Ryan Smith Sharon Speedway Photo

By Mike Leone

(Hartford, OH)…After an ultra-successful World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car event on May 18 and a weekend off for Memorial Day, Sharon Speedway returned to action on a beautiful Saturday evening welcoming in Western PA Sprint Speedweek. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Ryan Smith (Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars presented by Bala Management), Ayden Cipriano (Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds) and Jeremy Kornbau (“305” Sprint Cars). Eighty-seven cars were in the pit area for the three-division show on Sara Cipriano at Novus Mortgage of Hermitage and Sportsman’s Supply Night.

Central Pennsylvania invader Ryan Smith slipped under Indiana’s Zane DeVault on lap seven and kept 12th starting Dave Blaney at bay in lapped traffic to win the Western PA Speedweek event at Sharon for the second time in the last four years. Smith, the 2021 Sharon winner and Western PA Speedweek Champion, earned $4,000 for the for the 30-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Car victory.

“It’s pretty cool to beat Dave (Blaney) at his own place- I knew he had to be coming,” acknowledged the 26-year-old Kunkletown, Pa. native. “I just tried not to make any mistakes, capitalize on lapped car mistakes, and get what I could. All in all not bad for just the third time out with my guys this year. It’s been a lot of fun even though we struggled last night, but rebounded and took all the big money tonight. The car was really good. We made some small changes between last night and today, and it definitely showed. Hopefully we can race tomorrow and end the week on a good note.”

DeVault raced into the early lead aboard the Lane Racing #4 in search of his first Sharon Speedway victory, while Smith settled into second. By lap three, DeVault and Smith quickly pulled away from Mitch Harble and the rest of the field. Quebec’s Jordan Poirier, fresh off a runner-up finish in his Lernerville Speedway debut on Friday night, started seventh and was already up to fourth by lap three.

Eyes began to shift to the “Buckeye Bullet”, who was making his way forward. Blaney was already up to fifth on lap four dropping Logan McCandless out of the top five. Blaney then drove around Poirier and Harble in successive laps to take third on lap six. DeVault got too high and slapped the turn two fence on lap seven allowing Smith to drive by for what would be the winning move. The event’s only caution was for Denny Peebles, who slowed with a flat tire with seven laps completed.

When racing resumed on lap eight, Blaney slipped under DeVault for second with Poirier following in third. Poirier began to challenge Blaney for the runner-up spot, while Smith maintained his lead. Smith had a two-second lead when he caught lapped traffic on lap 14. Smith maintained that advantage over the second half of the caution-free event as he took the checkered flag by 1.871 seconds in the BJD Motorsports, Western Mountain/Red Robin Gourmet Burgers-sponsored #6.

Blaney, the current Speedweek points leader, was second. Poirier faded late as DeVault got back to third. Dale Blaney went eighth to fourth. McCandless completed the top five. Adam Kekich was sixth as Poirier dropped to seventh after challenging Blaney for second at the mid-part of the event. Lee Jacobs went 19th to 8th to earn the $250 hard charger. Dan Kuriger was ninth. Mark Smith raced from 17th to 10th.

Dave Blaney set fast time overall against the 46-car field in qualifying with a lap of 15.835 to earn $250. Heat race winners were Dave Blaney, Kekich, Dale Blaney, Ryan Smith, and Chase Metheney. A.J. Flick and Lance Moss captured the last chance B mains.

The Big-Block Modifieds made their first of six appearances of the 2024 season and it was young, up and coming talent Ayden Cipriano capturing his first career win in the division. Cipriano inherited the lead on lap eight when leader Rick Regalski was called for a jump and kept a steady advantage over eighth starting Rex King, Jr. throughout the 25-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply feature. Cipriano earned $2,000 thanks to sponsorship from Autism Awareness, King Bros. Ready Mix Concrete, King’s Sanitary Services, Russ King Racing, and Thermo Supply.

