MAX BLAIR STEALS $2000 FROM PEGHER IN SWEENEY RUSH LATE MODEL TOUR THRILLER AT SHARON; RUFFO WINS HIS 1ST “FUTURES CUP” RACE
By Mike Leone
September 13-14, 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Hartford, OH)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series took part in the annual “Apple Festival Nationals” on Friday and Saturday at Sharon Speedway. Race #17 of 24 on the 2013 slate featured Bobby Lake Motorsports “Shock the Clock” qualifying, Bobby Lake Motorsports heat races and the second “Futures Cup” Trifecta race on Friday night followed by the conclusion of the program on Saturday night. It was the fifth and final Sweeney Tour race on the season at the Hartford, Ohio oval.
After running around the fourth and fifth positions for much of the race, Max Blair stole the $2,000 win away from nemesis Mike Pegher, Jr. on a late race restart for his third Sweeney Tour win of the season. Blair was the final leader in a race that featured five lead changes amongst four drivers. Not only was it a valuable point night for Blair in the Tour standings, but became closer to clinching the $5,000 Sweeney Weekly Series Championship, which concludes at the end of the month.
“I don’t know what to say,” exclaimed the almost surprised 23-year Centerville, Pa. winner in victory lane. “This is awesome…I’m still shaking. Mike (Pegher) by far, hands down had the best race car. The last Tour race here I felt like we had the best car and Ryan Montgomery got by me on a late race restart in turn one so I guess this evens it up for me. I didn’t think I could get him. Josh (Double) turned down just early enough on the next-to-last restart that I could get by him then was just hoping the yellow would come out. It’s fun racing with Mike…that was a lot of fun!”
The race got off to a bad start when Russell King broke when the green flag was displayed and caught up six other competitors ending the night for Andrew Wylie, Russ Byler, and Jamie Wrightsman. Via his K&N Dash win, defending Sharon Speedway Champion Will Thomas III took the early lead when racing got underway. Thomas, who owns nine career wins at the speedway in a little over two years of racing, had never won a Sweeney Tour race at his home track.
Ryan Montgomery moved past Josh Double for second on the
opening lap, but Double pulled back even on lap two to grab the spot; however,
one lap later, Montgomery regained the runner-up position. The race was slowed
when Jeremy Adamik spun with seven laps completed. Back under green, Montgomery
used the outside on the restart to lead lap eight. The race was slowed again
due to a four-car accident with nine laps scored.
Even though Montgomery had the advantage on the restart as the leader, Thomas recaptured the lead on the bottom to lead lap 10. The following lap it was three-wide for the lead with Thomas holding on over Montgomery, and seventh starting Pegher. In was a short-lived lead for Thomas as Montgomery powered to the outside once again to lead the 12th circuit. Pegher snuck past Thomas on lap 13 for second and in consecutive laps Thomas lost third to Double and fourth to Blair.
The complexity of the event really changed in the second 15 laps. Pegher seemed to come out of nowhere as he found his way battling the lead as he closed up Montgomery on lap 16 and made the pass off the bottom of turn four. The top three of Pegher, Montgomery, and Double began to pull away from the field. But as the laps ticked off, the leaders caught traffic on lap 23 and all of a sudden Blair closed on the front trio making it a four-car race for the lead with seven laps to go!
Jeremy Adamik brought out the caution with 24 laps scored. When green replaced yellow, Double passed Montgomery for second. A pair of cautions slowed action with 25 laps scored and was just what Blair needed. He used the outside to pass both Montgomery and Double for second and then got a much needed caution with 27 laps completed when Butch Lambert ran out of room and spun in turn two ruining what may have been his best run of the season.
Pegher chose the bottom and had the advantage off turn four down the frontstretch, but Blair found the perfect line through turn one as he powered off the top into the lead. Once in front, Blair pulled away to win by 1.094 seconds in his Specialty Products/Moody & Son Welding/Wescoat Excavating/Bobby Lake Motorsports/Genesis Shocks/VP Racing Fuels-sponsored #111 Rocket Chassis. It was Blair’s second $2,000 Sweeney Tour win of the season at Sharon and the seventh of his career at the Hartford, Ohio oval.
