RUSSELL KING BECOMES 6TH STRAIGHT DIFFERENT SWEENEY RUSH LATE MODEL TOUR WINNER WITH HIS 1ST "GARY KNOLLINGER MEMORIAL" VICTORY AT SHARON
By Mike Leone
September 12, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Hartford, OH)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series returned to Sharon Speedway for the second and final appearance of the season on a special Friday night as part of the annual "Apple Festival Nationals". The fourth annual "Gary Knollinger Memorial" drew 35 cars from all over Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and New York.
Making just his second start of the season, Russell King captured the prestigious "Gary Knollinger Memorial" event at the speedway he grew up at. King became the fourth different winner in the four years the event has been held at Sharon. King also became the Series' sixth straight different winner after Chad McClellan and Rick Singleton started the season off winning the first six events! King held off veteran Alan Dellinger in late race lapped traffic for the $1,500 win and the beautiful "Gary Knollinger Memorial" statue trophy.
"Anytime you can beat that guy (Dellinger) no matter what you're racing it's a pretty big accomplishment," expressed the 25-year-old Bristolville, Ohio driver. "I didn't get a chance to know Gary (Knollinger) very well, but from everything I've heard from the Blairs, Montgomery, and the people involved- he sounded like a really down to earth guy and I'm glad to win this race in his memory."
The race got off to a rough start when a five-car accident ensued in turn one on the opening lap collecting Series stars Singleton, Jason Rider, Cody Dawson along with Jeremy Adamik. When racing got underway, King used the outside to power into the lead past John Waters with Dellinger, Ryan Montgomery, and Russ Byler in tow.
On lap two, Byler got by Montgomery for third. Dellinger, who has three Sweeney Weekly Series wins at Sharon this year on the $135 Bilstein "sealed" spec shocks, got under and by Waters for second down the backstretch on lap three. Byler, who is in his first full season of Late Model racing, looked strong as he ran down Waters. The two battled hard side-by-side on laps five and six before making contact. The two got crossed up in turns three and four and were sideways through the infield before Waters spun to bring out the caution with six laps recorded. Byler would later retire and was awarded the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night" award.
When racing resumed, another multi-car accident took place in turn one- this one including McClellan, who had worked his way forward past nine cars running the top side. He would restart at the tail. The final 19 laps would go caution-free.
Back under green, Max Blair made a great move to pass both Eric Wilson and Sharon point leader Will Thomas III to take over fifth. The pass earned him his first Driven Racing Oil "Slick Move of the Night" honor.
In the ensuing green flag laps, past Knollinger Memorial winner, Montgomery, pressured Dellinger for second, while King opened up his lead. The only thing that was going to slow King was lapped traffic. That would come into play on lap 18 as King had a half-straightaway lead.
King maintained his advantage up until two laps to go when Dellinger cut into the lead. On the last lap, Dellinger really closed in as King was dealing with heavy traffic, but when the checkered flag waved King held on by 0.468 of a second for his second career Sweeney RUSH Tour victory in the Bob Diver-owned, Diver Steel City/King Sanitary Services/Race 1-sponsored #23. It was King's first ever Crate Late Model win at Sharon, which adds to his six career DIRTcar Big-Block Modified victories.
"Bob Diver bought the car off of us and I take care of it for him," continued King. "I bring it out here periodically for him to run then he lets me have fun at these bigger shows. I have to thank him and his dad for letting me do this. It's a blast with really good people. I have to thank my mom and dad, grandparents, my wife Ashley, all my crew guys, and sponsors. I got to watch my brother (Rex King, Jr.) beat up on everyone this year (DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds) so I'm glad to finally win one year."
Dellinger, who made his fourth Sweeney Tour start of the season was a season best second as he's yet to finish worse than eighth. Dellinger also has a pair of fourth place finishes in Bob Williams' #8. "We needed to go 30 (laps)," stated the 50-year-old Hermitage, Pa. veteran. "It was just started to get fun there then it was over. I was like 'darnit'! Everyone that finishes second always wants more laps."
Montgomery was a close third- less than three tenths of a second behind Dellinger. The 17-year-old took a big step forward toward his first career Sweeney Tour championship as coupled with John Waters' 15th place finish, now has a 70-point lead heading into his favorite track on Saturday at Pittsburgh.
"I would have loved to win this race again, but I'm glad Russell won it," stated the Fairmont, West Virginia racer. "A couple weeks ago we came from 25th to fifth. Wins are always nice to get. The track was good, but my tire never came in when I needed it to. I was riding right behind Alan the whole time. I have thank all of my sponsors for making this possible."
Seventh starting Andrew Wylie beat out 11th starting Blair for fourth at the finish by just 0.006 of a second as the two battled pretty much the final 19 laps! It was a good run by Wilson to finish sixth at his home track as he moved into a fourth place tie in the Sweeney Tour standings with Jason Rider. Joe Martin, Thomas, Bobby Rohrer, and Josh Double completed the top 10.
