KYLE LUKON'S 3RD STRAIGHT SWEENEY RUSH LATE MODEL TOUR WIN AT PITTSBURGH IS WORTH $5200 IN "BILL HENDREN MEMORIAL PRESENTED BY FK ROD ENDS/PRO FAB WHILE LOGAN ZARIN TAKES PACE'S "ONE TO REMEMBER" NON-WINNERS RACE FOR $800; ROBBIE SCOTT WINS $500 NON-QUALIFIER
By Mike Leone
October 4-5, 2019 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Imperial, PA)...The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series presented by Pace Performance took part in the 31st annual "Pittsburgher 100" weekend at Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway on Friday and Saturday night as they joined up with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series for the fourth straight year in the running of the "Bill Hendren Memorial" presented by FK Rod Ends in conjunction with Pro Fabrication. Capturing wins were Kyle Lukon-Feature, Logan Zarin-"One to Remember" Non-Winners presented by Pace Performance, and Robbie Scott-Non-Qualifier. Special thanks to the Hendren Family, FK Rod Ends, Pro Fabrication, Pace Performance, CrateInsider.com, the numerous other sponsors, and of course Miley Motor Sports that made this the richest "Bill Hendren Memorial" in the seven-year history of the event being run in the Northeast!
As hard as it's to believe, entering the July 20 race at Pittsburgh, Kyle Lukon hadn't won a Sweeney Tour event in more than six years. Fast forward less than three months and Lukon has now won three straight Tour races at his old stomping grounds. Those three victories at the "Monster Half-Mile" coming in the "Herb Scott Memorial", the "Jook George Steel City Classic", and now the "Bill Hendren Memorial" have earned Lukon $18,800 and propelled him past defending champion Jeremy Wonderling in the championship points race! During the latest victory, Lukon wasn't even close to being the fastest car during the "Bill Hendren Memorial" weekend; in fact, he was just the 10th fastest in qualifying, finished second in his heat, fourth in the dash, and didn't even battle for the lead until the closing laps of the feature. Lukon took second on lap 32 and two laps later made the winning pass of John Mollick for the 40-lap, $5,200 win, while his teammate Alex Ferree came home second.
"This has been amazing," expressed the soon-to-be 30-year-old Burgettstown, Pa. racer after his 37th career PPMS win, but first ever Bill Hendren Memorial victory. "For Alex (Ferree) and I to finish one-two is just a dream come true. It would mean everything to win the title at Lernerville- that would be a good birthday present. We both run well there and there will be a good field of cars so we'll see what happens. John (Mollick) and Garret (Paugh) were both really good. I wasn't as good as them on the top and once they caught the lapped cars they started moving down a bit. I started catching Garret in traffic and he was right on John. It was real tricky down in turns three and four and I hit it right two laps in a row like Jimmy Owens and Stormy Scott were doing (Lucas Oil Late Models) to catch up to them. If you hit it just right you could launch off there. It was all on the line and I didn't even know how many laps were left. That was why I took an extra lap at the end."
Mollick earned the pole for the feature via his dash win for the second straight race and this time raced to the lead over Garret Paugh, track champion Ben Policz, and Lukon. Policz moved to second past Paugh on lap two, while Lukon began to challenge Paugh. The two battled side-by-side for third on laps five and six before a caution for a spin by Zach Gunn with six laps scored slowed action.
When racing resumed, Ferree, who started ninth, cracked the top five. Lukon then went back to work on Paugh and took the third spot on lap nine, but two laps later saw Paugh grab it back. The event's second and final caution was displayed when Gunn made heavy contact with the frontstretch wall after six more laps were completed.
When racing resumed for the final 28 non-stop laps, things really got shuffled up from positions two through six as Paugh and eighth starting Eddie Carrier, Jr. moved past Policz for second and third. Now it was three orange Rocket cars out front with Mollick leading over West Virginia racers Paugh and Carrier. After dropping back to fifth, Lukon regained fourth on lap 14 from Paugh. Lukon found moisture on the bottom of turn four like some of the Lucas Oil Super Late Models were doing as he passed Carrier for third on lap 17.
