WATSON WINS IN RETURN OF E-MODS; WOLBERT FROM 12TH FOR 3RD STRAIGHT RUSH MOD WIN; #4 FOR EUCKER IN ECONO MODS
by Mike Leone
Hartford, OH August 18, 2018 Sharon Speedway completed the third straight “410” Sprint Car event during the month of August for the Menards “Super Series” on Saturday night as the Northern Ohio-based FAST Series made their first ever appearance with 39 cars. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane on Kams Electric Service Night were Cap Henry-FAST Series for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars, Joel Watson- E-Mods, Chas Wolbert-HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and Jacob Eucker-Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods. Over 100 cars, 106 to be exact, were in the pits for the fourth straight week for a four-division program.
Cap Henry was fresh off a $20,000 win one week ago at Mansfield Motor Speedway; in fact, Henry entered Saturday night a winner of three straight FAST Series events. Henry would keep that streak alive scoring an impressive first career Sharon win as he passed George Hobaugh on lap 15 then held off a valiant charge by Dale Blaney over the final 10 laps. Henry’s fourth straight FAST “410” Sprint Car win was worth $3,000 for his 30 laps of work.
“This is pretty incredible,” expressed the 28-year-old Republic, Ohio driver. “It just shows how hard these guys are working. Man we struggled there for awhile, but now we’re winning races and having a lot of fun. You never know when streaks like this are going to end so you just enjoy it when you have it. I heard him (Blaney), I saw him. Those lapped cars are hard to get around. Sye Lynch was setting a good pace so I just got back to his fuel tank and was like ‘well I guess Dale is going to have to be spectacular if he wants it’. I made the wrong choice in turn one and that’s when Dale let me know there were no more mistakes to be made.”
The feature got off to slow start when the inside row got jammed up forcing Lee Jacobs spinning into the infield, Stuart Brubaker ended up on his side, and heavy front end damage for Michigan racer, Dan McCarron, who was making his second straight start. Jacobs, Brubaker, and Brandon Matus would all pit and return to action, while McCarron was done for the night.
Hobaugh, who won his first career “410” feature two weeks ago, drew the pole and quickly bolted into the lead over Max Stambaugh, Blaney, and fifth starting Henry when racing got underway. Tyler Gunn started sixth and passed Broc Martin for fifth on the opening lap then dropped Henry back to fifth on lap two. Gunn and Blaney raced side-by-side with Gunn powering around on the outside for third on lap three. Henry’s #4 put a slider on the #4N of Blaney on lap four for fourth!
A spin for Russ Sansosti slowed action with five laps completed. Gunn powered high into turn one on the ensuing restart trying to get around Stambaugh, but hopped his wheel sending him flipping hard into the catch fence. He was okay, but ended what was a fine looking run. That would be the final stoppage of the event as the final 25 laps went caution-free.
Henry was all over Stambaugh on lap 11 and put a big slider on the fellow Ohio racer in turn two to grab second on lap 12. Henry then ran down Hobaugh and caught the leader on lap 13. Henry made a breathtaking move on lap 15 racing off the top of turn two to pass Hobaugh for the lead and the two lapped cars of Jacobs and Bryan Salisbury.
All eyes now shifted back to Blaney, who had gotten around Stambaugh for third, then went to the top to drive around Hobaugh for second on lap 17. Blaney, who was fresh off his season’s first win one week ago at Sharon, had a straightaway deficit by the time he got to second, but began to close on lap 20. By lap 24, Blaney was right on Henry and the two raced side-by-side. Henry made the right moves to continue to lead. Blaney though would once again pull alongside Henry in traffic on lap 27, but again Henry had the momentum and was excellent in traffic to maintain the lead and would go on for the win over Blaney in the Lane Racing-owned, Beer Barrel Bourbon/Metropolitan Landscaping/Crown Concrete/Popalle Coffee/Geck-sponsored #4.
