By Mike Leone
Hartford, OH April 13, 2013 After a successful 84th anniversary season opener on April 6, Sharon Speedway is ready to roll into week #2 this Saturday night, April 13. Racing will get underway at 7 p.m. featuring Sharon’s weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” program consisting of Governor Insurance Agency 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 the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
After losing the first five early season events, a dry week and a dry race day allowed Sharon to get the 2013 season underway last Saturday. Though the temperature barely hit 50, fans were treated to the long-awaited start to the new season. The fast-pace show was run off in less than three and a half hours with three of the six winners resigning from nearby Bristolville, Ohio.
A nice field of 19 Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds from three different states turned out for the opener, but in the end it was a King show as Rex, Jr. topped Rex. Jr. to get an early jump on the points. While his father is a four-time track champion, “Cooter” has never won a track championship and has the early lead on his father.
Dennis Lunger, Jr. has taken a liking to Sharon. After winning his first career feature at the track on September 29, Lunger opened the season last Saturday making it back-to-back wins. Lunger also stated he plans to compete for the Sharon track championship for the first time ever. Lunger got a head start on 2011 and 2012 champions Josh Double and Will Thomas III, who will make their debuts Saturday. Sharon is a RUSH-sanctioned Late Model track, and Lunger has also taken the lead in the $5,000 Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Weekly Series standings. It was also a good start for two-time feature winner Eric Wilson. The 16-year-old finished second in the feature and also took the lead in the Series’ “Futures Cup” standings.
One of the most impressive runs in all of the six features last Saturday was probably Jeff Johnson. After a disappointing 2012 season, Johnson flew out of the gates to victory lane after starting 10th in the Summit Racing Equipment Modified feature. Johnson, who won the championship in 2010, finished 10th in the standings each of the past two seasons. The victory tied him with Scott Stiffler at 16 for the second most all-time in the division at the speedway. While an uncharacteristic low of 16 Mods turned out for the opener, look for many more in the coming weeks.
After going some 15 years winless, Mike Clark is starting to make winning a habit in the Stock Cars. Clark won Saturday night’s Gibson Insurance Agency feature for the fifth time in the last year and a half as he has his sights set on his first track championship!
The HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods began their fourth season of competition and second full season as part of the weekly Saturday “Steel Valley Thunder” program. Seventeen-year-old Jeremy Double’s third career win came over 12-year-old Jacob Euker. Eucker, who practiced last year at Sharon while winning the Deerfield Championship, is the grandson of the great Dale Johnson. Don’t be surprised to see Eucker in victory lane this year and make history as the youngest winner in the track’s history. Look for the Econo Mod car counts to pick up and be around a full field before too long.
Of all of the divisions last Saturday at the opener, the most familiar face in victory lane turned out to be in the Mini Stocks in the last race run of the night. Bill Fuchs, the 2011 track champion, won his milestone 20th career race and will look to add to that total Saturday night.
Once again Saturday night, one lucky boy and girl under the age of 14 will win a bicycle or scooter thanks to King Bros. This promotion will continue throughout the 2013 season.
Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5 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 $25. Parking and camping is always free.
Coming up on Saturday, April 20 will be the first special event of the season! The NDRL’s United Late Model Series (ULMS) will make their first of four appearances of the season racing for $3,000 to-win! They’ll be joined by NDRL’s United E-Mods Series (UEMS) for $1,000 to-win along with the HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
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.