King Jr pads point lead with 2nd Big-Block Mod win; 1st win for McKinney in over 2 yrs in Mods; Wolbert repeats in RUSH Mods; Career 1st win for Billyk in Stocks; Haefke & Walker keep on winning in Econos & Minis
By Mike Leone
August 6, 2016
(Hartford, OH)…After losing Fan Appreciation Night for the second time this season last week at Sharon Speedway, fair weather returned on Saturday allowing for the 11th event in the past 12 to be completed. The following drivers celebrated in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane for the “Bill Kirila Memorial” on Thompson Fabricating Night: Rex King, Jr.-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Carl McKinney-Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Chas Wilbert-Lyden/Red Line Oil RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Jacob Billyk-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Steve Haefke-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and Steve Walker II-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
It hasn’t been the season the King Family have been accustomed to compared to recent seasons, but on Saturday night Rex King, Jr. led all 20 laps while his father battled his way to the front to finish second in their first one-two finish of 2016 in DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds. For King, Jr., it was just his second 20-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply feature win of the year and padded his point lead.
“I don’t know if dad was mad there or what, but he had a good run,” stated the 27-year-old Bristolville, Ohio racer on his dive bomb attempt at the lead. “I’m glad he got second- it’s good to see him up there with us this time. We haven’t really found the pole all year. We’ve had a good car in some spots, we’ve had some bad luck, and I’ve done some dumb stuff. I’m just real fortunate to have my family and all my crew guys and my kids here with me. I have to thank all of my sponsors that help, and all the fans that come and support dirt track racing week in and week out.”
King, Jr. quickly darted to the early lead from the pole position, while Jim Rasey surged by Chris Haines and Rick Richner for second on the opening lap. The elder King started back in eighth and cracked the top five on lap two when he passed Haines. The event’s first caution occurred when newcomer Rusty Johns spun with four laps completed. When racing resumed, the top three of King, Jr., Rasey, and Richner distanced themselves from the field, while the battle was on fourth with Dave Murdick trying to fend off King and Jimmy Weller III.
Richner’s night ended when he slowed bringing out the caution with nine laps scored. He was awarded two pit passes for the next event compliments of Hovis due to his tough break. When racing resumed, King got an excellent restart as he drove by Murdick and Rasey the second spot. King chewed into his son’s lead until a caution for Justin Rasey, who slowed with 16 laps scored.
The two Kings lined up side-by-side for the double-file restart, but King, Jr. was too strong as he took the checkered flag first by 1.538 seconds for his milestone 20th career win 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.
After a season best second the night before at Lernerville Speedway, King recorded his third runner-up finish at Sharon. Jim Rasey was third. Weller III got by Murdick on lap 19 to finish fourth. Murdick dropped to fifth, but earned an extra $50 thanks to an anonymous donor. Completing the top 10 were Skip Moore, Rick Regalski, Jr., Haines, Kevin Hoffman, and Tom Glenn. Heat victors were Weller III and Jim Rasey.
Carl McKinney led all 20 laps of the Summit Racing Equipment Modified feature holding off two-time winner, Scott Stiffler, over the final 18 laps for his first win since May 31, 2014! “I’m just glad to be back here finally,” expressed the 44-year-old Mars, Pa. driver. “We’ve been working our tails off to get a good piece here. I think we’ve finally got something. We went over it this winter and had Brian Ruhlman put a front clip on this Pierce car. This Pierce car and the rear end suspension is awesome and with Ruhlman’s front end geometry it really steers good. I’m just tickled to death, but the last four laps the engine starting laying down. I think we need to make an engine swap this week. It’s just a pleasure to drive for Mike (Hendrickson). His dad builds the engine. I couldn’t ask for a better car owner and family to race for. It’s just a pleasure to drive for them.”
