IN A REVERSAL OF LAST TIME AT WAYNE COUNTY, MAX BLAIR FENDS OFF DAMIAN BIDWELL FOR BAZELL/SUNOCO SOUTHERN TOUR RUSH LM WIN; RYAN MARKHAM WINS SWEENEY/PACE GM 604 ENGINE
By Mike Leone
July 4, 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Orrville, OH)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Series returned to Wayne County Speedway on Saturday night for the second of three visits by the Bazell/Sunoco Southern Touring Series. A record 28 teams made the trip to the westernmost RUSH-sanctioned facility as a large crowd was on hand to celebrate the Independence Day holiday. Ryan Markham was the lucky winner of the GM 604 engine from Sweeney/Pace Performance dressed out by Jones Performance Products valued at over $6,200! Race fan Les Miller of Fredricksburg, Ohio was the winner of the K&N Cold Air Induction System valued at up to $500 and donated the prize to racer Charlie Duncan!
Just 12 days ago at Wayne County, Damian Bidwell worked his way to second and passed Max Blair on a late race restart for his first career RUSH Touring Series victory. On Saturday night, Bidwell charged from 11th and found himself alongside Blair for a one-lap shootout to the finish, but Blair didn't let it happen again as he maintained the lead to the finish to capture the win. The $1,500 victory was Blair's second in Bazell/Sunoco Southern Touring Series action this year and fourth overall in Sweeney Touring competition keeping him atop all three standings in his bid for $10,000.
"If I can't win there's no one else I'd rather see win than Damian (Bidwell)," stated the 25-year-old Centerville, Pa. star. "He's one of my best friends. He's a great kid, great family, and I love all of those guys to death, but I wasn't going to let another one slip away. I have to thank my dad number one- without him I couldn't do any of this let alone having a season like we're having right now. He's given up a lot in recent years to back my program more and help me out a lot. R&J Poultry really stepped up and without him we wouldn't even have a crate car this year. I also have to thank Sweeney Chevrolet for all they do for this Series."
Eric Wilson and Kyle Lukon led the field to green as Wilson took the early lead, while fourth starting Charlie Duncan made his way to second. Duncan looked strong as he charged past Wilson to lead lap three; meanwhile, 10th starting Blair was flying forward as he passed Lukon to take third after just three laps. Blair then began to reel in the top two on lap five before a caution for newcomer Mike Swansiger.
When racing resumed on lap six, Blair overtook Wilson for second, while Jason Knowles got by Lukon for fourth before action was stopped when Swansiger hit a tire and rolled on his side. He was okay, but done for the night. Back under green, Duncan opened up his lead over Blair on lap eight, while the battle was on for third as Wilson was trying to keep Knowles, Lukon, Justin Chance, Bidwell, and John Waters at bay.
Bidwell continued his way to front as he cracked the top five on lap 13 and passed Knowles for fourth one lap later, but meanwhile up front Blair made his winning pass slipping under and past Duncan racing off turn four to grab the lead on the 14th circuit. Bidwell continued advancing one car per lap as he stole third away from Wilson on lap 15. Knowles and Chance followed in fourth and fifth past Wilson on lap 16.
Bidwell then drove by Duncan down the backstretch for second on lap 22, while Chance moved into fourth past Knowles. A spin by Waters slowed action for the final time with 24 laps scored. Waters, who was scheduled to start 12th, couldn't get his car fired so he returned to the pit area before the race started and had to start on the tail. Waters charged forward and was battling around the top five before contact sent him around. Waters was awarded the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night".
After choosing the inside for the double file restart at the last event, Blair chose the top this time and beat Bidwell to turn one. Bidwell washed up the track allowed Chance to blast by both Duncan and Bidwell for second. Chance made a run at Blair, but Blair wasn't about to let this one slip away as he captured his first career Wayne County win in his R&J Poultry/Moody & Son Welding/Specialty Products/Genesis Shocks/Murphy’s Logging/C&J Dairy-sponsored #111. The win was Blair's ninth in Sweeney RUSH Touring Series competition, which is best all time.
