by Mike Leone
Hartford, OH June 22, 2019 After two disappointing rainouts in the last week, Sharon Speedway was finally blessed with a gorgeous summer day on Saturday allowing the Menards “Super Series” event to be completed on Warren Fabricating & Machine and AMG Jet Night. Celebrating with victories in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Mike Potosky-Outlaw Mods (IMCA-type) in the “John C. Rebhan Memorial” for the “Bickerstaff Cup” Series, Brian Woodhall-RUSH Sprint Cars, and Rob Kristyak-HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. Also, David Kalb, Jr. captured the “Wheelman” Non-Winners race presented by Ohio Intra Express and C&R Tire for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. Warren Fab, formerly owned by John C. Rebhan and now run by his daughter, had a company picnic before the event.
On June 8, standout racer Brian Ruhlman captured his first career Sharon win in the debut of the “Bickerstaff Cup” Series for the Outlaw Mods. Fast forward to Saturday night and it was Mike Potosky becoming the second veteran racer in as many “Bickerstaff Cup” Series events to garner his first career Sharon win. Potosky led the entire way for the 25-lap feature win. Potosky not only received $1,200, but also a $100 gift card from Close Racing Supply and a case of beer from Penguin City Beer.
“It’s about time we get one here at Sharon,” stated the 44-year-old Guys Mills, Pa. racer. “The track was good, but challenging I’d call it. It was fun racing. I don’t know if I had a shock going bad at the end. I have to thank my wife, my kids, and crew.”
The top eight in passing points from the heat races redrew and it Potosky drawing the pole. Potosky jumped to the early lead with Josh Ferry getting by Gary Eicher for second. Following a caution with four laps completed, fifth starting Ruhlman moved to third past Eicher with 10th starting Shawn Shingledecker following in fourth. With most everyone running the top, Ferry got into the turn two wall and exited the event on lap 10 allowing Ruhlman to move into runner-up.
After losing a motor at the first “Bickerstaff Cup” Series event, Shingledecker began smoking and retired from the event on lap 11. A caution for Jeremy Double with 11 laps scored allowed Ruhlman a shot alongside Potosky for the double file restart, but Potosky would maintain the lead until a caution with 17 laps scored when Jacob Eucker blew a left rear tire. This time Ruhlman would grab the lead on the restart to lead the 18th circuit; however, one lap later, Potosky regained the lead and it was one he’d never relinquish as his A&MP Electric #m20 took the checkered flag first by 0.857 of a second. Potosky is the 54th different driver to win an E-Mod feature in the history of the speedway.
Ruhlman’s second place finish allowed him to maintain the “Bickerstaff Cup” Series points lead after two of the four events. It was a three-wide battle for third on the final lap with Tyler Frankenberry edging out Chris Basich and Nathon Loney. Basich was the Burgan Real Estate Hard Charger advancing 19 positions from his 23rd place starting spot! Eicher dropped to sixth as Mike Kinney, Joe Gabrielson, Ty Rhoades, and Butch Lambert completed the top 10.
Potosky, Casey Bowers, and Ruhlman captured the Close Racing Supply heat races over the 25-car field, while Eucker won the last chance B main. Dwayne Clay was selected as the Dickson Racing Shocks Hard Luck recipient after requiring a double hook during his heat race, which ended his night. The next “Bickerstaff Cup” Series event will be July 20.
Brian Woodhall passed Shawn Smith using a wicked slide job on lap 10 to get by for good and raced on to his first career RUSH Sprint Car Series win in the 20-lap feature for the non-wing cars. At the last event on June 8, the former “410” Sprint Car and Mod Lite racer finished a close runner-up to defending Series Champion, Chad Ruhlman. The 20-car field was the highest at Sharon and matched the Series’ all-time high car count for the second year division.
“I had to drive a little bit on that one,” explained the 34-year-old Apollo, Pa. racer. “Towards the end of the race I was kind of looking for a caution because I couldn’t feel my arms. I have to thank my dad at CNC Specialties, my wife for letting me do this, and everyone back at the shop to make this possible. I think these cars are a lot more fun and challenging to drive than 410 Sprints. They don’t have the wing up top so you have to wheel the car little bit.”
Woodhall started second and used the bottom in turn four to get by Smith to lead the opening lap; however, Smith stuck with him and the two raced side-by-side on lap two with Smith nosing ahead to take the lead. Fourth starting Zach Morrow had passed Arnie Kent for third on lap two and the top three distanced themselves from the field.
On lap nine, Woodhall tried a slider in turns one and two, but couldn’t make the pass stick. One lap later, Woodhall ran Smith back down and this time got a better run exiting turn two to get by him down the backstretch. Morrow was able to follow in second taking the spot racing off turn two on lap 11. Woodhall caught traffic on lap 12 and was able to maintain a half-straightaway lead through traffic. Woodhall would grow his lead through the remainder of the event and took the checkered flag first by a commanding 4.621 seconds in his CNC Specialties Manufacturing/RFI-sponsored #8B.
Morrow was second. After leading eight laps, Smith dropped to third at the finish over Kent. Andy Feil was fifth. Brian Ruhlman beat out his nephew Kevin Ruhlman for sixth. Rounding out the top 10 were Jeremy Weaver, Brad Blackshear, and Dave Hawkins. Heat winners were Woodhall and Smith.
