MICHAEL NORRIS MAKES HIS 1ST EVER CRATE START A WINNING ONE TAKING "JOOK GEORGE STEEL CITY CLASSIC" AT PITTSBURGH FOR $7,200+ AGAINST STOUT 46-CAR PACE RUSH LATE MODEL TOUR FIELD
By Mike Leone
August 8, 2020 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Imperial, PA)...The Pace Performance RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series together with Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC returned to Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway on Saturday night for the second of three appearances during the 2020 season. The 31st annual "Jook George Steel City Classic" presented by Zarin Truck & Auto attracted 46 cars from seven different states making for the highest car count of the year in Crate Late Model racing throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Special thanks to event coordinator Branden Lockwich, who despite the uncertainty in this challenging COVID-19 pandemic plagued year, still raised approximately $17,700! Those monies all added to the typical RUSH Tour purse.
Making his first ever crate engine start, 13-time PPMS Super Late Model winner, Michael Norris, nearly swept the night leaving the "Monster Half Mile" with $7,260 in winnings following his victory in the 50-lap "Jook George Steel City Classic" feature! Driving a #F1 entry normally driven by his brother-in-law Nico Dabecco, Norris took over the top spot from Ben Policz on lap 25 and broke away from a four-car battle for the lead. Norris kept last year's event winner, Kyle Lukon, at bay in the final laps for the $6,010 win and received the $1,000 feature winner contributor bonus from Lockwich and Miley Motor Sports.
"That was fun," expressed the 28-year-old Sarver, Pa. victor. "I was hoping the track was going to get like that all night long- it just took them a while to get it worked in. Lukon, Policz and I didn't even touch so I tip my hat to those guys; they are good in this deal and I'm just happy to come out on top of them. I love coming here and especially when it gets up on the wall like that. I figured Lukon would be close because this is his cup of tea as well. The temperature was getting hot and I figured hopefully I'll win and buy him a new one! This is huge. I used to come here all the time, but don't get many opportunities anymore. I know this is a big deal and I appreciate Cleetus (Lockwich) for putting this on. To bring this much money to an event in this day and age and with everything going on- that shows you how much he worked. It's awesome to race for this kind of money- especially an hour from the house."
Following his dash victory, Policz raced to the early lead over Lukon, fourth starting Norris, Daryl Charlier, and John Mollick. After a spin by first year RUSH racer Josh Ferry with two laps scored, a big accident ensued on the restart collecting nine cars with only three being able to resume. Following those two cautions in the first two laps, the next 37 would go caution-free.
When racing resumed on lap three, Mollick and eighth starting Jeremy Wonderling moved into fourth and fifth past Charlier. Policz had stretched his lead to a half-straightaway when he caught lapped traffic on lap 10. Lukon really closed in as Policz struggled to get through traffic. Lukon would take over the top spot in turn four on lap 12. Norris then drove around Policz for second on lap 14. Norris began to close in on Lukon on lap 17 as the top three cars began to distance themselves from the field.
Despite dropping to third, Policz didn't go away as he not only took back second from Norris on lap 23, but regained the lead on lap 24 as him and Norris passed Lukon for the top two spots. Norris' winning move came in turn four at the halfway point, while Lukon took second back from Policz two laps later. At the time, Mollick had closed in on the front trio making it a four-car race for the lead. Mollick was on the move as he charged past Policz for third on lap 30. Mollick's night though would come to a screeching halt as he blow a tire and slammed the turn one wall bringing out the event's final caution with 39 laps completed. Mollick was okay, but done for the night.
Norris would again stretch out his lead as racing resumed; however, in the final laps Lukon closed the gap, but would run out of time as Norris took the checkered flag first by 0.842 of a second in the A&M Norris Enterprises Inc.-owed, ND Motorsports/Rocket Chassis/Ingram Engines/Integra Shocks/Woods Rod & Custom/Dob's Auto-sponsored #F1.
