By MIKE LEONE
HARTFORD, OH – While most surrounding areas were hard hit by heavy rain and thunderstorms on Saturday, Sharon Speedway was spared for the most part stealing one from Mother Nature for once in a rain-plagued 90th anniversary season. Picking up victories as part of the Menards “Super Series” event on Sawtelle Tree and A&MP Electric Night and celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Sye Lynch-FAST Series for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars, Dan Davies-Bickerstaff Cup Series for the Outlaw Mods, Garrett Krummert-RUSH Touring Series for the HTMA/Precise Racing Products Sportsman Modifieds, Chad Ruhlman-RUSH Sprint Cars, and Andy Buckley-Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods. Also, Tony Tatgenhorst won the “Wheelman” Non-Winners race presented by Ohio Intra Express and C&R Tire for the RUSH Mods. The pits were packed with 127 race cars.
After missing the last two events to compete at the Knoxville Nationals for the first time in his young career, Sye Lynch returned to Sharon on Saturday night and put on a dominating performance on a fast track. Lynch just missed eclipsing the six-year old track record in qualifying by 0.076, went fourth to first in his heat race, and then third to first on the opening lap of the feature and never looked back. Lynch dominated the 30-lap, $3,000 to-win event for his first career FAST-sanctioned victory and became the sixth different “410” Sprint Car winner in eight events at Sharon in 2019.
“This car felt so good,” stated the 22-year-old Apollo, Pa. driver. “We’ve really been focusing on getting me more comfortable; more racing on new tracks will get you more experience. It’s been really good. We’ve had a good month, but that was traveling. I told my guys we really need to focus on things back at home. We have a lot of big shows here. We’ve been a little bit off at Sharon this year, but my guys never gave up. My dad has a lot of wins here (50). I’m young and if Sharon keeps having Sprint Cars here we’ll keep coming. I hope the fans liked it this is one of my favorite tracks.”
Lynch would nose ahead of Brandon Matus to lead the opening lap, while Dan Kuriger, Darin Gallagher, and Carl Bowser filled out the top five. Sixth starting John Garvin, Jr. got by Gallagher for fourth on lap two. The event’s first caution slowed action when Dan McCarron suffered a flat tire with five laps scored. When racing resumed, ninth starting Jack Sodeman, Jr. was on the move as he cracked the top five then passed Garvin for fourth on lap seven. A caution for Gary Kriess, Jr. with eight laps scored was the final stoppage of the event.
Back under green on lap nine, 10th starting Cole Duncan was halfway to the front when he passed Garvin. Sodeman continued to march forward as he slipped under Kuriger for third on lap 11. Up front, Lynch began to navigate lapped traffic at the halfway point, while Duncan stole fourth from Kuriger. Duncan, a two-time 2019 winner at Sharon, powered around the outside to take third from Sodeman on lap 19. Duncan had a lot of ground to make up and he simply would run out of time without caution.
With the last 22 laps going caution-free, Lynch lapped up to 11th place and took the checkered flag first in his Mosites Motorsports/Thoma Meat Market/Needles of Fury/All American Framers-sponsored #42 by a commanding 4.506 over Matus, who recorded his season’s best Sharon finish. Duncan was third to maintain the FAST points lead. Carl Bowser was able to pass Kuriger and Sodeman in the second half of the race to finish fourth over Sodeman.
Kuriger dropped to sixth after starting second. Caleb Griffith went 15th to seventh over Tyler Gunn. In his second start of 2019, Adam Kekich charged from 20th to ninth. Garvin dropped to 10th. Heat winners were Bowser, Gallagher, and Lynch, while second place FAST points man, Lee Jacobs, won the last chance B main. Lynch set fast time over the 30-car field with a blistering lap of 12.780.
Dan Davies put on a show in the 25-lap Outlaw E-Mod feature. Davies started sixth and took the lead from veteran Randy Hall on lap six then held off a late charge by Brian Ruhlman for the $1,200 victory. Davies became the third different winner in as many “Bickerstaff Cup” Series events this season with the championship one coming up next Saturday.
