MICHAEL NORRIS WINS PACE RUSH LATE MODEL $7010 "JOOK GEORGE STEEL CITY CLASSIC" FLYNN'S TIRE/BORN2RUN LUBRICANTS TOUR EVENT AT PITTSBURGH FOR 2ND STRAIGHT YEAR
By Mike Leone
August 7, 2021 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Imperial, PA)...The Pace Performance RUSH Dirt Late Model Series together with Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC made its second of four visits of 2021 to Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway on Saturday night. The Flynn’s Tire/Born2Run Lubricants Touring Series sanctioned the 32nd annual "Jook George Steel City Classic" presented by Zarin Truck & Auto for the fifth consecutive year. Special thanks to seventh year event coordinator Branden Lockwich , who brought over $21,000 to the event, which was added to the typical RUSH Tour purse thanks to so many gracious sponsors and contributors. For the first time ever, the event was streamed live by Lernerville TV.
One year ago at Pittsburgh, local Super Late Model standout Michael Norris made his first ever RUSH Late Model start a successful one winning the "Jook George Steel City Classic". On Saturday night, Norris raced from the sixth starting spot to the lead passing Daryl Charlier on lap 23 and then kept Tour points leader Kyle Hardy and Pittsburgh star Kyle Lukon at bay over the final laps for his second consecutive event victory. Norris once again earned $6,010 for the 50-lap victory plus a $1,000 bonus compliments of Lockwich and Miley Motor Sports for financially contributing to the event.
"This is huge and I'm really excited for my brother-in-law (Nico Dabecco) and our whole family," expressed the 29-year-old Sarver, Pa. driver. "I love coming here. I wish they would have more Super Late Model races so I could be here more. The amount of effort that goes into this event is shown by the quality of cars and everyone that supports it. I have to thank 'Cleetus' (Lockwich); to be able to race for this much money close to home is awesome."
"I felt good at the beginning, but we rode around so much up there and burned off so much fuel that I started to get free," explained Norris. "I tied to leave Daryl (Charlier) a lane over there and felt him get under me so I figured he wasn't out there and moved on up. Later I thought Hardy was going to get me, but kept it as wide as I could. I felt good down here (turns one and two), but struggled in (turns) three and four. I was getting pretty nervous with Hardy. They were running the bottom and blowing the crumbs all the way up the track. I wasn't good enough to run the bottom- I needed to be from the middle to the high side. I have a lot of laps around here and I think that played in my favor."
After winning the $404 "John Beatty Memorial" Sunoco Dash, Charlier raced to the early lead over Michael Duritsky, Jr. with Michael Reft, Garret Paugh, and Norris filling out the first five after the opening lap. Norris was already halfway to the front on lap two when he passed both Paugh and Reft for third. Seventh starting Lukon cracked the top five on lap four when he passed Paugh.
After three consecutive cautions with seven laps scored, things finally settled down. When racing resumed, Reft passed both Norris and Duritsky for second, while Norris followed in third also getting by Duritsky. Norris would once again pass Reft, but this time for second on lap nine. Charlier had a half-straightaway lead by the time Norris got to second. Meanwhile, Lukon continued to move forward taking third from Reft on lap 13.
Charlier had a 1.6 second advantage on Norris when he caught lapped traffic on lap 16. While Charlier continued to lead in lapped traffic, Norris and Lukon were battling hard for second. The two raced side-by-side on laps 18 and 19 trading runner-up back and forth with Norris prevailing on lap 19. Paugh made contact with Lukon on lap 22 as he took over third, while Lukon got sideways on the backstretch and got shuffled back to around 10th.
A caution for Zach Gunn bunched up the field with 22 laps scored, and when green replaced yellow, Norris made the winning pass on Charlier prior to another caution for Gunn with 23 laps recorded. Hardy, who started eighth, became a factor when he took over third on the restart then put a slider on Charlier for second on lap 27 with Lukon making his way back into contention following along in third.
The last 27 laps went caution-free. Norris set a good pace out in front, while Lukon caught Hardy on lap 30 and the two raced hard for second. Hardy and Lukon raced side-by-side on lap 31, but Hardy held the spot and was able to break free in the ensuing laps. Lapped traffic came into play on lap 34. Hardy closed in on Norris on lap 40 and the two raced side-by-side for the lead on lap 41 and 42. As Norris and Hardy raced for the lead, Lukon joined the battle and it was a three-car race for the win on lap 43. Norris though was able to fend off Hardy and Lukon over the final laps as he took the checkered flag by just 0.885 seconds in the Millertown Pic-A-Part/Dob's Automotive/Ingram Engines-sponsored #51.
