KYLE LUKON ENDS 6-YEAR SWEENEY RUSH LATE MODEL TOUR WINLESS DROUGHT CAPTURING THE "HERB SCOTT MEMORIAL" AT PITTSBURGH; LUKON EARNS OVER $3400 IN CASH & PRODUCTS; OVER $30,000 OF PRODUCTS DISTRIBUTED ON "MANUFACTURERS NIGHT" PRESENTED BY MSD
By Mike Leone
July 20, 2019 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Imperial, PA)...The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series presented by Pace Performance headed to Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway on Saturday night for the first of three appearances of 2019 at dirt's "Monster Half-Mile". It was a sultry evening with temps in the low 90s and high humidity for the annual "Manufacturers Night" presented by MSD Performance that was rescheduled after the June 29 show was rained out. Over $30,000 of valuable, useful products were distributed during intermission to the competing drivers. There were 55 drawings for product packages valued at a minimum of $300 with over half of the drivers winning two packages! RUSH also held the travelling "Manufacturers Night" on May 26 at Potomac Speedway; all told, over $50,000 in product contingencies will be awarded to Late Model racers in 2019!
Nothing like some good old fashioned home cooking. On Saturday night, Kyle Lukon returned home to the track that has treated him so well over the years- 34 wins in fact; however, the nearby Burgettstown, Pa. resident hadn't made a start at the "Monster Half-Mile" since October 7, 2017. Lukon hadn't won a Sweeney RUSH Tour race in over six years with ironically his last win coming at PPMS on July 13, 2013. That six year winless drought ended on Saturday night as Lukon wrestled the lead away from Wayne Robertson on lap 19 following engine woes for early leader Jeremy Wonderling and went on for the 30-lap "Herb Scott Memorial" feature victory. Lukon earned $2,000 cash plus over $1,400 in products including a custom wrap from Ontime Body & Graphic, a drivers suit from Velocita-USA, and a Sunoco 5-Gallon Race Jug!
"This is the first time I've been back here in almost two years- it's truly hot and I'm tired right now," expressed the 29-year-old driver. "This is amazing after the luck we've had all year. I didn't know if we'd even make it through the whole feature because we were overheating after the heats and dash. Luckily the cautions fell just right and I was able to get it cooled down. It was a lot of fun- the track was racey top to bottom. Colton (Flinner) and I were battling for third for awhile and it probably ended up being the winning move. We kept throwing sliders at each other and he hit that rut, but I knew I cleared him coming off turn four then the caution came out after he slid me back. I was pretty excited for that. I don't know if I had anything for Jeremy (Wonderling)- he was pretty tough, but we were right there with Colton and Wayne (Robertson)."
After winning the dash, Wonderling raced into the lead over Christian Schneider, John Mollick, Robertson, and Lukon. Schneider took a shot to grab the lead from Wonderling in turns one and two, but contact made as Wonderling maintained the lead. Lap three saw a three-wide battle for third with Robertson and Lukon moving by Mollick. Wonderling began to pull away, while the battle was on for third with Lukon and Robertson racing side-by-side until the first caution of the event occurred for Mollick, who spun with seven laps completed.
On the restart, Schneider put a big slider on Wonderling to lead lap eight, but Wonderling gave it right back one lap later to regain the lead, while Robertson followed in second. Tremendous racing was taking place for positions three through five with Schneider, Lukon, and eighth starting Colton Flinner swapping the spots. Flinner worked his way by Lukon for fourth on lap 10 then put a slider on Schneider in turn two to grab third on lap 12. Lukon was able to get by Schneider as well then went back after Lukon taking third on lap 17, which would prove to be a critical pass. Robertson, Lukon, and Flinner began to close in on Wonderling, whose lead was shrinking fast. Wonderling's bid for his first career PPMS win ended when he went up in smoke in turn four on lap 19.
This would give the lead to Robertson, who chose the inside for the double file restart, with Lukon on the outside. Lukon, who has always loved the outside at the "Monster Half-Mile" used that experience to power into the lead over Robertson as the New York racer has only made a limited number of starts in his career at PPMS. Scott Gunn, who started alongside Flinner in row four, found himself fourth on the restart and he made some great moves to pass both Flinner and Robertson for second on lap 19. Robertson wasn't thrilled with how Gunn made the pass for second as he tried to charge back under Gunn in turns one and two on lap 22, but ran out of room as he spun to bring out the event's third caution with 21 laps recorded.
When green replaced yellow, Lukon raced back into the lead, while Flinner ripped the top to grab second on lap 22. Lukon pulled away on lap 23, while the battle was on for second as Flinner had his hands full from 13th starting Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr., who passed Gunn for third on lap 25. The event's final caution was displayed with 27 laps completed when New York's Dennis Cummings, who was making his first ever PPMS start, slowed in turns one and two.
