By Mike Leone


August 8, 2018             FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Imperial, PA)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series powered by Pace Performance is gearing up for its biggest race of the season this Saturday night (August 11) at Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway.  The 29th annual "Jook George Steel City Classic" will be a "Marquee" Tour event paying a record $5,010 to-win, $325 to-start the 40-lap feature at "Dirt's Monster Half-Mile".  Warm-ups are slated for 6 p.m. followed by qualifying and racing.  There is a rain date of Sunday (August 12) with one hour earlier start times. 


This year's event will boast a minimum, guaranteed feature purse alone of $20,105 (see complete purse below), which is an increase of $2,385 over last year with special thanks to the George Family that added $1,000 on top to make it $5,010 to-win!  Also, additional monies have been added to the non-qualifier making it $250 to-win with an increased payoff.  For the first time, Slingin Dirt Productions will be filming the event, which will be on Dirt on Dirt following the event.  The broadcast is being presented by the RUSH Racing Series. 


The event has been spurred once again by the efforts of 34-year-old Branden Lockwich.  Lockwich grew up around racing as his parents started taking him to PPMS when he was three years old.  Lockwich knew Jook when he was a youngster, and always had time for a young.  His lifelong friends Daryl Charlier and Tommy Schirnhofer raced in the RUSH Late Model class and wanted to renew the interest of the days gone by on the "Jook George Classic.  Starting in 2015, Lockwich took up the effort to make the "Jook George Classic" the biggest race in the tri-state area for the RUSH Late Models.  


"I might be the face, but really I am just the conductor of the train," stated Lockwich.  "This race would not be possible without the George family, PPMS,  and the many, many individuals who have contributed to make this event special for everyone involved.  I’m also very proud every year of the racers and companies that are involved,” said Lockwich.  Most of the people I get are with me every year; 75% of the people I get have been with me since 2016.  They feel that the race is worthwhile and that’s why they’re with me.”


The number William Thomas "Jook" George chose and had for most of his racing career was the #10 and that was in honor of his racing hero, Lou Blaney, who drove his car on a couple occasions.  Other highlights of his career was being nominated as the Sportsman of the Year at PPMS, being nominated into the Pittsburgh Circle Track Hall of Fame, winning the track championship at PPMS in 1990 with John Beatty behind the wheel, and winning the Fall Classic in 1993 with Bill Yakin, also at PPMS.  His most dominant stretch as a car owner came in the late ‘70s when Earl Teeters was his driver.


"We're honored to be able to sanction the 'Jook George Steel City Classic' for the second straight year as a Touring Series event," acknowledged RUSH Director Vicki Emig.  "Branden has put his heart and soul into making this event what it has become over the past few years.  I've watched him become great friends with many of our racers outside of PPMS, many of whom have joined his efforts by contributing to the event.  The pre-race buzz and excitement surrounding the race has been tremendous and we're really looking forward to an excellent field of competitors that will put on a tremendous show for the fans and honor Jook's memory"


Saturday will mark the first of two appearances of the 2018 season at Pittsburgh for the Sweeney Tour.  The second visit will be on October 5-6 for the $2,500 to-win "Bill Hendren Memorial" part of the "Pittsburgher" with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. 


Jason Genco leads the Tour heading into Saturday as he's one of three in the top four in points that have never raced at Pittsburgh before.  Genco has just an eight-point lead over Jeremy Wonderling, who did well at the event last year finishing fifth in his first ever Pittsburgh start.  Wonderling has finished in the top nine for nine straight events!  Jeremy's brother, Brady, is still holding on to third in points with two Series win.  Canadian Adam Ferri has moved up to fourth in points.  Jason Knowles is fifth.  Completing the top 12 in points paying positions are John Waters, Cory Lawler, J.J. Mazur, Bill Kessler, Beamer Guzzardi, Darrell Bossard, and Damian Bidwell. 


The Sweeney Tour has made nine appearances at Pittsburgh since 2013 with seven different winners.  Ryan Montgomery is the only multiple winner with three, while Kyle Lukon, Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr., Colton Flinner, John Mollick, Mike Pegher, Jr., and Daryl Charlier have also been victorious.  Charlier's came in the most recent Tour event at PPMS coming in the 2017 "Bill Hendren Memorial", while Pegher won last year's $4,010 "Jook George Steel City Classic".


Pittsburgh meanwhile has completed 10 Sweeney RUSH Late Model Weekly Series events in 2018 to date.  Daryl Charlier has led the way with five victories, but he's the only multiple winner this season as John Mollick, Michael Reft, Colby Beighey Ben Policz, and most recently Mike Pegher, Jr. have all been victorious.  Pittsburgh has had strong car counts including 28 last Saturday night with an average of 20 per night with 41 different drivers competing.  


FK Rod Ends will present the $100 "Shock the Clock" Qualifying award and $25 to each winner each night.  Precise Racing Products will award a $100 gift card for the "Pedal Down" Hard Charger that passes the most cars in the feature.  The TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night” will award three bottles of Xtreme6 Racing Brake Fluid valued at approximately $45 along with a certificate for a discount off any TBM Brakes purchase.  


RUSH Series Officials will also determine the new Dirt Defender "Defensive Drive" to the driver that best defended his position throughout the night, and will receive a $40 product package.  The award could go to a driver holding off another for the final heat race or B main transfer position, a driver denying a hard charging racer a feature win, a move to stay on the lead lap before a caution, or any such deserving move. 


In addition the following bonuses have been posted:


·         Highest finishing driver who made a monetary contribution of a lap or more will receive $200 cash compliments of Cleetus Motorsports and $100 dollar gift certificate courtesy of Close Racing Supply.


·         $50 to the driver in 10th position on lap 10 courtesy of the Jook George Family.


