RUHLMAN CONTINUES TO SHINE IN SWEENEY RUSH LM WEEKLY SERIES ACTION; 1ST WINS FOR WYLIE & KUGEL IN LM & MODS; PACE “SUMMER CHASE” KICKS OFF THIS WEEK
By Jim Zufall & Mike Leone
July 2, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Pulaski, PA)…The Sweeney Chevrolet RUSH Racing Series hit the mid-point of the 2014 season as the month of June wrapped up last weekend. All of the RUSH-sanctioned member speedways were blessed with beautiful weather.
The close of June means the Pace Performance “Summer Chase” gets underway for the Late Models. The nine-week program that runs through Labor Day uses eligible drivers’ average point scores. Drivers can compete in as many events as they like during this period, but a minimum of eight events are required. The high average point score will receive $3,000 down to $500 for 10th as the top 10 drivers will share in over $10,000! Member drivers qualified by being in the top 10 in RUSH points at member speedways or in the Sweeney Tour. The complete list of the 66 drivers is posted below.
Potomac Speedway in Mechanicsville, Maryland got the weekend underway for the Sweeney RUSH Late Model Weekly Series tracks one week after the first ever Sweeney Tour event. Potomac drivers continue to mix it up in the winner’s circle as after seven races there have been five different winners. Last Friday it was Darin Henderson taking the lead at the beginning and he never looked back finishing the event a full straightaway ahead of runner-up and two-time winner Jeff Pilkerton.
"This car was good tonight," Henderson said after the race. "We've had a fast car all season, but no luck, and to finally get one here at home makes all the hard work worthwhile." John Imler took third with two-time winner Ben Bowie and “Futures Cup” racer Reese Masiello making up the top five. This weekend racing at Potomac moves to Thursday with the RUSH Late Models being joined by a special 35-lap feature for the Super Late Models paying $2,500 to win in the Firecracker 35.
Last Friday night also saw action for the RUSH Late Models at Delevan, New York’s Freedom Speedway. After a slow start, Freedom has been getting solid car counts with a nice mix of racers from all over New York, northwest Pennsylvania, and Ontario, Canada. After a couple weeks off, Jeremy Wonderling was back and was able to repeat his opening night win! Adam Sixt, Rob Pietz, Brad Mesler and Jamie Brown completed the top five. Freedom Speedway takes this Friday off, but returns to action on July 11.
Sharon Speedway also had the RUSH Series on hand, but instead of the Sweeney RUSH Late Models, it was the newly formed RUSH Sportsman Modified division that took to the Hartford, Ohio track on Saturday night for the third time. While slowly more and more cars are entering the Sportsman Modified class, two of the more notable RUSH names are Greensburg’s Jeremy Zufall and East Liverpool, Ohio’s Rocky Kugel- both former Late Model racers.
After Zufall won the last race at AMP for his first career Modified win, Saturday night would be Kugel’s night at Sharon. After a long racing career that has included RUSH Late Models and E-Mods over the years, this is Kugel’s first season behind the center-steer wheel of a RUSH Modified. Saturday night Kugel would take his #1 ride to victory lane for his first ever Sharon victory. Kugel held on to the point for the entire 15 lap feature making him the third different winner at Sharon this season and the fifth different in the division’s inaugural season.
After holding off Greg Martin, Series point leader Adam Hilton, Jamie Duncan and Adam Siegel for the win, Kugel spoke of the landmark win in victory lane. “I’ve raced a bunch of cars and this is different,” he said. “I knew nothing about it coming in and no setups. Everybody has helped me. Guys have stepped up and people you would have never expected gave me a hand and taught me how to set these things up. I guess it was pretty good tonight.”
The RUSH Late Models return to action this Saturday at Sharon for the “Bill Emig Memorial” featuring the Sweeney RUSH Touring Series ($1,500 to-win) plus DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Econo Mods and Mini Stocks. It is all part of the “Bill Emig Memorial Wild Card Weekend” that starts on Friday night at Lernerville Speedway. In addition to the $1,500 to-win Sweeney Tour event, Lernerville will also include the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds for the second time.
Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex also saw action on Saturday night and when the dust cleared on the RUSH Late Model feature race, it was Fairmont, West Virginia’s Jacob Hawkins in victory lane for the second time this season in as many starts. Hawkins was followed by Troy Shields, Sweeney Weekly Series and “Futures Cup” point leader Michael Lake, Bill Pluta, Jr., and Ken Herman. The RUSH Late Models will be on the card for a pair of events this week including on Wednesday with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series then again on Saturday night in their regular program.
Saturday night also featured racing action at the McKean County Raceway in East Smethport, PA. In the RUSH Late Models, Rick Singleton made the long tow up from Front Royal, Virginia for his first start of the season. During the first five laps, Singleton opened up a half-straightaway lead while MCR dominator Chad Ruhlman picked his way to the runner up position, setting his sights on Singleton.
When a lap 14 caution bunched up the field, the restart launched a five-lap battle between Singleton and Ruhlman that had the crowd on their feet. In the end, Singleton tried a move to regain the lead that Ruhlman had wrestled from him a few laps earlier, but ended up spinning his number 99* machine and was relegated to the rear. The remaining one-lap shootout saw ninth place starter Damian Bidwell attempt a pass for the lead, but couldn’t make it stick. Ruhlman has now won seven of the nine features this season at MCR! Behind Ruhlman and Bidwell saw Ward Schell, Garrett Mott, and Dusty Waters record their best finishes of the season in second through fifth.
