JEREMY WONDERLING'S 1ST SWEENEY RUSH LATE MODEL TOUR WIN OF 2018 COMES IN ANOTHER THRILLER AT OUTLAW; MEANINGFUL $2000 VICTORY COMES IN THE "GARY MONTGOMERY MEMORIAL"
By Mike Leone
July 20, 2018 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Dundee, NY)...The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series powered by Pace Performance wrapped up the New York doubleheader on Friday night at Outlaw Speedway. The second annual "Gary Montgomery Memorial" was originally scheduled for June 1 before being rained out and rescheduled to the night after the stand-alone July 19 show at New York's Genesee Speedway. Race #11 of 18 for the 2018 season attracted racers from all over New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Ontario, Canada.
One night after losing the Sweeney Tour point lead, Jeremy Wonderling may have picked the perfect time to score his first RUSH win of 2018. The former standout for Gary Montgomery's BRP Can-Am "360" Late Model Series won the thriller in the second annual event that remembered the late and longtime Series owner, track manager, and announcer. Wonderling passed Chad Homan on lap on lap 20 then held off Jason Genco for the $2,000 victory in the 30-lap non-stop affair timed in 8:33.432.
In the 2017 inaugural "Gary Montgomery Memorial", Bryce Davis, a former racer in Montgomery's Series as well, passed Wonderling with six laps to go for the victory as he'd go on to win his first Sweeney Tour Championship. That event was remembered as one of, if not, the best races of the season and the 2018 version could very easily go down as the same. Could this very well be an omen for Wonderling as he searches for his first Sweeney Tour Championship!?
It was a very meaningful victory for Wonderling, who was the 2011 champion for Montgomery's former Series. Wonderling and Montgomery had a close relationship. Montgomery came to Wonderling's wedding and even had a die cast of Wonderling's car made, which he'd later give to Wonderling before his passing in November 2016.
"This means a lot to win this, expressed the 38-year-old Wellsville, NY driver. "We stood over there in the line-up chute before going out and I had soft tires on and everyone bad-mouthed me.. "I kept telling myself to stay on the bottom in the brown. I was trying everything I could to stay down there , but Homan just kept getting further and further away so I decided to go to the top and give it a try."
"I've won races here before up there (top of the track)," recalled Wonderling. "Last year with Bryce (Davis) we were clear up top. I don't think everyone knew you had to go that far up where it's dark to find the brown stuff. I was catching up to Homan, and the lapped traffic might have had something to do with it. When I got to him I knew I had to make my move there to slide job him in the corner. Then it got pretty hairy with lapped cars a couple times. The only time I ever saw Genco was on the last corner. I figured if I was going to see him it would be then when he tried something. Points aren't on my mind. I'm just trying to win races. We still have a long season to go."
Following his dash victory, Homan raced to the early lead, while Wonderling passed Genco for second. Homan and Wonderling raced side-by-side for the lead on laps two and three with Homan maintaining the advantage. John Waters passed his teammate Steve LeBarron for fourth then caught Genco on lap four in the race for third. The two battled hard, racing side-by-side before Waters finally made the pass on the seventh circuit.
Back up front, Homan, who entered the night with three straight RUSH Weekly Series wins at Outlaw, was setting a torrid pace as he pulled away on lap eight. Homan had a half-straightaway lead on Wonderling when he caught traffic on lap nine. Genco and Waters resumed their battle for third on laps 11 and 12 with Genco making an inside pass to regain the spot on lap 12. Wonderling moved to the top and began to close in on Homan on lap 13 and by the halfway point was right on the leader. Heavy traffic came into play on lap 17 for the front duo, which allowed Genco to close in making it a three-car race for the lead on lap 18.
Wonderling's winning move came on lap 20 when he put a slide job on Homan in turn four. Genco then went to work on Homan in lapped traffic on lap 22. The two raced side-by-side for runner-up in traffic from laps 23-26 with Genco finally making the pass on the 26th circuit. Even though Genco and Homan battled hard for five laps in traffic, Wonderling wasn't able to get away as Genco caught the leader on lap 29.
Genco tried one last ditch effort in turn four on the final lap, but Wonderling had the momentum off turn four to take the win by 0.521 of a second, which also awarded him the Dirt Defender "Defensive Drive of the Night". Wonderling's fourth career Sweeney Tour win came in his Terry Prince Contracting/Close Racing Supply/Wonderling Pit Stop/The Store/Pine Grove Collision/Dynamic Driveline-sponsored #3J.
