Jimmy Phelps wins the return of Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series Thursday at Sharon; David Stremme invades & wins Renegade Mods in their 1st visit

Jimmy Phelps wins the return of Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series Thursday at Sharon; David Stremme invades & wins Renegade Mods in their 1st visit

Jimmy Phelps wins the return of Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series Thursday at Sharon; David Stremme invades & wins Renegade Mods in their 1st visit

By Mike Leone

July 21, 2016               

(Hartford, OH)…On a hot and sultry Thursday evening, Sharon Speedway was able to complete the ninth straight night of racing kicking off a three-event weekend.  The Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series returned for the first time since their only two appearances in consecutive seasons back in 1982 and 1983 on the old half-mile as Jimmy Phelps scored the victory over a big field of 51 cars.  Meanwhile, David Stremme captured the inaugural appearance by the Renegades of Dirt (E) Modifieds as both racers celebrated in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane.

Jimmy Phelps made a clean sweep of the night setting fast time, winning his heat race and leading the final 61 laps of the 100-lap Super DIRTcar Series feature for the $6,000 victory in the richest Big-Block Modified race in the history of the at Sharon.  Phelps was one of the few Series stars that had ever seen Sharon as he finished third in the 2013 “Lou Blaney Memorial” driving the same Heinke-Baldwin Racing #98H.

“I got nervous there in the end with all of those yellows happening with 20 to go,” said the Baldwinsville, New York winner. “The tires started to cool off and I didn’t know how good the guys were behind me. We started slip-sliding around there, but we’ve been good here since we unloaded today. I couldn’t make any mistakes, the track got real narrow there especially in one and two. Fortunately we got out front and had good track position. We had a real good restart on the outside and passed the 14 (Ryan Watt) on the outside. That was the real key to the deal. I can’t thank Curt and Al and everybody at Mohawk and HBR enough. ”

Ryan Susice, who won a weekly Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modified event last season in his first ever start, led the first 13 laps before pole-sitter Ryan Watt took over. Phelps meanwhile started fifth and moved to third on lap 10.  Phelps  then drove around Susice in turn four for second on lap 16.  Phelps would relinquish second though on lap 24 when Matt Sheppard made the pass.  Sheppard appeared as he had the fastest car as he ran down Watt three laps later.  Lapped traffic came into play on lap 33 as the top three of Watt, Sheppard, Phelps pulled away and battled for the lead.

Billy Pauch, Jr. slowed to bring out the caution with 39 laps completed and this would be a major turning point in the race. Sheppard exited the event handing second back to Phelps.  And on the double-file restart, Phelps made the outside work taking the lead from Watt to lead lap 40.  Tenth starting Billy Decker raced his way forward passing Brett Hearn for third then got by Watt on a lap 59 restart.

The next 30 laps went caution-free as Phelps had built up a 4.4-second lead until the margin was cut down to 2.5 seconds as he negotiated traffic until a caution with 88 laps scored for a flat tire by Chad Brachmann, who was driving the Rick Regalski, Jr.-owned #13. Phelps would survive three more cautions with Decker on him over the course of the final 12 laps to score the win in the Mohawk Northeast/J&B Installations-sponsored #98H Troyer.  Decker was 1.374 seconds back in runner-up.  Watt, who is a non-Super DIRTcar regular, had a solid third in his first ever Sharon visit.  Veterans Brett Hearn and Pat Ward were fourth and fifth.

Max McLaughlin was sixth. Sharon point leader, Rex King, Jr., had an impressive run in seventh after starting 12th for the highest local finisher.  Susice dropped to eighth over 32nd starting Rich Scagliotta and Frank Cozze.  Phelps fast lap in qualifying was a 16.375.  Besides Phelps, Mike Mahaney, Decker, Sheppard, Stewart Friesen, King, Jr. were the heat winners.  Brachmann, Larry Wight, and Peter Britten copped the three last chance B mains.

Making his first ever Sharon start, former NASCAR Sprint Cup racer, David Stremme, will go down in the history books as the inaugural winner of the first appearance by the Renegades of Dirt Modifieds. Stremme passed his fellow Lethal Chassis customer, Dan Davies, on lap 16 and drove off to a dominating win over the final nine laps to capture the $1,500 top prize.

“Dan is one of our cars and does a great job,” explained the 43-year-old Mooresville, North Carolina driver. “I hate racing against customers.  I’ve never been here before.  We drove nine hours to get here and we’re going to Lernerville tomorrow plus we get to see Big-Block Modifieds- I love it!  The track was really good.  I ran the bottom, top, and middle.  I’m really happy.  I’ve ran this car twice and it’s a brand new motor.  It’s been fast, but I had yet to finish.  I was nervous, but I’m really proud of all of the hard work we’ve been putting in.  I hope the fans enjoyed it.  Thanks for coming out on a Thursday night.”

