Thursday, June 13, 2013

Odds and Ends

Ryan Tedesco came back strong to take the Late Model feature win at Midvale Speedway Saturday, June 8.  Tedesco's win was over a strong Late Model field, with Rick Sibila coming in second.  Photo courtesy of NEO Racing News.  Check them out on Facebook.

Victory lane celebration following Ryan Tedesco's Late Model win at Midvale June 8th.  Tedesco is being interviewed by Midvale announcer Adam Mackey.  Photo by Janet Parker.

Late Model action at Midvale is close and intense.  The Midvale facility is quickly becoming one of the premier tracks in Ohio, with improvements coming yearly at the paved oval.  Photo by NEO Racing News.

Three-wide racing is not an uncommon sight in the EconoMods at Sharon Speedway.  Photo courtesy of John Hinely Photos.

Young phenom, 12 year old Jacab Eucker, after an EconoMod feature win with Sharon legend and Hall of Famer Great Grandfather Dale Johnson.  The June 1st feature win for Eucker came on his Great Grandfather's 90th birthday!  Matt Wertz photo.

EconoMod action at Sharon Speedway is hot and heavy, and point leader Ryan Fraley got the feature win last Saturday, June 8th.  Fraley with 389 points leads 17 year old Jeremy Double with 377 and 12 year old Jacob Eucker with 363 markers.  John Hinely photo.

Sharon Speedway Stock point leader does a back flip victory celebration following his win last Saturday at Sharon Speedway.  Photo courtesy of John Hinely.

DIRT Big Block Modified ace Rex King Sr. in victory lane with his grandson following his win Saturday June 8th at Sharon.  King narrowed Jim Weller Jr.'s point lead, as Weller now leads King 320 - 302.  John Hinely photo.

Point leader Mike Kinney became the seventh different winner (out of nine races) in the unbelievably competitive Modified Division at Sharon last Saturday.  The Modifieds have been putting on some of the best racing all year at the track, along with full fields.

Jeff Johnson is one of a slew of front runners in Sharon's eye-opening Modified Division.  Here Johnson is in victory lane following his May 25th feature win.  Points can attest to the competitiveness of the division - Mike Kinney leads with 292, followed by Alan Dellinger and Joe Gabrielson tied for second with 279, Johnson fourth with 277, and Shawn Shingledecker rounding out the top five with 273!!  Matt Wertz photo.

RUSH Late Model point leaderat Sharon, Dennis Lunger, retired from Saturday's feature in a ball of flames.  Lunger has been red-hot in the division, but this was pushing things.  John Hinely photo.

Defending Late Model Point Champion Will Thomas took the feature last Saturday.  Thomas, with 249 points, is not only trying to catch RUSH LM leader Lunger (292) in the points, but finds his hands full in holding off three youngsters - Josh Double 247, Matt Latta 234 and Eric Wilson 231.  Photo by John Hinely.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Joe Gabrielson. A Family Tradition

It was an emotional night at Sharon Speedway this past Saturday, June 1.  ...For Joe Gabrielson.  ...For anyone associated with Gabrielson Motorsports.  ...For any race fan that knows NE Ohio and Western Pennsylvania racing.

Joe Gabrielson wasn't sure what the 2013 racing season would look like, or even if there would be one.  Joe's father, Bill Gabrielson, was his mentor and patriarch of Gabrielson Motorsports.  When Bill Gabrielson passed away suddenly on February 28 of this year, Gabrielson Motorsports also lost it's center.

Bill had approached legendary status in the area racing scene in a career that spanned over two decades.  From his start on the quarter mile dirt of Canfield Speedway in 1971, to his record setting ways on the half-mile asphalt at Sharon in the late '70s, Bill was one of a few who could master both surfaces.  He was the first driver to win features on both the half mile asphalt (1975) and half mile dirt (1981) at Sharon.  He is the all-time leader in Semi-Late Model feature wins at Sharon with 35 victories, and has numerous track championships at Sharon, Hickory, Raceway 7 and Expo. 

