3 nights of action this week; Thursday Super DIRTcar Big-Block Mods & Renegade E-Mods; Friday FREE concert for “Summer Jam & BBQ Series”; Saturday “Steel Valley Thunder” racing
By Mike Leone
July 18, 2016
(Hartford, OH)…After a weekend off, Sharon Speedway will get right back at with three big events planned for later this week (July 21-23). The Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds invade Sharon on Thursday night along with the Renegade (E) Modified Series. Fans can enjoy a FREE concert on Friday night by “Southern Rock Superstars” as part of “Summer Jam & BBQ Series”. Then on Saturday, “Steel Valley Thunder” racing for the weekly six divisions returns for the first time since July 2. Racing begins at 7 p.m. both Thursday and Saturday night, while Friday night’s concert begins at 8 p.m.
Thursday’s visit by the Super DIRTcar Series, the premier traveling Big-Block Modified tour in the world, marks the first in the western Pa./eastern Ohio region since 2006 when they appeared at Lernerville Speedway. The event will be the region’s only appearance and will pay $6,000 to-win making it the richest Modified race in the history of Sharon! The last time Sharon hosted a major Big-Block Modified event that attracted the Northeast’s best was back in 1983 when Alan Johnson won a CRC Super DIRT Syracuse Qualifying Series event. Merv Treichler was victorious in 1982 over a record 56-car field then went on to win the Schaefer 200 at Syracuse later that year.
The Super DIRTcar Series will be coming off a two-day event at Eldora Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday with some 45 cars expected. Sharon will be an easy stop on the way home for the traveling stars and others that will be convening at Eldora. Heading into Eldora, Matt Sheppard not only leads the Series in victories with four, but is also atop the standings by 38 over Stewart Friesen. Billy Decker, Tim Fuller, Danny Johnson, Larry Wight, Peter Britten, Jimmy Phelps, Brett Hearn, and Frank Cozze complete the top 10. Sitting in 12th in points is Mat Williamson. The Canadian has become very known to regional race fans winning two of the last three track championships at Lernerville, and currently leads the way in 2016 with an impressive six wins already at the Sarver, Pa. oval. Williamson though has never competed at Sharon.
Dave Blaney finished runner-up at the Super DIRTcar event at Williams Grove last month and will look to do one spot better at his home track on Thursday. Blaney, who has two career Big-Block Modified wins at Sharon, was instrumental in bringing the Series to Sharon.
The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds have been a weekly attraction at Sharon since 1981. The late Lou Blaney leads the all-time win list with 121 victories over active racer Rex King, who has upped his total to 51, but is still looking for his first win of 2016. Jimmy Weller III leads the 2016 win list at Sharon with three wins, while his father Jim, Jr. is the only other driver to repeat this season. Single victories have gone to Erick Rudolph, Chris Haines, Rex King, Jr., and most recently Jim Rasey. For more information on the Super DIRTcar Series, check out their website at www.superdirtcarseries.com.
While the Renegades of Dirt Modifieds have made a few regional appearances over the past couple years, Thursday will mark the Sharon debut of the traveling West Virginia-based group that enters their sixth year of operations. The RoD Mods will race for $1,500 to-win Thursday in a weekend doubleheader with Lernerville the following night. Their appearance at Sharon will be their first of two as they’ll return for the “Apple Festival Nationals” on September 16-17. Joel Watson has dominated weekly action winning five of the eight features this season, while Will Thomas III, Scott Stiffler, and Joe Gabrielson have each won a feature. Show-up points will be awarded for both the Big-Block Modifieds and Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds on Thursday.
Between racing events on Thursday and Saturday night, fans can take in a FREE concert by “Southern Rock Superstars” as part of the third “Summer Jam & BBQ Series on Friday night. Gates will open at 7 p.m. for the entertainment, which will run from 8-10 p.m. A full barbeque menu will be available throughout the night.
After a successful eighth annual “Lou Blaney Memorial” on July 9 and being off last Saturday for the Trumbull County Fair, weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” racing returns to Sharon on Saturday night for the first time in three weeks. It’ll be Twin-State Auto Racing Club Night with FREE general admission for card-carrying members or discounted $20 pit passes. Kids power wheels races will be held at intermission.
While the Big-Block Modifieds will be back for their second race in three days, the event will be highlighted by the return of the Penn-Ohio Stock Cars in another mini series event paying $1,000 to-win. Chris Schneider and Paul Davis captured the first two races over 45 and 40-car fields respectively. Saturday will be the third of five races in the mini series, which has a separate point fund. Davis also won on June 25 and leads the Gibson Insurance Agency points by 12 over Mike Miller in search of his first career track championship. Andy Buckley is third in points ahead of two-time winner, Mike Clark, who is trying for an unprecedented fourth straight championship. Bob McCann is fifth.
Like the big blocks, the (E) Modifieds will also compete for the second time in three races on Saturday night. Gabrielson has an 18-point lead over Watson, who is still in second place despite missing a race. Jeff Johnson, Josh Ferry, and Carl McKinney are third through fifth in points.
The Lyden/Red Line Oil RUSH Sportsman Modifieds have been extremely competitive as only point leader Brandon has been able to repeat. Justin Shea became the latest winner at the last “Steel Valley Thunder” event on July 2 to become the seventh different winner in eight races! Kole Holden is 12 points back in second. Just four points separates third through sixth place in points with Brian Schaffer, Kyle Martell, Chas Wolbert, and Jerry Schaffer. Chelsie Kriegisch, who is ninth in points, made history at Expo Speedway at the Trumbull County Fair on July 13 as she became the division’s first female winner and the first female to win a touring series event since crate racing debuted in the Northeast in 2007!
To say Steve Haefke is hot in the Econo Mods would be an understatement. Haefke has won three of the last five features, but more impressively has finished either first or second for 13 straight features dating back to last season! Haefke has opened up a 30-point lead on Brandon Blackshear in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products championship race. Brad Blackshear, Wayne Daniels, and Chris Clay are third through fifth in points.
Rounding out Saturday’s program are the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. Steve Walker II leads the points with two victories. The last time Walker won a feature and championship before this season was 2010! Bill Fuchs is looking for his third straight championship and fourth of his career. Fuchs has just one win this season, but trails Walker by only 10 points. Two-time winner, Joe Campbell, is third over Logan Keney and Matt Rubright.
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 d44ivision 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.
Pit gates open at 4 p.m. on both Thursday and Saturday. Grandstands open at 4 p.m. on Thursday and 5 on Saturday. Warm-ups begin at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday. Admission for those 14 and over is $25 on Thursday and $10 on Saturday, while children 13 and under are free. Pit passes are $35 on Thursday and $30 on Saturday. Parking and camping are 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.