|Date: 9/23/2014 9:51:50 PM|
SHARON TO CLOSE OUT 85TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON SATURDAY; TOP 10 POINT CHASES TO BE DECIDED IN "STEEL VALLEY THUNDER" FINALE PLUS RUSH SPORTSMAN MODS
By Mike LeoneHartford, OH September 23, 2014 Sharon Speedway will bring the curtain down on the 85th anniversary season this Saturday night (September 27). On the card as part of the "Steel Valley Thunder" event will be the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Barris Supply RUSH Late Models, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks, and a return appearance by the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. Over 100 race cars have filled the pits in each of the last six events. Race time Saturday is 7 p.m.
The top 10 drivers in each of the six weekly divisions will receive point fund monies at the awards banquet typically held in early February at the Yankee Lake Ballroom in Brookfield, Ohio. Saturday will give drivers one last chance at advancing their final position in points.
In the Speedway's headlining division, it's down to a King Family affair as Rex King, Jr. leads his father Rex, Sr. by 19 markers in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds. The youngest King is coming off his division-leading sixth win last Saturday night. Already this year, "Cooter" has won his first Lernerville Speedway track championship in addition to the BRP Tour title, and now looks to add his first ever Sharon championship! The elder King won titles in 1985, 1996, and back-to-back in 2010-2011, but it won't be easy to win a fifth on Saturday night.
King won't finish worse than second in points as he has a 48-point advantage on Jim Weller, Jr., who has the third position sewed up by simply showing up to compete Saturday night. Only 36 points separates fourth through seventh in points between Jim Rasey, Jimmy Weller III, Ricky Richner, and Rick Regalski, Jr. Tom Glenn and Bob Warren are currently ninth and tenth and are guaranteed a top 10 point finish
Will Thomas III clinched his second championship in three years last Saturday night in the Barris Supply RUSH Late Models. Thomas is one of three drivers that have four victories this season in the division. In fact, Thomas, 2013 champion Dennis Lunger, Jr., and last week's winner Alan Dellinger are the only three drivers to win regular events this season. Rick Singleton and Russell King won the $1,500 Sweeney Tour events on July 5 and September 12 respectively.
Sixty different drivers have competed in at least one RUSH Late Model event this season, but only the top 10 will receive season ending point fund monies. Lunger is second and has a 15-point lead on Russell Byler, who is in his first full season of Late Model racing. Dellinger is fourth, but still has a mathematical shot of taking over second in points. Jamie Wrightsman, Lon Emerick, Bobby Pifer III, Bobby Whitling, Eric Andrus, and Clay Ruffo complete the top 10.
Even though he dropped from first to third in the final laps of last week's Modified feature, Steve Dixon was able to clinch his first championship in the Smethport, Pa. driver's first season of racing weekly at the Hartford, Ohio oval. While Dixon has a lock on the title with a 47-point lead, just 14 points separates positions two through five! Mike Kinney, who won his season's third feature last Saturday and is the defending champion, is currently second but just by two over the consistent Russ Dunn. Four-time champion Carl McKinney and 2012 champion Joel Watson are fourth and fifth. Rounding out the top 10 of the competitive division that has featured over 20 cars per night in the past six races are Dwayne Clay, Jeff Johnson, Clayton Kennedy, Jacob Eucker, and Scott Stiffler.
The Stock Cars is the closest championship battle as Paul Davis overtook the Gibson Insurance Agency point lead by three last Saturday night coupled with his fifth victory last Saturday night and a ninth place finish by Mike Clark. Clark won his first championship last year, while Davis is looking for his first. Bryan Wagner is third in points and it appears that's where he'll finish as engine issues have apparently ended the season for fourth and fifth place drivers Brian Carothers and Brent Coleman. Rookie Dave Myers is sixth over Brian Mulichak, Gary Robinson, Tony Bruno, and Jamie Gibbs.
Not only did Jeremy Double go from third to first on the final lap for his fourth win of the season, but the 18-year-old also captured his second straight Econo Mod championship! With his runner-up finish, Casey Bowers moved into second in the HTMA/Precise Racing Products standings and would love to end his winless drought that dates back over two years at the Speedway. Sophomore racer Ty Rhoades is 14 points behind Bowers in third as he continues to battle for his first career win.
After missing last Saturday night, Brandon Blackshear dropped to fourth in points and is ahead of Josh Mueller by just one point. Jason Longwell, Steve Burns, Jr., Brian Foley, Jr., Alan Atkinson, and Steve Haefke are sixth through tenth in points. The five drivers are guaranteed to finish in the top 10, but could easily change their currently positions.
It's hard to believe that despite winning nine features to Bill Fuch's one, Travis Creech would be trailing Fuchs in the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stock points, but that's the case as Fuchs holds down a 27-point lead due to Creech missing one night in addition to several DNFs. Creech won six features and the title in his rookie championship season in 2013, but it's going to be difficult to overcome Fuchs, who can win his second career title by finishing 17th or better no matter what Creech does in the heat or feature. Jamie Maxwell is third in points over 2012 champion Jim Haefke, Jr. Fifth through 10th currently are Tim McAninch, Joe Campbell, Pat Drennan, Geof Pinch, Rick Wilson, Jr., and Steve Walker II.
While the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds won't be running for track points Saturday, they will be gathering important points toward the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Weekly Series point chase that pays a $10,000 point fund to the top 15 drivers. The RUSH Mods were off last weekend and will return to Sharon on Saturday for their eighth event at the track during their inaugural season. There have been between 10-12 cars at each event. Wilson, New York driver Greg Martin has shined at Sharon with four wins and three runner-up finishes, and his victory at the last event at Sharon propelled him into the Series point lead by two over Adam Hilton, who won his first Sharon race on Friday event during the "Apple Festival Nationals".
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply will again award six complimentary pit passes for the following week; a pair going to the hard luck driver in DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, a pair to a lucky driver in the division that competes first, and a pair to a lucky fan. Summit Racing Equipment will award $25 gift cards to the hard charger in the Modified, Stock Car, and Econo Mod divisions. Sweeney Chevrolet/Pace Performance will award $50, $25, and $25 certificates to the top three GM 602 crates in the Econo Mods that have been purchased through them or have secondary seals. HTMA will award a free Hoosier tire to the hard charger in the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds.
Pit gates open at 4 p.m., grandstands at 5 with racing at 7. Admission for those 14 and over is $13. Pit passes are $30. As always, children under 13, parking, and camping is always FREE!
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 @SharonSpdwy.
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