“This place is the best place in the country- facts are fact,” expressed the 34-year-old Warren, Pa. racer. “We ran really well tonight. I have to thank my dad (Ron) and David Stremme at Lethal Chassis. I get my head screwed up going in different directions at times and he gets it screwed back on straight- this is what happens when I listen to him. I’ll be calling him and he’ll be telling me I told you so.”
Hall used the outside to take the early lead over pole-sitter Josh Ferry with Joe Gabrielson third and Davies up to fourth on the opening lap. It was three-wide for second on laps two and three with Davies taking runner-up using the bottom on lap three. Ferry though didn’t go away regaining the spot on lap four, but Davies took it back one lap later then went after Hall. Davies was able to sneak under Hall racing off turn four on the sixth circuit for the lead.
Once in front, Davies moved up to the top and began to pull away instantly, while the battle behind him was hot for second with Hall trying to fend off Ferry and seventh starting Ruhlman, who joined in. The event’s only caution was for Amanda Stiffler with 11 laps scored. Back under green, Ruhlman got a great restart to pass both Ferry and Hall for second. Ferry then would finally get around Hall for third on lap 15 using the outside. Ferry found a great line as he then drove around Ruhlman for second on lap 18.
Up front, Davies was setting a torrid pace, but would catch lapped traffic on lap 21, while Ruhlman regained second for good on lap 22. Ruhlman began to close in on Davies in the final laps. Davies really got slowed up in traffic in turn four on the final lap as Ruhlman made a big run, but came up 0.389 of a second shy. Davies’ fifth career Sharon win came in his Wellbank Energy/Hutchison Carpentry/Close Racing Supply/Hoosier Tire/King Fab-sponsored #71D.
Ruhlman’s runner-up allowed up to maintain the points lead with one race to go for the $1,000 to-win title. Hall would get back by Ferry to finish third. Ferry dropped to fourth. Mike Potosky went 15th to fifth to earn the $75 Burgan Realty Hard Charger. Joel Watson, Butch Lambert, Mike Kinney, Gary Eicher, and Gabrielson completed the top 10. Hall, Davies, and Gabrielson won the heat races over the 24-car field, while Stiffler won the B main.
Seventh starting Garrett Krummert came on late, passed Rob Kristyak on a restart, and led the final two laps to win an exciting 25-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modified feature that featured six cars challenging for the win in the closing laps. For Krummert, it was his second straight $600 Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Touring Series victory for the defending champion, and third of the season at Sharon. RUSH drivers shared in $23,000 of product giveaways during their annual “Manufacturers Night”.
“That was a hell of a race- if you didn’t enjoy that then I don’t know what to say,” expressed the 31-year-old Ellwood City, Pa. racer. “That was RUSH Mod racing at its finest. I have to thank my car owner Jerry Schaffer. Also have to thank Vicki (Emig) at RUSH for the Manufacturers Night and all of the great prizes she gets for the racers.”
Top runners Chas Wolbert and Rob Kristyak led the 24-car field to green with Kristyak taking the early advantage. The two would race side-by-side for the lead on laps two and three with Kristyak maintaining the top spot. Jim Rasey started sixth and moved into the top five on lap three then got under Gary Haupt for fourth on lap four. Back up front, Wolbert overtook Kristyak slipping under him in turn four on lap five. Wolbert then began to distance himself from the field on lap seven. Rasey and Tony Tatgenhorst were battling for third, while Kristyak closed in on Wolbert in lapped traffic on lap 16 before Gage Priester brought out the caution with 17 laps scored.
When green replaced yellow on lap 18, Rasey, ninth starting Kole Holden, and Krummert moved into positions three through five as they dropped Tatgenhorst out of the top five. Kristyak went back to P1 as he drove around Wolbert in turn four on lap 19. The two ran side-by-side on lap 20 with Wolbert going back to the lead on the 20th circuit. A caution for Jerry Schaffer with 22 laps scored slowed action.
