ROB BLAIR SWEEPS THE NIGHT AT ERIEZ WITH A DOMINATING PERFORMANCE SETTING FAST TIME, WINNING HIS HEAT, DASH & FEATURE FOR $2,125 PLUS CONTINGENCIES IN SWEENEY RUSH LATE MODEL TOUR
By Mike Leone
May 29, 2016 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Erie, PA)…After spending the Victoria Day holiday weekend in Canada, the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series powered by Pace Performance wrapped up the two-day Memorial Day holiday race weekend on Sunday evening at Eriez Speedway. Despite thunderstorms scattered all around, the Erie, Pa. facility remained high and dry as the entire show was completed rain-free. A big crowd watched 27 RUSH teams from all over Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and West Virginia compete in the first of two appearances at Bobby and Kathy Rohrer's racey speedway.
Making his first RUSH start in nearly one year when he finished runner-up at the Sweeney Tour event at Virginia's Winchester Speedway on June 13, Rob Blair put on a dominating performance on Sunday his fellow competitors won't soon forget. Blair made it a clean sweep of the night setting fast time in Bobby Lake Motorsports qualifying, winning his heat race, the K&N Dash, and leading all 30 laps of the feature, which also unanimously awarded him the Maxima Oil "Maximum Performance" of night. In a substitute role for his son Max, Rob earned $2,125 in cash plus several hundred dollars in contingencies!
"This means a lot to me," expressed the 46-year-old Centerville, Pa. standout, who was doing double duty running the Super Late Model, which he'd go on to win and add another $1,500 to his night! "I've been down on myself since the beginning of the season. I haven't raced much and haven't been very good but this is a step in the right direction. This thing was so awesome. I don't know if I was doing the right thing or not down there. Max kept telling me to move down, but I've gotten around here several times and as long as there's traction this went good through there, and it felt slippery down there. He told me to move down so I moved down. I'm pretty spent and need a nap!"
Via his K&N Dash win, Blair earned the pole position for the 30-lap Marquee Tour event and raced to the early lead with Saturday night's Wayne County Tour winner, Mike Pegher, Jr., in tow followed by Bryce Davis, Kyle Zimmerman, and Matt Latta. Will Thomas III moved into the top five on lap three getting by Matt Latta. On lap seven, the battle was on for second as Pegher was trying to fend off Davis. Davis got under Pegher on lap eight and the two ran side-by-side for two laps with Pegher holding on as the caution was displayed for a spin by Wyatt Scott.
The caution wasn't what Davis wanted to see as when racing resumed he lost the third spot to the charging Thomas. Davis though would regain the third position one lap later before a three-car accident in turn three involving Touring regulars Dave Lyon and Bruce Hordusky, Jr. along with Wayne Robertson, who was making his season debut. Another caution for Scott slowed action with 12 laps scored. The restarts continued to benefit Thomas as he once again took third away from Davis on lap 13.
With green flag laps continuing, Blair padded his lead every lap and pulled away by the halfway point; meanwhile the battle for third continued as Davis grabbed the third spot back for good on lap 18 driving under Thomas off turn four before the event's final caution slowed action with 18 laps scored for a spin by Series rookie Brian Swank.
While nothing changed in the top three in the ensuing laps, Thomas began to fade losing fourth to Latta on lap 22 and fifth to Zimmerman on lap 22. With five laps to go, Blair had built a straightaway lead. Blair caught lapped traffic for the first time in the event with two laps to go. The veteran Blair though had no trouble maneuvering through and by the slower traffic as his lead never dissipated over the final two laps as he romped to the $2,000 win in the Specialty Products/Moody & Son Welding/Murphy's Logging/C&J Dairy/L&R Rolloff/Race 1/Genesis Shocks-sponsored #111. Blair became the fourth different winner of the season on the Sweeney Tour including the non-point 2015 "Apple Festival Nationals" make-up at Sharon Speedway on April 16. Blair became the Series' 23rd different winner in 60 races run all-time.
Pegher's runner-up was worth $1,000 and capped off a two-race weekend earnings of $3,025 plus contingencies. He's now yet to finish outside the top three in the four point events. "There's something about this track- I can just never get in the corner 100%, but we're happy to run second to Robbie," explained the 30-year-old Cranberry Township, Pa. racer. "It's his home track and he's won a lot of races here. We'll do a little more research and hopefully be better next time we come here. I was trying to get to the outside on the restarts, but he was just killing me off (turn) two and I knew Bryce was down there so I had to get to the bottom or Bryce would get around me in (turns) one and two."
Davis' third was his second show position of the season on the Sweeney Tour with his worst finish being a fourth. "It was tough- especially on restarts," stated 25-year-old Hornell, NY driver. "Everyone was fighting for the bottom, but Thomas would get me on the outside. I have to thank my whole family- my mom, dad, brother, sister, the whole crew, along with my wife, and sponsors for supporting me through this. Everyone does a great job."
Latta, who won the Sharon make-up event, was fourth in his first point event start of the season over Zimmerman, who also made his first Tour start of 2016. After finishing third at Wayne County Speedway on Saturday night, Ryan Markham made the long tow northeast from Ashland, Ohio and had a strong sixth place finish. Thomas dropped to seventh over Darrell Bossard, Jason Genco, and Scott Gurdak, who all made their first Tour starts of the season.
