By MIKE LEONE
HARTFORD, OH – After a week off for the Trumbull County Fair and a rain out, Sharon Speedway on Saturday night was able to complete their first show since the ultra-successful “Lou Blaney Memorial” back on July 6. Picking up victories and celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane on Texas Roadhouse Night were Dave Blaney-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars, Chris Schneider-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Dustin Demattia-Elite Series for the Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, and Kole Holden-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods. Also, Amelia Clay won the “Wheelman” Non-Winners race presented by Ohio Intra Express and C&R Tire for the RUSH Mods, while Randy White and Sam Darby copped the two Junior Sprint feature wins. There were 106 race cars plus a record 15 Junior Sprints in the pits.
On June 29, Dave Blaney picked up his season’s first win- milestone #30 for his career at Sharon Speedway in the “410” Sprint Cars. The following Saturday night, Dave failed to qualify for the All Star Circuit of Champions feature as he watched his brother Dale capture his first career “Lou Blaney Memorial” win. Fast forward two weeks to Saturday night and Dave returned to his winning ways. The “Buckeye Bullet” charged from the eighth starting spot and emerged victorious from a thrilling three-car battle for the lead over the first 15 laps with Dan Shetler and Chad Kemenah for the $3,000 victory. The win marked the third straight for the Blaney brothers at their track as the duo are the only drivers to win multiple features over the 13 “410” Sprint features run the last two years.
“I hope all you fans enjoyed that,” expressed the 56-year-old Hartford, Ohio native who now calls Concord, North Carolina home. “That was awesome. What a fun, fun race track- I love it. The track was slow, but it’s so racey. When you get in lapped traffic that just throws everyone’s rhythm off and you have to do something different. We came here a week before the Lou Blaney race and ran well then had a totally horrible night. I felt bad to have a bad night on dad’s night, but it’s always fun to come back and win.”
After blowing a motor on Friday night at Thunder Mountain Speedway, Chad Kemenah was behind the wheel of John Garvin’s #J4 and powered into the early lead driving around Sye Lynch on the outside. Fifth starting Dan Shetler raced into second, while Blaney advanced five positions on the opening lap to third as Lynch dropped to fourth. The event’s only caution occurred when fifth running Trevor Baker spun in turn two with one lap scored.
When racing resumed, the top three of Kemenah, Shetler, and Blaney quickly pulled away while it was three-wide for fourth with sixth starting Cody Bova moving into the fourth position. Back up front, Kemenah and Shetler raced side-by-side for the lead on laps seven and eight as Kemenah barely held on. Lapped traffic came into play on lap nine with Blaney sneaking under Shetler for second. Now Blaney and Kemenah put on a tremendous battle racing side-by-side for the lead on laps 10, 11, and 12. Shetler though didn’t go away as he rejoined the fight for the lead as it was three-wide on lap 12. Blaney would lead his first lap on the 13th circuit, but now it was Shetler’s turn to lead as was scored as the leader on the 14th circuit. Blaney though would make the winning pass at the halfway point on lap 15.
The final 15 laps saw Blaney drive a perfect race through lapped traffic. Shetler and Kemenah would remain within striking distance, but Blaney was too strong capturing his 31st career “410” win at Sharon and 34th overall at the track by a margin of 2.642 seconds in his J&B Medical Supply/Mohawk Northeast/Bill Davis Trucking/Wicked Cushion/Ryan Blaney Family Foundation-sponsored #98H.
After losing sight of the race for the lead, Kemenah ran down Shetler in the final laps running the outside, but would run out of time to try and make a move as Shetler took runner-up. Tenth starting A.J. Flick came on strong in the second half of the race to finish fourth after getting by Bova on the final lap. Bova had an excellent run in fifth. Completing the top 10 were Jordan Ryan, Carl Bowser, Broc Martin, Brandon Spithaler, and 20th starting Max Stambaugh. Baker set fast time overall in qualifying against the 32-car field with a lap of 14.878. Bova, Blaney, Ryan, and Kemenah won the heat races, while Brent Matus won the last chance B main.
