By Mike Leone


June 7, 2015            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(Erie, PA)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Series headed to Eriez Speedway on Sunday evening for the northwest Pennsylvania speedway’s first ever Insinger Performance/Sunoco Race Fuels Northern Touring Series event.  Track owner Bob Rohrer gave racers an excellent track to race on in the Series’ first of two appearances during the 2015 season.  The Series’ third Northern Tour event and sixth overall of the 2015 season was completed shortly before rain moved in.    


Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, but right now Max Blair is both.  Blair redrew the pole position for the 25-lap, $1,200 to-win feature at his home track and went unchallenged for his second Insinger/Sunoco Northern Touring Series win in three races and third overall Tour win in six races this season.  Blair continues to lead both the $4,000 to-win Northern and Bazell/Sunoco Southern Tour points in addition to the $2,000 to-win combined title.


“I love racing up here,” acknowledged the 25-year-old Centerville, Pa. winner.  “Bob (Rohrer) always puts a lot of effort into giving us a nice surface.  It’s close to home, a lot of fun, and I’d like to see more big crate races here.  All drivers will tell you that the #1 pill is half the battle these days, but we did our normal stuff.  We weren’t too good in the heat race- we were a little tight, but tweaked on it and got it pretty good for the feature.”


Blair took off in the lead at the start over Joe Martin, who looked strong in his heat race.  By lap two, the battle was on for third with Scott Gurdak trying to fend off Dave Lyon and Kyle Zimmerman.  On lap three, Lyon took over with Zimmerman soon following in fourth.  Blair opened up a straightaway lead on lap five over Martin.  Zimmerman was all over Lyon on lap six.  The two raced side-by-side on lap seven, but Lyon maintained the spot.


Damian Bidwell was making not only his first Tour start, but also first appearance at Eriez this season and was fast.  Bidwell started 12th and by lap six had already cracked the top five when he passed Gurdak.  Gurdak would soon drop from the event and was awarded the TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night” award. 


With caution-free racing continuing, Blair had more than a straightaway lead when he caught lapped traffic on lap nine; meanwhile the battle for third was still going on as Lyon continued to hold off Zimmerman, but now Bidwell joined the fight.  On lap 11, Lyon and Zimmerman were on the bottom and got slowed by the lapped car of T.J. Downs; Bidwell took advantage as he went to the top and passed all three to steal the third spot. 


Back up front, Blair had a 4.5 second lead at the halfway point as he was mired in heavy lapped traffic.  Blair’s only scare of the race was when Dusty Waters spun in front of him, and had to get on the binders and quickly turn his car to the right to miss him.  That was the event’s first caution as 15 laps were recorded.


Back under green, Zimmerman made the pass of Bidwell for third as two more laps were completed before the event’s second and final caution as Jason Genco and Mark Tatalovic were caught up in turn four.  When racing resumed for the final time, it was three-wide for second as Zimmerman overtook Martin.  One lap later, Bidwell regained the third position as he dropped Martin back another spot.


While the battle was going on behind him, Blair went unchallenged over the final eight non-stop laps and took the checkered first by 2.347 seconds in the R&J Poultry/Moody & Son Welding/Specialty Products/Genesis Shocks/Murphy’s Logging/C&J Dairy-sponsored #111.  The victory was Blair’s eighth career in RUSH Tour events, which is tops all-time, and was his season’s second victory at Eriez.


“This year has gone really, really well so far,” stated Blair, who also won the night’s Super Late Model feature for an additional $1,500.  “I have to thank Vicki (Emig) and Mike (Leone) for putting this Series on for us and giving us crate guys big paying races and amazing point funds.  I’m really looking forward to racing in it the rest of the season.  It’s going to be a lot of fun.  We’re trying our best to take another car with us for dad (Rob) to run at Winchester (June 12-13) and I think we’re going to have it ready.  I have to thank my dad #1; without him I wouldn’t be here.  He’s the backbone of this deal.”


Zimmerman came home second in his first ever RUSH Tour start, and his effort earned him the Maxima Racing Oils “Maximum Performance” award of the night.  “I wasn’t sure if we were going to be here after the heat race,” stated the Albion, Pa. veteran Crate Late Model racer.  “It wasn’t good.  The track came around.  It was real nice and racey tonight.  I had a good car and got some lucky restarts on the bottom.  I don’t think I had anything for Max, but I wasn’t too far off.  I saw Damian go blowing by me on the top and thought there might be something up there so I tried it, but it didn’t work for me so I went back to the bottom.  I have to thank everyone that helps me throughout the week that allows me to do this.”