Back under green for the final time, Lukon once again took off, while Schirnhofer displaced Flinner for the runner-up spot. Schirnhofer would be unable to make a challenge on Lukon, who pulled away in the final three laps to win by a comfortable margin of 2.721 seconds in the Phil Lukon-owned, Race 1/Tru Form/Frankland Racing Supply/Lukon's Reb-Fab/Poske's Performance Parts-sponsored #184 Rocket Chassis. After two straight DNFs on the Tour, the win moved Lukon to within four points of Michael Duritsky, Jr. for second place in the Sweeney Tour points and put him back in the championship hunt due to Wonderling's DNF.
"This is a big deal to win the Herb Scott Memorial," added Lukon. "I was talking to Dave (Oliveri) before the races about Herb. I personally never got to watch him race, but I'm sure my dad and others did. It's always a big deal when you win these memorial races because these people were important and were the forefathers to what we're doing now. Without them there wouldn't be a lot to do around here. We also picked up two nice prizes from Ontime and Velocita. I can't thank the sponsors enough for what they do for us. Without them this Series or any other for that matter wouldn't exist. It's great to have them behind us and let us do what we want to do."
Schirnhofer, who was making just his second Tour start of the season, had an excellent night earning $1,000 plus picked up the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger gift card. "That was a good run," acknowledged the 33-year-old Pittsburgh, Pa. driver. "I was patient at the beginning and took advantage of the restarts. I was also being patient because I knew I was at the front. Even when I got to sixth I felt like I had something for the leaders because we were all on the same straightaway. I have to thank my dad, who does all this work for me, Leo Phillips Racing, Rocket Chassis, D&T Auto Body, my family, and everyone else."
Flinner, who was making his first RUSH start since winning the 2018 season finale at Lernerville Speedway last October, was third. "We were all over the place battling," stated the 25-year-old Allison Park, Pa. driver. "I want to congratulate Kyle on winning and Tommy on getting second. That was a ball racing with them- I was so close. It was blast coming back here to race at Pittsburgh and with the RUSH Series in general. I have to thank Vicki Emig for putting on this Manufacturers Night- that's a really great deal she has going on. I'm glad we had a crate car to run with RUSH here and some other races. The track crew did a great job- hats off to them on making a great tack."
Gunn's fourth place was a career best Tour finish. Ben Policz was fifth. Duritsky was sixth for his fourth straight top six Tour finish and was the night's big winner in the "Manufacturers Night" drawings. Duritsky won the top prize of four F3 Tornado Brake Calipers from TBM Brakes valued at $1,800 plus a PTS-2 Trailer Alarm System and a Hasp Plus Trailer Lock from Trailer-Alarms.com valued at $685!
After qualifying only 22nd fastest, defending track champion, Justin Lamb, raced from the 18th starting spot to seventh . After leading lap eight, Schneider dropped to eighth at the finish in his first Tour start of 2019. Steve Dixon, who started 14th, finished ninth in his first PPMS start in eight years! 19th starting Jamie Wrightsman charged to 10th for his best Tour finish since a sixth on June 25, 2017 at Expo Speedway. In his first ever start at PPMS, Joe Long finished 12th and received a $150 spoiler kit from Ontime Body & Graphic.
Jared Kane and crew got his car back together after a heat race crash to finish third in the second last chance B main as he just missed transferring to the feature. Kane then went out and simply dominated the Non-Qualifier as he led the entire distance in the non-stop eight-lap race by a huge margin of 5.326 seconds in his Kane's Ideal Truck Service/Catalytic Combustion/Lukon's Reb Fab-sponsored #7. The 34-year-old Scenery Hill, Pa. driver earned $200 as he became the 37th different driver to win a "Wheelman" event in the 44 races run all-time. Paul Jablonski passed Bobby Springer on lap two to finish second. Sixth starting Bryan Hoffman was third as Springer dropped to fourth over Tony White.
Policz set fast time in $100 FK Rod Ends "Shock the Clock" Qualifying to earn $100 then went out and won FK Rod Ends heat one for another $25. Other $25 FK Rod Ends heat winners were Mollick, Flinner, and Wonderling. Wrightsman edged out Maryland invader Chuck Bowie to win the first last chance B main and was chosen as the Dirt Defender "Defensive Drive of the Night". Bowie then raced from 21st to 13th in the feature in his first ever PPMS start, and won a $1,000 drivers suit from Velocita-USA and a drum of Sunoco 110 fuel from Insinger Performance valued at $535!
A MAJOR announcement was made by Branden Lockwich following the "Manufacturers Night" drawings as the "Jook George Steel City Classic" for the Sweeney Tour on Saturday, August 10 will now pay a record $10,010 to-win, $450 to-start! Last year's show paid a record $5,010 to-win and attracted a record 51 cars. The rain date will be Sunday, August 11.
"On behalf of the Jook George family, we wanted to do something extra special this year since it's the 30th anniversary for what used to be called the 'Fall Classic' at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway," expressed Dana George. "Jook and his #10 race team looked forward to this race every year so we have contributed additional funds so that the first place prize money will be a grand total of $10,010! Good luck to all of the competitors in making this a race to remember!"
