By Mike Leone
(Hartford, OH) July 9 2022- Chad Ruhlman found the high side to his liking in the RUSH Sprint Cars. After dropping to fourth early on, Ruhlman went to the top, banged the boards and passed fellow veteran Andy Priest on lap six for the winning move in the 20-lap Terry Bowser Excavating feature. It was Ruhlman’s second win of the season at Sharon, worth $600.
“Grandma Betty is more excited than I am- this is great,” expressed the 45-year-old Erie, Pa. standout. “We changed some stuff and went back to last year’s notes. We haven’t been very good on the top here. Nolan (Groves) has been setting the standard up on top the last month on the cushion. He’s a great kid, but must have had a big hunk of mud stuck in his wheel or something. It was cool to throw slide jobs and have Andy (Priest) down on the bottom like that. Hats off to the track prep guys again- this place is awesome! It’s been a lot of fun. Brian (Ruhlman) is putting a ‘410’ (non-wing Sprint) together for me and we’re going to double team it with Tim (Engles) down at Lernerville and heading to Eldora later this year. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity without RUSH to get into this. To go run USAC at Eldora is the ultimate goal so thank everyone that has made this possible.”
Priest raced to the early lead, while Nolan Groves passed Ruhlman for third on the opening lap. Groves went to the top like he did in his heat race and drove around Jarod Larson for second on lap four off turn two; however, contact between Larson and Groves down the backstretch sent Larson into a 360-spin. Though Larson never stopped, the caution was displayed and Larson was placed in sixth where he resumed.
Back under green on lap four, Ruhlman made a veteran move to slip under teenager Groves down the frontstretch and was able to get to the top in turn one first to secure second. Blaze Myers put a slider on Groves to take third on lap five. Groves appeared to pack his wheel full of mud and backslid through the field over the remainder of the event.
After racing side-by-side on lap six, Ruhlman’s momentum off the top carried him into the lead past Priest. Ruhlman caught lapped traffic on lap 13, but that wouldn’t slow his efforts as he set a blistering pace around the fence. Ruhlman’s all-time leading ninth career Sharon victory came by a commanding 5.492 seconds in the Tim Engles-owned, Dirt Road Logistics/Shawgo Realty/Signature Property Group/DoTerra Essential Oils-sponsored #68.
Priest was a season best second. Myers was third after starting seventh. Tyler Newhart recorded his first top five of the season in fourth. After winning the last two Sharon races, Gale Ruth, Jr. was fifth. Larson was sixth over Brian Hartzell, Ryan Fraley, Ricky Tucker, Jr., and rookie Zack Wilson. Heat winners over the 20-car field were Groves and Ruhlman.
Terry Bowser Excavating RUSH Sprint Cars (20 laps, $600 to-win): 1. 68-Chad Ruhlman; 2. 41-Andy Priest; 3. 43JR-Blaze Myers; 4. 57N-Tyler Newhart; 5. 24-Gale Ruth Jr; 6. 47-Jarod Larson; 7. 69-Brian Hartzell; 8. 12-Ryan Fraley; 9. 1T-Ricky Tucker Jr; 10. 1-Zack Wilson; 11. 29-Brandon Shughart; 12. 5B-Joe Buccola; 13. 69X-AJ MacQuarrie; 14. 13K-Kevin Kaserman; 15. 44C-Bill Cunningham; 16. 16C-Amelia Clay; 17. 25-Nolan Groves; 18. 23-Charlie Utsinger; 19. 11-Don Blaney; 20. 19-Brandon Blackshear.