Adam Kekich’s 1st career Sharon win Saturday night makes him the 8th different “410” Sprint winner in 8 races this year; Chris McGuire breaks into victory lane in Stocks; Garrett Krummert repeats in RUSH Mods; Will Thomas now 3-for-4 in Econo Mods
By Mike Leone
July 24, 2021
(Hartford, OH)…After two straight rain outs at Sharon Speedway, Mother Nature tried to make it three-in-a-row with nearly an hour of rain early Saturday afternoon, but track management persevered and completed the show before rain arrived again later at night. A lightning fast red clay surface provided intense action and some record breaking speeds. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Adam Kekich-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars, Chris McGuire-Gibson Insurance Agency Pro Stocks, Garrett Krummert-HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and Will Thomas III-Whelen Econo Mods. Ninety-one cars were in the pit area for the four-division program on Hovis Auto & Truck Supply and C&R Tire Night.
On a surface suited to his liking, sixth starting Adam Kekich tracked down race long leader Carl Bowser and made the winning pass on lap 26 and pulled away over the final laps of the feature to garner a popular first career Sharon win worth $3,000. Kekich became the eighth different “410” Sprint Car winner in eight races this year and just as impressive the fifth driver to win his first career Sharon race! The caution-free 30-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply feature was timed in a blistering 7:36.748.
“First off I have to thank God- he’s been so good to us,” expressed the 28-year-old Hermitage, Pa. racer. “I have to dedicate this to my wife and her family as her grandmother passed away literally a couple hours ago. We’ve been struggling here on a slick surface; there’s guys that like it, but we don’t. I’ve been trying so hard. Dave Blaney has been helping me so much. It’s actually his setup that’s in this. If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t be this good. He’s so smart, and so good helping me through this. We talk two to three times per week. This one is so super special. I grew up here and started racing Sprint Cars here. I think we led five features and had motor issues every single time. The monkey is off my back. We were so fast. When I passed (Brandon) Matus I didn’t realize Bowser and (A.J.) Flick were right there then realized we might have something for them. I smacked the wall and thought it was over, but said screw it we’re going to keep on running.”
Bowser used the outside to jump into the lead past Brandon Matus with A.J. Flick passing George Hobaugh for fourth as Kekich moved into the top five on the opening lap. Flick drove by Matus for second on lap two and then a great race developed for third with Matus trying to fend off George Hobaugh and Kekich. Bowser quickly caught lapped traffic on lap five and was able to maintain his lead. Kekich moved into fourth on lap 11 past Hobaugh as the duo tried to work past the lapped car of George Englert.
Back up front, fourth starting Flick began to chew into Bowser’s lead on lap 12 and by lap 16 was on the leader’s tail tank. Flick pulled alongside Bowser on lap 17 and 18 and their battle allowed Matus and Kekich to close in making it a four-car race for the lead. Kekich was able to work past Matus on lap 19 as the laps continued to tick off caution-free.
Bowser, Flick, and Kekich pulled away and really went at it now keeping the fans on the edge of their seats. Kekich powered around Flick off turn four to take second on lap 24 and then went after Bowser. Like Kekich, Bowser was also looking for his first career Sharon win. Kekich made his winning move on lap 26 with a slider in turn two. Once in front, Kekich pulled away to take the checkered flag first by 2.241 seconds in the Mike Kekich-owned, McCandless Ford/Sunburst Environmental/Jones Performance/Hermitage Agway/Snizek Cabinets/Tim’s Detailing/Homer Sanitary/Sheep Dog Project-sponsored #5K.
Flick, who won $2,500 last Sunday night at Tri-City Raceway Park and $3,000 on Friday night at Thunder Mountain Speedway, was able to get by Bowser on lap 27 to secure the runner-up spot. Bowser dropped to a disappointing third after leading the first 25 laps. Matus was fourth over Hobaugh. Fifteen-year-old Leyton Wagner went ninth to sixth over Bob Felmlee, Michael Bauer, “410” rookie David Kalb, Jr., and Darren Pifer. Bauer set fast time overall in qualifying with a lap of 13.309. Bowser and Pifer won the heat races.
2018 Pro Stock Champion, Chris McGuire, returned to prominence on Saturday night capturing his first win at the track in more than two years. Like Kekich, McGuire’s run to the front started from sixth as he was able to take the lead on lap six and survived three restarts fending off the challenges of 2019 champion Curt J. Bish to capture the 20-lap Gibson Insurance Agency feature worth $700.
“Sharon provides a phenomenal surface every time we come here,” stated the 30-year-old Erie, Pa. racer. “It’s hands down the best track in the tri-state area. The car was alright, but it was a little soft on the right front tire. I was glad the outside came in. I had a wicked push in (turn) three so I really had to ease it in, but (turns) one and two I could really make good time.”