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series “Herb Scott Memorial” Race #12 (30 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. KYLE LUKON (184) 2. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. (8s) 3. Colton Flinner (Johnson 48) 4. Scott Gunn (14G) 5. Ben Policz (14B) 6. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J) 7. Justin Lamb (93x) 8. Christian Schneider (Maniecki 1ST) 9. Steve Dixon (65) 10. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 11. Logan Zarin (1z) 12. Joe Long (71) 13. Chuck Bowie (14c) 14. Wayne Robertson (20) 15. Jamie Freeman (8) 16. Bill Kessler (09) 17. Ryan Frazee (11F) 18. Dennis Cummings (74D) 19. Nico Dabecco (F1) 20. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 21. Colby Beighey (36B) 22. Pete Wearing (111) 23. John Mollick (Bentz 60M) 24. Braeden Dillinger (14) 25. Josh Stoica (22J)-DNS.
Non-Qualifier (8 laps, $200 to-win): 1. Jared Kane (7) 2. Paul Jablonski (3) 3. Bryan Hoffman (15H) 4. Bobby Springer (42) 5. Tony White (27T) 6. Heath Close (77H) 7. Dan Angelicchio (14)-DNS 8. Brian Goebel (12G)-DNS 9. Zach Gunn (17G)-DNS 10. Russ Matejka (17M)-DNS 11. Russ Kolesar (Dobnak 42D)-DNS.
Car Count: 36
Feature Margin of Victory:
Feature Lap Leaders: Jeremy Wonderling (1-7, 9-18), Christian Schneider (8), Kyle Lukon (19-30)
Ontime Body & Graphic “Spoiler Alert”: Joe Long
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. (+11)
Dirt Defender “Defensive Drive of the Night”: Jamie Wrightsman
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night": Russ Matejka
Sunoco 5-Gallon Race Jugs: Kyle Lukon
FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying ($100 for fast time) (Track record 18.849 by Mike Pegher, Jr. on 5/12/12): 1. Ben Policz 19.732 2. Kyle Lukon 19.869 3. Nico Dabecco 20.167 4. Wayne Robertson 20.435 5. Dan Angelicchio 20.462 6. John Mollick 20.511 7. Colton Flinner 20.519 8. Jeremy Wonderling 20.580 9. Christian Schneider 20.720 10. Ryan Frazee 20.867 11. Josh Stoica 20.872 12. Colby Beighey 20.889 13. Logan Zarin 20.900 14. Zach Gunn 20.927 15. Russ Kolesar 20.931 16. Michael Duritsky, Jr. 20.931 17. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. 20.983 18. Steve Dixon 21.015 19. Scott Gunn 21.018 20. Bill Kessler 21.036 21. Jamie Freeman 21.056 22. Justin Lamb 21.065 23. Russ Matejka 21.068 24. Braeden Dillinger 21.072 25. Jamie Wrightsman 21.073 26. Dennis Cummings 21.164 27. Joe Long 21.224 28. Tony White 21.335 29. Chuck Bowie 21.469 30. Paul Jablonski 21.491 31. Jared Kane 21.538 32. Pete Wearing 21.638 33. Bryan Hoffman 21.881 34. Heath Close 22.123 35. Brian Goebel 22.684 36. Bobby Springer DSQ (did not scale).
FK Rod Ends Heat 1 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Policz 2. Schneider 3. Zarin 4. Schirnhofer 5. Freeman 6. Wrightsman 7. Hoffman 8. Bowie 9. Angelicchio.
FK Rod Ends Heat 2 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Mollick 2. Lukon 3. Frazee 4. Dixon 5. Lamb 6. Close 7. Z. Gunn 8. Cummings 9. Jablonski.
FK Rod Ends Heat 3 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Flinner 2. S. Gunn 3. Dabecco 4. Long 5. Stoica 6. Matejka 7. Goebel 8. Kolesar 9. Kane.
FK Rod Ends Heat 4 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Wonderling 2. Robertson 3. Duritsky 4. Beighey 5. Dillinger 6. Kessler 7. Springer 8. Wearing 9. White.
Last Chance B Main 1 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. Wrightsman 2. Bowie 3. Cummings 4. Jablonski 5. Close 6. Angelicchio 7. Z. Gunn 8. Hoffman.
Last Chance B Main 2 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. Kessler 2. Wearing 3. Kane 4. Springer 5. White 6. Goebel 7. Matejka-DNS 8. Kolesar-DNS.
Dash (6 laps): 1. Wonderling 2. Schneider 3. Robertson 4. Mollick 5. Lukon 6. Policz 7. S. Gunn 8. Flinner.
RUSH Racing Series is brought to you by Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC & Pace Performance along with the support of Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, Hovis Auto & Truck Supply, FK Rod Ends, Wehrs Machine & Racing Products, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, TBM Brakes, Performance Bodies & Parts, Racing Electronics, Dirt Defender, Wrisco Industries, Frankland Racing Supply, Landrum Performance Spring, Ontime Body & Graphic, Trailer-Alarms.com, Bonnell's Rod Shop, Sherwood Wheels, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, CrateInsider.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.