(Hartford, OH)…A huge crowd turned out on a beautiful Tuesday evening at Sharon Speedway to remember the legacy of the great Lou Blaney, who amassed more than 600 victories in his five-decade career of racing. The fourth annual “Lou Blaney Memorial” Alzheimer’s Association Benefit presented by Ollie’s Bargain Outlet saw Brad Sweet (410 Sprint Cars) and Kevin Bolland (DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds) win their first features in this prestigious event. Lou’s wife Kate gathered over $10,000 in contingencies for the racers.
After splitting the first four events at two a piece, Kevin Bolland and Rex King have been shutout of victory lane the last four races. On Tuesday night, it was King and Bolland battling for the 25-lap win with Bolland getting by in the closing stages of the Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modified event. Bolland’s third win of the season at Sharon was his biggest anywhere on the 2012 circuit, worth $2,000.
“I raced a lot of years with Lou (Blaney),” explained the 52-year-old New Brighton, Pa. veteran. “He was the guy I always looked at. I’d always sneak around his cars to see how to go fast. I finally got to a point in my career where I could compete with him. We miss Lou- he was a great racer!”
King bolted from his third starting spot into the lead on the opening circuit with Tom Mattocks and Kevin Hoffman in pursuit. Hoffman and ninth starting Chad Brachmann dropped Mattocks back to fourth on lap two. Kyle Fink looked strong making a three-wide move on lap four to steal third, but Fink would spin one lap later collecting Brad Rapp, who was making his 2012 Sharon debut.
Bolland entered the mix from his eighth starting position driving under and by Brachmann for third on lap five. By lap seven, the top five of King, Kevin Hoffman, Bolland, Brachmann, and Shingledecker pulled away from the field. Fink slowed and brought out another caution with eight laps scored.
When green replaced yellow, Bolland’s forward progress continued as he raced by Hoffman for second. A long green flag run took place from laps 9-23, which allowed King to distance himself from the field as the battle raged for second. Brachmann began to put the heat on Hoffman as he closed in on lap 17 and tried every move possible to get by on the 19th circuit.
King had his hands full with lapped traffic on lap 22. Bolland was right on King as the battle heated up for second. The two raced side-by-side on lap 22 racing off turn two. King held on until he got bottled up in lapped traffic on lap 23 as Bolland used the momentum on the outside to power into the lead. King really got blocked in on lap 24 due to his son “Cooter” slowing on the backstretch and getting caught behind traffic; this allowed Hoffman and Brachmann to blow by, but “Cooter” was unable to get off the track necessitating the caution with 23 laps completed.
Bolland survived a scary restart for his 21st career Sharon win by a margin of 1.34 seconds in the Bol-Tech Motorsports-owned, Boundary Systems | CREO/Bolland Machine/Cintas/BudisakBoys/TurboStart/MyWay Mobile Storage/Bickenell Racing Products/Bilstein/Car Cleen/Matheson Valley Gas/Cranberry Coin & Currency-sponsored #777. “It seems like ever since I’ve left the winners’ circle I’ve been coming from 12th,” continued Bolland. “We’re back here now. The track was great tonight. I got bumped on that last restart and nearly spun, and the first one they said I started too early, but I recovered and took the lead again. The third time was a charm and I took it to the flag.”
King barley held off Hoffman for runner-up. Brachmann was fourth over Jim Weller. Eric Gabany was sixth ahead of Rapp. Jimmy Weller III was eighth after starting 24th to earn the Hard Charger Award. Chris Haines was ninth as Tom Glenn rounded out the top 10. Heat winners were Shingledecker, Pearson, and Chrysler. The B main was cancelled after just six of the 10 original starters reported to the speedway.
Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. KEVIN BOLLAND (777) 2. Rex King (65) 3. Kevin Hoffman (17H) 4. Chad Brachmann (3) 5. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 6. Eric Gabany (3E) 7. Brad Rapp (11R) 8. Jimmy Weller III (31W) 9. Chris Haines (35H) 10. Tom Glenn (83T) 11. Carl Murdick (6) 12. Tom Mattocks (69) 13. Dillion Barr (15B) 14. Don Brown (71B) 15. Bob Warren (96B) 16. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD) 17. Rob Curtis (McElhaney 6 7/8) 18. Rex King, Jr. (165) 19. Skip Moore (17M) 20. Justin Rasey (21) 21. Randy Chrysler (21K) 22. Dean Pearson (8J) 23. Steve Barr (25B) 24. Brian Fink DNQ: Rob Kristyak (00), Jim Rasey (32), Rick Ryder (Snider 189), Del Rougeux, Jr. (20D).
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.
Thanks to the crew for working over 200+ hours to get the Boundary Systems/CREO, Bicknell Racing Products, Bolland Machine, Cintas, Budisak Boys, Bilstein #777 back in the winners circle after the crash at Eriez Speedway!