After dropping back to fifth with four laps to go, the much needed cautions allowed Thomas to rebound as he passed Montgomery for fourth on lap 27, then both Double and Pegher for second on lap 28. The runner-up was worth $1,000 for Thomas, who has two weeks remaining to try and catch Dennis Lunger, Jr. for the Sharon championship.
“I hate starting on the front row,” acknowledged the Sharpsville, Pa. driver. “I had a nice pace going and then I picked the bottom and (Ryan) Montgomery got by me. Then we had another restart and I ran him as hard as I could. I don’t know if my right rear got hot or sealed over. I started floundering there in the middle for three or four laps. I calmed down, got to the bottom, started running my own race, and picked them off one at a time. I guess I was driving like a moron early on; wheel spinning like it was my first race. I should have known better.”
Pegher came home third to extend his Sweeney Tour point lead to 22 over Montgomery with seven events remaining. It was Pegher’s third straight runner-up finish and ninth straight top four finish! Montgomery, who looked poised early on to win his third Sweeney Tour race in five events this season at Sharon, dropped to fourth. Double crossed the line in fifth, but was disqualified for coming up light at the scales moving Chad Ruhlman into the top five.
Jeff Ferguson subbed for John Over, who is out with a broken wrist, and finished sixth after starting 10th in his first ever Sharon and Sweeney Tour start. Matt Latta came from 13th to finish seventh. It was a great RUSH debut for E-Mod standout Joel Watson, who received the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger certificate after racing from 22nd to eighth. Lunger and Matt Glanden completed the top 10.
Randy Wyant was another driving making his RUSH debut, but his weekend ended early on Friday night when the steering broke in his heat race and he slammed the fence. Wyant was awarded The Brake Man’s “Tough Brake of the Night”.
Double set fast time Friday night in Bobby Lake Motorsports “Shock the Clock” qualifying with a lap of 16.665 to earn $100. Double then earned another $25 for winning the first of three Bobby Lake Motorsports heat races, while Thomas and Montgomery also picked up $25 heat race wins. Thomas became the 16th different K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash winner of the season in 17 races! Thomas earned a $100 K&N certificate, while Double earned a $50 certificate for second. Montgomery and Ruhlman picked up an extra $25 cash for third and fourth respectively.
After not competing for nearly a month and a half, Clay Ruffo returned to Sharon on Friday night to capture the second of three “Futures Cup” Trifecta races. Ruffo passed Matt Glanden on the start of the 12-lap event and held on to-win a four-car race down to the finish to earn the $200. Canadian Jorden Peters, who won the first race at Pittsburgh, was not on hand.
“I’ve been stuck playing football the last couple weekends and haven’t raced in awhile,” explained the Mercer, Pa. racer, who turned 17 on Saturday. “I received some driving lessons in the time off by the crew and Russ King. They’ve been helping me a lot. I have to thank all of my sponsors and my crew and my mom.”
Fresh off his $2,000 Sweeney Tour win on Labor Day at
Roaring Knob, Michael Lake threw it in hard in turn one on the opening lap
trying to go for the lead and spun out. It was the event’s only caution as the
next 12 laps went green-to-checkered.
Ruffo used the outside and his Sharon experience to power into the lead past pole-sitter Matt Glanden. Lake was able to move into fourth on lap two past Dawson. Eric Wilson, who has three career Sharon wins in his first three years of racing, started fourth and began pressuring Glanden for second on lap two. Wilson pulled alongside Glanden and the two raced side-by-side on laps three and four.
Ruffo had opened up a comfortable advantage, but Glanden began to close in at the halfway point. Ruffo then bobbled on the cushion in turn four on lap seven as Glanden was right on the leader. In the ensuing laps, Wilson and Lake also closed in as it was a four-car race right down to the finish.
Ruffo though had enough to hold on by 0.649 of a second in Corey Ruffo-owned, Ben Bissett Chevrolet/Barris Supply/Wedge Motorsports-sponsored #14R. Glanden, who recorded his best career Sweeney Tour finish on May 26 at Sharon, was second over “Futures Cup” point leader Wilson, Lake, and Dawson.