"I have to thank my brother-in-law Nico for letting me run his car," added Norris, who become the season's third different Tour winner in as many races and second straight first time winner. "It takes a big man to step out of your car and watch someone else beat the crap out of it. I really appreciate it and to get this win for him and my sister. This is a family deal so it's pretty special. There's a lot of people that helped me get here. I also have to thank my dad for putting up with all this racing stuff, my mom, my wife who couldn't be here, my grandparents, aunts and uncles, my sister, Dakota, Matt, Brian Daugherty, some boys down in North Carolina helped me this week, Rocket, and Ingram built a hell of a motor."
Lukon earned $3,000 for his runner-up finish after taking home $11,610 in the 2019 event. Policz had an excellent run in third for $1,600. After winning in his first ever RUSH start on July 18 at Winchester Speedway in a Pace Weekly Series event, Super Late Model standout Kyle Hardy of Virginia made his first Tour start on Saturday night and put in a strong performance going 15th to fourth driving Chuck Bowie's #14c for a $1,400 payday. Michael Duritsky, Jr. completed the top five and earned $1,300.
After getting halfway to the front from his eighth starting spot, defending two-time Tour champion and current points leader, Jeremy Wonderling, slipped back to sixth at the finish, but still collected $1,200. The night certainly got off to a rough start for Joe Martin as he struggled in qualifying and couldn't transfer to the feature through his heat or B main; however, the second place Tour points man looked good in the feature going 25th to seventh. Martin not only received $1,000 for his finish, but $107 bonus from Gunn Racing "In Memory of Dave & Mary Lynn Nicholas" along with the $100 hard charger from Ken Maniecki.
Charlier dropped to eighth at the finish over Logan Zarin. Maryland racer Levi Crowl turned in his best PPMS performance finishing 10th and earned the $100 "In Memory of Jook George" bonus for an $825 payday. Jake Gunn's 11th place finish earned him the $200 bonus from Langer Racing, which bumped his feature earnings to $800.
After making a good charge from eighth to miss the feature transfer spot by one in the second last chance B main, Ryan Frazee ended the night on a high note winning his first ever Non-Qualifier race worth $350. Frazee started on the pole and led the opening lap before Colby Beighey moved to the lead on lap two. Beighey's lead would last only one lap as Frazee charged back into the lead and led the rest of the way in the 10-lap caution-free event timed in 5:12.504. The Addison, Pa. driver's victory came in the RW Frazee Trucking/Demco Excavating/Neratta Decals/Edward Field Recycling/Glade Pipeline Services/Schaffer Transfer & Moving-sponsored #11F as he became the 41st different winner in 50 Non-Qualifier races run all-time. Beighey was second. Zach Kane started fifth and finished third over John Watson and rookie Dave Goble. Tony White was sixth as the 2014 and 2015 "Wheelman" Champion took over the points lead.
Despite going out 42nd of 46, Norris set fast time overall in FK Rod Ends "Shock the Clock" Qualifying with a lap of 20.272 to earn $100 from FK and $100 from Our Cars Auto Detailing & Tire Service. Policz, Zarin, Mollick, Norris, Charlier, and Lukon won $25 FK Rod Ends Heat Races. Christian Schneider and Garret Paugh won the two last chance B mains. Policz not only earned the pole position with his dash victory, but took home $404 "In Memory of John Beatty" presented by Matt Shuffstall bringing his night's earnings to an impressive $2,054!
