COLTON FLINNER BECOMES 7TH STRAIGHT DIFFERENT SWEENEY RUSH LATE MODEL TOUR WINNER; TONY WHITE QUALIFIES FOR HIS 1ST CAREER TOUR FEATURE & WINS $1000 "STEEL CITY ROULETTE" DRAWING AT PITTSBURGH
By Mike Leone
September 13, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Imperial, PA)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series returned to Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Speedway for the second and final appearance of the season on a special Saturday night program as part of the annual "Pittsburgher 100" weekend. The event drew 30 cars and also included the rescheduled "Steel City Roulette" drawing as Tony White left as the big $1,000 lucky winner!
Making just his second Crate Late Model start of the season, 11th starting Colton Flinner came out on top of a wild 25-lap feature after assuming the lead on the final lap when Chad Ruhlman went up in smoke in a race that saw four different leaders! Flinner's first career Sweeney Touring Series victory was worth $1,200 plus an extra $50 for his "Steel City Roulette" draw. Flinner became the seventh straight different Sweeney RUSH Tour winner and ninth of the year in 13 races!
"I didn't want to see him blow up because I wanted to see if I could beat him fair and square, but I'll take the win this way- this is my first RUSH Tour win," expressed the happy 20-year-old Allison Park, Pa. driver. "I wasn't expecting to win this. I was racing Ruhlman as hard as I could side-by-side. I have to thank Ron Hall- this is his car. He gave me an opportunity to drive it this weekend. My dad was up all week getting the cars ready to run this weekend. Also have to thank all of my family, sponsors, and the fans- I'm pretty excited. Now we have a 50-lap Super Late Model race to run so we'll see what we can do."
Josh Holtgraver took off in the early lead over Jason Rider, while fifth starting Ruhlman was up to third after one lap. Rider went after Holtgraver and the two ran side-by-side on laps two and three. Rider took over on the third circuit with an outside move and brought Ruhlman along with him in second.
By lap four, Ruhlman put the pressure on Rider. Laps five through eight saw the two put on a great battle for the lead racing side-by-side. Ruhlman made quite the move in turn four with a slide job to lead lap eight and immediately began to pull away. Ruhlman had a big scare on lap 11. Ruhlman was negotiating heavy traffic just as Dennis Curry, Jr. spun in front of him bringing out the caution. It was a big break for Ruhlman as he avoided losing the lead to Rider as well as missing the accident.
When racing resumed, Rider got a poor restart as Holtgraver, 10th starting Ryan Montgomery, Nico Dabecco, and Flinner were able to get by for positions two through five. One lap later, Series point leader Montgomery lost the handle off turn two with an apparent flat bringing out the caution. Just as the green flag waved, the race was slowed again for a spin by newcomer Jacob Recker.
When green replaced yellow, Flinner made a big move to get by Dabecco and Holtgraver for second. on lap 12 That pass earned him the Driven Racing Oil "Slick Move of the Night" as it would later turn out to be a key pass. The next five laps ran under green flag conditions as Ruhlman and Flinner pulled away from the field. Back in the pack, Chad McClellan got tangled up in hard battle and hit the fence. Montgomery then had nowhere to go as he slammed into McClellan ending both drivers' nights. It was a tough weekend for the third place point man McClellan and was awarded the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night".
The final nine laps went green-to-checkered. Ruhlman and Flinner took off, but by lap 19 Ruhlman began to pull away and in fact ran the fastest lap of the race on lap 20. It appeared like Ruhlman, who has dominated Sweeney Weekly Series action in the northern part of the region, was headed to his first career Sweeney RUSH Tour win; however, as he took the white flag his engine went up in smoke. Ruhlman stayed on the gas, but Flinner went by in turn one for the lead as Ruhlman exited on the backstretch.
Flinner took the checkered flag first by a huge 5.009 second margin in the J.R. Hall Excavating/All American Framers/Bellisarios Lounge/VOX Energy/Randig Towing-sponsored #75 over Daryl Charlier. Charlier, who entered the night a winner of two of the last three Sweeney Weekly Series events at PPMS, started eighth. Charlier passed Dabecco for third on lap 24 and inherited the runner-up spot on the final lap for his best career Sweeney Tour finish.
"We definitely had a third place car," stated the 30-year-old Midway, Pa. driver. "I was sad to see the 4-car (Ruhlman) go out on the last lap, but I'll take a second place any day. The car was running okay. It got a little banged up at the beginning of the race, and not sure if we would have had anything for Colton or the 4-car."
The crazy final lap saw Waters pass the slowing Ruhlman then got by Dabecco to beat him for third by just 0.024 of a second! Waters started back in 18th and earned his first $100 Precise Racing "Pedal Down" Hard Charger gift card. Waters also took a big cut into Montgomery's point lead gaining 22 points on the night as he's now beat Montgomery in four of the last five races.
"I have to thank Billy from MBH and all of the guys that came with me," said Waters of Whitesville, New York. "We fought with it from hot laps on, but later we finally hit something good. Man that was fun! It was unfortunate for Chad to blow up- that stinks for him. We went in there and I couldn't see anything and I know Nico couldn't. He let off and I about hit him. I'd like to thank Vicki (Emig) and Mike (Leone) for putting this on. The Steel City deal was nice and that's great for a guy to come home with an extra $1,000."
