HARTFORD, Ohio – Despite thunderstorms in the forecast all day on Wednesday, only a few sprinkles fell in the late afternoon and early evening at Sharon Speedway and the entire Pay It Forward Foundation “Summer Bash” was run off in less than two hours.
It was the 10th straight program to be completed this year at Sharon. Celebrating in the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply victory lane were Mike Knight-NDRL’s ULMS Super Late Models, Dave Hess, Jr.-NDRL’S UEMS Modifieds, and Jeremy Double-Econo Mods.
NASCAR racers Ken Schrader and third generation driver Ryan Blaney were scheduled to compete. Schrader finished eighth in the Modified feature, while Blaney’s ride was a no show and unfortunately a ride couldn’t be secured at the last minute.
Mike Knight finally nailed down his first career Sharon Speedway win. Knight led all 25 laps of the NDRL’s ULMS Super Late Model feature without a challenge for the $3,000 prize. It was also his first ULMS victory of 2013.
“We didn’t think this was going to happen,” acknowledged the Ripley, New York driver. “You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t in your perspective. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, but I’m glad you decided to run! We have some of the best drivers and competition and fans in the country right here in this area. We’re on a good streak right now and doing well. I’ve been good here before, but I’m glad to get a win. I have one of the best crews out there. I’ve had some really good guys that have been with me for 10+ years.”
After a false start and a flat tire for Russell King, Knight surged into the lead over Adam Gordon and Dave Hess Jr. The race was slowed again when Matt Urban spun with one lap scored. When racing resumed, Knight quickly distanced himself from the field and had a comfortable lead by lap four, while the battle was on for second as Gordon was trying to hold off Hess and King.
Knight continued to stretch his lead as the margin grew to a straightaway by lap seven. King and Hess battled side-by-side on laps nine and 10. King nosed ahead of Hess for third racing off the bottom of turn two on lap 10. Two laps later, Hess slowed and exited the event, which moved Urban to fourth.
Knight was gaining about four tenths of second every lap on Gordon as he opened up a near half-lap lead at the halfway point of the event. King closed in on Gordon on lap 14 and the battle picked for second. After a good battle for several laps, King made the pass for second on lap 18. Gordon’s fine run ended when he blew a tire and slapped the backstretch fence with 21 laps scored.
The last four-lap dash to the finish went green-to-checkered as Knight faced no challenges taking the checkered flag first by a margin of 2.023 seconds in his Jay’s Auto Wrecking/Craiger Race Engines/Malone Tool & Mold/Keystone Alliance Insurance/Jim’s Automotive Parts-sponsored No. 9K. Knight became the 106th different driver to win a Super Late Model race at Sharon in the 406 races run all-time.
King was second over Urban, Jim Rasey, and Gordon, who returned to the track for the finish. Hess was credited with sixth. Engines issues forced John Garvin, Jr. to scratch from the feature. King set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 15.659 to earn the $50 from Zimmer’s Service Center. Knight also won the lone heat race. A disappointing seven cars showed for the second of four scheduled ULMS events in 2013.