In November of 2012, Bill Gabrielson was inducted into the Youngstown, OH based Twin-State Auto Racing Club's Hall of Fame.  And there was Bill, wife Debbie, and son Joe and girlfriend Rochelle Byers enjoying the night's festivities.  And there they were again in January of 2013 at the Sharon Speedway banquet celebrating Joe's third place finish in the Modified point standings.  No one could have known how different things would be, not two months later.

Fueled be a racing passion supplied by both his dad and mom, Joe, 25, knew his father wouldn't be happy if the car was on jack stands if there was a race going on.  With crew members Smitty and Fred - who were with Bill all those years ago -, and Cody, Rochelle and mom Debbie, Gabrielson Motorsports geared up for the 2013 season.

Entering his 13th year of racing - 9th year in EMods/Modifieds, that included Rookie of the Year honors at Sharon in 2005, after four years with go-karts - Joe was off to one of his strongest starts at Sharon Speedway.  It all came together Satuday evening as Joe won in the competitive division with a dominating performance, to take his first feature of the year, the fifth of his career.  Joe was the sixth different Modified winner out of eight races this year at Sharon, and his win moved him up to second in the division's point standings.

Emotions were running high throughout the speedplant, as Joe took a "Polish Victory Lap" in honor of his father, looking out toward the old asphalt beyond turns three and four, where Bill had so many of his successes.  A very special trackside interview followed by Sharon announcer Jim Pollock, a close friend of Bill's and a former crew member, and one cannot help but be impressed on what a fine young man Joe is.   There weren't many dry eyes in victory lane, as family, crew, competitors, fans and well-wishers lingered long and lovingly. 


Joe Gabrielson and girlfriend Rochelle Byers bask in the victory lane celebration at Sharon Speedway June 1, 2013, as the rear spoiler of his Modified tells the entire story.

Joe Gabrielson celebrates after his dominate and emotional win at Sharon last Saturday.

The late Bill Gabrielson, in the early dirt days at Expo Speedway, celebrates one of his many wins.

Joe Gabrielson with mom Debbie share a quiet moment after his win on Saturday.  Joe always thanks his mom and dad first in victory lane. 

The celebration lingered long into the night.

How appropriate that it was Twin-State Fan Club Night at Sharon Speedway last Saturday, June 1 when Joe won, as Bill Gabrielson was inducted into the Club's Hall of Fame just last November.  With his win, Joe received a club plaque and $100 bonus for being a club member.

One of the most famous cars ever at Sharon Speedway was this low-slung '69 Chevelle Semi-Late Model from 1977 of Bill Gabrielson.  Gabrielson won the track Championship that year and an amazing 11 out of 16 features.  Track Championships also came in '78 (12 out of 19 features) and '79  (10 out of 16 features) at Sharon,  '80 at Hickory, '80 at Expo.

Joe Gabrielson at the start of the 2013 season at Sharon Speedway. 

RUSH Racing Series

After three races in the inaugural RUSH Late Model Touring Series, points in the top ten are close and take in drivers from five states. 


The most recent event was the Bill Emig Memorial Wild Card Weekend at Sharon Speedway on May 25-26.  A total of 38 different drivers competed at the Hartford, OH oval.

Mike Pegher, Jr. won the opening night of the Bill Emig Memorial Wild Card Weekend at Sharon on May 25.  Pegher started ninth in the 26 car field and got the lead on a lap 18 restart of the 25 lapper.  Pegher avoided a gasp-inducing, multi-car crash on lap 18, as the fast pack led by Chad Ruhlman and Josh Holtgraver encountered lapped traffic.  Heavy damage sidelined the front running cars of Ryan Montgomery, Will Thomas and Chad Wright.

After having his car destroyed Saturday evening, Ryan Montgomery and crew pulled out their back-up mount and went on to win night number two of the RUSH/Bill Emig Memorial Touring race at Sharon Speedway on Sunday, May 26.  The 16 year old phenom started in the fifth slot, taking the lead from current RUSH Touring Point Leader Glenn Elliott on lap ten, holding off a late race threat by Joe Martin.

