By MIKE LEONE
HARTFORD, OH – Sharon Speedway is hoping to resume racing action this Saturday night (July 1) after saturated grounds forced last Saturday night to be cancelled. The last “Steel Valley Thunder” racing program to take place was back on June 10 for “Fan Appreciation Night”. Saturday night will be presented by Lincoln Electric and will feature last week’s rescheduled HTMA/Precise Racing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds in a Bicknell Tour for their annual “Manufacturers Night”. The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, and Junior Sprints will also be on the card. Race time is 7 p.m. It’s Armed Forces Night with free general admission for veterans and active servicemen. Grandstand admission for all others remains at $10.
It’ll be a big night for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. Not only will they compete in a Bicknell Racing Products Touring Series event for $600 to-win, but it’s also their annual “Manufacturers Night” as over $19,000 to date has been posted by the Series for giveaways for all competing RUSH drivers. Their 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” Touring event that was originally scheduled to be made up last Saturday night has been moved to August 5.
The RUSH Sportsman Modified division continues to grow. Earlier this season, an all-time division record 30 cars were on hand to compete. Saturday’s program is expected to draw a large field of cars. Kyle Martell has won the Series’ opening two Bicknell Racing Products Tour events including June 9 at Thunder Mountain Speedway and last Sunday at Tri-City Raceway Park. Defending Bicknell Tour Champions are Larry Kugel and Brian Schaffer. Kole Holden enters the night as Sharon’s point leader winning the last two weekly races, and also was victorious on June 17 at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway when Sharon was closed. Rocky Kugel also has a win this season at Sharon.
The ground-pounding Big-Block Modifieds are the big brother to the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds and will also be in action on Saturday night. One-time winner and defending champion, Rex King, Jr., enters the night as the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply point leader by just six points over the consistent Dave Murdick, who will be looking for his season’s first win. Jim Weller, Jr. is only another three points back of Murdick, and owns a feature win this season. Two-time winner, Rex King, is fourth in points ahead of 2016 “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner, Jim Rasey. Will Thomas III, who has championships at Sharon in the RUSH Late Models and E-Mods, has been struggling in his first season of Big-Block Modified racing. He sits 10th in points and is hoping for a good run on Saturday.
Defending champion, Paul Davis, kick started his season at the last event for the Stock Cars on June 10 taking the victory. Andy Thompson is a Sharon regular for the first time in many years and has been very fast and consistent all year as he trails Davis by just 11 points in the Gibson Insurance Agency championship race. Mike Miller has been in the championship hunt the last few years and sits third in points. Three-time champion, Mike Clark, is fourth as he looks for his first win of the season. Jamie Scharba is fifth. Chris McGuire and Andy Buckley have also been victorious this season.
After a slow start in the first two Econo Mod events which ended his run of 17 straight top two finishes, Steve Haefke has been on a roll. The veteran Austintown, Ohio driver has won the last four events including the 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up non-point feature. Despite his success, one-time winner, Zach Myers, trails Haefke by only one-point. Myers will have an opportunity to take over the point lead as Haefke will have his work cut out starting last in the feature due to his three straight wins in weekly competition. Brandon Blackshear, Mike Hillman, and Kyle Miller are third through fifth in the Summit Racing Equipment points.
The Junior Sprints for children will make their second appearance of the season and third ever. Back on May 20, Jordan Simmons picked up the victory. Michael Lutz was the winner at the 2016 “Apple Festival Nationals” and finished third at the last event.
Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5, drivers meeting at 6:30, and racing at 7. Grandstand admission is $10 for those 14 and over. Patio seating upgrades are just $5 and fan suite seating upgrades are just $20 over the cost of general admission. In order to reserve either of these ahead of time, call the office Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 330-772-5481. As always, children under 13, parking, and camping is always FREE! Pit passes are $30. Sharon has a no carry-in cooler policy.
Coming up next will be the “Lou Blaney Memorial” presented by Ollie’s Bargain Outlet on Saturday, July 8 with a return appearance by Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars along with the Big-Block Modifieds. There will be no racing on July 15 due to the Trumbull County Fair. 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.
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.