By Brian Liskai
CAMARGO, Ill. – Ohio Sprint Speedweek usually determines who will wear the University of Northwestern Ohio All Star Circuit of Champions’ crown at season’s end. This year, the 31st Annual Ohio Sprint Speedweek features eight racing events over nine days at seven different race tracks in the Buckeye State.
It all kicks off Friday, June 21 as Kistler Engines Presents the Ohio Sprint Speedweek on TPC Food Services/Ohio Cat Night at Attica Raceway Park. This will mark the 99th UNOH All Star show at Attica. Earlier this year current All Star point leader Dale Blaney, a four time Ohio Sprint Speedweek champion, took the victory at Attica. Blaney now has 13 series wins at Attica and has 95 total All Star victories for his career, just three behind tying Kenny Jacobs for the series all-time feature wins.
Last year at Attica’s speedweek event, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Danny Holtgraver scored his first career UNOH All Star victory. Race-long leader Cap Henry spun trying to avoid a flipping car with just four laps remaining. Currently Holtgraver, who has scored four sprint feature wins in non-All Star racing this season, sits fourth in the series’ national points and second in the Ohio Region standings. Henry, who has two non-sanctioned sprint car wins in 2013, is third in the UNOH All Star national points and fifth in the Ohio Region.
There is a little extra incentive at Attica as the top two finishers in the feature event that are running Kistler Engines will receive $500 from the engine build.
The All Star drivers always have their hands full with the Attica regulars like six time track champion Byron Reed, who is coming off a weekend sweep at Attica and Fremont Speedway. Defending track champion Craig Mintz has run consistently in the top five every week at Attica. Throw in Caleb Griffith, who scored the win at the track in the 360/305 sprint challenge, Bryan Sebetto, who has an All Star win at Fremont this season and a non-sanctioned win at Attica, currently sits fourth in the series’ Ohio Region points, rookie D.J. Foos, Brian Smith who has a win at the track, and a host of others and you have a recipe for excitement. Holtgraver has a non-sanctioned win at Attica in 2013 as does Shane Stewart. And former track champion Dean Jacobs is expected to be behind the wheel of a new ride for speedweek.
The UMP Late models will also be in competition at Attica. Gates will open at 4 p.m. with racing underway at 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults; $20 for seniors; $10 for teens ages 11-15; with kids 10 and under getting in free. Pit passes are $30.
For more information go to www.atticaracewaypark.com
Night #2 will be at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway. No other track in the country has hosted more of the series’ races than Eldora. The Speedweek event will be the 132nd of the UNOH All Stars at the famous half-mile. The last time the UNOH All Stars visited “The Big E,” in 2011, Blaney took the victory, the sixth series’ win at the track of his career.
The UMP DIRTcar Modifieds and Eldora Stocks will also be in competition for the June 22 event. Tickets will go on sale at 3:30 with gates opening at 4 p.m. and racing getting underway at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for those ages 13 and older; $4 for ages 12 and under with pit passes at $25.
For more information go to www.eldoraspeedway.com
On Sunday, June 23, Speedweek moves to Waynesfield Raceway Park near Lima, Ohio. The one-third mile bullring has produced some of the most exciting speedweek shows in recent years. Last year, for the second night in a row, Henry looked headed to victory, but Stevie Smith passed him with eight laps to go to score the victory, the 200th sprint car win of Smith’s career. The win, coupled with consistent runs throughout speedweek would propel Smith to his second Ohio Sprint Speedweek championship.
Ohio Logistics Presents the UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions Ohio Sprint Speedweek at “The Field” with pit gates opening at 4 p.m. with grandstand gates open at 5 p.m. and racing underway at 7 p.m. Go to www.
The NAPA Wayne County Speedway near Orrville, Ohio will host the UNOH All Stars on Monday, June 24. The track was one of the original speedweek destinations when the concept began 31 years ago. Last year, phenom Kyle Larson passed Blaney on lap 13 and went on to score his second straight speedweek feature, having won the night before at Cannonball Speedway.
This year’s Duffy Smith Memorial – run in honor of the former racer who passed away following the speedweek show in 2012 – will also include the Lias Tire Late Models for a $2,000 to win feature. Gates will open at 3 p.m. with racing at 7:30 p.m.
For more information go to www.waynecountyspeedway.com
Tuesday finds the UNOH All Stars at Sharon Speedway near Hartford, Ohio. Another of the tracks that was part of the first Ohio Sprint Speedweek 31 years ago, the 3/8th mile oval was the scene of a marathon race last year. Tire wear was the culprit and it was young Brandon Matus who nursed his tires enough to score his first career UNOH All Star victory.
Gates will open at Sharon at 4 p.m. The Econ-Mods and Mini Stocks will also be in competition. Tickets are $22 for adults with kids 13 and under getting in free. Pit passes are $35.
For more information go to www.sharonspeedway.com
Wednesday, June 26 is an off day before Ohio Sprint Speedweek blasts into the weekend beginning Thursday, June 27 at Fremont Speedway. This will mark the 108th visit of the UNOH All Stars at “The Track That Action Built,” located in the Sandusky County Fairgrounds. Earlier this year Sebetto and Blaney posted All Star wins at Fremont. Blaney has the most series’ wins at the track with 12 and swept both speedweek events at Fremont last year.
Fremont is another track the All Stars have to battle with a tough contingent of weekly drivers. Reed won this past week and is a three time track champion. Former All Star champion Greg Wilson has a pair of victories at Fremont in 2013. Tim Shaffer, who has won the last four All Star championships, also has a win in non-sanctioned racing at the track this season. Shaffer, the 2011 Ohio Sprint Speedweek champion, has eight career series’ wins at Fremont. Henry posted a non-sanctioned win at Fremont this season and Griffith also picked up a weekly feature win.
The 305 sprints and dirt trucks will also be in competition on DB3 Imaging Night.
Gates will open at 4 p.m. with racing underway at 7 p.m. Go to www.fremontohspeedway.com for more information.
On Friday, June 28th Ohio Sprint Speedweek heads to the high banked quarter-mile of Limaland Motorsports Park, presented by Elwer Fence. Last year’s event fell victim to rain as heavy thunderstorms hit the area. In 2011 Kyle Sauder would score his first ever All Star win during the Lima speedweek event. In 2010 David Gravel earned his first ever All Star win at Lima during speedweek as he claimed the Ohio Speedweek championship that year.
The track’s tough weekly 360 race teams will also give the All Stars a great challenge.
The K&N Modifieds will also be in competition.
Pit gates will open at 4 p.m. with spectator gates open at 5 p.m. and racing underway at 7:30 p.m.
Go to www.limaland.com for more information.
The 31st Annual Ohio Sprint Speedweek wraps up Saturday, June 29th at Fremont Speedway for the $10,000-to-win finale on Ludwig Propane Night. There is a rain date of Sunday, June 30th if needed.
Also during each speedweek event, drivers will go through the stands collecting donations for Jason Leffler’s five-year-old son Charlie. Leffler, a versatile driver who won championships in USAC and competed in each of NASCAR’s three national series, died last Wednesday after a crash in a 410 sprint car at a track in New Jersey.
Ohio Speedweek always draws in the best talent from the Midwest, western Pennsylvania, along with the All Star regulars and usually a few surprises. In seasons past NASCAR Sprint Cup stars Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne competed at several speedweek events. Larson may pop in for a few races as well.
As in the past, speedweek could also produce some first time winners with young drivers like Caleb Helms, Justin Henderson, Trey Gustin and more looking to put their names in the record books.
For more information go to www.allstarsprint.com.