By Mike Leone
Hartford, OH May 15, 2013 Sharon Speedway continues to battle Mother Nature seemingly every week this year, but is hoping for brighter, warmer weather this Saturday night (May 18) as it looks to complete its fifth straight week of racing action on Trumbull County Business College Night.
It’ll be another installment of “Steel Valley Thunder” featuring the 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. Racing begins at 7 p.m.
The DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds continue to churn out good car counts and great racing. The competition has been stout this season. Last Saturday, the Governor Insurance Agency division had 21 cars as Brian Swartzlander became the fourth different winner in as many races this season.
The other three winners this season currently command the top three spots in points with April 27 winner Rex King leading the way by three over May 4 winner Jim Weller, Jr. and opening night winner Rex King, Jr. by eight. New Yorker Ricky Richner continues to make the tow south every week from Niagara Falls and rides fourth just 14 points back. Richner will look for his fifth straight top six finish Saturday!
The Barris Supply RUSH Late Models have been putting on a lot of caution-free racing of late, but the few cautions that have occurred have set up some wild shootouts with lots of position changing. While all that took place behind Josh Double last Saturday, the 2011 champion was able to garner his season’s first win and add valuable Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Weekly Series points.
Last year’s season finale winner, Dennis Lunger, Jr., continues to set the standard as he already has a pair of wins and a pair of third place finishes to date. The strong runs have propelled him to a 12-point lead over Eric Wilson, who has been right there week in and week out with four top six finishes in as many weeks.
Defending co-champion Joel Watson became the first repeat winner in the Modifieds last Saturday in the Summit Racing Equipment division’s fifth event. Watson has quickly moved up the charts in the division’s all-time win list in recent seasons and continues to be the guy everyone is shooting for. After not competing in the season’s first two shows, Watson has won two of the three he has raced in!
The division’s all-time winner and one-time winner this season, Alan Dellinger, saw his point lead shrink to just seven over Mike Kinney after his first DNF of the year. Neither Kinney nor Shawn Shingledecker, who sits third in points just eight behind Dellinger, have yet to win in 2013. A total of 44 different races have already competed this season!
The Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars continue to be the tightest championship race as just six points separates the top four! Last week, Mike Clark led the points by just one, this week he has a two-point advantage on Tim Burns, while two-time winner Paul Davis trails by three, and one-time Bryan Wagner is just six back. There have been four different Stock Car champions in the last four years as Clark looks to make it five for his first ever championship.
The youngsters have certainly had the upper hand in the Econo Mods this season. Ryan Fraley is coming off of his second win of the season and his career, while two-time victor Jeremy Double and Steve Burns, Jr. have also added wins. Burns has a two-point lead on Fraley, while Double is 18 back. The car count also continues to rise as new cars make their way out; in fact, 28 different drivers have competed to date this season.
Scott Gilliland feels he’s been lucky in two of his three wins this season, but the nonetheless the Warren, Ohio driver leads all racers at the speedway in wins this season and commands the biggest point lead at 36 over Ray Gregory, who has been oh so close to victory on several occasions this year. Gregory ironically is ahead of 2011 and 2012 champions Bill Fuchs and Jim Haefke, Jr. by only one point!
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. The home-cooked kitchen special is chicken pot pie.
Pits open at 4 p.m. Saturday with grandstands at 5 and heat races slated for 7. Grandstand admission for those 14 and over without one of the special discounts is $13, while children under 14 are always free. Pit passes are $25. 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.