By MIKE LEONE
HARTFORD, OH – Sharon Speedway was finally able to kickoff the 90th anniversary season last Saturday night with the FAST “410” Sprint show and the conclusion of the 2018 “Apple Festival Nationals”. While the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars return this Saturday night (May 18) in another Menards “Super Series” event, the championship title hunt begins for the Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and the Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods. The Junior Sprints for kids will also be on the program on Nese’s Country Cafe Night. It’s Scout and Youth Sports Night with those in uniform admitted free. Race time is 7 p.m.
The “410” Sprint Cars put on a tremendous show last Saturday night with Cole Duncan withstanding the challenges of Tony Stewart for the $3,000 FAST-sanctioned victory that came over an excellent field of 43 cars. FAST will return again on August 17. The “410” Sprints will be right back at it this Saturday night in another $3,000 to-win show. Last year, the Sprint Car events had at least 29 cars present every night with eight different winners in eight events. Duncan’s first career Sharon win last week accounted for the ninth different winners in the last nine races! Will there be a 10th different winner this Saturday night!?
Saturday will utilize the hot lap/group qualifying format that was used last year in the “Super Series” Sprint Car events. Two to three cars will qualify at a time only amongst their heat race group. The fastest four in each heat will be inverted with the top three redrawing plus the fastest transferring non-top three finisher if there are three heats or the top two plus the two fastest transferring non-top two finishers if there are four heats. The B main will be lined up heads up on heat race finishes. Heat and B main finish(es) will complete the 24-car starting lineup. Mufflers are not required and there’s no registration or entry fee.
Last season, Chris McGuire put an end to Mike Clark and Paul Davis’ run in Stock Car titles at Sharon Speedway. McGuire became the first driver since 2012 other than Clark or Davis to win a title. McGuire will begin his title defense on Saturday night in the Gibson Insurance Agency division. Alan Dellinger leads the all-time Stock Car win list with 65 victories. Four-time champion, Steve D’Apolito, is the top active winner in the division with 32 victories. Last Saturday, Chris Schneider’s $2,000 Penn-Ohio Series victory was the 10th of his career at the track.
The $3,000 to-win RUSH Sportsman Modified Weekly Series Championship got underway last Saturday with Chas Wolbert victorious in the $800 to-win make-up feature. Wolbert enters Saturday night with a five-race win streak dating back to last season with two of the victories being Touring Series events. The HTMA/Precise Racing Products Championship hunt will begin for Sharon track points on Saturday night. Greg Martin, Brandon Ritchey, Kole Holden, and Garrett Krummert are past track champions. Car counts have grown each year with an average count of 28 last year. Only on two occasions in past three seasons has there been less than 20 cars.
Saturday will also kick-off the yearlong “Wheelman” Bonus Event Series presented by C&R Tire and Ohio Intra Express for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. Each night, a separate race will be run for RUSH Modified racers that have never won a feature in a full-size car (excluding Mini Stocks). The lineup will be an invert from eligible racers’ heat race finishes. RUSH will also tally a separate points standings for these events that will pay five positions for member racers.
The Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods will round out the program for full-size race cars. The Econo Mods’ 10th season as a weekly division got underway last Saturday when Kyle Miller captured his second career win at the track in the 2018 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up, which featured a total of 38 cars competing at the event. Jacob Eucker is the defending champion and he’s the only one of the past champions that is expected to contend for the 2019 title.
Pits will be open throughout the afternoon on Saturday with pit passes going on sale at 4 p.m., while the main grandstands open at 5. Drivers meeting will be at 6:00 p.m. followed by Sprint engine starts at 6:15 and group qualifying at 6:30. Heat races are scheduled for 7.
Grandstand admission for those 14 and over is $13, while senior citizens are $10. 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 14 and parking are always FREE! Pit passes are $30. As a reminder, coolers nor outside food or beverages are not permitted.
Coming up on Saturday, May 25 will be the first appearance of the season by the Big-Block Modifieds in a Menards “Super Series” event. The winner will receive a guaranteed starting spot for the July 30 Super DIRTcar Series event. Also on the card will be the RUSH Sprint Cars, RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Econo Mods, and Junior Sprints. It’s Twin-State Auto Racing Club Night. Race time is 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. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sharonspeedway and follow us on Twitter @sharonspdwy.