While in the end it was 2018 and 2019 champions McGuire and Bish battling for the win, at the start it was 2016 and 2017 champion Paul Davis taking the early lead from pole-sitter Matt Bernard with McGuire already halfway to the front after the opening lap. Following a stoppage for a hard hit by Tyler Kubic, McGuire passed Bernard for second on lap three with Jason Jones following in third. Jones’ strong run ended when he went up in smoke with five laps scored.
When green replaced yellow on lap six, McGuire made the winning pass putting a slider on the 61-year-old Davis in turn four. McGuire raced out to a huge advantage by the halfway point, while 12th starting Bish made his way to second on lap 11 past Davis. Three cautions between laps 12-14 gave Bish a shot alongside McGuire for the double file restarts, but McGuire wasn’t to be denied. The final six laps went green-to-checkered and McGuire’s fourth career Sharon win, but first since June 18, 2019 came by a comfortable 4.136 seconds in his Welders Supply/Tobber Racing/Ed’s Drywall-sponsored #63.
Davis was third as ninth starting Jason Johns worked his way to fourth at the finish. Tenth starting Larry Kugel nosed out 14th starting Brian Carothers for fifth. Completing the top 10 were Josh Seippel, Jamie Duncan, Jamie Scharba, and Bernard. Heat winners over the 24-car field were Jordan Perkins, Jones, and Chris Schneider, who all three suffered mechanical failures in the feature.
Garrett Krummert emerged victorious over Justin Shea and Chas Wolbert in a wild 20-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modified feature. Krummert passed Shea on lap 16 and held him and Wolbert off for his second win of the year worth $500, which came over a season high 27-car field.
“That was a good race,” stated the 33-year-old West Middlesex, Pa. resident. “I think Justin and Chas were a lot better than me, but they were too worried about blocking each other. They had to slow down so it kind of left the top open for me to get by. The race track was awesome; I wish they would do it like this every week.”
An invert 0 put Jacob Jordan and Wolbert on the front row with Shea and Wolbert lined up in row two. A wild opening lap saw Shea, Jordan, and Wolbert go three-wide in turns one and two; Jordan got into Wolbert as Wolbert fell out of the top five as fifth starting Jordan Ehrenberg was the benefactor moving into second. Krummert took third from Jordan on lap three with Wolbert following in fourth one lap later.
After a caution for Jordan with four laps scored, Krummert and Wolbert passed Ehrenberg for second and third. Wolbert and Krummert then went at it for second battling side-by-side with Wolbert making the pass for runner-up on lap 12 before a trio of cautions slowed action between laps 12-13. When racing resumed on lap 14, Krummert retook second before a spin by rookie Cameron McFadden with 14 laps scored.
That would be the final stoppage, which set the stage for a wild final six laps between Shea, Krummert, and Wolbert. Krummert and Shea battled side-by-side on lap 16 with Krummert making the winning pass. Krummert was able to fend Shea and Wolbert off to take the checkered flag first by 0.512 seconds in the MD Landscaping/Jerry Schaffer Racing/Turn 4 Toilets-sponsored #10s. For Krummert, it was his eighth career RUSH Sportsman Modified win at Sharon to go along with one Big-Block Modified victory.
Shea crossed the finish line in second, but was disqualified for a technical infraction. Wolbert was then credited with second. Tony Tatgenhorst charged from 14th to third. Brandon Ritchey went 10th to fourth. Rob Kristyak was fifth after starting 18th. Kyle Martell went 19th to sixth. Jacob Wolfe, Ehrenberg, Ayden Cipriano, and Kole Holden completed the top 10. Heat winners were Jordan, Wolbert, and Shea, while Martell captured the last chance B main.
After an early battle between brothers Jeremy and Josh Double, Will Thomas III inherited the lead on lap 13 after terminal issues for Jeremy Double and went on for the 20-lap Whelen Econo Mod victory. Thomas became the third winner of the night to start from the sixth spot, and became the track’s leading feature winner of 2021 despite running just four races.
“I live 10 minutes from here and we got a lot of rain,” explained the 45-year-old Sharpsville, Pa. driver. “I give the staff a lot of credit for getting the show in. This isn’t a typical Sharon Speedway, and I like the typical Sharon Speedway. There was a lot of traction and a lot of bite. We weren’t as good as what we needed to be tonight. I feel really, really bad for Jeremy Double; he works really hard on that car. He was good. I don’t know if we would have gotten him or not. He got a good restart and was running the top really well, but I was too tight to do that. I’m just fortunate to be here, but now we’ll have to start 12th.”
In his first race in four years, Josh Double took off in the early lead, while Jeremy Double went fourth to second on the opening lap. Following a caution for an eight-car pileup in turn two, Jeremy drove around Josh to lead lap two. Thomas was halfway to front on lap five when he passed Mitchell Wright for third. Jeremy pulled away from Josh on lap seven, but a caution for Rick Wilson, Jr. bunched up the field with nine laps scored.
