By MIKE LEONE
HARTFORD, OH – Sharon Speedway completed night two of the “Apple Festival Nationals” on Saturday night and in doing so wrapped up the 88th anniversary season of racing. Capturing wins and celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Sye Lynch-“410” Sprint Cars, Andrew Gordon-Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series, Bob Warren-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds (non-winners), Dan Davies-E-Mods, Justin Shea-RUSH Sportsman Modified Touring Series, Brandon Blackshear-Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, and Wes Staley-Mini Stocks . A total of 234 different race cars competed over the two-day event.
Ed Lynch, Jr. sits the atop the all-time “410” Sprint Car winners list at Sharon Speedway with 50 victories, but on Saturday night it was another Lynch gracing victory lane. Third generation racer, Sye Lynch, put on a thrilling performance for the fans riding alongside the fence and leading all 30 laps for his first career win! After dominating the first 27 laps lapping up to the third place car, Lynch had a left rear tire go down under the red flag. Lynch then somehow staved our some slide jobs by Dan Kuriger over the final three laps for the $3,000 victory.
“This is only my third race here ever and I love the new surface,” expressed the 20-year-old Apollo, Pa. driver. “The fastest way is around the wall and man I hope it puts on a show for you fans because man it’s fun for me. I knew as soon as I saw that red, (Jack) Sodeman and Kuriger would be on me, but man that was just a great race. I have to thank Mosites Motorsports- without him it wouldn’t be possible; Kistler Engines and J&J, Ultra Lite Brakes, Diesel Snow Removal- everyone, my family, my crew. It’s been a long road to get here that’s for sure. Hopefully they’ll bring Sprint Cars back next year full-time and we can do this for you every Saturday night.”
An invert four put Darren Pifer and Lynch on the front row with Lynch flying to the early lead, while Kuriger and Sodeman moved past Pifer for second and third on the opening lap. Sixth starting George Hobaugh raced into fourth on lap three getting by Pifer. By lap seven, Lynch had a straightaway lead on Kuriger when he caught lapped traffic and did a tremendous job being smooth, keeping his momentum up, and working his way by the slower cars.
Tenth starting Davey Jones worked his way into the top five on lap 10 getting past Pifer, but all eyes were watching the “360” of Dennis Wagner make his way forward. Wagner started in 12th, but was flying as he passed Jones for fifth on lap 12 then put a slider on Hobaugh to take fourth on lap 20. Wagner was actually lapped by Lynch, but was closing on the leader with Sodeman right ahead in third. Wagner’s night unfortunately ended when he hit the fence and flipped. He was ok.
The red set up a three-lap dash to the checkered. When Lynch pushed back off, his left rear tire was going down, but he somehow managed to survive the sliders and grab the lead back on a pair of occasions from Kuriger with 2010 champion, Sodeman, looming right behind. Lynch’s win in his #42 came by 1.250 seconds over Kuriger. Sodeman, Jones, and Hobaugh were third through fifth. Pifer dropped to sixth over Jimmy Morris III, Bryan Salisbury, 16th starting Jason Dolick, and Paul Kish. Sodeman set fast time in qualifying on Friday night with a lap of 16.860 and then won his heat race along with Hobaugh.
Former Super Late Model racer, Andrew Gordon, led all 25 laps of the Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship feature for his biggest career payday earning $2,000 for his second victory of the season at Sharon. Veteran racer, Bobby Whitling, got close at times, but Gordon didn’t make any mistakes through lapped traffic to secure the win.
“We were getting the car out late and realized a bunch of stuff was broke so we were welding on it and rushing around then second guessing ourselves when you have all that time to wait in the pits,” explained the DuBois, Pa. driver. “You always want to do something and I said just leave it alone. We left it alone and made a gamble on tires and it held up. I thought we’d have a lot more cautions than that and with all those green flag laps I was getting worried. I tried easing up on it and hitting the mud then started to feel it coming back to me. We’ll keep practicing every week here next year to get faster for the $10,000 to-win show.”
