By Mike Leone
(Hartford, OH)- Opening night RUSH Sprint Car winner, Ryan Fraley, returned to Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane for the second time this season. Fraley passed veteran Andy Priest on lap two then kept Blaze Myers and three-time Equipment Rental Options Weekly Series Champion Chad Ruhlman at bay over an intense three-car battle for the win in the finals laps of the 20-lap Terry Bowser Excavating feature.
“I seen him sneak down there and figured I needed to go to the top,” explained the 33-year-old from nearby Brookfield, Ohio. “I wasn’t sure if they (lapped cars) were going to hold him up or me up, but it was pretty fun out there. Doug (Kekich) told me I needed to run hard into turns three and four as that’s where I lost the heat race and it killed me, but we’re learning. I didn’t think I’d get to do this (win) again this year. These things are tough to race, but the help I have is tremendous and it’s cool to be back here. I want to thank everyone that helps, the fans, and everyone that puts this on.”
After four cars tangled in turn one, Fraley would make the winning move from Priest when racing resumed on lap two. Sixth starting Myers and Priest raced side-by-side for runner-up on laps 2-4 with Priest maintaining runner-up. By lap five, Gale Ruth, Jr. and Ruhlman entered the fray making it a five-car race for the lead! On lap 10, Priest got too high and slapped the fence allowing Myers to steal second. Ruhlman then worked his way by Priest for third on lap 15. As Fraley was contending with lapped traffic, Ruhlman closed in and a three-car race for the win ensued over the final four laps.
Ruhlman nosed ahead of Myers for second on lap 18, but Myers didn’t go away. It was three-wide for the lead in traffic on lap 19 as Myers regained second. Myers looked like he was setting up a slingshot move on Fraley racing off turn two on the final lap, but the lapped car of Kevin Kaserman was there slowing Myers’ run. Fraley took the checkered flag first by just 0.133 seconds. Fraley’s 10th career Sharon win, which includes eight in the Econo Mod division, came aboard his Barris Truck Service/Intense Fab/Pruskowski Trucking/Scoville Designs-sponsored #12.
Myers matched his career best Sharon RUSH Sprint Car effort from 2021 in second. Ruhlman was a close third after winning on Friday night at Lernerville Speedway. Priest dropped to fourth after leading the opening lap. Brian Hartzell went 18th to fifth! Ruth was sixth.
A.J. MacQuarrie crossed the finish in seventh, but took a nasty flip down the frontstretch after the red was out for Jarod Larson, who flipped in turn three. Larson, who started 24th, was battling with MacQuarrie for seventh when he got too high. Both drivers were banged up, but okay. Completing the top 10 were Brandon Blackshear, Zack Wilson, and Ricky Tucker, Jr. Heat winners were Myers, Ruth, and Wilson. The 24 cars on hand matched the highest count for the division was set on June 4.
Terry Bowser Excavating RUSH Sprint Cars
(20 laps): 1. 12-RYAN FRALEY ; 2. 43JR-Blaze Myers; 3. 68-Chad Ruhlman; 4. 41-Andy Priest; 5. 69-Brian Hartzell; 6. 24-Gale Ruth Jr; 7. 69X-AJ MacQuarrie; 8. 10-Brandon Blackshear; 9. 1-Zack Wilson; 10. 1T-Ricky Tucker Jr; 11. 57N-Tyler Newhart; 12. 9-Arnie Kent; 13. 44C-Bill Cunningham; 14. 20-Jeff Metsger; 15. 23-Charlie Utsinger; 16. 16C-Amelia Clay; 17. 15-Lacey Shuttleworth; 18. 47-Jarod Larson; 19. 29-Brandon Shughart; 20. 13K-Kevin Kaserman; 21. 19-Brad Blackshear; 22. 35-Nick Simon; 23. 12C-Calvin Clay; 24. 11-Don Blaney.