McKinney jumped to the early lead, while sixth starting Stiffler raced his way forward taking second from Jeff Hassay on lap three. The first three laps were plagued with three cautions then nine green flag laps were run until the final caution was displayed for Rich Jaeger spun. Stiffler had a shot alongside McKinney, but McKinney was too strong on this night as he captured the victory by 1.908 seconds over Stiffler. McKinney’s ninth career win came in the Mike Hendrickson-owned, Townsend Gas & Oil/Whitehills Garage/Leisure Time Auto & Powersports/Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic/Brad Penn Oil/Allstar Performance/Eibach Spring-sponsored #6m.
Stiffler received a $25 Summit Racing Equipment gift certificate for being the hard charger after his runner-up finish. Brandon Blackshear was third for his third top three finish in five outings utilizing a Chevrolet Performance CT525 crate engine. After starting fifth and spinning on the opening lap, Jeff Johnson made his way back to fourth at the finish. Paul Phillips was fifth in just his second start of the season. Completing the top 10 were Casey Bowers, point leader Joe Gabrielson, Shawn Shingledecker, Hassay, and Jacob Eucker. Heat winners were Johnson and Blackshear.
First year RUSH Sportsman Modified racer, Chas Wolbert, became just the second repeat winner in the 10th Lyden/Red Line Oil feature event this season on Saturday night. Wolbert started sixth and led the final 10 laps in a dominating performance. Wolbert has really come on strong late of late with his second win in the past four races at Sharon in addition to winning recently at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway.
“This Bicknell by RKR has been super fast,” explained the 22-year-old Warren, Ohio driver. “We got in a jingle last week at Thunder Mountain and tore the rear end and front axle out. We got it done at about 3:30 today and I guess this is where we are! I absolutely love this class. Everyone is so close. The competition from male-to-female all the way back to the kids that are just starting out as 12 years old is great. I have to thank God- without him none of this would be possible. I have some great sponsors behind me as well.”
One-time winner, Kyle Martell, who leads RUSH’s “Futures Cup” points, took charge early on over last year’s “Futures Cup” champion, Kole Holden. Chelsie Kriegisch moved up to third on lap two dropping outside pole-sitter, Michael Kristyak, back to fourth. On lap three, Wolbert made a key pass of Kristyak to take fourth, which would line him out on the outside of row two for a restart.
When racing resumed on lap six, Wolbert used to the top to fly by Kriegisch, Holden, and Martell for the lead then quickly pulled away. Kriegisch got by Holden for third on lap seven then began to pressure Martell for the runner-up spot. A spin by Kristyak ended his excellent run in fifth with 13 laps completed, which also erased more than a straightaway lead by Wolbert.
Wolbert would lead the final two laps in his C.T. Wolbert Trucking/Roberts Unlimited/Russ King Racing/Ohio Intra Express/Crooked Pine Woodworking/Ohio Intra Logistics/955 Automotive/Thompson Campers-sponsored #C3 and took the checkered flag by 0.591 of a second over Martell. Holden got back by Kriegisch on lap 14 to place third. Kriegisch dropped to fourth, but was her best finish at the track since a third on May 2, 2015. Calvin Clay, who entered the night with a season best 12th, had a great night to finish fifth after starting 10th and received an extra $50 from an anonymous donor. Kriegisch, Holden, and Brian Schaffer won the heat races over the 21-car field.
Jacob Billyk led all 15 laps of the Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars surviving six cautions and a late charge by point leader and three-time winner, Paul Davis, for his first career win on the circuit. “Oh yeah I was nervous,” revealed the 38-year-old New Castle, Pa. racer. “The outside was a lot better than the inside. My sponsors are great. I’d like to thank all of them, my pit crew, my family- if I didn’t have them I wouldn’t be here. I bought this car off Rusty Moore and he’s been the biggest help.”
Billyk started from the pole and raced to the lead over Steve D’Apolito. Brian Carothers started fourth and passed Mike Clark for third on lap four then grabbed second on lap five when D’Apolito pushed high in turn two. Davis meanwhile started behind Carothers in fifth and overtook D’Apolito for third on lap seven. As Billyk continued to lead, the battle was for second as Carothers had Davis and D’Apolito right on his bumper.
