HIS 2ND FLYNN’S TIRE TOUR WIN COMES AFTER A SPIRITED BATTLE WITH MICHAEL NORRIS
By Mike Leone (July 9, 2022, Hartford, OH)…The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply RUSH Dirt Late Model Series presented by Born2Lubricants headed to Sharon Speedway on Saturday night for the second annual “Bill Forney Memorial”. Race #10 of the 2022 season for the Flynn’s Tire Touring Series was not only the first and only appearance of the season at Sharon, but was the only stop in the Buckeye State during the 24-race schedule. Many retired drivers from the 1949-1975 era at Canfield, Sharon, and Expo Speedways were on hand for the reunion to remember the late Forney, who was one of the greatest Late Model drivers in the region. Bill’s children Mike and Anita were also on hand for the festivities. Last year, Joe Martin lost a heartbreaker on the final lap to Super Late Model hall of famer Chub Frank in the inaugural “Bill Forney Memorial”. On Saturday night, Martin redeemed himself in the second annual event by finally working his way past Super Late Model standout Michael Norris with three laps to go after a race-long, spirited battle throughout the 30-lap non-stop feature that was timed in 9:58.529. Martin’s second Flynn’s Tire Touring Series victory of the year and fourth of his career was worth $3,199.
“We’re here for a celebration every time we come to Sharon Speedway,” expressed the 37-year-old Punxsutawney, Pa. racer. “Man I love this place. I love the track, the surface and shape of it, the professionalism, the staff, the safety crew- it’s a top notch facility. I love you fans up there as well. Michael (Norris) is a hell of a race car driver. He’s younger than me, but I kind of idolize him. I had a better car the whole night, but when it comes to the cushion there isn’t a better driver in the whole country and I’ll stick to that. He made it really tough for me and I should have led a lot more laps than I did. I got to race side-by-side with one of my favorite guys and that was cool.”
“We got to seven to go and he got a gap on me and I thought ‘man it’s a shame we’re not going to win this race’ and then he started to get loose and I slowed down,” explained Martin. “I knocked the wall down over here and thought I gave myself a flat tire, but I think I just heated up the tires and that’s what let him gap me. I just started working the bottom and gained on him pretty quick. We set fast time, won the heat, and then drew seven for the dash so I wasn’t happy about that, but we made one adjustment before the dash that I was hesitant to do and it fixed the car. We were good all night, but that put us over the top.”
Norris took off in the lead following his second straight Sunoco Dash victory with Martin, Will Thomas III, Logan Roberson, and Matt Latta in tow. Sixth starting Daryl Charlier was on the move as he passed Latta for fifth on lap three then drove around Roberson for fourth racing off the top side of turn four on lap four. Charlier quickly ran down Thomas and made a crossover move off the top of turn four down the frontstretch and into turn one to get by Thomas for third, despite some contact, on lap six. Roberson followed Charlier past Thomas to regain fourth on lap six.
Martin had been hounding Norris and pulled even for the first time on lap eight, but Norris made a nice move in traffic the following lap to maintain the lead, while Charlier closed in on the front duo. By lap 11, Roberson joined in making it a four-race race for the lead as the top four cars were all flying around the topside of the track in lapped traffic.
Charlier and Roberson resumed their battle as they raced side-by-side for third on lap 14, which allowed Norris and Martin to distance themselves. Martin meanwhile was able to pull even with Norris on laps 16-18, but was never able to lead a lap as Norris once again broke free on lap 19. Martin didn’t go away as he tracked Norris back down and pulled even again on lap 23, but still wasn’t able to make the pass stick. Martin kept Norris in sight and on lap 27 made the winning move as he was able to slide Norris off turn two and pulled away down the backstretch.
Martin was able to make the right moves through lapped traffic in the final laps and took the checkered flag first for his seventh career Sharon win by 1.572 seconds in the Tom Snyder, Jr.-owned, T&D Performance/Tuff Nuts/Weather Capital Sales/Kevin Martin Trucking/Berkshire Hathaway/Daugherty Motorsports/Accelo Racegear-sponsored #10s. Just 10 cars finished on the lead lap of the 23 that finished the caution-free event.
After out-dueling Charlier the week before for the $3,000 victory at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway, Norris came up short to Martin with a hard fought runner-up finish worth $1,500 driving for his brother-in-law, Nico Dabecco. “Hats off to Joe (Martin),” stated the 30-year-old Sarver, Pa. resident. “He was just better than us at the end. As soon as the brown went away at the end I was just hanging on for dear life. That was a fun race. Thanks to all of the fans for coming out. We actually blew a water pump gasket and it started blowing anti-freeze all over the right rear tire and got us really free at the end. I think Joe was probably a little better than us. I had the preferred line up top and it made it easier to get through lapped traffic. It sucks to finish second, but I’m glad to see him get it; it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. The track was phenomenal and I’m glad to be decent somewhere other than Pittsburgh in the crate car. We’ll put it in our notes and go from there.”
