by Mike Leone
Hartford, OH July 21, 2018 After another successful “Lou Blaney Memorial” followed by a week off for the Trumbull County Fair, Sharon Speedway returned to action on Saturday night. Despite cloudy and breezy conditions with rain to the west and east, a dry slot over the area allowed for just the eighth event of 2018 to be completed. Capturing wins on Texas Roadhouse (Niles, OH) Night and celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Rex King, Jr.-The Mod Tour for Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, Andrew Gordon-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Garrett Krummert-HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Dwayne Clay-Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods, and Evan Darby-Junior Sprints for kids.
With all of the early season rainouts, the Big-Block Modifieds completed just their second event of the 2018 season with both falling under The Mod Tour banner. Three-time track champion, Rex King, Jr., put on a dominating performance in the 35-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply feature with an impressive drive through lapped traffic to capture his first win of the season. The $2,000 victory gave King, Jr. the weekend sweep of the Mod Tour races as he also won Friday at Lernerville Speedway.
“That was fun,” said the 27-year-old Bristolville, Ohio racer. “The car was really good. I have to thank all of the guys. Everyone was hugging the bottom and we found the top early. I knew I was good, but with the lapped traffic it’s hard. When you’re running the top down there and have to go to the bottom it feels like you just lost 20 seconds. I was trying to hustle around there. I had a little trouble on the frontstretch with a couple cars, but we made it through. I have to thank Sharon Speedway for having us here- the BRP Tour is awesome.”
Jim Rasey shot from third to first on the opening lap over Rick Regalski, Jr. and Dave Murdick, while King, Jr. slipped from second back to sixth in the early stages of the event. Murdick, Mike Maresca, and Garrett Krummert all dropped Regalski back a spot as they moved up to second, third, and fourth on laps two, three, and four respectively.
Lap five saw King, Jr. move to the top and begin his march forward as he went from sixth to fourth then one lap later passed both Murdick and Maresca for second. On lap seven, King, Jr. made the winning pass sweeping around Rasey off the top of turn two. King, Jr. then quickly began to pull away as he opened up a straightaway lead by the time he caught traffic on lap 11. His lead though would be erased when Kevin Hoffman got upside down and came back on all four’s with 15 laps scored. He was ok and would actually restart the event after pitting.
Maresca would jump the ensuing restart and would be docked a row moving Krummert to second for the restart. The last 20 laps went green-to-checkered with King, Jr. driving an impeccable race through lapped traffic as his 24th career Sharon win came by a commanding 4.358 seconds in the King Bros. Ready Mix Concrete/King Sanitary/Bristol Disposal/Reese Services-sponsored #165.
Krummert was second over Maresca, who won the July 7 “Lou Blaney Memorial”. Rex King came from 10th to fourth over Jeremiah Shingledecker. After leading the first six laps, Rasey dropped to sixth over a good run by Eric Gabany. Murdick fell to eighth over Kyle Fink and Canadian Tyler Willard. Heats went to King, Murdick, Rasey, and Maresca over the 27-car field.
After getting caught up in an accident while battling for the lead with Chris Schneider in the June 16 $10,000 to-win Penn-Ohio Pro Stock event, Andrew Gordon made his return to Sharon a successful one completely dominating the 20-lap Gibson Insurance Agency feature to become the third different winner in as many events in 2018. With a full field of cars on hand, Stock Car drivers raced for the high purse structure as Gordon earned $700 in a tune-up for next Saturday’s Penn-Ohio event.
“The car didn’t feel good the last couple races,” stated the 28-year-old DuBois, Pa. victor. “We found some things wrong and made some adjustments. We’ve been really good and dialed in on slick tracks, we just have to get better in the heat races. When I saw Schneider go out, I knew he’d make his way back up front. I didn’t want to slouch- there’s a lot of good guys here that travel all over. You can’t give them anything. It’s been on and off with the rain this year. I love coming here and would be here every week if it wasn’t for the Penn-Ohio races.”
