Making his season debut, Jeremiah Shingledecker ended a near four-year winless drought at Sharon after a wire-to-wire win in the 30-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Big-Block Modified feature. Shingledecker earned $2,000 as he became the eighth different “Lou Blaney Memorial” winner in nine events on the Modified side as only last year’s winner, Jim Rasey, has been able to repeat amongst both divisions.
“Unfortunately our luck hasn’t been real good here so hopefully we turned it around,” stated the 40-year-old Polk, Pa. driver. “This reminds me of the old Tri-City (Speedway) surface. It’s a really nice surface. You guys have done a really great job with it. We went from silty sand and single file racing to this. We’ve been trying to get the car a little bit better and we were edging on this since last year. I really have to thank my dad. He spends a lot of time on these engines. I’d like to thank the Blaney Family and all of Sharon for putting this race on. It’s a very good race. When I first started racing I looked up to Lou Blaney and got to race with him a few years before he got out of the Modifieds.”
Shingledecker took off in the lead after an invert four from the heat races over point leader Dave Murdick, Kevin Bolland, Rasey, and Jim Weller, Jr. Murdick clipped an infield tire on lap two and spun to bring out the caution. After a caution for a spin by rookie Modified racer, Colton Walters, Weller got by Rasey for third on the lap five.
Shingledecker began to pull away by lap 10 and two laps later was in lapped traffic; meanwhile, the battle for third was hot and heavy between Weller, Bolland, and eighth starting Rex King, Jr. On lap 15, it was three-wide for the spot as Rasey spun in turn three. This moved King, Jr. to fourth for the restart, but it was short-lived as two laps later ninth starting Brian Swartzlander made the pass.
King, Jr. didn’t go away as he got on the top and it was three-wide again for third this time with King, Jr. prevailing over Swartzlander and Weller. Shingledecker had pulled away from Bolland, who sat fairly comfortable ahead of the continual battle for third, before a spin by Murdick with 27 laps completed halted action for the final time.
Bolland was unable to make the pass on the double-file restart, as Shingledecker maintained his lead over the final three laps and went on for his third career Sharon win, but first since September 13, 2013, by 0.560 of a second in his Garage Bar & Grill/RCR Auto-sponsored #37MD.
There have been some bizarre guest appearances at Lernerville over the years, but perhaps none in recent memory was more bizarre than Tim McCreadie’s sudden appearance in Brian Swartzlander’s backup car. The Watertown, NY driver found himself rained out at his scheduled Lucas Oil Late Model event at Sharon Speedway, and ventured south to take on the modifieds in a unique twist. His likely victory probably seemed like a forgone conclusion to many fans in attendance as the feature came to the green flag, but he still had to get around three cars in twenty five laps from his fourth starting spot.
One of those cars belonged to Jeremiah Shingledecker and he had no intention of letting anyone get around him on this night. Shingledecker shared the front row alongside Rodney Beltz as the action got underway and he quickly asserted himself as the man to beat, taking the early lead while McCreadie firmly positioned himself directly behind him in the early going. Behind them, Dave Murdick, Garrett Krummert, Kevin Bolland and Mat Williamson made up a formidable chase pack in the early going. The quick mover was Willimson who seemingly picked up one spot after another in the early laps. Out front Shingledecker and McCreadie began the battle for the lead as lapped traffic came into the equation on lap eight. Shingledecker used all available groves to get around the back markers and did so effectively as he put distance between himself and McCreadie as the halfway point approached.
Then with Rick Regalski’s car the next to potentially go a lap down, McCreadie made his move and almost got around Shingledecker as McCreadie’s car worked with precision in turns three and four. Shingledecker was able to finally get around Regalski as the laps wound down and then made his way past Mike Turner in much quicker fashion that McCreadie would be able to moments later.
The action then came to a halt on lap 19 when Steve Feder and Brian Swartzlander brought the red flag. Both drivers were unscathed in the incident, and the stage was set for a six lap shootout that saw Shingledecker elect the high side where he had not spent too much time in early green flag laps. The move paid off as Shingledecker got a great restart not once but twice as he elected the top side restart following a caution for Rex King Sr. on lap 20.
When action resumed, Shingledecker took a comfortable lead across the finish line for his 50th career victory and his first since May of 2014.
“It really feels good to get back here to victory lane,” Shingledecker said. “I really have to thank the whole crew for sticking with me while we weren’t winning, it’s been a struggle for all of us. Once you’ve got your foot to the floor you just can’t go any faster so you just hope you can beat them at that point. I think the high side was the right decision on the restarts and it really paid off for us.”
1. Jeremiah Shingledecker
2. Mat Williamson
3. Tim McCreadie
4. Dave Murdick
5. Rex King Jr.
6. Kevin Bolland
7. Jimmy Weller III
8. Rick Regalski
9. Rex King Sr.
10. Rodney Beltz
Jeremiah Shingledecker is celebrating his 20th racing season in 2016. It doesn’t seem possible that it’s been 20 years already. As 18 year old Jeremiah & his dad, Mike walked the pits of Mercer Raceway Park looking for a used racecar to buy, Jeremiah knew he wanted a modified. Family members such as Terry Wheeler, Leigh Wheeler, and Kevin Thompson were successful Stock Car drivers at the time, but there was no doubt Jeremiah wanted a modified. He and his dad ended up buying a car from Larry Johns. The car was a Troyer. It was so old that even Troyer couldn’t date it. The best guess is somewhere between 1978-1982.
Knowing absolutely nothing about modifieds, Jeremiah quickly made that car his own, working in a garage that was so small you couldn’t walk the entire way around the car without going outside & coming in the other door. Jeremiah & his dad even had to raise the roll cage about 2” so his head didn’t stick out the top. He built new body panels outside in the snow from material provided by one of his first sponsors ever…..Flexospan of Sandy Lake, PA. The sponsor was obtained by his crew member, the late Lew Clayton. Lew was Jeremiah’s uncle & enjoyed all things auto-related. He even helped build Jeremiah’s first couple motors with Jeremiah’s dad.
Even though green is supposedly an unlucky color in racing, it was Jeremiah’s favorite, so green & gold it was. Now it was time for the number (which was spray painted on the car with a homemade stencil). Jeremiah had already determined it would be 37md, in memory of his late brother, Michael. The summer before Michael died, he used # 37 for his demo derby car. Michael chose that number to honor his mom, who was 37 that year. Jeremiah borrowed 37 & added the “md” for “Michael’s Dream.” This is why Jeremiah has been “Living the Dream” all these years.
People race for a variety of reasons……Jeremiah’s reason started as a way to heal himself and his family over the loss of a loved one. You see, the whole family is involved. Jeremiah’s dad, Mike has built every engine Jeremiah has ever raced. His mom, Patty has always been an important part of the team too, whether it’s making sure his fire suit is clean, the crew has food, or watching his 2 beautiful girls so he can race. In past years, Jeremiah’s younger brother, Travis helped lead the crew before jumping behind the wheel himself. After a long hiatus, Travis will be making his return to modified racing this year, so it will be an exciting year for the Shingledeckers. Travis will once again be running number 73md, also honoring his brother. Jeremiah’s wife even helps turn wrenches.