“Lou Blaney Memorial” to feature All Star Sprints again with $10,000 on the line Saturday; The Mod Tour & several activities to benefit Alzheimer’s Assoc on tap
By Mike Leone
July 6, 2016
(Hartford, OH)…One of the region’s most anticipated events is mere days away as Sharon Speedway is set to host the eighth annual “Lou Blaney Memorial” presented by Ollie’s Bargain Outlet this Saturday night (July 9) featuring Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars and The Mod Tour for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block division. Activities to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association will begin at 1:30 p.m. leading up to warm-ups at 6:30. The rain date is Sunday.
For the second straight year, Saturday’s “Lou Blaney Memorial” will feature $10,000 on the line for the event winner under the All Stars’ sanction! There has yet to be a repeat winner in the seven prior “Lou Blaney Memorial” Sprint Car events! Tony Stewart won the inaugural event in 2009. Mike Lutz was the first local winner taking the 2010 version for Jim Chappel. Texan Sam Hafertepe, Jr. won in 2011, while Californian Brad Sweet, who now races with the World of Outlaws, was victorious in 2012. Jack Sodeman, Jr. became the second local driver to win the prestigious event in 2013, while Dave Blaney won his father’s memorial for the first time in 2014. Last year, Sheldon Haudenschild, who is coming off a weekend sweep of All Star action in Michigan, won the biggest race of his career.
Despite just one win this season, Chad Kemenah leads the All Stars to Sharon as the Series point leader by 46 over Dale Blaney. The youngest son of the late Lou Blaney would love to add his name to the win list at a track where he owns 14 career wins. Blaney’s five All Star wins this season have his raised his all-time leading total to 132! Haudenschild, who like Blaney has five wins this season, is third in points over Cap Henry and Danny Holtgraver. The All Stars were at Sharon just over two weeks ago for Ohio Speedweek when Bryan Clauson captured the win over the 52-car field.
Dave Blaney will not only try and win his second “Lou Blaney Memorial” in the Sprint Cars, but will try his hand at the Big-Block Modifieds as he debuts one of his own cars. Blaney has been doing a lot of racing in Dan Motter’s #71M Sprint Car, and recently finished second at Williams Grove with the Super DIRTcar Modified Series, which will be at Sharon on July 21.
One of the invaders that will be at Sharon Saturday is Texan Josh Baughman. The local contingent is expected to be led by two-time track champion Jack Sodeman, Jr. along with drivers such as A.J. Flick, Carl Bowser, Brandon Spithaler, Adam Kekich, Brandon and Brent Matus, Dan Kuriger, 2008 track champion Dan Shetler, Andy McKisson, Mike Bauer, Jimmy Morris, Gary Edwards, and others.
The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds will round out the show in a Mod Tour-sanctioned event paying $2,000 to-win. There has yet to be a repeat “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner in the Modifieds either! New York legend Jack Johnson captured the 2009 race, while local Ohio drivers Jim Rasey and Rob Kristyak stole the thunder in 2010 and 2011. Kevin Bolland won the prestigious event in 2012 and fellow western Pa. racer Dave Murdick joined him in 2013. In 2014, Rex King, Jr. won the event part of his dream season, while last season Jim Weller, Jr. added his name to the win list. The locals have won six straight “Lou Blaney Memorials”…will an outsider end that trend or will we get an eighth different winner!?
One of those outsiders that could steal the locals’ thunder is Mod Tour point leader Erick Rudolph, who already has a win this season at Sharon in the 2015 “Russ King Memorial” make-up for the Tour on April 16. Fresh off his first win of the season last Saturday, King, Jr. leads the Sharon points over the Wellers, who have won five feature this year led by Jimmy III with three and two by Jim, Jr.
Friends of Lou Blaney will again attend the Memorial event to help celebrate the life and accomplishments of the Hall of Fame driver, who won more than 600 feature victories during a five-decade career. The legend has at least 121 Modified wins and another 11 documented in a Sprint Car at Sharon alone. Blaney passed away in 2009 after battling Alzheimer’s.
Racing won’t be the only attraction at Sharon on Saturday. Grandstand gates will open at 1:00 p.m. for the festivities. The apparel trailer with the new “Lou Blaney Memorial” shirts along with Blaney merchandise will open at 1 p.m. A corn hole tournament will take place at 2 p.m. along with activities and games for children.
The dinner for friends and family of Lou Blaney will begin at 4 p.m. A silent auction of many, varied baskets will be available for everyone to bid on and then a live auction of race memorabilia and sports related items will be sold off to the highest bidders. The silent auction will be all afternoon with the live auction beginning after dinner at approximately 5-5:30 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. There is a complete list of live auction items listed on the Lou Blaney Memorial Facebook page as well as Sharon’s website at www.sharonspeedway.com.
Pit passes will go on sale at 3 p.m. A drivers meeting is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. with Sprint engine starts at 6:15, warm-ups at 6:30 with qualifying and racing to follow. Adult admission is $25. Pit passes are $35. As always, children under 14, parking, and camping is always FREE! 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.