When racing resumed, Thomas passed Josh Double for second and went after brother Jeremy. The two raced side-by-side for the lead on laps 11 and 12; however, Jeremy went up in smoke to bring out the caution with 12 laps scored and handed the lead to Thomas with Josh Double back to second.
After six cautions in the first 12 laps, the final eight circuits went green-to-checkered with Thomas taking the victory in his Hallman Originals/Colonial Metal Products/Colonial Slitting Industries/Motorstate Distributing/955 Automotive-sponsored #9 by 1.443 seconds over Jeremy Double. The victory was Thomas’ 22nd overall in his career at Sharon. Mitchell Wright spun in turn four on the final lap running third, which moved Scott Burk to a career best third. Rookie Jordan Simmons was fourth ahead of Gary Olson. Burk, Jeremy Double, and Wright won the heat races. Jeremy Double broke the track record three time in his heat race setting a new standard with a 17.705.
Coming up on next Saturday (July 31) will be a “Steel Valley Thunder” program featuring the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply UMP Modifieds in a $1,000 to-win event plus the RUSH Sportsman Modified Touring Series for their “Manufacturers Night”, Terry Bowser Excavating RUSH Sprint Cars, and the Gibson Insurance Agency Pro Stocks. Racing begins at 7 p.m. Kids bike races will be held at intermission.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars (30 laps, $3,000 to-win): 1. ADAM KEKICH (5K) 2. A.J. Flick (2) 3. Carl Bowser (11) 4. Brandon Matus (13) 5. George Hobaugh (11) 6. Leyton Wagner (38) 7. Bob Felmlee (6) 8. Michael Bauer (Pryde 29) 9. David Kalb, Jr. (11J) 10. Darren Pifer (23) 11. Brent Matus (33) 12. George Englert (11x) 13. Eric L. Williams (4w) 14. Steve Bright (13B) 15. Cameron Nastasi (99) 16. Mike Lutz (86) 17. Bob Lime (901).
Gibson Insurance Agency Pro Stocks (20 laps, $700 to-win): 1. CHRIS MCGUIRE (53) 2. Curt J. Bish (29) 3. Paul Davis (3) 4. Jason Johns (31) 5. Larry Kugel (Petsko 00) 6. Brian Carothers (02c) 7. Josh Seippel (84s) 8. Jamie Duncan (67J) 9. Jamie Scharba (11s) 10. Matt Bernard (7) 11. Tony Spaghetti (97) 12. Ray Gregory (82R) 13. Blake Scharba (12B) 14. Jamie Maxwell (6) 15. Mike Kerr (25K) 16. Coleton Longwell (7) 17. Jordan Perkins (13K) 18. Chris Schneider (55) 19. Troy DeZarn (Nichols 21) 20. Jason Jones (81) 21. Scott Stiffler (14) 22. Joe Johnson (12J) 23. Tyler Kubic (222). DNS: Scott Malone (12M).
HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (20 laps, $500 to-win): 1. GARRETT KRUMMERT (10s) 2. Chas Wolbert (c3) 3. Tony Tatgenhorst (63T) 4. Brandon Ritchey (1R) 5. Rob Kristyak (00) 6. Kyle Martell (8) 7. Jacob Wolfe (7) 8. Jordan Ehrenberg (JD57) 9. Ayden Cipriano (5c) 10. Kole Holden (2) 11. J.C. Boyer (12) 12. Greg Porter (25) 13. Amelia Clay (16c) 14. Dalton Gabriel (333G) 15. Chelsie Kriegisch (10) 16. Brandon Albert (30) 17. Gary Haupt (16) 18. Brandon Tercho (3x) 19. Ben Easler (02) 20. Cameron McFadden (Pinckney 83) 21. Dave Price (111) 22. Jacob Rutana (11J) 23. Jacob Jordan (28J) 24. Justin Shea (14s)-DSQ. DNQ: Mike Smith (0), Lucas Cannon (2LC), Steve Burns, Jr. (70B).
Whelen Econo Mods (20 laps): 1. WILL THOMAS III (9) 2. Josh Double (Sok 28) 3. Scott Burk, Jr. (2) 4. Jordan Simmons (Smith 13) 5. Gary Olsen (23) 6. Buzz Seitz (Creech 75) 7. Vinnie DePizzo (1) 8. Seth Brenot (Leamer 965) 9. Dale Reiser (262) 10. Mitchell Wright (M1) 11. Troy Pinch (12P) 12. Junior Mechling (89) 13. Jeremy Double (83) 14. Gary Sullivan (47s) 15. Rick Wilson, Jr. (35) 16. Keith Felicetty (98) 17. Michael Hudzik (31H) 18. Gary Robinson (44R) 19. George Vestal IV (4). DNS: Kyle Layton (99L), Drew Barnes (528), Jacob Eucker (64), Stone Lapcevich (22).
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.