Pace Performance RUSH Late Model Touring Series “Jook George Steel City Classic” Race #3 (50 laps, $6,010 to-win): 1. MICHAEL NORRIS (F1) 2. Kyle Lukon (184) 3. Ben Policz (14B) 4. Kyle Hardy (Bowie 14c) 5. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J) 6. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 7. Joe Martin (Snyder 10s) 8. Daryl Charlier (12) 9. Logan Zarin (1z) 10. Levi Crowl (5c) 11. Jake Gunn (14G) 12. Dusty Waters (14) 13. John Mollick (Bentz 60M) 14. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. (8s) 15. Garret Paugh (02) 16. Justin Lamb (93x) 17. Max Blair (111) 18. Josh Ferry (33) 19. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 20. Bill Kessler (09) 21. Zach Gunn (17G) 22. Keith Barbara (Koteles 64K) 23. Christian Schneider (Maniecki 1ST) 24. Steve Dixon (65D) 25. Robbie Scott (Zarin 18) 26. Cole Petrelle (184). (Note: Joe Martin took a Tour provisional and Bill Kessler took a Track provisional)
Non-Qualifier (10 laps, $350 to-win): 1. Ryan Frazee (11F) 2. Colby Beighey (36B) 3. Zach Kane (10) 4. John Watson (14) 5. Dave Goble (20G) 6. Tony White (27T) 7. Bob Schwartzmiller (28s) 8. John Boring (58B) 9. David Parker (2) 10. Brandon Lott (47) 11. Kassidy Kamicker (72B) 12. D.J. Nakutis (31) 13. Joe Squatriglia (15x) 14. Josh Stoica (22J) 15. Brian Goebel (12G) 16. Levi Spinneweber (Lukon 184X)-DNS 17. Michael Reft (9R)-DNS 18. Chad Sines (15)-DNS 19. Dan Lepro (2L)-DNS 20. Eric Hamilton, Jr. (33x)-DNS.
Car Count: 46
Feature Margin of Victory:
0.842 of a second
Feature Lap Leaders: Ben Policz (1-11, 24), Kyle Lukon (12-23), Michael Norris (25-50)
$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: Joe Martin
$100 10th Place Bonus "In Memory of Jook George": Levi Crowl
$200 11th Place Bonus
presented by Langer Racing: Jake Gunn
$100 Feature Hard Charger presented by Ken Maniecki: Joe Martin
FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying Flight A (Track record 18.849 by Mike Pegher, Jr. on 5/12/12): 1. 14B-Ben Policz, 00:20.427; 2. 14C-Kyle Hardy, 00:20.516; 3. 60M-John Mollick, 00:20.644; 4. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr, 00:20.687; 5. 184X-Levi Spinneweber, 00:20.953; 6. 65D-Steve Dixon, 00:20.969; 7. 5C-Levi Crowl, 00:21.030; 8. 1Z-Logan Zarin, 00:21.064; 9. 64K-Keith Barbara, 00:21.195; 10. 18-Robbie Scott, 00:21.209; 11. 1ST-Christian Schneider, 00:21.433; 12. 184P-Cole Petrelle, 00:21.460; 13. 15-Chad Sines, 00:21.465; 14. 2L-Dan Lepro, 00:21.472; 15. 10-Zachary Kane, 00:21.548; 16. 9R-Mike Reft, 00:21.594; 17. 36B-Colby Beighey, 00:21.840; 18. 09-Bill Kessler, 00:21.865; 19. 47L-Brandon Lott, 00:21.918; 20. 17G-Zach Gunn, 00:21.921; 21. 10S-Joe Martin, 00:22.305; 22. 28S-Bob Schwartzmiller, 00:22.433; 23. 15X-Joe Squatriglia, 00:23.452
FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying Flight B: ($200 for fastest qualifier) 1. F1-Michael Norris, 00:20.272; 2. 03-Garret Paugh, 00:20.403; 3. 184-Kyle Lukon, 00:20.526; 4. 33-Josh Ferry, 00:20.620; 5. 12-Daryl Charlier, 00:20.804; 6. 111-Max Blair, 00:20.947; 7. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling, 00:21.019; 8. 14G-Jake Gunn, 00:21.133; 9. 93X-Justin Lamb, 00:21.189; 10. 14W-Dusty Waters, 00:21.361; 11. 8S-Tommy Schirnhofer Jr, 00:21.376; 12. 11L-John Waters, 00:21.404; 13. 20G-Dave Goble, 00:21.431; 14. 14-John Watson, 00:21.493; 15. 27T-Tony White, 00:21.612; 16. 22J-Josh Stoica, 00:21.734; 17. 12GX-Brian Goebel, 00:21.739; 18. 11F-Ryan Frazee, 00:21.787; 19. 58B-John Boring, 00:21.868; 20. 72B-Kassidy Kamicker, 00:22.326; 21. 2-David Parker, 00:22.644; 22. 33X-Eric Hamilton Jr, 00:22.843; 23. 31N-DJ Nakutis, 00:23.016
FK Rod Ends Heat 1 (8 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. 14B-Ben Policz; 2. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr; 3. 5C-Levi Crowl; 4. 18-Robbie Scott; 5. 9R-Mike Reft; 6. 15-Chad Sines; 7. 28S-Bob Schwartzmiller; 8. 47L-Brandon Lott
FK Rod Ends Heat 2 (8 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. 1Z-Logan Zarin; 2. 17G-Zach Gunn; 3. 14C-Kyle Hardy; 4. 1ST-Christian Schneider; 5. 184X-Levi Spinneweber; 6. 36B-Colby Beighey; 7. 2L-Dan Lepro; 8. 15X-Joe Squatriglia
FK Rod Ends Heat 3 (8 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. 60M-John Mollick; 2. 64K-Keith Barbara; 3. 65D-Steve Dixon; 4. 10S-Joe Martin; 5. 10-Zachary Kane; 6. 184P-Cole Petrelle; 7. 09-Bill Kessler
FK Rod Ends Heat 4 (8 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. F1-Michael Norris; 2. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling; 3. 14W-Dusty Waters; 4. 33-Josh Ferry; 5. 20G-Dave Goble; 6. 22J-Josh Stoica; 7. 58B-John Boring; 8. 33X-Eric Hamilton Jr
FK Rod Ends Heat 5 (8 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. 12-Daryl Charlier; 2. 14G-Jake Gunn; 3. 8S-Tommy Schirnhofer Jr; 4. 03-Garret Paugh; 5. 14-John Watson; 6. 12GX-Brian Goebel; 7. 31N-DJ Nakutis; 8. 72B-Kassidy Kamicker
FK Rod Ends Heat 6 (8 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. 184-Kyle Lukon; 2. 111-Max Blair; 3. 11L-John Waters; 4. 93X-Justin Lamb; 5. 11F-Ryan Frazee; 6. 27T-Tony White; 7. 2-David Parker
Last Chance B Main 1 (10 laps, Top 3 transfer to A): 1. 1ST-Christian Schneider; 2. 18-Robbie Scott; 3. 184P-Cole Petrelle; 4. 184X-Levi Spinneweber; 5. 10S-Joe Martin; 6. 36B-Colby Beighey; 7. 10-Zachary Kane; 8. 9R-Mike Reft; 9. 09-Bill Kessler; 10. 15-Chad Sines; 11. 28S-Bob Schwartzmiller; 12. 47L-Brandon Lott; 13. 15X-Joe Squatriglia; 14. 2L-Dan Lepro
Last Chance B Main 2 (10 laps, Top 3 transfer to A): 1. 03-Garret Paugh; 2. 33-Josh Ferry; 3. 93X-Justin Lamb; 4. 11F-Ryan Frazee; 5. 20G-Dave Goble; 6. 14-John Watson; 7. 22J-Josh Stoica; 8. 27T-Tony White; 9. 12GX-Brian Goebel; 10. 58B-John Boring; 11. 31N-DJ Nakutis; 12. 2-David Parker; 13. 72B-Kassidy Kamicker; 14. 33X-Eric Hamilton Jr
"John Beatty Memorial" Dash presented by Matt Shuffstall (6 laps, $404 to-win): 1. 14B-Ben Policz; 2. 184-Kyle Lukon; 3. 12-Daryl Charlier; 4. F1-Michael Norris; 5. 60M-John Mollick; 6. 1Z-Logan Zarin
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, 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, Zarin Truck & Automotive, Sherwood Wheels, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, 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 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.