By Mike Leone
(Hartford, OH) August 27,2022- On June 2, 2018 at 14 years of age, Blaze Myers won his first career RUSH Sportsman Modified feature. Fast forward a little more than five years, and Myers drove a perfect race right up on the fence leading wire-to-wire to garner his first Sharon Sprint Car victory in the 20-lap Terry Bowser Excavating RUSH feature.
“It feels good to finally be standing here with a Sprint Car win,” expressed the 18-year-old Franklin, Pa. racer. “The beginning of the year I was trying to run the bottom and be consistent, but wasn’t very good compared to last year when we were second and third every week. Finally you just have to stop caring and go to the top once in awhile. It was a slim margin up there and you couldn’t mess up. I did down here, hit the wall, and thought it was over. I’m just glad to be here and have all my family backing me. Everyone here does phenomenal work to this thing; whatever I want they do. Hats off to all those guys as without them I wouldn’t be here.”
Myers started second and drove into the lead past Jeff Metsger with fourth starting Gale Ruth, Jr. moving into second, while Brandon Blackshear charged from sixth to third. Myers and Ruth quickly distanced themselves from the field before a caution for Brandon Shughart, who was unable to clear the track, with three laps scored. When racing resumed, fifth starting Chad Ruhlman and seventh starting Ryan Fraley both passed Blackshear for third and fourth respectively.
By lap five, Myers pulled away, while Ruhlman caught Ruth in the battle for second. Ruhlman slapped the fence in turns three and four on lap seven losing ground Ruth. Myers had a 3.5-second lead when he caught lapped traffic on lap 10. Ruth slightly cut into the lead then got a caution when Ruhlman stopped with 16 laps completed. One more caution slowed action when Don Blaney got into the fence in turn four with 18 laps scored.
Ruth was unable to make a bid for the lead as Myers was too strong up on the cushion as he took the checkered flag first by 1.040 seconds in his J.I. McCall Construction/John Pleger Roofing/Billy’s Garage/Linda Lou’s Restaurant/Jen Morris-Mays Insurance/Lowry Auto Body/DiFrischia Recycling/McDaniel & Assoc./J.I.’s Place/Jolley Roofing & Construction-sponsored #43JR to become the 12th different winner in 24 races run all-time for the class at Sharon.
Ruth’s runner-up allowed him to expand his lead in RUSH’s $5,000 to-win Equipment Rental Options Weekly Series points. Fraley, who has two wins at Sharon this year, had a solid third. Andy Priest went ninth to fourth over Nolan Groves. Blackshear was sixth as Dustin DeMattia, Zack Wilson, Joe Buccola, and Tyler Newhart completed the top 10. Ricky Tucker, Jr. went 20th to 14th to earn the $100 Summit Racing Equipment Hard Charger gift card. Heat winners over the 21-car field were Priest, Groves, and Fraley.
Terry Bowser Excavating RUSH Sprint Cars (20 laps, $600 to-win): 1. 43JR-BLAZE MYERS; 2. 24-Gale Ruth, Jr.; 3. 12-Ryan Fraley; 4. 41-Andy Priest; 5. 25-Nolan Groves; 6. 10-Brandon Blackshear; 7. 77D-Dustin DeMattia; 8. 1-Zack Wilson; 9. 5B-Joe Buccola; 10. 57N-Tyler Newhart; 11. 44C-Jarod Larson; 12. 23-Charlie Utsinger; 13. 20-Jeff Metsger; 14. 1T-Ricky Tucker, Jr.; 15. 16C-Amelia Clay; 16. 13K-Kevin Kaserman; 17. 35S-Nick Simon; 18. 68-Chad Ruhlman; 19. 11-Don Blaney; 20. 19-Brad Blackshear; 21. 29-Brandon Shughart