By Mike Leone


May 22, 2016            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(Port Colborne, ON)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series powered by Pace Performance kicked off the 2016 campaign across the border in Ontario, Canada on Sunday night at Humberstone Speedway.  The fifth annual “Canadian Late Model National Championship” attracted a record 28 cars from all over Ontario, Canada along with United States racers from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia eclipsing the prior high of 26 from 2012.


To say John Waters likes Humberstone and has it figured out is an understatement.  Back on July 20, 2014, Waters captured his first career Sweeney Tour victory at the Port Colborne, Ontario racey 1/3-mile track.  Last year, Waters simply dominated the event for his season’s only Tour victory, and on Sunday night Waters made an impressive charge to the front racing around early leaders Bryce Davis and Mike Pegher, Jr. on the top side of the speedway to capture his third straight “Canadian Late Model National Championship”!  The victory was worth $2,000 plus another $125 for setting fast time and winning his heat race courtesy of Bobby Lake Motorsports.  The impressive performance by Waters also earned him the Maxima Oil “Maximum Performance” award.


“Man I love this place,” expressed the soon-to-be 35-year-old Whitesville, NY racer.  “I don’t know what it is, but it just fits my style.  We even came completely different with tires.  I think we went harder all the way around on tires than everyone else.  I was giving them time to get worked in and get heat with all the cautions.  Once I got confident that I had a good car underneath me, I made the move to get off the bottom and rolled the top.  Once I made the move on Bryce I knew it was lights out for Mike!  I was getting a little worried at the end when I was getting tighter than I like, and I was mad at my guys because I couldn’t see them to tell me where I needed to be.  I have to thank Dale LeBarron for giving me this ride.  This car is awesome and he gives me the best equipment I can get.  It’s been a great night.’


The feature got off to a rocky start as four cautions slowed action in the first two laps before a long green flag run.  Via his K&N Dash victory, Pegher raced out to the early lead, while fifth starting Waters advanced to fourth on the second lap past defending track champion, Dennis Lunger, Jr.  Davis found a good line around the bottom of the track as he closed in on Pegher on lap five.  Davis was able to keep his car planted on the bottom as he snuck under Pegher on lap six.  The two raced side-by-side for two laps with Davis getting by albeit with contact racing off turn four on lap seven; meanwhile, Waters grabbed third from Jason Knowles.


Pegher wasn’t thrilled with the move Davis made to take the lead as he drove hard to catch back up to Davis.  Some more contact was made, and on lap nine Pegher reclaimed the lead back.  As Pegher and Davis went at it, it allowed Waters and Knowles to close in making it a four-car race for lead with Lunger not far back in fifth.


On lap 12, Pegher opened up some ground as he caught traffic; however, the margin would go away as a pair of cautions slowed action with 13 laps completed.  Back under green flag conditions, Waters and Davis raced side-by-side for second for two laps before Waters made the pass on the outside on lap 15.  Waters stayed on the top, while Pegher was tip-toeing around the bottom of the slick surface.  Waters quickly closed in on lap 16, was on Pegher on lap 17, and drove around the 2013 Sweeney Tour champion on the 18th circuit before Pegher’s teammate Brian Swank spun to cause a caution.


When green replaced yellow, Waters instantly pulled away and within two laps had a straightaway advantage over Pegher.  He caught traffic on lap 23 and quickly began lapping several competitors as his car worked anywhere on the speedway.  Two more cautions in the final laps were all that slowed Waters in the Dale LeBarron-owned, Troups Creek Heating, Fox Shocks, Insinger Performance, Sunoco Race Fuel, Fastline Performance, Troups Creek Auto Parks, Renegade Forestry Management, Close Racing Supply, Atkins Appraisal-sponsored #11. Waters has now run 38 Sweeney Tour events since starting with the Series late in 2013 and all three of his Series wins have come at Humberstone where he’s a perfect three-for-three!


“It’s great to start the season out winning,” added Waters.  “The competition here is stacked.  Mike (Pegher) has helped me out a lot especially when we first got started.  I actually spun him out in my first crate race when he was leading.  To see him back running with us is great, and Bryce is always tough.  I have to thank all my sponsors, the guys at home, and the guys that came with me.  You can’t do it without all those people.  It’s tough to get a real quality car without all the help.  I’d like to thank the fans for coming out.  It was a beautiful night.  The track was great.  These guys did a great job.  It had a little character in it.  Also have to thank Vicki (Emig) and Mike (Leone) from RUSH for putting this on and stepping up this year and making it even better than what it was to make it one of the greatest crate sanctions in the world, and I’m just glad to be part of it.”


Pegher held on to a runner-up finish worth $1,000 in his first Humberstone start since 2012.  “John was definitely on a rail tonight,” stated the 30-year-old Cranberry Twp., Pa. racer.  “Congrats to him and his crew.  I tried my hardest and hoped he’d mess up a little bit.  You always have to give it your 100%.  I’m happy to get second.  It’s a long way up here, and we’ll get the car cleaned up and ready for tomorrow night.  I have to thank my car owner Jerry Haseleu, all my sponsors, and the fans for coming to support us.”


Davis, who already has Sweeney Weekly Series wins at Fulton and Outlaw Speedway as well as a non-sanctioned victory at Canandaigua, held off the Knowles brothers for a third place effort- one shy of his runner-up at last year’s event.  “It was nothing intentional on either of our parts,” explained the 25-year-old Hornell, NY third place finisher when asked about the contact between him and Pegher.  “We had a good run going.  The car was good early on, but kind of went away from us the last half of the race.” 