Gordon used the outside pole starting spot to take the lead, while Whitling advanced from fourth to second on the opening lap. A five-car accident took place with two laps scored, but that would be the only stoppage of the event as the final 23 laps went green-to-checkered. Gordon and Whitling pulled away from the field by lap four, while the battle was on for third. Ninth starting Paul Davis finally worked his way by Rusty Martz, Brian Rhed, and Rusty Moore for the show position on lap five.
Gordon caught lapped traffic on lap 12 and distanced himself from Whitling over much of the race, but Whitling closed the gap in the final laps; however, the Todd Gordon-owned, Pizza Hut/Joel’s Auto-sponsored, Ford-powered #25 would prevail by 1.441 seconds. Davis was third. Seventh starting Steve D’Apolito actually fell back to 10th early on then made a late charge to work into the top five and pass two-time winner, Chris McGuire, for fourth on the final lap. McGuire, who started 10th, was fifth.
Completing the top 10 were Moore, Chris Schneider, Brian Carothers, Martz, and 26th starting Chris Withers in a substitution role for Rod Laskey. Gordon set fast time on Friday night with a lap of 19.587. Heat winners over the 47-car field on Friday night were Bobby Heim, Gordon, Rhed, Whitling, and Moore. William Hurrelbrink and Bob Schwartzmiller won Saturday’s last chance B mains.
After problems for early race leaders Travis Shingledecker and Justin Rasey along with the second place car of Josh Deems, Bob Warren inherited the lead and led the final 20 non-stop laps for his first career win in the Big-Block Modifieds. Warren’s $1,100 victory came in the 25-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply feature for non-winners.
“First and foremost today is my son Jackson’s fourth birthday so this is for him,” stated the 40-year-old Slippery Rock, Pa. driver. “It was weird how everyone was dropping off. This race is a really good idea. It lets a guy get a win under his belt. We’ve had a couple bad weeks so this makes up for it a little bit. I have to thank my wife, kids, and family. Without them, my sponsors, and fans this isn’t possible.”
Rasey and Shingledecker battled hard for the lead running side-by-side with Shingledecker taking over on lap four. Shingledecker then pulled away before Rasey ran into problems on lap six when his car pushed and then came back across the track as Dave Reges made heavy contact. Deems then inherited second, but he would spin in turn one bringing out the event’s final caution. Under caution, Shingledecker exited the event with motor problems.
Warren, who started fifth, was now the new leader and with caution-free racing over the final 20 laps, Warren drove off and won by 8.494 seconds in his KMA Rhino Linings/Family Traditions Restaurant/Bob’s Custom & Repair/Gellner’s Arctic Cat-sponsored #96B. Eric Beggs had a good run from 11th to finish second. Jeff Miller held off Deems’ charge back up through for third. Kyle Holden was fifth as Rasey, Colton Walters, Shawn Fleeger, Scott Kennedy, and Kevin Green completed the top 10. Heat winners on Friday night were Holden and Warren over the 16-car field.
Fifth starting Dan Davies passed Joel Watson on lap five and rim-rided the rest of the way to a dominating performance in the E-Mods. The $1,500 victory was Davies’ second straight at Sharon. “It was more difficult tonight- there’s not much cushion left,” described the 33-year-old Warren, Pa. racer. “You get a pretty good bite off (turn) four, but if you miss it a little bit you’re going to be in the fence. I tried to play it a little conservative once I got the lead. My dad is out at the World 100 (Eldora Speedway) with Shane Clanton so hopefully they do well. My whole crew and wife are here tonight so that makes it pretty cool.”
After a six-car accident on the opening lap that involved pole-sitter Casey Fritz, the event would go non-stop. Watson raced to the early lead, but Davies was already to second after one lap. Davies closed on Watson running the outside on lap four and one lap later nosed ahead for the winning pass. Davies had a half-straightaway lead when he caught lapped traffic on lap 11 and without a caution extended his lead every lap to win by 4.237 seconds. His fourth career feature win came in his Lethal Chassis #71D sponsored by King Fab, Hutchison Coventry, Willbank Energy, Close Racing Supply, and Hoosier Tire.