Stambaugh passed Hobaugh for third on lap 27, but Hobaugh would regain the spot one lap later for another great run at Sharon. Hobaugh has finished in the top five for four of the five non-sanctioned shows this season in addition to his runner-up finish at the “Lou Blaney Memorial” with the All Stars on July 7. Martin was fifth. FAST points leader, Craig Mintz, went 10th to sixth in his first appearance of the season. Twelfth starting Dan Shetler got as high as fifth at one point until settling for a seventh place finish. Dan Kuriger and FAST regular DJ Foos were eighth and ninth. Kelsey Ivy had a great run in her first ever Sharon start finishing 10th after starting 19th.
Foos set fast time overall against the 39-car field with a lap of 13.629. Heat winners were Blaney, Kuriger, Martin, and Gunn, while McCarron and Matus won the two last chance B mains. The average car count this year for the “410” races is 36 with no less than 28 for any of the eight races. The final “410” Sprint show of the season will be on September 8 for $3,000 to-win.
The E-Mods made their first appearance of the 2018 season and it was no surprise to see Joel Watson standing in victory lane for the 28th time of his career at the Hartford, Ohio oval. An invert four from the heat races put Watson on the pole and he pretty much controlled the 20-lap event until a late charge by Gary Eicher in the final laps. Watson earned $700 for the win.
“I knew he’d (Eicher) probably get up there and make a good stab at it,” explained the 39-year-old Conneaut, Ohio standout. “He’s a good wheelman and has a good race car so he was definitely capable of it. I was trying to mind my P’s and Q’s so I didn’t make any mistakes that would keep me from winning the race. Thankfully everything worked out the way it did. We’ve had a super season. Our stuff has been really good. We’ve been to a lot of different tracks this year and have had success, but I’ll tell you as good as our car has been our luck has been incredible. We’ve won on a flat right rear tire and started on the pole about nine times this year. It seems like the nights we haven’t had the fastest car, the guy in front of us breaks and we still get the win. We’ve had a really, really fortune year.”
Josh Ferry was running second until getting too high in turn four and slamming the fence with three laps scored. This moved Eicher to second followed by Carl McKinney and Jesse Gould. On lap seven, it was three-wide for third with 11th starting Brent Rhebergen moving into the show position with an inside move, while Jacob Eucker followed and dropped McKinney back to fifth.
Rhebergen continued his charge forward driving under Eicher for second off turn four on lap 12. As the laps were ticking off without a caution, Watson maintained his lead, while a four-car race for second ensued with five laps to go. Eicher regained second from Rhebergen on lap 16 and the event’s second and final caution was displayed when Amanda Stiffler spun with 17 laps scored.
Eicher would pressure Watson over the final three laps, but Watson held on to win by 0.330 of a second in his Close Racing Supply/Northwest Restoration/Zimmer’s Service Center-sponsored #92. Eucker took third from Rhebergen on lap 18, but Rhebergen got the spot back to secure third on lap 19. Eucker was fourth after starting 10th. McKinney completed the top five. Heat winners were Gould and Eicher.
Despite being penalized to the 12th starting spot for two consecutive wins, Chas Wolbert made his way forward and took the lead from Josh Deems with five laps to go to garner his first career three race win streak in the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. With 28 cars on hand, the victory was worth $500 for Wolbert, who has now earned $2,100 for his four HTMA/Precise Racing Products victories this season.
“I said I had to try something different because everyone was rolling on the bottom,” revealed the 24-year-old Warren, Ohio winner. “I decided to move up about a lane and a half to two lanes and it actually went around there pretty good. This is crazy to win three-in-a-row. I’ve never dreamed about this in my life. First off without God nothing would be possible. I have to thank my wife and little guy. We just got back from vacation last night and I think that may have helped. I think I’ll go on vacation next week too! I also have to thank my sponsors, my dad, and the Clay brothers for helping me.”
The event’s only caution took place when rookie Jacob Wolfe drove hard in turn three on the opening lap and made heavy contact with points leader Garrett Krummert ending both racers’ night along with Tony Tatgenhorst. When racing got underway, Rob Kristyak led lap one before Deems and fifth starting Jeremy Weaver moved by Kristyak for the top two spots on lap two. Lap three would see Kristyak lose two more spots as Kole Holden and Darin Gallagher made their way by for third and fourth. The eighth starting Gallagher was fast on the top as he continued his progression forward driving around Holden for third on lap six then Weaver for second two laps later.