Gordon started third and passed area standouts Chris McGuire and Schneider for the lead on the opening lap. Three cautions slowed action in the first eight laps before the final 12 went caution-free. Under the final caution, Schneider pitted and handed second back to McGuire. Steve D’Apolito started seventh and climbed to fourth on lap five after battling with Andy Buckley for several laps. When racing resumed on lap nine, D’Apolito passed McGuire for the runner-up spot.
D’Apolito though would be no challenge for Gordon, who took the checkered flag first by 6.574 seconds in the Pizza Hut/Staar Trucking-sponsored #25A for his third career win. McGuire was third as he continues to lead the points. Schneider worked all the way back to fourth at the finish coming from the tail in the final 12 laps. Curt J. Bish was fifth. Schneider, McGuire, and Gordon won the heat races over the 24-car field.
After finishing second in the Big-Block Modified feature, Garrett Krummert became the first repeat winner of the season in the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds after five events. Despite starting seventh, Krummert took the lead on lap eight of the 20-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products feature and never looked back to maintain his points lead.
“We were really good,” stated the 30-year-old Ellwood City, Pa. driver. “I was actually surprised the bottom was that good. I figured after the big race we’d be running around the top, but the bottom was where to be tonight. Jerry Schaffer gives us a great equipment so it makes my job a lot easier. I appreciate everything Jerry does and all my sponsors along with my crew chief Ryan, my wife, and everyone that helps on this thing.”
The opening lap was a mad scramble as fifth starting Kyle Martell took the lead over Steve Slater, Chas Wolbert, and Krummert, who moved up three spots. Wolbert and Krummert took over second and third from Slater on lap two before a five-car accident in turn one. When racing resumed, Krummert continued to move forward as he overtook Wolbert for second. Krummert then would make his winning move in a similar fashion as King, Jr. did in the big blocks driving around Martell in turns one and two on lap eight.
While Krummert began to pull away, Kole Holden was on the charge from 10th. Holden passed Wolbert for third on lap eight then slipped under Martell in turn four for second on lap 10. Krummert had a half-straightaway lead built up at this time at the halfway point and it was one he’d never relinquish as he took his third career Sharon win by 2.641 seconds in the Rentools & Equipment/Fombell General Store/Turn 4 Toilets-sponsored #10s.
Holden was a season best second. Eighth starting Josh Deems had a great battle with Wolbert and Martell in the closing laps as he went three-wide on lap 14 to garner the third spot. Wolbert would get by Martell for fourth. Martell dropped to fifth after leading the first seven laps. Rocky Kugel, Deems, and Martell won the heat races over the 21-car field.
Dwayne Clay came out on top after a great duel with Bud Watson in the best race of the night capturing the 20-lap Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mod feature victory. Clay’s first win of the season was more importantly his milestone 40th of his career at Sharon, which have come in three different divisions.
“That was good and a lot of fun,” expressed the 53-year-old Lordstown, Ohio veteran. “I didn’t even know who that was in that car (Watson). I really don’t know any of these guys other than Steve Haefke. That track was real racey. I’m not good when it gets slick like this, but it was fun. I could tell he was good up there, but he seemed to be losing a bit and I was trying to save my tires. The tires sealed over on that second to last restart and figured I was done, then I got him on the outside and it all worked out. It’s great to be back!”
Butch Lambert led the opening lap before the second place car of Dan McEwen spun. When racing resumed on lap two, sixth starting Watson was halfway to the front in third. Clay meanwhile started fourth and took the lead from Lambert on the fourth circuit. Two laps later, Watson dropped Lambert back to third.
Watson would take his first lead of the race with a turn four pass of Clay on lap eight following a restart for a spin by Brandon Fiedler. Clay didn’t go away retaking the lead on lap 13; however, another caution for a spin by Fielder allowed Watson to once again grab the lead on lap 18. The event’s final caution came when newcomer Justin Lapcevich tangled with Rick Wilson, Jr.
And for the third time, the lead would change on the restart, but this time it was the final one as Clay made the winning pass and went on for his fourth career Econo Mod win by 0.466 of a second in his Clay Brothers Transportation/D.C. Hawk Transportation/Minor’s Performance/C.R. Carts-sponsored #007. Watson had a great run in Dave Rogers’ #60 taking second over Lambert. Jacob Eucker was fourth after having to start 12th after winning two straight features. Dustin Demattia was fifth after starting 10th. Eucker, Brandon Blackshear, and Ty Rhoades won the heat races over 23-car field.
