By Mike Leone


(East Smethport, PA)…It seems like the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series has been fighting Mother Nature all season long forcing many events to be rescheduled, but on Thursday the weather finally cleared allowing for a beautiful night of racing at McKean County Raceway for round two of the five-night “Cross the Borders” Speedweek. Sweeney Tour event #8 of 26 drew 32 racers from all over Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Maryland, and Ontario, Canada.

Making just his third Sweeney Tour start of the season, Max Blair became the Series’ sixth different winner in the first eight events. Though Blair started second, his 25-lap $1,200 victory was far from easy as he had to hold off challenges by nemesis Mike Pegher, Jr. in the middle stages of the event and a huge charge by 25th starting Joe Martin in the final laps.

“I love this place and love racing here,” expressed the 23-year-old Centerville, Pa. standout, who has won six of his seven McKean starts in 2013. “It got real crazy real quick in traffic as guys were racing three-wide in front of me and that shows just how racey this track is, but I was real happy to see the caution that time. There’s no one better on restarts in the country than Mike Pegher, and then I looked up on the scoreboard and saw the 55 (Joe Martin). He was amazing last time here and had us covered.”

Blair used the outside to pass pole-sitter Brad Mesler, who was subbing for his father Bill, on the opening lap for the lead. Dusty Waters had moved from 10th to seventh on lap one, but on lap two got sideways on the frontstretch and a 12-car pileup ensued. One of the cars collected was heat race winner Luke Carleton of Canada. Carleton was awarded The Brake Man’s “Tough Brake of the Night” Award.

When the track was clear and racing resumed, May 26 Sharon Speedway Sweeney Tour winner Ryan Montgomery, was on the move passing both Paul Grigsby and Rick Singleton for fourth place. Pegher raced side-by-side with Mesler for second on lap four before making the pass stick coming off the bottom of turn two on lap five. Montgomery quickly caught up to Mesler and raced side-by-side for third on lap six making the pass with an inside move in turn three.

Pegher began to slowly close in on Blair on lap eight. Traffic loomed ahead for Blair on lap 12. Blair was in heavy lapped traffic on lap 14 as Pegher was sizing up a pass for the lead when the caution was displayed for Cody Dawson, who stopped in turn four. After 11 non-stop laps, the field was doubled back up for the second-half of the race. Under caution, Grigsby exited yielding the fifth position to Singleton.

Joe Martin, who lost a heartbreaker on June 14 and then was leading his heat on Thursday until the driveshaft broke, took a provisional for the feature and was working his way forward. When racing resumed on lap 14, Martin had a great restart as he got by Chad Ruhlman and Mesler for fifth. Singleton was also able to pass Mesler for fourth. Three more laps were completed until a caution with 16 laps scored when Mesler spun around. When green replaced yellow, Martin passed Montgomery for third, while Bryce Davis, who also got caught up in the early accident, passed Singleton for fifth.

Two more laps and another caution. This time under the caution, Pegher pitted with an apparent flat tire from contact on the restart. Martin, who saw 24 cars ahead of him on the initial start, now lined up alongside Blair with seven laps to go and a shot at the win! Martin tried everything on the two restarts, but one slip up allowed Blair to go uncontested in the final laps by a margin of 1.947 seconds. Blair’s seventh overall Sweeney RUSH-sanctioned victory of 2013 came in his Specialty Products/Moody & Son Welding/Wescoat Excavating/Genesis Shocks-sponsored #111.

Martin came a long way from his battered car after an accident less than a week ago at Lernerville Speedway and from his 25th starting spot to a second place finish Thursday night and back in hunt for the Sweeney Tour Championship point race. Martin also took over the Sweeney Weekly Series point lead, and obviously earned the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger gift card after that Yeoman’s effort.

“This feels good,” acknowledged the 28-year-old Mayport, Pa. racer. “It was a long way around to get here- but the end is all that matters. I drove too aggressive at the end. I wanted to be side-by-side with Max in the corner, but overdrove. I have to thank the crew and the good Lord for making this possible. And also the fans- keep coming to support MCR for all John Kennedy and Chris Zuver are doing.”

Montgomery’s shot at his second Sweeney Tour win of the season ended when he got sideways on lap 21 allowing Davis, Ed Carley, and Singleton by. Though it got overshadowed by Martin’s performance, it was quite a run by Davis as well. The June 14 McKean Sweeney Tour McKean winner restarted last after pitting from the first accident and worked his way to the show position with torn up race car.

“I’ll take whatever I could get after that,” stated the 22-year-old Hornell, New York racer. “I have to thank all of my crew for getting me back out there. I thought we were done and acted like a two-year-old and threw my helmet”

Carley improved on his seventh place June 14 finish to place fourth. Singleton entered the night trailing Pegher by just one point, but his sixth top five finish coupled with Pegher’s 14th put the opening night Sweeney Tour Hagerstown Speedway winner back into the Tour point lead.

