Sharon Speedway

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DAVID GRAVEL (WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINTS) & CHRISTIAN SCHNEIDER (STOCKS) OPEN 95TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON WITH THEIR 1ST CAREER SHARON VICTORIES
377
5/19/2024

5/19/2024

Sharon Speedway


DAVID GRAVEL (WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINTS) & CHRISTIAN SCHNEIDER (STOCKS) OPEN 95TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON WITH THEIR 1ST CAREER SHARON VICTORIES

By Mike Leone

May 18, 2024

(Hartford, OH)…Despite saturated grounds from several rounds of heavy rain throughout the week, skies cleared on Saturday allowing the 95th anniversary of auto racing at Sharon Speedway to get underway. A standing-room-only crowd watched David Gravel (World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars) and Christian Schneider (Gibson Insurance Agency Pro Stocks) capture their first career Sharon Speedway victories on a lightning fast track, and the duo celebrated in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane.

After struggling on Friday night at Attica Raceway Park failing to crack the top 10, David Gravel had a bounce back performance on Saturday night leading all 30 laps by mastering a fast and challenging surface to garner his Series leading seventh victory of 2024. Gravel earned $12,000 for his first career Sharon Speedway win as he became the 175th different driver to win in the "410" Sprint Car division at the track.

“Man, what character the track had,” said the 31-year-old Watertown, CT standout. “It just kept getting rougher and rougher. I didn’t know where to run. Cody (Jacobs) told me to run the middle, so I started running the middle. And then he told me elbows up and run the top, and it was just hard to run the top consistently. It was just a very technical track.”

Gravel took off in the lead over Gio Scelzi, Carson Macedo, sixth starting Sheldon Haudenschild, and Donny Schatz. Macedo, who started fourth, slipped under Scelzi for second on lap two. Gravel caught lapped traffic for the first time on lap six. Schatz was on the move from his fifth starting spot as he raced under Scelzi for third on lap 10, but a caution for a slowing Lee Jacobs brought action to a halt with 12 laps completed.

Back under green, Scelzi was able to rip around Schatz to regain the third spot, but two laps later the 10-time Series Champion regained the position racing down the backstretch. Gravel had stretched out his lead to a straightaway when he caught lapped traffic once again on lap 19. Macedo cut the margin in half on lap 21 as Gravel was pinned in by cars racing for position ahead of him. Gravel though caught a break when Nate Dussel slowed to bring out the second and final caution of the event- this time with 22 laps scored.

Back under green for the final eight laps, Schatz snuck under and past Macedo for second. In clean air, Macedo pulled away as Schatz was unable to get close enough to mount a challenge. Gravel crossed the finish line first by 1.120 seconds in the Big Game Motorsports-owned, Huset's Speedway/Jackson Motorplex/Billion Auto/Mainstream Capital-sponsored #2. The victory was Gravel's 95th of his career with the World of Outlaws; ironically matching Dave Blaney's total for eighth on the Series' all-time win list. Blaney last won with the World of Outlaws when they returned to Sharon after a 14-year absence in 2021.

Schatz, who won his first career Sharon "410" Sprint Car victory one year ago, was second to remain second in Series points. “We were good at the end,” Schatz said. “The guys are doing a great job. Everybody at Ford is working their tails off. I’ve got some control, and that’s what we’ve been looking for. The performance shows. I don’t know that we were going to be able to get there on open racetrack, but that’s the way racing is anymore. We needed traffic, and we didn’t really have it there at the end. I feel like we were decent, and we’ll just keep building on it.”

Macedo was third holding off a late charge by 10th starting Logan Schuchart, who passed Scelzi for fourth on lap 25. Scelzi dropped to fifth after challenging Gravel for the lead on the opening lap. After getting as high as fourth, Haudenschild dropped to sixth at the finish. Rookie-of-the-Year points leader, Buddy Kofoid, who won his first Series race of 2024 the night prior at Attica, raced from 12th to 7th. Bill Balog, Brock Zearfoss, and Rico Abreu rounded out the top 10. Third generation Sharon Speedway racer Sye Lynch of Apollo, Pa. was the top local finisher in 12th after starting on the front row.

Haudenschild went out 33rd and set fast time overall against the 45-car field in qualifying with a lap of 14.113. Zearfoss, Balog, Haudenschild, and Gravel won the heat races. Adam Kekich of nearby Hermitage, Pa. won the C main, while Dussel copped the B main. Gravel was victorious in the dash to earn the feature pole.

Christian Schneider led all 20 laps of the Gibson Insurance Agency Pro Stock season opening feature to garner his career first win of the track. Schneider earned $1,000 as became the 219th different driver to win in the division over the history of the facility.

"It's great to finally get one here," acknowledged the 27-year-old Lower Burrell, Pa. racer. "I was close a few years ago when I was leading and a car spun out and so did I and had to go to the back. That was an unfortunate event, but I'm glad to be standing here tonight. This track definitely, definitely had character in it. You had to finesse that corner down there and you could stay wide in open in (turns) three and four, but one and two were tricky for sure. I think starting spots tonight made a big difference so I'm glad I started on the pin."