Chris Schneider became the first repeat winner in the Stock Car division this year. Like Blaney, Schneider started his run to the front from the eighth position, but would make his winning pass two laps sooner than Blaney on lap 13. Schneider took over from Jackson Humanic and then cruised over the final seven laps to earn the $700 payday in the 20-lap Gibson Insurance Agency feature.
“I think actually the outside was a little bit better but we aimed to run anywhere on the track because you have to pass cars,” explained the 40-year-old Lower Burrell, Pa. driver. “Humanic was pretty good. He has a car that I built so we’re playing with different stuff. We all tried something a little bit different tonight. I don’t know if I outdrove him or just had a better car. I’ve built 52 cars to date and we’ve refabbed some others. We’re busy back at the shop with a lot of Stock Cars. I like the guys that run for me. We all work together- it’s a good deal.”
2016 and 2017 track champion, Paul Davis, led the opening lap in search of his first win of the season, but his lead was short-lived as Humanic made the pass on lap two prior to Jason Jones making heavy contact with the fence to bring out the caution. Schneider was halfway to the front when racing resumed on lap three then made a three-wide pass to overtake Shaun Hooks for third on lap four.
Schneider’s next victim was Davis. The two ran side-by-side for runner-up on laps seven and eight before Schneider broke free. While Humanic continued to set the pace out front, his lead began to shrink on lap nine and three laps later caught the leader. Schneider would go to the outside of Humanic and nosed ahead to lead lap 13. A pair of cautions for spins by rookie Jordan Perkins and veteran Larry Kugel with 15 laps scored were all that would slow Schneider’s run to the checkered flag.
The last five laps went caution-free as Schneider pulled away from the pack in his Nick’s Chevrolet/It’s All Clean Pressure Washing/SS Chassis & Supply/Hot Dog Guys-sponsored #55 as he took his 11th career win by a comfortable 2.891 seconds. Davis was third as Hooks and Noah Brunell completed the first five. Points leader Chris McGuire was sixth ahead of second place points man, Curt J. Bish. Humanic’s teammate, Gerry Bruce, was eighth as Bryan Wagner and Jamie Duncan rounded out the top 10. Chris Couchenour, McGuire, and Hooks won the heat races over the 28-car field, while Steve D’Apolito won the last chance B main.
On July 13 at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway, second year racer Dustin DeMattia captured his first career win. It didn’t take long for DeMattia to win number two, two weeks in fact, as on Saturday night he came out on top of a caution-plagued 20-lap feature for the Summit Racing Econo Mods. Ironically, both of DeMattia’s wins have come in Elite Series events. DeMattia earned $500 as he became the season’s fourth different winner in as many races.
“We’ve been way too close to not getting it done,” stated the 21-year-old Montville, Ohio racer. “I made a driver error the last time and got passed on the last lap. Hopefully we can keep this rolling now and be there at the end. I owe a lot of success to my dad and brother. My brother works his ass off on this thing, and my girlfriend does the world for me. I can’t thank them and all of my sponsors enough.”
An invert zero from the heat races put 2013 and 2014 track champion, Jeremy Double, and DeMattia on the front row of the feature. DeMattia would use the outside to take the lead on the opening lap over Double and track points leader Ty Rhoades. On lap six following a restart, Rhoades made the pass of Double for second. Seven cautions slowed the event in the first half of the race, but the final 10 laps would go caution-free.
In those final 10 laps, DeMattia’s Larson Trucking/Ed’s Garage/Anton’s Hot Rod Shop/Warren Diesel Performance/Mayfield Brainard Collision/Mahan Welding-sponsored #77D pulled away and went unchallenged to win by a commanding 5.342 seconds over Rhoades. DeMattia became the 31st driver in the 10-year history of the division at Sharon to win a feature event.
Double dropped to third at the finish. Eighth starting Alan Dellinger passed Butch Lambert on lap 18 to finish fourth. Lambert dropped to fifth. Brian Huchko raced from 22nd to sixth over Andy Buckley, Jarrett Young, Kyle Miller, and Gary Robinson. Heat race wins over the 27-car field went to Double, DeMattia, and Rhoades.