The event’s final caution was displayed when Mike Miller got into the back of D’Apolito sending him spinning. When racing resumed, Davis passed Carothers for second, but would come up 1.011 seconds behind Billyk’s Jacob’s Towing & Service/Custom Pallet & Mulch/Shaffer Auto/Augustine’s Pizza/Watkins Landscaping/Donald Peluso-sponsored #4.
Carothers was third. Brent Coleman entered the night with a 14th as his best finish and easily topped that in fourth after starting 12th and earned a $25 Summit Racing Equipment gift certificate for being the hard charger. D’Apolito came back to place fifth and received an extra $50 from an anonymous donor. Jason Longwell made his season debut in Bootie Petsko’s #00 and finished 15th and won the drawing for a pair of pit passes for next Saturday compliments of Hovis. Clark and Billyk won the heat races over the 18-car field.
Seventh starting Steve Haefke made a late race pass of Butch Lambert to capture his season’s fifth Econo Mod win, which have all come in the past seven HTMA/Precise Racing Products events. And even more impressive is Haefke has now finished first or second for 15 straight events dating back to last season! It will be a little tougher for Haefke next week as he’ll start no better than 12th after his second straight win.
“This car is the latest and greatest state-of-the-art thing you could buy six years ago,” explained the 50-year-old Austintown, Ohio driver. “This car and everything on it is six years old. Scott Stiffler built this car for me. He’s built three cars for me and they’ve all been good cars. I told him you don’t build them quite as fast as I want them, but you build fast race cars! Everybody has something to do with this car. It’s not like we’re fast and just leave it alone. Everyone is involved and putting time in this race car.”
Lambert started third and took the lead on the opening lap; Haefke meanwhile was fourth after one lap then passed Kyle Miller for third on lap two. Haefke battled with Zach Myers until finally making the pass for second on lap 10. Haefke then quickly ran down leader Lambert and the two raced side-by-side with Haefke making the winning pass with an inside move on lap 12.
Cautions on lap 13 and 14 gave Lambert two more shots alongside Haefke, but Haefke was too strong as he beat Lambert by 0.637 of a second in the one-lap shootout to the finish in his Tub’s Automotive/Wedge Motorsports/212 Chiropractic/Hoosier Tires-sponsored #41. The victory was Haefke’s eighth of his career in the division and ninth overall at the track.
Lambert gave car owner Mike Hendrickson a great night as his cars captured a win in the Modifieds and a runner-up in the Econo Mods. Myers was a Sharon career best third. Jeff Mundell advanced from 12th for his second fourth place finish in the past three events. James Myers made his second straight Sharon appearance a successful one as he finished fifth after starting 16th to earn a $25 Summit Racing Equipment gift card. Brandon Blackshear and Haefke won the heat races over the 20-car field, which was the highest since September 12, 2014!
Steve Walker II continues to inch closer to his first Mini Stock Championship since the 2010 inaugural season. On Saturday night, Walker won his season’s third Deforest Used Parts feature in the 12-lap non-stop affair. “She’s been having problems,” explained the 36-year-old Greenville, Pa. driver about his car. “We had to put a different motor in this week. Good thing the races were cancelled last week or we’d have had to bring out the white car, and it’s not as fast. The oil pressure dropped the last lap, but it’s only a motor, right? I’ve looked at the points then realized I don’t want to look at it because that’s how bad luck happens. My step dad has worked non-stop on this for two weeks.”
Walker used the outside to take the lead at the start from pole-sitter Pete Blazczak. By lap two, the top three of Walker, Blazczak, and Matt Rubright quickly pulled away from the field. Jim Haefke, Jr. started sixth and moved into fourth on lap five past Will Aley. Haefke closed in on the front trio making it a four-car race, but none would get close enough to make a real bid at Walker, who captured his fourth career win in his Hittles Auto Supply-sponsored #4M. After a season best seventh at the last event, Blazczak certainly improved that with a runner-up on Saturday night beating out Rubright and Haefke. Joe Campbell came from 11th to fifth. Rubright and Aley were heat race victors.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. REX KING, JR. (165) 2. Rex King (65) 3. Jim Rasey (32) 4. Jimmy Weller III (23) 5. Dave Murdick (61) 6. Skip Moore (17M) 7. Rick Regalski, Jr. (7z) 8. Chris Haines (35H) 9. Kevin Hoffman (00) 10. Tom Glenn (83T) 11. Rusty Johns (17) 12. Justin Rasey (21) 13. Rick Richner (26).
Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modifieds (15 laps): 1. CARL MCKINNEY (Hendrickson 6M) 2. Scott Stiffler (14) 3. Brandon Blackshear (10) 4. Jeff Johnson (27) 5. Paul Phillips (44) 6. Casey Bowers (20) 7. Joe Gabrielson (58) 8. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 9. Jeff Hassay (10) 10. Jacob Eucker (64) 11. Rich Jaeger (5) 12. Bob Williamson (93) 13. Bob Diver (23) 14. Travis Creech (White 53)-DNS 15. Josh Ferry (33)-DNS 16. Amanda Stiffler (14A)-DNS.
Lyden/ Red Line Oil RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (15 laps): 1. CHAS WOLBERT (c3) 2. Kyle Martell (8) 3. Kole Holden (2) 4. Chelsie Kriegisch (10) 5. Calvin Clay (21) 6. Mike Sparks (Smith 3G) 7. Josh Deems (9D) 8. Brandon Ritchey (17) 9. Nick Ritchey (Schaffer 14) 10. Tiffany Williams (58) 11. Preston Cope (24P) 12. Blaze Myers (43JR) 13. Michael Kristyak (404) 14. Steve Slater (35) 15. Amelia Clay (12) 16. Jessica Kriegisch (63) 17. Rocky Kugel (83) 18. Brian Schaffer (41) 19. Jeremy Weaver (35W)-DNS 20. Will Schaffer (4)-DNS 21. Jerry Schaffer (Ritchey 77N)-DNS.
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (15 laps): 1. JACOB BILLYK (4) 2. Paul Davis (3) 3. Brian Carothers (02c) 4. Brent Coleman (01) 5. Steve D’Apolito (84) 6. Jamie Scharba (11s) 7. Mike Miller (T6) 8. Michael Hudzik (31H) 9. Troy DeZarn (21) 10. Mike Kerr (25K) 11. Jamie Maxwell (6) 12. Bryan Wagner (56) 13. Jamie Duncan (67J) 14. Mike Clark (7) 15. Jason Longwell (Petsko 00) 16. Gary Robinson (44R) 17. Andy Buckley (965) 18. Dillon Kineston (19).
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. STEVE HAEFKE (41) 2. Butch Lambert (Hendrickson 19) 3. Zach Myers (1M) 4. Jeff Mundell (11) 5. James Myers (77M) 6. Haley Lapcevich (77) 7. Wayne Daniels (4) 8. Dan McEwen (44) 9. Mitchell Wright (m11) 10. Brad Blackshear (19) 11. Kyle Miller (15) 12. Chris Clay (99) 13. Brian Huchko (60) 14. Kevin Robinson (McCarthy 33) 15. Kayla Adams (39) 16. Brandon Blackshear (Burns 70B) 17. Bob Burk (18) 18. Buzz Seitz (1) 19. George Vestal IV (4) 20. Michael McConnell (54).
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps): 1. STEVE WALKER II (4M) 2. Pete Blazczak (77) 3. Matt Rubright (X) 4. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 5. Joe Campbell (40C) 6. Logan Keney (Coleman 75) 7. Bill Fuchs (10) 8. Will Aley (Maxwell 6) 9. Pat Drennan (24) 10. Jim Root (17J) 11. Mitch Stokes (6m) 12. Joe Keney (15K) 13. Michael DelliQuadri (77D)-DNS.
Coming up this Saturday night (August 13), the “410” Sprint Cars return for their final appearance in a non-sanctioned event. They’ll be joined by the Modifieds, Stock Cars, Econo Mods, and Mini Stocks. The Big-Block Modifieds and RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will have the night off. Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5 and racing at 7. Admission for those 14 and over is just $10, while those 13 and under are free. Pit passes are $30.
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.