CHAD RUHLMAN FLIES TO 1ST EVER SWEENEY RUSH LATE MODEL TOUR & LERNERVILLE WIN WHILE RYAN MONTGOMERY TAKES TOUR TITLE; GREG MARTIN WINS RUSH SPORTSMAN MODS & INAUGURAL SWEENEY WEEKLY SERIES TITLE
By Mike Leone
October 24-25, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Sarver, PA)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series returned to Lernerville Speedway for the second time this season. Race #16 was the season finale and attracted 44 cars for the sixth annual "Steel City Stampede DIRTcar Round-Up, which included practice on Thursday night, heat races on Friday night, and the conclusion of the program on Saturday night. The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds also concluded their inaugural Sweeney Weekly Series season and was part of the traditional event for the first time in their fifth appearance of the season to Lernerville. Race fan Dan Bradley of Erie, Pa. was the lucky winner of the K&N Cold Air Induction System valued at up to $500.
After his performance on Saturday night in the 30-lap RUSH Late Model feature, it would be hard for many to believe Chad Ruhlman had never won at Lernerville before or a Sweeney Tour event in the two-year history of the Series. The $5,000 Sweeney Weekly Series Champion started 13th, had the lead on lap 10, and drove away to win by more than six seconds for the $2,000 prize! Ruhlman became the Series' 11th different winner in 16 races this season, and ninth different in the past 10 events!
"This is huge, "expressed the 37-year-old Bemus Point, New York racer. "I've always wanted to win here. This is another Eldora to me. I feel bad the open motor broke for CJ Rayburn because I felt like we had something for them in that too. I learned an awful lot from Russ King in that (Super Late Model) feature. I'll give this one to you. You have more balls than I hoped I would have, but apparently I'm just as brain dead as you! Getting over the cushion in turn one exiting stage right was huge. The Rayburn car was fast. We could roll around the bottom. It was good to win in Rocket's house right here. There's a lot of fans and I thank everyone for coming and supporting us. Also have to thank all of my sponsors, everyone that helps out, and Vicki (Emig) what she does for crate racing is big."
It was three-wide for the lead on the opening lap between pole-sitter Eric Andrus, Bryce Davis, and Jared Hawkins with Davis and Hawkins taking the top two spots. On lap two, Hawkins went for the lead in turns one and two and Davis made contact trying to get back by on the outside. Davis, who was fresh off the $3,000 McKean County Raceway win two weeks ago, spun to bring out the caution ending his bid for his third win of the season. On the ensuing restart, runner-up point man John Waters, who was running fourth, spun between turns one and two. Damage ended his night and was designated as the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night".
Back under green, Hawkins took off in the lead; meanwhile, seventh starting Rick Singleton moved into fourth on lap two then the Series four-time winner passed Daryl Charlier for third one lap later. Charlier didn't go away as he regained the third spot on lap five. While Hawkins continued to lead out front, all eyes began to focus on Ruhlman, who was using the outside to move forward. Ruhlman cracked the top five on lap five when he passed Eric Wilson then overtook Singleton for fourth on lap seven before a much-needed caution.
Andrus was running the race of his life in second and certainly didn't want to see the caution. On the restart, it was three-wide for the runner-up spot as Andrus maintained it on lap eight, while Ruhlman moved ahead of Charlier for third. One lap later Ruhlman advanced to second past Andrus before the final caution of the event was displayed for a spin by Wilson with nine laps completed.
Hawkins chose the outside for the double-file restart and even though Ruhlman had been running the top, Ruhlman's car was good everywhere on the racey 4/10-mile track. Ruhlman made the winning move on the bottom of turn four and didn't let Hawkins carry his momentum by on the outside- that pass earned him the Driven Oil "Slick Move of the Night". The focus now shifted to Michael Lake, Alan Dellinger, and Mike Pegher, Jr., who were making their way up through the field. Lake and Dellinger got past Singleton for fourth and fifth on laps 12 and 14 respectively. Ruhlman meanwhile turned his fastest lap of the race on lap 15 as he really began to pull away.
By lap 17, the battle was on for third as Charlier was trying to keep Lake and Dellinger at bay. Both racers made quite the passes of Charlier to grab third and fourth respectively on lap 19. The 13-year-old Lake and the 50-year-old Dellinger then tracked down Hawkins as the battle for second heated up on lap 23. Lake drove by Hawkins down the backstretch on lap 23, while Dellinger made the outside pass in turn four stick on lap 26. Pegher then would follow taking fourth from Hawkins.
By the time Lake, Dellinger, and Pegher got to second, third, and fourth, Ruhlman was long gone. In fact, Ruhlman's margin of victory was 6.248 seconds- the largest of the season! The win came in the Premiere Communications/Fox's Pizza Den/Spartan Tools/Rand Machine/Close Racing Supply/Carsmile Wiper Blades/Cargo Auto Parts/House Doctor/Boldt Machinery/5th St. Sunoco-sponsored, Terry Suppa-owned, Rayburn Chassis #4s. The win was also important point wise as Ruhlman advanced from 17th into 15th- the final points paying position in the Sweeney Tour.