The Mod Tour Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds (35 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. REX KING, JR. (165) 2. Garrett Krummert (29) 3. Mike Maresca (7MM) 4. Rex King (65) 5. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD) 6. Jim Rasey (32) 7. Eric Gabany (3E) 8. Dave Murdick (61) 9. Kyle Fink (66F) 10. Tyler Willard (777) 11. Brad Rapp (11R) 12. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 13. Chris Haines (35H) 14. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 15. Jimmy Holden (28H) 16. Kevin Hoffman (00) 17. Lonny Riggs (Black 58) 18. Sid Unverzagt, Jr. (17JR) 19. Bob Warren (96B) 20. Will Thomas III (9) 21. Steve Barr (25B) 22. Tom Mattocks (69) 23. Travis Shingledecker (73MD) 24. Skip Moore (17M) 25. J.R. McGinley 26. Tom Holden (68H) 27. Tom Glenn (83T).
Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars (20 laps, $700 to-win): 1. ANDREW GORDON (25A) 2. Steve D’Apolito (84) 3. Chris McGuire (63) 4. Chris Schneider (55) 5. Curt J. Bish (Tarr 29) 6. Andy Buckley (965) 7. Tyler Thompson (T2) 8. Paul Davis (3) 9. Jeff Broniszewski (08) 10. Jamie Scharba (11S) 11. Mike Clark (7) 12. Michael Hudzik (31H) 13. Jamie Duncan (67J) 14. Troy Norman (Gower 19N) 15. Jason Jones (81) 16. Clyde Roberts (33c) 17. Jason Fosnaught (Tristani 73) 18. Larry Kugel (Petsko 00) 19. Mike Miller (T6) 20. Brian Carothers (02c) 21. Sid Snyder (12S) 22. William Slade (A22) 23. Jamie Maxwell (6) 24. Steve Allison (1BAD)-DNS.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (20 laps): 1. GARRETT KRUMMERT (10S) 2. Kole Holden (2) 3. Josh Deems (9D) 4. Chas Wolbert (c3) 5. Kyle Martell (8) 6. David Kalb, Jr. (11J) 7. Gary Haupt (16) 8. Steve Slater (29) 9. Rob Kristyak (00) 10. Jacob Wolfe (7) 11. Jeremy Weaver (35W) 12. Chelsie Kriegisch (10) 13. Tony Tatgenhorst (63) 14. Preston Cope (24P) 15. Jordan Ehrenberg (JD57) 16. Jacob Jordan (28J) 17. Rocky Kugel (83) 18. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 19. Darin Gallagher (Slater 29S) 20. Brandon Michaud (132) 21. Jessica Kriegisch (63)-DNS.
Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods (20 laps: 1. DWAYNE CLAY (007) 2. Bud Watson (Rogers 60) 3. Butch Lambert (Hendrickson 19) 4. Jacob Eucker (10) 5. Dustin Demattia (77D) 6. Steve Haefke (41) 7. Brandon Blackshear (10) 8. Brian Toto (8B) 9. Gary Robinson (44R) 10. Mike Hillman (29) 11. Mark Titus (25) 12. Mitchell Lam (12) 13. Keith Felicetty (98) 14. George Vestal IV (4) 15. Todd Canter (Gregory 82R) 16. Pat Drennan (Sirrine 22) 17. Rick Wilson, Jr. (35) 18. Justin Lapcevich (777) 19. Brandon Fiedler (18) 20. Dan McEwen (44) 21. Ty Rhoades (12R)-DNS 22. Ed Harris (45)-DNS 23. Jeremy Double (83)-DNS.
Next Saturday (July 28) will be a “Steel Valley Thunder” program featuring the Big-Block Modifieds, Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series, RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, Econo Mods plus Junior Sprints for kids. It’s Twin-State Auto Racing Club Night with free grandstand admission for club members. It’s Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Night. Pits open at 4 p.m., 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.