Ninth starting Bud Watson ran a smooth line on the bottom of the track. Watson passed Jeremy Double for third on lap nine then slowly closed on Joel Watson. Bud would work his way by Joel on lap 23 to secure the runner-up position. After leading the first four laps, Joel Watson dropped to third. Fritz came back from the opening lap accident to finish fourth in his first ever appearance. Double was fifth. Sixth through 10th were Jacob Eucker, 17th starting Brent Rhebergen, Carl McKinney, Scott Stiffler, and Josh Ferry. Stiffler and Joel Watson won Friday night’s heat races over the 17-car field.
After watching Steve Slater steal a win away from him on the outside coming down for the white flag at the last RUSH Sportsman Modified Touring Series event on August 26 at Sharon, Justin Shea performed a similar pass of race-long leader Chelsie Kriegisch on lap 15 to score his first career Bicknell Racing Products Tour win. Shea earned $800 for his second career Sharon win in the 25-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products feature.
“We haven’t run much this year but now I’m wishing we would have,” revealed the 36-year-old Franklin, Pa. driver. “This car is phenomenal. It was a little tight yesterday, but we made the right adjustments and here we are. Everyone was running the bottom so the only way to make headway is to try the middle or top. It really liked it so I stuck it out there and it worked. We have a short trip to Tri-City (Raceway Park) tomorrow- it’s about two miles from home. I have to thank my wife and father-in-law; they’ve been a huge help the last two days helping out.”
Several cars got bunched up on the initial start causing a five-car accident that ended the night early for several racers. And like the E-Mods, that would be only stoppage of the 25-lap main event. Chelsie Kriegisch and Tour point leader, Kyle Martell, were one-two after the opening lap. Shea meanwhile started fifth as him and eighth starting Chas Wolbert passed Jessica Kriegisch for third and fourth on lap two. Wolbert and Shea battled hard for third as they raced side-by-side. Wolbert would grab the spot on lap four as the duo closed in on Martell. Shea then moved to the top and drove around both racers to take second on lap 11.
Kriegisch meanwhile was up front setting a good pace in search of her first career Sharon victory; however, Shea stuck to the outside line and closed in every lap. He caught Kriegisch on lap 14 and made the winning pass driving around her in turn four to lead the 15th circuit. Shea had a half-straightaway lead when he caught lapped traffic with three laps to go. Traffic didn’t slow Shea’s run to the checkered flag as he won by 2.589 seconds in his Shea Trucking/Bradley’s Boarding & Grooming-sponsored #14s.
Kriegisch was a Tour season best second. Wolbert, who won the $800 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up on August 5, was third after passing Martell on lap 14. Sharon track champion, Kole Holden, came from 10th to finish fourth over Josh Deems as both racers dropped Martell to sixth late in the event. Completing the top 10 were Brian Schaffer, Jessica Kriegisch, Rocky Kugel, and Brandon Ritchey. Chelsie Kriegisch, Wolbert, and Martell won Friday’s heat races over the 24-car field. Holden won the dash.
After winning the season opening event back on April 21, Brandon Blackshear, the division’s all-time winning driver, was shutout of victory lane all season long in the Econo Mods. That changed on Saturday night as Blackshear led from green-to-checkered in the caution-plagued event. Blackshear earned $500 for the Summit Racing Equipment-sponsored feature win.
“We kept going and going with all those cautions and I figured we had to be getting close to being timed out, but I was in the right spot the entire time,” explained the 27-year-old Hubbard, Ohio racer. “This track really threw me for a curveball all year. It figures the final race of the season I finally get it figured out. My buddy Bud Watson was standing back there telling me to just stay on the bottom so I just rolled around the tires and here we are.”
Blackshear lined up beside two-time champion, Steve Haefke, as he used the outside to take the early lead. Haefke would lose second to sixth starting Eric Wilson on lap five, but regained it following a restart on lap nine. Cautions were the theme as the event never had more than five consecutive green flag laps. After nine cautions in an event that lasted over an hour including the red flags, the race was checkered with 18 of the scheduled 20 laps in the record books.
