By Mike Leone


April 18, 2015            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(Markleysburg, PA)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Series kicked off its 2015 campaign for its new Bazell/Sunoco Race Fuels Southern Touring Series on Saturday night at Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex.  Summer-like conditions were present at the scenic 3/8-mile facility that saw 28 competitors from all over Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and New York compete. 


After drawing the next-to-worst pill for his heat race starting spot, Max Blair raced his way from ninth to fourth with a last lap pass to qualify for the feature redraw.  That proved key as Blair lined up fourth in the 25-lap feature.  After young Garett Paugh of West Virginia and New York’s Brian Knowles traded the lead early on, Blair found moisture on the top and rode it to the lead on lap 17.  Once in front and without a caution to slow action, Blair pulled away from the field to capture the $1,200 win.  Blair takes the early point lead as he has his sights set on the $10,000 Sweeney Touring Series sweep.


“We got put behind with that big pill draw and it was tough to pass in the heat races, but I got in position on the final lap to make something happen and it worked out,” explained the 25-year-old Centerville, Pa. driver.  “We ended up drawing a four for the feature so it realistically took me from starting 14th to fourth so that was a huge deal.  It was fun.  I wasn’t a big fan of the water when we were packing it, but it ended up making it pretty racey.  I moved up and there was something to get a hold of.  It sure was a lot of fun to ride around this place on the top- I’ve never gotten to do that in all the years coming here.”


Knowles and Paugh brought the 24-car starting field to green with defending Sweeney Tour champion Ryan Montgomery and standout Blair in tow followed by “Futures Cup” racer Clinton Hersh, who moved into the top five after one lap.   By lap six, Paugh began to open up his lead, while the battle for second heated up with Knowles trying to fend off Montgomery, Blair, and now last year’s leading Tour winner, Rick Singleton.


The first seven caution-free laps were uneventful until Chad McClellan’s spin slowed action.  Paugh chose the inside for the double file restart, but it was Knowles, who used the moisture from the water that was put down on the topside of the speedway prior to the race, powering to lead off turn four to lead lap eight.  Blair and Montgomery swapped the third spot on laps eight and nine with Montgomery regaining the position on lap nine.


Paugh didn’t let Knowles out of his sight as he ran consistent laps around the bottom.  The duo ran side-by-side for several laps before Paugh regained the lead on lap 10, while Blair took third back before the event’s second and final caution with 11 laps scored.  Nolan Dalton was the victim as damage from contact with Troy Shields ended his night.  Dalton, who also got caught up in a heat race skirmish that was not of his doing, was awarded the TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”. 


When green replaced yellow, Paugh was able to maintain the lead this time, while positions behind him began to change.  Montgomery and Blair were able to get by Knowles for second and third respectively.  Blair then got up top and nosed ahead of Montgomery for runner-up just past the halfway point on lap 14.  Blair stayed in the moisture and closed in on Paugh on lap 16.  One lap later, Blair pulled alongside and made the pass stick racing off turn four.


Once in front, Blair quickly pulled away as he was running laps three tenths quicker than everyone else.  Meanwhile, Montgomery moved up like Blair did and closed on Paugh on lap 22. Montgomery then drove around Paugh for the second spot off turn two on lap 24.  Blair had a half-straightaway lead built up when he caught traffic on lap 24, but the traffic un-phased him as he carried the R&J Poultry/Moody & Son Welding/Genesis Shocks/Murphy’s Logging/C&J Dairy-sponsored #111 to his sixth career Tour win- tying him with Montgomery for the most all-time.


“I have to thank my dad (Rob),” stated Blair.  “I can’t wait to watch him in his Late Model.  He gives up a lot to support my stuff.  I have to thank all of my sponsors and crew.  Without these guys I couldn’t do this.  It takes everyone’s effort.  We did the trip to Florida and it started out as a real good year and I hope we can keep this going.”


Montgomery had to be pushed to the front-stretch for the podium presentation after breaking at the finish.  “I heard a big snap and I don’t have a gear anymore,” explained the 18-year-old Fairmont, West Virginia racer.  “It was my first time out this year and I have thank Jerry for letting me drive his car.  Jerry helped us out and got everything set up for us.  We worked out the kinks in the heat race.  The car was great.  I just wished I could have got to the top a little quicker than Max (Blair) did, but he knew it was going to be good.  As soon he got around me on the top, I moved up and it was a lot better but I couldn’t keep up with him.”    


The 19-year-old Paugh, who was making just his third career Tour start and first since October 19, 2013 at Roaring Knob, impressed everyone leading the most laps and his best career Tour finish earned him the Maxima Racing Oils “Maximum Performance” award!


