By Mike Leone


August 16, 2015            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(Franklin, PA)…After being rained out in June, the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Series held its first Tour event at  the recently reopened Tri-City Raceway Park in Franklin, Pa. on Sunday night.  Tri-City had been closed for over four years until Mark Tatalovic purchased the facility and brought racing back to life last month.  For the first time, the “Bill Emig Memorial” was held at Tri-City and attracted 36 cars for the Insinger Performance/Sunoco Race Fuels Northern Touring Series event.  Tri-City hosted a Sweeney Weekly Series event on Saturday night with 24 cars and as all told, 42 different drivers competed over the two days! 


Max Blair is having one of those seasons where just about everything goes right in both the RUSH Late Models along with the Super Late Models.  He’s been fast all year and always seems to have some luck on his side as well.  On Sunday, Blair recovered from a poor pill draw to earn a front row heat race starting spot through time trials.  Blair would win his heat race, and the inversion would put him on the pole of the “John Buzzard Memorial” dash, which he’d go on to lead every lap of as well as the 25-lap “Bill Emig Memorial” feature.  All told, Blair earned $2,125 for his fourth Insinger/Sunoco Northern Tour victory and seventh overall on the Sweeney Tour!


“It’s been a real good year so far and now until the end of the year is when things start paying good money- hopefully we can keep it rolling,” stated the 25-year-old Centerville, Pa. winner.  “After being in the race before (runner-up in Super Late Models) I’m beat I know that.  The heat is getting to me after the last couple days.  It’s a lot of fun racing here.  I hope everybody keeps supporting this place because I love coming here.  It started bolting down pretty good and taking rubber in the middle of the Super Late Model race.  There’s not much you can do when you start that early and it’s this hot.  They sure worked their tails off all day giving us the best track they could.”


Blair took off in the lead over Kyle Lukon, who moved to the front row after Mike Knight was docked for jumping the initial start.  Sixth starting Alan Dellinger raced into fourth on lap three then passed Dave Lyon for third following a restart on lap four.  The man on the move was 11th starting Kyle Zimmerman, who had a lot of success in the past at Tri-City before it closed.  Zimmerman worked his way into the top five on lap five then following a restart was able to ascend into second past Dellinger and Lukon.    


It appeared if anyone would have anything for Blair it was going to be Zimmerman, but unfortunately for Zimmerman he’d never have a chance at running down Blair.  Zimmerman’s car slowed and brought out the caution ending his fine run with eight laps scored.  Zimmerman was awarded the TBM Brake’s “Tough Brake of the Night”.


Several cautions plagued action throughout the first half of the event as drivers were fighting to get to the rubber on the bottom of the track.  Following a six-car pileup off turn two on lap 10, the decision was made to go to single file restarts.  The final caution slowed action with 12 laps completed when debris was strewn through turns three and four. 


The final 13 laps went green-to-checkered.  Matt Latta was able to get past Dellinger on the restart for third.  Latta challenged Lukon over the next seven laps until Lukon missed his mark entering turn one allowing Latta to sneak under for second, but by now, Blair had a commanding lead. 


Blair caught lapped traffic on lap 24 and outside of the cautions that was the only thing to slow his dominating victory by well over a straightaway in his R&J Poultry/Moody & Son Welding/Specialty Products/Genesis Shocks/Murphy’s Logging/C&J Dairy-sponsored #111.  Blair’s all-time leading 12th career Tour victory kept him atop all three Touring standings for the $10,000 sweep in addition to the $5,000 to-win Sweeney Weekly Series crown that’s he’s also leading, and has a shot at the $3,000 Pace Performance “Summer Chase”.


Latta had a fantastic weekend.  Latta won Saturday’s $800 Sweeney Weekly Series event then earned $1,000 for runner-up on Sunday to earn the Maxima Racing Oil “Maximum Performance” Award!  “Last night was awesome,” expressed the 23-year-old Conneaut Lake, Pa. racer.  “I don’t know what Max found tonight- he was checked out.  Kyle (Lukon) slipped a little in turn one and I took advantage of it.  This is huge for us.  We’ve been fast all year, but the results haven’t showed it.  We’ve had bad pill draws and heat races, but seem to always end up in the top five in the feature.”


Lukon was third for his first top five finish of the season in Sweeney Tour competition.  Fourth went to Dellinger as he recorded his third top five in six Tour starts this season on the $135 sealed, spec Bilstein Shocks.  Bryce Davis was fifth and continued his firm hold on the runner-up spot in the Insinger/Sunoco Northern Tour points.


“Futures Cup” racer, Wyatt Scott, had a good run in sixth after starting 15th.  Rob Marhefka came from 14th to seventh matching his season’s best Sweeney Tour finish.  Joe Martin battled back from an early race accident to finish eighth as did 19th starting Randy Hall and Scott Gurdak, who completed the top 10.


Brian Knowles earned another $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger gift card after advancing from 25th to 13th.  Bobby Whitling was 14th and received a $25 gift certificate for being the last car on the lead lap. 


Mark Tatalovic ended the night winning the eight-lap non-qualifier event.  Tatalovic led the entire way in the non-stop race picking up the $175 prize.  “This is a dream come true,” said the Guys Mills, Pa. resident and Tri-City owner after an emotional first career checkered flag.  “I have to thank everyone for coming.  It’s great to see those grandstands full of people and look forward to seeing you in the future.”  After a three-car battle for the lead on lap five, Tatalovic’s #32 pulled away from the field on lap seven to beat out Steve Hollabaugh, Jamie Brown, Clay Ruffo, and Tony White the defending “Wheelman” Bonus Event Challenge Series Champion.   