Back under green, it was nearly four-wide for the lead racing off turn four as Kristyak maintained the top spot, but Krummert and Holden worked their way to second and third before another spin by Priester halted action for the final time with 23 laps scored. This set up a two-lap dash to the finish as Krummert made the winning move on the restart; meanwhile, Holden passed Kristyak on the last lap for second. Krummert’s Jerry Schaffer Racing, Turn 4 Toilets-sponsored #10s took his third career Tour win by 0.320 of a second. The victory was also Krummert’s fifth of his career in the division at Sharon and sixth overall including one Big-Block Modified win at the track.
Holden was second for the second straight week as he’s now finished in the top four all nine nights at Sharon this year to lead the points. Kristyak dropped to third, but was able to take over the $3,000 to-win Hovis RUSH Weekly Series points over Wolbert, who was fourth. Rasey completed the top five. Eric Gabany went 13th to sixth over Blaze Myers, Tatgenhorst, Connor King, and Haupt. Heat winners over the season high 33-car field were Haupt, Kristyak, Wolbert, and Krummert, while Jim Bryce won the last chance B main. Wolbert established a new track record during his heat race with a lap of 16.728.
After four of the first six scheduled starters scratched, Tony Tatgenhorst passed Gage Priester on the opening lap and never looked back to win his leading third “Wheelman” Non-Winners race presented by Ohio Intra Express and C&R Tire for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. The 39-year-old Columbiana, Ohio earned another $75 in his All State Integrity of Salem/Edwards Flower Shop-sponsored #63T. Amelia Clay passed Priester on lap two to finish second. Preston Cope came from seventh to finish third over points leader Cameron Nastasi and rookie Brandon Albert.
Chad Ruhlman passed Arnie Kent on lap two then had to hold off Zach Morrow over the final 17 laps to score his second win of the season in the RUSH Sprint Cars. It was just the third completed event in nine tries this year at Sharon for the non-wing, 602 crate engine second year division.
“Whoever does this race track- this is bad ass,” expressed the 42-year-old Bemus Point, NY standout. “There’s 18 lanes of racing right now. This is really cool to be a part of this. The two weeks off allowed us to gather stuff back up as Kevin’s (Ruhlman) stuff was pretty tore up from the last time we were here and I’m not going to do it without him. Glad to be back and back winning.”
Ruhlman started fourth and passed both Jeremy Weaver and Morrow on the opening lap for second. Ruhlman’s winning move came one lap later when he drove around Kent off turn two. Morrow did the same move on Kent to secure second on lap three, while sixth starting Brandon Blackshear snuck under Kent for third.
After a caution for rookie Nolan Grove’s spin with four completed, it was a three-car race for the lead up front between Ruhlman, Morrow, and Blackshear. Morrow, who was running the extreme bottom, began to close in on the rim-riding Ruhlman as he had the lead down to two tenths and appeared as if he had a shot to overtake Ruhlman, but a caution for Brian Woodhall slowed action with 14 laps completed.
Chad’s brother Brian Ruhlman, who started eighth and was fresh off a runner-up in the Outlaw Mod feature, drove around Blackshear for third on lap 16. Brian Ruhlman then closed on Morrow and his brother in the final laps. Chad Ruhlman though was able to keep the duo at bay as he took the checkered flag first by 0.698 of a second in his Callahan Water Hydraulics/Wicked Wrenches/Kelly Frederes Auto Repair/Close Racing Supply/North Star Unlimited/5th St. Sunoco/Jen’s Pink Zebra/Ruhlman Race Cars/Premier Communications-sponsored #87R for his third career Sharon RUSH Sprint Car win. Blackshear was fourth over 12th starting Andy Feil. Kent and Morrow won the heat races over the 19-car field.
Andy Buckley led wire-to-wire in the 15-lap Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mod feature for his first career win in the division. Buckley now has four career Sharon wins coming in three different divisions with two in the Stocks, one in the E-Mods, and now one in the Econo Mods! Buckley also became the season’s sixth different winner in seven races.