Jason Knowles fended off a hard charge by his brother Brian to collect the fourth position.  Brian started 20th and advanced 15 spots getting by Lunger to claim fifth and earned the $100 Precise “Pedal Down” Hard Charger gift card.  Lunger dropped to sixth over Brady Wonderling and Randy Hall.  Humberstone regulars, Rob Pietz and Tim Gillespie, were the top two Canadians across the line in ninth and 10th respectively.


South Buxton Speedway regular, Jim Dale, Jr., made his first ever RUSH start and finished 11th to earn the $25 certificate for being the last car on the lead lap at the finish.  It was a tough night for one of Humberstone’s top runners, Colton Ledingham, who was awarded the TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night” distinction.


Waters was the only driver to break into the 15-second bracket in Bobby Lake Motorsports “Shock the Clock” Qualifying with a lap of 15.975.  Waters then proceeded to win heat race one, while Pegher and Davis also earned $25 for their Bobby Lake Motorsports heat race wins.  Pietz won the last chance B main.  Pegher’s K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash win garnered him a $100 K&N certificate, while Davis received a $50 certificate for second, and $25 cash went to Jason Knowles and Lunger for their third and fourth place finishes respectively.


Action moves on to Merrittville Speedway on Monday night (May 23) to close out the Canadian swing on Victory Day with another $2,000 to-win Sweeney Tour event, this one being a Platinum Event.  Next weekend will be busy with a pair of $2,000 to-win Marquee Events at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio on Saturday night and Eriez Speedway in Erie, Pa. on Sunday night.


Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series Race #1 (30 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. JOHN WATERS (LeBarron 11)  2. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Haseleu RJ1)  3. Bryce Davis (94)  4. Jason Knowles (4)  5. Brian Knowles (7)  6. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L)  7.  Brady Wonderling (z1)  8. Randy Hall (Suppa 4s)  9. Rob Pietz (69)  10. Tim Gillespie (15)  11. Jim Dale, Jr. (00)  12. Eric Wilson (27W)  13. Travis Martineau (Schwartz 171)  14. John Pinsonneault (0)  15. Brian Swank (12s)  16. Mike Greene (8)  17. Paul Grigsby (24)  18. Phil Potts (Archer 29)  19. Bruce Hordusky, Jr. (3)  20. Jeff Dayman (44)  21. Will Thomas III (9)  22. Colton Ledingham (19JR)  23. John McIntire (31)  24. Ken Winfield (82). 


DNQ for the feature: Wyatt Van Wart (04), Eli Mayhew (1022xx), Brad Simpson (53), Doug Ricotta (01).


Car Count: 28
Feature Lap Leaders:
Pegher (1-6, 9-17), Davis (7-8), Waters (18-30)

Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Brian Knowles (+15)

Maxima Oil “Maximum Performance”: John Waters

TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night": Colton Ledingham "Last Car on Lead Lap": Jim Dale, Jr.


Bobby Lake Motorsports “Shock the Clock” Qualifying ($100 for fast time): 1. John Waters 15.975  2. Mike Pegher, Jr. 16.120  3. Bryce Davis 16.123  4. Jason Knowles 16.160  5. Eric Wilson 16.216  6. Brian Knowles 16.239  7. Tim Gillespie 16.243  8. Rob Pietz 16.372  9. Dennis Lunger, Jr. 16.449 10. Brady Wonderling 16.454  11. Randy Hall 16.466  12. Phil Potts 16.520  13. John McIntire 16.530  14. Bruce Hordusky Jr. 16.606  15. Jim Dale, Jr. 16.842  17. Paul Grigsby 16.952 18. Doug Ricotta 16.985  19. Mike Greene 17.232  20. Brian Swank 17.244  21. John Pinsonneault 17.280  22. Jeff Dayman 17.296  23. Ken Winfield 17.392  24. Travis Martineau 18.013  25. Colton Ledingham 32.743  26. Will Thomas III NT (light)  26. Brad Simpson NT (light)  27. Eli Mayhew NT (light)  28. Wyatt Van Wart NT.


Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 1 (10 laps, $25 to-win, Top 6 transfer): 1. Waters  2. J. Knowles  3. Wonderling  4. Thomas  5. Grigsby  6. Gillespie  7. McIntire  8. Winfield  9. Swank  10. Mayhew.


Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 2 (10 laps, $25 to-win, Top 6 transfer): 1. Pegher  2. Hall  3. Hordusky  4. Wilson  5. Pinsonneault  6. Martineau  7. Ricotta  8. Pietz  9. Simpson.


Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 3 (10 laps, $25 to-win, Top 6 transfer): 1. Davis  2. Lunger  3. Potts  4. Ledingham  5. Dale  6. Dayman  7. Green  8. B. Knowles  9. Van Wart.


Last Chance B Main (10 laps, Top 6 transfer): 1. Pietz  2. B. Knowles  3. McIntire  4. Winfield  5. Greene  6. Swank  7. Van Wart  8. Mayhew  9. Simpson  10. Ricotta-DNS.


K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash (6 laps): 1. Pegher  2. Davis  3. J. Knowles  4. Lunger  5. Waters  6. Hall.


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 Performance, Maxima Racing Oil, Jones Racing Products, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, TBM Brakes, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, FK Rod Ends, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, Rocket Chassis, Bobby Lake Motorsports High Gear Speed Shop,, B.R.A.K.E.S.,, and Valley Fashions.