By Mike Leone


June 26, 2021               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(Sarver, PA)...The Pace Performance RUSH Dirt Late Model Series together with Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC took part in the 15th annual “Firecracker 100” with the “Bill Emig Memorial” presented by Hovis Auto & Truck Supply for the third straight year with the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models at Lernerville Speedway this past weekend.  Event #7 of the 2021 Flynn’s Tire/Born2Run Lubricants Touring Series attracted an event record 54 cars from a record 11 different states!  The 54 cars was the highest count in any RUSH event since the record 58 cars on September 11, 2016 at Tri-City Raceway Park for “Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance.  Practice and FK Rod Ends Qualifying were contested on Thursday night with FK Rod Ends Heat Races and the Sunoco Dash on Friday night followed by last chance B mains, the feature, and non-qualifier on Saturday night.


Southern Late Model standout Mark Whitener got the call to drive Dirk Neal's #1, which is based about 40 miles from Lernerville in Smicksburg, and made a winning RUSH debut capturing the season's richest event- the $10,000 to-win "Bill Emig Memorial" presented by Hovis Auto & Truck Supply.  After finishing last in the Sunoco Dash on Friday night, "The Magic Man" lined up sixth in Saturday's 50-lap feature and lived up to his billing wasting little time taking the lead from Tour points leader Kyle Hardy on lap eight.  Whitener then held off a late charge by the four-time winner in lapped traffic for the victory. 


"I was riding until I saw the 99 (Hardy) pull up alongside me and saw the white flag and figured oh shit I better get going," explained the 40-year-old Middleburg, FL racer.  "We had 55's on and I shouldn't have been riding.  I should have been balls to the wall like I was when I took the lead, then I calmed down.  I couldn't see my signals and was trying to look behind me to see where they were.  Obviously he was close enough that I couldn't see him.  Those lapped cars were giving me room and I appreciate all those guys driving me clean.  I've won some memorial races at home, and I know how important these races are.  I didn't know Bill, but I'm sure if he loved racing, he's like me; I love it with all my heart.  I'm sure this race means a lot to everyone that knew him and the man he was." 


It was a three-wide battle for the lead on the opening lap between Hardy, Joe Martin, and Max Blair with Hardy leading the trio, while Jeremy Wonderling, Michael Duritsky, Jr., and Whitener trailed.  Blair passed Martin for second on lap two and went after Hardy.  The two raced side-by-side for the lead on laps three and four before a spin by Kyle Lukon.  When racing resumed, Blair spun on the topside of turn four trying to make a bid for the lead and collected Chub Frank, which ended Blair's shot for three straight $10,000 "Bill Emig Memorial" wins.


Whitener had passed Duritsky for fifth then inherited fourth after the Blair spin.  When racing resumed on lap four, Whitener had an excellent restart as he passed both Wonderling and Martin for second.  Whitener hounded Hardy and made the winning move driving around the Tour points leader off turn two on lap eight prior to the event's final caution.  After the 2020 event went 50 laps caution-free, Saturday's race went green-to-checkered for the final 42 circuits.


By lap 12, Whitener stretched his lead out, while Martin began to pressure Hardy.  The top five of Whitener, Hardy, Martin, Wonderling, and 10th starting Cody Overton really distanced themselves from the rest of the field on lap 15.  While Whitener caught lapped traffic on lap 20, Hardy and Martin battled side-by-side for runner-up with Martin on the bottom and Hardy up to top.  Hardy didn't allow Martin to make the pass and then by lap 36 began to reel Whitener in, while Wonderling exited the event after his driveshaft exploded from debris.  Wonderling was chosen as the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night" recipient.


With five laps to go, Whitener found himself in heavy traffic, which would give Hardy one last shot.  Hardy chewed into Whitener lead every lap.  On lap 49, Whitener was trying to lap Bud Watson, which gave Hardy an opportunity to duck under Whitener in turns one and two; however, Whitener had the momentum off turn two to maintain the lead.  Hardy was unable to get close enough on the final lap to make a challenge as Whitener took the Brackman Chevrolet/CRW Home Center/Huey Brothers-sponsored #1 to victory by 0.634 seconds. 


