Chad Ruhlman won the RUSH Sprint Car feature at Sharon Speedway Saturday night.
After electrical issues in his RUSH Sprint Car heat race, Chad Ruhlman put on a performance not seen in quite some time at the track. Starting from the 20th position, Ruhlman ripped around the fence and put a slide job on leader Gale Ruth, Jr. on lap 16 and went on for his second straight 20-lap Terry Bowser Excavating RUSH Sprint Car win. It was Ruhlman’s milestone 30th career overall Pace Performance RUSH Sprint Car win for the 2018 and 2019 champion.
“That was a ball,” expressed the 44-year-old Erie, Pa. racer. “Once again this place didn’t fail to deliver; it was just beautiful. This has been a tough week with Kevin (Ruhlman) getting hurt so this one is for you Kev. You shouldn’t run the wall like that- you could get hurt. We had electrical problems in the heat race and didn’t make the call. Tim (Engles) and crew put their heart and soul into this deal so I’m glad we could deliver. That was a lot of fun racing with Gale (Ruth) and I saw Brian (Ruhlman) down there. Gale was right against the wall and he did it flawlessly so I had to come up with something. I just had to make sure I didn’t get any dirty air coming down the back chute, then slide him, get to the cushion first, and not get run over.”
In his first Sharon appearance of the season, Ryan Fraley led the opening lap, but it was third starting Gale Ruth, Jr. taking the lead off the topside of turn four on lap two. Jarod Larson, who was making his season debut, started fifth and passed Blaze Myers for third on lap three. After just four laps, Chad Ruhlman was already up to fourth then drove around Larson off turn two for second on lap five. Ruhlman continued his forward progression around the top of the track ripping past Fraley for second on lap six, but found himself more than three seconds behind Ruth, who was setting a torrid pace himself around the top.
Meanwhile, Chad’s brother Brian Ruhlman started sixth and was on the move. Brian Ruhlman passed Larson for fourth on lap eight and Fraley for third one lap later. Back up front, Chad Ruhlman began to close in on Ruth on lap 11 before the first caution of the event for Russ Sansosti, who was also making his season debut. When racing resumed on lap 12, the top three of Ruth and the Ruhlman brothers began to pull away. The second and final caution of the race was displayed with 16 laps scored when Fraley and Myers made contact to bring out the caution.
When green replaced yellow on lap 17, Chad Ruhlman’s slider on Ruth in turn four stuck, which turned out to be the winning move. Chad Ruhlman then pulled away for all-time leading sixth of his career at Sharon in the Tim Engles-owned, Dirt Roads Logistics/Pennywell Sandblasting/Dotera Oils-sponsored #68 by a margin of 3.134 seconds.
Ruth and Brian Ruhlman traded runner-up back and forth in the closing laps with Ruth getting the spot. After a runner-up in the UMP Mods, Brian Ruhlman had to settle for third. Larson was fourth. John Mollick went 19th to fifth. Sixth through 10th were Tyler Newhart, Brian Hartzell, 14th starting Brian Cressley in his first Sharon start of the year, Rod George, and A.J. MacQuarrie. Heat winners over the 21-car field were George and Ruth. Brad Blackshear was a late arrival and had to start 11th. Blackshear charged around the top and was battling for second when he ran over Larson’s right rear in turn one and flipped. He was okay, but done for the night.
Terry Bowser Excavating RUSH Sprint Cars (20 laps, $600 to-win): 1. CHAD RUHLMAN (Engles 68) 2. Gale Ruth, Jr. (McConnell 24) 3. Brian Ruhlman (49) 4. Jarod Larson (47) 5. John Mollick (Clever 14) 6. Tyler Newhart (57N) 7. Brian Hartzell (69) 8. Brian Cressley (62) 9. Rod George (Hull 41) 10. A.J. MacQuarrie (Hartzell 69x) 11. Nolan Groves (25) 12. Amelia Clay (16c) 13. Brad Church (40) 14. Brandon Shughart (29) 15. Ricky Tucker, Jr. (1T) 16. Russ Sansosti (23s) 17. Kevin Kaserman (13) 18. Gale Ruth, Sr. (1R) 19. Ryan Fraley (12) 20. Blaze Myers (43Jr). DNS: Brad Blackshear (19).