Sharon hoping to resume “Steel Valley Thunder” Saturday night after a long hiatus for “Bill Kirila Memorial”

Sharon hoping to resume “Steel Valley Thunder” Saturday night after a long hiatus for “Bill Kirila Memorial”

By Mike Leone


(Hartford, OH)…After a successful sixth annual “Lou Blaney Memorial” on Wednesday night where Sharon Speedway was able to beat Mother Nature, track officials are hoping the same holds true for Saturday night’s “Steel Valley Thunder” program. A Saturday night event hasn’t been completed since July 5’s special event due to a weekend off for the Trumbull County Fair and two straight rain outs.

Saturday’s “Steel Valley Thunder” program is the “Bill Kirila Memorial” and will feature the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Barris Supply RUSH Late Models, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks along with the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. Race time is 7 p.m.

The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will be making their fourth appearance of the season on Saturday night. Jordan Eck won the Series’ inaugural event in April. New York’s Greg Martin won his first ever RUSH even in May. Rocky Kugel became the third different winner in June with his first career win in a Northeast-style Modified and first ever at Sharon. At the last event, a record 11 cars were in competition. Buffalo, New York’s Adam Hilton is the Series’ point leader with four victories; however, has been yet to win at Sharon to date.

Rex King, Jr. has been having a career year with a division-high five victories following Wednesday’s win in the $2,000 “Lou Blaney Memorial” as he leads the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modified points in search of his first championship. He currently leads his father Rex, Sr. by just six points. The elder King was victorious at the Trumbull County Fair on July 10. At Sharon this year he has two victories and is chasing after his fifth title. Jim Weller, Jr., Jim Rasey, and Ricky Richner complete the top five. So far this year, Brian Swartzlander is the only driver not named King or Weller to win a big-block feature.

The last time the RUSH Late Models competed at Sharon it was Rick Singleton winning his first ever at the speedway in the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Touring Series event joining Alan Dellinger as the only drivers to beat the last two champions in Dennis Lunger, Jr. and Will Thomas III. Thomas has a comfortable 42-point lead on Lunger in search of his second title. The ever-improving Russ Byler is third in the Barris Supply points over sophomore Late Model racer Jamie Wrightsman and “Futures Cup” contender Clay Ruffo.

It’s been five weeks since the Modifieds have hit the track at Sharon as they weren’t on the July 5 schedule , no racing took place on July 12, and the races were rained out the last two Saturdays. The drivers in the Summit Racing Equipment-sponsored division will be geared up to get back on the 3/8-mile track. The championship chase is tight as Joel Watson leads his good friend and defending champion Mike Kinney by just seven points. Steve Dixon is a Sharon regular for the first time in his career and the two-time winner is only 15 points out of the top spot. Carl McKinney and Russ Dunn complete the top five.

Like the Modifieds, the Stock Cars haven’t hit the Sharon dirt in five weeks either. Mike Clark is looking to repeat his Gibson Insurance Agency title as he leads the way with three wins and has the point lead, but two-time winner Paul Davis is only five points back in second. Bryan Wagner has had a good season with a pair of victories and is still in the title hunt in third, 25 points back. Fourth and fifth place point men Brian Carothers and Brent Coleman have been close to victory this season.

Jeremy Double reclaimed his point lead in the Econo Mods at the last event. The defending HTMA/Precise Racing Products titlist enters Saturday night with a 23-point lead over the division’s all-time winner, Brandon Blackshear. Ty Rhoades is third still looking for that elusive first career win. Jason Longwell, who won the last time the Econo Mods competed on July 5, is fourth in points. Two-time winner Steve Burns, Jr., who also won the event at the Trumbull County Fair, is fifth in points.

A lot has changed in the Mini Stocks in the last two events. Point leader and dominator Travis Creech missed the June 28 event and in the meantime rookies Adam Little and Joe Campbell captured their first career wins. The division’s all-time winner, Bill Fuchs, has taken over the point lead by 35 over Creech. Fuchs’ last championship came in 2011. Third through fifth in the Deforest Used Parts points are Jamie Maxwell, Jim Haefke, Jr., and Tim McAninch as all three racers look to break into victory lane for the first time.

Hovis Auto & Truck Supply will again award six complimentary pit passes for the following week; a pair going to the hard luck driver in DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, a pair to a lucky driver in the division that competes first, and a pair to a lucky fan. Summit Racing Equipment will award $25 gift cards to the hard charger in the Modified, Stock Car, and Econo Mod divisions. Sweeney Chevrolet/Pace Performance will award $50, $25, and $25 certificates to the top three GM 602 crates in the Econo Mods that have been purchased through them or have secondary seals. HTMA/Precise Racing Products will award a free tire to the driver chosen that suffered that hardest luck.

Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5, drivers meeting at 6:30 and heat races slated for 7. Admission for those 14 and over is $13. Pit passes are $30. As always, children under 13, parking, and camping is always FREE!

Added on August 16 is “Fan Appreciation Night II”. Grandstand admission for those 14 and over will be just $5 to see a full “Steel Valley Thunder” program.

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 or call 330-772-5481. Become a fan of Sharon Speedway on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at @SharonSpdwy.



Congrats to 7/24 winners Adam Kekich-410 Sprints, Chris McGuire-Stocks, Garrett Krummert-RUSH Mods & Will Thomas-Econo Mods