"It's awesome to win at Lernerville," added Whitener, who finished runner-up last Friday night in weekly Super Late Model competition at Lernerville.  "Hell I'm 15 hours from home and in victory lane so it doesn't get any better than this.  I'd like to thank everyone who worked on this car and put it together for me  They didn't even decide to run it until I came up last weekend.  Man this thing has been badass ever since we unloaded it.  We changed stuff for the Super car and I had my hands full for the whole race.  I said whatever you did to that car, don't redo for this one.  I have to thank Big Frog Motorsports for bringing me up here to run the Super, Brian Daugherty of Integra, Dirk (Neal), and everyone that owns this car.  I'd like to say a big hello to a friend of ours at home, who just found out yesterday he has stage four cancer- we're thinking about you buddy." 


(Note: Whitener's engine was tore down in post-race tech and was found to be 100% legal per the Chevrolet Performance 604 Technical Manual, and the win will be official once the results of the fuel and tire samples that were taken are verified to be in compliance.)


Hardy was able to extend his Flynn's Tire/Born2Run Lubricants Tour points lead thanks to his sixth podium finish in seven events and earned $5,000 for his runner-up finish.  "Being close just isn't good enough and we'll try again next time," stated the dejected Linden, VA resident.  "He (Whitener) passed me clean, it is what it is.  It's definitely not what we wanted.  We'll have to drive home and figure out what we need to do different." 


Martin's excellent third place run earned the Tom Snyder team $2,500 and combined with Wonderling's misfortunate tightened the battle for second in points.  "I told the guys before the race if we finish on the podium I'd be happy but I think I lied to them- I'm pretty disappointed," revealed the Punxsutawney, Pa. driver.  "I get outdrove at the beginning of these races; I'm just not ready to go yet and don't know the car yet.  These guys are on the hammer right away and get me at the beginning.  I didn't think Mark and Kyle were that much better than me.  At times I thought I was the best car, but they just outdrove me and that's all there is to it.  I thought we had a chance in lapped traffic, but I just never could get quite there.  The air really affected me here.  When I get close them or lapped cars, it would just change my car so much and I didn't know how to handle it.  I have a lot of learning to do."   


Georgia's Cody Overton, whose brother Brandon won the $30,000 "Firecracker 100" in the feature before, had a successful RUSH Tour debut gaining six spots to finish fourth and earned $2,000.  New York's David Pangrazio advanced from eighth to finish fifth ($1,500) for his best Tour finish since a third place on July 19, 2018 at Genesee Speedway.


After a tough start to the 2021 Tour season, Duritsky has come on strong of late with his third top six finish in the last four races.  Levi Crowl went 20th to seventh to earn the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger honor and also a $150 spoiler kit from Ontime Body & Graphic.  Breyton Santee had a good run going 14th to eighth to beat out fellow northeast Ohio racer Cory Sines.  Lernerville Super Late Model standout, Michael Norris, completed the top 10 after starting 19th in his first RUSH race since winning the "Jook George Steel City Classic" on August 8, 2020 at Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway.


Trevor Collins came up just 0.117 seconds shy of unseating fellow Delaware racer Nick Davis for the final feature transfer spot in the first last chance B main, which earned him a $100 Performance Bodies gift card for the "Nosed Out" contingency.  Collins then went out and totally dominated the Non-Qualifier leading all 15 laps.  Collins took the checkered flag first by a huge margin of 6.222 seconds in the FK Rod Ends/Compass Energy/WWCIII Trucking/KWS Trucking/Bo Daddy's Diesel/Ed's Auto Center-sponsored #72.  Collins became the amazing 48th different winner in 58 non-qualifier races run all-time!  Former RUSH Sprint Car racer, Zach Morrow, went 13th to second in his first ever Tour race.  Eighth starting Braeden Dillinger made his first Tour start since the 2019 finale at Lernerville and was third.  Zach Kane and Gary Troyer completed the top five.


Martin earned his second $100 FK Rod Ends "Shock the Clock" fast time award of the season after a lap of 18.599 on Thursday night over the 54-car field.  Picking up $25 FK Rod Ends heat race wins were Wonderling, Hardy, Whitener, Martin, Blair, and Duritsky.  Norris, Crowl, and Daryl Charlier captured the three last chance B mains. 


