By Mike Leone
Hartford, OH June 17, 2020 After the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown much of the world in recent months, Sharon Speedway has finally been given the green light to return to racing. The 91st anniversary season will get underway on Saturday, June 27 with the previously scheduled show featuring the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars for $3,000 to-win, RUSH Sprint Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, and the Elite Econo Mod Series on Kams Electric Night. Race time is 7 p.m. All general admission grandstand areas will be open including the front and backstretch grandstands as well as the new infield fan zone.
“The last couple months have certainly been a challenging situation for everyone,” explained Dave Willoughby. “This hasn’t been something than anyone has experienced before. We thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we’ve worked hard to finally get the approval to return to racing with fans. We’ll be picking up with our planned schedule and look forward to the 27th with two classes of Sprint Cars and two classes of Modifieds.”
The major offseason project that took place was the infield fan zone, which will debut on the 27th. For no additional cost, fans will have the opportunity to witness racing from the infield. While fans in central Pennsylvania have had the opportunity to watch racing from the infield at many of their storied speedways, Sharon Speedway will become the first track in the western Pennsylvania/eastern Ohio area to offer this unique vantage point. In addition to the grassy infield viewing area, concrete pads have been added in turn four and on the backstretch of the infield, which are perfectly suited for lawn chair viewing. An infield concession area has also been added to the already existing multiple frontstretch concessions and backstretch concession.
“While we’re certainly proud of our facility, we’re always looking at ways to improve the experience for our attendees,” added Willoughby. “The infield viewing is popular at a lot of tracks outside the area so we’re really looking forward to being able to add this new and unique viewing option for our fans. The racing has greatly improved since the new red clay surface put down in 2017, and not only did we add to that base again, but fans will now be able to see it up close and from a vantage point that probably most have never experienced before. And little did we know that when we announced this endeavor, social distancing would become the norm in 2020.”
Online advanced tickets are highly encouraged to be purchased to avoid lines and minimize in person transactions. Tickets can be purchased by clicking on ‘buy tickets’ at the top of the website or directly here https://sharonspeedway.simpletix.com/
Drivers that have yet to register for the 2020 season, are asked to bring the completed registration form with them. There is no fee to register in 2020. The form is available here http://www.sharonspeedway.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/RegistrationFormSharon2020.pdf.
All attendees are encouraged to print out the COVID-19 waiver and bring it with them completed on their first visit to the Speedway. The waiver is posted on the website on the Drivers tab under Forms or directly here http://www.sharonspeedway.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/COVID-Waiver.pdf.
The “410” Sprint Car events have been tremendous in recent years. Last year saw seven different winners in nine races with an average car count of 31+, while in 2018 there were eight different winners in eight races with an average car count of 36+. June 27 will be a tune-up for the All Star Circuit of Champions $6,000 to-win shows featuring the “Lou Blaney Memorial” on July 11 and Justin Snyder’s “Salute to the Troops” on July 12.
The hot lap/group qualifying format that has been used at all “Super Series” Sprint Car events the last two years will be utilized. 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 that will offer $250 to-start. Mufflers are not required.
The non-wing RUSH Sprint Car division will be beginning its third year of competition featuring the Chevrolet Performance 602 crate engine, sealed/spec Bilstein Shocks, spec Hoosier Tire, and RUSH Visual Methanol. Car counts grew in 2019 and averaged 18 per event at Sharon. Brian Woodhall and Andy Feil won their first career RUSH races last year. Several new competitors will be joining the field in 2020.
Sharon has been the home of the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds since the class debuted in 2014 featuring the Chevrolet Performance 602 crate engine, sealed/spec Bilstein Shocks, RUSH 91 gas, and spec Hoosier Tires. The class has had average car counts of 24-28 each of the last three years. Only four nights over the past four years has the count dipped below 20 cars! Kole Holden became the first repeat HTMA/Precise Racing Products Champion last season. Chas Wolbert is the division’s all-time Sharon winner with 13 victories.
The Econo Mods will be under the weekly sanctioning of the Elite Series in 2020. This will be the 11th consecutive year the division has been part of the track’s weekly program. The Econo Mods have averaged around 24 cars per night each of the past two seasons. There have been eight different champions in 10 years with second year racer Dustin DeMattia being the most recent in 2019.
Pits will be open throughout the afternoon on Saturday the 27th with pit passes going on sale at 4 p.m., while the main grandstands open at 4. 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 p.m.
Grandstand admission for those 14 and over is $13, while senior citizens are $10 on race day only. 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.
Spectator & Attendee Guidelines
PRE-EVENT – notice to attendees before arrival
○ If the attendee is sick or displays symptoms of COVID-19, STAY HOME.
● PERSONAL HYGIENE
○ Attendee should wash hands with soap and water every 20-minutes throughout the day.
○ Attendee should avoid touching their face. (CLEAN-COVER)
○ Tickets will be highly encouraged to be bought online in advance of race event to help eliminate lines
○ Attendee will be encouraged to use credit or debit cards at all point of sale areas
○ Attendee should bring a cloth face cover and encouraged to wear throughout the event
○ Covid-19 release forms will be required to be signed by anyone attending and we strongly encourage all the print at home and bring to help eliminate lines.
○ If you live with someone over the age of 65 or with underlying medical conditions, you should consider staying home or be prepared to self-quarantine upon your return if you become sick or show COVID-19 symptoms (CONFINE)
○ Attendee should travel and attend with household contacts if possible
● KEY TIMES
○ 4pm: Gates Open
○ 7pm: Racing
○ ALL must exit immediately after conclusion of racing events
○ Spectators will not be allowed to enter the facility before opening.
○ Spectators are encouraged to leave at least one (1) parking space in between ALL vehicles. There will be NO Tailgating allowed in any Parking Area (CONFINE)
○ Upon arrival into the facility you should be prepared for a COVID-19 Screening Temperature Test. Any attendee with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will not be allowed into the facility.
● SOCIAL DISTANCING
○ Attendees should practice Social Distancing at ALL times. When lining up to enter the Facility, or for Tickets or Concession, Attendees should observe the pre-marked lines and signs indicating six-feet
○ Attendees should NOT congregate in groups larger than ten (10) and when/if doing so they should practice Social Distancing and wear face covers. (COVER-CONFINE)
● PERSONAL HYGIENE
○ There will be hand-washing stations located throughout the Facility in addition to three floors of bathroom sinks. Attendees should wash hands with soap and water every 20 minutes.
○ Separate hand sanitizing stations are located in high traffic areas such as entrance to facility, concession stands and outside restroom facilities. ○ It is recommended that attendees should wear face coverings.
○ Attendees should avoid touching their face (CLEAN-COVER)
○ Attendees should cover all coughs and sneezing.
● ACCESSIBLE AREAS
○ Sharon Speedway has plenty of areas for spectators to watch. Three separate Grandstands on the front stretch, two separate Grandstands on the backstretch, Enclosed Suites, Giant infield area, Three cement platform areas for standing room, and pit area for competitors.
○ Seating is general admission in the five (5)
○ Infield area is for standing and/or lawn chairs. Attendees will be encouraged to bring their own chairs in an effort to utilize other areas for viewing in addition to the grandstand
○ Attendees should sit 6 feet from other spectators unless they are household contacts (CONFINE).
○ All concessions will be open with social distancing signs and markings to help maintain distance.
○ All areas will have a dedicated person to clean and sanitize through the evening.
○ Sharon Speedway has 3 levels of restrooms with over 86 individual stalls.
○ Easy to maintain social distancing with signs and markings.
○ Restrooms will have a dedicated person to clean and sanitize throughout the evening.
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.