Meanwhile up front, Paugh began to close in on Mollick on lap 18. Mollick continued to set the pace out front as he caught lapped traffic for the first time on lap 21. Heavy traffic came into play on lap 27 as his lead began to shrink and then Lukon closed in on lap 28 making it a three-car race for the lead. It was side-by-side for the top spot between Mollick and Paugh, but Mollick's momentum around the top allowed him to hold the top spot. On lap 32, Lukon snuck under Paugh in lapped traffic in turn four and was right on Mollick. Lukon's winning pass came on the inside of turn four to get by Mollick on lap 34, and took off.
One lap later, Mollick got into the backstretch wall trying to fend off Paugh for second. Mollick suffered damage, but was able to duck into the pits allowing racing to continue as he was chosen as the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night". Lukon went unchallenged over the remaining laps to win his fourth career Sweeney RUSH Tour race by a comfortable 1.654-second margin in the Phil Lukon-owned, Race 1/Tru Form/Frankland Racing Supply/Lukon's Reb-Fab/Poske's Performance Parts-sponsored #184 Rocket Chassis. Lukon also received a Sunoco 5-Gallon Race Jug.
Ferree was able to pass Paugh on lap 37 to earn $2,500 for his best career RUSH finish for the longtime Super Late Model standout, who brought the Lukon team's total winnings to $7,700 for the night. "Lapped traffic definitely made it interesting," explained the 39-year-old Saxonburg, Pa. racer. "Me and Eddie Carrier had a heck of a battle door-to-door for I don't know how many laps. We got in traffic and he got by me then it worked to my favor and I got by him. We all got bottlenecked and luckily I made the right lane choice in traffic and got up to second. The traction around the bottom made things interesting. You had to fight for it."
"It might not be as exhilarating as a Super Late Model around the wall here but they're still fun to drive," Ferree added. "They are actually harder to race with because everyone is so competitive and close. It makes every mistake exponentially worse where Supers you can recover from. Thanks to the Lukons for allowing me to race this car- I've had a lot of fun. Hopefully I can keep doing this and getting better. I have to also thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, my crew for working coming to work on this car just as hard as my own car, and Vicki (Emig) from RUSH- this is a nice deal."
Paugh fended off Carrier for third place by just 0.213 of a second to earn $1,250 and the Dirt Defender "Defensive Drive of the Night" award. Carrier brought Junior Nolan's #13 home in fourth ($1,000) for the second straight race after finishing ninth in the "Bill Emig Memorial" at Lernerville. Tour rookie and "Futures Cup" racer, Ryan Frazee, earned his second top five finish of the season in fifth.
Policz dropped to sixth. Third place points man, Michael Duritsky, Jr., advanced from 12th to seventh. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. was eighth after starting 15th. Jake Gunn improved from the 13th starting spot to ninth. After a season best sixth at the last Tour race, Logan Zarin had a good run going 17th to 10th for his third straight top 11 finish- all his season's best.
Wonderling, who lost the points lead, salvaged another tough weekend going 21st to 12th and earned the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger award and received a $250 Crash's Custom Graphics certificate. After seemingly having the points in control with five straight top five finishes including three consecutive wins earlier in the season, Wonderling has really struggled of late. Saturday was Wonderling's third straight finish outside the top 11 and fourth time in the last five races. Wonderling will now try and take the points lead back for the second straight year in the Lernerville finale.
Robbie Scott closed out the "Bill Hendren Memorial" weekend in a winning debut driving for the Zarin Family. The 43-year-old Shinnston, WV driver earned $500 after a dominating performance in the Non-Qualifier taking the checkered flag first by 4.529 seconds in the #5. Scott raced under the fellow black #5 of Levi Crowl in turn two on lap two for the winning move to become the 39th different "Wheelman" Non-Qualifier winner in 46 races run all-time! 2017 "Wheelman" Champion, Jamie Wrightsman, started fourth and passed Crowl on lap nine for second to take over sole possession of the "Wheelman" points lead. Crowl dropped to third over Bill Kessler and Chuck Bowie. In addition to their prize money, all of the non-qualifiers also received a contingency worth at least $100 from RUSH.
On Friday night, Western Pennsylvania Rookie-of-the-Year, Logan Zarin, came out on top of the second annual "One to Remember" Non-Winners race presented by Pace Performance. Logan, who debuted a Jim Zarin throwback look on the #1z- a surprise to his father, passed Josh Stoica on lap five following a restart and drove off over the final 11 non-stop laps winning by a huge margin of 6.003 seconds for the $800 victory. In addition to his cash and hardware, Zarin also received a Go Pro Hero 7 white kit valued at $400 from CrateInsider.com and a $250 Crash's Custom Graphics gift certificate.