Montgomery held on for sixth over Butch Lambert, who also got caught up in the early accident and pitted. After starting off the year with four finishes outside the top 10, Lambert has now strung together three straight top 10s. Matt Glanden was eighth and moved to eighth in points after his second top 10 of the season. Cody Mason and Adam Sixth rounded out the top 10 after starting 24th and 20th respectively.

Zack Carley ended the night winning the six-lap non-qualifier to become the sixth different winner in as many “Wheelman” Bonus Events!. The 22-year-old Freedom, New York racer went uncontested to the $125 win in his Previty’s Auto Wrecking/Ed Carley Motorsports/Genesis Shocks-sponsored #8 Rocket Chassis. Justin Smith, who finished second in the last “Wheelman” Non-Qualifier at McKean was second again, as Scott Fitch, Garret Stephen, and Craig Dean completed the field.

Ruhlman, Ed Carley, Waters, and Carleton copped the heat races, while Glanden and Davis won the two last chance B mains. Maryland racer Cody Dawson became the eighth different K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash winner in as many events in 2013! Dawson earned a $100 K&N certificate, while runner-up Bob Kish picked up a $50 K&N certificate. Matt Lux and Dereck Frank received $25 for finishing third and fourth respectively.

Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series Race #8 (25 laps, $1,200 to-win): 1. MAX BLAIR (111) 2. Joe Martin (55) 3. Bryce Davis (94) 4. Ed Carley (28) 5. Rick Singleton (Enyeart 99*) 6. Ryan Montgomery (12) 7. Butch Lambert (27) 8. Matt Glanden (01) 9. Cody Mason (MR1) 10. Adam Sixt (6T) 11. Jason Genco (29J) 12. Brad Mesler (15) 13. Richard Hemphill, Jr. (31) 14. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Geisler 1c) 15. Chad Ruhlman (Suppa 4s) 16. Doug Ricotta (01) 17. Jorden Peters (11P) 18. Bob Kish (5) 19. Paul Grigsby (24) 20. Cody Dawson (36) 21. Dereck Frank (16) 22. Dusty Waters (14) 23. Luke Carleton (97c) 24. Matt Lux (Latta 21) 25. Justin Tatlow (Kratts 81). (Note: Joe Martin took a Series provisional).

Non-Qualifier (6 laps, $125 to-win): 1. Zack Carley (8) 2. Justin Smith (22) 3. Scott Fitch (28) 4. Garret Stephen (79) 5. Craig Dean (21) 6. Ward Schell (Baker 74)-DNS 7. Bruno Mowery (48)-DNS.

Feature lap Leaders: (Blair 1-25)
Margin of Victory: 1.947 seconds
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Joe Martin (+23)
The Brake Man “Tough Brake of the Night: Luke Carleton

Heat 1 (8 laps/Top 5 transfer) 1. Ruhlman 2. Singleton 3. Hemphill 4. Kish 5. Lambert 6. Fitch 7. Schell 8. Ricotta-DNS.

Heat 2 (8 laps/Top 5 Transfer): 1. E. Carley 2. Peters 3. Grigsby 4. Dawson 5. Tatlow 6. Glanden 7. Smith 8. Martin.

Heat 3 (8 laps/Top 5 Transfer): 1. Waters 2. Blair 3. Montgomery 4. Lux 5. Genco 6. Davis 7. Z. Carley 8. Mowery.

Heat 4 (8 laps/Top 5 transfer): 1. Carleton 2. Pegher 3. Mesler 4. Frank 5. Sixt 6. Mason 7. Dean 8. Stephen.

K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash (4 laps/$100 K&N certificate to-win): 1. Cody Dawson 2. Bob Kish 3. Matt Lux 4. Dereck Frank.

Last Chance B Main 1 (8 laps/Top 2 transfer): 1. Glanden 2. Ricotta 3. Smith 4. Martin 5. Fitch 6. Schell-DNS.

Last Chance B Main 2 (8 laps/Top 2 transfer): 1. Davis 2. Mason 3. Z. Carley 4. Stephen 5. Dean 6. Mowery.

The next event for the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Touring Series will Saturday (July 13) at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway for round 3 of the “Cross the Borders” Speedweek paying $1,200 to-win plus the “Futures Cup” Trifecta race #1 paying $200 to-win.

Please note: the July 6 rained out $2,000 to-win Sharon Speedway Sweeney Tour event that includes the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC/Pace Performance GM 604 engine giveaway has been rescheduled to Saturday, July 20 replacing the originally scheduled America’s Motorsports Park event.

Also note: the April 20 rained out $2,000 to-win Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex Sweeney Tour event that was originally rescheduled to Sunday, July 28 has been moved to Friday, July 26 due to a change in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series schedule.

2013 RUSH marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, RainEater Wiper Blades, Hoosier Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, The Brake Man, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, TurboStart, K1 RaceGear, Beyea Headers, FK Rod Ends, Bobby Lake Motorsports, Wrisco Industries, High Gear Speed Shop, Utsinger’s Towing,, 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.