The Week of Weeks
Randy Hanigan (L) and Lance...
Randy Hanigan (L) and Lance Dewease (R) also competed during the Ohio Speedweek races.
The beauty of Speedweek, and why fans flock to it, is you just never know who might show up on any given night. It's guaranteed exciting finishes, great car counts, and with the emphasis put on heat races and qualifying, it's all-out on the gas, all the time. For the 2012 version of Speedweek, a one-lap qualifying effort was adopted. Qualifying was very important, as was your heat race. Getting to one of the five heat race transfer positions meant the difference between continuing on or putting it on the trailer for many racers.
Eighty-two different drivers competed over the eight events, as the event at Limaland was rained out. The drivers earn points during Speedweek for the national and Ohio region All Star title chases, however Speedweek points are kept separate so that they can crown a champion at the end of the week. Drivers Stevie Smith, Tim Shaffer, Dale Blaney, Bryan Sebetto, Greg Wilson, Paul McMahan, Cap Henry, and Danny Holtgraver made all eight features. This year that Champion was Stevie Smith, who also won the Ohio Sprint Speedweek title in 2009.
Speedweek 2012 brought the All Stars back to tracks like Wayne County and Sharon that were a part of the original Ohio Sprint Speedweek some 30 years ago. It also made a stop at Cannonball Speedway which had sat idle for nine years.
Hard work is common in any...
Hard work is common in any short track racing, but during Speedweek it is magnified nine times over.
Speedweek started with Cap Henry leading the first 36 laps at Attica, only to get caught up when a lapped car flipped in front of him. That paved the way for Danny Holtgraver to score his first career All Star win at Attica. Stevie Smith would take an exciting victory at Waynesfield Raceway Park on the second night. It was his 200th career Sprint Car victory. Henry rebounded for a Second Place finish, again, after leading the first 31 laps. Amazingly, on this night, qualifying positions 1-34 were separated by just 6/10-second: 10.363-10.584.
On Sunday at Cannonball, phenom Kyle Larson, having never raced on the track, would hold off Tim Shaffer for his first career All Star win. He would follow that up with a victory the next night at Wayne County Speedway, another track he had never even seen, let alone raced.
Tuesday would be a tire wear issue at Sharon Speedway, with only three cars not having a flat tire. Young local racer Brandon Matus would nurse his tires to take his first ever All Star win—the biggest victory of his career.
Marty Perovich traveled from...
Marty Perovich traveled from Australia to compete in the week long ordeal. He was joined by others from Australia.
Wednesday, for the first of two stops at Fremont Speedway, four-time Ohio Sprint Speedweek champion Dale Blaney would hold off a last lap challenge from 2011 Speedweek champ Tim Shaffer to score the victory. Thursday at Hilltop Speedway, Shane Stewart would take a new team, owned by Fremont Speedway promoter Rich Farmer, to victory. Friday, severe storms would force the cancellation of Limaland.
At Fremont for the $10,000-to-win finale, Dale Blaney would pass Bryan Sebetto with just eight laps to go and held off Shaffer again for the win. It was Blaney's sixth All Star win of 2012 and 90th series win of his career, moving him just eight away from tying Kenny Jacobs for the All Stars' all-time victory lead. In the end, the car count for the 30th Annual Ohio Sprint Speedweek averaged right around 40 cars per event with 45 being the high and 30 being the low.
Dean Jacobs (No. 97) and Mike...
Dean Jacobs (No. 97) and Mike Linder (No. 3) race for position at Waynesfield Ohio.
Craig Mintz (No. 09) and Travis...
Craig Mintz (No. 09) and Travis Philo (No. 5T) on the gas coming off Turn 4.
Stevie Smith got career win...
Stevie Smith got career win number 200 during the UNOH Ohio Speedweek.