"This is definitely special to win at my home track- I can't even talk right now," expressed the recently-turned 17-year-old Moon Twp., Pa. driver of the Jim Zarin-owned, Zarin's Truck & Automotive/Tomei's Towing/Lovell Enterprise/RL Bolea Oil/Wheels, Wings & Wishes Foundation-sponsored ride. "I remember my dad winning so that's why I decided to do the car this way and thought maybe we'd get lucky, and I guess it worked!"
Stoica, who battled for the win in the 2018 event before finishing third, was able to do one spot better this year in second for $300. Sixth starting Zach Gunn passed Bob Schwartzmiller on lap 10 to finish third. Schwartzmiller, who was making his 2019 debut, was fourth after finishing second last year. Tour regular, Bill Kessler, who failed to qualify for the feature, was able to record a top five in both the Non-Winners and Non-Qualifier races.
Also on Friday night, Jake Gunn earned his first FK Rod Ends "Shock the Clock" honors in qualifying with a lap of 19.471 to earn $100. Picking up $25 FK Rod Ends heat races were Mollick, Policz, Paugh, and Carrier. Mollick also won the dash on Friday. Winning Saturday's last chance B mains were Wonderling and Schwartzmiller.
The Zarin Truck & Automotive "$500 Club" was co-sponsored by Bazell Race Fuels with the following top 15 drivers in PPMS points being randomly drawn for $100: Justin Lamb, Stoica, Schirnhofer, Zarin, and Duritsky. Winning the second Go Pro Hero 7 white kit ($400 value) from CrateInsider.com, this one in a random draw of all competitors, was Colton Flinner. The $150 spoiler kit from Ontime Body & Graphic was for position 14 in the feature and that went to Wayne Robertson.
The Sweeney Tour will complete the 2019 seasons at Lernerville Speedway on October 17-19 with the annual "Steel City Stampede". Thursday will include practice followed by FK Rod Ends "Shock the Clock" Qualifying and FK Rod Ends heat races on Friday night. Saturday will be last chance B main(s), the $2,000 to-win feature, and $200 to-win non-qualifier. Sunday is the rain date.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series “Bill Hendren Memorial” Race #14 (40 laps, $5,200 to-win): 1. KYLE LUKON (184) 2. Alex Ferree (Lukon 184X) 3. Garret Paugh (03) 4. Eddie Carrier, Jr. (Nolan 13) 5. Ryan Frazee (11F) 6. Ben Policz (14B) 7. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J) 8. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. (8S) 9. Jake Gunn (14G) 10. Logan Zarin (1z) 11. Nico Dabecco (F1) 12. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 13. Michael Reft (9R) 14. Wayne Robertson (20) 15. Dusty Waters (14) 16. Braeden Dillinger (14) 17. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 18. Christian Schneider (Maniecki 1ST) 19. Bob Schwartzmiller (28s) 20. Josh Stoica (22J) 21. Jared Kane (10) 22. John Mollick (Bentz 60M) 23. Justin Lamb (93x) 24. Ron Hall (01) 25. Zach Gunn (17G). (Note: Braeden Dillinger took a Tour provisional.)
Non-Qualifier (10 laps, $500 to-win): 1. Robbie Scott (Zarin 5) 2. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 3. Levi Crowl (5) 4. Bill Kessler (09) 5. Chuck Bowie (14c) 6. Eric Hamilton, Jr. (33x) 7. Chad Sines (15)-DNS 8. Daryl Charlier (Springer 42)-DNS 9. Brian Goebel (12G)-DNS 10. Paul Jablonski (3)-DNS 11. Bryan Hoffman (15H)-DNS 12. Colton Flinner (48F)-DNS 13. Zach Kane (7)-DNS.
"One to Remember" Non-Winners Race (15 laps, $800 to-win): 1. Logan Zarin 2. Josh Stoica 3. Zach Gunn 4. Bob Schwartzmiller 5. Bill Kessler 6. Chad Sines 7. Zach Kane 8. Bryan Hoffman 9. Paul Jablonski 10. Brian Goebel 11. Jared Kane 12. Eric Hamilton, Jr. 13. Levi Crowl-DNS.