After a dominating heat race win, Jacob Hawkins set the early pace out front as Stremme passed Nathan Loney for third on the opening lap. The top three of Hawkins, Davies, and Stremme quickly pulled away and it was three-wide for the lead on lap two with Davies taking over.  Lap four saw Stremme make the pass of Davies for second.  Davies and Stremme then would separate themselves from the field, while Hawkins had fifth starting Will Thomas III on his heels.

Stremme was all over Davies on lap 10. The two ran side-by-side on laps 11, 12, and 13 before the event’s first and only caution was displayed when Brandon Blackshear slowed.  Back under green, Davies and Stremme resumed their battle as it left off before the caution running side-by-side for the next four laps until Stremme made the inside work off turn four leading lap 16.  Once in front, Stremme’s #35 checked out and won by a big 4.124-second margin over Davies.

Hawkins held off Thomas, who was the top track regular finishing fourth. Joel Watson, who has won five features this year at the track, started in 12th and came on late running the outside to finish fifth.  Sixth through 10th were Loney, Carl McKinney, D.J. Kline, Rich Michael, Jr., and Joe Gabrielson.  Besides Hawkins, Thomas and Stremme also won the heat races over the 26-car field.  Howard Fraley won the last chance B main in his first start of the season.

Super DIRTcar Series for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (100 laps, $6,000 to-win): 1. JIMMY PHELPS (Heinke-Baldwin 98H)  2. Billy Decker (Payne 91)  3. Ryan Watt (14W)  4. Brett Hearn (20)  5. Pay Ward (42P)  6. Max McLaughlin (6)  7. Rex King, Jr. (165)  8. Ryan Susice (38)  9. Rich Scagliotta (8)  10. Frank Cozze (35)  11. Mike Mahaney (88)  12. Yan Bussiere (21)  13. Keith Flach (43)  14. Tim Fuller (19)  15. Chad Brachmann (Regalski 13)  16. Rex King (65)  17. Tim Kerr (07)  18. Larry Wight (99L)  19. Erick Rudolph (21K)  20. Jim Rasey (32)  21. Michael Maresca, Jr. (7)  22. Mat Williamson (6)  23. Dave Blaney (Heinke-Baldwin 18B)  24. Jimmy Horton (43H)  25. Peter Britten (Heinke-Baldwin 18H)  26. Vic Coffey (32c)  27. J.R. McGinley (66M)  28. Billy Pauch, Jr. (15)  29. Matt Sheppard (9s)  30. Danny Johnson (27J)  31. Jimmy Weller III (23)  32. Stewart Friesen (44).  DNQ:  Kevin Bolland (777), Matt Janiak (17), Brad Rapp (11R), Chad Jesco (25), C.G. Morey (14), Kyle Coffey (23c), Dave Rauscher (48T), Bob Warren (96B), Eldon Payne (28P), Rich Richner (26), Ralph McBride (Regalski 7z), Garrett Krummert (29), Chris Haines (35H), Ed Kichell (X), Skip Moore (17M), Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD), Steve Feder (45), Rob Kristyak (00), Eric Gabany (3E).

Renegades of Dirt Series for the Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. DAVID STREMME (35)  2. Dan Davies (71D)  3. Jacob Hawkins (13)  4. Will Thomas III (9)  5. Joel Watson (92)  6. Nathan Loney (10L)  7. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M)  8. D.J. Kline (4)  9. Rich Michael, Jr. (17x)  10. Joe Gabrielson (58)  11. Jacob Eucker (64)  12. Jeff Johnson (27)  13. Shawn Shingledecker (54s)  14. Brandon Blackshear (10)  15. Howard Fraley (217)  16. Bob Moskey (33M)  17. Scott Stiffler (14)  18. Jeremy Double (83)  19. Tony Tatgenhorst (63)  20. Amanda Stiffler (14A).  DNQ: Brock Moskey (3M), Rich Jaeger (5), Alan Dellinger (White 53), Dan McEwen (44), Shane Crotty (4), Mike Kinney (20P).

The three-day event weekend resumes Friday night (July 22) as “Southern Rock Superstars” performs a free concert from 8-10 p.m. Saturday is the return of “Steel Valley Thunder” featuring the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Lyden/Red Line Oil RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks and third event for the Penn-Ohio Stock Mini Series with another $1,000 to-win event.  Pit gates open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5.  Racing is 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.

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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