ANDY BOOZEL WINS RUSH LATE MODELS AT FREEDOM IN HIS 2ND EVER SWEENEY TOUR START; NON-STOP FEATURE WIN WORTH $1699 IN "RON BAKER MEMORIAL"
By Mike Leone
June 3, 2016 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Delevan, NY)…After events in Ontario, Canada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to start the 2016 season for the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series powered by Pace Performance, the Series made its first of two New York appearances and its only visit of the season to Freedom Motorsports Park on a beautiful Friday night. The second annual "Ron Baker Memorial" was the third ever Sweeney Tour event held at the Delevan, NY bullring and attracted 28 drivers from all over NY, PA, OH, and Ontario, Canada matching last year's record car count for the track.
Andy Boozel has been a top Super Late Model racers for years on the tough Eriez-Stateline Speedway circuit. This year, Boozel added a Crate Late Model to his stable, and has made five starts with four of them coming in Sweeney Weekly Series action at Stateline and Eriez led by three top four finishes. Last Sunday, Boozel made his first ever Sweeney Tour start at Eriez, but got caught up in an early race accident ending his night prematurely.
Boozel got the car back together for a surprise first visit to Freedom on Friday night, and led all 25 laps of the non-stop feature for his first career Sweeney Tour win. The Sweeney Tour "Platinum" Event victory was worth $1,500 plus $174 from Dick Demick/Johnson Hollow Coal & Stove in honor of the "Ron Baker Memorial" along with an extra $25 from Bellinger Electric bringing his night's total to $1,699. Boozel was also selected as the Maxima Oil "Maximum Performance" of the night award.
"I didn't think that was going to happen- never expected it," expressed the 39-year-old Clymer, NY driver when asked about the race going non-stop. "I thought we'd have a bunch of cautions, but it worked out good and the car was good. Traffic was tough; it was hard to pick through those guys. Someone got up next to me once (Andy Michael) and I figured I better push it a little harder. I was just trying to hit the corners right and not push. It was still kind of choppy and if you didn't get in right, it'll push on you. It's fun to drive these cars, they run hard, and I like it. I didn't know Ron Baker real well. I met him and he seemed like a nice guy, but I'm friends with Ward (Schell; his last driver) so I'm sure it'll mean a lot to him."
Boozel started second and made the outside work as he powered past local favorite Andy Michael into the lead with Jason Knowles in tow. Seventh starting Chad Silleman quickly came forward cracking the top five after one lap and passing Jimmy Johnson for fourth on lap two. Knowles began to pressure Michael for the second spot on lap three, but Michael held on.
No changes took place up front as the laps ticked off caution-free. Sixth starting Jeremy Wonderling, who won the opening night Sweeney Weekly Series event at Freedom, was on the charge. Wonderling battled side-by-side with Silleman for three laps before finally making the pass for fourth on lap 10.
Boozel had a half-straightaway lead built up before he caught traffic on lap 12. The lead quickly evaporated as Michael and Knowles were right on the leader. Michael made a bid for the lead on lap 15 getting under Boozel in lapped traffic, but Boozel had just enough to maintain the lead. As the top three battled while maneuvering lapped traffic, Wonderling joined the battle on lap 16 making it a four-car race for the lead.
Green flag racing continued right to the finish as Boozel was able to fend off Michael, Knowles, and Wonderling for the victory in his Ripley Machine & Tool/Crotty Chevrolet/Neil's Propane/Lictus Keystone/Mike Roush Contracting/VanEvery Maple/Neil Transport/French Creek Tavern/Keystone/Phantom Signs/Z&M Ag & Turf-sponsored #12B. Boozel became the 24th different Sweeney Tour win all-time and the fifth different winner of the season in six events including the 2015 "Apple Festival Nationals" make-up run on April 16. Boozel joined last Sunday's Eriez winner Rob Blair and Sharon "Apple Festival Nationals" winner Matt Latta as drivers winning their first career Sweeney Tour victories this season.
The runner-up for Michael was a career best on the Tour. Knowles' third place was his best Sweeney Tour finish since the Freedom event last year on June 5 when he finished third! "I didn't think it was going to go non-stop either," stated Knowles- the 34-year-old Addison, NY driver. "We just needed a little more gear. I couldn't get the pull off the corners I needed. A couple times I closed in, but when they check up in front of you, you have to check up, and being handicapped on gear it makes it tough to get by someone. We've had a couple good nights and a couple bad nights, and when it went bad it went real bad. But the couple good nights were like 'wow'. My team has put a lot of time in this car over the last couple weeks and I've got to tell you it's really paying off."
