(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!
The fine folks from Diehl Auto Group were on hand as the program’s weekly sponsor and they were almost treated to a career first Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Northeast Big Block Modified feature win for young gun Steve Feder. Feder took the lead from the pole at the drop of the green flag and held off future Hall of Famer Kevin Bolland for 24 laps with the best run of his career in a caution-free race. But as the leaders approached turn one on the final lap, Feder hesitated for a fraction of a second as a pair of lapped cars raced side-by-side ahead of them and Bolland pounced, taking the bottom and the lead. Feder could only chase Bolland to the checkered flag and wait to fulfill his dream of scoring that sacred career first feature win at the Action Track. For Bolland, it was his second win of the season and 55th of his Lernerville career. The win was made all the more impressive by the 200+ man hours of labor required to get the #777 ready for action after a nasty wreck with Dave Murdick at the BRP Modified Tour opener at Eriez Speedway last Sunday Night.
Feder had to settle for a career best finish of second ahead of All Time wins leader Brian Swartzlander in third, Dave Murdick in fourth and NY invader Brian Weaver in fifth. Mike Turner, Dean Pearson, Eric Gabany, Carl Murdick and Phil Evans Jr. rounded out the Diehl Top Ten. Bolland and Swartzlander claimed heat race victories.
For the second feature in a row, Defending Track Champion Jeremiah Shingledecker was claimed by the gremlins as he broke on lap 21 exiting turn four running third and rolled into the infield; officially scored with a DNF in 16th.
In the heat race, Kevin set the new track record. In the same heat race, Kevin broke his own track record twice to set a record fast time of 15.919 seconds in the DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds. Be sure to check out the video!
It’s been quite a start to the 2012 season for Kevin Bolland. Bolland raced to the April 7 opening night victory then worked his way through the pack to finish second last Saturday night to Rex King. On Saturday night, Bolland was back in victory lane this time holding off King in the 20-lap DIRTcar Big-Block Modified feature for his milestone 20th career victory at the speedway. Bolland also has a victory at Lernerville Speedway this season.
“I knew he was going to be there,” stated the 52-year-old New Brighton, Pa. veteran when asked about King’s challenges. “The car was awesome up top. I have to thank God for following us and opening up those doors to tell us where to go. I’m thankful to be here. I couldn’t do it without Boundary Systems/CREO, all my sponsors and Bolland Machine for the good horsepower. We have a skeleton crew tonight, but we got it done!”
Bolland jumped into the lead past pole-sitter Jim Rasey and immediately began to pull away from the field. On lap three, it was three-wide for second with Kevin Hoffman taking the spot over Rasey and King. Following a restart, King overtook Rasey for third on lap four then one lap later drove under and past Hoffman for second in turn four.
King began eating away at Bolland’s lead until the next stoppage when Jimmy Weller III’s #31W went up in flames with 12 laps scored. Back under green flag conditions, King was all over Bolland looking for a way by. The two veterans went at it hard racing side-by-side for the lead between laps 14-16; meanwhile, as those two pulled away, the battle was on for third as Hoffman was trying to hold off seventh and 10th starting Dave Murdick and Rex King, Jr.
A caution for Bob Warren with 17 laps completed allowed King, Jr. to overtake both Murdick and Hoffman for the third spot on the restart before the final caution when rookie Jeff Monoskey spun with two laps to go. When racing resumed, Bolland was able to hold off King by 1.237 seconds for the $1,100 victory in the Bol-Tech Motorsports-owned, Boundary Systems/CREO/Bolland Machine/Cintas/Cranberry Coin & Currency-sponsored #777.
The battle over the final two laps for third was hot and heavy. Murdick passed both Hoffman and King, Jr. on lap 19, but on the final lap King, Jr. was able to nose back ahead for a season best third. Murdick edged Hoffman for fourth. Sixth through 10th were Jim Weller, Jr., Dean Pearson, Rasey, newcomer Tom Mattocks, and Carl Murdick. Heat victors over the season high 17-car field were Weller III and Dave Murdick.
