MAX BLAIR WINS 4TH SWEENEY RUSH LATE MODEL TOUR RACE AT EXPO IN 8 YEARS; GREG MARTIN CAPTURES INAUGURAL BICKNELL TOUR RACE FOR SWEENEY RUSH SPORTSMAN MODS
By Mike Leone
July 15, 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Cortland, OH)…Expo Speedway hosted a Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Racing Series doubleheader on Wednesday night featuring the Bazell/Sunoco Race Fuels Southern Late Model Touring Series and the Bicknell Racing Products Sportsman Modified Touring Series. Capturing wins were Max Blair in the Late Models, Greg Martin in the Sportsman Modifieds, and David Scott closed out the program winning the E-Mod event. The event was part of the 167th annual Trumbull County Fair.
There’s no doubt the 5/8-mile Expo Speedway is a challenging track on its best days. Add in a soft surface from nearly daily rains for the last month including an inch and a half on Tuesday night, and the track crew and racers had all they could handle. But Max Blair is one racer that continues to rise above the rest no matter the conditions. Blair led all 25 laps of the feature going unchallenged for his fourth win at the Trumbull County Fair race in eight years! Blair’s third Bazell/Sunoco Southern Tour win and fifth overall in Sweeney Tour competition this season was worth $1,500 and kept him atop all standings for the $10,000 Touring sweep. Blair also continues to lead the $5,000 to-win Sweeney Weekly Series points.
“It’s tough being rough and being a big track, but I sure do love racing here,” expressed the 25-year-old Centerville, Pa. winner. “We always have a lot of fun and look forward to coming. Hopefully we’ll have the chance to keep coming back for a long time. It’s tough with the weather, but at least we raced for all you fans up there. That’s what’s cool about coming here is having all these people watch and that’s what makes it fun. I have to thank my dad number one, and everyone that helps out and all of my sponsors that make this possible.”
Blair inherited the pole positions when motor problems for Jeremy Wonderling sidelined him from the event. Brian Knowles started alongside Blair, but he went pit side under caution for a Jake Gunn spin before a lap was completed. That moved Clay Ruffo, who was originally slated to start fourth, to the front row.
The first lap saw Blair take off in the lead over Ruffo, Alan Dellinger, Eric Wilson, and Matt Latta. On lap two, fourth starting Dellinger got under Ruffo for second with Wilson and Latta following in third and fourth. By lap four, Blair already had a straightaway lead on Dellinger, while the battle heated up for third with Wilson trying to fend off Latta.
Blair caught lapped traffic on lap eight before the caution was displayed for John Waters, who got into an infield yuke tire for the second straight race ending his night. Dellinger would now start alongside Blair, but the inside was the place to be as Wilson, Jamie Wrightsman, and Latta all got by for positions two through four.
Latta and Dellinger moved back by Wrightsman for positions three and four on laps 10 and 12 respectively before the event’s third and final caution. Rookie Joe Sylvester was having a career best Touring Series run in seventh when he crashed racing out of turn four and suffered heavy damage with 12 laps scored. Sylvester was given the TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”.
After losing spots on the last restart, Dellinger gained them back this time getting by Latta and Wilson for second. The final 13 laps went green-to-checkered. Dellinger closed on Blair at times, but was unable to mount a serious challenge as Blair recorded his all-time leading 10th career Sweeney RUSH Tour win in his R&J Poultry/Moody & Son Welding/Specialty Products/Genesis Shocks/Murphy’s Logging/C&J Dairy-sponsored #111.
Dellinger’s run to second earned him the Maxima Racing Oils “Maximum Performance” Award doing it on the $135 Bilstein Shocks as well. Latta was third for his second top five in three Tour starts this year. Wilson’s fourth place not only earned him the $25 CrateInsider.com gift certificate for being the final car on the lead lap, but also vaulted him into second place in the Bazell/Sunoco Southern Tour points.
Wrightsman completed the top five for his best career Sweeney RUSH Tour finish. Jason Knowles was sixth. W.L. Stile captured the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger for advancing from 13th to seventh. Sylvester, Gunn, and Steve Lowery completed the top 10.
Heat winners were Dellinger and Wilson. Jason Knowles became the ninth different K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash winner in as many dash events held and received a $100 K&N certificate. Sylvester received a $50 K&N certificate for second. Gunn and Lowery picked up an extra $25 cash for finishing third and fourth respectively.
Greg Martin will go down in the history books as the inaugural Bicknell Racing Products Touring Series winner for the Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. Martin passed race-long leader Kole Holden on a restart on lap eight to capture the $600 victory in the 15-lap feature.
“I really wanted to win this race and get one of these big checks,” acknowledged the 33-year-old Wilson, New York driver, who made the three and half hour tow to Expo. “I wanted to win the inaugural RUSH race last year, but finished second, but I’m glad we got it done tonight in the first touring race. I want to thank the fair and everyone for taking their time to come out and watch us tonight. I hope it was a great show. The weather made it tough on the race track, but I’m glad they were able to get it in.”
Holden, who won his first career race on Sunday at Sportsman’s Speedway in Sweeney Weekly Series action, raced to the early lead. Martin started fourth and passed Kyle Martell and Larry Kugel on the opening lap for second. Martin closed in on Holden on lap four, while the battle was on for third between veterans Kugel and Jerry Schaffer.
Holden began to open up his lead on lap seven after Martin caught a rut; however a caution for Schaffer’s spin wasn’t what Holden wanted to see. Holden chose the inside on the restart, but Martin found bite on the top to power into the lead. Martin began to open up his lead on lap 10 before a trio of cautions slowed action with 11 laps completed.