After going winless in 2018 and this season to date on the circuit, Kole Holden returned to victory lane in the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds for the first time since his championship season in 2017. Holden took the lead on lap eight from Tony Tatgenhorst and then had to hold off RUSH Weekly Series points leader, Chas Wolbert, for the victory- his first at Sharon since August 19, 2017. The 20-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products-sponsored feature went caution-free once again in 7:01.867.
“You have to make sure you hit your marks, keep it slow and steady on a track like this, and you’ll hopefully be able to bring it home like we did tonight,” explained the 20-year-old Tiona, Pa. racer. “This is a great facility to race at and I had a lot of fun tonight. I have to thank my dad, my crew, and all of my sponsors.”
An invert six from the heat races put Jacob Jordan and Tatgenhorst on the front row as Tatgenhorst used the outside to race to the early lead. Holden started fourth and passed track points leader, Rob Kristyak, on the opening lap for third then drove around Jordan for second on lap two. Holden ran down Tatgenhorst and was all over the leader on laps four through eight. Holden would make the winning move on the eighth circuit when Tatgenhorst got loose in turn two allowing Holden to drive underneath.
Wolbert started in sixth and was halfway to the front when he overtook Jordan after contact was made in turn one on lap eight. Wolbert then made the same move Holden did on Tatgenhorst in turn two one lap later for second, while Kristyak followed in third on lap 12. Wolbert closed in on Holden on lap 12 and was all over the youngster in the remaining laps. Holden though made the right moves in traffic in the closing laps to secure his fifth career win in the Dana Holden-owned, D&D Oil/Dana Holden Oil Products/DAH Oil/Russ King Racing/Baker Motorsports-sponsored #2 by just 0.716 of a second.
Kristyak, who won on Friday night at Lernerville Speedway, was third. Josh Deems passed Tatgenhorst and Jacob Wolfe to finish fourth. Wolfe, who is in his second year of racing, recorded his second straight fifth place finish. After leading the first eight laps, Tatgenhorst dropped to sixth over Kyle Martell, Jordan, Gary Haupt, and Amelia Clay. Deems and Wolbert won the heat races over the 19-car field.
After finishing a career best 10th at the last race at Sharon, Amelia Clay backed that up on Saturday night with her second straight top 10 then went out and picked up her first win in the “Wheelman” Non-Winners race presented by Ohio Intra Express and C&R Tire for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. The 20-year-old Warren, Ohio driver, who leads the “Wheelman” points, passed Preston Cope on lap two and beat him to the checkered flag by 1.676 seconds in the Calvin Clay-owned, ASC Roll-Off Container/JLB Trucking/O’Reilly Auto Parts-sponsored #16c. Wolfe came back through the pack in the final six laps after getting hooked with Tatgenhorst to finish third. Greg Porter and rookie Brandon Albert were fourth and fifth.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars (30 laps, $3,000 to-win): 1. DAVE BLANEY (98H) 2. Dan Shetler (7K) 3. Chad Kemenah (Garvin J4) 4. A.J. Flick (2) 5. Cody Bova (20B) 6. Jordan Ryan (Chappel 8) 7. Carl Bowser (11) 8. Broc Martin (83m) 9. Brandon Spithaler (22) 10. Max Stambaugh (Seeling 97) 11. Dan Kuriger (08) 12. Brett Brunkenhoefer (Kish 47) 13. Sye Lynch (42) 14. Frankie Nervo (21N0 15. Darin Gallagher (12) 16. Russ Sansosti (23s) 17. Jordan Giver (90) 18. Eric L. Williams (4w) 19. Trevor Baker (45) 20. Brent Matus (33) 21. Jared McFarland (250) 22. Brandon Matus (13) 23. Jack Sodeman, Jr. (23Jr) 24. Darren Pifer (23). DNQ: Jimmy Morris III (Stafford 4N), Paul Kish (45), Landon Lalonde (2L), Davey Jones (76), George Englert (11x), Steve M. Haefke (12x), Mike Marano II (34m), Andy Feil (08).