“This feels pretty good,” expressed Paugh of Elkins, West Virginia.  “I was getting pretty nervous, but I just kept trying to hit my marks every lap and was hoping I could come out with one.  We had shock troubles this week and didn’t think we were going to get to race, but Tim Scenic thankfully gave me a set of shocks to try and they worked pretty well.  I’m super pumped about this!”


Brian Knowles dropped to fourth holding off his brother Jason, who raced from 11th to fifth at the finish.  Singleton was sixth.  Longtime E-Mod standout, Randy Hall, made his debut in the Terry Suppa-owned #4s and finished seventh ahead of John Waters, Eric Wilson, and Rob Marhefka.  Ralph Morgan, Jr., who drove John Powell’s #100 last year to a 10th place Tour point finish, was in his own #44 and charged from the 22nd starting spot to 11th at the finish to earn the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger gift card.


Heat race winners were Montgomery, Wilson, and Singleton.  Last year’s “Futures Cup” Champion, Michael Lake, passed fellow “Futures Cup” driver, Jennae Piper, on the final lap to win the last chance B main. 


Troy Shields won the opening K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash to earn the $100 K&N certificate.  Steve Lowery was second and received a $50 K&N certificate, while Russell Baird, Jr. and Nolan Dalton earned an extra $25. 


Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Bazell/Sunoco Race Fuels Southern Touring Series Race #1 (25 laps, $1,200 to-win): 1. MAX BLAIR (111)  2. Ryan Montgomery (12)  3. Garrett Paugh (03)  4. Brian Knowles (7)  5. Jason Knowles (4)  6. Rick Singleton (99*)   7. Randy Hall (Suppa 4s)  8. John Waters (LeBarron 11)  9. Eric Wilson (27W)  10. Rob Marhefka (99FM)  11. Ralph Morgan, Jr. (44)  12. Chad McClellan (119)  13. Michael Lake (Yowler 27)  14. Clinton Hersh (16)  15. Russell Baird, Jr. (17B)  16. Steve Lowery (48)  17. Kyle Lukon (1)  18. Doug Gavette (9G)  19. Jennae Piper (14)  20. Dylan Lewis (44)  21. Troy Shields (11)  22. Michael Ott (21)  23. Vince Masi, Jr. (61)  24. Nolan Dalton (D2).


DNQ: Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J), Dave Friedrich (66), Mark Wells (7), Jeff Haynes (64).


Car Count: 28
Feature Lap Leaders:
Garrett Paugh (1-7, 10-16), Brian Knowles (8-9), Max Blair (17-25)

Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Ralph Morgan, Jr. (+11)

Maxima Oil “Maximum Performance”: Garrett Paugh

TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night: Nolan Dalton


RUSH Late Model Heat 1 (10 laps, top 6 transfer): 1. Montgomery  2. Waters  3. J. Knowles  4. Ott  5. Shields  6. Dalton  7. Wells  8. Lewis  9. Haynes  10. Gavette.


RUSH Late Model Heat 2 (10 laps, top 6 transfer): 1. Wilson  2. Hall  3. Hersh  4. Blair  5. Baird  6. Morgan  7. Piper  8. Duritsky  9. Masi.


RUSH Late Model Heat 3 (10 laps, top 6 transfer): 1. Singleton  2. Paugh  3. B. Knowles  4. Marhefka  5. Lowery  6. McClellan  7. Lukon  8. Lake  9. Friedrich.


RUSH Late Model Last Chance B Main (10 laps, top 6 transfer): 1. Lake  2. Piper  3. Lukon  4. Morgan  5. Gavette  6. Masi  7. Duritsky  8. Friedrich  9. Wells  10. Haynes. 


RUSH Late Model K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash (4 laps): 1. Troy Shields  2. Steve Lowery  3. Rusell Baird, Jr.  4. Nolan Dalton.


The next Sweeney Tour event will be the second annual “Mid-Atlantic States Classic” on May 8-9 at Potomac and Winchester Speedways.  Each event will pay $2,000 to-win and will be part of the Bazell/Sunoco Southern Tour Series.


RUSH Late Model marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, MSD Ignition, Maxima Racing Oil, Jones Racing Products, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, TBM Brakes, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, TurboStart, Beyea Headers, FK Rod Ends, Bobby Lake Motorsports, Crate Innovations Inc., Moroso Performance Products, Velocita-USA, High Gear Speed Shop,, B.R.A.K.E.S.,, and Valley Fashions.


E-mail can be sent to the RUSH Racing Series at [email protected] and snail mail to 4368 Route 422, Pulaski, PA 16143. Office phone is 724-964-9300 and fax is 724-964-0604. The RUSH Racing Series website is Like our Facebook page at and follow us on Twitter @RUSHLM.