By Mike Leone
Hartford, OH September 7-8, 2018 Sharon Speedway completed the 2018 season one night earlier than scheduled after unexpected all day rain showers on Saturday washed out night two of the annual “Apple Festival Nationals”. On Friday night, Rex King-Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds, James Hill-“Mark Marcucci Memorial” for Mod Lites, and Teddy Williams kicked off the “Apple Festival Nationals” victorious before rain washed out the RUSH Sprint Car feature. There were 201 cars in the pits plus the Jr. Sprints for kids. All day rain on Saturday forced the ending to the season the way it started making for the eighth rainout of the year, but first since June 23. Plans for that event will be announced soon.
It took until the season finale for five-time Big-Block Modified track champion, Rex King, to garner his first win of 2018. King made the winning move on lap seven and held off a furious challenge by Garrett Krummert for the 25-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply feature win. The $1,500 victory for the Bristolville, Ohio veteran upped his career win total to 54, which is tops for active Big-Block Modified racers.
Jim Weller, Jim Rasey, and fifth starting King all passed pole-sitter Dave Murdick on the opening lap for the top three spots. Rasey took over on lap two when he drove under Weller in turn four, and two laps later King made the same move on Rasey to take second. King ran down Rasey on lap five then pulled even on lap six as the two veterans raced side-by-side for the lead for two laps as King nosed ahead on lap seven before newcomer Erik Bowser spun and was collected by J.R. McGinley.
That would be the event’s only caution as when racing resumed on lap eight, Garrett Krummert, who had passed Weller for third before the caution, made the pass of Rasey for second. King caught lapped traffic on lap 14 allowing Krummert to close in.
Krummert pulled even on lap 19 as the two raced side-by-side for the lead, but King held on. Krummert continued to challenge King as he tried everything on the racey surface over the final five laps to make a move through lapped traffic but to no avail as King’s R.D. Banks Chevrolet/Arnold L. Barris Trucking/Midway Garage Door/G.S. Engine Power-sponsored #65 crossed the finish first by 0.385 of a second.
Twelfth starting Rex King, Jr. passed Rasey on lap 18 and started to close in late, but ran out of time and finished third. Rasey fell to fourth over Mike Maresca, Jr. Completing the top 10 were Jeremiah Shingledecker, Murdick, Weller, Brad Rapp, and Lonny Riggs. Heat wins went to Shingledecker, King, and Krummert over the 21-car field.
James Hill came out on top of a 39-car field of racers from six different states to win the inaugural “Mark Marcucci Memorial” in the richest Mod Lite race in the history of Sharon. The First State racer passed Rod Jones on lap 16 and went on to win the 20-lap feature, which was worth $1,588 after bonuses.
“I’m speechless,” expressed the 22-year-old Laurel, Delaware driver. ” This was an awesome race to win. I knew Mark (Marcucci) from racing other tracks. He was an awesome man. He was taken away way too soon. I hope you liked that race, and I hope we can put on a good race for you in the future. I want to thank each and every one of you sitting in the stands. I appreciate you coming out and supporting our class. You have a hell of a track and officials- I can’t wait to come back here. This is a Walt Breeding Memorial car and I figured we’d bring it out for Mark’s memorial.”
The fifth starting Hill used the numerous cautions to his benefit. Hill moved to third on lap 11 past Alan Knepper and two laps later grabbed second from Vivian Jones, both following restarts. The event’s seventh and final caution was displayed with 14 laps completed as the final six would go green-to-checkered. Hill and Rod Jones, the race-long leader, battled side-by-side the ensuing two laps before Hill made the winning move off turn two and led the final five laps in his Taylor & Messick/TL Hill Services/Carey’s Towing/Peterman Construction/Hillview Farms-sponsored #1H.
Vivian Jones passed her father on the final lap for second. Rod Jones was third after breaking the left rear hub around lap 10. Knepper and Iowa racer Charles Brown completed the top five. Heat race wins went to Knepper, Hill, Tracy Fritter, and Mitch Ward in their first and only appearance of the season. Doug Stanley captured the last chance B main.
Teddy Williams picked up the win in the 20-lap feature for the Sportsman Dwarf Cars. Williams and Steve Mix, Jr. traded the lead before Williams made the winning pass on lap 10. The 55-year-old Leavittsburg, Ohio driver’s first ever Sharon win was worth $500 in a race that featured six lead changes.
