by Mike Leone
Hartford, OH August 20, 2019 The 90th anniversary season is now in the homestretch, but a lot of big events remain over the course of the next month at Sharon Speedway. Up next is another Menards “Super Series” event on Saturday night (August 24), but this time it’s the Outlaw Mods in the spotlight for their “Bickerstaff Cup” Series finale. They will be joined by the non-wing RUSH Sprint Cars along with the final night of points for the Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars and the HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. It’s Allegheny Tool, Graham Machine, and A&MP Electric Night. In addition, it’s the rescheduled Twin-State Auto Racing Club Night with free grandstand admission for card-carrying members. Race time is 7 p.m.
Saturday’s $3,000 to-win, $300 to-start Outlaw Mods (IMCA/UMP-type) show will be the fourth and final event for the inaugural “Bickerstaff Cup” Series that honors 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. Saturday’s feature will be 33 laps in honor of the first race number Bickerstaff ran.
Will there be a fourth different winner in four races!? The inaugural event on June 8 saw Brian Ruhlman top a huge field of 40 cars for the $1,200 payday, while Mike Potosky captured the $1,200 “John C. Rebhan Memorial” on June 22, and most recently this past Saturday night saw Dan Davies race to the lead and fend off Ruhlman for the $1,200 victory. Ironically it was the first career Sharon win for both Ruhlman and Potosky as they became the 53rd and 54th different drivers all-time to win an E-Mod race at Sharon.
The top eight in passing points on Saturday night will run an eight-lap dash to determine the first four rows of the feature. The dash is sponsored by Leonard Truck & Trailer and will pay $100 to-win, $60 for second and $40 for third.
The following contingencies are also up for grabs; Burgan Realty Hard Charger $75 (overall Series hard charger will get $200); Dickson Racing Shocks $100 to the Hard Luck driver; Close Racing Supply $25 to each heat race winner 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 the drivers meeting.
Saturday will also decide the “Bickerstaff Cup” Series Championship that pays back five positions thanks to Graham Machine, Blue Wolf Tavern, and Airport Auto with $1,000 going to the champion. Ruhlman currently leads the points by 23 over Potosky, Mike Kinney, Joe Gabrielson, and Gary Eicher with Butch Lambert just seven points out of fifth. A total of 50 different drivers have competed in the four events.
The Outlaw 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 RUSH Sprint Cars have joined up with the Outlaw Mods at all three “Bickerstaff Cup” Series events this year, while unfortunately being rained out six other times including three special events. Defending Series Champion, Chad Ruhlman, won the June 8 show as he was able to rip the fence to edge out Brian Woodhall for the victory and did the same last Saturday night to edge out Zach Morrow.
Woodhall meanwhile captured his first career Series win on June 22. Woodhall also continues to lead the $5,000 to-win RUSH Weekly Series points over Brad Blackshear, who was the inaugural Econo Mod Champion back in 2010 and won his first RUSH race this year at Bradford. Third through fifth are Zach Morrow, a recent winner at Pittsburgh, Brandon Blackshear, and Jeremy Weaver, a former RUSH Sportsman Modified Sharon winner.
After a week off, the Stock Cars return for their points finale and their final tune-up before the $10,000 to-win “Steel Valley Nationals” on September 7. The Stocks have produced strong car counts with over full fields of cars allowing them to race for the $700 to-win purse structure on all but one night this season. It’s been a season of drivers ending winless droughts. On May 18, Bobby Whitling won for the first time at Sharon since 2012. June 8 saw Chris McGuire end nearly a two year winless streak. On June 29, Curt J. Bish ended a four-year winless drought before winning again on August 3. And most recently, Paul Davis captured his first win in over two years on August 10. The only winner that hasn’t ended a victory drought has been Chris Schneider, who has wins on May 11 and July 27.
The Gibson Insurance Agency Championship race is pretty tight with Bish leading defending champion, McGuire, by eight points. Davis is third, but has no shot at advancing into the top two spots in points. Shaun Hooks is fourth, but only 14 points separate positions four through eight as Andy Thompson, Noah Brunell, Schneider, and Brian Carothers are hot on his heels in fifth through eighth respectively. Jamie Scharba and four-time track champion Steve D’Apolito are ninth and 10th.
The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds have had two successful Touring Series events in two of the last three Saturdays with 28 and 33 cars respectively as Garrett Krummert swept both events. Eligible racers shared in $23,000 of product giveaways last Saturday night for their Manufacturers Night. Now the division focuses on the final night of track points before a $600 to-win show on Friday, August 30 and the $800 to-win season finale for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Touring as part of the “Apple Festival Nationals” September 20-21.
2017 track champion, Kole Holden, has had a very consistent season finishing no worse than fourth in all nine events this season to lead the HTMA/Precise Racing Products points by 19 over three-time winner, Chas Wolbert. Holden, who has one win this season, is looking to become the first repeat champion in the history of the division. Two-time winner and current RUSH Weekly Series points leader, Rob Kristyak, is five points behind Chas Wolbert. Completing the top 10 are Tony Tatgenhorst, Jacob Jordan, Josh Deems, Gary Haupt, Kyle Martell, Amelia Clay, and Greg Porter.
At the end of the night, the “Wheelman” Non-Winners race presented by Ohio Intra Express and C&R Tire will take place. To date there have been five different winners in eight races. Tatgenhorst became the only three-time winner last Saturday night with his second straight win and he’ll start no better than 12th in the “Wheelman” on Saturday night. One-time winner, Cameron Nastasi, has an eight-point lead on Amelia Clay, who has one win, with Tatgenhorst, Jacob Jordan, and Greg Porter completing the top five of the points paying positions for RUSH members.
Outlaw Mod Feature Payoff: 1. $3,000 2. $1,000 3. $600 4. $475 5. $450 6. $425 7. $400 8. $375 9. $350 10. $325 11-24. $300. Non-Qualifiers/Tow $50.
Pits will be 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 at 6:15 p.m. Heat races are scheduled for 7 p.m.
Grandstand admission for those 14 and over is $13. Patio seating upgrades are just $5 and fan suite seating upgrades are just $20 over the cost of general admission. These can be reserved on race night in the track office. 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.
The “Battle at the Border” will feature the World of Outlaws Late Models on August 30 and 31. Friday night will feature a complete show for $6,000 to-win along with the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds for $600 to-win. Saturday will see the Super Late Models battle for $15,000 to-win and will be joined by the Elite Series for the Econo Mods racing for $500 to-win. Tickets are on sale at SharonSpeedway.com.
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.