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.