The next events on the Sweeney Tour will be race #18 & 19 of 24 at McKean County Raceway. Two rounds of group qualifying ($150 for fast time each night) will take place on Thursday (September 19) followed by $1,200 to-win on Friday night and $2,000 to-win, $250 to-start on Saturday night. The rain date is Sunday.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series Race #17 (30 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. MAX BLAIR (111) 2. Will Thomas III (9) 3. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Geisler 1c) 4. Ryan Montgomery (12) 5. Chad Ruhlman (Suppa 4s) 6. Jeff Ferguson (Over K2) 7. Matt Latta (21) 8. Joel Watson (92) 9. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L) 10. Matt Glanden (01) 11. Butch Lambert (27) 12. Scott Tessman (19s) 13. Rocky Kugel (21KRT) 14. Bobby Pifer III (6) 15. Bobby Whitling (7w) 16. Eric Wilson (27W) 17. Clay Ruffo (14R) 18. Jeremy Adamik (7J) 19. Cody Rogers (22) 20. Cody Dawson (36) 21. Russell King (Diver 23) 22. Russ Byler (Hoover 00H) 23. Andrew Wylie (84) 24. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 25. Josh Double (38)-DSQ (light) 26. Michael Lake (27)-DNS 27. Randy Wyant (11T)-DNS.
“Futures Cup” Trifecta Race #2 (12 laps, $200 to-win): 1. Clay Ruffo 2. Matt Glanden 3. Eric Wilson 4. Michael Lake 5. Cody Dawson.
Car County: 27
Feature Lap Leaders: Thomas (1-9, 10-11), Montgomery (8-9, 12-16), Pegher (17-27), Blair (28-30)
Margin of Victory: 1.094
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Joel Watson (+13)
The Brake Man “Tough Brake of the Night: Randy Wyant
Bobby Lake Motorsports “Shock the Clock” Qualifying ($100 for fast time): 1. Josh Double 16.665 2. Will Thomas III 16.694 3. Ryan Montgomery 16.756 4. Chad Ruhlman 16.756 5. Bobby Whitling 16.767 6. Russell King 16.824 7. Jeff Ferguson 16.857 8. Max Blair 16.866 9. Russ Byler 16.899 10. Mike Pegher, Jr. 16.943 11. Eric Wilson 16.947 12. Clay Ruffo 17.021 13. Michael Lake 17.123 14. Cody Dawson 17.142 15. Andrew Wylie 17.167 16. Matt Latta 17.201 17. Jamie Wrightsman 17.279 18. Scott Tessman 17.291 19. Dennis Lunger, Jr. 17.299 20. Butch Lambert 17.374 21. Joel Watson 17.406 22. Jeremy Adamik 17.585 23. Randy Wyant 17.619 24. Matt Glanden 17.694 25. Cody Rogers 17.726 26. Rocky Kugel 17.880 27. Bobby Pifer III 18.072.
Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 1 (8 laps, $25 to-win) 1. Double 2. Ruhlman 3. Pegher 4. Ferguson 5. Latta 6. Lake 7. Lunger 8. Rogers 9. Adamik.
Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 2 (8 laps, $25 to-win) 1. Thomas 2. Blair 3. Whitling 4. Lambert 5. Wilson 6. Kugel 7. Wrightsman 8. Wyant 9. Dawson.
Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 3 (8 laps, $25 to-win): 1. Montgomery 2. King 3. Ruffo 4. Byler 5. Wylie 6. Glanden 7. Tessman 8. Watson 9. Pifer.
K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash (4 laps/$100 K&N certificate to-win): 1. Will Thomas III 2. Josh Double 3. Ryan Montgomery 4. Chad Ruhlman.
2013 RUSH marketing partners
include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, RainEater Wiper Blades,
Hoosier Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Precise Racing Products,
ARbodies, The -Brake Man, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, TurboStart, K1
RaceGear, Beyea Headers, FK Rod Ends, Bobby Lake Motorsports, Wrisco Industries,
High Gear Speed Shop, Utsinger’s Towing, 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.