Max Lux finished just outside the top 10 in 11th in his first start of the season driving a team car to Dennis Lunger, Jr. Lux started 19th and that earned him the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down Hard Charger" gift card. Lux was also drawn as the lucky winner of a pair of pit passes for next Saturday's Sweeney Weekly Series event at Sharon compliments of Hovis Auto & Truck Supply. Robby Marhefka was right behind in 12th after starting 20th and that netted him an Accelerator-1 carb spacer compliments of Crate Innovations.
Joel Prosser once again brought his #38K Gary Knollinger tribute car to the event. Prosser, of New Martinsville, West Virginia, was a good friend of his late fellow West Virginia racer. Making his first RUSH start of the season, Prosser was the last car on the lead lap in 19th and received the Moroso custom fit plug wire set also compliments of Crate Innovations.
Heat race winners were Byler, Wylie, Dellinger, and Thomas, while Lunger and McClellan won the last chance B mains. Rick Singleton won his fourth K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash to extend his K&N Dash Championship point lead. Singleton received a $100 K&N certificate over Double, who received a $50 K&N certificate, while the third and fourth place finishers of Eric Andrus and W.L. Stile received an extra $25 cash.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series Race #12 "Gary Knollinger Memorial" (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. RUSSELL KING (Diver 23) 2. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 3. Ryan Montgomery (12) 4. Andrew Wylie (84) 5. Max Blair (111) 6. Eric Wilson (27W) 7. Joe Martin (55) 8. Will Thomas III (9) 9. Bobby Rohrer (11) 10. Josh Double (38) 11. Matt Lux (Schwartz 21L) 12. Robby Marhefka (99FM) 13. Bobby Whitling (7W) 14. Rick Singleton (Enyeart 99*) 15. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 16. Ralph Morgan, Jr. (Powell 100) 17. Jason Rider (Wade 76) 18. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 19. Joel Prosser (77) 20. Chad McClellan (119) 21. Jeremy Adamik (7J) 22. W.L. Stile (1W) 23. Russ Byler (Hoover 00H) 24. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L) 25. Eric Andrus (54) 26. Cody Dawson (36). Note: Cody Dawson took a Series provisional and Jamie Wrightsman took a Track provisional)
DNQ: Joe Long (71), Bryan Salisbury (126), Bobby Pifer III (6P), Mike Laughard (38L), Chris Frank (49), Russell Baird, Jr. (17), Lon Emerick (3), Jeff Haynes (27J), Matt Latta (21).
Car Count: 35
Feature Margin of Victory: 0.468
Feature Lap Leaders: Russell King (1-25)
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Matt Lux (+9)
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night: Russ Byler
Driven Oil "Slick Move of the Night": Max Blair
Crate Innovations "Performance Plus" Accelerator-1 Carb Spacer: Robby Marhefka
Crate Innovations "Ignite" Moroso Custom Fit Plug Wire
Set: Joel Prosser
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Sharon Speedway 2 Pit Passes: Matt Lux
Heat 1 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer): 1.Byler 2. Prosser 3. Martin 4. Singleton 5. Whitling 6. Lunger 7. Emerick 8. Frank 9. Haynes.
Heat 2 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer): 1. Wylie 2. Wilson 3. Montgomery 4. Andrus 5. Rider 6. Morgan 7. Salisbury 8. Wrightsman 9. Long.
Heat 3 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer): 1. Dellinger 2. Waters 3. Rohrer 4. Double 5. Lux 6. McClellan 7. Dawson 8. Pifer 9. Laughard.
Heat 4 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer): 1. Thomas 2. King 3. Blair 4. Stile 5. Marhefka 6. Adamik 7. Baird 8. Latta.
Last Chance B Main 1 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer): 1. Lunger 2. Morgan 3. Long 4. Salisbury 5. Wrightsman 6. Frank 7. Haynes 8. Emerick-DNS.
Last Chance B Main 2 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer): 1. McClellan 2. Adamik 3. Dawson 4. Pifer 5. Laughard 6. Baird 7. Latta.
K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash (4 laps): 1. Rick Singleton 2. Josh Double 3. Eric Andrus 4. W.L. Stile.
The Sweeney Tour will be in action next on Saturday (September 12) at Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway for the rescheduled "Steel City Roulette" as part of the "Pittsburgher". The event will pay $1,200 to-win; however, all feature starting cars will receive bonus monies ranging from $50 to $1,000 based on a random draw! Pits open at 3 p.m. with warm-ups at 4:30 and racing at 6.
RUSH Late Model marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, The Brake Man, K&N Filters, Bilstein Shocks, Lincoln Electric, TurboStart, Beyea Headers, FK Rod Ends, Bobby Lake Motorsports, Driven Racing Oil, Crate Innovations Inc., Moroso Performance Products, Velocita-USA, High Gear Speed Shop, CrateInsider.com, Utsinger’s Towing, B.R.A.K.E.S., RockAuto.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.