Josh Richards makes history winning 1st ever Lucas Oil Late Model event at Sharon; 20th career win for Brandon Blackshear in Econo Mods
By Mike Leone April 21, 2017
(Hartford, OH)…The 88th anniversary season at Sharon Speedway kicked off with a bang on Friday night as a packed house watched the first ever appearance by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series with Josh Richards victorious, while Brandon Blackshear captured the Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mod win. Barris Truck Service was the presenting sponsor of the event.
Josh Richards passed Scott Bloomquist on lap four and held off a furious challenge by Brandon Sheppard and Gregg Satterlee for the victory in the inaugural “Steel City 50″. Richards earned $10,800 for the victory in the first national Late Model event at Sharon since 2010.
“I can’t thank the track staff enough for trying to get the track raceable for the feature,” explained the 29-year-old Shinnston, West Virginia driver. “It was tough on the drivers and especially the cars; I know they had put new dirt on the track, but with the rain they had the last couple of days, that didn’t help. We raced as hard as we could to put on a show for these fans. It feels good to come out on top.”
Richards started the main event from third and moved to second on the opening lap. After battling Bloomquist side-by-side for the lead for two laps, Richards made what would be the winning pass on the bottom of turns one and two on the fourth circuit. Sheppard and Satterlee moved past Bloomquist for second and third on lap 7 and 11 respectively.
Bloomquist stopped to bring out the first caution with 15 laps completed. When racing resumed, Satterlee, Timothy Culp, and Chub Frank all raced by Sheppard for second, third, and fourth respectively. Satterlee was all over Richards in the race for the lead on lap 17 and that battle continued until Richards opened up some breathing room by lap 25. Culp’s engine expired on lap 28 ending his great run.
Back under green, Sheppard regained second after getting by Satterlee, but Satterlee didn’t go away regaining the position on lap 31. Frank would bring out the event’s final caution with 33 laps scored when he slowed in fifth. Sheppard made his way past Satterlee for second when racing resumed for the final time. Sheppard remained within striking distance of Richards over the final 17 laps, but Richards was too strong taking the victory in the Best Motorsports #1 by 0.936 of a second. The win was Richards’ third of the season on the Lucas Oil Series and first ever at Sharon.
Western Pennsylvania’s Satterlee was third for his best finish of the season in his rookie season on the Lucas Oil Series. Devin Moran was fourth over 13th starting Jimmy Owens. Alex Ferree was the top finishing local racer in sixth after starting 12th. Boom Briggs, Colton Flinner, Dylan Yoder, and Frank completed the top 10. Sheppard set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 14.842 establishing a new track record. Sheppard, Bloomquist, and Richards won the heat races, while Dylan Yoder won the last chance B main.
Brandon Blackshear passed Zach Myers on lap six and then withstood the challenges by Jace Ferringer to secure the season opening $500 win in the 20-lap Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mod feature event. “I’ll tell you what, I need to hit the gym because the last 10 laps I had my head wedged up against the headrest because I couldn’t even hold the damn thing up,” joked the 26-year-old Hubbard, Ohio driver. “I think Jace may be in better shape than me. I seen him a couple times down there on the bottom, but I had my head wedged in there so I might have banged him a couple times and I apologize; I couldn’t see him. The dirt is definitely better and you can expect that it’s going to take time to get the track smoothed out. I think they have something good going here. If Mother Nature cooperates, in a month it’s going to be a pretty good deal.”
Third starting Myers passed both Ferringer and Blackshear for the early lead. A caution for a slowing Steve Haefke and Casey Harmon brought out the caution with five laps score. Haefke’s night was finished and ended a streak of 17 straight top two finishes dating back to the 2015 season. Myers chose the outside for the restart and Blackshear would make the winning pass to lead lap six. Keith Felicetty spun to warrant the event’s final caution with six laps completed. Under caution, Myers exited the event and relinquished runner-up to Ferringer.
Over the course of the final 14 laps, Ferringer was all over Blackshear getting alongside on several occasions, but in the closing laps Blackshear opened up some ground and went to win by 1.361 seconds. Blackshear’s milestone 20th career win in the division came in the Steve Burns, Sr.-owned, Warehouse Sales/Gearhart Sales/Laddie’s Sky Club/Close Racing Supply/Intense Fab/Hoosier Tire-sponsored #70B. Brian Toto raced from the 11th starting position to finish third over a career best finish by Ed Harris. Ty Rhoades completed the top five. Heat wins went to Blackshear and Ferringer.
Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (50 laps, $10,000 to-win): 1. JOSH RICHARDS (1) 2. Brandon Sheppard (1) 3. Gregg Satterlee (22) 4. Devin Moran (9) 5. Jimmy Owens (20) 6. Alex Ferree (10) 7. Boom Briggs (99B) 8. Colton Flinner (75) 9. Dylan Yoder (24) 10. Chub Frank (1*) 11. Timothy Culp (c8) 12. Don O’Neal (5) 13. Keith Barbara (17) 14. Earl Pearson, Jr. (1) 15. Michael Norris (72) 16. Hudson O’Neal (71) 17. Jared Miley (H1) 18. Russell King (56) 19. Scott Bloomquist (0) 20. Darrell Lanigan (14) 21. Robert Anderzack (8A) 22. Tim McCreadie (39) 23. Steve Francis (15) 24. Dennis Erb, Jr. (28). DNQ: Clay Ruffo (14R), Chad McClellan (119), Bobby Rohrer (11R).
Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods (20 laps, $500 to-win): 1. BRANDON BLACKSHEAR (Burns 70B) 2. Jace Ferringer (02) 3. Brian Toto (8B) 4. Ed Harris (45) 5. Ty Rhoades (12R) 6. Ashley Rogers (60) 7. Kyle Miller (15) 8. Zach Myers (1M) 9. Keith Felicetty (98) 10. Mitchell Wright (M11) 11. Jeff Mundell (11) 12. Steve Haefke (41) 13. Casey Harmon (09JR) 14. Kenny Meadows (Christopher 2JR)-DNS.
The 2017 weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” program will debut next at Sharon on Saturday, April 29 featuring the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, Mini Stocks plus the 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock make-up feature. Pits open at 4 p.m., grandstands at 5 with racing at 7.
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.