“This feels great,” expressed the 18-year-old Hermitage, Pa. driver. “There’s a lot of great people in this class and I’m just happy that I could pull it off in my first year in this car. I know he’s (King, Jr.) always somewhere if he’s not in front of me, he’s definitely right behind me. I knew someone had to be there, but I just hit my marks and didn’t figure he could get around me.”

Regalski led the first seven laps in search of his first Sharon victory before a caution for Steve Feder. When racing resumed, Regalski was called for starting the race before the restart zone, which moved Cipriano into the lead. When racing resumed, King was able to charge into second. The 28-time winner closed the gap in the final laps, but Cipriano didn’t make any mistakes as he took the William Cipriano-owned, Wheatland Steel Processing/Novus Mortgage of Hermitage/Rudy’s Tavern/Stainless Steel Engineering/BJS Powder Coating-sponsored #5c by 0.647 seconds. Cipriano, a five-time RUSH Sportsman Modified winner, became the 97th different driver to win a Big-Block Modified feature in the history of Sharon.

In addition to a $1,200 payday, King also earned the $100 Summit Racing Equipment gift card for being the hard charger. Chas Wolbert was third over ninth starting Will Thomas III. Brad Rapp had a good run going 11th to 5th. Rounding out the top 10 were Garrett Krummert, Regalski, Chad Reitz, Mike Kinney, and Steve Barr. King and Thomas won the heat races over the 19-car field.

Jeremy Kornbau will go down in the record books as the very first winner of a Racesaver “305” Sprint Car event at Sharon. Kornbau, who has competed in numerous “410” events over the years at Sharon including many with a “305”, led all 20 laps of the Sportsman’s Supply-sponsored feature for the $800 victory.

“I’ve wanted to win here for so long,” stated the 23-year-old Hermitage, Pa. racer. “I grew up here and it’s always been my dream to be standing here looking up at those grandstands so it’s finally that time. It looked like the big blocks would lay some rubber down so we tightened it up, but didn’t want to get too tight. I knew when we lined up we were going to be good. Gary Edwards (crew chief) was freaking out a little bit; he’s won a lot of races here so I know this means a lot to him. I just tried to do my part and he did his and it all worked out. Everyone has been with me so long through the struggles and I’m glad it’s now working out for everyone.”

Kornbau started on the pole alongside Nolan Grove, a two-time non-wing RUSH Sprint Car winner at Sharon, as Kornbau jumped into the lead. Jim Pattock started eighth and raced into third by lap three getting by Brett Brunkenhoefer, another driver who has raced with the “410s” over the years with his “305”. While Kornbau caught lapped traffic on lap seven, Brunkenhoefer was able to regain third from Pattock.

The event’s only caution occurred with 13 laps completed when Dylan Shatzer, Greg Dobrosky, and Jacob Gomola tangled. Kornbau didn’t allow Groves to challenge him over the final seven laps as he crossed the finish line first by 1.539 seconds in the Ed & Jerry’s Auto Service/Hickory Hills Family Dental/Fox’s Pizza-sponsored #27K. Brunkenhoefer was a career best third at Sharon over Roman Jones. Pattock dropped back to fifth at the finish. Jarrett Rosencrance was sixth over Dale Schweikart. Veteran “410” racers Andy Priest and Arnie Kent finished eighth and ninth. Vermont’s John Scarborough was 10th. Heat winners over the 22-car field were Dakota Schweikart, Pattock, and Priest.

There will be no racing on June 8; however, Sharon Speedway will be in action on Wednesday, June 12 for Ohio Speedweek featuring the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars in a FAST Series event for $5,000 to-win. The Billy’s Garage RUSH Sprint Cars will also be on the card in their season debut.

