JOE MARTIN CAPTURES HIS BIGGEST CAREER WIN WITH A LAST LAP PASS FOR $10,000 IN NIGHT 2 OF "BILL HENDREN MEMORIAL" PRESENTED BY FK ROD ENDS AT PITTSBURGH FOR HOVIS RUSH LATE MODEL FLYNN'S TIRE TOUR; NPS HENDREN WEEKEND TITLE TO MICHAEL NORRIS OVER THE 46 CARS
By Mike Leone
September 30, 2023 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Imperial, PA)...The 35th annual "Pittsburgher” wrapped up on Saturday night at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway as the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply RUSH Dirt Late Model Flynn’s Tire Touring Series raced in night two of the “Bill Hendren Memorial” presented by FK Rod Ends in conjunction with Pro Fab, City Chevrolet, Hendren Racing Engines, All Interior Painting, West Mifflin Collision, and Branden Lockwich. Race #20 of the 2023 season attracted 42 cars, while a total of 46 drivers from seven different states plus Ontario, Canada competed over the two nights! The event was streamed live by FloRacing as RUSH joined up with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series for the third time this season.
After failing to qualify for Friday night's feature, Joe Martin was relegated to the D&V Jewelers Non-Qualifier. Some may question why a driver second in points would want to run a $200 non-qualifier race and risk damage, but Martin showed why. Martin and crew made changes and used that 10-lap race as a test session. After leading from start-to-finish, Martin turned that test session into a $10,000 payday 24 hours later! Martin led the majority of Saturday's 40-lap feature only to lose the lead on a late race restart. Martin though made a thrilling last lap, turn four pass of Colton Flinner to win the biggest race of his career in the "Bill Hendren Memorial"! It was Martin's second Flynn's Tire Tour victory of the season, but first in more than four months.
"Two nights of victory lane in a row, right," quipped the 38-year-old Punxsutawney, Pa. driver. "I knew we could run PPMS. We had a hot rod tonight and my team did not deserve to lose that race. I lose races quite often on double file restarts and I was bound and determined not to let that happen tonight. I was going to lose that one again, but I think my car was so much better than everyone else's. Honestly any other lap in my life I would have lifted there and not very long ago I would have lifted there on the last lap, but you can't be nice. I've been nice for 12 years and it's cost me lots of races. I'm glad he (Flinner) didn't wreck, but I wanted to win the race. He told me good job and for 10 grand he would have done the same thing. He got that new car and wasn't a factor all weekend then he was alongside of me and I thought 'let's see what he's got'. He took off better than I did, but it all worked out."
Five-time 2023 RUSH City Chevrolet Weekly Series Pittsburgh winner, Brandon Burgoon, led the first three laps in search of his first career Tour victory. Meanwhile, Max Blair and Joe Martin, who battled for the win at the last Flynn's Tire Tour event at Tyler County, made contact in the race for second on lap three and the yellow was displayed for debris. When racing resumed on lap four, Martin made the outside work to grab the lead, while fifth starting Garret Paugh moved into third as Blair would slip outside the top five in the ensuing laps.
As the laps ticked off, Martin stretched out his advantage and had a 2.491 second lead when he caught lapped traffic on lap 14. Track officials requested a red flag due to concerns over a fire on speedway grounds bringing action to a halt with 14 laps scored. Flinner, who started eighth, had worked his way up to fifth before the stoppage then got a great restart to move past Michael Norris and Paugh for third. Flinner then caught Burgoon in the race for second on lap 17 as the top four distanced themselves from the field. Paugh continued to backpedal as Blair and 11th starting Brock Pinkerous grabbed fourth and fifth in the ensuing laps.
Martin began to set sail opening up a lead of 2.813 seconds when he caught lapped traffic on lap 18. Flinner put a slider on Burgoon in turn four to take over second on lap 26. Blair would follow in third taking the spot from Burgoon on lap 30. The event's final caution was displayed when Paugh slowed to bring out the caution with 35 laps completed. Paugh was selected as the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night" recipient.
When green replaced yellow on lap 36, Flinner used the outside to take charge. At the last race at Tyler County, Martin had a victory stolen away from him by Blair on a late race restart and wasn't about to let that happen two times in the last three races. Martin hounded Flinner as he kept the #75 in his sight.
On lap 39, Martin dove under Flinner in turns three and four, but couldn't make the pass stick as Flinner crossed back under him to narrowly lead the lap with the white flag waving from RUSH starter Mike Rininger. Martin performed a similar move on the final lap, but this time didn't allow Flinner to get back under him as he took the checkered flag first by a mere 0.160 seconds! Martin's sixth career Flynn's Tire Tour victory came in the Tom Snyder, Jr.-owned, T&D Performance/Tuff Nuts/Body Fasteners/Weather Capital Sales/Kevin Martin Trucking Daugherty Motorsports/Accelo Racegear-sponsored #10s.
