MAX BLAIR DEFENDS HOME TURF WINNING MCKEAN’S “FALL CLASSIC” FINALE ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON FOR 4TH SWEENEY RUSH LATE MODEL TOUR WIN
By Mike Leone
September 22, 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(East Smethport, PA)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series wrapped up the eighth annual “Fall Classic” on an overcast and brisk 55-degree Sunday afternoon at McKean County Raceway. The third day of the traditional event was postponed to Sunday after some two inches of rain fell throughout the day on Saturday. Thirty-seven drivers from all over Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, and Maryland participated in race #19 of the 24 event slate.
Max Blair won an amazing eight of the nine regular events he entered this season at McKean on his way to the track championship; however, the $5,000 Sweeney Weekly Series and $3,000 Pace Summer Chase Champion had only been able to win one of the four Sweeney Tour events he competed in this season at his home track. On Sunday afternoon, Blair brought down the curtain on McKean’s season with his fourth Tour win of the season. Blair passed nemesis Mike Pegher, Jr. with nine laps to go to claim the $1,500 victory- the 10th of the season for him at the East Smethport, Pa. oval.
“It’s been a real good weekend, but I think Friday night should have been better and we could have had that one; it didn’t work out for us, but that’s okay- we made up for it today,” explained the 23-year-old Centerville, Pa. winner. “You can’t win if you follow so you have to move around and try to make something happen. We made it happen last week at Sharon and did it again today so that’s awesome! I have to thank my dad first and foremost, all of my sponsors, and all of the guys that help out- without them none of this is possible.”
After a dominating K&N Dash win, Chad Ruhlman, who was looking for his first Sweeney Tour and McKean victory of the season, couldn’t hold off Pegher as the Sweeney Tour point leader took the early lead using the outside. Blair was third after one lap, while Ed Carley and Ryan Montgomery passed Zack Carley for fourth and fifth respectively.
By lap four, the top four of Blair, Ruhlman, Pegher, and Carley pulled away. Pegher began to distance himself from Ruhlman on lap five, while Blair began to pressure Ruhlman for second. After eight non-sop laps the caution was displayed for debris. When racing resumed, Ruhlman tried a move on Pegher, but slipped high allowing Blair to take runner-up; meanwhile, Carley got shuffled out after contact with Montgomery as Montgomery took fourth and ninth starting Damian Bidwell followed in fifth.
After a caution for Cody Mason, Montgomery continued to move forward as he passed Ruhlman for third, but two laps later Ruhlman regained the spot. Montgomery then dropped back to fifth on lap 13 when Bidwell snuck under for fourth. Jason Knowles got into Cody Mason and collected Butch Lambert necessitating the caution with 16 laps scored.
Like last Saturday at Sharon, it was a huge break for Blair as he lined up alongside Pegher. And just like at Sharon when Blair passed Pegher on the outside for the $2,000 victory, Blair made the identical move getting a great run on the outside of Pegher in turns one and two to power by Pegher to lead lap 17. Bidwell continued moving forward as he used the outside as well to get by Ruhlman for third on the restart.
Montgomery got himself back into contention as he passed Ruhlman for fourth on lap 18 then followed Bidwell past Pegher on a lap 20 restart for third. Bidwell and Montgomery resumed their battle from Friday night and Montgomery would get the better of it as he passed the local favorite on lap 21 for runner-up.
Up front, it was all Blair in his Specialty Products/Moody & Son Welding/Wescoat Excavating/Bobby Lake Motorsports/Genesis Shocks/VP Racing Fuels-sponsored #111 Rocket Chassis as his fourth Sweeney Tour win tied Pegher for tops in the Series. Blair also gained another spot in the Sweeney Tour points up to ninth.
Montgomery was second for the fifth time in the past 11 events and recorded his 13th top four finish in 19 events. “It’s definitely different today,” said the 16-year-old Fairmont, West Virginia standout. “It’s day racing so if you mess up just a little bit it goes a long way. I got up to third then messed up on my restart, fell back to fifth then slowly made my way back through. About an hour after we got the car out of the trailer today we realized the rear end was broke so we threw it together in time for the heat race to run second. We started sixth and worked our way up through. It was a stressful day, but it all paid off in the end.”
After a 16th and a 14th in his prior two McKean Tour events, Bidwell had a solid third. “I wish we had a better finish on Friday night,” expressed the Eldred, Pa. youngster. “We went too soft on the tire today. If we had a harder tire I think we might have had something for Max. I’d like to thank all of my sponsors for making this possible.”
Pegher dropped to fourth for his 15th top four finish in 19 Sweeney Tour races and leads Montgomery by 21 points. Ed Carley edged out 15th starting Bryce Davis for fifth after the two swapped the position back and forth. Carley was also fifth on Friday night as he was able to finish in the top seven in all five Sweeney Tour events at McKean.
John Waters was seventh. Pole-sitter Ruhlman dropped to eighth, but was able to gain a spot in points to fifth. K&N Dash pole-sitter Zack Carley, who was a career best Sweeney Tour runner-up on Friday night, fell back to ninth at the finish after losing his hood earlier in the race. Dan Davies subbed for Justin Tatlow in Lewy Kratts’ #81 and had a solid showing finishing 10th. Davies had to start tail of his heat after not qualifying on Friday night then after transferring through the first B main, Davies came from the 23rd starting spot in the feature to earn the $100 Precise Racing Products gift card for being the “Pedal Down” Hard Charger.
