“Apple Festival Nationals” this Friday & Saturday; Most of the region’s divisions in action; Big-Block Mods highlight Friday; “410” Sprints on Saturday for $3000
By Mike Leone
September 18, 2019
(Hartford, OH)… Sharon Speedway will conclude the 90th anniversary season this weekend with the running of the annual “Apple Festival Nationals” on Friday and Saturday night (September 20-21). Nine different divisions will compete. The Big-Block Modifieds, RUSH Sprint Cars, Sportsman Dwarf Cars, and Junior Sprints will run a complete show on Friday night, while the “410” Sprint Cars and Mod Lites will run their complete shows on Saturday night. The Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series, RUSH Sportsman Modified Touring Series, and Elite Econo Mod Series will have their shows split over the two nights with their features on Saturday night. Race time is 6 p.m. both nights.
For the third straight year, the “410” Sprint Cars will be part of the “Apple Festival Nationals” racing for $3,000 to-win, $250 to-start. It’s been a competitive year for the Sprints with six different winners in eight races following the 2018 season that saw eight different winners in eight races! This year, Cole Duncan and Dave Blaney have been the only repeat winners, while A.J. Flick, Dale Blaney (All Stars), Chad Kemenah and Sye Lynch (FAST) have also picked up wins. Dave Blaney has already indicated he will be in competition on Saturday night. The hot lap/group qualifying format will be utilized that has been used on all of the Menards “Super Series” Sprint Car events. Mufflers are not required and there’s no registration or entry fees.
The Big-Block Modifieds will again return to headline Friday’s event running a complete show for $1,500 to-win, $150 to-start. Due to rain and a more limited schedule in 2019, the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Modifieds have only completed one show to date. That was back on July 6 for the “Lou Blaney Memorial” when Rex King, Jr. won his 26th career Sharon feature, worth $2,000. His father Rex, Sr. leads the all-time win list with 54 victories.
Mother Nature hasn’t been kind to the RUSH Sprint Cars at Sharon. At last year’s event, their feature was on the track when it rained out with the purse monies being split and that led into 2019 where the second year division has only been able to complete four of the 10 scheduled events. There have been three different winners in those four races; only defending Series Champion, Chad Ruhlman, has been able to repeat. Brian Woodhall and Andy Feil have earned their first career RUSH Series wins at Sharon this year. Feil’s came in the last race on August 24 winning a side-by-side thriller over Brian Ruhlman. Zach Morrow, who leads the $5,000 to-win points, has yet to win at Sharon in his career.
The Mod Lites and Sportsman Dwarf Cars will return once again for their season’s only appearance as part of the “Apple Festival Nationals”. The Dwarfs complete program will again take place on Friday night for $500 to-win. The Dwarfs have competed 20 times over the years at Sharon with 10 different winners as Josh Walker is the all-time winner with seven. The Mod Lites move over to the Saturday night program this year in the second annual “Mark Marcucci Memorial” paying $1,000 to-win for the former standout racer that lost his in an automobile accident in April 2018. Marcucci won the 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” and is still the division’s all-time winner at Mercer Raceway Park.
The Homak Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series leads the way of the three divisions seeing their programs split over the two nights with heats on Friday night and the balance of their show on Saturday night. Saturday’s Stock main will pay $2,000 to-win. Hunter Exley leads the Series points by eight over Jason Fosnaught with Chris McGuire, Jackson Humanic, and Shaun Hooks completing the top five.
Thus far this season in Gibson Insurance Agency action, Chris Schneider leads the way with three victories including the $2,000 to-win 2018 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up feature run on May 11. It’s been a career best season for Curt J. Bish. Bish ended a four-year winless drought at the track with his June 29 victory, added another win on August 3 that propelled him to his first track championship, then won the $10,000 “Steel Valley Nationals” on September 7. On May 18, Bobby Whitling won for the first time at Sharon since 2012. June 8 saw 2018 champ, Chris McGuire, end nearly a two-year winless streak. And most recently, Paul Davis captured his first win in over two years on August 10.
The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply RUSH Sportsman Modified Tour has produced strong counts this year at Sharon including 36 for the 2018 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up on May 11 followed by 28 on August 3 then 33 for RUSH’s annual “Manufacturers Night”. Defending Tour Champion, Garrett Krummert, has won both Tour point races at Sharon this year and has a 14-point lead on Jim Rasey. Chas Wolbert, Kole Holden, and Rob Kristyak are third through fifth in points. Saturday’s feature will pay $800 to-win. Overall this year at Sharon, Wolbert leads the way with four wins to Krummert’s three, and Kristyak’s two. Holden, the 2019 track champion, and Josh Deems have also been victorious. Kristyak and Wolbert meanwhile remain tied for RUSH’s $3,000 to-win Weekly Series Championship.
At the end of Saturday night’s program, the “Wheelman” Non-Winners race presented by Ohio Intra Express and C&R Tire will take place. There have been seven different winners in 10 races with Tony Tatgenhorst (three) and David Kalb, Jr. (two) being the only repeat winners. This will be the championship event. Tatgenhorst leads the points by six; however, will be ineligible to compete now due to him winning his first career feature at Pittsburgh on September 7. That means most likely the championship will come down between one-time winners Cameron Nastasi and Amelia Clay as just six points separate the two. Clayton Deems and Greg Porter complete the top five points-paying positions.
The Elite Series for the Econo Mods round out the program competing for $750 to-win. The Summit Racing Equipment-sponsored division produced six different winners in eight events this season at Sharon. The only repeat winners were new champion, Dustin DeMattia, and Ty Rhoades, who most recently captured the biggest race in his career two weeks ago earning $2,000 in the Elite event over a record field of 37 cars. Other winners include Kyle Miller, Eric Wilson, Jacob Eucker, and Andy Buckley.
One-way driver radios are mandatory for all divisions with the channel 454.000. AMB/MyLaps transponders are required for all divisions except the Dwarf Cars. Rentals are available for $25 for the weekend. If you’ve yet to compete at Sharon this year, please try and complete the registration form ahead of time and bring it with you completed; there’s no fee for the Sharon registration. http://www.sharonspeedway.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/RegistrationFormSharon2019B.pdf
Race teams will be directed where to park when they arrive. All Dwarf Cars, Mod Lites, and Jr. Sprints will park in the turns three and four overflow parking. Pit pass sales will begin at 3 p.m. with grandstands at 4 both days. A drivers meeting will be held before cars hit the speedway.
Grandstand admission for those 14 and over is $15 each day. The backstretch grandstands will only be open for those with pit passes. Patio seating upgrades are just $5 and fan suite seating upgrades are just $20 over the cost of general admission. These can be reserved on race night in the track office. As always, children under 14 and parking are always FREE! Pit passes are $35 each day. Camping is free of charge and opens Wednesday at 5 p.m. As a reminder, coolers nor outside food or beverages are not permitted.
Breakfast will be served in the main concession on Saturday morning from 8:30-11 a.m. and lunch from 12-2 p.m. in the pit concession. The band Fastrack will be playing after the races on Friday night and there will be a bonfire.
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. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sharonspeedway and follow us on Twitter @sharonspdwy.