Blackshear’s 21st career win came in the Steve Burns, Sr.-owned, Warehouse Sales/Gearhart Sales/Laddie’s Sky Club/Close Racing Supply/Intense Fab/Hoosier Tire-sponsored #70B. Haefke was second for his 26th top two finish over the past 29 races dating back into the 2015 season! Ty Rhoades was third. Brian Toto came from 21st to finish fourth over 13th starting Kyle Miller.
Heat wins on Friday night went to Rhoades, Wilson, and Mitchell Wright. Mark Titus won Saturday’s last chance B main, while Haefke earned an extra $100 and the feature pole position for winning the dash presented by Twin-State Auto Racing Club. An all-time record high 30 cars turned out as the division’s eighth year of existence ended!
Making his first ever appearance, Wes Staley charged from the seventh starting spot to win the 15-lap Mini Stock feature to close out the 2017 season. The Wayne County Speedway regular earned $300 as he became the 29th different driver all-time to win a feature in the history of the division.
After an opening lap accident, the race went caution-free like the prior E-Mod and RUSH Sportsman Modified feature as the 29-year-old Canton, Ohio driver charged into the lead and never looked back in his Tires & More-sponsored #17S. Tyler Fulton passed Jason Pavlick on lap two for second, but was no match for Staley. Steve Walker II, the 2016 champion and two-time 2017 winner, came from 18th to finish third. John Gill and 15th starting Shane Shook were fourth and fifth. Isaac Paden and Staley won Friday’s heat races over the 19-car field.
“410” Sprint Cars (30 laps, $3,000 to-win): 1. SYE LYNCH (42) 2. Dan Kuriger (08) 3. Jack Sodeman, Jr. (23Jr) 4. Davey Jones (76) 5. George Hobaugh (40) 6. Darren Pifer (23) 7. Jimmy Morris III (4N) 8. Bryan Salisbury (126) 9. Jason Dolick (D12) 10. Paul Kish (4c) 11. Eric L. Williams (4W) 12. Joe Sylvester (8) 13. Sadie Siegel (91) 14. Dennis Wagner (38) 15. Mike Flynn (12x) 16. Vinny Dougherty (27) 17. Jeremy Kornbau (27K)-DNS.
Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series (25 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. ANDREW GORDON (25) 2. Bobby Whitling (7W) 3. Paul Davis (3) 4. Steve D’Apolito (84) 5. Chris McGuire (63) 6. Rusty Moore (17M) 7. Chris Schneider (Humanic 17) 8. Brian Carothers (02c) 9. Rusty Martz (16M) 10. Chris Withers (Laskey 1R) 11. Jarod Larson (47) 12. William Hurrelbrink (c8) 13. Curt Bish, Jr. (00) 14. Jamie Duncan (67J) 15. Andy Buckley (965) 16. Curt J. Bish (Tarr 29) 17. Jamie Scharba (11s) 18. Bob Schwartzmiller (28s) 19. Mike Clark (7) 20. Tim Deutsch (20) 21. Leigh Wheeler (717) 22. Bobby Heim (92) 23. Hunter Exley (23H) 24. Brian Rhed (69R) 25. Randy Wyant (11T) 26. Joe Stajnrajh (04). DNQ: Mike Miller (T6), Brent Coleman (01), Bill Phillips, Jr. (23JR), Brent McDonald (25), Nick Kocuba (10), Tim Bish (1B), Troy Norman (Gower 19N), Darr Diegelman (15D), Terry Wheeler (2W), Bobby Robinson (34R), Brian Lacey (51), Jamie Maxwell (6), Steve Allison (1BAD), Mark Hopkins (69H), Jesse Brock (22B), Dustin Smith (88), Zach Myers (18), Larry Kugel (Petsko 00), Michael Hudzik (31H), Pat Fielding (23), Mike Kerr (25K).