Kevin Bolland made the Diehl Auto Group DIRTcar Northeast Big Block Modified feature into a high speed chess match Friday Night, as he pursued Dave Murdick who led the first 23 laps of the 25-lapper. Murdick launched to a quick start and took the lead just past the flagstand after completing the first lap and built a comfortable lead over Jim Weller Jr. and Defending Track Champion Jeremiah Shingledecker. A myriad of cautions midrace made the Big Blocks look more like the Enduro. The final caution waved on lap 18 and by that time Bolland had made his way to second from 11th on the starting grid. He took a brief lead around the top of turns one & two, only to see Murdick thunder past him from the bottom of turn two and down the back straightaway. This scenario repeated itself repeatedly until lap 23 when Bolland dropped down off the top of turn two and took Murdick’s preferred line away to hold the lead down the back stretch and into turn three. Once at the point, Bolland’s 54th career win was academic. Shingledecker also got past Murdick in the final two laps to finish second. Behind Murdick in third, veterans Rex King Sr. and Jim Weller Jr. rounded out the Diehl Top Five. Brian Swartzlander struggled all night in both the Detman #111 Late Model and his on #83 Big Block, but salvaged a sixth place finish. Mark Frankhouser finished seventh ahead of Steve Feder, Carl Murdick and Phil Evans Jr. Kevin Bolland also took the checkers in his heat race, as did Small Block ace Frank Guidace. Contact: Lernerville Speedway Eric J. Westendorf, Public Relations Director (724) 664-1075 / firstname.lastname@example.org
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway officially began the 83rd anniversary season of auto racing at the famed facility on a sunny and cool Saturday evening. A great crowd watched 117 cars battle it out for the opening night accolades with the following drivers in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane: Kevin Bolland-Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, George Kowatic-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Brent Rhebergen-Summit Racing Equipment E-Mods, Paul Davis-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, Brad Blackshear-HTMA/Precise Racing Equipment Econo Mods, and Jim Haefke, Jr.-Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks.
Kevin Bolland led all 20 laps of the Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modified feature, but had to withstand a late charge by 10th starting Jeremiah Shingledecker for his 19th career win.
“The track was great,” stated the 52-year-old New Brighton, Pa. veteran. “I looked at it earlier and thought it was going to chunk out. Whatever was in it was binding and it worked out. Last night we were just bolting the heads on this thing. You’d think we would have had all winter, but winter never came! We thought we’d get snow and we never did so we figured we better get this back together. The car worked great. This one goes out to everyone that’s with us and helped us get here.”
Bolland started on the pole as Dave Murdick moved into second on the opening lap past Rex King, Jr. Murdick and the youngest King battled hard for second as King pulled even on lap seven, but Murdick maintained the position. Shingledecker became a factor when he cracked the top five taking the spot from Chris Haines just before halfway. King once again pulled alongside of Murdick on lap 10, but to no avail. The first and only caution of the event slowed competition with 13 laps scored when Dean Pearson broke while running fourth.
Shingledecker lined up fourth on the restart and made a great move to get by King for third and nearly took second from Murdick on lap 14. Shingledecker and Murdick put on a great side-by-side battle between laps 16-18. Finally on lap 18, Shingledecker made the bottom work in turns one and two for runner-up.
Shingledecker went after Bolland and was right there at the finish, but just couldn’t make the move as Bolland held on by 0.665 seconds for the $1,100 victory in the Bol-Tech Motorsports-owned, Boundary Systems|CREO/Bolland Machine/Cintas/Budisak Boys/Cranberry Coin & Currency-sponsored #777. Bolland now moves into sole possession of sixth place on the all-time win list just three wins behind the retired John Braymer.
Murdick held off King, Jr. for third. Haines was fifth. Completing the top 10 were Jim Weller, Jr., 13th starting Rex King, Mark Frankhouser, Carl Murdick, and Steve Feder. Pearson and Murdick captured the heat race wins.
Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds (20 laps): 1. KEVIN BOLLAND (777) 2. Jeremiah Shingledecker (37MD) 3. Dave Murdick (61) 4. Rex King, Jr. (165) 5. Chris Haines (35H) 6. Jim Weller, Jr. (31) 7. Rex King (65) 8. Mark Frankhouser (03) 9. Carl Murdick (6) 10. Steve Feder (45) 11. Bob Warren (96B) 12. Rob Kristyak (00) 13. Dean Pearson (8J) 14. Justin Rasey (21).