Lukon earned $100 for setting fast time in Bobby Lake Motorsports “Shock the Clock” Qualifying with a lap of 20.355.  Lukon then added another $25 for winning a Bobby Lake Motorsports heat race as did Lyon, Blair, and Knight.  Waters and Jason Knowles won the two last chance B mains. 


Blair’s K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash victory was worth $100 cash for the “John Buzzard Memorial”.  Buzzard was a former driver for Bill Emig, who lost his life racing at Expo in 1975.  Knight finished second to earn the $100 K&N certificate as Lyon received a $50 K&N certificate for third with Lukon picking up additional $25 cash for fourth. 


The next Sweeney Tour event will be this Thursday (August 20) at McKean County Raceway part of the McKean County Fair.  The $1,200 to-win event will be part of the Insinger Performance/Sunoco Race Fuels Northern Touring Series.  Warm-ups will be at approximately 7 p.m. with heat races at 7:30.


Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Insinger Performance/Sunoco Race Fuels Northern Touring Series Race #6 “Bill Emig Memorial” (25 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. MAX BLAIR (111)  2. Matt Latta (Bidwell B1D)  3. Kyle Lukon (84)  4. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8)  5. Bryce Davis (94)  6. Wyatt Scott (X3)  7. Rob Marhefka (99FM)  8. Joe Martin (55)  9. Randy Hall (Suppa 4s)  10. Scott Gurdak (Hollabaugh 5G)  11. John Waters (LeBarron 11)  12. Russ Byler (Hoover 00H)  13. Brian Knowles (7)  14. Bobby Whitling (7W)  15. Jason Genco (29J)  16. Dave Lyon (14L)  17. Jason Knowles (4)  18. Kyle Scott (3JR)  19. Andrew Wylie (84)  20. Ward Schell (Suppa s4)  21. Eric Wilson (27W)  22. Kyle Zimmerman (z17)  23. Mike Knight (Harvey 55)  24. Russ Kolesar (Castleveter 27c)  25. Bruce Hordusky, Jr. (3).  (Note: Brian Knowles took a Series provisional)


Non-Qualifier (8 laps, $175 to-win): 1. Mark Tatalovic (32)  2. Steve Hollabaugh (3)  3. Jamie Brown (135)  4. Clay Ruffo (14R)  5. Tony White (27)  6. T.J. Downs (1)-DNS  7. Justin Lamb (93x)-DNS  8. Jon Rivers (85)-DNS  9. Bobby Pifer III (6P)-  10. Randy Wyant (11T)-DNS  11. Steve Beatty (B4)-DNS.


Car Count: 36
Feature Lap Leaders:
Max Blair (1-25)

Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Brian Knowles (+12)

Maxima Oil “Maximum Performance”: Matt Latta

TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night": Kyle Zimmerman "Last Car on Lead Lap": Bobby Whitling


Bobby Lake Motorsports “Shock the Clock” Qualifying ($100 for fast time): 1. Kyle Lukon 20.355  2. Dave Lyon 20.396  3. Andrew Wylie 20.441  4. Mike Knight 20.596  5. Matt Latta 20.606  6. Alan Dellinger 20.609  7. Max Blair 20.645  8. Joe Martin 20.722  9. Bryce Davis 20.737  10. Bobby Whitling 20.828  11. Wyatt Scott 20.850  12. Jason Genco 20.871  13. John Waters 20.876  14. Ward Schell 20.921  15. Randy Hall 20.969  16. Kyle Scott 21.066  17. Scott Gurdak 21.092  18. Russ Byler 21.106  19. Kyle Zimmerman 21.143  20. Eric Wilson 21.152  21. Russ Kolesar 21.189  22. Mark Tatalovic 21.206  23. Bruce Hordusky, Jr. 21.276  24. Clay Ruffo 21.369  25. Justin Lamb 21.394  26. Rob Marhefka 21.418  27. Jamie Brown 21.450  28. T.J. Downs 21.466  29. Jon Rivers 21.546  30. Steve Hollabaugh 21.654  31. Bobby Pifer III 21.696  32. Brian Knowles 21.745  33. Tony White 21.798  34. Randy Wyant 22.172  35. Jason Knowles NT  36. Steve Beatty NT.


Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 1 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. Lukon  2. Latta  3. Davis  4. Kolesar  5. Gurdak  6. Waters  7. Lamb  8. Rivers  9. White.


Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 2 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. Lyon  2. Dellinger  3. Whitling  4. Marhefka  5. Schell  6. Byler  7. Tatalovic  8. Hollabaugh  9. Wyant-DNS.


Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 3 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. Blair  2. Wylie  3. Zimmerman  4. W. Scott  5. Hall  6. J. Knowles  7. Hordusky  8. Brown  9. Pifer. 


Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 4 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. Knight  2. Genco  3. Martin  4. K. Scott  5. Wilson  6. Downs  7. Ruffo  8. B. Knowles  9. Beatty-DNS.


Last Chance B Main 1 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1.Waters  2. Byler  3. Tatalovic  4. Lamb  5. Hollabaugh  6. White  7. Rivers  8. Wyant-DNS.


Last Chance B Main 2 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. J. Knowles  2. Hordusky  3. Downs  4. B. Knowles  5. Brown  6. Ruffo  7. Pifer  8. Beatty-DNS.


“John Buzzard Memorial” K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash (4 laps, $100 to-win): 1. Max Blair  2. Mike Knight  3. Dave Lyon  4. Kyle Lukon.


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 Ignition, Maxima Racing Oil, Jones Racing Products, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, TBM Brakes, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, TurboStart, Beyea Headers, FK Rod Ends, Bobby Lake Motorsports, Crate Innovations Inc., Velocita-USA, High Gear Speed Shop,, B.R.A.K.E.S.,, 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 Like our Facebook page at and follow us on Twitter @RUSHLM.