By MIKE LEONE
HARTFORD, OH – Sharon Speedway is set for one of its biggest nights of the season this Saturday night (June 10). FREE “Appreciation Night” presented by Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing will allow all spectators into the grandstands for free general admission. The “Steel Valley Thunder” racing program part of the 88th anniversary season will include the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and the Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods. Grandstand gates will open early at 3 p.m. for the pre-race festivities with warm-ups at 6:40 and racing at 7.
Following preliminary heat race action during intermission, race fans will be able to come onto the speedway to see the cars and stars of all four competing divisions. It’s an excellent meet and greet opportunity for pictures and autographs. Many of the racers will be handing out autograph cards.
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing is offering fans a chance to win a trip for two to the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Series Championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, 2017. One winner, selected randomly from those in attendance who enter, will receive:
* Round-trip airfare for the winner and guest * Three nights’ hotel accommodations * Ford Eco-Boost 400 grandstand tickets to the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Series Championship race and race-day hospitality package * A VISA gift card for meals and incidentals ($500) * Motorcraft apparel package and No. 21 race team autographed memorabilia
“We take great pride in sponsoring Fan Appreciation Night at Sharon Speedway,” said Brett Wheatley, executive director of North America, Ford Customer Service Division. “Dirt-track racing is the very essence of racing in America and we’re happy to share in this day of appreciation for fans of racing and as a ‘thank you’ for the continued support of our Motorcraft parts and our nationwide network of Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers.”
“Being able to collaborate with track owners Dave and Lisa Blaney, proud parents of our No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion driver Ryan Blaney, will make this day even more extraordinary,” Wheatley continued. “Adding to the festivities, fans in attendance can win ‘The Works’ vehicle service package if Ryan wins the June 11 NASCAR race at Pocono in our ‘Win With Ryan Blaney’ Challenge.”
“Win With Ryan Blaney Challenge” – Should the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion, driven by Ryan Blaney, win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono on June 11, everyone in attendance at Fan Appreciation Day can take their June 10 Sharon Speedway admission ticket and the “Win With Ryan Blaney” certificate to a participating Youngstown Metro Ford dealership or Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center to redeem the “The Works” vehicle service package (or any equivalent $40 service). Sharon Speedway attendees will receive the “Win With Ryan Blaney” Challenge certificate as part of a welcome package upon entry.
“Fan Appreciation Night is always a great event at our track and having Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing as the presenting sponsor will make it even more so,” said Sharon Speedway co-owner Dave Blaney. “In addition to the free admission, there will be a travel sweepstakes, a line-up of Ford’s latest vehicles, family friendly activities and giveaways for fans of all ages.”
Will there be a fourth different Big-Block Modified winner in four races Saturday? Time will tell. Veteran Rex King opened the season victorious followed up by his son Rex, Jr. Last Saturday night, the Weller cars took one-two with Jim Weller, Jr. picking up the win over Aussie Peter Britten, who was subbing for Jimmy Weller III. King, Jr. is in search of his third title in four years, but has just a one-point lead in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply standings over Dave Murdick, who would love to win his first of the season and take over the point lead.
After having the night off last week, the Stock Cars return on Saturday night. The Stocks have brought strong car counts this season and that’s expected again on Saturday night. Defending champion, Paul Davis, is looking for his season’s first win, but has a four-point lead in the Gibson Insurance Agency standings over Andy Thompson, who is racing weekly at Sharon this season. Three-time champion, Mike Clark, trails Davis by only seven markers.
The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds have completed just two events this season at Sharon with an average car count of 25, which was also the count back on May 13 when they were rained out during heat race action. Eighteen-year-old Kole Holden won his first race at Sharon in over a year last Saturday night. Atop the standings is Shayne Izzo, who recorded his career best finish in racing on May 27 when he finished runner-up to Rocky Kugel. Izzo has a one-point lead over Holden in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products standings. Chelsie Kriegisch is third in points and is one of three female racers in the top 12 in points. There are actually four females that compete weekly in the division!
The Econo Mods have completed more events than any other division with five feature events in the record books including last Saturday’s 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up feature. Steve Haefke entered the season with 17 straight top two finishes, but was unable to continue that magic in the first two events. Haefke though is back to his winning ways as the defending champion has won three straight features. Zach Myers meanwhile has finished runner-up to Haefke in those three feature events and also won the May 20 event to lead the points by two over Haefke. Opening night winner, Brandon Blackshear, sits third.
Pits will still open at 4 p.m. with the drivers meeting and pill cutoff at 6:20, warm-ups are at 6:40, and racing at 7. Pit passes are $30. Sharon has a no carry-in cooler policy.
There will be no racing next Saturday, June 17. On Tuesday, June 20 Ohio Speedweek comes to Sharon featuring Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars in a $5,000 to-win event along with the Mini Stocks for $300 to-win. The “Lou Blaney Memorial” will take place on Saturday, July 8 with a return appearance by the All Star Sprint Cars along with the Big-Block Modifieds. On Thursday, July 20, the Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series will be back for the second straight year in a $6,000 to-win event plus the Mini Stocks again for $300 to-win.
Sharon Speedway is owned by the Blaney, Weller, and Kirila Families and is a 3/8-mile dirt track located at 3241 Custer-Orangeville Road, Hartford, OH 44424 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.