Wonderling's fourth earned him an extra $50 from Dick Demick/Johnson Hollow Coal & Stove in memory of Ron Baker. After a slow start to the year on the Sweeney Tour despite a pair of Sweeney Weekly Series victories, Eric Wilson finally turned in a solid Tour performance with a fifth place finish.
Brady Wonderling raced from 11th to sixth. Charlie Duncan made the four and a half four tow from Millersburg, Ohio to Freedom for his first ever visit to the track and finished seventh and earned an extra $50 from Dick Demick/Johnson Hollow Coal & Stove in memory of Ron Baker. Bill Holmes III was eighth after starting 13th in his first ever Sweeney Tour start. Adam Sixth and 18th starting John Waters completed the top 10.
Damian Bidwell was 13th after starting 24th and received the Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger gift card in his first start of the season on the Sweeney Tour. Jason Tingue was 16th and was the final car on the lead lap to earn a $25 gift certificate from CrateInsider.com in his first ever Sweeney Tour start. Freedom's point leader, Brad Mesler, got caught up in a heat race accident and received extensive front end damage. He was chosen as the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night".
Knowles, Jeremy Wonderling, and Duncan won the heat races. The last chance B main was cancelled as just six of the 10 scheduled starters made the call, and those six transferred to the feature. Holmes won his first ever K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash and received a $100 K&N certificate. Jimmy Johnson, Jr. was second and received a $50 K&N certificate. R.J. Pistner added $25 to his night's winnings with a third place finish. Brian Knowles scratched from the event.
The Sweeney Touring Series resumes action on Sunday, June 19 in the "Bill Emig Memorial" at Tri-City Raceway Park in Franklin, Pa. for a $2,000 to-win "Marquee" Event featuring Bobby Lake Motorsports "Shock the Clock" Qualifying.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series Race #5 (25 laps, $1,699 to-win): 1. ANDY BOOZEL (12B) 2. Andy Michael (17x) 3. Jason Knowles (4) 4. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 5. Eric Wilson (27W) 6. Brady Wonderling (z1) 7. Charlie Duncan (Hall 240) 8. Bill Holmes III (65) 9. Adam Sixt (6T) 10. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 11. Jimmy Johnson, Jr. (39J) 12. Dave Lyon (14L) 13. Damian Bidwell (7Teen) 14. Joe Chamberlain (41) 15. Nick Snaycyzk (12) 16. Jason Tingue (62) 17. Brian Knowles (7) 18. R.J. Pistner (73) 19. Chad Silleman (47) 20. Bryce Davis (94) 21. Josh Ayers (73) 22. Tim Gillespie (15) 23. Jim Johnson (93J) 24. J.J. Mazur (3) 25. Zach Wiech (6). (Note: Bryce Davis took a Series provisional.)
DNQ for the feature: Brad Mesler (24B), Mike Wonderling (18), Jamie Brown (135).
Car Count: 28
Feature Lap Leaders: Boozel (1-25)
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Damian Bidwell (+11)
Maxima Oil “Maximum Performance”: Andy Boozel
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night": Brad Mesler
CrateInsider.com "Last Car on Lead Lap": Jason Tingue
Heat 1 (10 laps, Top 6 transfer): 1. J. Knowles 2. Lyon 3. Michael 4. Johnson 5. Johnson, Jr. 6. Pistner 7. Mazur 8. Mesler 9. M. Wonderling.
Heat 2 (10 laps, Top 6 transfer): 1. J. Wonderling 2. Silleman 3. Wilson 4. Snaycyzk 5. B. Knowles 6. Wiech 7. Davis 8. Tingue 9. Brown.
Heat 3 (10 laps, Top 6 transfer): 1. Hall 2. Boozel 3. B. Wonderling 4. Sixt 5. Holmes 6. Waters 7. Chamberlain 8. Gillespie 9. Ayers 10. Bidwell.
K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash (4 laps): 1. Holmes 2. Johnson, Jr. 3. Pistner 4. B. Knowles-DNS.
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.