On Friday night, Hardy won his second Sunoco Dash of the season to not only earn the feature pole, but also a $100 Sunoco gift card and $100 cash for the "John Buzzard Memorial".  Zach Gunn was the lucky recipient of the Sunoco gift card in the random draw at the drivers meeting as part of the "Fill'er up with Sunoco Bucks" program presented by Sunoco and Zarin Truck & Auto.


The Flynn’s Tire/Born2Run Lubricants Touring Series will be right back in action with a doubleheader in western Pennsylvania this Friday night (July 2) at Dog Hollow Speedway in Northern Cambria for $3,000 to-win for the “Jim Burns Tribute” and on Saturday night (July 3) at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway in Imperial for the “Herb Scott Memorial”.


Pace Performance RUSH Late Model Flynn’s Tire/Born2Run Lubricants Touring Series “Bill Emig Memorial” presented by Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Race #7 (50 laps, $10,000 to-win): 1. MARK WHITENER (Neal 1)  2. Kyle Hardy (99)  3. Joe Martin (Snyder 10s)  4. Cody Overton (97)  5. David Pangrazio (136)  6. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J)  7. Levi Crowl (5)  8. Breyton Santee (9)  9. Cory Sines (25S)  10. Michael Norris (51)  11. Nick Davis (92)  12. J.J. Mazur (13)  13. Kurt Stebbins (26)  14. Ahnna Parkhurst (23)  15. Logan Zarin (1z)  16. Daryl Charlier (Spochacz 114)  17. Bud Watson (225)  18. Jason Genco (Craig/Badgley 29J)  19. Jeremy Wonderling (3J)  20. Max Blair (111)  21. John Waters (Bentz 60)  22. Kyle Lukon (184)  23. Chub Frank (1*)  24. Josh Ferry (33)  25. Justin Kann (66).  (Note: Bud Watson took a Series provisional.)   


Non-Qualifier (15 laps, $400 to-win): 1. Trevor Collins (WWC 72)  2. Zach Morrow (Flinner 48)  3. Braden Dillinger (14)  4. Zach Kane (10)  5. Gary Troyer (13)  6. Colby Beighey (36B)  7. Andrew Koenig (33K)  8. Josh Stoica (22J)  9. Zach Gunn (17G)  10. Brian Kotarski (129)  11. Steve Scaife, Jr. (7s)  12. Carl Eldridge (7)  13. Chuck Recker (6R).  DNS: Jared Keeney (33K), Joe Long (71), Jacob Gunn (14G), Chad Sines (15), Ryan Frazee (11F), Joe Pete (8/7), Bill Kessler (09), Chuck Kimble (Chernik 5x), Paul Duratz (55D), Joe Zulisky (58), Matt Latta (21), Rob Coffaro (24), Bobby Rohrer (11), Logan Jaquay (99*), Joey Zambotti III (948), Noah Brunell (31).


Car Count: 54

Feature Margin of Victory: 0.634 seconds
Feature Lap Leaders: 
Kyle Hardy (1-7), Mark Whitener (8-50)

Ontime Body & Graphic “Spoiler Alert” Spoiler Kit: Levi Crowl

Performance Bodies “Nosed Out”: Trevor Collins

Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger: Levi Crowl (+13)