The RUSH Late Models will be the featured attraction on Friday night at MCR competing in the Cpl Jason Dunham Memorial for $1,000 to-win. There will be no racing on Saturday night due to the truck and tractor pulling event.
Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway moved their normal Saturday show to Sunday last weekend in deference to the giant “Firecracker 100” World of Outlaw Late Model race at Lernerville. To sweeten the deal, PPMS also added a “410” Sprint Car race to the evening’s card, which was won by Danny Holtgraver – a first cousin to RUSH racer Josh Holtgraver.
In the RUSH Late Model portion of the evening, a three-car accident spoiled the first lap, but when racing resumed it was Andrew Wylie jumping out to the lead. Much of the race was a race was for runner-up as Wylie opened up a substantial lead. Among the drivers battling for second were long time Sprint Car driver Tim Shaffer, Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr., and Nico Dabecco.
As the race wore on, Dabecco moved to second and proved to be Wylie’s only challenge. Dabecco charged hard to attempt to take the top spot at the checkered flag, but was held off by Wylie in a near photo finish. Shaffer took third with Schirnhofer and Mark Moats, Jr. completing the top five. PPMS resumes Saturday racing this week. It will be an excellent opportunity to meet your favorite drivers in the RUSH Dirt Late Model ranks as there will be a driver autograph session on the speedway. All kids from West Virginia and Ohio under 17 will get in free with a paid adult.
North of the border, action in the Sweeney RUSH Late Models continued at Ontario’s Humberstone Speedway. Jorden Peters and Rob Ledingham led the field to the green at the start of the 20-lap feature with Peters taking the early lead. Ledingham had handling issues on lap three sending him backwards through the field a few positions. As racing continued, Peters began to pick through lapped traffic as Rob Pietz was moving forward beginning to reel in Peters for the lead. Peters dispatched any lapped traffic and stretched out his lead again, holding on for his first victory of the season. Pietz, Paul Grigsby, Jeff Dayman and Tim Gillespie rounded out the top five. The RUSH Late Models return to action this Sunday, July 6 along with a full slate of racing.
The RUSH Dirt Late Models weren’t on the schedule at Virginia’s Winchester Speedway last Saturday but will return this Saturday.
Qualified drivers for the Pace Performance “Summer Chase” (July 1-September 1): Adam Sixt (Freedom/McKean), Alan Dellinger (Sharon), Austin Stover (Winchester), Ben Bowie (Potomac/Winchester), Ben Policz (PPMS), Bill Gill (Humberstone), Bob Kish (Freedom/McKean), Bob Pifer, III (Sharon), Bobby Rohrer (McKean), Bobby Whitling (Sharon), Bryan Rankin (Roaring Knob), Chad McClellan (Roaring Knob/Tour), Chad Ruhlman (Humberstone/McKean), Chuck Medved (PPMS), Clay Ruffo (Sharon), Clinton Hersh (Roaring Knob), Cody Dawson (Potomac/Tour), Damian Bidwell (McKean), Darin Henderson (Potomac/Winchester), Daryl Charlier (PPMS), Dave Friedrich (Winchester), Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Humberstone/Sharon), Dustin Waters (Humberstone/McKean), Dylan Lewis (Roaring Knob), Ed Carley (Freedom/Humberstone), Eric Wilson (Tour), Garrett Mott (McKean), Garrett Stephen (Freedom), Harry Shipe, Jr. (Potomac), Jamie Brown (Freedom), Jamie Wrightsman (Sharon), Jason Rider (Tour), Jeff Dayman (Humberstone), Jennae Piper (Winchester), Jeremy Wonderling (Freedom/McKean), John Imler (Potomac/Winchester/Tour), John Over (Potomac/Roaring Knob/Tour), John Waters (Freedom/Humberstone/Tour), Josh Double (Sharon), Josh Holtgraver (PPMS), Justin Lamb (PPMS), Ken Herman (Roaring Knob), Lon Emerick (Sharon), Luke Carleton (Humberstone), Mark Moats (PPMS), Max Blair (Freedom/McKean), Michael Lake (Roaring Knob), Michael Reft (PPMS), Nico Dabecco (PPMS), Nolan Dalton (Roaring Knob), Paul Grigsby (Humberstone), Ralph Morgan, Jr. (Potomac/Winchester/Tour), Reese Masiello (Potomac/Winchester), Rick Singleton (Tour), Rob Nichols, III (Winchester), Ron Hall (PPMS), Russ Byler (Sharon), Russell Baird Jr. (Roaring Knob), Ryan Montgomery (Tour), Timmy Booth (Potomac/Winchester), Tony White (PPMS), Tracy Graves (Potomac), Troy Shields (Roaring Knob), Ward Schell (Freedom/McKean), Will Thomas, III (Sharon), Zack Carley (Freedom/Humberstone).
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, Bilstein Shocks, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, TurboStart, Beyea Headers, FK Rod Ends, Bobby Lake Motorsports, Driven Racing Oil, Crate Innovations Inc., Velocita-USA, High Gear Speed Shop, 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.