Bidwell’s run from 12th to third awarded him the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger certificate.  “I’m really happy,” expressed the Eldred, Pa. driver, who on Saturday night won his third straight Sweeney Weekly Series event at Stateline Speedway!  “I usually have bad luck here on tour shows.  I wish I could have started a little further to the front and maybe I would have had something for Max.  I’d like to thank my sponsors and Robbie and Max Blair for all the help they give us.”


Martin was fourth over 13th starting Matt Latta.  Randy Hall’s sixth place finish was his best Tour finish in four tries this season as the new driver of the Terry Suppa-owned #4s.  Lyon dropped to seventh in his first ever RUSH Tour start.  Chad Wright was eighth ahead of Friday’s Freedom Speedway Tour winner, Bryce Davis, and 16th starting Brian Knowles. 


Heat winners over the 27-car field were Genco, Zimmerman, and Martin.  Kyle Scott, won the last chance B main from third.  Matt Latta won his first K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash of the season to earn a $100 certificate over Eric Wilson, who received a $50 K&N certificate for second.  Mike Lozowski and Brian Knowles picked up an extra $25 cash for finishing third and fourth. 


Khole Wanzer, who made his first RUSH Tour start, received the ARbodies “Nosed Out” nose kit, valued at $260, for being the first non-qualifier.


The Series will return to Eriez for the second and final time of 2015 on Sunday, July 26 for the prestigious “Manufacturers Night” with $30,000 of prizes on the line as part of the $1,500 to-win Insinger/Sunoco Northern Tour event.


The next Tour race will be the inaugural “Crate Racin’ USA Late Model Nationals” at Virginia’s Winchester Speedway June 12-13.  Friday night will feature twin 20 “Bill Hendren Memorial” qualifying events paying $1,000 to-win in addition to $100 Bobby Lake Motorsports “Shock the Clock” qualifying and the special “Miles Traveled” event.  Saturday will include last chance B mains, the 50-lap $6,000 to-win A and the 25-lap $1,500 to-win B feature. 


Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Insinger Performance/Sunoco Race Fuels Northern Touring Series Race #3 (25 laps, $1,200 to-win): 1. MAX BLAIR (111)  2. Kyle Zimmerman (z17)  3. Damian Bidwell (17)  4. Joe Martin (55)  5. Matt Latta (Bidwell B1D)  6. Randy Hall (Suppa 4s)  7. Dave Lyon (14L)  8. Chad Wright (6)  9. Bryce Davis (94)  10. Brian Knowles (7)  11. John Waters (LeBarron 11)  12. Eric Wilson (27W)  13. Jason Knowles (4)  14. Ward Schell (Suppa s4)  15. Mike Lozowski (41)  16. Wyatt Scott (X3)  17. Dusty Waters (14)  18. Eric Andrus (54)  19. Chris Ottaway (9)  20. Kyle Scott (3JR)  21. Mark Tatalovic (32)  22. Jason Genco (Badgley 29J)  23. Scott Gurdak (5G)  24. T.J. Downs (1)  25. Joe Long (71).  (Note: T.J. Downs took a Series provisional.)

DNQ: Khole Wanzer (01W) & Mike Knight (Harvey 55)


Car Count: 27

Margin of Victory: 2.347 seconds
Feature Lap Leaders:
Blair (1-25)

Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Damian Bidwell (+9)

Maxima Oil “Maximum Performance”: Kyle Zimmerman

TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night: Scott Gurdak

ARbodies “Nosed Out” Nose Kit: Khole Wanzer


Heat 1 (8 laps, top 6 transfer to A): 1. Genco  2. J. Waters  3. Bidwell  4. Gurdak  5. Latta  6. B. Knowles  7. Tatalovic  8. J. Knowles  9. Andrus.


Heat 2 (8 laps, top 6 transfer to A): 1. Zimmerman  2. Davis  3. Blair  4. Lyon  5. Lozowski  6. Schell  7. Ottaway  8. Downs  9. Knight.


Heat 3 (8 laps, top 6 transfer to A): 1. Martin  2. W. Scott  3. Wright  4. Hall  5. Wilson  6. Long  7. K. Scott  8. Wanzer  9. D. Waters.


Last Chance B Main (8 laps, top 6 transfer to A): 1. K. Scott  2. Tatalovic  3. Ottaway  4. Andrus  5. J. Knowles  6. D. Waters  7. Wanzer  8. Downs  9. Knight-DNS.


K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash (4 laps): 1. Matt Latta  2. Eric Wilson  3. Mike Lozowski  4. Brian Knowles.


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.