Gallagher would find himself a straightaway back of leader Deems by the time he made his way to the second spot; meanwhile, Wolbert was running the same line as he passed Weaver for third on lap 11 then put a slider on Gallagher in turn two for second on lap 12. Despite being a straightaway back of Deems with eight laps to go, Wolbert made the winning pass in lapped traffic on lap 15 and would go on to win by an impressive 4.452 seconds. Wolbert has now doubled his Sharon career win total to eight this season in his Dunkin’ Donuts/C.T. Wolbert Trucking/Russ King Racing/Ohio Intra Express/MJ’s Auto Repair/Crooked Pine Woodworking/955 Automotive/Kings Sanitary/Total Trumbull Sports-sponsored #c3 Bicknell.
Deems’ career best season continued with a strong second place finish and combined with Krummert’s misfortune pulled him to within eight points heading into next Saturday night. Gallagher, who has raced both with the “410” Sprints and the non-wing crate RUSH Sprint Cars, was a season best third driving the second Steve Slater entry. Weaver was fourth over Holden. Heats went to Kyle Martell, Weaver, and Krummert, while Slater won the last chance B main. A B main has been run for three straight weeks now as the average car count this season is over 25 per night!
Jacob Eucker kept pace with Chas Wolbert as the track’s only four-time winners this season. Eucker’s victory came from the fifth starting spot in the 20-lap Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mod feature, and was worth $400 with a full field of 24 cars on hand. Eucker’s win combined with Rhoades’ DNF also pushed Eucker into the points lead with one night to go.
“Everyone raced me clean and I just stayed on the bottom at the end,” stated the 17-year-old Fowler, Ohio driver. “I tried to stay down and hit that tacky stuff coming off and it worked. This will give us a pretty good leeway now in points heading into next week. I’d like to thank my sponsors along with my mom and dad for everything they do.”
Pole-sitter Brandon Blackshear led early before pressure from Ty Rhoades. The two raced side-by-side for the lead on laps three and four with Rhoades making the pass in turn four on the fourth circuit. Eucker drove around Dustin Demattia for third on lap seven then stayed on the top to take second from Blackshear at the halfway point.
After 11 consecutive green flag laps, Buzz Seitz slowed to bring out the caution. When racing resumed, Eucker and Rhoades were side-by-side for the lead for two laps with Eucker nosing ahead to lead lap 13 before a caution for a spin by George Vestal IV. When green replaced yellow on lap 14, Blackshear regained second from Rhoades. Two more cautions slowed action on laps 15 and 18; both would be benefits to Steve Haefke, who passed Rhoades for third on lap 16 and then Blackshear for second on lap 19.
Haefke, the defending two-time champion, still wouldn’t be able to overcome Eucker to get his first win of the season, as Eucker took the checkered flag first by 0.735 of a second in his Ohio Commerce Center/Bucks Ground Maintenance/Danski Dyno/Dr. John Eucker/CRS/Lees Excavating-sponsored #64. Eucker now has 11 career Econo Mod wins and 12 overall at Sharon. It was a great night for Eucker, who also finished fourth in the open E-Mod event.
Demattia and Dwayne Clay got by Blackshear to finish third and fourth. Blackshear dropped to fifth after getting sideways and nearly spinning in turn one on the final restart. Haefke, Eucker, and Demattia won the heat races. The Econo Mods have only dipped under 20 cars on one occasion this year, and that was 19 on opening night.
