By Mike Leone
Hartford, OH June 12, 2018 Sharon Speedway is primed to host the area’s richest Stock Car event in history this Saturday night (June 16). The inaugural “Steel Valley Pro Stock Nationals” presented by Blue Ox Timber will feature the Homak Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series racing for $10,000 to-win. The Junior Sprints for kids will also be on the card. Saturday will get underway with group qualifying at 6:30 p.m. Practice will take place on Friday night beginning at 6 p.m.
The 75-lap Penn-Ohio Pro Stock feature will pay $10,000 to-win, $300 to-start. Zimmer’s Service Center will present $500 to the fastest qualifier overall. The heat races will invert four from qualifying and will pay $100 to-win, $75 for second, $50 for third, and $25 for fourth thanks to Gravatt’s Electric & Generators, Crawford Custom Consulting, Close Racing Supply, and Shingledecker’s Welding. The heat winners will then redraw for the dash, which will set the beginning rows of the feature lineup. Drivers that fail to qualify through the heat races will compete in an “alphabet soup” format to try and fill the remaining spots of the 30-car starting line-up.
In addition, numerous contingencies will be awarded. For those that did not pre-enter, the cost to enter on Saturday is $200. For an entry form, rules, and more information on the event along with the Penn Ohio Series, check out their website at www.pennohioprostocks.com.
Unfortunately with all of the rain outs in the early part of the season, the Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars have amazingly yet to complete a program. The only track time came on May 26 when four heat races were completed for the 31-car field before rain washed out the program. The Stocks were not on the schedule when the only two events were completed this season on May 6 and June 2. Meanwhile, the Penn-Ohio Series has only been able to complete one event with Chris Schneider winning the Ed Laboon Memorial on June 2 at Pittsburgh.
Leading the 77 drivers pre-entered for Saturday’s race is Sharon’s all-time winningest Stock Car driver, Alan Dellinger. The nearby Hermitage, Pa. racer owns 65 victories at the track and two championships. Dellinger hasn’t been a regular in the division for awhile to add to those numbers. Dellinger also is the track’s all-time E-Mod winner at 87 victories.
After Mike Clark won three consecutive Gibson Insurance Agency titles (2013-2015), veteran Paul Davis not only put a stop to the streak in 2016 but repeated the feat in 2017. Davis is now up to 22 career Stock Car wins at the track. Steve D’Apolito leads the active Stock Car racers with 32 career wins and four track championships at the Hartford, Ohio oval.
In 2017, Bobby Whitling claimed the Penn-Ohio Championship, while Andrew Gordon turned a lot of heads winning all over the circuit including twice at Sharon. When it comes to big races in the region, Chris Schneider can usually be found at the front. Despite never racing regularly at Sharon, Schneider has seven wins at the track. Corey McPherson has made a name for himself dominating the ranks at Lernerville taking five of the last six track championships along with the RUSH Pro Stock titles each of the last two seasons. Drivers like Rusty Martz, Rusty Moore, Rusty Wheeler, Andy Buckley, Chris Withers, and Shaun Hooks have all made a name for themselves over the years in the regional Stock Car ranks.
Camping will open on Wednesday evening. Gates for practice and tech inspection on Friday night will open at 4 p.m. Practice will run from 6-10 p.m. Following practice, there will be a bonfire behind the grandstands and the band BINGE will perform live until 2 a.m. Pit admission is $20 on Friday night, while grandstand admission is free.
Pits are open throughout the day on Saturday with pit passes going on sale at 4 p.m., while the main grandstands open at 5. THERE WILL BE NO WARM-UPS ON SATURDAY NIGHT! Group qualifying will get underway at 6:30 p.m. with racing to follow.
Grandstand admission for those 14 and over is $10. Patio seating upgrades are just $5 and fan suite seating upgrades are just $20 over the cost of general admission. In order to reserve either of these ahead of time, call the office Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 330-772-5481. Children under 14, parking, and camping is FREE! Pit passes are $30. Pit passes for children 12 and under are $20. Sharon has a no carry-in cooler policy.
“Steel Valley Pro Stock Nationals” Feature Payoff: 1. $10,000 2. $3,000 3. $1,500 4. $1,000 5. $700 6. $550 7. $500 8. $475 9. $450 10. $425 11. $400 12. $375 13. $350 14. $325 15-30. $300.
Trophies for the event are presented by Gary Smith Racing with special awards made by Wrapz by Reiser. Additional sponsors for the event include: Blue Ox Timber, E & K Equipment, Wedge Motorsports, Robinson Automotive, ITC Crane, RCR Automotive, Oniboni Construction, SS Chassis & Supply, Slider Race Cars, World of Wheels, NorthStar Unlimited llc., Mills Automotive & Off Road, Les Frickshun, Shaffer’s Auto & Exhaust, Bish Heating & Cooling, R & R Enterprise Auto Sales & Garage, RK Virgile Scrap Metals, Gravatt’s Electric & Generators, Crawford Custom Consulting, Close Racing Supply, Zimmer’s Service Center, Inc., May’s Towing, C & R Tire, M & T Allison Construction, Schwartzmiller Ground Maintenance, Alternative Power Source, The Dirt Network, and Shingledecker’s Welding.
Coming up on Tuesday, June 19 is Ohio Speedweek for the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars in a $5,000 to-win event along with the HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. Advanced and reserved tickets are on sale by going to SharonSpeedway.com and clicking on ‘Buy Tickets’ at the top left.
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.