|By Mike Leone
HARTFORD, OH-After a weekend off, Sharon Speedway returns to action this weekend with two shows part of the “Apple Festival Nationals”. Friday night (September 8) is presented by A&MP Electric and will feature a complete show for both the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply UMP Modifieds and the Gibson Insurance Agency Pro Stocks. Saturday night (September 9) is presented by Stackhouse Construction and will feature a complete show for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars. The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, Terry Bowser Excavating RUSH Sprint Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and the Whelen Econo Mods will contest their heat races on Friday night with the remainder of their programs on Saturday night. Racing begins at 7 p.m. both nights.
After a one-year hiatus, the “Apple Festival Nationals” return in the next-to-last event of the 94th anniversary season and will be highlighted by the “410” Sprint Cars racing for $3,000 to-win, $250 to-start. Saturday’s appearance by the “410” Sprint Cars will be the final tune-up before the September 23 visit by the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars.
The Sprints have competed eight times this season with five different winners. Dave Blaney won the May 13 opener, backed that up by winning another $3,000 in his next appearance on June 3 for Western PA Speedweek, and most recently won the “Wednesday Night Thunder” show on August 30 for his 37th career Sharon “410” victory. Donny Schatz won his first Sharon “410” race when the World of Outlaws visited on May 20 for $10,000 and Tyler Courtney did the same for the “Lou Blaney Memorial” under the All Star Circuit of Champions sanction. Dale Blaney won the first “Wednesday Night Thunder” event then picked up his second win on July 21. Michael Bauer became the third driver of the season to win his first career Sharon “410” race when he won on July 29.
After competing on August 27 and August 30, the Big-Block Modifieds presented by Alcon Mechanical, Autism Awareness, King Bros. Ready Mix Concrete, King’s Sanitary Services, and Russ King Racing will return for their third straight appearance, which will be their season finale. This time the ground pounders will battle for $2,500 to-win, $250 to-start with their heat races on Friday night and the conclusion of the show on Saturday night.
Back on June 17, Garrett Krummert ended a near eight-year winless drought in the division to take the $1,500 main event. On July 8, the BRP Tour made their only appearance of the season and it was Canadian invader Mat Williamson earning his first career Sharon victory, worth $2,500, as there were 40 cars on hand! Rex King, Jr. became the third different winner thanks to a last lap pass of Will Thomas III to earn $1,500 on August 27. And most recently, Williamson returned on the “Wednesday Night Thunder” show and won $2,000.
The UMP Modifieds will be making their fourth appearance of 2023 as they will run their entire show on Friday night for $1,000 to-win, $100 to-start. Thus far this season, Bud Watson was victorious on July 22 for his first career Sharon Speedway victory. Watson became the 61st different winner all-time at Sharon between the former 1/2-mile and current 3/8-mile, while Ty Rhoades won the August 5 event. Dave Hess, Jr. won the most recent event on August 19 taking the “Bill Gabrielson Memorial” for more than $4,100! Friday’s event is also part of the “Local’s Cup” Series with Raceway 7, Eriez Speedway, and Mercer Raceway.
Like the UMP Mods, the Gibson Insurance Agency Pro Stocks will also be running their entire show on Friday night for $1,000 to-win, $100 to-start. The Stocks will be running the second annual “Fallen Drivers Tribute” presented by the Jasinski Family and Race-1. It was announced this week that quick-change rear ends will be allowed, but must have steel tubes, steel snouts, steel trailing arms, and be mounted in stock locations.
The only repeat winner in 10 Pro Stock features this season has been Tim Bish! Bish won the opener for his first career Sharon victory and also won the first twin feature on July 21. Jordan Perkins, Jackson Humanic, Cody Koteles, and most recently Tyler Dietz have also been first time Sharon winners this season. Standouts Curt J. Bish and Chris Schneider won during the “Steel Valley Pro Stock Nationals”, while Jason Fosnaught ended a five-year winless drought winning one of the $3,500 features on July 22. Bobby Whitling won on August 5.
