KOLESAR, THOMAS, NICHOLS & MORGAN ARE NEW SWEENEY RUSH
LM WINNERS BRINGING TOTAL TO 20 DIFFERENT WINNERS IN 32 WEEKLY EVENTS
By Jim Zufall & Mike Leone
May 28, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Pulaski, PA)…Finally a beautiful weekend blessed Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Racing Series Weekly Series speedways allowing fans and competitors to enjoy racing throughout the region. Nearly every member track that had the RUSH Series on the schedule for this weekend had the opportunity to not only showcase the cars running under the RUSH Series banner, but the many other divisions at each of their facilities. In fact, one member track even had two RUSH-sanctioned divisions racing on the night! Four new RUSH Late Model winners brought the total up to 20 different winners in 32 Sweeney Weekly Series events this season!
The weekend did get off to a bit of a wet start at Delevan, New York’s Freedom Speedway. Management at Freedom announced on Thursday that due to heavy rains earlier in the week that flooded the pit and parking areas allowing with rain in the forecast for Friday, forced them to cancel last week. All eyes now will be on this Friday’s first ever RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series race. In fact, Freedom has the honor of kicking off the touring season for the 2014 season. The $1200-to-win race gets under way Friday night at 7 PM.
Potomac Speedway in Budd’s Creek, Maryland took Friday off to instead open the gates for a special holiday weekend Sunday night event that highlighted the Super Late Models. Also on the card were the RUSH Crate Late Models. Ralph Morgan Jr. made his first-ever Potomac start a good one as he took the top spot in the 20-lap feature race. Morgan, who started third, took the race lead from Cody Dawson on lap six and would lead the distance to post his career-first RUSH win.
"This is a pretty neat little place and to win the first time here, I couldn't be happier,” said a thrilled Morgan in victory lane. Dawson held on for a season best runner up followed by “Futures Cup” racer Reese Masiello, Mike Wharton and Darin Henderson. Next up for Potomac’s RUSH Dirt Late Models is the $2,500 to-win Sweeney RUSH Touring Series event on Friday, June 20.
Saturday night at Winchester Speedway, it was the running of the special 3$3500-to-win “Three State Flyers” race for the Super Late Models, which was captured by Dale Hollidge. The RUSH Late Models joined the program, which brought a 17-car field to the green. Rob Nichols, who was rather unhappy with his performance in his heat race prior to the main event, started second and charged into first place on lap one. He led the distance for her first career RUSH win, besting John Imler, Transton Stoner, Scott Sweeney and Sonny Hartzell who came from tenth to round out the top five.
“We were no good in the heat and changed a bunch of stuff for the feature,” said Nichols in victory lane. "Starting spot means a lot down here but this car was so good tonight and to get a win in this class, as tough as it is, feels pretty good." The RUSH Dirt Late Models return to Winchester’s schedule on June 14 when they are joined by a rare appearance by the URC Sprint Series.
For the first time this season, sunny and warm weather greeted fans and racers on Saturday night at Sharon Speedway for the Hartford, Ohio track’s “Steel Valley Thunder” program. The RUSH Dirt Late Models hit the track with 17 out of the season high 18 cars in the pits taking the green. When the dust settled over the 20-lap feature, it was a very emotional Will Thomas III standing in victory lane.
Mark Banal took the early lead over Bobby Whitling, Russ Byler, Thomas and Bob Diver. A three-lap battle for the lead entertained the grandstand with Thomas and Banal racing side-by-side from lap seven through nine. A lap 10 caution bunched up the field, but when the green flew again, Thomas was off and pulled away to win by a stout 3.14 seconds over Banal, who was subbing for Alan Dellinger. Dennis Lunger Jr., Diver and Jamie Wrightsman were three through five.
Thomas, whose father Bill recently passed away, talked about the emotional win in victory lane. “It’s been hard,” explained Thomas, who debuted a retro Bill Thomas Special look for his #9 last time out. “This has always been something we did together. My dad would have been 74 tomorrow. I have to thank all of the people that help me.”
