By Mike Leone
Hartford, OH August 19, 2014 After going more than a month without completing a Saturday night event, Sharon Speedway will look to make it three in a row this Saturday night as the 85th anniversary season begins to wind down. After successful driver and fan appreciation nights, this Saturday’s (August 23) “Steel Valley Thunder” program will include 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 return of the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. Race time is 7 p.m.

During intermission, the second kids bike race night will be held for children 13 and under. Helmets are required.

It’ll be a big night for the Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modifieds as each competing driver will be eligible to win a brand new GM 602 engine valued at over $3,200 from Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC/Pace Performance! The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will be making their fifth appearance of the season. At the last event on August 16, New York’s Greg Martin became the first repeat winner at the track. Other winners include Jordan Eck and Rocky Kugel. Series point leader Adam Hilton of Buffalo, New York has four wins this season, but has yet to win at Sharon.

It’s definitely been tough for drivers with last names other than King or Weller this season in the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds. In fact, the foursome has accounted for 12 of the 13 Hovis Auto & Truck Supply feature wins this season, and led the top four sweep in last week’s feature won by Jim Weller, Jr. for the second straight week. Only non-regular Brian Swartzlander has been able to break into victory lane. Five-time winner Rex King, Jr. leads his father by 13 points, while Weller, Jr. is another six points back. Jim Rasey is fourth with Weller III in fifth.

Two weeks ago, Will Thomas III tracked down Alan Dellinger only to come up 0.005 of a second shy to Dellinger in the non-stop RUSH Late Model feature. Last Saturday, the roles were reversed as Thomas held off eighth starting Dellinger for his fourth win of the season. The 2012 Barris Supply champion is nearing his second title in three years as he leads 2013 champion Dennis Lunger, Jr. by 64. Russ Byler, Jamie Wrightsman, and Dellinger are third through fifth in points.

The Modified racing has again been some of the best at the speedway this year as the quality and competitiveness is top notch. Last week, a season high 28 cars filled the pit area, which earned the racers the bonus full field purse of $700 to-win, $100 to-start and all non-qualifiers received a free pit pass in addition to tow money. Joe Gabrielson fought off standouts Joel Watson and Steve Dixon for his first win of 2014. Dixon fought his way back from a flat tire as he was able to maintain a 30-point lead in the Summit Racing Equipment championship chase. Russ Dunn, Mike Kinney, and Carl McKinney are third through fifth in the standings.

The Stock Car count has been up over the last two weeks with 17 on August 9 and a season high 19 last Saturday night. Mike Clark’s fourth win of the season kept him atop the standings, but only by 11 over Paul Davis. Clark, who won his first championship last season, is looking to make it two-in-a-row. Brian Carothers, who matched a season best runner-up last Saturday night, is third in points over Bryan Wagner, who looked primed for his third win last Saturday night before a mechanical issue, and Brent Coleman.

Like Clark, fellow Bristolville, Ohio driver Jeremy Double is also in search of his second consecutive track championship. Double is leading the HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mod points by 36 over Jason Longwell, who saw his two-race win streak end by third place point man Brandon Blackshear. Casey Bowers, who is looking to break a near two-year winless drought, is fourth in points over sophomore racer Ty Rhoades, who continues to battle for his first career win.

Early on this season it appeared Mini Stock standouts Travis Creech, Bill Fuchs, and Scott Gilliland were going to control action once again; however, in the past four events it’s been new faces in victory lane including rookies Adam Little and Joe Campbell along with Pete Blazczak and Jim Haefke, Jr. Through it all, Fuchs, the 2011 champion, leads the Deforest Used Parts standings by 34 over Jamie Maxwell, who hopes to win his first career feature soon. Creech, a six-time winner this season, has dropped to third as he’s been shutout of victory lane since June 21. Haefke and Tim McAninch are fourth and fifth. The Mini Stocks have competed for the higher purse structure of $150 to-win, $40 to-start the last two Saturdays due to the high car counts.

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 $5. Pit passes are $30. As always, children under 13, parking, and camping is always FREE!

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.