The final caution was for a scary accident when contact on the restart in turn one caused Martell to launch over the jersey barrier, while Hughes found himself on top of a barrier. Also involved in the accident was Brandon Ritchey. All drivers were okay. Ritchey started ninth and had worked his way up to fourth before the accident. He was awarded the TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”.
The final four laps went green-to-checkered with Martin going unchallenged for his fifth overall Sweeney RUSH win of 2015 in his NYKDS/Jeffery Machine/Atwal Eye Care/Race 1-sponsored #4. Holden’s runner-up awarded the 16-year-old the Maxima Oils “Maximum Performance” Award. Kugel was third. After running fourth before his spin, Schaffer came back to finish fourth and earned the Sherwood Racing Wheels “Man of Steel” Award.
Schaffer’s team cars of sisters Chelsie and Jessica Kriegisch finished fifth and sixth respectively. Jessica earned the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger gift card for advancing five spots in the feature in her first career start. Joe Plesniak made his debut and finished seventh and received a $25 gift certificate from CrateInsider.com for being the final car on the lead lap. Ritchey, Hughes, and Martell were credited with eighth through 10th.
Martin and Holden won the heat races. Jeff Hughes won the inaugural K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash for a $100 K&N certificate. Chelsie Kriegisch was runner-up and earned a $50 K&N certificate. Ritchey and Shea were third and fourth respectively and received an additional $25 cash.
The next event for the Sweeney RUSH Late Model Touring Series will be an Insinger/Sunoco Northern Tour event this Sunday, July 19 at Humberstone Speedway in Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada. The Bicknell Tour for the Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modifieds resumes on Friday, July 24 at Lernerville Speedway for the GM 602 engine giveaway night. Also at Lernerville that night will be the July 3 make-up feature for the Bazell/Sunoco Southern Touring Series.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Bazell/Sunoco Race Fuels Southern Touring Series Race #8 (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. MAX BLAIR (111) 2. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 3. Matt Latta (21) 4. Eric Wilson (27W) 5. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 6. Jason Knowles (4) 7. W.L. Stile (1W) 8. Joe Sylvester (8) 9. Jake Gunn (14G) 10. Steve Lowery (48) 11. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 12. Clay Ruffo (14R) 13. Brian Knowles (7) 14. Jeremy Wonderling (3J)-DNS 15. Kyle Lukon (84)-DNS.
Car Count: 15
Feature Lap Leaders: Max Blair (1-25)
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: W.L. Stile (+6)
Maxima Oil “Maximum Performance”: Alan Dellinger
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night": Joe Sylvester
CrateInsider.com "Last Car on Lead Lap": Eric Wilson
RUSH Late Model Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Dellinger 2. Ruffo 3. Wrightsman 4. B. Knowles 5. J. Knowles 6. Lowery 7. Gunn 8. Stile.
RUSH Late Model Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Wilson 2. Blair 3. Latta 4. Wonderling 5. Sylvester 6. Lukon 7. Waters.
K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash (4 laps): 1. Jason Knowles 2. Joe Sylvester 3. Scott Gunn 4. Steve Lowery.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds Bicknell Racing Products Touring Series Race #1 (15 laps, $600 to-win): 1. GREG MARTIN (4) 2. Kole Holden (2) 3. Larry Kugel (0) 4. Jerry Schaffer (14) 5. Chelsie Kriegisch (Schaffer 10) 6. Jessica Kriegisch (Schaffer 28) 7. Joe Plesniak (89) 8. Brandon Ritchey (17) 9. Jeff Hughes (22) 10. Kyle Martell (8) 11. Justin Shea (14s) 12. Jordan Eck (1M) 13. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B)-DNS.
Car Count: 13
Feature Lap Leaders: Kole Holden (1-7), Greg Martin (8-15)
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Jessica Kriegisch (+5)
Maxima Oil “Maximum Performance”: Kole Holden
Sherwood Racing Wheels “Man of Steel”: Jerry Schaffer
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night": Brandon Ritchey
CrateInsider.com "Last Car on Lead Lap": Joe Plesniak
RUSH Sportsman Modified Heat 1 (6 laps): 1. Martin 2. Kugel 3. Schaffer 4. Hughes 5. Ritchey 6. Burns 7. Plesniak.
RUSH Sportsman Modified Heat 2 (6 laps): 1. Holden 2. Eck 3. Martell 4. C. Kriegisch 5. Shea 6. J. Kriegisch.
K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash (4 laps): 1. Jeff Hughes 2. Chelsie Kriegisch 3. Brandon Ritchey 4. Justin Shea.
E-Mods (12 laps): 1. DAVID SCOTT (Engles 68) 2. Joel Watson (92) 3. Dwayne Clay (007) 4. Brandon Blackshear (10) 5. Paul Davis (3D) 6. Ken Zimmer (62) 7. Howard Fraley (217) 8. Adam Babcock (67) 9. Ray Gregory (82R) 10. Jeff Johnson (Smith 1).
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, Velocita-USA, High Gear Speed Shop, CrateInsider.com, RockAuto.com, and Valley Fashions.
RUSH Sportsman Modified marketing partners: Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Bicknell Racing Products, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, MSD Ignition, Maxima Racing Oil, Jones Racing Products, VP Racing Fuels, FK Rod Ends, Sherwood Racing Wheels, Velocita-USA, Precise Racing Products, Alternative Power Sources, K&N Filters, TBM Brakes, Lincoln Electric, CrateInsinder.com, Rocket Racing, 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.