Current RUSH Touring Series Points:

  1. 5E Glenn Elliott, MD - 290
  2. 99* Rick Singleton, PA - 288
  3. 1c Mike Pegher, Jr., PA - 283
  4. 55 Joe Martin, PA - 277
  5. 12 Ryan Montgomery, WV - 264
  6. 4s Chad Ruhlman, NY - 258
  7. K2 John Over, PA - 251
  8. 00 Josh Holtgraver, PA - 250
  9. 38 Josh Double, OH - 241
  10. 01 Matt Glanden, MD - 239

Next Touring race is set for McKean County Speedway (PA) on Friday, June 14, with $1500 to win.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Youth Movement, Bride and Groom, and More....

Raceway 7

Headed up to Raceway 7 for the first time last Friday for their five division show of Crate FASTRAK Late Models, Modifieds, EconoMods, Street Stocks and Mini Stocks.  Raceway usually runs a pretty quick program, but last Friday was just a tad longer, as track prep between races was used more often.  It was still a great evening of racing, and I saw lots of fine folks in the pits, stands and tower.  Thanks go out to the McDonalds and Jim Balentine Jr.

The headlining Late Model division showed just how fast the track was Friday evening, as one of the youth bridgade - Chad Wright - broke the Crate LM track record twice during the course of the evening on the 7/16 clay oval.  In his heat, Wright stopped the clock at 18.765, and later in the 22-car feature when Wright zoomed to his first feature of the year, he broke his hours long record with an 18.702 lap.  A caution on lap 16 of the 20 lapper gave  runner-up Kyle Zimmerman  hope, but Wright was just to strong.

The Modifieds - just like at Sharon Speedway - are putting on some of the most exciting racing.  Multi winner at Raceway and Sharon this season, Joel Watson, took the lead from early pacesetter Mike Potosley on loap 10 of the 20 lapper after quite a battle.  The action right behind Watson was torrid with Potosley and Russ Dunn, which culminated with a last lap, front-straight tangle, giving the runner-up spot to Mike Kinney

Be sure to check out Raceway 7 sometime this season....


Pre-feature prep for the Chad Wright #6 at Raceway 7 Friday evening

Chad Wright in victory lane following his first feature win of the season at Raceway 7


Joel Watson took another Modified win, with his victory at Raceway 7 Friday, in what was another thrilling Modified feature in the area.  Above celebrating in victory lane, below being interviewed by track announcer, Jim Balentine, Jr

Ryan Fraley picked up the EconoMod feature at Raceway 7 Friday evening, continuing his success on the Raceway/Sharon EconoMod circuit

Dave Airgood celebrates his marriage Friday morning with an evening of racing Friday at Raceway 7

Dave and Sandy Airgood were interviewed during intermission at Raceway 7, following their marriage that morning on live TV, after winning the yearly wedding contest at WFMJ-TV 21 in Youngstown, OH.  The long day started in the wee hours of the morning for the all-expense paid wedding, reception, then an evening of racing (and a third place feature finish in the Late Models), and then early Saturday morning being whisked off to their honeymoon.  Congratulations!



Sharon Speedway

Another successful night of racing in the record books at Sharon.  The highlight of the evening had to be the EconoMod feature, as 12 year old Jacob Eucker made track history by becoming the youngest feature winner ever at the track.  Eucker is the great-grandson of Sharon legend and Hall of Famer Dale Johnson.  Eucker has been running strong all season, and has come close to a feature win several times.  Saturday's thriller saw a laps long, sometimes side-by-side duel with 17 year old Jeremy Double.  It almost looked like two veterans out there.  The exurbuant winner seemed polished and professional in victory lane.


