Larson continues winning streak on Tuesday at Sharon by taking All Star Sprints for 2nd straight night during Ohio Speedweek; Walker wins Mini Stock thriller
By Mike Leone
June 20, 2017
(Hartford, OH)… Sharon Speedway hosted round four of the 35th annual Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Cometic Gasket for Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions along with the Mini Stocks on a beautiful Tuesday evening. A big crowd watched Kyle Larson capture the Sprint Car victory, while Steve Walker II brought down the curtain on the event winning the Mini Stock special. It was the first Sprint Car race on the new red clay surface.
It’s been quite the week for Kyle Larson. Last Wednesday at Eagle, Nebraska, Larson won his first World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car feature since 2013. On Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, Larson captured his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season. Twenty-four hours later, Larson was standing in victory lane at Wayne County Speedway to kickoff his Ohio Speedweek with the All Star Sprints. On Tuesday night, Larson raced from the sixth starting spot to pass good friend Rico Abreu on lap four and drove off to the convincing 30-lap victory. Larson earned $5,000 for his fourth win in his last four races plus a $500 bonus for winning two Ohio Speedweek features.
“It’s really cool to win the year after Bryan (Clauson) won this race,” explained the 24-year-old Elk Grove, California winner. The Clauson Family means a lot to me, and especially Bryan. Paul Silva definitely made some big improvements for the feature. He tried some things in the dash and we were way slow. Hats off to Paul, he’s the smartest guy in the pit area. It doesn’t matter if it’s a World of Outlaws or All Star race, there’s no one better than Paul Silva. This clay is great. I never get to race on anything this slick. You could run from the infield tires all the way to the outside wall. It was a lot of fun. The water they put down on the top really helped me get to the lead before Rico found it. It’s cool to have a California podium here.”
Abreu raced to the early lead over Saturday’s Ohio Speedweek Eldora Speedway winner, Tim Shaffer. Danny Smith moved by Max Stambaugh on the opening lap for third as Larson and eighth starting Danny Dietrich followed in fourth and fifth. Larson went to the top and drove around Smith for third on lap two and one lap later powered by Shaffer for second racing off turn four.
Larson quickly ran down Abreu and made the winning pass on the topside of turn four on lap four. Larson caught lapped traffic on lap seven and had a half-straightaway lead; meanwhile, 10th starting Carson Macedo was on the move. Macedo made a great move on lap eight to pass both Smith and Dietrich for fourth. Abreu closed back in on Larson on lap 11, and one lap later Shaffer joined the battle for the lead. Macedo continued to move forward getting by Shaffer for third on lap 14 as it was now a four-car race for the lead!
On lap 15, Macedo put a slider in turn two on Abreu to take the second spot. Larson had a straightaway lead built up by the time Macedo made his way to second. Abreu didn’t go away returning the favor in turn two to take back second on lap 21 before the event’s first and only caution occurred when Trevor Baker got into the fence in turn one.
When green replaced yellow, Larson took off, while Macedo and Abreu resumed their battle for second. Macedo got by for good on lap 23. Macedo would close in slightly in the final laps, but Larson’s Finley Farms-sponsored, Paul Silva-owned #57 was simply too strong and made the right moves in lapped traffic to win by 1.251 seconds over Macedo. The victory was Larson’s first ever at Sharon and sixth of his career with the All Stars.
“I had a lot of fun,” stated Macedo, the Lemoore, California runner-up finisher. “It turned out to be such an awesome race track. I’d have never believed at the beginning of the night we’d be up their pounding the fence like that, but wow what an awesome race track. These guys gave me an awesome car; Tim, Cindy, and obviously Joe Gaerte. Man, right now Kyle (Larson) is the best obviously. To run second to him…we’ll take it. It builds momentum and confidence for this team. I’m happy how it went. Kyle and Rico are great drivers.”
Abreu was third to give California racers a sweep of the podium! Pennsylvania drivers Shaffer, Dietrich, and Ryan Smith were fourth, fifth, and sixth respectively. Completing the top 10 were Ohio drivers Cole Duncan, Lee Jacobs, Danny Smith, and Chad Kemenah. After going 9th to 1st to win the B main, Dave Blaney was the hard charger in the feature racing from the 21st starting spot to 11th. Cole Duncan set fast time in qualifying over the 48-car field with a lap of 15.376. Abreu, Larson, Ryan Smith, and Macedo copped the heat races. The C main was won by Roger Campbell, Jr. The twin dashes went to Abreu and Shaffer to earn front row starting spots.
