Sharon Speedway

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Sharon Speedway


By Mike Leone

June 22, 2024

(Hartford, OH)…A sunny and stifling hot day greeted fans and racers on Saturday as Sharon Speedway completed its second consecutive "Steel Valley Thunder" program after starting off the 95th anniversary season with three special race events. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane with wins were Bud Watson (Hovis Auto & Truck Supply UMP Modifieds), John Mollick (Billy's Garage RUSH Sprint Cars), Kole Holden-HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and Curt J. Bish (Gibson Insurance Agency Pro Stocks). It was A&MP Electric and Mark Thomas Ford Night.

Last year, Bud Watson finally won the first race of his career at Sharon after many years of trying. On Saturday night, Watson out-dueled Ty Rhoades to win the 2024 opener for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply UMP Modifieds. After trading the lead numerous times throughout the 20-lap A&MP Electric-sponsored feature, Watson got by Rhoades for good on lap 13 and edged him out in a drag race to the finish by just 0.115 seconds for the $1,000 payday! That tight margin also earned Watson the $100 Performance Bodies "Nosed Out" contingency gift card.

"Man I have so much respect for Ty (Rhoades)," stated the 31-year-old Kingsville, OH driver of his Great Lakes Speed Shop/Evergreen Lake Park/S&W Auto Service Center/Boczar Excavating-sponsored #225. "Him and I have raced each other a lot over the years. That was the most fun race I've ever run in my life- what a blast! I love Sharon Speedway. Thank you fans for coming out- I know it's hot."

Rhoades, who has nine career wins at Sharon between the UMP Mods and Econo Mods, was the only repeat winner in 2023 UMP Mod competition. Coleton Longwell was third. Mason Lobb, who always makes the tow down from Frewsburg, NY to race the UMP Mod shows, dropped to fourth after starting on the pole over Mark Titus, who started alongside on the front row. Dustin DeMattia, Brandon Grossman, Gary Olson, Amelia Clay, and Tim Gould rounded out the top 10. Heat winners were DeMattia and Nate Young.

John Mollick entered the night as the RUSH Sprint Car Sunbelt Rentals Weekly Series points leader. Mollick was fresh off his season's first win on the circuit on Sunday at Tri-City Raceway Park, but the nine-time Series winner had never won in the division at Sharon. That changed on Saturday night as Mollick rode the fence to a dominating victory by 3.662 seconds in the Scott Clever-owned, Duda Cable Construction/Pro-X Pressure Washing/ RV Coleman Trucking/Peluso Roofing/Dutch Run Coal/Salina Inn/Fox's Pizza Den/JET Engines-sponsored #4J.

"I'll tell you we got lucky we started up front- I'm not going to lie," revealed the 53-year-old Toronto, Ohio veteran. "The water on the track made it interesting and it was a fun race. We've been quick and have had good times, but just haven't had the luck. Tonight we had a little bit of both- good car and good times. We got to start up front and it made our night."

Mollick, who owns one other Sharon victory coming in the Big-Block Modified division back in 2017, became the third different winner in three Billy's Garage RUSH Sprint Car features this season and the 14th different winner all-time at Sharon. Gale Ruth, Jr. was second over opening night winner, Arnie Kent, who started from the pole. Brent Rhebergen was fourth. After a heat race accident, Blaze Myers came from 13th to 5th in the feature. Blaze's father Billy was sixth as Joe Buccola, Luke Mulichak, Trent Marshall and Kevin Kaserman completed the top 10. Rhebergen and Ruth were heat race winners.

After winning five features and two track championships in his first five seasons of RUSH Sportsman Modified racing at Sharon, Kole Holden hit a dry spell. In fact, the 25-year-old Tiona, Pa. racer hadn't taken the checkered flag first at the Hartford, Ohio oval in nearly five years with his last win coming on July 27, 2019. That changed on Saturday night as the fifth starting Holden retook the lead from Darin Gallagher on lap 17 to score the 20-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products victory by 1.049 seconds.

"Darin (Gallagher) is a heck of a driver and they had a good car tonight," acknowledged the 25-year-old Tiona, Pa. driver of the Dana Holden-owned, Holden Resources/Car-Go Auto Parts/Troyer Dirt Cars/Falconer & Mancross Garage Service/Baker Motorsports-sponsored #2. "I was a little worried with him on the outside for that last restart because he definitely knows how to run the top here, but I stuck to the bottom and it paid off for me."

Gallagher, a former Sprint Car racer, was making his first ever RUSH Sportsman Modified start at Sharon driving for his wife Chelsie and was an impressive second. JC Boyer went ninth to third to earn the $100 Summit Racing Equipment hard charger gift card. Brandon Ritchey was fourth over Rob Kristyak. Rounding out the top 10 were Doug Rutana, Logen Lockhart, Lucas Canon, Jacob Rutana, and Karston King. Heat winners were Kristyak and King.