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds (Non-Winners) (25 laps, $1,100 to-win): 1. BOB WARREN (96B) 2. Eric Beggs (29*) 3. Jeff Miller (75) 4. Josh Deems (82) 5. Kyle Holden (68H) 6. Justin Rasey (21) 7. Colton Walters (18) 8. Shawn Fleeger (88) 9. Scott Kennedy (00) 10. Kevin Green (74) 11. Travis Shingledecker (73MD) 12. Dave Reges (27R) 13. Jason Sines (38DD) 14. Mike Turner (96) 15. Tom Glenn (83T) 16. Will Thomas III (9)-DNS.
E-Mods (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. DAN DAVIES (71D) 2. Bud Watson (25) 3. Joel Watson (92) 4. Casey Fritz (c7) 5. Jeremy Double (83) 6. Jacob Eucker (64) 7. Brent Rhebergen (07R) 8. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6m) 9. Scott Stiffler (14) 10. Josh Ferry (33) 11. Jack Young (67) 12. Chris Rudolph (25) 13. Todd Canter (89) 14. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 15. Matt Lux (21) 16. Jeff Johnson (27) 17. Mike Kinney (Porter 20P).
RUSH Sportsman Modified Touring Series (25 laps, $800 to-win): 1. JUSTIN SHEA (14S) 2. Chelsie Kriegisch (10) 3. Chas Wolbert (c3) 4. Kole Holden (2) 5. Josh Deems (9D) 6. Kyle Martell (8) 7. Brian Schaffer (41) 8. Jessica Kriegisch (63) 9. Rocky Kugel (Myers 43Sr) 10. Brandon Ritchey ( 17) 11. Shayne Izzo (86) 12. Preston Cope (24P) 13. David Kalb, Jr. (11J) 14. Nick Ritchey (Eads 77N) 15. Gary Haupt (16) 16. Will Schaffer (4) 17. Jacob Jordan (28J) 18. Steve Slater (29) 19. Anthony Gillespie (Smith 3G) 20. Blaze Myers (43Jr) 21. Brandon Michaud (132) 22. Jeremy Weaver (35W) 23. Tiffany Williams (58) 24. Kevin Long (22)-DNS.
Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods (18 laps, $500 to-win): 1. BRANDON BLACKSHEAR (Burns 70B) 2. Steve Haefke (41) 3. Ty Rhoades (12R) 4. Brian Toto (8B) 5. Kyle Miller (15) 6. Josh Mueller (01) 7. Ethan Young (42) 8. Keith Felicetty (98) 9. Cameron Nastasi (99) 10. George Vestal IV (4) 11. Wayne Daniels (4D) 12. Gary Murphy (85) 13. Tommy Davis (32) 14. Eric Wilson (Christopher 2JR) 15. Rick Wilson, Jr. (35) 16. Gary Robinson (44R) 17. Mitchell Wright (m11) 18. Tyler Frankenberry (38) 19. Mark Titus (25) 20. Brad Blackshear (19) 21. Ray Gregory (82R) 22. Brent Coleman (01) 23. Branden Porter (202) 24. Gary Miller, Jr. (1M)-DNS. DNQ: Larry Ingram (14), Richard Chess, Jr. (16c), Josh Ferry (Leamer 02), Richard Chess, Sr. (56c), Matt Alexander (77), Ashley Rogers (60).
Mini Stocks (15 laps, $300 to-win): 1. WES STALEY (73S) 2. Tyler Fulton (09) 3. Steve Walker II (4M) 4. John Gill (19G) 5. Shane Shook (17s) 6. Isaac Paden (24) 7. Kyle Adkins (311) 8. Ed Haylett (8-ball) 9. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 10. Mike Aley (6) 11. Scott Gill (6) 12. Bub Cales (66x) 13. Wayne Newbury (17) 14. Jason Pavlick (00) 15. Will Aley (Root 17J) 16. John McCracken, Jr. (64) 17. Bill Fuchs (10) 18. Michael Porterfield (23MP) 19. Pat Drennan (24)-DNS.
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 www.twitter.com/sharonspdwy.