FAST Series for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars (30 laps, $3,000 to-win): 1. CAP HENRY (Lane 4) 2. Dale Blaney (Morris 4N) 3. George Hobaugh (40) 4. Max Stambaugh (5M) 5. Broc Martin (Seeling 97) 6. Craig Mintz (09) 7. Dan Shetler (7K) 8. Dan Kuriger (08) 9. D.J. Foos (Kiser 23) 10. Kelsey Ivy (Colson 20I) 11. Jack Sodeman, Jr. (23Jr) 12. Stuart Brubaker (35) 13. Sye Lynch (42) 14. Chris Andrews (Burmeister 16) 15. Brandon Matus (13) 16. Lee Jacobs (Lewis 81) 17. John Garvin, Jr. (51) 18. Bryan Salisbury (126) 19. Trevor Baker (45) 20. Cody Bova (20B) 21. Darren Pifer (23) 22. Tyler Gunn (68G) 23. Russ Sansosti (23s) 24. Dan McCarron (22M). DNQ: Tracy Hines (4), Gary Kriess, Jr. (Frederick 55), Duane Zablocki (9z), Jess Stiger (8J), Mike Miller (Garvin G1), Eric L. Williams (4W), Joe Sylvester (8), Paul Kish (4c), Brett Brunkenhoefer (VanTassel 12X), Gale Ruth (1R), Jeremy Kornbau (Dellinger 27K), Brent Matus (33), Jared McFarland (250), Dennis Wagner (38), Nate Dussel (1).
E-Mods (20 laps, $700 to-win): 1. JOEL WATSON (92) 2. Gary Eicher (29) 3. Brent Rhebergen (07R) 4. Jacob Eucker (64) 5. Carl McKinney (6M) 6. Butch Lambert (Hendrickson 19) 7. Jesse Gould (2G) 8. Mike Potosky (m20) 9. Jeff Johnson (27) 10. Alan Atkinson (32) 11. Steve Rex (27R) 12. Amanda Stiffler (14) 13. Brian Huffman (07X) 14. Josh Ferry (33) 15. Mike Kinney (Porter 20P)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (20 laps, $500 to-win): 1. CHAS WOLBERT (c3) 2. Josh Deems (9D) 3. Darin Gallagher (Slater 29S) 4. Jeremy Weaver (35W) 5. Kole Holden (2) 6. David Kalb, Jr. (11J) 7. Kyle Martell (8) 8. Chelsie Kriegisch (10) 9. Gary Haupt (16) 10. Blaze Myers (43JR) 11. Rob Kristyak (00) 12. Brandon Ritchey (17) 13. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 14. Steve Slater (29) 15. Jessica Kriegisch (63) 16. Preston Cope (24P) 17. Michael Kristyak (404) 18. Cameron Nastasi (615) 19. Will Schaffer (4) 20. Greg Porter (25) 21. Amelia Clay (4S) 22. Garrett Krummert (10S) 23. Jacob Wolfe (7) 24. Tony Tatgenhorst (63). DNQ: Pat Adams (39), Todd Gabriel (33G), Lexi Couch (51), Kyler Jolley (43X).
Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods (20 laps, $400 to-win): 1. JACOB EUCKER (64) 2. Steve Haefke (41) 3. Dustin Demattia (77D) 4. Dwayne Clay (007) 5. Brandon Blackshear (10) 6. Brian Toto (8B) 7. Brian Huchko (60) 8. Mark Titus (25) 9. Dan McEwen (44) 10. James Clay (84) 11. Buzz Seitz (1) 12. Gary Miller, Jr. (1M) 13. Mitchell Lam (12) 14. Gary Robinson (44R) 15. Ray Gregory (82R) 16. Pat Drennan (Sirrine 22) 17. Brandon Fiedler (18) 18. Ed Roberts (6s) 19. Gary Murphy (85) 20. Ty Rhoades (12R) 21. Rick Wilson, Jr. (35) 22. George Vestal IV (4) 23. Mike Hillman (29)-DNS 24. Judson Fell III (17)-DNS.
Coming up next Saturday night (August 25) will be the final Menards “Super Series” event of the season featuring The Mod Tour for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds racing for $2,000 to-win. The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will compete in a Bicknell Touring Series event paying $600 to-win for their annual “Manufacturers Night”. The Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars return and the Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods will round out the night’s regular racing in the final night of points. The Junior Sprints will also be on the card and power wheels races for the kids will also take place at intermission. It’s Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Night. Pits open at 4 p.m. with grandstands at 5, and heat racing at 7. Grandstand admission is $13 for those 14 and over. Pit passes are $30.
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.