By MIKE LEONE
HARTFORD, OH – Sharon Speedway wrapped up the month of July on a beautiful evening for “Steel Valley Thunder” racing action on Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Night. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Rex King, Jr.-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, Andrew Gordon-Penn-Ohio Championship Series for the Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Josh Deems-HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and Ty Rhoades-Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods. A total of 103 race cars were on hand in addition to the Junior Sprints for kids. It was also Twin-State Auto Racing Club Night.
Rex King, Jr. has won three of the last four track championships for the Big-Block Modifieds at Sharon, but with all of the early season rainouts Saturday night marked just the division’s third race of the season as ironically all came during the month of July! The 27-year-old Bristolville, Ohio racer is sure glad to get back to racing at his home track as he was able to capture his second straight victory in the 25-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply-sponsored feature.
Fresh off last weekend’s $4,000 Mod Tour sweep at Lernerville and Sharon Speedways, King, Jr. took the lead on lap two and went on to blister the field in the non-stop event timed in 7:37.339. King, Jr’s margin of victory for his 25th career win was a big 5.047 seconds just one week after winning by 4.358 seconds in the King Bros. Ready Mix Concrete/King Sanitary/Bristol Disposal/Reese Services-sponsored #165!
Jim Weller, Jr. was second as he edged out Garrett Krummert. Jim Rasey, who won Friday night at Lernerville, was fourth over a strong run by Rick Regalski, Jr. Brad Rapp, Rex King, and Steve Feder were the final cars on the lead lap in sixth through eighth. Will Thomas III and Dave Murdick were one lap down in ninth and 10th. Heat wins went to Rasey and Regalski.
Like King, Jr., Andrew Gordon was also able to score back-to-back wins at Sharon. After a dominating performance one week ago to take the $700 Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car event, Gordon returned to victory lane this time against a big 43-car field in the second appearance by the Penn-Ohio Series. Despite starting 10th, the 28-year-old DuBois, Pa. driver took the lead early and controlled the 25-lap feature for the $1,000 payday. Gordon’s Staar Trucking/Pizza Hut-sponsored #25A garnered his fourth career Sharon win by 2.026 seconds.
Tim Deutsch was making just his second start of the season at Sharon and came home second to back-up his runner-up finish the night before at Raceway 7. Alan Dellinger brought the Bish #1B home in third over Jeff Broniszewski and Rob Shook. Sharon point leader, Chris McGuire, beat out runner-up point man, Steve D’Apolito who started 22nd, for sixth. Luke Rutsky, Bobby Whitling, and Jamie Scharba completed the top 10. Broniszewski, Whitling, Mike Clark, Shaun Hooks, and Shook captured the heat races, while Curt J. Bish and D’Apolito spilt the last chance B main. Pat McGuire won the mechanics race in the #63 to close out the night.
The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds were competing in their sixth event of the season on Saturday night and Josh Deems became the amazing fourth different driver to win their first feature event in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products class at Sharon! First it was 14-year-old Blaze Myers winning his first career feature then newcomer to the class Garrett Krummert, followed by Jeremy Weaver’s second career win and first ever at Sharon, and now Deems gets to add his name as a Sharon Speedway winner.
One week after going eighth to third, the 28-year-old Deems of Volant, Pa., fought his way past Chas Wolbert coming to the white flag then took the checkered flag first in his unsponsored #9D by 1.086 seconds over point leader Krummert, who is the only driver to repeat this season. Deems became the 16th driver all-time to win in the five-year history of the division. It was a good night for Krummert, who recorded a pair of podium finishes. Wolbert, who also has a win this year, dropped to third. Kole Holden was fourth. Alan Dellinger, who finished third in the Stocks, was fifth in Bob Williams’ #8 for his second top five of the night. Brandon Ritchey, Gary Haupt, and Krummert won the heat races over the 22-car field.
Ty Rhoades has been victorious at several other speedways in the region, and though he’s been close to so many victories at Sharon over the years, he either hasn’t been able to seal the deal or mechanical woes have struck while leading. On Saturday night, the 27-year-old driver who now calls Pittsburgh home, turned the tables sneaking past defending and two-time champion, Steve Haefke, on the final lap to capture his first career Sharon win in the 20-lap Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mod feature.