Hardy, who continues to lead the $12,000 to-win Flynn's Tire/Born2Run Lubricants Touring Series points, just missed out on his first career Pittsburgh win. Hardy though earned $3,000 for second in addition to a $100 Precise Racing Products gift card for being the "Pedal Down" Hard Charger along with another $300 in qualifying, heat race, and dash monies.
"The night started off real good and better than we've usually been here," stated the Linden, Virginia star. "We are happy to have a good run in second. I got wiped out in the dash. I knew he (Lukon) didn't do it on purpose; it was a racing deal. We got it fixed back up quick. Luckily we have some guys with good experience that know how to work. I have to give a shout-out to Mike and Levi Crowl. They helped us get this thing together and that's what friends are for, and I'll always remember that. That one time I caught Michael (Norris) and it took until the exit to get back by me. I wanted to go to the top, but I'm not going to race him like that. I want to earn it. He did a good job and so did Kyle Lukon. Great race track tonight- they kept the water off of it."
Lukon earned $1,600 for finishing third matching his best Tour finish of the year, which came in the opener at Georgetown Speedway. Lukon also picked up another $200 between qualifying, heat race, and dash monies. "We had a really great car tonight," expressed the 31-year-old Burgettstown, Pa. driver. "I honestly think we might have had the car to win. That one run early in the race I actually got past Mike (Norris) in traffic then got pinned in by another lapped car. I thought we had a good shot. We had that two tries on restarts when we were in third, but it just didn't work out when I got run over by the same car again."
"We were able to bounce back to
third after we dropped back to outside the top 10," added Lukon. "I was really
hoping for a restart there at the end. I could run the two down, but every time
I caught Hardy he'd clip the mud and throw it across the track; I'd go for a
ride then have to start all over again. Mike (Norris) ran a great race and so
did Kyle with the issues he had earlier in the night. That was a lot of fun.
The track was really great. You could run top, bottom, middle. Hats over to
everyone including Branden (Lockwich) for the job he did. Thanks to the fans
that came out- hope you enjoyed the show."
After leading the first 22 laps, Charlier fell to fourth for $1,400. Joe Martin, who started 11th and pitted early, charged back through the field to finish fifth worth $1,300. It was Martin's seventh top five in the last eight Tour races as he cut the deficit behind Jeremy Wonderling in the race for second in points. Duritsky fell from second to sixth, but was able to record his fourth top six effort in the last seven Tour races. Duritsky earned $1,250 plus another $175 in heat and dash monies.
Paugh was seventh for $1,150 plus a $107 bonus from Gunn Racing. After winning his first career Pittsburgh race one month ago, Wonderling was never a factor all night, but was still able to record his eighth top 10 in 10 Tour races. Wonderling earned $1,100 for eighth plus a $100 gift certificate from Close Racing Supply for being the highest New York finisher. Matt Latta was ninth for $1,050.
Justin Kann was 10th for $1,000 then added an extra $100 from the Jook George Family and $300 for being the "Rookie of the Jook" presented by Stile's Marine bringing his total take to $1,400- not bad for a 10th place run! After going fourth to second early in the feature, Reft faded to 11th. That 11th was worth $800 plus $150 from Langer Racing for a total of $950 in addition to winning a $150 spoiler kit from Ontime Body & Graphic.
Dan Angelicchio and Bud Watson each picked up an extra $100 from All Interior Painting and Goble Motorsports for being 15th on lap 16 and 18th on lap 25 respectively. Levi Crowl, who won his first career Tour race last year at Pittsburgh, had a rough night finishing 22nd and was selected as the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night" recipient.
After just missing out on the qualifying for the feature, which earned Dave Goble the $100 Performance Bodies "Nosed Out" gift card, Goble dominated all 10 non-stop laps of the Non-Qualifier for a $400 payday. The race was timed in 3:30.410. The 41-year-old second year racer from Aliquippa, Pa. took the checkered flag first by a commanding 5.384 seconds in his All Interior Painting/NAPA Auto Parts/Borings Auto Salvage & Demo/Kendrews Lounge-sponsored #20G to become the all-time 49th different winner in 59 Non-Qualifier races run all-time. Colby Beighey was second and picked up a $100 bonus from Lukon Racing for being the second feature non-qualifier. In his first ever Pittsburgh start, Kurt Stebbins went seventh to third as Bill Kessler and Kassidy Kamicker completed the top five.
Hardy set fast time in FK Rod Ends "Shock the Clock" Qualifying with a lap of 19.509 to earn $100 from FK Rod Ends and $100 from Our Cars Auto Detailing & Tire Service. The FK Rod Ends heat races were in memory of Pappy Kessler; Hardy, Lukon, Norris, and Duritsky earned $75 for their victories. The last chance B mains paid $50 to win and were won by Frazee and Philip Bubeck, who was aboard a second Phil Lukon #184 entry.
