Blair, Pegher split victories at Sharon
HARTFORD, Ohio (Aug. 18) — Series points leader Max Blair of Centerville, Pa., and Mike Pegher of Wexford, Pa., split victories on the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Fastrak Northeast tour Saturday at Sharon Speedway.
In a makeup of a May 27 rainout, Blair took advantage of a front-row starting spot to lead all 25 laps for the Bill Emig Memorial victory. Blair's record-breaking ninth series victory of 2012 was worth $1,500 plus an additional $500 for being the overall Wild Card Weekend Champion.
Blair rode the outside past polesitter Joe Martin for the lead with Pegher, Jamie Brown and Will Thomas III in tow. Martin stuck on the bottom and raced side-by-side with Blair on laps two and three, but Blair had the momentum to continue to lead. Thomas, who started sixth, passed Brown for fourth on lap three as Chad Ruhlman followed in fifth.
Lapped traffic came into play on lap eight as Thomas caught up to Pegher, Martin and Blair to make it a four-car race for the lead. Pegher snuck by Martin for second in turn four on lap 10. Ruhlman then caught the first four as five cars were set for a shootout, but Jason Stanke slowed to bring out the event's only caution with 12 laps scored.
Thomas and eighth-starting Josh Holtgraver got a great restart to move into third and fourth past Martin. Holtgraver though exited the event on lap 16, yielding fourth back to Martin.
Blair dealt with lapped traffic over the final three laps, but Pegher wasn't able to get by. Thomas was third followed by Martin and Ruhlman.
In the regularly scheduled event, Pegher halted Blair’s two-race win streak, overtaking Blair on lap 20 and pulled away for his second win of the season and first since April 20 at Roaring Knob. He earned $1,500 after the drivers traded slide job in an exciting battle.
Blair started second and raced into the lead. This time past Holtgraver with Pegher and the sixth-starting Ruhlman in third and fourth. Pegher and Holtgraver raced side-by-side on lap two with Pegher using the outside to get by for second. Thomas started eighth and was already into the top five after two laps.
Blair and Pegher began to distance themselves from the field on lap four. Pegher was right on Blair on lap five. Pegher stuck right with Blair as they caught lapped traffic on lap 11 as Pegher pulled alongside. Blair though had enough to temporarily hold on, while Ruhlman caught Holtgraver on lap 12.
Shane Bambarger, Bobby Whitling, and Ryan Montgomery tangled on lap 13 right in front of the leaders in turn three. Thankfully everyone else avoided the three spinning race cars. When racing resumed, Ruhlman and ninth-starting Dan Angelicchio passed Holtgraver for third and fourth respectively.
Pegher put a slider on Blair on lap 15, but Blair came back by to continue to lead. Pegher and Blair raced hard, side-by-side on laps 15-18 never touching and using the entire racetrack. While the front two were going at it, Ruhlman and Angelicchio had a race their own going trading the third spot.
Thomas, the Sharon point leader, suffered a flat tire to bring out just the second and final caution of the race with 19 laps recorded. Blair chose the outside for the restart. Pegher stuck with Blair down the frontstretch and made a great move in turn one that this time stuck coming out of turn two for the lead.
Once in front, Pegher pulled away to win by 1.863 seconds, ending a 16-race drought.
The inaugural Manufacturers Night attracted a Sharon-record 47 Crate Late Models as approximately $30,000 was awarded to race teams. Each team went away with a minimum of a $250 prize in addition to their race earnings.
Fastrak Northeast @ Sharon (Bill Emig Memorial makeup): (1) Max Blair, (2) Mike Pegher Jr., (3) Will Thomas III, (4) Joe Martin, (5) Chad Ruhlman, (6) Matt Latta, (7) Jamie Brown, (8) Lauren Longbrake, (9) Josh Double, (10) Butch Lambert, (11) Shane Weaver, (12) John Over, (13) Brad Kling, (14) Nico Dabecco, (15) Shane Bambarger, (16) Clay Ruffo, (17) Doug Horton, (18) Ryan Montgomery, (19) Bobby Rohrer, (20) Josh Holtgraver, (21) Jason Stanke, (22) Bobby Whitling. Scratched: John Garvin Jr., Kyle Lukon, Jason Genco, Billy Henry Jr., Colton Flinner, Tom Bateman, Bud Watson.
Fastrak Northeast @ Sharon: (1) Mike Pegher Jr., (2) Max Blair, (3) Chad Ruhlman, (4) Dan Angelicchio, (5) Josh Holtgraver, (6) Rocky Kugel, (7) Matt Latta, (8) Joe Martin, (9) Ben Black, (10) Dave Airgood Jr., (11) Josh Double, (12) Brian Booher, (13) Tommy Schirnhofer Jr., (14) Brad Kling, (15) Butch Lambert, (16) Andrew Wylie, (17) Eric Wilson, (18) Justin Tatlow, (19) Jason Knowles, (20) Dereck Frank, (21) Will Thomas III, (22) Bill Cunningham, (23) Chad Wright, (24) Shane Bambarger, (25) Ryan Montgomery, (26) Bobby Whitling.