After failing to win a feature in his first full season of RUSH Sportsman Modified racing in 2018, former Big-Block Modified racer, Rob Kristyak, is on a roll. Kristyak worked his way past Connor King despite some contact to garner his second 20-lap HTMA/Precise Racing Products feature win in the past three events at Sharon, and swept the weekend for the Series as he also won on Friday night at Raceway 7. Kristyak became the division’s first repeat winner of the season.
“That young kid wore me out,” explained the 40-year-old Bristolville, Ohio racer when asked about King. “We found something up high. The car was tight at first, but I had to drive through it. I had to let him know I was there. The fans should like that better than no contact at all.”
King went from third to first to lead the opening lap with Kristyak in second. Kristyak would track down King and powered around him on the outside brushing against the fence to make the winning move on lap 15. Kristyak took his 13th overall win at Sharon by 1.730 second in his Mark Thomas Ford/Classic Auto Glass/Wedge Motorsports/Bristol Disposal/Texas Roadhouse/T&C Automotive/C&R Tire-sponsored #00.
King was a career best Sharon finish of second. Chas Wolbert raced from 10th to finish third over Kole Holden and David Kalb, Jr. Sixth through 10th were Tony Tatgenhorst, Josh Deems, Chelsie Kriegisch followed by her sister Jessica Kriegisch, and Preston Cope. Kristyak, Gary Haupt, and King captured the heat race wins over the 21-car field.
David Kalb, Jr. ended the night winning his second “Wheelman” Non-Winners event. The 17-year-old Aurora, Ohio driver passed Amelia Clay on lap two and went unchallenged during the 10-lap event to earn $75. Kalb took the checkered flag first by a comfortable margin of 2.352 seconds in his Frankland Rear End/Newbury Tire-sponsored #11J. Jacob Wolfe came from seventh to finish second as Cope, Tatgenhorst, and Clay completed the first five.
Outlaw (E) Mods “Bickerstaff Cup” Series for the “John C. Rebhan Memorial” (25 laps, $1,200 to-win): 1. M20-MIKE POTOSKY ; 2. 49-Brian Ruhlman ; 3. 38-Tyler Frankenberry ; 4. 71C-Chris Basich ; 5. 10L-Nathon Loney ; 6. 29-Gary Eicher ; 7. 20P-Mike Kinney ; 8. 58-Joe Gabrielson ; 9. 12R-Ty Rhoades ; 10. 19H-Butch Lambert ; 11. 6M-Carl McKinney ; 12. 1-Buzz Seitz ; 13. 14A-Amanda Stiffler ; 14. 25-Mark Titus ; 15. 64-Jacob Eucker ; 16. 83-Jeremy Double ; 17. 54s-Shawn Shingledecker ; 18. 33-Josh Ferry ; 19. 27-Jeff Johnson ; 20. 14-Scott Stiffler ; 21. 44-Dan McEwen ; 22. 32-Alan Atkinson ; 23. 20-Casey Bowers . DNS: 007-Dwayne Clay; 7-Alan Dellinger.
RUSH Sprint Cars (20 laps): 1. 8B-BRIAN WOODHALL ; 2. 27M-Zach Morrow ; 3. 36-Shawn Smith ; 4. 18-Arnie Kent ; 5. 9J-Andy Feil ; 6. 49-Brian Ruhlman ; 7. 23-Kevin Ruhlman ; 8. 41-Jeremy Weaver ; 9. 19-Brad Blackshear ; 10. 27-Dave Hawkins ; 11. 10-Brandon Blackshear ; 12. 27H-Brandon Hawkins ; 13. 35T-Philip Thornton ; 14. 37-Scott Hawkins ; 15. 35-Tyler Powell ; 16. 69-Brian Hartzell ; 17. 40-Brad Church ; 18. 21-Steven Pedley . DNS: 4J-John Mollick; 87R-Chad Ruhlman.
HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (20 laps): 1. 1. 00-ROB KRISTYAK ; 2. 19-Connor King ; 3. C3-Chas Wolbert ; 4. 2-Kole Holden ; 5. 11J-David Kalb, Jr ; 6. 63T-Tony Tatgenhorst ; 7. 9D-Josh Deems ; 8. 10-Chelsie Kriegisch ; 9. 63-Jessica Kriegisch ; 10. 24P-Preston Cope ; 11. 28J-Jacob Jordan ; 12. 7-Jacob Wolfe ; 13. 25-Greg Porter ; 14. 30-Brandon Albert ; 15. 615-Cameron Nastasi ; 16. 16C-Amelia Clay ; 17. 12C-Calvin Clay ; 18. 11B-Don Blaney ; 19. 19G-Joe Gibson ; 20. 55R-Clayton Deems ; 21. 16-Gary Haupt .
Ohio Intra Express/C&R Tire RUSH Sportsman Modified “Wheelman” Non-Winners Race (10 laps, $75 to-win): 1. David Kalb, Jr. 2. Jacob Wolfe 3. Preston Cope 4. Tony Tatgenhorst 5. Amelia Clay 6. Brandon Albert 7. Don Blaney 8. Greg Porter 9. Cameron Nastasi 10. Clayton Deems 11. Calvin Clay-DNS 12. Jacob Jordan-DNS 13. Joe Gibson-DNS.
Coming up this Saturday night (June 29) will be the return by the “410” Sprint Cars in a $3,000 to-win event part of the Menards “Super Series”. Also on the card will be the Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and the Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods. It’s Kams Electric Services Night along with Armed Forces Night. Race time is 7 p.m.
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.