By MIKE LEONE
Hartford, OH – The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars will be making their third appearance of the 2019 season at Sharon Speedway on Tuesday night (June 18) when Tony Stewart’s Ollie’s Bargain All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 come to town for the 37th annual Cometic Gaskets Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Indy Metal Finishing. The non-wing RUSH Sprint Cars will also be in action on Colella & Humphries CPA and Tom’s Sewer & Septic Night. Warm-ups for the All Star Sprints are scheduled for 6:15 p.m. followed by qualifying and racing. Reserved and advanced tickets are on sale at SharonSpeedway.com.
The 2019 Ohio Sprint Speedweek will again 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 another increase in the points fund with $4,000 now going to the champion and paying down 10 positions. Sharon’s race will pay $5,000 to-win, $500 to-start. The All Stars continue to flourish under the fifth 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 in 2016 winning his first career All Star race before tragically losing his life in a racing accident later in the summer. In 2017, Kyle Larson scored a popular win over a big field of 48 cars. Larson’s bid for two straight Sharon Speedweek wins ended last year when Christopher Bell made a late race pass to repeat his 2017 “Lou Blaney Memorial” winning ways at the Hartford, Ohio oval. Once again 48 cars were on hand.
“Sharon has always played an important part in Ohio Speedweek history,” stated 10th 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 has been 46! 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. Larson, Bell, and Rico Abreu are again all expected to compete along with Dave Blaney- a 29-time Sharon “410” Sprint Car winner. Californian Michael “Buddy” Kofoid has been turning heads in Ohio driving for Ohio’s Ed Neumeister and will be participating in Ohio Speedweek. Tim Shaffer continues to be fast in the locally based Demyan/Rudzik team. He has two All Star wins this season and is a two-time Speedweek champion. Tony Stewart has competed in Speedweek events in the past, and in fact finished second to Cole Duncan in the FAST show on May 11.
Defending $50,000 All Star Champion, Aaron Reutzel, is again at the top of the points as the Texan has two victories to date. All Star rookie, Spencer Bayston, is second. Fifteen-time Sharon winner, Dale Blaney, is third in points after winning his first race of the season last Saturday night at Stateline Speedway. That victory gave him at least one win each of his 30 years of racing “410” Sprint Cars. Completing the top 10 in All Star points are Cory Eliason, Paul McMahan, Brock Zearfoss, Skylar Gee, Greg Wilson, Gerard McIntyre, Jr., and Tyler Esh. Western Pa’s George Hobaugh, who won his first career “410” race at Sharon last year, is 11th in points in his first year on the tour.
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, has two wins at Sharon in his career. Sye also has two wins already this season at Lernerville Speedway. 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. Sodeman won his first race of 2019 at Lernerville on May 31.
There have been 10 different winners in the past 10 “410” Sprint Car events at Sharon dating back to last season. Will there be an 11th different winner on Tuesday night!? The All Stars will return to Sharon two and a half weeks later on Saturday, July 6 for the 11th annual “Lou Blaney Memorial” along with The Mod Tour for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds.
The RUSH Sprint Cars will be the only support division on Tuesday. The non-wing cars finally got their first race in at Sharon of 2019 after being rained out three times this year; in fact, the RUSH Sprints had rained out four straight times dating back to last season. Chad Ruhlman edged out Brian Woodhall for the victory on Saturday night. The defending $5,000 Series Champion also won in last year’s only appearance. It was a big night for the Ruhlmans as Chad’s son Kevin finished third and his brother Brian, who won the $1,200 E-Mod feature, was fourth in the Sprint feature. The RUSH Sprints will be doing their own Speedweek as Tuesday’s event closes out their four races in five nights Tri-State Speedweek.
Pits open at 3 p.m. with grandstands at 4. All Star drivers meeting will be at 5:40 p.m. followed by motor heat, All Star warm-ups at 6:15 then into their qualifying with heat race action to follow. 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. 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.