Schneider took off in the lead over Brett McDonald. Brandon Connor started fourth and passed Tim Bish on the opening lap for third then slipped under McDonald for second in turn four on lap four. Schneider stretched out his lead to 1.440 seconds by the time Connor worked his way to second. Four-time Lernerville Speedway track champion, Tyler Dietz, started in fifth and made his way to third on lap six by passing McDonald.

Three cautions slowed action between laps 8-11. When racing resumed on lap 12 for the final 9 caution-free laps, Bish and Dietz both were able to get by Connor for second and third. Schneider though was never seriously challenged over the final laps in his Schneider Truck/Valley Electric/Valley Security Systems/Engines by Poljak/Butler Truck Parts/Maniecki's 1st Stop Automotive-sponsored #56.

Bish edged out Dietz for second and captured the $100 Performance Bodies & Parts gift card for the "Nosed Out" contingency. Connor dropped back to fourth at the finish beating out ninth starting Steve D'Apolito. Chris Schneider, Marty Spade, McDonald, Jonathan Davis and Michael Miller were 6th through 10th. Hunter Exley earned the $100 Summit Racing Equipment gift card for being the hard charger by going 19th to 11th. Heat winners over the 35-car field were Connor, Bish, McDonald, and Christian Schneider, while Andrew Hammond and Jamie Duncan copped the twin last chance B mains.

There will be no racing over Memorial Day weekend. The next event will be Saturday, June 1 for Western PA Sprint Speedweek featuring the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply "410" Sprint Cars racing for $4,000 to-win along with the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds and the first ever appearance by the IMCA/Racesaver "305" Sprint Cars. Gates open at 5 p.m. with warmups at 6:30.

World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink "410" Sprint Cars (30 laps, $12,000 to-win): 1. 2-DAVID GRAVEL [1]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz[5]; 3. 41-Carson Macedo[4]; 4. 1S-Logan Schuchart[10]; 5. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[3]; 6. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[6]; 7. 83-Michael Kofoid[12]; 8. 17B-Bill Balog[7]; 9. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[8]; 10. 24-Rico Abreu[11]; 11. 101-Kalib Henry[16]; 12. 42-Sye Lynch[2]; 13. 49X-Tim Shaffer[19]; 14. 70-Kraig Kinser[9]; 15. 32B-Dale Blaney[15]; 16. 33W-Cap Henry[22]; 17. 29-Logan McCandless[18]; 18. 7S-Landon Crawley[24]; 19. 1-Nate Dussel[21]; 20. 81-Lee Jacobs[13]; 21. W20-Greg Wilson[20]; 22. 11-Carl Bowser[23]; 23. 08-Danny Kuriger[17]; 24. 10-Dave Blaney[14].

DNQ for the feature: 9-Trey Jacobs, 15K-Creed Kemenah, 23-Cale Thomas, 2-AJ Flick, 5D-Jacob Dykstra, 46-Michael Bauer, 5K-Adam Kekich, 40-George Hobaugh, 35-Jared Zimbardi, 4*-Tyler Street, 6-Bob Felmlee, 38-Leyton Wagner, 3-John Jerich, 6-Bill Rose, 99-Cameron Nastasi, 22R-Ryan Fredericks, 70-Henry Malcuit, 33-Brent Matus, 13-Brandon Matus, 3J-Jacob Begenwald, 1F-Brandon Fredericks.

Gibson Insurance Agency Pro Stocks (20 laps, $1,000 to-win): 1. 56-CHRISTIAN SCHNEIDER[1]; 2. 11B-Tim Bish[3]; 3. 00-Tyler Dietz[5]; 4. 55C-Brandon Connor[4]; 5. 84-Steve D'Apolito[9]; 6. 55-Chris Schneider[8]; 7. 8-Jonathan Davis[17]; 8. 51-Michael Miller[11]; 9. 18S-Marty Spade[12]; 10. 23HJR-Hunter Exley[19]; 11. 12MT-Trevor McCann[22]; 12. 12M-Scott Malone[16]; 13. 310-Dale Tuche[14]; 14. 25-Brett McDonald[2]; 15. 17S-Matt Sampson[13]; 16. 84S-Josh Seippel[15]; 17. 67J-Jamie Duncan[21]; 18. 10-Nick Kocuba[7]; 19. 8C-Russ Coyne[18]; 20. 7W-Bobby Whitling[10]; 21. 4H-Brett Hutira[6]; 22. 68H-Andrew Hammond[20]; 23. 3-Paul Davis[23]; 24. 51L-Brian Lacey[24]. DNS: 14-Scott Stiffler.

DNQ for the feature: John Peterman, Jr. (68), Kyle Corah (152), Cody Koteles (1K), Jeff Hay (57), Troy DeZarn (21), Edward Merwick II (513), Don DeZarn (12), Jake Dietz (27), Jacob Wheeler (44), Bruce Hartzfeld (101).

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.


Article Credit: Mike Leone

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