By MIKE LEONE
HARTFORD, OH – Sharon Speedway will conclude the 89th anniversary season this weekend with the running of the annual “Apple Festival Nationals” on Friday and Saturday night (September 7-8). Nine different divisions will compete. The Big-Block Modifieds, RUSH Sprint Cars, Mod Lites, Sportsman Dwarf Cars, and Junior Sprints will run a complete show on Friday night. The “410” Sprint Cars will run their complete show on Saturday night, while the Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series, RUSH Sportsman Modified Touring Series, and Econo Mods will have their shows split over the two days with their features on Saturday night. Warm-ups for selected divisions will get underway at 6 p.m. followed immediately by racing both nights.
For the second straight year, the “410” Sprint Cars will be part of the “Apple Festival Nationals” in a $3,000 to-win, $250 to-start event; however, this year their complete program will headline Saturday night’s show. There has still yet to be repeat winner in the eight Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Car events contested thus far this season as Aaron Reutzel, Christopher Bell, and Dave Blaney were victorious in the $5,000 All Star-sanctioned events, while Chad Kemenah, Sye Lynch, George Hobaugh, Dale Blaney, and Cap Henry captured $3,000 victories. Will there be a ninth different winner on Saturday night!? Saturday will again utilize the hot lap/group qualifying format that has been used on all of the Menards “Super Series” Sprint Car events. Mufflers are not required and there’s no registration or entry fees.
The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds will now headline Friday night’s program with a complete show. Unlike the past two years of being open only to non-winners, this year’s show will allow all racers to complete in a $1,500 to-win event. Jeremiah Shingledecker is coming off of an impressive Mod Tour victory from the ninth starting spot at the last show on August 25.
The Mod Lites and Sportsman Dwarf Cars will return once again for their season’s only appearance as part of the “Apple Festival Nationals” running their complete show on Friday night. This year’s Mod Lite portion is the inaugural “Mark Marcucci Memorial” for the former standout racer that lost his in an automobile accident in April. Marcucci won the 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” and is the division’s all-time winner at Mercer Raceway Park. Currently the Mod Lite feature will pay $1,250 to-win, $150 to-start, while the Dwarfs will race for $500 to-win. There are numerous bonuses along with sponsors that have made this event what it is. The complete list is posted at SharonSpeedway.com. Both divisions will pit in the overflow parking off turns three and four with registration and pill draw handled by Bill Bauer.
Joining the “Apple Festival Nationals” line-up for the first time are the new RUSH Sprint Cars. Their Friday night only program will pay $500 to-win. The non-wing crate engine Sprints made their Sharon debut back on June 2 when Late Model standout Chad Ruhlman picked up the win. The new division features a schedule of 28 events at 11 different speedways as 20 different cars have hit the track this season.
The Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series returns with $2,000 on the line this time. Thus far this season, the Penn-Ohio Series has made two appearances with Brent Johnson taking $10,000 on June 16 and Andrew Gordon $1,000 on July 28. Schneider currently leads Gordon, Rob Shook, Bobby Whitling, and Sharon Champion Chris McGuire in the Penn-Ohio standings. The five regular Sharon Gibson Insurance Agency events saw outsiders Jason Fosnaught, Gordon, Rusty Martz, and Chris Schneider (two) capture wins.
The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds had a $600 to-win Bicknell Touring Series event at the last Sharon event on August 25 when Chas Wolbert topped a record 38-car field as part of the rescheduled “Manufacturers Night”. This weekend’s event will pay $800 to-win. Wolbert enters the weekend with four straight Sharon wins and five overall for the season and leads the Bicknell Tour points by just four over Garrett Krummert, who was the 2018 Sharon Champion and leads the RUSH Weekly Series points. Brandon Ritchey, 2017 Tour Champion Kyle Martell, and Steve Slater complete the top five in Tour points. The HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds are in their fifth year and the car count averages have rose each year. This year the average car count per night at Sharon is 26.6.
The Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods will be round out the three divisions competing over both days. The Econo Mods will be racing in one of their richest events ever at the track with $750 on the line. Jacob Eucker is coming off his first track championship and led the way with four feature wins. Runner-up points man, Steve Haefke, fell short of a third straight track title as he’d love to pick up his first win of the season in the 2018 finale. Ty Rhoades had a breakout season winning the first two features of his career in route to a third place points standings, and missed runner-up by just one-point. Brian Toto and Brandon Blackshear were fourth and fifth in points. The Econo Mods had strong car counts all season in the 20s and a great field is expected this weekend.
This pits will be open throughout the day on Friday. Pit pass sales will begin at 3 p.m. with grandstands at 4 both days. A drivers meeting is slated for 5:20 p.m. Warm-ups for the RUSH Sprint Cars, Mod Lites & Dwarf Cars will take place at 6 p.m. on Friday night followed by racing. On Saturday, warm-up/group qualifying for the Sprints will take place at 6 p.m. followed by Sprint Car heat races and the remainder of the program for the Stocks, RUSH Mods, and Econo Mods. Cars that do not compete Friday in the three divisions running both days can tag the B main or feature, provided the 24-car feature fields aren’t set.
Breakfast will be served in the main concession on Saturday morning from 8:30-11 a.m. and lunch from 12-2 p.m. in the pit concession. There will be a bonfire after the races each night.
Grandstand admission for those 14 and over is $13 on Friday and $18 on Saturday or $28 for a two-day pass. Pit passes are $35 each night or $65 for a two-day pass. There are no entry or registration fees for Sharon, only the typical Penn-Ohio and RUSH Mod Tour entry fees for those two divisions.
RACEceivers/driver one-way radios are mandatory for all divisions with the default channel of 454.000. AMB/MyLaps transponders are required for all divisions except Mod Lites, Dwarf Cars, and Jr. Sprints. Rentals will be available. Any driver that has not raced at Sharon Speedway in 2018 needs to complete a registration form, and try and bring it to the track completed to save time. The form is available by going to SharonSpeedway.com, clicking on Drivers, then Registration or directly here http://www.sharonspeedway.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/RegistrationFormSharon2018B.pdf. Complete payoffs for each division are available on the website.
Children under 13, parking, and camping is FREE! Those camping MUST register when they arrive and saving of spots will NOT be permitted. Sharon has a no carry-in of outside food and drinks or coolers. PLEASE NOTE: THE BACKSTRETCH GRANDSTANDS WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR GENERAL ADMISSION ON FRIDAY NIGHT- ONLY FOR PIT PASS HOLDERS. This is due to using the outside of turns three and four overflow pit parking.
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.