“It’s been awhile coming,” acknowledged the 50-year-old Stoneboro, Pa. driver, who last won at Sharon on May 27, 2017 in a Stock Car. “They did a good job on the race track tonight; you couldn’t find a rut in it if you tried. Kudos to Dave (Willoughby).”
Buckley started on the outside pole and took charge over Brian Huchko, Ty Rhoades, Jarrett Young, and Jim Clay. Rhoades and Jeremy Double started side-by-side in row three and came forward as they took over second and third on laps two and three respectively. Rhoades and Double closed in on Buckley on lap seven. Lapped traffic came into play on laps 10 and 11, while Double made the pass for second on the 11th circuit. A spin by Pat Drennan slowed action with 13 laps scored.
Buckley chose the inside for the double file restart and was able to hold off Double in the final two-dap sprint to finish by 0.569 of a second in the Gerald Leamer-owned, Hillside Stone/Marlowe’s Campground/Thomas Construction-sponsored #965. Buckley became the 32nd driver to win an Econo Mod feature in the 10-year history of the division. Rhoades was third. Dustin DeMattia came from the tail after an opening lap spin to finish fourth to earn his first track championship. Clay was fifth. Buzz Seitz, Dan McEwen, and Double won the heat races over the 21-car field.
FAST Series for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars (30 laps, $3,000 to-win): 1. SYE LYNCH (42) 2. Brandon Matus (13) 3. Cole Duncan (22) 4. Carl Bowser (11) 5. Jack Sodeman, Jr. (23Jr) 6. Dan Kuriger (08) 7. Caleb Griffith (Ward 33W) 8. Tyler Gunn (68G) 9. Adam Kekich (5K) 10. John Garvin, Jr. (J4) 11. Lee Jacobs (Lewis 81) 12. Michael Bauer (46) 13. Frankie Nervo (21N) 14. Darin Gallagher (12) 15. Brent Matus (33) 16. Darren Pifer (23) 17. Jimmy Morris III (Stafford 4N) 18. Brandon Spithaler (22) 19. Jordan Harble (5) 20. Dan McCarron (22M) 21. Jared McFarland (250) 22. Russ Sansosti (23s) 23. Gary Kriess, Jr. (Frederick 55) 24. Brett Brunkenhoefer (Kish 47). DNQ: Lance Christie (Kish 45), George Englert (11x), Jeremy Kornbau (27K), Joe McEwen (44), Logan McCandless (29), Ryan Broughton (22).
Outlaw (E) Mods “Bickerstaff Cup” Series Race #3 (25 laps, $1,200 to-win): 1. DAN DAVIES (71D) 2. Brian Ruhlman (49) 3. Randy Hall (Engles 68) 4. Josh Ferry (33) 5. Mike Potosky (m20) 6. Joel Watson (11x) 7. Butch Lambert (Hendrickson 19) 8. Mike Kinney (Porter 20P) 9. Gary Eicher (29) 10. Joe Gabrielson (58) 11. Scott Stiffler (14) 12. Amanda Stiffler (14A) 13. Brandon Grossman (17G) 14. Buzz Seitz (1) 15. Alan Atkinson (32) 16. Jeff Johnson (27) 17. Dusty Boley (75) 18. Chris Basich (71c) 19. Howard Fraley (217) 20. Mark Titus (25) 21. Dan McEwen (44) 22. Brian Huffman (07x)-DNS 23. Rich Michael, Jr. (17x)-DNS 24. Ray Gregory (82)-DNS.
