Wednesday, August 17, 2022

2022 SRX Series Sharon Speedway track guide: Notable drivers, local All-Star, biggest races, more

After almost a full summer’s worth of racing, the heat is on as the Superstar Racing Experience reaches its finale this Saturday night. The second-ever SRX championship is up for grabs, and it’ll be decided on dirt at one of the most storied facilities in all of dirt track racing.

This weekend, the Camping World SRX Series holds its season finale at Sharon Speedway in Hartford Township, Ohio. First opened in 1929, Sharon is one of the oldest-operating dirt racing facilities in the United States, and its 3/8-mile dirt oval has become known far and wide to dirt racers across the country.

Here is the final SRX track guide of the 2022 season and an examination of what has made Sharon one of the nation’s premier dirt tracks — including the racing family that has helped make it just that.

Biggest Races

Prior to the arrival of SRX, Sharon Speedway has been a stop on the schedule of several notable touring series. The NASCAR Cup Series raced here once all the way back in 1954, with Lee Petty winning the lone major stock car race in track history. In more recent times, Sharon has been a fixture on the World of Outlaws schedule, with dates for both sprint cars and dirt late models, and the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series has raced here as well.

The track’s marquee racing weekend is the Sharon Nationals near Labor Day each year, a weekend which now includes the annual Lou Blaney Memorial. Held annually since 2009, winners of the Lou Blaney Memorial include Tony Stewart, Brad Sweet, Christopher Bell and Dave Blaney.

Notable Drivers

The history of Sharon Speedway is intertwined with the history of the Blaney racing family hailing out of Hartford. The family’s racing legacy started with Lou Blaney, who became one of the track’s all-time greats before his two sons, Dave and Dale, followed him into racing. Dave would later become co-owner of the speedway, and his son Ryan would race at Sharon before going on to become a NASCAR Cup Series star.

Ed Lynch Jr. holds the record for the most 410 sprint car wins in track history with 50, followed by Dave Blaney (34), George Bischoff (30), and then Jarod Larson and Kenny Jacobs (26).

Local All-Star

As already mentioned, Dave Blaney is one of the most important figures in the history of Sharon Speedway both on and off the track. And Saturday night, he’ll represent the speedway as this week’s local All-Star, giving him an opportunity to race against his son Ryan as well as fellow NASCAR star Chase Elliott.

Nicknamed “The Buckeye Bullet” in his dirt racing days, Dave Blaney was a journeyman driver in NASCAR from 1998 to 2014, winning a Busch Series race at Charlotte in 2006 and scoring a best finish of third three times over 473 career Cup Series starts. Blaney’s greatest success as a driver has come in World of Outlaws sprint car competition, where he has 95 career victories and was the 1995 champion. Blaney’s most notable wins include the 1993 Chili Bowl Nationals and the 1997 Knoxville Nationals.

Did You Know?

On the subject of the Blaneys, Dale Blaney has been far more than just a winning driver at Sharon — he was also quite the basketball player, starring at West Virginia University in the mid-1980s. Blaney was such a skilled ball player that he was actually chosen by the Los Angeles Lakers with the No. 92 overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft, but he chose to pursue a racing career instead of playing professional basketball. It’s worked out for Blaney, as he’s won six championships in the All Star Circuit of Champions and also claimed the famed King’s Royal at Eldora in 2000.

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