Precise Racing Products 5-Gallon Race Jug: Mark Whitener

Sunoco and Zarin Truck & Auto $100 Sunoco Fuel Cards: Zach Gunn & Kyle Hardy

TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”: Jeremy Wonderling


FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying Flight A (Track record 16.776 by Alex Ferree 10/18/19): 1. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling, 00:18.631[5]; 2. 99-Kyle Hardy, 00:18.714[15]; 3. 29J-Jason Genco, 00:18.771[10]; 4. 51N-Michael Norris, 00:18.800[14]; 5. 23-Ahnna Parkhurst, 00:18.950[4]; 6. 1N-Mark Whitener, 00:19.083[21]; 7. 48F-Zach Morrow, 00:19.128[2]; 8. 1Z-Logan Zarin, 00:19.133[8]; 9. 948-Joey Zambotti III, 00:19.144[12]; 10. 184-Kyle Lukon, 00:19.167[6]; 11. 13T-Gary Troyer, 00:19.264[13]; 12. 25S-Cory Sines, 00:19.272[27]; 13. 15-Chad Sines, 00:19.299[20]; 14. 92-Nick Davis, 00:19.320[7]; 15. 5C-Levi Crowl, 00:19.320[17]; 16. 26-Kurt Stebbins, 00:19.382[22]; 17. 72-Trevor Collins, 00:19.479[16]; 18. 11F-Ryan Frazee, 00:19.493[24]; 19. 17G-Zach Gunn, 00:19.497[9]; 20. 99*-Logan Jaquay, 00:19.534[11]; 21. 13-JJ Mazur, 00:19.565[26]; 22. 36B-Colby Beighey, 00:19.702[1]; 23. 7S-Steve Scaife Jr, 00:19.905[18]; 24. 5X-Chuck Kimble, 00:19.946[25]; 25. 10-Zachary Kane, 00:19.947[19]; 26. 58-Joe Zulisky, 00:21.085[3]; 27. 6R-Chuck Recker, 00:21.148[23]


FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying Flight B ($100 for fast time): 1. 10S-Joe Martin, 00:18.599[11]; 2. 111-Max Blair, 00:18.782[2]; 3. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr, 00:18.811[5]; 4. 9S-Breyton Santee, 00:18.819[10]; 5. 33-Josh Ferry, 00:18.829[21]; 6. 60-John Waters, 00:18.932[12]; 7. 14D-Braeden Dillinger, 00:19.022[23]; 8. 97O-Cody Overton, 00:19.104[13]; 9. 1*-Chub Frank, 00:19.105[1]; 10. 21L-Matt Latta, 00:19.110[6]; 11. 66-Justin Kann, 00:19.212[19]; 12. 114-Daryl Charlier, 00:19.273[16]; 13. 136-David Pangrazio, 00:19.411[7]; 14. 14G-Jake Gunn, 00:19.423[26]; 15. 225-Bud Watson, 00:19.501[27]; 16. 33K-Jared Keeney, 00:19.711[20]; 17. 71-Joe Long, 00:19.739[22]; 18. 129-Brian Kotarski, 00:19.780[17]; 19. 11R-Robert Rohrer, 00:19.900[8]; 20. 24C-Rob Coffaro, 00:19.953[15]; 21. 22J-Josh Stoica, 00:20.021[18]; 22. 09-Bill Kessler, 00:20.051[4]; 23. 7E-Carl Eldridge, 00:20.295[24]; 24. 8/7-Joe Pete, 00:20.865[3]; 25. 33KA-Andrew Koenig, 00:20.943[9]; 26. 55D-Tom Duratz, 00:20.964[14]; 27. 31-Noah Brunell, NT.


FK Rod Ends Heat 1 (10 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling[1]; 2. 26-Kurt Stebbins[6]; 3. 184-Kyle Lukon[4]; 4. 15-Chad Sines[5]; 5. 51N-Michael Norris[2]; 6. 36B-Colby Beighey[8]; 7. 17G-Zach Gunn[7]; 8. 48F-Zach Morrow[3]; 9. 10-Zachary Kane[9].


FK Rod Ends Heat 2 (10 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 99-Kyle Hardy[1]; 2. 23-Ahnna Parkhurst[2]; 3. 1Z-Logan Zarin[3]; 4. 92-Nick Davis[5]; 5. 72-Trevor Collins[6]; 6. 13T-Gary Troyer[4]; 7. 99*-Logan Jaquay[7]; 8. 7S-Steve Scaife Jr[8]; 9. 58-Joe Zulisky[9].


FK Rod Ends Heat 3 (10 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 1N-Mark Whitener[2]; 2. 25S-Cory Sines[4]; 3. 13-JJ Mazur[7]; 4. 29J-Jason Genco[1]; 5. 5C-Levi Crowl[5]; 6. 5X-Chuck Kimble[8]; 7. 948-Joey Zambotti III[3]; 8. 11F-Ryan Frazee[6]; 9. 6R-Chuck Recker[9].


