JR) 16. Jessica Kriegisch (63) 17. Jonathan Myers (11) 18. Mike Sparks (Smith 3G) 19. Will Schaffer (4) 20. Chas Wolbert (c3).
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. MIKE CLARK (7) 2. Paul Davis (3) 3. Mike Miller (T6) 4. Brian Carothers (02c) 5. Jacob Billyk (4) 6. Andy Buckley (965) 7. Jamie Duncan (67J) 8. Jamie Scharba (11S) 9. Michael Hudzik (31H) 10. Jamie Maxwell (6) 11. Shane Smith (299) 12. Troy DeZarn (21) 13. Bryan Wagner (56) 14. Brent Coleman (01) 15. Dan Fedorchak (Bruno 67) 16. Mike Kerr (25K)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. BUTCH LAMBERT (Hendrickson 19) 2. Steve Haefke (41) 3. Mitchell Wright (M11) 4. Jeff Mundell (11) 5. Wayne Daniels (4) 6. Chris Clay (99) 7. Brandon Blackshear (Burns 70B) 8. Kyle Miller (15) 9. Brad Blackshear (19) 10. Buzz Seitz (1) 11. Bret McCarthy (33) 12. Bob Burk (18) 13. Haley Lapcevich (77) 14. Zach Myers (1M)-DNS.
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. JOE CAMPBELL (40C) 2. Logan Keney (Coleman 75) 3. Will Aley (Maxwell 6) 4. Mitch Stokes (6M) 5. Steve Walker II (4M) 6. Pat Drennan (24) 7. Bill Fuchs (10) 8. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 9. Matt Rubright (X) 10. Joe Keney (15K)-DNS 11. Michael DelliQuadri (77D)-DNS.
Coming up this Saturday (July 9) is the eighth annual “Lou Blaney Memorial” presented by Ollie’s Bargain Outlet featuring Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars for $10,000 to-win plus The Mod Tour for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds. Reserved and advance 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.