Press Release by Mike Leone, Provided by Sharon Speedway
Sharon Speedway kicked off night 1 of 2 of the Bill Emig Memorial on Saturday night on what felt like March weather conditions. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Mike Pegher, Jr.-Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series, Jeff Johnson-Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds, Jeremy Double-HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, Travis Creech-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks, and Kelvin Kohna-H.P.M. 3/4 Late Models. Kenny Fauvie of Niles, Ohio and Lindsay Fritzsh were the bike giveaway winners courtesy of King Bros. and Sharon Speedway. Mike Pegher, Jr. charged from the ninth starting spot, while coming out unscathed in a big accident that took out several of the frontrunners. Pegher then would pass Chad Ruhlman on the ensuing restart and go on for the 25-lap Barris Supply feature win, which was worth $1,500 and was his first in the new Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series.
“I saw it at the last second,” explained the 27-year-old Wexford, Pa. standout when asked about the accident. “I was hoping there wasn’t going to be anyone below me because I cut the wheel hard to the left. The first couple laps I looked up and we were fifth or sixth. I knew we had a good car. I didn’t know what was going to happen on that restart with Chad (Ruhlman). I figured he was going to take the outside and my only chance to get him was going to be to drive as hard as I could in turn one. I have to thank all of my sponsors and I just have one crew guy now, and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here.”
By virtue of his John Buzzard Memorial K&N Dash victory, Chad Ruhlman earned the pole for the feature and was able to out-drag Josh Holtgraver into turn one for the early lead with Holtgraver, Ryan Montgomery, Chad Wright, and seventh starting Rick Singleton in tow. Holtgraver pulled even with Ruhlman on lap two, but Ruhlman was able to maintain the lead.
Pegher was on the move as he cracked the top five on lap three getting by Singleton then drove by Wright for fourth on lap five. Twelfth starting Will Thomas III was another racer making his way forward. Thomas went toe-to-toe with Wright for the fourth position on laps eight and nine and made the pass stick on the ninth circuit.
As the laps ticked off without a caution, the top five of Ruhlman, Holtgraver, Montgomery, Pegher, and Thomas pulled away. Action began to heat up as lapped traffic loomed ahead. Holtgraver ducked under Ruhlman in turn four on lap 16 using traffic to his advantage to lead the lap. The duo continued to race side-by-side as did Pegher and Montgomery right behind them for third.
Ruhlman was able to keep the momentum going on the top side to grab the lead back on lap 17. Holtgraver didn’t go away as they kept their side-by-side battle going on lap 18. Holtgraver appeared to have the advantage to retake the lead off the bottom of turn four on lap 18, but Ruhlman and Michael Lake made contact, which sent Lake’s car hard into Holtgraver’s right rear.
From then on cars scattered everywhere. Montgomery was sideways and Wright and Thomas made hard contact. Wright, Montgomery, and Thomas all received heavy damage and were shaken, but okay. Holtgraver, who nearly missed the accident, suffered a flat tire from the contact with Lake. When racing resumed, Pegher got a great restart to take charge of the event and lead lap 18. Glenn Elliott, who started 13th, lined up fourth for the restart and passed Singleton. Only two more laps would be completed when the final caution would be displayed for Shane Weaver and Rocky Kugel.
The last six laps went caution-free. Pegher chose the bottom for the restart and never looked back as he drove off for a convincing win by 4.238 seconds in the Lynn Geisler-owned, #1 Cochran/Alternative Power Sources/Pegher Painting/Triple-S Auto Outlet/Zero Wraps-sponsored #1c. The victory for Pegher was his second of the season at Sharon and division leading eighth of his career.
Ruhlman rode home second for his best finish of the season. “Congratulations to Mike,” stated the runner-up. “I always like to see him win- he’s a good clean driver. I got aero tight after that accident. We lost six inches of our nose piece and at that point Mike just left us. I was trying to bend the car too much just to keep it down on the bottom. The race track was awesome tonight.”
Elliott, who finished runner-up to Singleton in the opening event at Hagerstown, was able to beat him across the line Saturday night. Dan Angelicchio, who made his first Tour start, had a solid fifth place effort after starting 14th. Completing the top 10 were Shaun Hooks, Dennis Lunger, Jr., Bobby Whitling, Joe Martin, and John Over.
