By Mike Leone
Hartford, OH June 25, 2014 Despite a rainout for Tuesday’s Ohio All Star Sprint Speedweek event, Sharon Speedway is expecting better weather for Saturday’s “Steel Valley Thunder” program. Officials are hoping for a sixth straight Saturday of great weather as the week nine program as part of the 85th anniversary season will include the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks, and a return appearance by the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. The Barris Supply RUSH Late Models will have the night off. Race time is 7 p.m.

Saturday’s promotion is “Armed Forces Night” as all active servicemen and veterans will be admitted free into the grandstands for general admission. The kitchen special is baked chicken, parsley potatoes, and green beans.

The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will make their third appearance of the season. Jordan Eck won the Series’ first ever event on April 26, while New York’s Greg Martin captured the May 31 show. Adam Hilton, who has won events at Lernerville, Pittsburgh, and Raceway 7, is the current point leader. Jeremy Zufall won the most recent race at America’s Motorsports Park. Local racers Ken Moy, Jr., Jamie Duncan, and Andy Paden are expected to be in action Saturday. The Northeast-style Modifieds feature GM 602 crate engines on Bilstein “sealed” spec shocks along with Hoosier spec tires on steel wheels.

It took a non-regular in Brian Swartzlander last Saturday night to put a half to the domination by the two Kings and Jim Weller this season in the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds; however, the trio was right behind in positions two through four. The ever changing Hovis Auto & Truck Supply championship chase now has Rex King, Jr. up just two points on Weller with the elder King just four out of the top spot. Jim Rasey and Ricky Richner are fourth and fifth in points and have been fast, but haven’t been able to make it to victory lane this season.

The ultra-competitive Modified division has been highlighted by three new winners in the past four weeks as Dwayne Clay joined Steve Dixon and Carl McKinney as racers that have been able to stop Joel Watson and defending champion Mike Kinney. The Summit Racing Equipment title chase is pretty close as Watson leads Dixon by just 10 and Kinney by 12. McKinney is fourth over Russ Dunn, who is looking for his first win aboard Jim White’s #53.

Mike Clark and Paul Davis have been the two drivers to beat so far in the Stock Cars. Clark, the defending champion, has three wins and leads the points by seven over Davis, a two-time winner including last Saturday night. Brian Carothers and Bryan Wagner are third and fourth in the Gibson Insurance Agency points, while fifth spot is a tie between Brent Coleman and Jamie Duncan.

Brandon Blackshear became the second driver in the Econo Mods to repeat this season with his victory last Saturday night. The win also propelled him into the point lead for the first time this season in a division that is the tightest from top-to-bottom. Just 41 points separates the top eight in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products point standings! In fact, defending champion Jeremy Double is only two points back in second, while sophomore racer Ty Rhoades trails the leader by just three in search of his first career win. Jason Longwell and Josh Mueller are fourth and fifth.

Travis Creech has won six of the eight Mini Stock features this year including the past two. The defending champion can start no better than 12th in Saturday night’s 12-lap Deforest Used Parts feature. One-time winner Bill Fuchs is hanging close in the championship race as he sits 17 points back. Jamie Maxwell, Jim Haefke, Jr., and Tim McAninch are third through fifth in points as all three will try for their first wins on Saturday night.

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 6:30 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!

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.