"I've been going to races since I was four years old and this has been my number one passion," explained Martin. "Not too many people can say they've won a 10 grand race so that means a lot to me. Just like last night, I feel like I've been letting my guys down so to pull through and give them this is a cool deal. I have to thank God. This racing takes everything you've got and sometimes you put it ahead of things you shouldn't, but that's what you have to do to win. I've been trying to make better decisions and become closer to God and hope I can be an example to everyone out there."
(Note: Martin's engine passed the post-race engine inspection, and the win will be official once the results of the fuel and tire samples that were taken are verified to be in compliance.)
Flinner, who debuted a new ride for Deller Motorsports on Friday only to have fuel pressure issue keep him pit side, earned $5,000 for his runner-up finish and biggest payday in his RUSH career. "That was a really good race and I hope the fans enjoyed that," expressed the 29-year-old Allison Park, Pa. racer. "I have nothing but respect for Joe Martin. I've raced him for many, many years. That was fun. It sucks coming up second, but that was a way better performance than last night. I showed him (Martin) my nose too early when I crossed him back over. I should have just let him beat me into turn one then slid him like he slid me. I'm happy with second as this is technically our first night out on this car. We got this off Randy Weaver- it's an Excel Racing Chassis and it's a really good piece. I have to thank the fans and everyone for their support. It was really cool running the #75 this weekend. I really miss my dad."
Blair earned $2,500 for third as he has been able to finish on the podium in all five Flynn's Tire Tour starts in the Centerline Motorsports #00K entry including a $20,000 win in the "Bill Emig Memorial" at Lernerville Speedway, a $4,000 victory at Tyler County Speedway, a $3,000 victory at Eriez Speedway, and a $1,500 runner-up at Knox Raceway!
"It took a few laps on every restart- I really don't have an explanation for why I couldn't fire off like those guys," revealed the 33-year-old Centerville, Pa. great. "I had to be really careful getting into one on the first corner then those guys would eat me up on the starts. We'll take third. I've struggled really bad here over the years so if you told me I'd run third I probably wouldn't have believed you. That was a lot of fun. I'm super pumped to see Joe (Martin) win. He's a heck of a guy and deserves it that's for sure."
After leading the first three laps, Burgoon dropped to fourth at the finish and earned $2,000 for the Ken Chernik/Bob Bentz #60 team. After a third place finish on Friday night, Norris came home fifth on Saturday night which garnered him the $1,000 "Bill Hendren Memorial" Weekend Championship presented by Northeast Paving and Sealcoat for the Nico Dabecco #1 team.
After being the highest finishing Flynn's Tire Touring Series regular on Friday night in 11th, Brock Pinkerous improved on that performance on Saturday night gaining five spots from his starting spot to cross the finish in 6th for his best finish since a third at Marion Center Raceway on June 10. After matching a career best Tour finish on Friday night in runner-up, Jacob Gunn had a solid seventh on Saturday night as he came up just one-point shy of Norris in the "Bill Hendren Memorial" Weekend Championship, but added an extra $500.
After failing to qualify for the feature on Friday night, Kyle Lee rebounded on Saturday night by going 19th to 8th to earn the $50 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger gift card. Ben Policz was ninth as he joined Norris and Gunn as the only three drivers to record top 10 finishes both nights! Central Ohio racer Justin Chance completed the top 10 in a Phil Lukon #184 entry.
Pittsburgh regular Dan Lepro led all 10 laps of the D&V Jewelers Non-Qualifier to earn a $400 payday. The 27-year-old Midway, Pa. driver of the Testa Machine/Nex-Gen Outdoor Services/IATW Foundation/Bryan Decals/Lukon's Reb-Fab/Ingram Engines/RPI Suspension/Embroidery Pittsburgh-sponsored #2L took the checkered flag first by 0.766 to become the amazing 73rd different winner in 89 races run all-time! Kassidy Kamicker kept pace with Lepro, but was unable to make the pass and settled for second. Brian Huchko was third over Zach Kane. For the second straight night, Craig Graham finished fifth over his son Brandt Graham! Brandt meanwhile leads the "Wheelman" Bonus Event Challenge Series points over his father.
For the second straight night, Norris set fast time overall in $100 FK Rod Ends "Shock the Clock" Qualifying this time with a lap of 19.710, but nowhere near his track record of 18.332 set on Friday night. Picking up $25 FK Rod End heat races wins were Norris, Paugh, Martin, and Gunn. The last chance B mains were captured by Beighey and South Carolina racer Jeremy Steele.
