By Mike Leone


September 20, 2013             FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(East Smethport, PA)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series participated in the eighth annual “Fall Classic” at McKean County Raceway.  After qualifying on Thursday night set the heat race lineups for Friday night, a complete show was run on night two.  Thirty-eight teams from all over Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, and Maryland participated in race #18 of the 24-event slate.


In his first ever visit to McKean, Chad McClellan came out on top of a wild and bizarre $1,200 to-win feature event to become the 11th different Sweeney Tour winner of the season.  McClellan rebounded from a poor qualifying time on Thursday night, a 19th place starting spot in the feature, then recovered from an early race accident, and survived an uncharacteristic caution-filled event that saw seven of the top eight finishers record their best Tour finish of the season. 


“This is the luckiest I have ever been in my life,” expressed the 39-year-old Stoystown, Pa. racer.  “I didn’t know what was going on at times, but this is where we ended up!  This is the first time I’ve ever been here- it’s four hours from home, but is a beautiful facility.  I have to thank the fans, everyone that helps on the car, and all of my sponsors.”


Via his K&N Dash win, Ryan Montgomery raced into the early lead from the pole position over Damian Bidwell.  John Waters was making his first ever start in a Crate Late Model and passed Paul Grigsby for third.  Standouts Mike Pegher, Jr. and Max Blair were fifth and sixth after the opening lap. 

After a pair of four-car cautions, one of which included eventual winner, Chad McClellan, Bidwell took the advantage on the restart for the lead, while Pegher passed both Grigsby and Waters for the third spot.  Two more cautions were displayed for back-to-back spins by Jason Knowles and Cody Mason. 

When action resumed, this time Montgomery regained the lead on lap six and opened up an advantage.  By lap eight, the battle was on for second with Bidwell trying to fend off Pegher and Blair before a caution for Dusty Waters.  When green replaced yellow, three more laps were scored before the second caution by Mason and the sixth caution of the event two laps short of halfway.

Montgomery and Bidwell were warned repeatedly throughout the event about their restart methods and after another poor restart that resulted in the start being called back, both racers were moved back a row putting Pegher and Blair on the front row.  Pegher and Blair now resumed their front row battle from one week ago when Blair got by Pegher on a late restart to win at Sharon Speedway.

Unlike at Sharon, this time Pegher held off Blair to lead lap 12 when John Waters and Zack Carley passed Montgomery for third.  While Pegher continued to lead Blair, the battle for third on back was hot and heavy as the positions were changing constantly.  Bidwell held the third spot, but Montgomery, Chad Ruhlman, Carley, and Waters were really going at it.  Montgomery got himself back to fourth on lap 17 and Ruhlman worked into fifth.


Blair was staying right with Pegher as the laps ticked off.  Garrett Mott had gotten out of shape and kept going, and though it wasn’t immediately close to the leaders, Pegher and Blair closed every lap and Pegher was right on Mott on lap 21.  This was the opportunity Blair needed to make a move for his 10th win of the season at McKean.


Blair followed Pegher and with two to go began to look to the outside with the thought of passing Pegher for the lead and clearing Mott.  Blair made his move and it looked like might have the pass of Pegher made with two laps to go, but contact between Pegher and Mott in turn four sent Blair spinning across the middle of the frontstretch.  The accident also collected Montgomery and Bidwell.  Ruhlman would have inherited second, but he pitted with a flat tire.

Track promoters John Kennedy and Chris Zuver instituted a “one minute per lap time limit” on all races Friday night due to having four make-up features on top of the seven divisions in competition.  As was the case in other divisions earlier in the night, when the time expired under caution, a green-white-checkered finish was ordered.

One chance at the green-white-checkered finish would now take place as racing resumed.  John Waters found himself in second and went for it on the restart; however, made contact with Pegher sending Pegher around.  Waters was charging with rough driving, while Pegher was awarded The Brake Man’s “Tough Brake of the Night”.

When everything cleared, McClellan emerged the winner of the wild feature event in his Fieg Coal/Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic/Ingram Race Engines/Lazer Chassis #119. McClellan, who also has five wins at Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex, jumps from sixth to fourth in the Sweeney Weekly Series Championship!

Tenth starting Zack Carley was second for his best ever Sweeney Tour finish.  Brad Mesler was third after starting 23rd and received his first $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger” certificate.  Matt Harvey ironically started alongside Mesler in row 12 and also improved 20 positions to fourth at the finish!  Mesler was awarded the hard charger due to his higher finish. 


After starting 13th and progressively moving forward, Ed Carley rebounded from nearly spinning out earlier in the event.  The elder Carley lost several spots as he recovered by driving through part of the backstretch infield and was credited with fifth in the final rundown.  It was Carley’s third straight top five Sweeney Tour finish at McKean after finishing seventh at the opening event on May 23. 


Butch Lambert, who started 18th, was scored in sixth for his best finish of the season besting his seventh at the McKean Speedweek event on July 11.  Adam Sixt, Grigsby, Dusty Waters, and Knowles, who made his first start of the season, completed the top 10.  Both Pegher and Montgomery’s string of six straight top four Sweeney Tour finishes came to an end Friday night. 

Ruhlman set fast time on Thursday night with a lap of 15.550 and earned $150.  Heat race winners were Ruhlman, Blair, Pegher, and John Waters, while Doug Ricotta and Ward Schell captured the B mains.  Montgomery became just the second driver in 18 events to win his second K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash.  The K&N point leader received a $100 K&N certificate, while Bidwell received a $50 K&N certificate for second.  Grigsby and John Waters received $25 cash for finishing third and fourth.     