The Terry Bowser Excavating RUSH Sprint Cars will be competing in their richest Sharon race in history with $1,000 to-win, $175 to-start. They will run heat races on Friday with the balance of the program on Saturday night. The RUSH Sprints have had between 22-24 cars at each of their five completed events this season. RUSH’s four-time champion and current $5,000 Sunbelt Rentals Weekly Series points leader, Chad Ruhlman, won the first four events before Blaze Myers ended his run at the last event on August 19.
The HTMA/Precise Racing RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will not only be running in their final race of the season, but also the finale for the Wedge Motorsports “Route 7 Rumble” Series. Defending champion Ben Easler currently leads Ayden Cipriano, by just four points. The RUSH Mods will run their heats on Friday night with the balance of their program on Saturday night. Also on Saturday will be their annual “Manufacturers Night” with over $16,000 in valuable products distributed to eligible racers! Easler leads the way with three victories, while Cipirano, who leads RUSH’s $3,5000 Weekly Series Championship, is the only other repeat winner with two. Other winners include Garrett Krummert, JC Boyer, and Rob Kristyak.
The Whelen Econo Mods will be the seventh different division that will compete during the weekend. Like the RUSH Mods, the Econo Mods will also race for $800 to-win, $160 to-start with their heats on Friday night and balance of the program on Saturday night. There have been five different winners in seven races this season. 2019 champion, Dustin DeMattia, won the May 13 opener. Jeremy Double won on May 27 then the most recent show on August 27 as he upped his all-time career win total to 20. Will Thomas III collected his ninth career win in the division on June 3. Jacob Eucker topped a season high 24-car field on July 29 then went back-to-back winning on August 5 for his 16th career win in the division. Garrett Calvert won on August 19.
Summit Racing Equipment will present the hard charger award to the UMP Modifieds on Friday night and the Big-Block Modifieds on Saturday night. The driver that passes the most cars in the feature will receive a $100 Summit gift card. In the event of a tie, the tiebreaker will be the driver that finished highest in the feature.
Complete payoffs for all divisions are available at the following link: https://www.sharonspeedway.com/downloads/get.aspx?i=866471. There is no registration or entry fee. If you have yet to register for the 2023 season, please bring the registration form with you completed http://sharonspeedway.myracepass.com/downloads/get.aspx?i=713060. One-way driver radios are mandatory; channel 454.000. AMB/MyLaps transponders are required; rentals available for $25.
Fans can not only experience viewing from the frontstretch and backstretch grandstands, but also from the infield fan zone, which includes concessions and restrooms. Sharon is the only track in the area to have viewing from the unique infield perspective. There will be times throughout the night when fans can cross on the frontstretch back and forth.
Each night, pit passes will go on sale at 4 p.m., while general admission opens at 5. Heat races begin at 7 p.m. on Friday night. Group qualifying for the “410” Sprints will be at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Saturday with racing at 7.
Grandstand/fan zone admission for those 14 is $20 on Friday and $25 on Saturday. Patio seating upgrades are just $10 and fan suite seating upgrades are just $20 over the cost of general admission. These can be upgraded on race night at the track office. Tickets are available through https://sharonspeedway.simpletix.com. As always, children under 14 and parking are always FREE. Pit passes are $35 each night. As a reminder, coolers nor outside food or beverages are not permitted. Camping is $25 for the weekend and must be reserved through the following link: https://www.simpletix.com/e/rv-trailer-tent-camping-tickets-122979
There will be no racing next weekend. The final event of the 2023 season will be Saturday, September 23 as the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars return for $10,000 to-win and will be joined by the Whelen Econo Mods. Tickets are available through the WoO at https://mpv.tickets.com/?agency=WRG_SNG_MPV&orgid=52711&eventId=89858#/event/E89858/seatmap/?selectBuyers=false&minPrice=35&maxPrice=40&quantity=2&sort=price_desc&ada=false&seatSelection=true&onlyCoupon=true&onlyVoucher=false.
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.