Car Count: 38
Feature Margin of Victory:
Feature Lap Leaders: John Mollick (1-33), Kyle Lukon (34-40)
Go Pro Hero 7 white kits ($400 value) from CrateInsider.com: Colton Flinner & Logan Zarin
Crash's Custom Graphics $250 Certificates: Jeremy Wonderling & Logan Zarin
Zarin Truck & Auto "$500 Club" co-sponsored by Bazell Race Fuels: Justin Lamb, Josh Stoica, Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr., Logan Zarin & Michael Duritsky, Jr.
Ontime Body & Graphic “Spoiler Alert”: Wayne Robertson
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Jeremy Wonderling (+9)
Dirt Defender “Defensive Drive of the Night”: Garret Paugh
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night": John Mollick
Sunoco 5-Gallon Race Jug: Kyle Lukon
FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying ($100 for fast time) (Track record 18.849 by Mike Pegher, Jr. on 5/12/12): 1. Jake Gunn 19.471 2. Ben Policz 19.510 3. Garret Paugh 19.535 4. Eddie Carrier, Jr. 19.702 5. Nico Dabecco 19.777 6. Zach Gunn 19.818 7. John Waters 19.849 8. Michael Duritsky, Jr. 19.884 9. Alex Ferree 19.888 10. Kyle Lukon 19.916 11. Wayne Robertson 19.955 12. Bill Kessler 19.967 13. Logan Zarin 19.981 14. Colton Flinner 20.011 15. Ryan Frazee 20.044 16. Ron Hall 20.059 17. Zach Kane 20.091 18. Justin Lamb 20.105 19. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. 20.135 20. Dusty Waters 20.166 21. John Mollick 20.174 22. Daryl Charlier 20.253 23. Bob Schwartzmiller 20.257 24. Michael Reft 20.263 25. Jeremy Wonderling 20.266 26. Christian Schneider 20.348 27. Robbie Scott 20.545 28. Josh Stoica 20.614 29. Jared Kane 20.652 30. Levi Crowl 20.652 31. Brian Goebel 20.690 32. Chuck Bowie 20.772 33. Jamie Wrightsman 21.207 34. Braeden Dillinger 21.213 35. Bryan Hoffman 21.565 36. Chad Sines 21.853 37. Eric Hamilton, Jr. NT 38. Paul Jablonski NT.
FK Rod Ends Heat 1 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Mollick 2. Dabecco 3. Ferree 4. J. Gunn 5. Zarin 6. Wonderling 7. Z. Kane 8. Wrightsman 9. Crowl 10. Hamilton-DNS.
FK Rod Ends Heat 2 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Policz 2. Lukon 3. Lamb 4. Z. Gunn 5. Schneider 6. Flinner 7. Dillinger 8. J. Kane 9. Charlier 10. Jablonski-DNS.
FK Rod Ends Heat 3 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Paugh 2. Frazee 3. J. Waters 4. Schirnhofer 5. Robertson 6. Schwartzmiller 7. Scott 8. Hoffman 9. Goebel.
FK Rod Ends Heat 4 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Carrier 2. Hall 3. Duritsky 4. Reft 5. D. Waters 6. Stoica 7. Bowie 8. Kessler 9. Sines.
Dash (6 laps): 1. Mollick 2. Policz 3. Paugh 4. Lukon 5. Frazee 6. Hall 7. Dabecco 8. Carrier-DNS.
Last Chance B Main 1 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. Wonderling 2. J. Kane 3. Dillinger 4. Crowl 5. Wrightsman 6. Hamilton 7. Charlier 8. Jablonski 9. Flinner 10. Z. Kane-DNS.
Last Chance B Main 2 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. Schwartzmiller 2. Stoica 3. Scott 4. Kessler 5. Bowie 6. Sines 7. Goebel 8. Hoffman.
RUSH Racing Series is brought to you by Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC & Pace Performance along with the support of Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, Hovis Auto & Truck Supply, FK Rod Ends, Wehrs Machine & Racing Products, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, TBM Brakes, Performance Bodies & Parts, Racing Electronics, Dirt Defender, Wrisco Industries, Frankland Racing Supply, Landrum Performance Spring, Ontime Body & Graphic, Trailer-Alarms.com, Bonnell's Rod Shop, Sherwood Wheels, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, CrateInsider.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.