Not only did fifth starting Charlier earn $404 by winning the Sunoco Dash in memory of John Beatty from Matt Shuffstall, but also received a $100 Sunoco gift card. Bill Kessler was the lucky recipient of the $100 Sunoco gift card through the random draw part of the "Fill'er up with Sunoco Bucks" presented by Sunoco and Zarin Truck & Auto. Twenty drivers that financially contributed to the event received $50 in cash from Lockwich through a random draw.
The Flynn’s Tire/Born2Run Lubricants Touring Series will return to action next Sunday (August 15) at Eriez Speedway in Erie, Pa. for the annual "Manufacturers Night" presented by MSD Performance. It'll be the second and final appearance of the year at Eriez paying $2,000 to-win plus more than $24,000 in valuable product giveaways.
Pace Performance RUSH Late Model Flynn’s Tire/Born2Run Lubricants Touring Series “Jook George Steel City Classic” Race #10 (50 laps, $7,010 to-win): 1. MICHAEL NORRIS (51) 2. Kyle Hardy (99) 3. Kyle Lukon (184) 4. Daryl Charlier (Spochacz 114) 5. Joe Martin (Snyder 10s) 6. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J) 7. Garret Paugh (03) 8. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 9. Matt Latta (21) 10. Justin Kann (66) 11. Michael Reft (9R) 12. Ben Policz (14B) 13. Logan Zarin (1z) 14. Dan Angelicchio (14) 15. Zach Morrow (Flinner 48) 16. John Waters (Bentz 60) 17. Philip Bubeck (Lukon 184) 18. Ryan Frazee (11F) 19. J.J. Mazur (13) 20. Jacob Gunn (14G) 21. Bud Watson (225) 22. Levi Crowl (5) 23. Tony White (27T) 24. Zach Gunn (17G) 25. Dusty Waters (14) 26. Dan Lepro (2L). (Note: Bud Watson took the Tour provisional & Dusty Waters took the Track provisional)
Non-Qualifier (10 laps, $400 to-win): 1. Dave Goble (20G) 2. Colby Beighey (36B) 3. Kurt Stebbins (26) 4. Bill Kessler (09) 5. Kassidy Kamicker (72B) 6. Bryan Huffman (15H) 7. Chris Lander (18). DNS: Cole Petrelle (84), Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. (8s), Levi Spinneweber (10).
Car Count: 36
Feature Margin of Victory:
Feature Lap Leaders: Daryl Charlier (1-22), Michael Norris (23-50)
Ontime Body & Graphic “Spoiler Alert” Spoiler Kit: Michael Reft
Performance Bodies "Nosed Out": Dave Goble
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger: Kyle Hardy (+6)
Precise Racing Products 5-Gallon Race Jug: Michael Norris
Sunoco and Zarin Truck & Auto $100 Sunoco Fuel Cards: Bill Kessler & Daryl Charlier
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”: Levi Crowl
$1,000 Feature Winner Contributor Bonus presented by Branden Lockwich & Miley Motorsports: Michael Norris
$107 7th Place Bonus "In Memory of Dave & Mary Lynn Nicholas" presented by Gunn Racing: Garret Paugh
$100 10th Place Bonus "In Memory of Jook George": Justin Kann
$150 11th Place Bonus presented by Langer Racing: Michael Reft
$100 15th on Lap 16 presented by All Interior Painting & Goble Motorsports: Dan Angelicchio
$100 18th of Lap 25 presented by All Interior Painting & Goble Motorsports: Bud Watson
$100 Close Racing Supply Gift Card for Top New York Finisher: Jeremy Wondering
$300 "Rookie of the Jook" presented by Stile's Marine: Justin Kann
$100 Second Fastest Qualifier "In Memory of Dow Carnahan" presented by Bryant Hank: Kyle Lukon
$100 Second Non-Qualifier
presented by Lukon Racing: Colby Beighey
FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying presented by Our Cars Auto Detailing & Tire Service ($200 for fast time) (Track record 18.829 by Joe Martin 6/5/21): 1. 99-Kyle Hardy, 00:19.509; 2. 184-Kyle Lukon, 00:19.615; 3. 51N-Michael Norris, 00:19.771; 4. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr., 00:19.851; 5. 17G-Zach Gunn, 00:19.918; 6. 14B-Ben Policz, 00:20.054; 7. 03-Garret Paugh, 00:20.067; 8. 9R-Mike Reft, 00:20.140; 9. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling, 00:20.186; 10. 14A-Dan Angelicchio, 00:20.253; 11. 10S-Joe Martin, 00:20.259; 12. 1Z-Logan Zarin, 00:20.264; 13. 114-Daryl Charlier, 00:20.328; 14. 48F-Zach Morrow, 00:20.443; 15. 21L-Matt Latta, 00:20.482; 16. 66-Justin Kann, 00:20.512; 17. 14G-Jake Gunn, 00:20.533; 18. 5C-Levi Crowl, 00:20.549; 19. 13-JJ Mazur, 00:20.602; 20. 184X-Philip Bubeck, 00:20.636; 21. 225-Bud Watson, 00:20.699; 22. 20G-Dave Goble, 00:20.708; 23. 14W-Dusty Waters, 00:20.722; 24. 84P-Cole Petrelle, 00:20.789; 25. 11F-Ryan Frazee, 00:20.824; 26. 27T-Tony White, 00:20.861; 27. 36B-Colby Beighey, 00:20.891; 28. 60-John Waters, 00:21.008; 29. 09-Bill Kessler, 00:21.237; 30. 15H-Bryan Hoffman, 00:21.626; 31. 72B-Kassidy Kamicker, 00:21.730; 32. 2L-Dan Lepro, 00:21.983; 33. 18L-Chris Lander, 00:22.099; 34. 8S-Tommy Schirnhofer Jr, NT; 35. 10X-Levi Spinneweber, NT; 36. 26-Kurt Stebbins, DSQ (did not scale).