Defending track champion, Steve Walker II, came out on top of a wild late race, three-car battle for the lead to win the 12-lap non-stop Mini Stock feature. It was Walker’s second win of the season in three starts, and was worth $300. “The track was fast, but it was smooth and slick,” explained the 37-year-old Greenville, Pa. winner. “He tried to do the ‘Kyle Busch block’ I did to him in the heat race and it didn’t work out. This is outstanding. It’ll allow me to get a new pair of shoes (tires).”
Terry Feely took off in the lead, while Walker passed Rick Feely for second on the opening lap. After dropping out of his heat race with a flat tire, Isaac Paden was relegated to the 13th starting spot, but was already up to third on lap six when he passed Will Aley. Up front, Walker began to erase Feely’s huge lead and caught the leader on lap nine. The two raced side-by-side for the lead on lap 10 with Walker nosing ahead to lead the 10th circuit. Feely returned the favor to lead lap 11, but Walker would put a winning slide job on Feely in turn three on the final lap then withstood Feely and Paden’s late charge in the drag race to the checkered flag. Walker’s seventh career win came in his Hittle Auto Supply-sponsored #4m. Joe Campbell and Bill Fuchs completed the top five. Heat winners were Terry and Rick Feely.
All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars (30 laps, $5,000 to-win): 1. KYLE LARSON (Silva 57) 2. Carson Macedo (Gaerte/Norman 3G) 3. Rico Abreu (24) 4. Tim Shaffer (Demyan/Rudzik 49) 5. Danny Dietrich Buch (13) 6. Ryan Smith (Leidig 59) 7. Cole Duncan (22) 8. Lee Jacobs (Lewis 81) 9. Danny Smith (4) 10. Chad Kemenah (Hunter 10H) 11. Dave Blaney (Motter 71M) 12. Max Stambaugh (Marshall 33M) 13. T.J. Michael (8M) 14. Caleb Helms (17) 15. Andrew Palker (57x) 16. Stuart Brubaker (35) 17. D.J. Foos (Kiser 23) 18. Cale Conley (Jessup 7K) 19. Caleb Armstrong (7c) 20. Roger Campbell, Jr. (9) 21. Jimmy Morris (4N) 22. Brent Matus (33) 23. Trevor Baker (45) 24. John Garvin, Jr. (51) 25. Travis Philo (5T) 26. Ryan Linder (9).
DNQ for the feature: Darren Pifer (23), Danny Holtgraver (D4), Jordan Ryan (McClure 9), Jacob Wilson (07), Dean Jacobs (Chappel 8), Dan Kuriger (08), Carl Bowser (Chiapelli 98), Parker Price-Miller (2), Brandon Spithaler (22), Brandon Matus (13), Adam Kekich (5K), Danny Mumaw (16), Mitch Wormall (97), Daniel Harding (12), Michael Bauer (46), Tyler Esh (35), Sam Walsh (92A), Jordan Mackison (1080), Steve Butler (4), Eric L. Williams (4W), Hunter Mackison (95), Sean Zemunik (27z).
Mini Stocks (12 laps, $300 to-win): 1. STEVE WALKER (4M) 2. Terry Feely (971) 3. Isaac Paden (24) 4. Joe Campbell (40C) 5. Bill Fuchs (10) 6. Logan Keney (21) 7. Jim Jones (16) 8. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 9. Rick Feely (28) 10. John McCracken, Jr. (64) 11. Will Aley (17J) 12. Pat Hanlon II (26K) 13. Michael Porterfield (23MP) 14. Darrell Lawson, Jr. (610)-DNS.
Sharon Speedway will be right back in action this Saturday night (June 20) for “Steel Valley Thunder” featuring the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, and the Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods. It will be “Manufacturers Night” for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds in a $600 to-win Touring Series event plus their $800 to-win 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up feature. Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5 and 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.