Story By: MIKE LEONE / SHARON SPEEDWAY – HARTFORD, OH – The Super DIRTcar Series for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds will return to Sharon Speedway for the first time in two years this Tuesday night (July 30). Also included on Predator Trucking and Stackhouse Construction Night will be the RUSH Sprint Cars. Race time is 7 p.m.
Tuesday’s visit by the Super DIRTcar Series, the premier traveling Big-Block Modified tour in the world, marks their third appearance in the past four years. In 2016, Jimmy Phelps topped a 52-car field for $6,000 in their first race in the western Pa./eastern Ohio region since 2006 when they appeared at Lernerville Speedway. In 2017, Australian Peter Britten drove from the 20th starting spot to take the lead on lap 54 and race on to his first career SDS win, worth $6,000. The Series did not appear last year. Prior to the 2016 event, the last time Sharon hosted a major Big-Block Modified event that attracted the Northeast’s best was back in 1983 when Alan Johnson won a CRC Super DIRT Syracuse Qualifying Series event.
This year’s 100-lap affair will pay a Sharon record $7,500 to-win! Only one Big-Block Modified event has been completed to date this season at Sharon and that was on July 6 for the “Lou Blaney Memorial” when Rex King, Jr. won the $2,000 BRP Tour show for his 26th career victory at the track. That win clinched a guaranteed starting spot for King, Jr. in Tuesday’s event. His father, Rex Sr., leads the active all-time win list at Sharon with 54 victories.
The Super DIRTcar Series will compete at Weedsport (NY) Speedway on Sunday before heading to Sharon on Tuesday. This year, the Sharon show will precede the two nights of racing at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway rather than follow it like what took place in 2016 and 2017.
Matt Sheppard will lead the Series to Sharon with four victories in eight starts. Sheppard leads the points over one-time winner, Larry Wight. Canadian Mat Williamson, who has had a lot of success over the years at Lernerville, is third in points and will look for his first SDS win of the season and first ever victory at Sharon. Phelps, the 2016 winner, is fourth in points and is still in search of his first SDS win of the season. Two-time winner, Erick Rudolph, who owns two career Sharon wins, and has won five straight years at nearby Expo Speedway as part of the Trumbull County Fair with the BRP Tour, rounds out the top five in points. Completing the top 10 in points are Billy Decker, Britten, Mike Mahaney, Danny Johnson, and Ryan Godown.
In addition to the top local talent like the Kings, Jeremiah Shingledecker, Brian Swartzlander, Jim Rasey, Dave Murdick, Will Thomas, Garrett Krummert and more taking on the cars and stars of SDS, Dave Blaney will be behind the wheel of a Big-Block Modified for the first time in 2019. The “Buckeye Bullet” picked up “410” Sprint Car win at Sharon back on June 29 for his 30th career “410” win at the track. Blaney also has a pair of Big-Block Modified wins at his home track. East Coast Modified standout, Ryan Watt of Boyertown, Pa., has indicated he’ll be at Sharon on Tuesday.
The non-wing RUSH Sprints Cars will complete Tuesday night’s two-division card racing for $600 to-win. Rain hasn’t been a friend to the RUSH Sprints at Sharon this year washing out five of their seven scheduled races and six of the last eight dating back to last year. Defending $5,000 Series Champion, Chad Ruhlman, won the June 8 show, while Brian Woodhall picked up the June 22 victory over a 20-car field which matched the second year division’s all-time high car count. Woodhall has a five-point lead on Ruhlman in RUSH Weekly Series points entering the weekend.
Pit gates will be open from Monday night through the day on Tuesday to allow travelling teams to come in and work on their cars. Pit passes will go on sale at 4 p.m., while the grandstands will open at 5. Motor heat for the Sprints will be at 6 followed by warm-ups, Modified qualifying and heat races at 7.
Grandstand tickets are $20 for those 14 and over. Kids 13 and under are free. Reserved tickets are on sale by visiting SharonSpeedway.com and clicking on “Buy Tickets” at the top left of the page. Pit passes are $35. There is no charge for parking or camping. As a reminder, coolers nor outside food or beverages are not permitted.
Following Tuesday will be another Menards “Super Series” event next Saturday (August 3) on Thompson Fab Night. The “410” Sprints will make their second of four straight appearances again racing for $3,000 to-win. The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will be running their first of three Tour races presented by C&R Tire. The Stock Cars and Econo Mods will also be in action plus the rescheduled Stock Car mechanics race. Race time is 7 p.m.