"Pappy Kessler Memorial" FK Rod Ends Heat 1 (8 laps, $75 to-win, Top 5 transfer to the A): 1. 99-Kyle Hardy; 2. 114-Daryl Charlier; 3. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling; 4. 14G-Jake Gunn; 5. 17G-Zach Gunn; 6. 11F-Ryan Frazee; 7. 225-Bud Watson; 8. 09-Bill Kessler; 9. 18L-Chris Lander.
"Pappy Kessler Memorial" FK Rod Ends Heat 2 (8 laps, $75 to-win, Top 5 transfer to the A): 1. 184-Kyle Lukon; 2. 14B-Ben Policz; 3. 5C-Levi Crowl; 4. 48F-Zach Morrow; 5. 14A-Dan Angelicchio; 6. 27T-Tony White; 7. 20G-Dave Goble; 8. 15H-Bryan Hoffman; 9. (DNS) 8S-Tommy Schirnhofer Jr.
"Pappy Kessler Memorial" FK Rod Ends Heat 3 (8 laps, $75 to-win, Top 5 transfer to the A): 1. 51N-Michael Norris; 2. 03-Garret Paugh; 3. 10S-Joe Martin; 4. 21L-Matt Latta; 5. 13-JJ Mazur; 6. 14W-Dusty Waters; 7. 36B-Colby Beighey; 8. 72B-Kassidy Kamicker; 9. (DNS) 10X-Levi Spinneweber.
"Pappy Kessler Memorial" FK Rod Ends Heat 4 (8 laps, $75 to-win, Top 5 transfer to the A): 1. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr; 2. 9R-Mike Reft; 3. 1Z-Logan Zarin; 4. 66-Justin Kann; 5. 60-John Waters; 6. 184X-Philip Bubeck; 7. 84P-Cole Petrelle; 8. 2L-Dan Lepro; 9. 26-Kurt Stebbins.
Last Chance B Main 1 (8 laps, $50 to-win, Top 2 transfer to the A): 1. 11F-Ryan Frazee; 2. 27T-Tony White; 3. 20G-Dave Goble; 4. 225-Bud Watson; 5. 09-Bill Kessler; 6. 15H-Bryan Hoffman; 7. 18L-Chris Lander; 8. (DNS) 8S-Tommy Schirnhofer Jr.
Last Chance B Main 2 (8 laps, $50 to-win, Top 2 transfer to the A): 1. 184X-Philip Bubeck; 2. 2L-Dan Lepro; 3. 14W-Dusty Waters; 4. 36B-Colby Beighey; 5. 84P-Cole Petrelle; 6. 72B-Kassidy Kamicker; 7. 26-Kurt Stebbins; 8. (DNS) 10X-Levi Spinneweber.
"John Beatty Memorial" Sunoco Dash presented by Matt Shuffstall (6 laps, $404 and $100 Sunoco gift card to-win): 1. 114-Daryl Charlier; 2. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr; 3. 14B-Ben Policz; 4. 9R-Mike Reft; 5. 03-Garret Paugh; 6. 51N-Michael Norris; 7. 184-Kyle Lukon; 8. 99-Kyle Hardy.
RUSH Racing Series is brought to you by Pace Performance together with Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC 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, Born2Run Lubricants, Flynn's Tire & Auto Service, FK Rod Ends, 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, Zarin Truck & Automotive, Sherwood Wheels, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, Stop-Fyre, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Waterstone Mortgage Hermitage, CrateInsider.com, and Wedge Motorsports.
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. The RUSH Late Model website is www.rushlatemodels.com. Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rushlatemodels and follow us on Twitter @RUSHLM.