Dabecco was fourth for the second straight Sweeney Tour race at Pittsburgh. Michael Lake was fifth for his best Sweeney Tour finish of the season. Justin Lamb, who won his first feature in three years on August 30 in Sweeney Weekly Series action at Pittsburgh, had a solid in sixth after starting 14th. Holtgraver dropped to seventh over Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. and Rider. Bobby Rohrer had a good night in his first ever visit to Pittsburgh to finish 10th after starting 21st. It was also Rohrer's second top 10 Tour finish in as many nights.
Tony White began his racing career in 2007 racing Amateur Stock Cars at Pittsburgh, and continued in the division through 2009. In 2011, White moved up into the Crate Late Models and won the track's rookie-of-the-year award, but has yet to win a race. The Aliquippa, Pa. driver has been a weekly racer at the "Monster Half-Mile" and is one of the lowest budgeted teams in RUSH. In fact, White won tires at last year's "Manufacturers Night" at Pittsburgh and has been running them most of the season. And generally it's just Tony and his father going to the track.
White traveled to McKean County Raceway on August 30 for the first time ever to take part in "Manufacturers Night" where he won several prizes including a set of Beyea headers valued at over $800! White had never qualified for a Sweeney Tour feature in his career and early in the night stated that was his goal Saturday. White raced his way into the feature through his heat race and finished 19th. That probably would have made White's night alone, but as luck would have it, he drew the number one pill in the "Steel City Roulette" drawing earning him the $1,000 cash prize!
The 26 drivers that qualified for the feature won a cash prize of $50-$1000 thanks to many sponsors. The bonus program was originally scheduled for the rained out "Steel City 100" on June 8 at Pittsburgh.
Besides the above, several other racers picked up contingency prizes on Saturday night. Michael Reft finished 13th and received an Accelerator-1 carb spacer kit compliments of Crate Innovations. Eric Wilson was the final car on the lead lap and won a Moroso Custom Fit Plug Wire set also compliments of Crate Innovations. Jake Gunn was the first non-qualifier and received an ARbodies nose kit valued at $245 as part of the "Nose Out" program.
McClellan won his second K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash and earned a $100 K&N certificate. Justin Lamb was second and received a $50 K&N certificate. Dennis Curry received an extra $25 cash for finishing third. Track champion Corey McPherson was unable to start the dash or feature. Heat race winners were Schirnhofer, Ruhlman, and Montgomery, while Waters won the last chance B main.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series Race #13 (25 laps, $1,200 to-win): 1. COLTON FLINNER (Hall 75) 2. Daryl Charlier (88) 3. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 4. Nico Dabecco (Karalagas F1) 5. Michael Lake (Yowler 27) 6. Justin Lamb (93x) 7. Josh Holtgraver (00) 8. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. (8s) 9. Jason Rider (Wade 76) 10. Bobby Rohrer (11) 11. Paul Jablonski (03J) 12. Dennis Curry, Jr. (8) 13. Michael Reft (9R) 14. Eric Wilson (27W) 15. Chad Ruhlman (Suppa 4s) 16. Andrew Wylie (84) 17. Ben Policz (14B) 18. Chuck Medved (2M) 19. Tony White (27) 20. Mark Moats, Jr. (15M) 21. Chad McClellan (119) 22. Ryan Montgomery (12) 23. Russ Kolesar (Castleveter 27c) 24. Jacob Recker (6) 25. Brian Goebel (12G) 26. Corey McPherson (Bentz 60c)-DNS. (Note: Paul Jablonski took a Track provisional)
DNQ: Jake Gunn (14G), Jeremy Adamik (7J), Chuck Recker (Porter 6R), W.L. Stile (1W).
Car Count: 30
Feature Margin of Victory: 5.009
Feature Lap Leaders: Josh Holtgraver (1-2), Jason Rider (3-7), Chad Ruhlman (8-24), Colton Flinner (25)
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: John Waters (+15)
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night: Chad McClellan
Driven Oil "Slick Move of the Night": Colton Flinner
Crate Innovations "Performance Plus" Accelerator-1 Carb Spacer: Michael Reft
Crate Innovations "Ignite" Moroso Custom Fit Plug Wire
Set: Eric Wilson
ARbodies "Nosed Out" Nose Kit: Jake Gunn
Heat 1 (10 laps, Top 6 transfer): 1. Schirnhofer 2. Holtgraver 3. Kolesar 4. Dabecco 5. McClellan 6. McPherson 7. Waters 8. Reft 9. Policz 10. Goebel.
Heat 2 (10 laps, Top 6 transfer): 1. Ruhlman 2. Rider 3. Lake 4. Medved 5. Curry 6. Wilson 7. Gunn 8. Rohrer 9. C. Recker 10. Stile.
Heat 3 (10 laps, Top 6 transfer): 1. Montgomery 2. Charlier 3. Flinner 4. Moats 5. Lamb 6. White 7. Wylie 8. Jablonski 9. Adamik 10. J. Recker.
Last Chance B Main (10 laps, Top 6 transfer): 1. Waters 2. Wylie 3. Reft 4. Rohrer 5. Policz 6. J. Recker 7. Goebel 8. Jablonski 9. Gunn 10. Adamik 11. C. Recker 12. Stile.
K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash (4 laps): 1. Chad McClellan 2. Justin Lamb 3. Dennis Curry 4. Corey McPherson-DNS.
The Sweeney Tour will be in action next on Saturday, September 27 at Woodhull Raceway for a $1,500 to-win event in the track's first ever RUSH-sanctioned event, and just second ever in the state of New York.
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.