Chance, who started fifth, ran outside the top five for over half the event until coming on strong at the end to finish second and received the Maxima Racing Oils "Maxima Performance" award in just his sixth career Crate Late Model start and second career Tour start. It was also Chance's best career RUSH finish after recording three straight third place finishes to open the season at Wayne County in Sweeney Weekly Series action.
Bidwell was third. Duncan, who early on looked like he may be headed for his first career Tour win, edged out Jason Knowles for fourth in a photo finish. Front row starters Lukon and Wilson dropped to sixth and seventh respectively at the finish. Kyle Zimmerman was eighth in his first ever Wayne County appearance. For the third time this season, Brian Knowles earned the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger gift card. Knowles raced from 24th to ninth. Wayne County regular Paul Harriger completed the top 10. Tony White finished 17th and was the final car on the lead lap and earned the $25 gift certificate form CrateInsider.com.
Heat winners were Bidwell, Waters, and Dellinger. The K&N "Cold Air Induction Dash" and the last chance B main were cancelled due to the lateness of the hour as Wayne County and RUSH elected to start all 28 cars.
The Sweeney/Pace GM 604 engine giveaway couldn't have been scripted any better. Last Saturday night, Wayne County and Ohio Late Model standout Ryan Markham suffered engine problems. Track promoters Jason and Kristin Flory allowed Markham to race their #U2 car on Saturday night to maintain his points and have a shot at the engine giveaway. And by the luck of the draw, the Ashland, Ohio fan favorite was picked by Sweeney/Pace representative Steve Mezz! The engine itself is valued at over $5,800, but the prize exceeded $6,200 thanks to Jones Racing Products, who dressed it out with the belt drive system and water pump. Markham becomes the fifth different winner of the Sweeney/Pace GM 604 engine giveaway joining Ben Black, Paul Jablonski, Bobby Whitling, and Rob Marhefka!
The next event for the Bazell/Sunoco Touring Series will be at Expo Speedway on Wednesday, July 15 as part of the Trumbull County Fair in Cortland, Ohio for a $1,500 to-win event followed by a $2,000 to-win show on Sunday, July 19 at Humberstone Speedway in Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada for the Insinger/Sunoco Northern Touring Series.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Bazell/Sunoco Race Fuels Southern Touring Series Race #6 (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. MAX BLAIR (111) 2. Justin Chance (01) 3. Damian Bidwell (17HP) 4. Charlie Duncan (Hall 240) 5. Jason Knowles (4) 6. Kyle Lukon (240) 7. Eric Wilson (27W) 8. Kyle Zimmerman (z17) 9. Brian Knowles (7) 10. Paul Harriger (6) 11. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 12. Ryan Markham (Flory U2) 13. Clay Ruffo (14R) 14. W.L. Stile (1W) 15. Harry Shipe, Jr. (00) 16. Zack Kane (10) 17. Tony White (27) 18. Jim Nicely (72) 19. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 20. Daryl Charlier (12) 21. Joe Long (71) 22. Joe Sylvester (8) 23. Steve Lowery (48) 24. Bobby Pifer III (6P) 25. Cody Dawson (36) 26. Hiram Bachman (92) 27. Mike Swansiger (X) 28. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8).
Car Count: 28
Feature Lap Leaders: Eric Wilson (1-2), Charlie Duncan (3-13), Max Blair (14-25)
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Brian Knowles (+15)
Maxima Oil “Maximum Performance”: Justin Chance
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night": John Waters
CrateInsider.com "Last Car on Lead Lap": Tony White
RUSH Late Model Heat 1 (10 laps): 1. Bidwell 2. Blair 3. Wilson 4. Long 5. Shipe 6 Bachman 7. White 8. Swansiger 9. Wrightsman 10. Nicely-DSQ (light)
RUSH Late Model Heat 2 (10 laps): 1. Waters 2. Zimmerman 3. Chance 4. Duncan 5. Harriger 6. Dawson 7. Markham 8. Sylvester 9. Zane.
RUSH Late Model Heat 3 (10 laps): 1. Dellinger 2. J. Knowles 3. Charlier 4. Lukon 5. Lowery 6. Pifer 7. Ruffo 8. Stile 9. B. 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, CrateInsider.com, B.R.A.K.E.S., RockAuto.com, and Valley Fashions.
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