Local racing season about to begin

The first sign of spring is here as race cars have been sighted at the Shenango Valley Mall during the Twin State Auto Racing Club’s car show.

The 2018 racing area season was scheduled to start tonight as Sharon Speedway was to play host to some of the top Late Model drivers in the country, but the last sign of winter — a light blanket of snow covering the area Thursday morning — has delayed that.

The good news is the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and RUSH Sportsman Modified event scheduled tonight has been postponed until Monday, July 2. All pre-sale tickets will be good for the make-up date.

“We couldn’t catch a break with the weather,” Sharon GM Dave Willoughby said in a press release. “It’s been a very wet and cold March and April. We needed some dry weather this week, but unfortunately it’s been cold with and rain and snow. That coupled with Friday’s high temperature only in the mid 40s and dropping into the 30s during race time just isn’t conducive.

“We’re thankful to have an opportunity to bring Lucas Oil back in the summer during the Fourth of July week, and have optimal racing conditions. This will now create a mini Ohio Speedweek for Late Models that hopefully fans and racers can make plans for.”

With Mercer Speedway up for sale and not racing this season, Sprint car racing will be returning to Sharon’s 3/8-mile dirt oval for select events. Small Block Mods from Mercer are expected to challenge Sharon’s Big Blocks. Stock cars that normally raced at Mercer, I would expect will take on Sharon’s regulars and increase car counts.

Sharon Speedway’s 89th year of racing features a very impressive schedule. On Saturday, May 5, Tony Stewart’s All-Star Circuit of Champions returns for one of three appearances this season.

Menards home improvement store has come on board and will sponsor a 12-race Super Series paying extra money for the Sprint cars and Big Block Modifieds. The first race of the series is April 28 for the Modifieds. On June 16, the Penn-Ohio Stock cars will be racing for an unheard of $10,000 to win, and there will be much more as the season progresses. It looks to be a great season ahead.

Mansfield Motor Speedway will have the “Sprint Car World Championship” April 27-28, paying $100,000 to win. The special-events-only race track was converted from asphalt to dirt last season. The facility has been completely revamped and has added backstretch suites. This race will be one of the premiere Sprint car events in the country and is sure to become an annual event

Lernerville Speedway, the action track in Sarver, Pa., on state Route 360, also was scheduled to open tonight. Sprint cars, Big Block Modifieds RUSH Late Models, Pro Stocks, and RUSH Sprints are scheduled to be a part of the opening show. Lernerville may be the only track in the country to feature Late Models, Big Block Mods and Sprints on a weekly program.

Asphalt fans can take the short trip to Barberton Speedway on Saturday. Racing starts at 6:30 with a full program of Late Models, Compacts, Modified, and street stocks. The track has racing every Saturday night.

All this great racing is just to get the season started, there is so much more to come. Get out and support your race track and grassroots racing.