Burgoon won his first Sunoco Dash for a $100 Sunoco fuel card in addition to $400 cash from Stan's Transmission, who posted $1,500 cash for the top six finishers in the dashes over the weekend in memory of his father Bob Bentz. Tour drivers Brandt Graham and Michael Duritsky, Jr. won the $100 Sunoco fuel cards in the random drawings, while Clinton Hersh, Tim Shaffer, Ryan Frazee, and Dan Lepro won the $50 Sunoco fuel cards. Mike Wonderling finished 20th in the feature and received a spoiler kit from Ontime Body & Graphic. Hersh was the first feature non-qualifier and received a $100 Performance Bodies gift card for being the "Nosed Out" recipient.
The Flynn’s Tire Touring Series will close out the 2023 season at Lernerville Speedway October 12-14 for the "Steel City Stampede". There will be an open practice session on Thursday night. FK Rods "Shock the Clock" qualifying and heat races will take place on Friday night with the last chance B mains, $3,500 to-win feature, and the D&V Jewelers Non-Qualifier on Saturday night. The rain date is Sunday.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply RUSH Late Model "Bill Hendren Memorial" Night 2 presented by FK Rod Ends for the Flynn’s Tire Touring Series Race #20 (40 laps, $10,000 to-win): 1. JOE MARTIN (Snyder 10s) 2. Colton Flinner (Deller 75) 3. Max Blair (Centerline 00K) 4. Brandon Burgoon (Chernik/Bentz 60) 5. Michael Norris (Dabecco 1) 6. Brock Pinkerous (555) 7. Jacob Gunn (14G) 8. Kyle Lee (2T) 9. Ben Policz (14B) 10. Justin Chance (Lukon 184C) 11. Jeremy Steele (22) 12. Zach Gunn (17G) 13. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 14. Logan Zarin (Beach 33x) 15. Cody Dawson (36) 16. Tim Shaffer (45) 17. Brent Trimble (1) 18. Tony Musolino (Dobnak 42) 19. Tom Klein (77) 20. Mike Wonderling (18) 21. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. (8s) 22. Colby Beighey (36) 23. Frank Magill (05) 24. Garret Paugh (03) 25. Cole Petrelle (184) 26. Ryan Frazee (17). (Note: Mike Wonderling took a Tour provisional and Cole Petrelle took a Track provisional)
D&V Jewelers Non-Qualifier (10 laps, $400 to-win): 1. Dan Lepro (2L) 2. Kassidy Kamicker (72B) 3. Brian Huchko (60) 4. Zach Kane (4) 5. Craig Graham (98) 6. Brandt Graham (14) 7. Clinton Hersh (16) 8. Steve Baldwin (5) 9. Jim Rasey (Wrightsman 21J). DNS: Michael Reft (9R), Dave Goble (20G), Ashton Briggs (11A), Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J), Ryan Hare (29), Austin Hauser (51), Daryl Charlier (Petrelle 184D).
Car Count: 42
Feature Margin of Victory:
Feature Lap Leaders: Brandon Burgoon (1-3), Joe Martin (4-35, 40), Colton Flinner (36-39)
Ontime Body & Graphic “Spoiler Alert” Spoiler Kit: Mike Wonderling
Performance Bodies “Nosed Out”: Clinton Hersh
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger: Kyle Lee (+11)
Sunoco Fuel Card Winners: Michael Duritsky, Jr. ($100), Brandt Graham ($100), Clinton Hersh ($50), Tim Shaffer ($50), Ryan Frazee ($50), Dan Lepro ($50).
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”: Garret Paugh
FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Flight A Qualifying (Track record 18.332 by Michael Norris on 9/29/23) ($100 for fast time): 1. N1-Michael Norris, 00:19.710; 2. 03-Garret Paugh, 00:19.714; 3. 60-Brandon Burgoon, 00:19.765; 4. 77-Tom Klein, 00:19.923; 5. 8S-Tommy Schirnhofer Jr, 00:20.065; 6. 1T-Brent Trimble, 00:20.108; 7. 14B-Ben Policz, 00:20.141; 8. 184C-Justin Chance, 00:20.299; 9. 45-Tim Shaffer, 00:20.305; 10. 555-Brock Pinkerous, 00:20.418; 11. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr, 00:20.438; 12. 20G-Dave Goble, 00:20.482; 13. 36B-Colby Beighey, 00:20.694; 14. 2T-Kyle Lee, 00:20.703; 15. 16-Clinton Hersh, 00:20.758; 16. 29-Ryan Hare, 00:20.843; 17. 4K-Zachary Kane, 00:20.851; 18. 14-Brandt Graham, 00:21.027; 19. 11A-Ashton Briggs, 00:21.040; 20. 72B-Kassidy Kamicker, 00:21.066; 21. 51-Austin Hauser, NT.
FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Flight B Qualifying (Track record 18.332 by Michael Norris on 9/29/23): 1. 10S-Joe Martin, 00:19.891; 2. 14G-Jake Gunn, 00:19.933; 3. 5B-Steve Baldwin, 00:20.019; 4. 22S-Jeremy Steele, 00:20.087; 5. 36-Cody Dawson, 00:20.095; 6. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling, 00:20.151; 7. 75F-Colton Flinner, 00:20.250; 8. 33X-Logan Zarin, 00:20.324; 9. 05-Frank Magill, 00:20.364; 10. 98-Craig Graham, 00:20.402; 11. 9R-Mike Reft, 00:20.435; 12. 17G-Zach Gunn, 00:20.500; 13. 2L-Dan Lepro, 00:20.558; 14. 00K-Max Blair, 00:20.580; 15. 42-Tony Musolino, 00:20.601; 16. 18-Mike Wonderling, 00:20.614; 17. 17-Ryan Frazee, 00:20.624; 18. 60H-Brian Huchko, 00:20.646; 19. 21J-Jim Rasey, 00:20.901; 20. 184P-Cole Petrelle, 00:20.952; 21. 184D-Daryl Charlier, NT.
FK Rod Ends Heat 1 (10 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. N1-Michael Norris; 2. 60-Brandon Burgoon; 3. 8S-Tommy Schirnhofer Jr; 4. 14B-Ben Policz; 5. 45-Tim Shaffer; 6. 36B-Colby Beighey; 7. 16-Clinton Hersh; 8. 4K-Zachary Kane; 9. 11A-Ashton Briggs; 10. (DNS) 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr. DNS: 51-Austin Hauser.
FK Rod Ends Heat 2 (10 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 03-Garret Paugh; 2. 184C-Justin Chance; 3. 555-Brock Pinkerous; 4. 1T-Brent Trimble; 5. 2T-Kyle Lee; 6. 77-Tom Klein; 7. 29-Ryan Hare; 8. 72B-Kassidy Kamicker; 9. 14-Brandt Graham; 10. 20G-Dave Goble.
FK Rod Ends Heat 3 (10 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 10S-Joe Martin; 2. 75F-Colton Flinner; 3. 36-Cody Dawson; 4. 05-Frank Magill; 5. 42-Tony Musolino; 6. 21J-Jim Rasey; 7. 5B-Steve Baldwin; 8. 17-Ryan Frazee; 9. 9R-Mike Reft; 10. 2L-Dan Lepro. DNS: 184D-Daryl Charlier.
FK Rod Ends Heat 4 (10 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 14G-Jake Gunn; 2. 00K-Max Blair; 3. 33X-Logan Zarin; 4. 17G-Zach Gunn; 5. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling; 6. 22S-Jeremy Steele; 7. 184P-Cole Petrelle; 8. 18-Mike Wonderling; 9. 60H-Brian Huchko; 10. 98-Craig Graham.
Last Chance B Main 1 (10 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. 36B-Colby Beighey; 2. 77-Tom Klein; 3. 16-Clinton Hersh; 4. 72B-Kassidy Kamicker; 5. 4K-Zachary Kane; 6. 14-Brandt Graham; 7. 20G-Dave Goble; 8. 11A-Ashton Briggs; 9. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr; 10. 29-Ryan Hare. DNS: 51-Austin Hauser.
Last Chance B Main 2 (10 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. 22S-Jeremy Steele; 2. 17-Ryan Frazee; 3. 2L-Dan Lepro; 4. 60H-Brian Huchko; 5. 9R-Mike Reft; 6. 21J-Jim Rasey; 7. 98-Craig Graham; 8. 5B-Steve Baldwin; 9. 184P-Cole Petrelle; 10. 18-Mike Wonderling. DNS: 184D-Daryl Charlier.
"Bob Bentz Memorial" Sunoco Dash presented by Stan’s Transmission (6 laps, $400 to-win plus a $100 Sunoco fuel card): 1. 60-Brandon Burgoon; 2. 00K-Max Blair; 3. 10S-Joe Martin; 4. N1-Michael Norris; 5. 03-Garret Paugh; 6. 184C-Justin Chance; 7. 14G-Jake Gunn; 8. 75F-Colton Flinner.
The RUSH Racing Series is brought to you by Hovis Auto & Truck Supply together with Born2Run Lubricants along with the support of Hoosier Tire, Rick Hendrick City Chevrolet, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, Flynn's Tire, Sunbelt Rentals, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, FK Rod Ends, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, TBM Brakes, Bilstein Shocks, Performance Bodies & Parts, Racing Electronics, Wieland Metal Services, Frankland Racing Supply, Landrum Performance Spring, Ontime Body & Graphic, Sherwood Wheels, Precise Racing Products, Velocita-USA, Wedge Motorsports, 3C Graphix, D&V Jewelers, CrateInsider.com, and Terry Bowser Excavating.
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. The RUSH Late Model website is www.rushlatemodels.com. Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rushlatemodels and follow us on Twitter @RUSHLM.