SHARON TO HOST ANOTHER “STEEL VALLEY THUNDER” SATURDAY PLUS THE DEBUT OF SWEENEY RUSH SPORTSMAN MODS
By Mike Leone
Hartford, OH April 23, 2014 After a successful 85th anniversary season opener, Sharon Speedway will look to host the second round of “Steel Valley Thunder” this Saturday night (April 26). 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, and Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock will return along with the debut of Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. Race time is 7 p.m. It’s Scout/Youth Sports Night with free admission for those in uniform.
Joining the weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” program for the first of several appearances this year will be the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. The division, which features Northeast-style Modifieds with GM 602 crate engines, Bilstein “sealed” spec shocks on steel wheels, will run its first ever event Saturday. Though not all are expected to be ready for Saturday, some 20 drivers have committed to the division, and several New York racers are planning on making the trip down. Local Sharon racers that will be in the class include Ken Moy, Jr., J.C. Boyer, and Jamie Duncan.
Fresh off his 47th career Sharon win, Rex King has taken the early Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modified point lead as he sets out for his fifth career track championship. The Bristolville, Ohio veteran won back-to-back titles in 2010-2011, but was beat out the last two seasons by two other long-time fellow competitors in Dave Murdick and Jim Weller, Jr. Jim Rasey is off to a good to start as his runner-up finish was his best in several seasons. Good to have New York racer, Ricky Richner back. Richner won last year’s “Russ King Memorial” and is third in points.
Sharon has had three different Crate Late Model champions in Josh Double, Will Thomas III, and Dennis Lunger, Jr. since the division was added weekly in 2011. On Saturday night, Alan Dellinger had a successful debut in his return to the seat of the #8 driven by Bob Williams. The Hermitage, Pa. racer not only leads the Barris Supply Sharon points, but also picked up important points in the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Weekly Series standings. Though it was only Dellinger’s second career Crate Late Model win at Sharon, he now owns an impressive 161 career wins at the Hartford, Ohio oval. Lunger, who was last year’s five-time winner and champion, was runner-up.
The Modified division had the highest car count last Saturday, which isn’t really much of a surprise as the class has been strong the last few seasons with quality cars and numerous winners. One of the top cars is Joel Watson. The Conneaut, Ohio racer has really taken a liking to Sharon as he’s soared up the win charts and now has 15 career wins after charging from seventh to the victory last Saturday. Watson, who tied for the championship in 2011 with Carl McKinney, is now the early point Summit Racing Equipment leader. McKinney and Steve Dixon are two standouts expected to be regular competitors in 2014.
The Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars and HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods were down in car count last week, but that’s typical for these two divisions as growth always continues throughout the year. Several regular competitors will be making their debuts in the coming weeks. After starting his racing career in the mid-90s, Mike Clark struggled to victory lane, but has quickly become the Stock Car driver to beat in recent seasons. The defending champion now has nine career wins and has the early point lead in his quest to repeat championships.
At just 18 years of age, Jeremy Double has chalked up 10 wins in his short racing career. One more Econo Mod win and he’ll tie Brandon Blackshear, who is expected to return to the class, for the top spot. It’s only a matter of time before consistent Ty Rhoades garners his first career win, and the sophomore driver is off to a great start with a career best runner-up last Saturday night.
After an impressive rookie season, six-time 2013 winner and track champion Travis Creech is back and returned to victory lane on opening night in the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks. Creech has the early point lead again over the division’s all-time winner, Bill Fuchs. Two rookies to the division on opening night included Joseph Campbell and Adam Little.
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.
Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5, drivers meeting at 6:20 followed by warm-ups for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and heat races slated for 7. Grandstand admission for those 14 and are over is $13, while children under 14 are always free. Pit passes are $30.
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 @SharonSpdwy.