REPEAT WINNER AFTER 10 YEARS WITH ALL STAR VICTORY SATURDAY NIGHT; CAREER 1ST SHARON WIN FOR MIKE MARESCA IN MODS
by Mike Leone
Hartford, OH July 7, 2018 On what was the most beautiful race day of the season, a huge crowd turned out on Saturday night at Sharon Speedway to remember the life and accomplishments of hall of fame racer Lou Blaney. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane for the 10th annual “Lou Blaney Memorial” presented by Ollie’s Bargain Outlet were Dave Blaney-All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars and Mike Maresca-The Mod Tour for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds. The event once again benefitted the Alzheimer’s Association. Former racer Jack Bickel of Butler, Pa. was the $1,000 Lou Blaney “Shirt Out” winner presented by Colonial Metal Products & Carpenter Towing and donated $100 back to the Alzheimer’s Association.
It couldn’t have been more fitting than for a Blaney to become the first event repeat winner for the Sprint Cars. Lou’s oldest son, Dave, retook the lead from George Hobaugh in lapped traffic on lap 23 as the 2014 event winner became the first Sprint Car driver to score multiple wins in the “Lou Blaney Memorial” after 10 years! Blaney also couldn’t have picked a better time to capture his first All Star Circuit of Champions victory of 2018. The 30-lap victory was worth $5,000 as Blaney became the fifth different Sprint Car winner in as many events in 2018 at Sharon.
“I’m really happy to win this race and have all these people here,” expressed the 55-year-old Hartford, Ohio native. “It’s a cool night for us. For a couple weeks I’ve really wanted to win this race. We’ve done a lot of things to get ready. You know what you’re getting when you come here- it’s slick, smooth, and wide. I love coming back here to race. It’s kind of bittersweet on dad’s race, but it pays off when you do this. Car owner Pete Grove won this a couple years ago with Danny Holtgraver. I couldn’t be happier to get my first All Star win this season here. You never know what’s going on behind you and I didn’t want to get bottled up so I moved up. We had enough for them tonight.”
Carl Bowser got an excellent start as the green flag waved on the feature event, but Blaney drove by Bowser off turn two on the opening lap for the lead. After gaining two positions in the dash to start fifth in the feature, George Hobaugh looked strong using the bottom to pass All Stars points leader Carson Macedo and Gary Taylor for third on lap one. Hobaugh then remained on the bottom to pass Bowser for second on lap two before a spin by Australian invader, Mitchell Wormall.
When racing resumed, Blaney would catch lapped traffic on lap eight with a straightaway lead on Hobaugh; meanwhile, the battle for third was intense. Macedo put a big slider on Bowser in turns three and four on lap nine to grab the spot; however, one lap later, Bowser and Chad Kemenah were able to get by as the trio went three-wide. Positions would continue to change on a fast pace as the sixth starting Kemenah moved into third on lap 11 with Macedo following. Then on lap 12, Gary Taylor moved back into the top five dropping Bowser back another spot.
Macedo looked like he may have had the fastest car on the track as he ripped around Kemenah on the top to regain the third position; meanwhile, Hobaugh began cutting into Blaney’s lead as the laps ticked off. With Blaney mired in heavy traffic, Hobaugh closed right in on lap 19. Hobaugh continued to hound Blaney and finally was able to sneak under the hall of famer off the bottom of turn two to lead lap 22. The western Pa. former Micro Sprint standout’s bid for his first career “410” win ended when Blaney got back by one lap later in lapped traffic before Parker Price-Miller got into the fence and brought out the event’s second and final caution with 23 laps scored.
The high-flying Macedo had to be licking his chops when the yellow came out as he had been closing in on the top two, who were running the bottom; however, heartbreak struck for Macedo under caution as his right rear tire went down. Not long before the caution, Macedo slapped the turn three fence pretty hard. The caution and flat for Macedo was a break for Spencer Bayston. Like Macedo, Bayston had been running the top and when racing resumed, he passed Kemenah for fourth on lap 25 then Taylor for third on lap 28 as he stayed committed to the top.
Back up front, Blaney was too strong for Hobaugh in the Pete Grove-owned, Premier Motorsports/Mohawk Northeast #70 as he captured his 49th career All Star Circuit of Champions victory. It was also Blaney’s 29th of his career in a Sprint Car at Sharon to go along with a pair of Big-Block Modified wins and one in an E-Mod giving him 32 overall at the track he grew up at.
After turning in what was an impressive 11th in the first All Star show this season at Sharon after winning his first Series heat race, Hobaugh was coming off a fifth place in last Saturday night’s non-sanctioned Sprint show at Sharon, then shocked everyone with his best performance of his career in a “410” Sprint Car to take a well-earned second place.
“I was just trying to keep myself calm driving around there and I was like ‘shit there’s Dave and I drove by him’,” explained the Chicora, Pa. driver of the Colliers Custom Kitchen/Hobaugh’s Auto Parts-sponsored #40. “It was really awesome to race with those guys. Dad raced with Lou for years. I got to watch Lou race when I was a kid and to be out here racing with Dave for the lead- that’s a blast and you can’t do any better than that.”
Bayston ran out of time as he finished third from the eighth starting spot. Taylor was fourth over Kemenah. Lee Jacobs picked up the MSD Performance Hard Charger award racing from 19th to sixth. Bowser dropped to seventh over Paul McMahan. Though all eyes were up front over the final seven laps, Macedo charged back forward after changing his right rear tire to finish ninth. Max Stambaugh was 10th.