·         $50 to the driver leading on lap 28 courtesy of Bryant Hank.


·         $50 to the driver running in position 9 on lap 19 courtesy of Kessler 09 Motorsports.


·         $25 cash to the Jook George Classic winner from R2 Motorsports


·         $25 cash to driver running in 10th position on lap 22 courtesy of Brady Wonderling Race Team. 


For anyone still wanting to get involved in the event, contact Branden at 412-977-4669 or e-mail [email protected].


Current sponsors for the "Jook George Steel City Classic" include Imperial Tire and Auto, Doug Smith Schaefers Oil and Croftgate, Davis Electric and Lighting, Bryant Hank in memory of Dow Carnahan, JMR and Bristol Renee Miley, Jook George Family, Castleveter Landscaping, Kessler Motorsports, Jim Johnson Motorsports and Genesee Speedway, Lukons Reb Fab, Rappin on Racin, Tri State Motorsports Dale Charlier, Russ King Racing, Russ Matejka Racing, Kurt Thompson Realtor, Falconi Family of Dealerships, The Dirt Network, In Memory of Mark Policz 84 from Ben Policz, 1st Stop Automotive, Dobs Auto, Ron's Barbershop, J&J ATR, RebelYell Motorsports Graphics, Bryan Hoffman Racing, Jamie Wrightsman Racing, Schirnhofer Racing, John Waters Racing, Chase Freberg, Chris Lander Racing, Carl Cavanaugh, Kanes Ideal Truck Service, Reft Racing 9R, D&T Autobody, Rocket Chassis, 4 Generations of Charlier Racing, Pete Lockwich, JMO Construction, Dirt on Dirt, RUSH Racing Series, In loving memory of Bucky Johnson from Vince Dubois, Duratz Fab, John from Raceteam 114, Mike Duritsky Racing, Dietz Fabrication, Thoma Meat Market, Joe Lockwich, Bioni Drilling, Tom Schwarzl Racing, Imperial Heights Garage, Sherry Charlier, Schwartzmiller Ground Maintenance, Ron Hall Racing, Mike Pegher, Jr., Zarin Trucking, Shane Harvey, Bud’s Place, Josh Harvey, Derek Charlier Productions, Pucktastic Auto Detailing, Nico Dabecco F1 Racing, Veronica Brant, Ultraclassic Salon, Alternative Power Sources, Taylor Auto Body, Close Racing Supply, Denny Nakutis, In Memory of Bill Stile from the Stile Family, Three Rivers Karting, In Memory of Ed Laboon from Vince Laboon, Beatty Welding, Ingram Engines, 955 Automotive, Brougher's Machine Shop, Denny Angelicchio, Royal Purple Synthetic Oils, Jeremy Wonderling Racing, Zuk's Autobody, Losego Automotive Sales & Service, Lynn Geisler 1C Racing, Matt Miley, Mike & Diana Deer, National Property Inspections (Darren Ferguson), Jason Knowles Racing, In Memory of Denny Baker from Jason Genco Racing, K&L Specialty Products, Slingin Dirt Products, R2 Motorsports, Brady Wonderling Racing


Minimum Feature payoff: 1. $5,010  2. $2,510  3. $1,210  4. $1,110  5. $1,010  6.  $925  7. $825  8. $725  9. $625  10. $550  11. $450  12. $400  13. $385  14. $380  15. $360  16. $350  17. $340  18. $335  19. $330  20-26. $325.

Non-Qualifier: 1. $250  2. $200  3. $175  4. $150  5. $145  6. $140  7. $135  8. $130  9. $125  10. $120  11. $115  12. $110  13-24. $105.  Tow $100.


2018 Sweeney Late Model Touring Series Points (Adjusted on Marquee/Platinum; only Tour members receive points): 1. Jason Genco 938  2. Jeremy Wonderling 930  3. Brady Wonderling 903  4. Adam Ferri 844  5. Jason Knowles 840  6. John Waters 822  7. Cory Lawler 812  8. J.J. Mazur 809  9. Bill Kessler 682  10. Beamer Guzzardi 539  11. Darrell Bossard 536  12. Damian Bidwell 500  13. Kyle Murray 498  14. Max Blair 482  15. Jimmy Johnson, Jr. 447  16. Charlie Sandercock 431  17. Chad Sines 408  18. Bruce Hordusky, Jr. 376  19. Brian Knowles 350  20. Garret Paugh 320  21. Cody Dawson 302  22. Christian Schneider 292  23. Mike Franklin 282  24. Cory Sines 234  25. Joe Watson 210  26. Paul Norman, Jr. 167  27. Tony White 162  28. Braeden Dillinger 160  29. Eric Wilson 98  30. Andy Boozel 89  31. Jared Kane 84.


You do not have to a member of RUSH to compete.  The AMB/MyLaps transponders will be used.  RACEceivers are always mandatory on the default 454.000 channel.  There will be a $100 entry fee.  Pit passes are $40.  Pits will be open all afternoon.  Pit passes go on sale at 3 p.m.  Pre-race tech and pill draw will open at 3 p.m.  Drivers meeting at 5:40 p.m.  Warm-ups will begin at 6 p.m. followed by qualifying and heat races at 7 p.m.


Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway is a ˝-mile dirt track with a GPS address of 170 Kelso Rd, Imperial PA 15126, which is located just off the Noblestown exit on Routes 22/30.  For more information, check out their website at www.ppms.com or call 412-279-7223.  The track number on race day is 724-695-3363 or 724-695-0393.  As for their social media outlets, you can like their page on Facebook at  www.facebook.com/PittsburghsPennsylvaniaMotorSpeedway or follow them on Twitter @PAMotorSpeedway.


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, 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.