Mark Biskup led the opening lap before Joe Grzelak, Jr. took over on lap two. Grzelak’s lead was short-lived as he would spin on lap three handing the lead back to Biskup. Biskup though wouldn’t lead another lap as fifth starting Steve Mix, Jr. grabbed the lead on lap three. Williams started back in eighth and moved to second on lap four then took his first lead when Mix got sideways off turn four on lap five.
Mix came back to take the lead on lap nine, but his final lead lasted only one lap as Williams made the winning pass on lap 10. Angie Grzelak passed Mix on lap 13 and tracked down Williams in the final lap, but Williams was able to hold on in his #48. Mix dropped to third over Jacob Eakin and Art Williams. Angie and Joe Grzelak along with Mix won the heat races over the 25-car field in their first and only appearance of the season.
The RUSH Sprint Cars were on the track and set to go green on their 20-lap feature when the intensity of the rain picked up forcing the cars off the track. Unfortunately it was the start of rain that would continue through the weekend. The RUSH Sprint Car feature purse was split. Their heats for the 14-car field were won by Chad Ruhlman, who won the June 2 event, and Zach Morrow, who started seventh.
The Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Series, RUSH Sportsman Modified Touring Series, and Econo Mods completed their heats and were scheduled to run their last chance B mains and feature events on Saturday. The Gibson Insurance Agency Stocks had 46 cars with heat wins to Andrew Gordon, Randy Wyant, Rob Shook, Mike Miller, and Chris Schneider. The HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Mods had 29 cars with heat wins to Garrett Krummert, David Kalb, Jr., and Josh Deems. The Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods had a season high 27 cars with heat wins to Jacob Eucker, Eric Wilson, and Kyle Miller.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. REX KING (65) 2. Garrett Krummert (10s) 3. Rex King, Jr. (165) 4. Jim Rasey (32) 5. Mike Maresca, Jr. (7MM) 6. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD) 7. Dave Murdick (61) 8. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 9. Brad Rapp (11R) 10. Lonny Riggs (Black 58) 11. Colton Walters (18) 12. Josh Deems (39J) 13. Chris Rudolph (25) 14. Steve Barr (25B) 15. Randy Chronister (71) 16. Tom Mattocks (69) 17. Max Smoker (93X) 18. Rick Regalski, Jr. (13) 19. Will Thomas III (9) 20. J.R. McGinley (66M) 21. Erik Bowser (89).
Mod Lites “Mark Marcucci Memorial” (20 laps, $1,538 to-win): 1. JAMES HILL (1H) 2. Vivian Jones (20M) 3. Rod Jones (21) 4. Alan Knepper (10) 5. Charles Brown (75) 6. Mitch Ward (862) 7. Tracy Fritter (59) 8. Calvin Clay (12C) 9. Alan Dellinger (Meadows 224) 10. Shane Webb (267) 11. Clint Snyder (B4U) 12. Doug Stanley (Coen 1C) 13. Bobby Springer (42) 14. Mark A. Marcucci (8M) 15. Dusty Frantz (825) 16. Ayden Cipriano (5C) 17. Thomas Perkins, Jr. (37) 18. Larry Bevivino (5) 19. Joseph Sisk (24) 20. Matt Ward (98) 21. Shane Pfeuffer (717) 22. Jimmy Smith (Carter R88) 23.Chris Robinson (15) 24. Cody Dye (4T). DNQ: Chris Logan (2), David Brown (33), Ed Mudrick (55M), Roman Jones (82M), Teddy Williams II (818), Tyler Purnell (51), Shawn Nairn (28), Keith Smith (16S), Doug Jones (71X), Dennis Smith (13), Logan Lewis (22), Jeff Davis (830), Kenneth Campbell, Jr. (1KC), Aaron Dadisman (48), Brian Foley, Jr. (Williams 1).
Sportsman Dwarf Cars (15 laps, $500 to-win): 1. Teddy Williams (48) 2. Angie Grzelak (57) 3. Steve Mix, Jr. (85) 4. Jacob Eakin (14) 5. Art Williams (1) 6. Brandon Smith (13) 7. Steve Mix, Sr. (3) 8. Eric Marsh (9) 9. Mark (33) 10. Amelia Clay (16C) 11. Terry Ohl (9T) 12. Jerry Langley (23L) 13. Jim Good (31) 14. Taylor Suchan (66) 15. Michael Keefe (99K) 16. Mark Suchan (66) 17. Jason Gracey (17) 18. Greg Davis (34) 19. Jereme Beam (49) 20. Chas Wolbert (69) 21. Tiffany Williams (58) 22. Joe Grzelak, Jr. (888) 23. Michael Heverly (99B) 24. Charlie Biskup (09) 25. Larry Rhodes (33)-DNS.
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.