Genco earned $1,000 for his sixth top five in the past six races as he now leads Wonderling by just two points. "It was just one lap too short," stated the 34-year-old Frewsburg, NY racer one night after winning Thursday's $1,500 to-win Platinum Tour race at Genesee Speedway. "You never know...woulda, coulda, shoulda. The car was good. Rolling into lapped traffic changed the whole dynamic of that race. The track was beautiful. You could race top, bottom, middle- it didn't matter where you went. It was a lot of fun. Like Jeremy said, I'm not trying to think about the points- just go and try to win races and it will pan out how it does."
After leading the first 19 laps, Homan dropped to third with a tire going down for his best career Sweeney Tour finish, which prior to had been a pair of seventh place efforts. Also turning in his best career Sweeney Tour finish was Steve LeBarron in fourth after getting by Waters. LeBarron's best career finish in Tour competition prior to Friday was a seventh more than three years ago on June 5, 2015 at Freedom Motorsports Park. Brady Wonderling also got by Waters to finish fifth.
After getting as high as third, Waters dropped back to sixth at the finish. Wayne Robertson was seventh. Brothers Jason and Brian Knowles were eighth and ninth. J.J. Mazur was 10th as all top 10 drivers were from the Empire State!
Brian Knowles was the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger gift card recipient. Ohio driver Chad Sines was selected as the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night" recipient as he lost a wheel just as the field was set to take the green.
John Waters set a new track record in $100 FK Rod Ends "Shock the Clock" Qualifying with a lap of 15.276 lowering the former record of 15.543 set by Brad Mesler on June 2, 2017. LeBarron and Homan won the $25 FK Rod Ends heat races.
The Sweeney Tour will return to action with another doubleheader weekend on July 28-29. Saturday will be the rescheduled "Bill Law Memorial" at Stateline Speedway for the third straight Tour race in New York and fourth in the past five events. Sunday will be the second and final appearance of the season at Eriez Speedway located just outside of Erie, Pa. Both shows will be $2,000 to-win Marquee Events.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series Race #11 (30 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. JEREMY WONDERLING (3J) 2. Jason Genco (Craig/Badgley 29J) 3. Chad Homan (91) 4. Steve LeBarron (29) 5. Brady Wonderling (Ralyea z1) 6. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 7. Wayne Robertson (20) 8. Jason Knowles (4) 9. Brian Knowles (7) 10. J.J. Mazur (13) 11. Adam Ferri (66) 12. Cory Lawler (93) 13. Chris Fleming (10) 14. Alan Chapman (64c) 15. Jamie Freeman (8) 16. Bill Kessler (09) 17. Randy Ralyea (2R) 18. Chad Sines (15).
Car Count: 18
Margin of Victory: 0.521 of a second
Feature Lap Leaders: Chad Homan (1-19), Jeremy Wonderling (20-30)
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Brian Knowles (+4)
Dirt Defender “Defensive Drive of the Night”: Jeremy Wonderling
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night": Chad Sines
FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying ($100 for fast time) (Track record 15.543 by Brad Mesler 6/2/17): 1. John Waters 15.276 (NTR) 2. Chad Homan 15.316 3. Steve LeBarron 15.558 4. Brady Wonderling 15.563 5. Jason Knowles 15.610 6. J.J. Mazur 15.643 7. Jason Genco 15.654 8. Bill Kessler 15.690 9. Adam Ferri 15.737 10. Chris Fleming 15.759 11. Wayne Robertson 15.788 12. Jeremy Wonderling 15.813 13. Brian Knowles 15.836 14. Cory Lawler 15.855 15. Randy Ralyea 16.062 16. Chad Sines 16.372 17. Jamie Freeman 16.462 18. Alan Chapman 16.505.
FK Rod Ends Heat 1 (8 laps, $25 to-win) 1. LeBarron 2. Genco 3. Waters 4. J. Knowles 5. Robertson 6. Ferri 7. B. Knowles 8. Freeman 9. Ralyea.
FK Rod Ends Heat 2 (8 laps, $25 to-win): 1. Homan 2. J. Wonderling 3. B. Wonderling 4. Lawler 5. Mazur 6. Kessler 7. Fleming 8. Sines 9. Chapman.
Dash (6 laps): 1. Homan 2. Genco 3. J. Wonderling 4. LeBarron.
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 Performance, Holley Performance Products, Earl's Performance Plumbing, Quick Fuel Technology, FK Rod Ends, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, Racing Electronics, Dirt Defender, Dynamic Drivelines, Wrisco Industries, Frankland Racing Supply, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, TBM Brakes, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, Pancho's Racing Products, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, Landrum Performance Spring, Schwartzmiller Ground Maintenance, Close Racing Supply, CrateInsider.com, RockAuto.com, Valley Fashions, Dirt Late Model Magazine, and Three Rivers Karting.
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.