By MIKE LEONE
HARTFORD, OH – The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars will be making their third appearance of the 2018 season at Sharon Speedway this Tuesday (June 19) when Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 come to town for the 36th annual Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Cometic Gasket. The HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will also be in action on Tom’s Sewer and Stackhouse Construction Night. Warm-ups for Sprints are scheduled for approximately 6:20 p.m. followed by qualifying and racing. Reserved and advanced tickets are on sale at SharonSpeedway.com.
The 2018 Ohio Sprint Speedweek will feature nine straight nights of racing at eight different speedways beginning at Attica Raceway Park on Friday night with the Sharon event being stop #5 of the popular summer tradition. This year’s Speedweek will see a $7,000 increase in the points fund with $3,000 going to the champion. Sharon’s race will pay $5,000 to-win. The All Stars continue to flourish under the fourth year of ownership by Tony Stewart.
After a five-year absence, Ohio Speedweek returned to Sharon in 2010 as Tim Shaffer topped a 42-car field for the victory. In 2011, it was hometown favorite Dale Blaney winning the Sharon leg of Speedweek over a 45-car field. In 2012, in a stunning turn of events, local racer Brandon Matus came out victorious for his first career win with both the All Stars and at Sharon. Another strong field of 43 cars was on hand. The 2013 event was rained out before a car ever hit the speedway, and the 2014 event fell victim to Mother Nature before the gates ever opened.
In 2015, Blaney won his second Speedweek race in three events at Sharon over another strong 42-car field. Bryan Clauson topped a huge 51-car field winning his first career All Star race before tragically losing his life in a racing accident later in the summer. Last year, saw Kyle Larson take a popular win over a big field of 48 cars.
“Sharon has always played an important part in Ohio Speedweek history,” explained ninth year GM Dave Willoughby. “Sharon was there at the beginning, and we’re happy once again to be part of this long-running tradition. Since returning to the Speedweek lineup in 2010, the average car counts of our events have been over 45! Hopefully we have good weather on Tuesday and fans and racers will come out and support this great event so we can continue to host this event for years to come.”
Ohio Speedweek always draws in top talent from the Midwest, along with the strong core of All Star regulars, several Australians, the best from western Pa., usually a couple from central Pa. like Danny Dietrich, and always some surprises. Last year’s Sharon Speedweek winner, Kyle Larson, along with last year’s “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner, Christopher Bell, will both be in action on Tuesday night. California racers Rico Abreu and Gio Scelzi, the 16-year-old youngest son of drag racing great Gary Scelzi, will be running Ohio Speedweek.
Tim Shaffer, who made headlines in April winning more than $100,000 at Mansfield, enters as the defending Speedweek Champion for the locally-based Demyan-Rudzik team. Shaffer also has two All Star wins this season despite not racing with the Series full-time.
Texan Aaron Reutzel currently leads the All Star points with two victories, which ironically came at Sharon and Lernerville. Reutzel has just a 22-point lead on another Series newcomer in Californian Carson Macedo. Macedo enters Speedweek hot winning the Series’ last two races last weekend in New York. Sitting third in points is six-time Series defending champion Chad Kemenah. The Alveda, Ohio driver owns five career All Star victories at Sharon in addition to winning the June 2 $3,000 non-sanctioned event at Sharon. Jac Haudenschild and Parker Price-Miller complete the top five in the All Stars standings.
Brothers Dave and Dale Blaney own 28 and 14 Sprint Car wins respectively at their home track. Dave is an All Star regular in 2018 as he’s currently sixth in points, while Dale is expected to return to action since sitting out since early spring due to a work-related injury. The top active local Sprint Car winner at Sharon is Jack Sodeman, Jr. The North Jackson, Ohio racer has 12 victories along with the 2010 track championship- the last year Sprints ran weekly.
Ed Lynch, Jr. is the all-time winningest Sprint Car driver at Sharon with 50 victories. Though Ed, Jr. is no longer active, his youngest son, Sye, won the final 2017 “410” Sprint Car event last September for his first career win.
The All Stars will return two and a half weeks later on Saturday, July 7 for the 10th annual “Lou Blaney Memorial” along with The Mod Tour for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds.
The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will be the only support division on the card on Tuesday night racing for $500 to-win. The growing class has only been able to complete one event this season due to the rainy weather. On June 2, Blaze Myers topped a record 31-car field for the 14-year-old’s first career win. Tuesday’s event will be a points event for both Sharon and the RUSH Weekly Series. The Bicknell Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modified Tour will make its first of two appearances on Saturday, June 23 for the Series’ “Manufacturers Night”.
Grandstand admission tickets are $25. Reserved and advanced tickets are available online at SharonSpeedway.com by clicking “Buy Tickets” at the top left of the page. Children 13 and under are FREE. Pit passes are $35, while children’s pit passes for those 12 and under are $25. Pits open at 3 p.m. with grandstands at 4. Parking and camping are free. Sharon has a no carry-in cooler policy.
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.