Just two cars reported for the Non-Qualifier as Russell Baird, Jr. led all four laps over rookie Jamie Wrightsman to score the $150 victory for the 20-year-old Uniontown, Pa. driver in his Blout Paving/Civit Collision/Ford Business Machines/A&I Fire Extinguisher/Special T Metals-sponsored #17. Heat winners were Singleton, Whitling, Longbrake, and Wright. Ruhlman’s victory in the K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash was worth an extra $100 as part of the John Buzzard Memorial Dash. Jorden Peters captured the last chance B main.
Opening night winner, Jeff Johnson, returned to glory leading all 20 laps of the Summit Racing Equipment Modified feature holding off Carl McKinney for the $750 victory. “I thought the outside was where it was going to be at, but he showed me the bottom,” revealed the 36-year-old Mineral Ridge, Ohio racer. “The top was starting to go away and once I got down on the bottom there was moisture there and it was a lot better. We could have been better on the chassis setup tonight, but starting on the pole sure helped.”
McKinney had poked his nose under Johnson on lap 10, but the event’s only caution one lap later was a break for Johnson. The last nine laps went caution-free as Johnson went on to win by 1.391 seconds over McKinney in his Klaben Ford Lincoln/Warren Harley Davidson/Body Shop of Niles/Tom’s Sewer & Drain/ Close Racing Supply-sponsored #27. Johnson’s victory was the 17th of his career moving him into sole possession of second place on the division’s all-time win list at Sharon.
Joe Gabrielson came from ninth to finish third over Shawn Shingledecker, and Wayne Tessean in his best finish of the season for the veteran. Completing the top 10 were Bruce Powell, point leader Alan Dellinger, Jeff Hassay, Clayton Kennedy, and Larry Kugel. Heat winners over the 19-car field were Bob Diver and Mike Kinney.
Jeremy Double has quickly established himself as the driver to beat in the Econo Mods this year. Double led all 15 laps of the $350 to-win HTMA/Precise Racing Products feature and was never challenged for his season’s third victory tying him tops at the Speedway with Mini Stock racer Scott Gilliland. “I knew we could get a good run on the bottom, especially the starts,” acknowledged the 17-year-old Bristolville, Ohio winner. “I didn’t think there was anything left up top as it was slicked off from the races before. I have to thank everyone who comes to work on the car.”
Two cautions were all that slowed Double’s run to his fifth career victory, which came in his Cortland Auto Repair/Wedge Motorsports/Thomas Heating & Cooling/King Bros./Russ King Racing-sponsored #83. Last Saturday, 12-year-old Jacob Eucker became the youngest winner in the Speedway’s history. Saturday night, Eucker had another solid effort coming from sixth to finish runner-up after passing Ty Rhoades on lap 11. Pole-sitter Rhoades dropped to third over Alan Atkinson and ninth starting Ryan Fraley, who was the only non-teenage driver in the top five at 23 years of age. Rhoades and Double captured the heat race victories over the 20-car field.
Travis Creech had been close to victory on several occasions this year. Last Saturday, the rookie finally put it all together for his first career win and then on Saturday repeated the feat in just his seventh race! Creech came from sixth to score the 12-lap $200 Deforest Used Parts win.
“I knew I wasn’t going to get (Bill) Fuchs on the top so I just drove in as hard as I could on the bottom,” explained the 25-year-old Niles, Ohio driver. “I don’t know if I slid up on him too much, but I drove it in hard. Fuchs gave me the thumbs up every time coming into turn four so it was a lot of fun racing him. The hard work is paying off. I told the boss four wins so I need two more to get!”
Bill Fuchs set the pace for the first five laps before Creech made a bold move in turns three and four to take charge. Two cautions on laps 8 and 11 slowed Creech’s run to the checkered flag in his May’s Towing/Elite Coleman Sales-sponsored #75T. Point leader Scott Gilliland passed Fuchs on the last lap to secure runner-up. Fuchs dropped to third over rookie Tim McAninch. Jim Clay, Jr. was fifth. Heat winners were McAninch and Fuchs.