Ralph Morgan, Jr. was the ARbodies “Nosed Out” winner.  Driving the John Powell-owned #100, Morgan was the first driver to fail to qualify for the feature and received a nose kit valued at approximately $250.  Dusty Waters was the lucky recipient of the TurboStart 16-volt racing battery valued at approximately $250.


The next event on the Sweeney Tour will be race #19 of 24 at McKean County Raceway on Sunday afternoon for $2,000 to-win, $250 to-start.  It’ll be a complete show with heat races, the K&N Dash, last chance B mains, and the 30-lap feature.  Pits open at 10 a.m. with racing at 1 p.m.


Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series Race #18 (23 laps, $1,200 to-win): 1. CHAD MCCLELLAN (119)  2. Zack Carley (8)  3. Brad Mesler (24B)  4. Matt Harvey (4)  5. Ed Carley (28)  6. Butch Lambert (27)  7. Adam Sixt (6T)  8. Paul Grigsby (24B)  9. Dusty Waters (14)  10. Jason Knowles (4)  11. Ward Schell (Baker 74)  12. Bob Kish (5)  13. Garrett Mott (43x)  14. Damian Bidwell (17)  15. Justin Tatlow (81)  16. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Geisler 1c)  17. John Waters (Lebarron 11)  18. Max Blair (111)  19. Ryan Montgomery (12)  20. Chad Ruhlman (Suppa 4s)  21. Doug Ricotta (01)  22. Cody Dawson (36)  23. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325x)  24. Cody Mason (MR1)  25. Jason Genco (29J)  26. Rick Singleton (Enyeart 99*)  27. Bryce Davis (94).  Note: Rick Singleton received a Touring provisional.  Garrett Mott & Bob Kish each received a Track provisional. 

DNQ:  Ralph Morgan, Jr. (Powell 100), Justin Smith (22), Bill Mesler (15), Garret Stephen (79), Richard Hemphill (31), Joe Buccola, Jr. (5B), Craig Dean (21), Skip Jackson (52x), Miles Stitzinger, Jr. (Cole 43s), Junior Peters (00), Bruno Mowery (48).   


Car Count: 38
Feature Lap Leaders:
Montgomery (1-2, 6-11), Bidwell (3-5), Pegher (12-22), McClellan (23)
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”:
Brad Mesler (+20)

The Brake Man “Tough Brake of the Night: Mike Pegher, Jr.
ARbodies “Nosed Out”:
Ralph Morgan, Jr.

TurboStart Battery Giveaway: Dusty Waters

Qualifying ($150 for fast time): 1. Chad Ruhlman 15.550  2. Max Blair 15.756  3. Mike Pegher, Jr. 15.851  4. John Waters 15.917  5. Dusty Waters 15.933  6. Damian Bidwell 16.058  7. Ryan Montgomery 16.127  8. Shane Weaver 16.150  9. Paul Grigsby 16.250  10. Zack Carley 16.263  11. Jason Genco 16.275  12. Bryce Davis 16.275  13. Ed Carley 16.291  14. Adam Sixt 16.354  15. Cody Mason 16.372  16. Ward Schell 16.380  17. Brad Mesler 16.413  18. Butch Lambert 16.421  19. Garrett Mott 16.422  20. Jason Knowles 16.490  21. Cody Dawson 16.497  22. Justin Smith 16.559  23. Richard Hemphill 16.564  24. Matt Harvey 16.585  25. Doug Ricotta 16.587  26. Garret Stephen 16.595  27. Chad McClellan 16.608  28. Bob Kish 16.614  29. Joe Buccola, Jr. 16.625  30. Ralph Morgan, Jr. 16.638  31. Bill Mesler 16.654  32. Justin Tatlow 16.726  33. Bruno Mowery 16.752  34. Craig Dean 16.954  35. Junior Peters 17.135  36. Skip Jackson 17.352  37. Miles Stitzinger, Jr. NT  38. Rick Singleton NT.


Heat 1 (10 laps, Top 5 transfer) 1. Ruhlman  2. Grigsby  3. Dawson  4. E. Carley  5. D. Waters  6. Ricotta  7. Buccola  8. Br. Mesler  9. Mowery  10. Stitzinger.


Heat 2 (10 laps, Top 5 transfer) 1. Blair  2. Bidwell  3. Z. Carley  4. Sixt  5. Lambert  6. Smith  7. Dean  8. Morgan  9. Singleton  10. Stephen.

Heat 3 (10 laps, Top 5 transfer) 1. Pegher  2. Montgomery  3. Genco  4. Mason  5. McClellan  6. Hemphill  7. Bi. Mesler  8. Mott  9. Peters .


Heat 4 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer) 1. J. Waters  2. Davis  3. Knowles  4. Weaver  5. Tatlow  6. Schell  7. Harvey  8. Kish  9. Jackson. 

K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash (4 laps/$100 K&N certificate to-win): 1. Ryan Montgomery  2. Damian Bidwell  3. Paul Grigsby  4. John Waters.

Last Chance B Main 1 (10 laps, Top 2 transfer): 1. Ricotta  2. Br. Mesler  3. Singleton  4. Morgan  5. Smith  6. Stephen  7. Dean  8. Buccola  9. Stitzinger  10. Mowery.

Last Chance B Main 2
(10 laps, Top 2 transfer): 1. Schell  2. Harvey  3. Kish  4. Mott  5. Bi. Mesler  6. Hemphill  7. Jackson  8. Peters.


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.