Twentieth starting Alan Dellinger had raced up to eighth at one point before dropping back to 11th at the finish, which still earned him the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger gift card. Jason Knowles was the final car on the lead lap in 16th, which earned him a $25 CrateInsider.com gift certificate. Newcomers to RUSH, Chris Withers and Hunter Hulley, both made their first ever Sweeney Tour starts and received contingencies. Withers was awarded the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night" after crashing hard battling for a final transfer spot in the B main, while Hulley received a nose kit for being the ARbodies "Nosed Out" first non-qualifier.
In preliminary action, Blair set fast time in Bobby Lake Motorsports "Shock the Clock" qualifying with a lap of 16.394 and also won the first Bobby Lake Motorsports heat race to add $125 to his $2,000 feature win. Blair also received a $100 K&N certificate for winning the "Cold Air Induction" Dash. Thomas and Latta added $25 cash for their Bobby Lake Motorsports heat wins. Pegher received a $50 K&N certificate for his runner-up dash finish, while Davis and Zimmerman picked up an extra $25 cash for finishing third and fourth respectively in the dash. Jason Knowles won the last chance B main.
The Sweeney Touring Series resumes action this Friday night (June 3) for the season's only visit to Freedom Motorsports Park in Delevan, NY. with a $1,500 to-win Platinum Event for "Ron Baker Memorial". Race time is 7:30 p.m.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series Race #4 (30 laps, $2,000 to-win): ROB BLAIR (111) 2. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Haseleu RJ1) 3. Bryce Davis (94) 4. Matt Latta (B1D) 5. Kyle Zimmerman (z17) 6. Ryan Markham (5M) 7. Will Thomas III (9) 8. Darrell Bossard (Winans 213) 9. Jason Genco (Badgley 29J) 10. Scott Gurdak (Hollabaugh 5G) 11. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 12. Dave Lyon (14L) 13. Wayne Robertson (20) 14. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 15. Eric Wilson (27W) 16. Jason Knowles (4) 17. Khole Wanzer (01) 18. Brian Swank (12s) 19. Brian Knowles (7) 20. Tony White (27) 21. Wyatt Scott (x3) 22. Bruce Hordusky, Jr. (3) 23. Andy Boozel (12B) 24. Clinton Hersh (16).
DNQ for the feature: Hunter Hulley (09), Chris Withers (21W), Mike Lozowski (41).
Car Count: 27
Feature Lap Leaders: Blair (1-30)
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Alan Dellinger (+9)
Maxima Oil “Maximum Performance”: Rob Blair
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night": Chris Withers
CrateInsider.com "Last Car on Lead Lap": Jason Knowles
ARbodies "Nosed Out": Hunter Hulley
Bobby Lake Motorsports “Shock the Clock” Qualifying ($100 for fast time): 1. Rob Blair 16.394 2. Will Thomas III 16.642 3. Mike Pegher, Jr. 16.688 4. Brian Knowles 16.702 5. Kyle Zimmerman 16.744 6. Matt Latta 16.752 7. John Waters 16.790 8. Darrell Bossard 16.834 9. Jason Genco 16.876 10. Bryce Davis 16.920 11. Dave Lyon 16.929 12. Wayne Robertson 16.933 13. Eric Wilson 16.978 14. Jason Knowles 17.009 15. Wyatt Scott 17.052 16. Alan Dellinger 17.089 17. Khole Wanzer 17.092 18. Ryan Markham 17.155 19. Scott Gurdak 17.315 20. Bruce Hordusky, Jr. 17.396 21. Andy Boozel 17.398 22. Clinton Hersh 17.548 23. Brian Swank 17.576 24. Chris Withers 17.927 25. Tony White 18.123 26. Hunter Hulley 19.029 27. Mike Lozowski NT.
Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 1 (8 laps, Top 6 transfer, $25 to-win): 1. Blair 2. Davis 3. B. Knowles 4. Waters 5. Gurdak 6. Wilson 7. Dellinger 8. Hersh 9. White.
Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 2 (8 laps, Top 6 transfer, $25 to-win): 1. Thomas 2. Zimmerman 3. Bossard 4. Lyon 5. Hordusky 6. Wanzer 7. J. Knowles 8. Swank 9. Hulley.
Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 3 (8 laps, Top 6 transfer, $25 to-win): 1. Latta 2. Pegher 3. Markham 4. Genco 5. Boozel 6. Robertson 7. Scott 8. Withers 9. Lozowski-DNS.
Last Chance B Main (8 laps, Top 6 transfer): 1. J. Knowles 2. Dellinger 3. Scott 4. Hersh 5. Boozel 6. White 7. Hulley 8. Withers 9. Lozowski-DNS.
K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash (6 laps): 1. Blair 2. Pegher 3. Davis 4. Zimmerman 5. Thomas 6. Latta.
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, CrateInsider.com, B.R.A.K.E.S., RockAuto.com, and Valley Fashions.