Blair, Ruhlman, Pegher, and Zack Carley won the heat races, while Jason Genco and Knowles won the last chance B mains. Ruhlman became just the third driver to win multiple K&N Dashes this year and earned the $100 K&N certificate. Pegher received a $50 K&N certificate for second, while Blair and Zack Carley received $25 cash for finishing third and fourth respectively. Blair also set fast time back on Thursday night for the show with a lap of 15.807 to bring his event’s earnings to $1,675.
Richard “Critter” Hemphill was awarded The Brake Man’s “Tough Brake of the Night”. Hemphill was running in the second and final transfer spot in the second last chance B main only to get caught up in an accident when his RACEceiver failed. Hemphill came back through the field to second again, but lost the spot to Brad Mesler then spun trying a move in turn four on the final lap.
The next event on the Sweeney Tour will be race #20 of 24 at Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex in Markleysburg, Pa. for the $2,000 to-win “Bill Hendren Memorial” September 27-28. Thousands of dollars in contingencies will also be on given away. It will be a qualifying event with $100 Bobby Lake Motorsports “Shock the Clock” qualifying and $25 to-win heat races on Friday night.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series Race #19 (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. MAX BLAIR (111) 2. Ryan Montgomery (12) 3. Damian Bidwell (17) 4. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Geisler 1c) 5. Ed Carley (28) 6. Bryce Davis (94) 7. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 8. Chad Ruhlman (Suppa 4s) 9. Zack Carley (8) 10. Dan Davies (Kratts 81) 11. Ward Schell (Baker 74) 12. Butch Lambert (27) 13. Dusty Waters (14) 14. Ralph Morgan, Jr. (Powell 100) 15. Justin Smith (22) 16. Doug Ricotta (01) 17. Bruno Mowery (29) 18. Cody Mason (MR1) 19. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325x) 20. Brad Mesler (24B) 21. Adam Sixt (6T) 22. Jason Knowles (4) 23. Joe Buccola, Jr. (5B) 24. Jason Genco (29J)-DSQ (unsportsmanlike conduct).
DNQ: Matt Harvey (4), Garret Stephen (79), Miles Stitzinger, Jr. (Cole 43s), Richard Hemphill, Jr. (31), Bob Kish (5), Skip Jackson (52x), Garrett Mott (43x), Bill Mesler (15), Cody Dawson (36), Chad McClellan (119), Paul Grigsby (24), Junior Peters (00), Craig Dean (21).
Feature Lap Leaders: Pegher (1-16), Blair (17-25)
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Dan Davies (+13)
The Brake Man “Tough Brake of the Night: Richard Hemphill, Jr.
Qualifying ($150 for fast time): 1. Max Blair 15.807 2. Chad Ruhlman 15.909 3. John Waters 15.982 4. Chad McClellan 16.006 5. Ed Carley 16.057 6. Ryan Montgomery 16.066 7. Mike Pegher, Jr. 16.074 8. Mike Pegher, Jr. 16.074 9. Zack Carley 16.137 10. Damian Bidwell 16.148 11. Dusty Waters 16.178 12. Bryce Davis 16.194 13. Cody Mason 16.241 14. Paul Grigsby 16.264 15. Doug Ricotta 16.279 16. Ward Schell 16.367 17. Justin Smith 16.374 18. Shane Weaver 16.397 19. Butch Lambert 16.406 20. Jason Knowles 16.413 21. Bruno Mowery 16.440 22. Adam Sixt 16.470 23. Brad Mesler 16.475 24. Joe Buccola, Jr. 16.499 25. Jason Genco 16.502 26. Craig Dean 16.584 27. Bill Mesler 16.599 28. Ralph Morgan, Jr. 16.620 29. Justin Tatlow 16.637 30. Bob Kish 16.655 31. Garret Stephen 16.686 32. Richard Hemphill 16.691 33. Matt Harvey 16.715 34. Garrett Mott 16.790 35. Junior Peters 17.257 36. Skip Jackson 17.561 37. Miles Stitzinger, Jr. 18.502.
Heat 1 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer) 1. Blair 2. E. Carley 3. Bidwell 4. Smith 5. Mowery 6. Genco 7. Davies 8. Harvey 9. Stitzinger 10. Dawson-DNS.
(8 laps, Top 5 transfer) 1. Ruhlman 2. Montgomery 3. D. Waters 4.
Weaver 5. Sixt 6. Mott 7. Kish 8. Grigsby-DNS 9. Dean-DNS.
Heat 3 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer) 1. Pegher 2. J. Waters 3. Ricotta 4. Davis 5. Lambert 6. Br. Mesler 7. Bi. Mesler 8. Stephen 9. Peters-DNS.
(8 laps, Top 5 transfer) 1. Z. Carley 2. Schell 3. Mason 4. Buccola
5. Morgan 6. Knowles 7. Hemphill 8. Jackson 9. McClellan-DNS.
K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash (4 laps/$100 K&N certificate to-win): 1. Chad Ruhlman 2. Mike Pegher, Jr. 3. Max Blair 4. Zack Carley
Last Chance B Main 1 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer): 1. Genco 2. Davies 3. Harvey 4. Stitzinger 5. Kish 6. Mott 7. Dawson-DNS 8. Grigsby-DNS 9. Dean-DNS.
Last Chance B Main 2 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer): 1. Knowles 2. Br. Mesler 3. Stephen 4. Hemphill 5. Jackson 6. Bi. Mesler 7. McClellan-DNS 8. Peters-DNS.
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.