by Mike Leone
Hartford, OH May 28, 2019 After beating Mother Nature for back-to-back weeks, Sharon Speedway fell victim to rain just before race time last Saturday night. Looking ahead to this Saturday night (June 1), Sharon will look to complete the third program of the 90th anniversary season with the return of the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars in a Menards “Super Series” event. Also on the card for Sawtelle Tree Service Night will be the non-wing RUSH Sprint Cars, Elite Econo Mod Series, and the HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. Power wheels races for kids will be held at intermission. Race time is 7 p.m.
The “410” Sprint Cars have put on two tremendous shows this year with Cole Duncan withstanding the challenges of Tony Stewart for the $3,000 FAST-sanctioned victory that came over an excellent field of 43 cars on May 11, then A.J. Flick out-dueled George Hobaugh for the $3,000 non-sanctioned win on May 18 with 33 cars on hand. Unfortunately the May 4 All Star race was rained out, but the All Stars will be at Sharon on Tuesday, June 18 for Ohio Speedweek and July 6 for the “Lou Blaney Memorial”.
Last year, the “410” Sprint Car events had at least 29 cars present every night with eight different winners in eight events. Duncan and Flick’s first career Sharon wins at the last two shows have accounted for 10 different winners in the last 10 races! Will there will be an 11th different winner this Saturday night!? $3,000 will again be on the line with $250 to-start the 30-lap feature.
Saturday will utilize the hot lap/group qualifying format that has been used at all “Super Series” Sprint Car events the last two years. Two to three cars will qualify at a time only amongst their heat race group. The fastest four in each heat will be inverted with the top three redrawing plus the fastest transferring non-top three finisher if there are three heats or the top two plus the two fastest transferring non-top two finishers if there are four heats. The B main will be lined up heads up on heat race finishes. Heat and B main finish(es) will complete the 24-car starting lineup. Mufflers are not required and there are no registration or entry fees.
Mother Nature hasn’t been kind to the RUSH Sprint Cars. Their 2018 “Apple Festival Nationals” feature was rained out last September at Sharon and they’ve been rained out twice at the track this year on May 4 and May 25. There were 18 cars in the pits on May 4 and 20 last Saturday night despite the threatening weather. The RUSH Sprint Cars have also been rained out twice this year at Tyler County Speedway.
The RUSH Sprints will try once again to get their first show of the year in at Sharon on Saturday night. In their only completed race of 2019, defending $5,000 Series Champion, Chad Ruhlman, scored the win at Pittsburgh on May 11. Ruhlman won last year’s only completed appearance at Sharon. The Ruhlmans are big supporters of the division as Chad’s son Kevin is now driving his car from last year and Chad’s brother Brian, a big Late Model and Modified winner, entered the class late last year. Three new cars were set for their RUSH Sprint debuts last Saturday night including Jeremy Weaver, Nolan Groves, and Brad Church.
The HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds had a big field of 29 cars in the pit area last Saturday night before the rain came and washed out the program. A few new racers have made their way to Sharon each of the last two weeks as the HTMA/Precise Racing Products-sponsored division continues to produce strong car counts. After racing to a runner-up finish on May 11 in the 2018 “Apple Festival Nationals” Touring Series make-up feature, Rob Kristyak ended Chas Wolbert’s five-race win streak that dated back to last season on May 18. The former Big-Block Modified racer hadn’t won at Sharon since 2011 and has now settled in well in his second year behind the wheel of the cost-contained RUSH-sanctioned division. David Kalb, Jr. will go down in history as the first winner of the “Wheelman” event for non-winners as he picked up the $75 and the early points lead for that RUSH program.
The Elite (Econo) Modified Series will make their first of five appearances of the season on Saturday night in what will be their season opening event. Ty Rhoades was the 2018 Series Champion. For more information on the Elite Series, check out their website at www.elitemodifiedseries.com.
Rhoades has quickly become the driver to beat in the Econo Mods. After struggling for years to break into victory lane at Sharon, Rhoades has now won three of the last six feature events dating back to last season for the Summit Racing Equipment-sponsored division. The Econo Mod class has featured seven different track champions in its nine-year existence. Only last year’s champion, Jacob Eucker, is planning on competing for the championship as Rhoades and others look to become the eighth different champion in year number 10.
Pits are open throughout the afternoon on Saturday with pit passes going on sale at 4 p.m., while the main grandstands open at 5. Drivers meeting will be at 6:00 p.m. followed by Sprint engine starts at 6:15 and group qualifying at 6:30. Heat races are scheduled for 7.
Those with grandstand rain checks from May 25 can use them this week or the following week, while pit passes will be good for the remainder of the season. Grandstand admission for those 14 and over is $13, while senior citizens are $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. As always, children under 14 and parking are always FREE! Pit passes are $30. As a reminder, coolers nor outside food or beverages are not permitted.
Coming up on Saturday, June 8 will be the first “Bickerstaff Cup” race featuring the Outlaw E-Mods in a $1,200 to-win event that will utilize passing points. Also on the card for the Menards “Super Series” event will be the RUSH Sprint Cars, RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and Stock Cars. Race time on A&MP Electric Night is at 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. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sharonspeedway and follow us on Twitter @sharonspdwy.