HARTFORD, OH - There was a full moon Thursday night at Sharon Speedway for the caution plagued 19th annual All Star sprint 30-lap Ohio Speedweek feature. Persevering at the end was Greg Hodnett, winning by a quarter lap in the Apple Chevrolet Maxim machine over All Star points leader Chad Kemenah.
"I could whip around the top and keep my momentum up," Hodnett recalled. "We've been struggling this year. We didn't come here to run fifth, we came here to win. If I was going to pass anybody it was going to be on the outside and that's what we did."
Ed Lynch, Jr. started on the ButlerBuilt Hot Seat pole with Kemenah alongside. Jerrod Hull and Mike Wagner were in row two with Jason Johnson and Dean Jacobs making up row three. Lynch lead a lap before the red came out for a Danny Smith flip in turn one, which also involved Byron Reed, Tyler Walker, Andy Priest, Phil Gressman and Kelly Kinser. When the green came back out, Lynch led again over Kemenah and Johnson. John Ivy spun on lap six for a yellow, then Hull went pitside under the yellow, dropping him from sixth. Following the restart, seventh starting Hodnett rode the outside groove into second ahead of Kemenah and Johnson. Lap eight saw the red fly when Rodney Duncan and Marty Ling tangled, collecting Greg Wilson, who flipped.
Lynch and Hodnett brought the field to the next green, and the next two laps went one at a time due to cautions. By lap 11, Johnson was challenging Hodnett for second, but Hodnett finally edged ahead of him and then Hodnett dove low in turn four under Lynch to grab the lead on lap 13. During the next lap, Lynch had front end problems and slowed on the track, dropping him from second. Hodnett led the field to the next green, with Johnson second, ahead of Kemenah and Jacobs.
By the halfway point of the 15 mile contest Hodnett led over Johnson, Kemenah, Jacobs and Mike Wagner. Hodnett pulled away from Johnson in the clear, but when the leader entered lapped traffic, Johnson moved right onto the leader's back bumper. Following a Kraig Kinser spin, John Ivy tagged the turn two guardrail hard on lap 22 for another red flag. This made the restart order Hodnett, Johnson, Kemenah, Jacobs, Wagner, Rob Chaney, Walker and Billy Pauch. Hodnett led the next lap before Jarod Larson rode over a wheel, then got sideways and flipped, taking a nasty barrel roll into turn one. Hodnett pulled to a half straightaway lead once the green reappeared over Johnson and Kemenah. Jacobs spun from fourth on lap 29, setting up a green-white-checkered dash to the finish. Hodnett pulled away to win by a quarter lap as the last lap was a barnburner for second as Kemenah got around Johnson, and Walker rode high, banging the front stretch guardrail in a shower of sparks for third. Billy Pauch in fourth earned the $100 TW Metals nightly cash bonus after starting 18th. Kenny Jacobs was next ahead of Rob Chaney. Jason Johnson actually crossed the line fourth and Mike Wagner tenth, but both were underweight and disqualified.
Kelly Kinser finished seventh, winning the Team Simpson Racing Lucky Seven award ahead of Smith, Blake Feese and Dean Jacobs. The final tally was four reds and six yellows in an event that took 88 minutes to complete.
"At the beginning of the race we lost the right front torsion arm and bar and everything and it was getting interesting to drive," Kemenah recalled. "Thank God we held on for second."
The K-T Equipment heat went to Byron Reed, the JB Enterprise Racing Products heat to Kelly Kinser, the Crown Battery heat to Rodney Duncan and the Engler Machine & Tool heat fell to Jarod Larson. Ed Lynch, Jr. captured the Haulmark Dash. Blake Feese won the B Main after Travis Rilat was leading when he smacked the turn two guardrail, ending his race, forcing him to start the A main as a provisional starter. Chris Knopp took a hard flip on the backstretch during hot laps, ending his night. In the 20 lap stock car main, Gary Robinson was leading on lap nine and spun. He restarted on the rear and regained the lead on lap 15 to win over Tom Miller, Carl Davis, Bobby Whitling, Steve D'Apolito and Dave Ferringer.