Kevin Bolland took full advantage of a pole position starting spot and led all 20 laps of an unusual caution-filled 20-lap Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modified feature for his second win of the season.
“It’s always tough when you have to start at the back and earn your way up there,” acknowledged the 51-year-old New Brighton, Pa. driver. “It’s been a tough year for us and we’ve been trying to reach into the bag and pull out different tricks. The team is pulling together. We had a rough night two weeks ago here. When it rubbers up, it sure makes us quicker. I didn’t know where everyone else was at.”
Bolland quickly took off in the lead with two-time winner Rex King, Jr. following. Rob Kristyak passed Chris Haines and newcomer Carl Weatherby for third on the opening lap. Kevin Hoffman started in seventh and made his way up to fourth after two laps. Three cautions slowed action between laps three and five.
Kristyak had passed King for second on lap four, but on lap six Kristyak got a poor restart as King, Hoffman, and ninth starting Brian Weaver made their way by for second through fourth. King and Hoffman traded second spot back and forth during three cautions between laps nine and 12.
The last eight laps went non-stop. King got by Hoffman for good on lap 13, while Justin Rasey grabbed fourth from Weaver. King would have nothing for the leader as Bolland stretched his lead and margin of victory to 2.263 seconds. Bolland’s 18th career win came in the Boundary Systems/CREO/Bolland Machine/Cintas/Cranberry Coin & Currency/My Way Mobile Storage/Car Clean Products/Auto Body Works/Budisak Boys-sponsored Bicknell #777 Bicknell.
King, Jr. was second. Hoffman crossed the finish in third, but was light at the scales moving 17-year-old rookie Justin Rasey up to a career best third in just his fourth feature start! New York invader Brian Weaver was fourth over 14th starting Brad Rapp. Sixth through 10th were Jim Weller, Jr., Chris Haines, Mark Flick, Dean Pearson, and Mark Frankhouser. King, Jr. and Kristyak were heat victors over the 20-car field.
(Hartford, OH)…Sharon Speedway was finally blessed with a beautiful weekend as the fans and drivers responded with a great turnout on both ends Friday and Saturday. Some of the best racing of the season was witnessed with optimal track conditions. Saturday night’s “Steel Valley Thunder” program was presented by Greenville Savings Bank and Boundary Systems.
Celebrating with wins in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Kevin Bolland-Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modifieds, Josh Double-Barris Supply FASTRAK Late Models, Joel Watson-Ainsley 500 Heating & Cooling E-Mods, Mike Clark-Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, and Bill Fuchs-Presidential Lawn Care Mini Stocks. Over $500 was raised for Sprint Car driver Jack Sodeman, Jr., who was injured in an accident while competing with the All Star Sprint Cars in Canada on July 4.
It took over half of the season, but veteran Kevin Bolland finally hit the jackpot putting his Triple Seven in victory lane in the 20-lap Governor Insurance Agency Big-Block Modified feature in the final tune-up before Tuesday’s Lou Blaney Memorial. Bolland couldn’t have picked a better night to do it with his new sponsor Boundary Systems in attendance for their corporate night at the speedway. Bolland’s $1,100 win was the 17th of his career at Sharon.
“We’ve been working hard, but have been struggling,” acknowledged the 51-year-old New Brighton, Pa. driver. “We’ve had bad pill draws and redraws. We’ve messed setups thinking it’ll go slippery and it goes tacky and when it goes slippery we setup for the other way. We tried American Racer Tires tonight and I think that was good. We just reached in the bag and found something tonight. Tonight we tied one together for Boundary Systems/CREO. They invested here in the speedway too and if you see those guys give them a round of applause.”
Bolland found a great bite on the start as he raced low down the frontstretch into turn one and was able to get under and by Dean Pearson and pole-sitter Randy Chrysler for the lead. Rex King started sixth and was up to fourth after two laps. King caught Pearson the following lap and worked him over as the two raced side-by-side on laps six and seven with King making the move on the seventh circuit for third.
Lapped traffic came into play on lap nine right before the event’s first and only caution for a spin by Donny Minor with eight laps scored. On the ensuing restart, King and Brad Rapp passed Chrysler for second and third respectively, but Chrysler got back by Rapp for third on lap 10. King ran down Bolland on lap 12 and was right on the leader on lap 13.