Twelve year old Jacob Eucker made history Saturday evening at Sharon Speedway, becoming the youngest driver ever to win a feature event.  Eucker won the EconoMod headliner

Pulled into victory lane at Sharon for the EconoMod feature win, Jacob Euker's nickname "Kid Smooth" is apt, and belies his youth

Jacob's Great-grandfather, Dale Johnson, shown here picking up one of many wins

Dale Johnson, first driver for George Blaney and a Hall of famer, leads the pack.  Johnson's Great-grandson, Jacob Eucker looks to be following in his footsteps

Dave Murdick, Sharon's 2012 DIRT Big Block Modified Point Champion, won his first feature of '13 at the track Saturday

Will Thomas, 2012 Sharon Late Model Point Champion also found his way to his first feature of the year Saturday at Sharon in the RUSH Late Models

Bob Diver pulled off what some might consider an upset win in the highly competitive Modified division at Sharon on Saturday.  Diver held off Alan Dellinger, as the Modifieds continue to impress this year

This Saturday and Sunday at Sharon is the Bill Emig Memorial, featuring the RUSH Late Model Touring Series, with $1500 going to the winner each night, along with several contingecy awards.  Saturday along with the RUSH LMs will be Modifieds, EconoMods and Mini-Stocks, while DIRT Big Block Modifieds, Open Stocks and Mini-Stocks join the card on Sunday

Main Event

Jack Varney won the opening race in the Main Event Series for Outlaw Super Late Models at Sandusky Speedway Saturday. 


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sharon Speedway

Sharon Speedway continues with it's impressive weekly "Steel Valley Thunder", and the DIRT Big Block Modifieds keep rolling along with large, competitive fields.  Last seaon, one would think the division may had been close to extinction, with numbers in the low teens sometimes common.  This year has been the opposite, and last week 21 of the open-wheeled monsters signed in, and Brian Swartzlander was the fourth different winner in as many events. 

The RUSH Late Models also continue their competitive ways at the track, as 2011 LM Point Champion, 20 year old Josh Double, held off hard charging veterans Bill Cunningham and '13 two-time feature winner Dennis Lunger with a less than a second victory.  RUSH Future's Cup challenger, 16 year old Eric Wilson, '12 Sharon LM Champion Will Thomas and LM rookie Shaun Hooks were right behind the lead trio.

In the Modifieds, Joel Watson made it two in a row, after starting sixth in the wide-open class. 

A six division program can prove to be an unwieldy task, but Sharon usually moves the program along at a fairly good clip. 

Josh Double, Sharon LM Point Champion in 2011, won the exciting RUSH Late Model feature Saturday at the track, in a barnburner over Bill Cunningham and Dennis Lunger

Joel Watson made it two in a row in the highly competitive Modifieds at Sharon last Saturday

The field of DIRT Big Block Modifieds at Sharon this year has increased substantially.  Among threats to win weekly are Rex King and Rex King Jr., here lined up for a heat on 5/4/13

Veteran Bill Cunningham is off to a strong start in the RUSH Late Models at Sharon this season

The Double brothers both have feature wins in their respective divisions at Sharon this year.  Seventeen year old Jeremy, #83 in the EconoMods, and 20 year old Jeremy, #38, in the RUSH Late Models


Main Event Opener At Sandusky Reset For This Saturday, May 18

The Main Event 2013 season opener has been rescheduled for this Saturday at Sandusky Speedway, as windy and rainy conditions blew in last week just as the field was lining up on the track for the 75 lap feature. 

A healthy field of 22 Outlaw Super Late Models were signed in pit-side, and it is expected the field may grow a bit this week, as it will be a complete new show. 

Sharing the bill at the half-mile speed plant are the MSA Supermodifieds, as the two classes combine for an all-out speed attack at the track. 

Among the exoctic looking Outlaw Super Late Models at Sandusky last week, were:

Two-time defending Main Event Points Champion, Bud Perry

Getting set to qualify was second-generation driver, Marcus Malcuit, who will be going after the title this year after finishing third last season

Last year's Sandusky Main Event winner Justin Schroeder has sights set on a repeat win

Last year's fourth place point finisher,Jack Varney, Jr., lined up for time trials last Saturday

Drew Charlson, who also campaigns on the ARCA New Car circuit, has plans to run the entire Main Event schedule for 2013

One of the sharpest cars on the circuit is again Brian Short