Western PA Speedweek for the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply “410” Sprint Cars presented by Bala Management (30 laps, $4,000 to-win): 1. 6-RYAN SMITH[2]; 2. 10-Dave Blaney[12]; 3. 4-Zane DeVault[1]; 4. 32B-Dale Blaney[8]; 5. 29-Logan McCandless[4]; 6. 5K-Adam Kekich[6]; 7. 28-Jordan Poirier[9]; 8. 81-Lee Jacobs[19]; 9. 08-Danny Kuriger[10]; 10. M1-Mark Smith[17]; 11. 15-Mitch Harble[3]; 12. 2-AJ Flick[21]; 13. 31C-Chase Metheney[5]; 14. 29P-Dan Shetler[16]; 15. 49X-Tim Shaffer[20]; 16. 17-Dylan Norris[14]; 17. 46-Michael Bauer[7]; 18. 20B-Cody Bova[13]; 19. 5-Jeremy Weaver[15]; 20. 23-Lance Moss[22]; 21. 2P-Ricky Peterson[23]; 22. 7NY-Matt Farnham[24]; 23. 3-Denny Peebles[18]; 24. 11J-David Kalb[11]

DNQ for the feature: Chris Verda (3V), Jordan Givler (90), Jared Zimbardi (35), Brandon Spithaler (22), Jordyn Charge (V60), Brent Matus (33), Brandon Matus (13), Eric Riggins, Jr. (47), Carl Bowser (11), Brett Brunkenhoefer (7T), Jimmy Morris IV (16), Steve Bright (13B), Jack Sodeman, Jr. (23JR), Bodey McClintock (19M), Hayden Miller (11H), Dusty Larson (47), Eric L. Williams (4W), Jacob Dykstra (5D), Andy Cavanaugh (x7), George Hobaugh (40), Tommy Jasen (12G), Bryan Salisbury (21).

Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modifieds (25 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. 5C-AYDEN CIPRIANO[3]; 2. 165-Rex King Jr[8]; 3. C3-Chas Wolbert[4]; 4. 9-Will Thomas[7]; 5. 11R-Brad Rapp[11]; 6. 29-Garrett Krummert[5]; 7. 13-Rick Regalski Jr[1]; 8. 9R-Chad Reitz[9]; 9. 20P-Mike Kinney[6]; 10. 25B-Steve Barr[13]; 11. 7P-Caden Petry[2]; 12. JD57-Jordan Ehrenberg[12]; 13. 45-Steve Feder[10]; 14. 29*-Eric Beggs[14]; 15. 1X-Ryan Riffe[16]; 16. 5-Max Smoker[18]; 17. 17-Brad Deeter[17]; 18. 74-Kevin Green[19]; 19. 18JR-Mike Dougherty Jr[15]

Sportsman’s Supply “305” Sprint Cars (20 laps, $800 to-win): 1. 27K-JEREMY KORNBAU[1]; 2. 25G-Nolan Groves[2]; 3. 47-Brett Brunkenhoefer[4]; 4. 82M-Roman Jones[5]; 5. 42-Jim Pattock[8]; 6. 25-Jarrett Rosencrance[3]; 7. 78-Dale Schweikart[6]; 8. 21N-Andy Priest[7]; 9. 18-Arnie Kent[10]; 10. 61-John Scarborough[13]; 11. 21-Hunter Hite[15]; 12. 78C-Dakota Schweikart[9]; 13. 20M-Vivian Jones[11]; 14. 71-Joe Coggin[14]; 15. 88-Greg Dobrosky[20]; 16. 154-Shamus O’Donnell[19]; 17. 30R-Glenn Worrell[22]; 18. 30-Jazlyn Boyles[16]; 19. 36H-Seth Harrelson[17]; 20. 15-Lacey Shuttleworth[21]; 21. 75-Dylan Shatzer[12]; 22. 4J-Jacob Gomola[18].

Sharon Speedway is owned by the Blaney, Weller, and Kirila Families and is a 3/8-mile dirt track located on Custer-Orangeville Road in Hartford, Ohio near the intersection of Routes 7 & 305. For more information, check out the website at www.sharonspeedway.com or call 330-772-5481. Become a fan of Sharon Speedway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sharonspeedway and follow us on X (formerly known as Twitter) at www.twitter.com/sharonspdwy.