RUSH Touring Series for the HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (25 laps, $600 to-win): 1. GARRETT KRUMMERT (Schaffer 10s) 2. Kole Holden (2) 3. Rob Kristyak (00) 4. Chas Wolbert (c3) 5. Jim Rasey (32) 6. Eric Gabany (Schaffer 4s) 7. Blaze Myers (43JR) 8. Tony Tatgenhorst (63T) 9. Connor King (19) 10. Gary Haupt (16) 11. Josh Deems (9D) 12. Chelsie Kriegisch (10) 13. Jessica Kriegisch (63) 14. Calvin Clay (12c) 15. Jim Bryce (Schaffer 44) 16. D.J. Schrader (14) 17. Clayton Deems (55R) 18. Jacob Jordan (28J) 19. Teddy Williams II (818) 20. Kyle Martell (8) 21. Jerry Schaffer (14) 22. Gage Priester (71) 23. David Kalb, Jr. (11J) 24. Greg Porter (25). DNQ: Brandon Albert (30), Amelia Clay (16c), Pat Adams (39), Preston Cope (24P), Dale Fuller (Blaney 11B), Justin Halicki (24), Nathen McDowell (11G), Will Schaffer (4), Cameron Nastasi (615).
RUSH Sprint Cars (20 laps): 1. CHAD RUHLMAN (87R) 2. Zach Morrow (27) 3. Brian Ruhlman (49) 4. Brandon Blackshear (10) 5. Andy Feil (Mahoning/Eckart 9J) 6. Kevin Ruhlman (23) 7. Brad Blackshear (19) 8. Matt Sherlock III (55) 9. Jeremy Weaver (Hull 41) 10. Ryan Fraley (12) 11. Scott Hawkins (37) 12. Shawn Smith (36) 13. Nolan Groves (25) 14. Tyler Powell (35) 15. Arnie Kent (18) 16. Brandon Hawkins (27H) 17. Brian Woodhall (8B) 18. Dave Hawkins (27)-DNS 19. Steve Pedley (21)-DNS.
Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods (15 laps): 1. ANDY BUCKLEY (Leamer 965) 2. Jeremy Double (83) 3. Ty Rhoades (12R) 4. Dustin DeMattia (77D) 5. Jim Clay (84) 6. Dan McEwen (44) 7. Mitchell Lam (12) 8. Brian Huchko (60) 9. Buzz Seitz (1) 10. Ray Gregory (82R) 11. Gary Robinson (44R) 12. George Vestal IV (4) 13. Daniel Moffitt (2) 14. Rick Wilson, Jr. (35) 15. Jarrett Young (21) 16. Ed Snyder (25) 17. Pat Drennan (22) 18. Ed Roberts (6s) 19. Wayne Tessean (Williams 7) 20. Jacob Eucker (64)-DNS 21. Brian Toto (8B)-DNS.
Ohio Intra Express/C&R Tire RUSH Sportsman Modified “Wheelman” Non-Winners Race (10 laps, $75 to-win): 1. Tony Tatgenhorst 2. Amelia Clay 3. Preston Cope 4. Cameron Nastasi 5. Brandon Albert 6. Nathen McDowell 7. Justin Halicki 8. Gage Priester 9. Greg Porter-DNS 10. D.J. Schrader-DNS 11. David Kalb, Jr.-DNS 12. Teddy Williams II-DNS 13. Jim Bryce-DNS 14. Calvin Clay-DNS 15. Clayton Deems-DNS 16. Jacob Jordan-DNS 17. Will Schaffer-DNS.
Coming up next Saturday (August 24) will be the fourth and final “Bickerstaff Cup” Series race for the Outlaw Mods paying $3,000 to-win. The Menards “Super Series” event will also include the RUSH Sprint Cars, Stock Cars, and RUSH Sportsman Modifieds for Twin-State Auto Racing Club Night. It’s Allegheny Tool, Graham Machine, and A&MP Electric Night. It’ll be the final night of points. Race time is 7 p.m.
The “Battle at the Border” will feature the World of Outlaws Late Models on August 30 and 31. Friday night will feature a complete show for $6,000 to-win along with the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds for $600 to-win. Saturday will see the Super Late Models battle for $15,000 to-win and will be joined by the Elite Series for the Econo Mods racing for $500 to-win. Tickets are on sale at SharonSpeedway.com.
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.