WoO Late Models Drivers Dennis Erb Jr., Gordy Gundaker & Tanner English Detail Sharon Speedway
Story By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – HARTFORD, OH – A battle of epic proportions is on tap for the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models near the Pennsylvania-Ohio state line.
The Series will spend Memorial Day weekend at Sharon Speedway in Hartford, OH, May 25-27, for the Battle at the Border.
This year’s event at the 3/8-mile oval will bring the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models to 13 visits at the Dave Blaney-owned facility.
It’s also a crucial part of the Series schedule, coming at the end of a six-race swing through the Northeast, potentially setting up the championship contenders as the Series moves into the summer.
Defending Series champion Dennis Erb Jr., reigning Rookie of the Year Tanner English, and Gordy Gundaker will return to the track and described what makes Sharon, unique, fun and exciting.
What makes Sharon different from any other track in the Pennsylvania-Ohio area?
Erb: I’d say it’s flatter and a little smaller than most tracks out there. It’s also a little more racier than the big tracks they got out there.
Gundaker: What’s crazy about Sharon is that it’s really get it on early, and then as soon as that place starts to shine up, that place is like an ice-skating rink. You’re searching for grip and its thin straightaways, and the corners race really good. It’s just tricky to get around, but it makes it fun because it’s a driver’s race track. You have to be up on the wheel the entire time. You can’t just show up there and expect to be upfront. You have to attack the racetrack.
English: The size of it. It’s a nice medium-sized racetrack. It’s not like a Port Royal, where it’s big and gets kind of spaced out. It’s more like a bullring-style racetrack like where we’re from. That’s what I like about it. It’s not too big, not too small. It’s just a nice-sized racetrack.
How would you describe your past experiences at Sharon?
Erb: We’ve had some good runs over there. It’s a style of track that I like, so it fits my driving a little bit better. I’ve had some good runs over there.
We’re looking forward to going over there. It’s a good facility. I like the track.
Gundaker: My first time we were there, we actually weren’t bad, but we ended up breaking a chain limiter, and it kind of ruined our night. Last year we were just OK. We just didn’t time very well. That’s just the name of the game. It’s a technical place, so when you don’t time up front, it puts you behind. With the group of guys that you race with, you can’t be behind to start the night. I’m excited to be there for three because that’s going to give us more grasp on the racetrack and have some notes going back to it.
English: The first time we went there, I felt like we were pretty good. It had a little character, and I could go around pretty much everywhere. Top, bottom, wherever. I was really good there. I came up through the field there. Don’t know where we finished, but we started way back. When we went back the second time, it was a little smoother, slicker, and hard to get a hold of, and I just needed to work on my car to get it better. I kind of learned both sides of the racetrack, and that’s always good when you’re trying to build a notebook on something to go back there.
How do you approach racing there, knowing you’ll have to battle for three nights?
Erb: I just go in there like any other race. You just have to take it one race at a time and go in there and hopefully have a good weekend when you leave.
Gundaker: You just kind of have to go in confident. You can’t go in there dwelling on what’s happened in the past. Obviously, if we’d have won there, it’s a different story. You just go in and be confident. We’ve got some good momentum going right now, so if we just carry that into Sharon, I feel like we can be upfront and vying for some wins.
English: I like that a lot because it gives you time to dial in your car. I usually run pretty decent in deals like that. Just staying in one place means a lot for us. The wear and tear on us is mainly up and down the road, so anytime we can stay at one track for three nights and make some pretty decent money is huge.
How do you feel about your chances there?
Erb: I feel pretty good. The car’s been running good, and I think if we can get qualified good and get a good starting position for the Feature, we’ll have a good shot at it.
Gundaker: I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think we could go in and win. I don’t feel like we should be on the road if I don’t think that. We’ve been really building here lately. We’ve been upfront. Qualifying good on most of our nights. I wish we’d get some more nights in just because I felt like we’ve had a good racecar. We just have to go there, keep doing what we’re doing, and let the cards fall where they may, and we’ll see what happens by the end of the weekend.
English: I feel pretty good about it. Like I said, we learned a lot last year about it and both sides of it, so I think we’re pretty prepared and know what to expect. We’re going there on different tires, so it kind of evens the playing field up for everybody. It’s more of a tire rule I’m used to. Hopefully, we can build on last year’s runs and run pretty good.
The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models will spend Memorial Day Weekend at Sharon Speedway for the 2023 Battle at the Border—three days of action with a $25,000-to-win finale on Saturday, May 27.