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (20 laps, $700 to-win): 1. CHRIS SCHNEIDER (55) 2. Jackson Humanic (17) 3. Paul Davis (3) 4. Shaun Hooks (65) 5. Noah Brunell (31) 6. Chris McGuire (63) 7. Curt J. Bish (Tarr 29) 8. Gerry Bruce (Humanic z17) 9. Bryan Wagner (56) 10. Jamie Duncan (67J) 11. Andy Buckley (965) 12. Steve D’Apolito (84) 13. Jamie Scharba (11s) 14. Jim Fosnaught (20J) 15. Brian Carothers (02c) 16. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 17. Rusty Moore (17M) 18. Mike Miller (Thompson 81) 19. Brett McDonald (25) 20. Chris Couchenour (299) 21. Jordan Perkins (13J) 22. Larry Kugel (Duncan 67) 23. Andy Thompson (5) 24. Jason Jones (81). DNQ: Jamie Maxwell (6), Troy DeZarn (21), Gil Demello (22), Mike Kerr (25K).
Elite Series for the Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods (20 laps, $500 to-win): 1. DUSTIN DEMATTIA (77D) 2. Ty Rhoades (12R) 3. Jeremy Double (83) 4. Alan Dellinger (Williams 7) 5. Butch Lambert (Hendrickson 19) 6. Brian Huchko (60) 7. Andy Buckley (Leamer 965) 8. Jarrett Young (21) 9. Kyle Miller (15) 10. Gary Robinson (44R) 11. Ray Gregory (82R) 12. Nate Young (42) 13. Josh Mueller (01) 14. Derek Wissinger (Shook 64) 15. Pat Drennan (22) 16. Ed Snyder, Jr. (25S) 17. Buzz Seitz (1) 18. Dan McEwen (44) 19. Dan Moffitt (2) 20. Jason Fosnaught (J19) 21. Mitchell Lam (12) 22. James Myers (77M) 23. Rick Wilson, Jr. (35) 24. Jacob Eucker (64)-DNS. DNQ: Dwayne Clay, Gary Olson, Ed Roberts.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (20 laps): 1. Kole Holden (2) 2. Chas Wolbert (c3) 3. Rob Kristyak (00) 4. Josh Deems (9D) 5. Jacob Wolfe (7) 6. Tony Tatgenhorst (63T) 7. Kyle Martell (8) 8. Jacob Jordan (28J) 9. Gary Haupt (16) 10. Amelia Clay (16c) 11. Preston Cope (24P) 12. Chelsie Kriegisch (10) 13. Brandon Albert (30) 14. Greg Porter (25) 15. Cameron Nastasi (615) 16. Jeff Schaffer, Jr. (4) 17. Clayton Deems (55R) 18. Don Blaney (11B) 19. Calvin Clay (12c)-DNS.
Ohio Intra Express/C&R Tire RUSH Sportsman Modified “Wheelman” Non-Winners Race (8 laps, $75 to-win): 1. Amelia Clay 2. Preston Cope 3. Jacob Wolfe 4. Greg Porter 5. Brandon Albert 6. Clayton Deems 7. Cameron Nastasi 8. Jeff Schaffer, Jr. 9. Tony Tatgenhorst 10. Jacob Jordan-DNS 11. Don Blaney-DNS 12. Calvin Clay-DNS.
This Tuesday night (July 30) will be the return of the Super DIRTcar Series for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds racing for $7,500 in a 100-lap feature and they will be joined by the RUSH Sprint Cars for $600 to-win. Predator Trucking and Stackhouse Construction are presenting the event. Advanced tickets are on sale at SharonSpeedway.com. Pit passes go on sale at 4 p.m. with the grandstands opening at 5. Sprint motor heat is at 6 p.m. followed by warm-ups and qualifying with racing at 7.
Following Tuesday will be another Menards “Super Series” event next Saturday (August 3) on Thompson Fab Night. The “410” Sprints will make their second of four straight appearances again racing for $3,000 to-win, $250 to-start. The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will be running their first of three Tour races presented by C&R Tire. The Stock Cars and Econo Mods will also be in action plus the rescheduled Stock Car mechanics race. 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. Become a fan of Sharon Speedway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sharonspeedway and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/sharonspdwy.