Chrysler found speed as he tracked down King, while Bolland opened up some ground. Chrysler pulled alongside King on lap 17 as it was a three-car race for the win. King caught right back up to Bolland and tried to set himself up for another last lap pass of Bolland, but on this night Bolland wasn’t about to relinquish the top spot as he held off King by 0.481 seconds in his Boundary Systems/CREO/Bolland Machine/Cintas/Cranberry Coin & Currency/My Way Mobile Storage/Car Clean Products/Auto Body Works/Budisak Boys-sponsored Bicknell #777 Bicknell.
King was second for the second time this season to go along with three victories as he maintains his point lead. In his debut, Chrysler was a close third just 0.796 behind Bolland. Rapp was fourth after starting eighth and Pearson dropped to fifth for his fifth top five of the season. Rounding out the top 10 were Jim Weller, Jr., Jim Rasey, Rex King, Jr., Rob Kristyak, and Skip Moore. Bolland and Rapp won the heat races.
Kevin Bolland's 52nd win in a Big-Block Modified a week ago at Lernerville might be the biggest win of his career. The come-from-behind win on opening night at Lernerville for this Beaver County Sports Hall of Famer ranks up there with Bolland's DIRT Modified Series win at the Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., in 2003. Bolland was in fourth with two laps to go and used the whole track, including the opposite slope on the back straightaway, to challenge race leaders Dave Murdick and Jeremiah Shingledecker. On the green-white-checkered flag restart, Bolland came from the outside of the second row to rocket himself around the leaders for the win. "We just found some bite [moisture] up around the top," Bolland said. "The guy in the second row always has a better view and we were able to capitalize on that." You don't usually see door-to-door racing on opening night. Most openers are filled with bumping and banging, drivers knocking the rust off skills they haven't used in more than six months. It was more than just the start of another race season for the defending Big-Block champion at Lernerville, it was a new beginning. Like others in the field, Bolland showcased a new sponsor on his modified. Bolland doesn't have as much equipment and money behind him as people might think, his team just makes it look that way. Uniforms, the organized pit vehicle, all of this makes the Bolland team stand out when it comes to fans and causal observers. "The crew just does their homework in the garage and it pays off at the track, it's a combination of everything" he said. Boundary Systems, a distributor of PTC Pro Engineering Software from Cleveland apparently liked the combination enough to have sought out the team for sponsorship for a new product, CREO. "[Boundary Systems] sought us out, we didn't seek them," he said. "Your character, your look, your team building skills, your image, those are what sell. People pay attention to organizations. This isn't the first time that we've been told that we have a nice looking car, look like a team, act like a team and present a professional image." Don't think that landing a sponsor changes everything. "Having a sponsor helps lessen our losses," he said. "As unfortunate as it is, we have one car and we are trying to win three championships this year. We just have to finish races and have a good dependable car to get us there." "We have to keep doing the same thing we've been doing since 1999. We just keep working within our means. I don't know if it can be done but we are going to try," he said. If the result at Lernerville's opener is any indication, Bolland is off to a good start. Rockets at Lernerville Fans will be admitted free to the grandstands Tuesday and May 31 as Rocket Chassis plays host to two practice sessions at Lernerville Speedway for local and regional late model drivers. Lugnuts Lernerville Speedway is in action at 7 p.m. today with four divisions in action. ... Dog Hollow Speedway in Strongstown begins its season at 7:30 p.m. today, featuring five divisions. ... Barry Awtey won the Super Late Model 50-lap event at Motordrome Speedway. The NASCAR weekly racing series is in action with all five divisions at 7:30 today at the paved oval in Smithton. ... Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway has "Cadet Frenzoid" at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Monster Half-Mile dirt oval near Imperial. Cadet division drivers will battle for 25 laps in their biggest feature of the year with the winner taking home $500. ... Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex opens for the season at 7:15 p.m. Saturday. The dirt oval near Markleysburg, Fayette County, features six divisions every Saturday. ... Mercer Raceway Park puts six divisions on the track at 7 p.m. Saturday. ... Pittsburgh Raceway Park in New Alexandria looks to open the season at 9 a.m. Saturday with a test-and-tune session along with a swap meet. DJ Johnson can be reached at J1360rpm@aol.com">DJ1360rpm@aol.com.