The H.P.M. ¾ Late Models were added to the weekend’s program. Kelvin Kohan was clearly the class of the field sweeping the night winning the six-lap heat race then leading all 12 laps of the feature for his first career Sharon win. The victory for the 30-year-old Gibsonia, Pa. resident came in the #11 over George Kowatic, Jim Thompson, Carl Kohan, and Max Wilkerson.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series Race #2 (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. MIKE PEGHER, JR. (1c) 2. Chad Ruhlman (Suppa 4s) 3. Glenn Elliott (5E) 4. Rick Singleton (Enyeart 99*) 5. Dan Angelicchio (14) 6. Shaun Hooks (65) 7. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L) 8. Bobby Whitling (7W) 9. Joe Martin (55) 10. John Over (K2) 11. Lauren Longbrake (27) 12. Butch Lambert (27) 13. Jorden Peters (11P) 14. Matt Latta (21) 15. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325x) 16. Rocky Kugel (21KRT) 17. Josh Holtgraver (00) 18. Clay Ruffo (14R) 19. Bill Cunningham (59) 20. Ryan Montgomery (12) 21. Will Thomas III (9) 22. Chad Wright (6) 23. Mickey Wright (M6) 24. Josh Double (38) 25. Michael Lake (27) 26. Matt Glanden (01). (Note: Michael Lake took a Series provisional & Matt Latta took a Track provisional).
RUSH Non-Qualifier (4 laps, $150 to-win): 1. Russell Baird, Jr. (17) 2. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 3. Scott Tessman (19S)-DNS 4. Paul McGinley (97)-DNS 5. Cody Dawson (36)-DNS.
Summit Racing Equipment (E) Modifieds (20 laps, $750 to-win): 1. JEFF JOHNSON (27) 2. Carl McKinney (Hendrickson 6M) 3. Joe Gabrielson (58) 4. Shawn Shingledecker (54s) 5. Wayne Tessean (10) 6. Bruce Powell (35) 7. Alan Dellinger (White 53) 8. Jeff Hassay (10) 9. Clayton Kennedy (9) 10. Larry Kugel (Petsko 00) 11. Andy Buckley (965) 12. Bob Diver (230 13. Brock Moskey (3M) 14. Steve Reckard, Jr. (17R) 15. Gary Sullivan (47s) 16. Trevor Herr (32) 17. Rocky Kugel (Beck 357) 18. Mike Kinney (3) 19. Bob Williamson (93).
HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods (15 laps, $350 to-win): 1. JEREMY DOUBLE (83) 2. Jacob Eucker (64) 3. Ty Rhoades (12R) 4. Alan Atkinson (30Too) 5. Ryan Fraley (12) 6. Jace Ferringer (02) 7. Steve Burns, Jr. (Redman 27) 8. Casey Bowers (20) 9. Jason Stanke (44) 10. Junior Mechling (89) 11. Keith Felicetty (98) 12. Gina Thompson (Webber 25) 13. Kevin Robinson (24R) 14. Mike Hillman (29) 15. Larry Root (22x) 16. Bob Williams (8) 17. Jeff Mundell (11) 18. Brian Foley, Jr. (16JSR)-DNS 19. Cole Ruffo (12R)-DNS 20. Mike Smith (81)-DNS.
Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks (12 laps, $200 to-win): 1. TRAVIS CREECH (75T) 2. Scott Gilliland (27) 3. Bill Fuchs (10) 4. Tim McAninch (43) 5. Jim Clay, Jr. (84J) 6. Evan Kornbau (62) 7. Ray Gregory (82R) 8. Jim Haefke, Jr. (421) 9. Patrick Drennan (24) 10. Brian Shay (3J) 11. Steve Walker II (4M) 12. Geof Pinch (36).
H.P.M. ¾ Late Models (12 laps): 1. KELVIN KOHAN 2. George Kowatic (18) 3. Jim Thompson (21) 4. Carl Kohan (19) 5. Max Wilkerson (4J) 6. Colton Flinner (75)-DNS.
Sharon Speedway will complete the Bill Emig Memorial on Sunday (May 26) with the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series for $1,500 to-win, Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Mods for $1,500 to-win, Open Stock Cars for $750 to-win and Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks for $200 to-win. Racing begins at 7.
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.