“APPLE FESTIVAL NATIONALS” KICK OFF ON FRIDAY NIGHT AS TRACY FRITTER ENDS 7+ YEAR WINLESS DROUGHT AT SHARON IN MOD LITES; CAREER 1ST WINS FOR JACOB TEETERS IN DWARF CARS & BLAINE SCHLECHTY IN JR SPRINTS
By Mike Leone
Hartford, OH September 8, 2017 Sharon Speedway kicked off the first of two nights of the annual “Apple Festival Nationals” on Friday night with 226 race cars filling the pit area. Capturing wins and celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Tracy Fritter-Leader Chassis Mod Lites, Jacob Teeters-Joe’s Radiator Sportsman Dwarf Cars, and Blaine Schlechty-Junior Sprints. Heat races were completed for the “410” Sprint Cars, Big-Block Modified Non-Winners Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series, E-Mods, RUSH Sportsman Modified Touring Series, Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, and Mini Stocks.
Veteran racer, Tracy Fritter, led all 15 laps of the Leader Chassis Mod Lite feature withstanding pressure from Mercer Raceway Park all-time winner, Mark Marcucci, and a late challenge by standouts Rod Jones and Alan Dellinger to win the caution-filled event. The $500 victory was Fritter’s first at Sharon since May 21, 2010.
“The car was good in the long runs but the cautions were hurting us on the tires,” explained 48-year-old Zanesville, Ohio driver. “We just don’t have the best tires in the world, but I was making it work. It was a little slick, but I was getting a hold of it. It’s nice to race on a track like this- there’s not a bump on it. I like to keep things straight to the point on the car; Eliminator Race Cars- we build those. I want to thank Jeff Teeters for sponsoring this race, and you guys for having us.”
An invert three from the heat races put Fritter on the pole alongside Marcucci. Marcucci ran second until Dellinger, Jones, and Doug Stanley all got by on a restart on lap 13. Going into turn one on lap 14, Marcucci tried to get back under Stanley and contact was made with both drivers spinning. When racing resumed for the two-lap shootout to the finish, Jones passed Dellinger for second but didn’t have enough time to make any challenge on Fritter’s #59. Dellinger came from 18th to finish third over Joey Zambotti III and Brian Stuhldreher. Christopher Robinson, Marcucci, and Fritter won the heat races over the 30-car field, while David Innes won the last chance B main.
Third generation racer, Jacob Teeters, survived a pair of 360 spins and nine caution periods to win his first career feature at Sharon. Teeters’ $300 victory came in the 15-lap Joe’s Radiator Service Sportsman Dwarf Car feature event.
“Honestly I don’t even know what to tell you- pure luck,” described the 15-year-old North Jackson, Ohio driver when asked about his double 360 spins. “I just knew how to keep the car going, and after that I knew I was clear. I have to thank my dad for putting this car together for me. It’s been one heck of a year for me. I’m worn out that’s for sure. I have to thank all of the fans for coming out tonight.”
An invert nine from the heat races put Art Williams and Teeters on the front row of the feature as Teeters took off in the lead. Cody Stillion passed Williams for second on lap two. Eighth starting Joe Grzelak, Jr. moved into third on lap four and joined Stillion in the battle for the lead with Teeters. On lap seven, Stillion and Grzelak passed Teeters for the top two spots, but Grzelak would spin one lap later to bring out the caution.
When racing resumed, Teeters regained the lead for good on lap nine before Stillion would spin out of second. Angie Grzelak had worked from the ninth starting spot into third on lap 11 when she passed Jacob Eakin. Grzelak made a charge on Steve Mix for second on lap 12, but made contact sending Mix spinning as a four-car accident ensued. Grzelak was put to the tail. Teeters then survived the last four-lap dash to the checkered flag to win in the Kelly Teeters-owned, Unitech Frame Straightening-sponsored #23J Leader Chassis. Teeters became the ninth different winner in 19 races run for the division all-time.
Eighteenth starting Teddy Williams was second. Joe Grzelak came from the tail in the final seven laps to finish third over Ted Williams and Kelly Teeters, the victorious car owner. Angie Grzelak, Joe Grzelak, and Eakin won the heat races over the 23-car field.
The Junior Sprints competed in their third race of the season and fourth all-time as Blaine Schlechty captured the six-lap feature victory. Schlechty took the lead from Sam Darby on lap four and went on to become the fourth different winner in as many races in his #25. Darby led the first three laps then fell back to third before regaining second on the final lap. Austin Randall, Evan Darby, and August 12 winner, Luke Mulichak, were third through fifth. Heat winners were Randall and Tyler Allison over the 11-car field, which was the highest all-time.
The balance of Friday night’s program will be completed on Saturday night (September 9) at 6 p.m. New cars that did not compete Friday are permitted to the tag either the last chance B mains or feature events. Pit gates open at 3 p.m. with grandstands at 4. Grandstand admission is $15 and pit passes are $35 for those who did not purchase two-day passes on Friday night.
Leader Chassis Mod Lites (15 laps, $500 to-win): 1. TRACY FRITTER (59) 2. Rod Jones (21) 3. Alan Dellinger (Smith 16) 4. Joey Zambotti III (1) 5. Brian Stuhldreher (17) 6. Kurt Eckstrom (625) 7. Aaron Meister (46) 8. Lynn Knepper (10) 9. Jason Darocha (5) 10. Bobby Springer (44s) 11. David Innes (18) 12. Doug Stanley (Coen 1c) 13. Chris Logan (2) 14. Mark Marcucci (8M) 15. Vivian Jones (20) 16. Dusty Frantz (825) 17. Kenny Meadows (Smith 16) 18. Shane Webb (267) 19. Shane Pfeuffer (Lawson 717) 20. Cole Petrelle (184) 21. A.J. Barris (32) 22. Doug Jones (71X) 23. Christopher Robinson (15)-DNS 24. Jay Dye (40D)-DNS. DNQ: James Gump, Jr. (71), Brandon Shaw (20C), Ed Mudrick (55M), Larry Bevivino (31), Jeff Teeters (23), Gerard Hairhoger (57).
Joe’s Radiator Service Sportsman Dwarf Cars (15 laps, $300 to-win) 1. JACOB TEETERS (23T) 2. Teddy Williams (818) 3. Joe Grzelak, Jr. (888) 4. Ted Williams (48) 5. Kelly Teeters (69) 6. Michael Heverly (99B) 7. Cody Stillion (25) 8. Jerry Langley, Jr. (23L) 9. Denny Bale (01) 10. Jacob Eakin (14) 11. Taylor Suchan (44) 12. Steve Mix (3) 13. Angie Grzelak (57) 14. Jim McKelvey (32) 15. Art Williams (1) 16. Amelia Clay (12V) 17. Eric Marsh (64) 18. Anthony Gillespie (Smith 58) 19. Mark Suchan (22) 20. Steve Mix, Jr. (85) 21. Nick Grubbs (24) 22. Greg Davis (34) 23. Jereme Bean (49)-DNS.
Junior Sprints (6 laps): 1. BLAINE SCHLECHTY (25) 2. Sam Darby (8) 3. Austin Randall (36) 4. Evan Darby (6) 5. Luke Mulichak (18L) 6. Kasey Lam (22K) 7. Stone Lapcevich (22) 8. Gavin Putman (13) 9. Jarren Dye (40D) 10. Tyler Allison (25BAD) 11. Mike Lutz, Jr. (86)-DNS.
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.