by Mike Leone
Hartford, OH June 5, 2019 After storms have hit each of the past two Saturday nights and three of the last five prior to warm-ups, Sharon Speedway along with racers and fans are hoping the prediction of dry and sunny weather for this Saturday comes to fruition. The June 8 Menards “Super Series” event will feature the first of four “Bickerstaff Cup” Series races for the Outlaw (E) Mods. In addition, the non-wing RUSH Sprint Cars, Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, and the HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will be on the card. It’s AM&P Electric Night. Race time is 7 p.m.
The new four-race mini series for the Outlaw (E) Mods has been created by Cyndi Stiffler and Scott Stiffler to honor and remember the career of former great, Jim Bickerstaff, Sr. Bickerstaff is the all-time winningest Super Late Model driver in the history of Sharon with 42 victories. Additional Series dates include June 22, July 20, and August 24. The first three events will pay $1,200 to-win, $200 to-start with the finale paying $3,000 to-win, $300 to-start. The four-race “Bickerstaff Cup” point fund will pay $1,000 to-win and payback five positions thanks to Graham Machine, Blue Wolf Tavern, and Airport Auto.
There will be a pill draw for the heat races. The top 12 in passing points from all the heats will be locked into the feature, while the rest will line up in B mains by passing points. The finish of the B mains will set the rest of the field. The feature will be 25 laps for the first three events. On August 24, the feature will be 33 laps in honor of the first race number Bickerstaff ran, and there will be a dash for the top six in that night’s passing points to set the first three rows of that night’s feature. The rest of the field will lined up per the standard passing points structure.
The following contingencies have been posted; Burgan Realty Hard Charger, $75 (overall Series hard charger will get $200); Dickson Racing Shocks, $100 cash nightly to the Hard Luck driver; Close Racing Supply, $25 to each heat race winner nightly and $100 gift certificate to each nightly winner; Penguin City Beer, one case of beer to each nightly winner; Hoosier Tire, two tires given away at each drivers meeting.
The Outlaw (E) Mod Rules are posted at SharonSpeedway.com and can be found by clicking Drivers and then Rules. For more information on the Series, check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Sharon-Speedways-2019-Outlaw-Modified-Bickerstaff-Cup-Series-581138452385271.
The E-Mods competed weekly at Sharon from 1996-2016 with Joe Gabrielson winning the last track title. Alan Dellinger is the division’s all-time winner with 87 victories followed by Joel Watson (28), Scott Stiffler (20), Jeff Johnson (18), and Russ Dunn (13). There have been 52 different winners in 316 races all-time. Jim Bickerstaff, Sr’s son Jim, Jr. has one career E-Mod win at Sharon as do Dave Blaney and former NASCAR Cup Champion, Kevin Harvick.
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 three times now at the track this year on May 4, May 25, and last Saturday night. Despite the threatening weather there have been between 16-20 cars in the pits each of the three nights this year. 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 have been waiting to make their RUSH Sprint debuts at Sharon including Jeremy Weaver, Nolan Groves, and Brad Church.
Meanwhile, the HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds have had strong counts of 29 and 25 cars in the pit area each of the last two Saturday nights before the rain came and washed out both programs. 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.
Veteran racer, Bobby Whitling, ended a seven-year winless drought at Sharon taking the Stock Car win in the only points event completed to date back on May 18. Whitling had a big battle with fellow Venango County, Pennsylvania racer, Jackson Humanic, then held off defending track champion, Chris McGuire, for the $700 payday thanks to more than a full field of cars on hand. Whitling, the 2000 Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Car Champion on the old half-mile track, now has the early points lead. In the only other completed event for the Stocks this year saw Chris Schneider win the $2,000 2018 “Apple Festival Nationals” make-up back on May 11.
As a reminder, full field plus car counts not only mean the highest pay structure, but drivers that do not qualify for the feature also receive a pit pass in addition to their tow money for the weekly divisions.
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 is scheduled for 6 p.m. followed by motor heat for the RUSH Sprints then warm-ups for the Outlaw Mods and RUSH Sprints. Heat races are scheduled for 7 p.m.
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 June 14-15 will be the “Steel Valley Nationals” for the Penn-Ohio Pro Stock Championship Series along with the Summit Racing Equipment Econo Mods. Practice and qualifying will be held on Friday night with heat races, last chance B mains, and the $10,000 to-win Stock and $2,000 to-win Econo Mod features on Saturday night for the Menards “Super Series” event. There will be a post-race DJ by Brian Kelly Productions.
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.