Rhoades’ margin of victory in his Bloom Machineworks/Trace Lawn & Landscaping/Wedge Motorsports/Always Racing/A&MP Electric/Talbor Inc/Dirt Rhoades Logging/Village Auto/Bodies by Reinwald/Weldbark Energy-sponsored #12R came by just 0.450 of a second. Rhoades became the 29th different driver all-time to win in the nine-year history of the division as he earned $400 in the higher payoff with 24 cars on hand. Dustin Demattia continued his strong performances in his rookie season at Sharon with a third over last week’s winner, Dwayne Clay. Josh Mueller was fifth. Haefke, Brian Toto, and Demattia won the heat races.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds (25 laps): 1. REX KING, JR (165) 2. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 3. Garrett Krummert (10S) 4. Jim Rasey (32) 5. Rick Regalski, Jr (13) 6. Brad Rapp (11R) 7. Rex King (65) 8. Steve Feder (45) 9. Will Thomas III (9) 10. Dave Murdick (61) 11. Kyle Fink (66F) 12. Tom Glenn (83T) 13. Skip Moore (17M) 14. Kevin Green (74).
Penn-Ohio Championship Series for Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (25 laps, $1000 to-win): 1. ANDREW GORDON (25A) 2. Tim Deutsch (20) 3. Alan Dellinger (Bish 1B) 4. Jeff Broniszewski (08) 5. Rob Shook (Keihl 64) 6. Chris McGuire (63) 7. Steve D’Apolito (84) 8. Luke Rutsky (22R) 9. Bobby Whitling (7W) 10. Jamie Scharba (11S) 11. Leigh Wheeler (717) 12. Jason Fosnaught (Tristani 73) 13. Curtis J. Bish (Tarr 29) 14. Tim Bish (11B) 15. Bryan Wagner (56) 16. Rod Laskey (1R) 17. Steve Allison (1BAD) 18. Terry Wheeler (2W) 19. Paul Davis (3) 20. Mike Clark (7) 21. Nick Kocuba (10) 22. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 23. Rusty Wheeler (44) 24. Tyler Thompson (T2) 25. Shaun Hooks (65) 26. Jason Jones (81). DNQ: Jarod Larson (47), Bobby Heim (92), Brett McDonald (25), Brian Carothers (02c), Michael Hudzik (31H), Chris Withers (21W), Larry Kugel (Petsko 00), Ryan Newman (12), Jacob Billyk (4), Barry Faris (3c), Mike Bordt (26), Jamie Duncan (67J), Clyde Roberts (33c), Jamie Maxwell (6), Andy Buckley (965), Russ Coyne (8c), Chris Schneider (55).
HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (20 laps): 1. JOSH DEEMS (9D) 2. Garrett Krummert (10S) 3. Chas Wolbert (c3) 4. Kole Holden (2) 5. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 6. Jeremy Weaver (35W) 7. Gary Haupt (16) 8. Brian Schaffer (41) 9. Rob Kristyak (00) 10. Tony Tatgenhorst (63T) 11. Kyle Martell (8) 12. Steve Slater (29S) 13. Jacob Jordan (28J) 14. David Kalb, Jr. (11J) 15. Cameron Nastasi (615) 16. Brandon Ritchey (17) 17. Jessica Kriegisch (63) 18. Jacob Wolfe (7) 19. Preston Cope (24P) 20. Jordan Ehrenberg (JD57) 21. Lexi Couch (51) 22. Lucas DeGroat (03)-DNS.
Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods (20 laps, $400 to-win): 1. TY RHOADES (12R) 2. Steve Haefke (41) 3. Dustin Demattia (77D) 4. Dwayne Clay (007) 5. Josh Mueller (01) 6. Jacob Eucker (64) 7. Brian Huchko (60) 8. Keith Felicetty (98) 9. Brian Toto (8B) 10. Brandon Blackshear (10) 11. James Clay (84) 12. Dan McEwen (44) 13. Mark Titus (25) 14. Brandon Fiedler (18) 15. Mitchell Lam (12) 16. George Vestal IV (4) 17. Todd Canter (Gregory 82R) 18. Rick Wilson, Jr. (35) 19. Bud Watson (Rogers 60) 20. Jeremy Double (83) 21. Bob Simmons (4RJ) 22. Pat Drennan (Sirrine 22) 23. Mike Hillman (29) 24. Tyler Frankenberry (38).
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.