Kemenah set fast time overall against the 41-car field in qualifying with a lap of 13.986. Andrew Palker, Paul McMahan, Tony Stewart, Bayston, and Hobaugh won the heat races. Bowser and Blaney won the twin dashes to earn the front row of the feature. Two-time track champion, Jack Sodeman, Jr., won the C main, while Dale Blaney won the B main in his first 2018 start at Sharon.
Mike Maresca led all 35 laps of The Mod Tour-sanctioned feature for what was the season opener for the Hovis Auto Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds. Maresca earned $2,000 as he became the ninth different winner in 10 “Lou Blaney Memorial” events as Jim Rasey still remains the only repeat winner on the Modified side!
“This means a lot to win this,” stated the soon to be 23-year-year Hannawa Falls, NY driver. “I’m not from the area, but I’ve heard a lot about Lou (Blaney) for what he’s done in the sport being around here the past couple years. This is cool to win a big race like this. I was surprised how fast the race was going. I just tried to hit my marks every lap. I had a really good car tonight. We worked on it all day after having a rough go last night. We tried a couple different things I’ve never tried before and it seemed to work pretty good.”
Maresca drew the pole and was never seriously challenged over the 35 non-stop laps that was timed in 11:43.881. Maresca drove a great race through lapped traffic as he never let Kevin Hoffman get close enough to challenge. Maresca’s Saint Lawrence Radiology/Twin Leaf Storage/Integra Shocks/Keyser Manufacturing/Russ King Racing-sponsored #7MM took the checkered flag first by 1.451 seconds for his first career Sharon victory. Hoffman was a Sharon career best second. Jim Weller, Jr. passed Rex King on lap 29 to finish third for the 2015 event winner. King was fourth over his son Rex, Jr., who was the 2014 race winner.
Rasey was sixth over Dave Murdick, who won the event in 2015. Last Saturday night’s RUSH Sportsman Modified winner, Garrett Krummert, was eighth as Travis Shingledecker and Rick Richner completed the top 10. Heat wins went to Richner, Rick Richner, Krummert, and Murdick over the 32-car field. Jimmy Holden won the last chance B main.
All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars “Lou Blaney Memorial” (30 laps, $5,000 to-win): 1. DAVE BLANEY (Grove 70) 2. George Hobaugh (40) 3. Spencer Bayston (Swindell 39) 4. Gary Taylor (Gorby 11) 5. Chad Kemenah (Hunter 10H) 6. Lee Jacobs (Lewis 81) 7. Carl Bowser (Chiapelli 98) 8. Paul McMahan (Buch 13) 9. Carson Macedo (Gaerte/Norman 3G) 10. Max Stambaugh 5M) 11. Cale Conley (Jessup 7K) 12. Dan Shetler (7K) 13. Jared Zimbardi (35) 14. Tim Shaffer (Demyan/Rudzik 49X) 15. Andrew Palker (57x) 16. Dale Blaney (Coomer 21) 17. Jac Haudenschild (3) 18. Aaron Reutzel (Baughman 87) 19. John Garvin, Jr. (51) 20. Brandon Spithaler (22) 21. Mitchell Wormall (97AU) 22. Tyler Esh (35) 23. Parker Price-Miller (Destiny 4) 24. Tony Stewart (14) 25. Brandon Matus (13).
DNQ for the feature: Dan Kuriger (08), Bryan Salisbury (126), Adam Kekich (5K), Brent Matus (33), Jack Sodeman, Jr. (23Jr), Michael Bauer (46), Jeremy Kornbau (27K), Cody Bova (20B), Paige Polyak (Woodring 19), Gary Kriess, Jr. (Frederick 55), Joe McEwen (Blaney 11), Paul Kish (4c), Eric L. Williams (4W), Joe Trenca (Mucci 98), Sye Lynch (42), Haley Lapcevich (77L).
The Mod Tour for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds “Lou Blaney Memorial” (35 laps, $2,500 to-win): 1. MIKE MARESCA (7MM) 2. Kevin Hoffman (00) 3. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 4. Rex King (65) 5. Rex King, Jr. (165) 6. Jim Rasey (32) 7. Dave Murdick (61) 8. Garrett Krummert (29) 9. Travis Shingledecker (73MD) 10. Rick Richner (26) 11. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 12. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD) 13. Will Thomas III (9) 14. Tyler Willard (777) 15. Chris Haines (35H) 16. J.R. McGinley (66M) 17. Sid Unverzagt, Jr. (17JR) 18. Lonny Riggs (Black 58) 19. Colton Walters (18) 20. Kyle Fink (66F) 21. Jimmy Holden (28H) 22. Bob Warren (96B) 23. Skip Moore (17M) 24. Mark Frankhouser (03) 25. Tom Holden (68H) 26. Brian Swartzlander (83).
DNQ for the feature: Erik Martin (29E), Shawn Fleeger (88), Chris Rudolph (25), Tom Glenn (83T), Rich Whitney (19W), Steve Barr (25B).
There will be no racing on July 14 due to the Trumbull County Fair. Racing returns on Saturday, July 21 for another Menards “Super Series” event featuring The Mod Tour in a $2,000 to-win event along with the Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and the Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods. There will be kids bike races during intermission. It’ll be Texas Roadhouse Night. Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5 and racing at 7.
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.