Coming up this Saturday night at Sharon Speedway is another “Steel Valley Thunder” program featuring the DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, RUSH Late Models, Modifieds, Stock Cars, Econo Mods, and Mini Stocks plus the return appearance of the Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modifieds Racing begins at 7.
Saturday night also saw a return to action at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway after three consecutive rainouts. Nineteen cars turned out- and like Sharon was the highest of the season. Dusty Curry sat on the pole for the feature but returned to the pits after a lap five wreck. On the ensuing restart, Russ Kolesar, who hasn’t turned a wheel at PPMS since 2008, took the lead for good holding off the likes of Justin Lamb, Josh Holtgraver, Corey McPherson and Ben Policz.
Also on hand at PPMS was the Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modified division. After finishing third on opening night at Sharon Speedway, New York racer Adam Hilton backed up his Lernerville win on May 9 with his second straight victory, Rocky Kugel was a season best second and noted that he is still using the same set of tires that he started the year with. Jeremy Zufall and Jeremy Paup were third and fourth in their first starts.
Pittsburgh will return to action this Saturday in the final tune-up before the "Steel City 100" Sweeney Tour event that will pay $4,000 to-win plus the rich "Steel City Roulette" as one driver will win a $1,000 bonus and each of the 30 feature starting drivers will receive at least a $50 bonus prize!
Twenty-eight RUSH Late Models made up a part of the 130 cars in the pits at McKean County Raceway. The packed pit area was aided by the NDRL Northeast Super Late Model Touring Series and the Patriot 360 Sprints, who were making a special holiday appearance.
In the RUSH feature, it was a rather spirited event with plenty of lead changes and racing throughout the field. In the end, ninth place starter Chad Ruhlman, who holds the MCR point lead, crossed the line first after taking the lead from pole sitter Jason Genco on lap 13. The Bemus Point, NY driver now has three wins in four races this season at the East Smethport, PA oval. Max Blair, the division’s only other winner, was second over Genco, Wayne Robertson and Mike Knight. Look for a regular “Super 6” racing program this Saturday, May 31 featuring Autograph Night and Bicycle Giveaway Night.
North of the border at Ontario’s Humberstone Speedway, Ed Carley got his second consecutive feature win in the RUSH Late Models. Dennis Lunger Jr. and Jeff Dayman began the race on the front row, with Lunger putting some distance between himself and second place early on. After an early race caution, Carley took off after Lunger and the two swapped the lead and put on some great side-by-side racing throughout the event.
In the end it was Carley, Lunger, Jorden Peters, Paul Grigsby and Rob Ledingham making up the top five. Lunger has now made two trips from his Albion, PA home this season and has been rewarded with two top two finishes; meanwhile, Peters made his first trip down to Sharon on Saturday night.
Regular racing stepped aside at Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex last weekend for some Truck Pulling action, but returns in a big way this weekend with three nights of competition. RUSH will join the “Appalachian Mountain Speedweek” event for the Super Late Models on Friday, weekly action on Saturday night, then capped off Sunday with the second appearance by the “410” Sprint Cars! Then the following Saturday, the Bill Hendren Memorial will take place for the Sweeney Tour!
Another perfect weather weekend is predicted for this coming Friday through Sunday. Check out all the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Racing Series action by going rushracingseries.com.
RUSH Late Model marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, The Brake Man, K&N Filters, Bilstein Shocks, Lincoln Electric, TurboStart, Beyea Headers, FK Rod Ends, Bobby Lake Motorsports, Driven Racing Oil, Crate Innovations Inc., Moroso Performance Products, High Gear Speed Shop, RainEater Wiper Blades, CrateInsider.com, Utsinger’s Towing, B.R.A.K.E.S., RockAuto.com, 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 www.rushracingseries.com. Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rushlatemodels and follow us on Twitter @RUSHLM.###