For the second straight week, Curt J. Bish passed Scott Stiffler to win the Pro Stocks. While last Saturday's pass came on lap 10, this week's winning move came on the fourth circuit of the 20-lap Gibson Insurance Agency feature. The 13th career win came by a commanding margin of 10.213 seconds in the Bob Tarr-owned, Virgile Iron & Steel/Logan Cabin Family Restaurant/Pioneer Electric Supply/Allegheny Tool & Supply/Bish Heating & Cooling/Schaeffer Oil/Double E Landscaping & Fencing/Bernard's Electrical Services-sponsored #29.

"Chris (Schneider) gives me a good car and Travis Harry gives me a good power plant- I don't know what else to say," stated the 40-year-old Cranberry, Pa. racer. "Thanks to the car owners Bob and Brian Tarr. This win is again for my dad as he's not with us again tonight, but hopefully he gets back with us. This is a whole group effort. My crew is with me wherever and I really appreciate those guys and can't do it without them. I also need to thank the fans for sticking around."

Stiffler was second over Brett McDonald and Jordan Perkins. Seventy-two-year-old Larry Kugel was the final car on the lead lap in fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Jason Jones, Mike Miller, Dalton Gabriel, Trevor McCann, and Jonathan Davis. Bish and Perkins won the heat races.

Coming up next Saturday (June 29) will be a "Super Series" event presented by Bala Management featuring the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply "410" Sprint Cars racing for $4,000 to-win, $400 to-start. The Gibson Insurance Agency Pro Stocks, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and the Whelen Econo Mods will also be on the card. Qualifying for the Sprints will get underway at 6:30 p.m. followed by racing at 7.

Hovis Auto & Truck Supply UMP Mods presented by A&M Electric (20 laps, $1,000 to-win): 1. 225-BUD WATSON[2]; 2. 12R-Ty Rhoades[1]; 3. 7-Coleton Longwell[6]; 4. 28-Mason Lobb[5]; 5. 25T-Mark Titus[7]; 6. 77D-Dustin DeMattia[4]; 7. 17G-Brandon Grossman[9]; 8. 23-Gary Olson[12]; 9. 16C-Amelia Clay[8]; 10. 2G-Tim Gould[10]; 11. 25-Chris Peterson[11]; 12. 42-Nate Young[3]; 13. 9T-Mason Canter[13]. DNS: 74-Jeffrey Bametzrieder.

Billy's Garage RUSH Sprint Cars (20 laps): 1. 4J-JOHN MOLLICK[2]; 2. 24-Gale Ruth Jr[3]; 3. 9-Arnie Kent[1]; 4. 68-Brent Rhebergen[4]; 5. 41-Blaze Myers[13]; 6. 43SR-Billy Myers[5]; 7. 5B-Joe Buccola[10]; 8. 55-Luke Mulichak[14]; 9. 17-Trent Marshall[6]; 10. 13K-Kevin Kaserman[9]; 11. 23-Charlie Utsinger[7]; 12. 17M-CJ McClintock[16]; 13. 54-Devon Deeter[15]; 14. 1E-Curt Emings[12]; 15. 48T-TJ Rosario[11]; 16. 44C-Bill Cunningham[8].

HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (20 laps): 1. 2-KOLE HOLDEN[5]; 2. 10-Darin Gallagher[4]; 3. 12-JC Boyer[9]; 4. 1R-Brandon Ritchey[3]; 5. 00-Rob Kristyak[8]; 6. 46R-Doug Rutana[1]; 7. 58-Logen Lockhart[11]; 8. 2LC-Lucas Canon[10]; 9. 57R-Jacob Rutana[12]; 10. 165K-Karston King[7]; 11. B4-Brayden Beatty[6]; 12. 333G-Dalton Gabriel[2]; 13. N2O-Brandon Tercho[17]; 14. 00K-Jackson Kristyak[14]; 15. 29A-Anthony Antus[15]; 16. 17T-Kyle Teeter[13]; 17. 24M-Troy McGregor[16].

Gibson Insurance Agency Pro Stocks (20 laps): 1. 29-CURT J. BISH[6]; 2. 14-Scott Stiffler[3]; 3. 25-Brett McDonald[2]; 4. 13J-Jordan Perkins[1]; 5. 0-Larry Kugel[8]; 6. 81J-Jason Jones[4]; 7. 51-Michael Miller[7]; 8. 47-Dalton Gabriel[9]; 9. 12MT-Trevor McCann[10]; 10. 8-Jonathan Davis[5]. DNS: 3-Paul Davis

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 X (formerly known as Twitter) at

Article Credit: Mike Leone

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