Charlier followed Norris home in third. Roberson, who continues to lead the Flynn’s Tire Tour points, was fourth for the third straight race with his ninth top 5 and 10th top 10 in 10 races. After recording a pair of sixth place finishes in the last three races, Latta did one better for his first top five of the season for the fifth place points man. New York standout, Chad Homan, made his first Sharon Late Model start and had a solid sixth place finish. Thomas, who made his third straight Tour start, dropped to seventh over Josh Ferry, Breyton Santee, and Brady Wonderling. Mike Wonderling was 11th and received a spoiler kit from Ontime Body & Graphic.
Genesee Speedway promoter Kurt Stebbins had the night off from his facility and made his first ever Sharon appearance. Stebbins led all six caution-free laps of the D&V Jewelers Non-Qualifier to earn $200 in his KB Graphics/Genesee Speedway/KB Speedway/Just One More-sponsored #26. The 41-year-old Wellsville, NY driver became the amazing 58th different Non-Qualifier winner in 70 races run all-time! Mason Jaquay, who made his first career Tour start, was second and also received a $100 Performance Bodies gift card for being the first feature non-qualifier. Jacob Peterson was third.
Martin also set fast time in $100 FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying with a lap of 18.216. Winning $25 FK Rod Ends heat races were Martin, Norris, Ferry, and Latta. Bo Lockwood won the last chance B main. Norris earned another $100 Sunoco fuel card for winning the Sunoco Dash. Also picking up $100 Sunoco fuel cards in random draws were Ashton Briggs and Jonathan Stockdale, while $50 Sunoco fuel cards went to Homan, Chad Sines, Thomas, and Colby Beighey. William Pinckney was aboard Tim Cole’s #49 that was wrapped to be a throwback to Bill Forney’s candy-striped #199, but got taken out in the B main and was selected as the TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night” recipient.
The Flynn’s Tire Touring Series will be right back in action on Sunday night (July 10) with the second and final visit of the season to Eriez Speedway in Erie, Pa. The Marquee Event will pay $3,000 to-win plus it’s “Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance with $28,000 in valuable product giveaways. Each competing driver is guaranteed to win a product package valued at a minimum of $400.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply RUSH Late Model Flynn’s Tire Touring Series “Bill Forney Memorial” Race #10 (30 laps, $3,199 to-win): 1. JOE MARTIN (Snyder 10s) 2. Michael Norris (Dabecco N1) 3. Daryl Charlier (Centerline 3RK) 4. Logan Roberson (17) 5. Matt Latta (21) 6. Chad Homan (91) 7. Will Thomas III (9) 8. Josh Ferry (33) 9. Breyton Santee (9) 10. Brady Wonderling (z1) 11. Mike Wonderling (18) 12. David Pangrazio (136) 13. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 14. Logan Jaquay (Briggs 99*) 15. Ashton Briggs (11A) 16. Craig Graham (98) 17. Matt Sipes (25) 18. Brandt Graham (14) 19. Jim Rasey (Wrightsman 21J) 20. Colby Beighey (36) 21. Bo Lockwood (57) 22. Andy Michael (17x) 23. Steve Hollabaugh (3) 24. Joe Long (71) 25. Jonathan Stockdale (31). (Note: Jonathan Stockdale took a Tour provisional.)
D&V Jewelers Non-Qualifier (6 laps, $200 to-win): 1. Kurt Stebbins (26) 2. Mason Jaquay (Briggs 99B) 3. Jacob Peterson (112). DNS: William Pinckney (Cole 49), Chad Sines (15).
Car Count: 30
Feature Margin of Victory: 1.572 seconds
Time of the Event: 9:58.529
Feature Lap Leaders: Michael Norris (1-26), Joe Martin (27-30)
Ontime Body & Graphic “Spoiler Alert” Spoiler Kit: Mike Wonderling
Performance Bodies “Nosed Out”: Mason Jaquay
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger: Daryl Charlier (+5)
Precise Racing Products 5-Gallon Race Jug: Joe Martin
Sunoco Fuel Card Random Draw Winners: Jonathan Stockdale ($100), Ashton Briggs ($100), Chad Homan ($50), Chad Sines ($50), Will Thomas III ($50), Colby Beighey ($50).
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”: William Pinckney
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