By MIKE LEONE
HARTFORD, OH – Outside of a successful May 5 event for the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars, Mother Nature has been the big winner to date at Sharon Speedway claiming the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event, two Menards “Super Series” events along with two practice nights. Management though is hoping for better weather this Saturday night (May 19) for the annual FREE “Fan Appreciation & Autograph Night” featuring a full program of Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods on Mark Thomas Ford Night. Race time is 7 p.m.
Sharon Speedway invites everyone to come out and enjoy this complimentary night of racing with FREE general admission for the grandstands. During intermission (prior to the feature events), all of the competing cars will be brought out onto the speedway for a meet and greet session with the fans for pictures and autographs.
The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds will headline the program in their season opening event. Rex King, Jr. leads the way. The Bristolville, Ohio driver has won three of the last four titles and has upped his career win total to 23. In addition, “Cooter” has won one of the only three Big-Block Modified events completed thus far in the region taking home last Friday night’s honors at Lernerville Speedway. His father Rex Sr. is a five-time track champion and leads the active drivers with 53 career wins. Jim Weller, Jr. has posted 36 career wins and three track titles. Other active top racers with career wins in parentheses including Kevin Bolland (22), Jim Rasey (19), Brian Swartzlander (14), Dave Murdick (9).
After rainouts on April 28 and May 12, the Stock Cars will attempt to get their season underway on Saturday night. After Mike Clark won three consecutive Gibson Insurance Agency titles (2013-2015), veteran Paul Davis not only put a stop to the streak in 2016 but repeated the feat in 2017. Davis is now up to 22 career Stock Car wins at the track, while Davis has 17; however, it’s still Steve D’Apolito leading the active win list. D’Apolito owns 32 career wins and four track championships at the Hartford, Ohio oval, and in recent years has been competing with a GM 604 crate engine. The Stock Cars should have strong fields of cars weekly getting tuned up for the $10,000 to-win Penn-Ohio “Steel Valley Pro Stock Nationals” on June 16.
The HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will attempt for the fourth time to kick-off their season as they begin their fifth year of competition at Sharon and fourth as a weekly division. Car counts have grown each year with an average count of 24 last year. Only on one night in each of the last two seasons has there been less than 20 cars. Greg Martin, Brandon Ritchey, and Kole Holden are past track champions. Top racers Alan Dellinger, Garrett Krummert, and Rob Kristyak will be new weekly competitors in 2018 along with several other newcomers like Tony Tatgenhorst, who raced at Sharon in Mod Lites, RUSH Late Models, and E-Mods.
The Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods opened their season on May 5 as Brad Blackshear took the $500 top honors. Blackshear was the inaugural champion back in 2010 and then ended a near six-year winless drought at Sharon with his fifth career win on Saturday night. Defending two-time champion, Steve Haefke, was battling for the victory when he spun on the final lap.
For all regular events, Sharon will continue to offer a higher purse structure if 24 or more cars are on hand for any of the weekly divisions and a non-qualifier if there are 32 or more cars.
Race teams can enter the pit area throughout the day. Pits will be cleared before 4 p.m. with pit passes going on sale at 4. Main grandstands open at 5 p.m. Pill draw will close at 6:20 p.m. with warm-ups at 6:30 followed by the drivers meeting and racing at 7. Pit passes are $30. Pit passes for children 12 and under are $20. Sharon has a no carry-in cooler policy.
Coming up on Saturday, May 19 will be a Menards “Super Series” event featuring the first appearance by The Mod Tour in a $2,000 to-win event for the big blocks. They’ll be joined by the Stock Cars, RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and Econo Mods. Power wheels races for kids will be held at intermission. It’s Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Night. Race time is at 7 p.m.
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.