New technology keeps the Trumbull County track up-to-date.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
HARTFORD -- Sharon Speedway will have its first large special event of the 76th season tonight when it hosts the World of Outlaws sprint car race.
Harley-Davidson of Youngstown is sponsoring the race, which includes a 20-lap Mod-Lites race.
Also, there will be an open pit party after qualifying. Fans will be able to enter the pit area, meet drivers and watch crews work on cars.
The sprint car final will be 40 laps and includes 21 drivers. Local sprint car drivers Dale Blaney, Ed Lynch Jr., Mike Kekich and Jarod Larson are expected to compete.
"We have quite a few great local racers who can give the Outlaws regulars a run for their money," said Dave Blaney, Sharon Speedway co-owner, 1995 World of Outlaws Champion and a current NASCAR driver.
"I think we're going to see a terrific show ... and I wouldn't count anyone out."
The race's purse is $53,000.
Blaney plans to attend
"I'll fly over from Dover after qualifying to catch the show," Dave Blaney said. "My car owner, Richard Childress, said he'd like to come, too... There are a lot of sprint car fans and former sprint car drivers in the garage, so you never know who may come over to the race with us."
Tickets for the World of Outlaws sprint race cost $24 in advance and $28 at the door. Tickets for children ages 5-13 cost $14 and children younger than 5 are admitted free.
All-Star Circuit June 29
Other highlights of this year's season are will be the All-Star Circuit of Champions Ohio Sprint Speedweek on June 29.
There will be World of Outlaws late model racing on July 12.
A Steelers/Browns rivalry night to raise money for the Children's Rehabilitation Center in Howland is scheduled for July 16. Former players for both teams will be available for autographs.
Aug. 13 will be NASCAR Night. Four NASCAR drivers will be at the speedway to give autographs and help raise money for Kyle and Patty Petty's Victory Junction Gang Camp.
Sharon Speedway was purchased in 2002 by Dave Blaney, his father Lou, and local businessmen Jim Weller Sr. (Liberty Steel Products) and Bill and Ron Kirila (Kirila Contractors).
The track is operated by the Blaney Family, including Dave's and Dale's mother, Kate, and Dale's wife, Lori, who handles advertising, ticket sales and public relations.
In the past four years, the track was rebuilt and changed from a 1/2 mile cement track to a 3/8 mile dirt track. A new fence was installed around the track.
The new Speedway Club Building houses ticket offices, concessions, souvenirs, enclosed grandstands, private suites and track offices.
New grandstands built last summer provide seating for more than 7,500 spectators.
Sharon Speedway hosts race events every weekend from April to August, Kate Blaney said. Most events occur on Saturday nights, but some large special features are set for Fridays.
410 Sprints, Pure Stocks, Big Block Modifieds, E-Modifieds and Greenflag sprints all compete regularly at the speedway.
Kids Club in third year
Sharon Speedway's Kids Club is in its third year. Children meet at 5 p.m. on race nights and participate in various race-themed activities. Membership costs $15 per child for eight meetings.
New to the track this year are transponders, a loop of wire buried in the track surface that sends information to track computers. Each car transmits an unique signal when it passes over the transponder. Lap times are uploaded to the Internet as each lap is completed.
Drivers are able to check their lap times as soon as they has access to a computer, via www.mylaps.com. Race fans also are able to check lap times and race results from home during a race, Kate Blaney said.
For more information about the speedway, visit www.sharonspeedway.com.