FK Rod Ends Heat 4 (10 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 10S-Joe Martin[1]; 2. 136-David Pangrazio[5]; 3. 9S-Breyton Santee[2]; 4. 21L-Matt Latta[4]; 5. 14D-Braeden Dillinger[3]; 6. 11R-Robert Rohrer[7]; 7. 09-Bill Kessler[8]; 8. 33K-Jared Keeney[6]; 9. 33KA-Andrew Koenig[9].

FK Rod Ends Heat 5 (10 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 111-Max Blair[1]; 2. 97O-Cody Overton[3]; 3. 66-Justin Kann[4]; 4. 71-Joe Long[6]; 5. 33-Josh Ferry[2]; 6. 24C-Rob Coffaro[7]; 7. 14G-Jake Gunn[5]; 8. 55D-Tom Duratz[9]; 9. 7E-Carl Eldridge[8].


FK Rod Ends Heat 6 (10 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr[1]; 2. 1*-Chub Frank[3]; 3. 60-John Waters[2]; 4. 114-Daryl Charlier[4]; 5. 225-Bud Watson[5]; 6. 129-Brian Kotarski[6]; 7. 22J-Josh Stoica[7]; 8. 8/7-Joe Pete[8]; 9. (DNS) 31-Noah Brunell.


Last Chance B Main 1 (12 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. 51N-Michael Norris[3]; 2. 92-Nick Davis[2]; 3. 72-Trevor Collins[4]; 4. 36B-Colby Beighey[5]; 5. 17G-Zach Gunn[7]; 6. 15-Chad Sines[1]; 7. 10-Zachary Kane[11]; 8. 13T-Gary Troyer[6]; 9. 7S-Steve Scaife Jr[10]; 10. 58-Joe Zulisky[12]; 11. 48F-Zach Morrow[9]; 12. 99*-Logan Jaquay[8].


Last Chance B Main 2 (12 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. 5C-Levi Crowl[3]; 2. 29J-Jason Genco[1]; 3. 33K-Jared Keeney[10]; 4. 33KA-Andrew Koenig[12]; 5. 6R-Chuck Recker[11]; 6. 11F-Ryan Frazee[9]; 7. 14D-Braeden Dillinger[4]; 8. 09-Bill Kessler[8]; 9. 5X-Chuck Kimble[5]; 10. 21L-Matt Latta[2]; 11. 11R-Robert Rohrer[6]; 12. 948-Joey Zambotti III[7].


Last Chance B Main 3 (12 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. 114-Daryl Charlier[2]; 2. 33-Josh Ferry[3]; 3. 71-Joe Long[1]; 4. 14G-Jake Gunn[6]; 5. 129-Brian Kotarski[5]; 6. 8/7-Joe Pete[9]; 7. 7E-Carl Eldridge[10]; 8. 22J-Josh Stoica[7]; 9. 55D-Tom Duratz[8]; 10. 24C-Rob Coffaro[4]; 11. (DNS) 225-Bud Watson; 12. (DNS) 31-Noah Brunell.


“John Buzzard Memorial” Sunoco Dash (6 laps, $100 to-win + $100 Sunoco gift card): 1. 99-Kyle Hardy[2]; 2. 10S-Joe Martin[1]; 3. 111-Max Blair[3]; 4. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr[4]; 5. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling[5]; 6. 1N-Mark Whitener[6].


RUSH Racing Series is brought to you by Pace Performance together with Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC along with the support of Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, Hovis Auto & Truck Supply, Born2Run Lubricants, Flynn's Tire & Auto Service, FK Rod Ends, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, TBM Brakes, Performance Bodies & Parts, Racing Electronics, Dirt Defender, Wrisco Industries, Frankland Racing Supply, Landrum Performance Spring, Ontime Body & Graphic, Zarin Truck & Automotive, Sherwood Wheels, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, Stop-Fyre, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Waterstone Mortgage Hermitage, CrateInsider.com, and Wedge Motorsports.


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.  The RUSH Late Model website is www.rushlatemodels.com. Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rushlatemodels and follow us on Twitter @RUSHLM.