11th starting Lake's runner-up was his best of the season and was worth $1,000. At the last Sweeney Tour event at Lernerville, Dellinger raced from 20th to fourth. On Saturday night, Dellinger did a little better advancing from 21st to third for his fourth top four finish in just five Sweeney Tour starts this season! The four-time Sharon Speedway winner's fine run came in Bob Williams' #8 on the $135 Bilstein "sealed" spec shocks.
"We haven't had a shock or a spring unbolted from this car since the beginning of the season," revealed the Hermitage, Pa. driver. "We came from 20th to fourth last time here. I kept telling myself I'm not counting myself out- we're pretty good, but there was just too much traction down there in that rough and it made it hard for us."
Despite Ruhlman advancing 12 spots, Lake 10, Dellinger 18, it was Pegher passing the most cars to earn the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger gift card. Pegher rebounded from being light at the scales on Friday night after an apparent heat race win to come from 11th to second in his B main then from 23rd to fourth at the finish of the feature. It was the 2013 Series Champion's first RUSH Late Model start of 2014 after moving up to Super Late Models full-time for Lynn Geisler.
After leading nine laps early on, Hawkins dropped to fifth in his first Sweeney Tour start of 2014. Sixth through 10th were Charlier, Singleton, 24th starting Josh Double, Will Thomas III, and 25th starting Ryan Montgomery. After coming up three points shy to Pegher in 2013, Montgomery captured the $5,000 Sweeney Tour Championship despite winning just one feature event win back on July 12 at Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway.
"It's been a tough season and this weekend didn't quite go our way. I have to thank all of my sponsors and everyone that helps out on my car- I literally couldn't do it without them. They help me so much and I can't thank them enough. Losing last year was bad- it sucked. We came in with the lead and lost it by three points. It was horrible, but it made me and my team want to regroup and come back and win it this year. Without the fans this is nothing- you guys are the most important part of this."
Matt Latta was the final car on the lead lap in 14th and earned the Moroso Custom Fit Plug Wire Set compliments of Crate Innovations. With it being the 16th event, by virtue of his 16th place finish Nico Dabecco picked up the Accelerator-1 Carb Spacer Kit also compliments of Crate Innovations. Jeff Haynes was lucky winner of the TurboStart 16-volt racing battery, valued at over $250. Scott Waters was the ARbodies "Nosed Out" first non-qualifier and earned the nose kit valued at $245.
Twelve of the eligible 19 cars took the green for the 10-lap Non-Qualifier event. The wild event saw four official lead changes with Justin Lamb getting by on the final lap for the $175 victory. The 32-year-old Coraopolis, Pa. driver also received one of the prestigious "Steel City Stampede" belt buckles along with an embroidered checkered flag compliments of Approved Toilet Rentals!
Jamie Wrightsman passed pole-sitter Scott Waters on the opening lap and led the first six laps before Waters and seventh starting Russ Byler moved into the top two positions. Byler would then spin on lap nine. On the restart, Wrightsman regained the lead; meanwhile, Lamb, who was running sixth on lap eight moved to second. Lamb then did a slider on Wrightsman in turn one for the winning move.
Lamb's victory came in the Kennedy Twp. Beer & Pop 4 Less/Falconi's Family of Dealerships/Gumpher Electric/Main St. Brew House/NAPA Auto Parts/Nijel Auto Solutions-sponsored #93x. Sixth starting Russell Baird, Jr. took second at the finish in a wild last lap over Waters. Wrightsman dropped to fourth over 10th starting Tony White.
In Friday's heat race action, Latta, Bobby Whitling, Charlier, Colton Flinner, and Hawkins picked up victories. Dellinger and Wendell Pinckney captured the last chance B mains on Saturday night. Michael Lake made his first K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash appearance of the season and took the win, worth a $100 K&N certificate. Tyler Hershey finished second for a $50 K&N certificate, while Ruhlman, Ralph Morgan, Jr., and Thomas earned an extra $25 cash for finishing third through fifth. Singleton captured the K&N Dash Championship.
Greg Martin put the icing on the cake to his 2014 Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modified Championship season. Martin, who entered the night with just a three-point lead on Adam Hilton in the $3,000 Sweeney Weekly Series Championship, led all 15 laps of the feature for the $500 victory. The win was Martin's first career at Lernerville and seventh overall of the season in his Jeffrey Machine/NYDKS Go-Kart Series/Atwell Eye Care/Foster Tire/Triple-D Towing/Regional Haulage-sponsored #4.
"Being the champion of the inaugural season is really special," stated the 33-year-old Wilson, New York victor. "This is a great Series and it's really going to grow. There's a great foundation, it has a lot of support, and everyone really believes in it. Adam (Hilton) can get around here real well. We were only here one other time and I didn't fare so well so sitting there with four to go I wasn't sure what would happened. This is a great event and I'm honored to win here. The support I got from my guys this year was just great and I really have to thank them."
Hilton, who started fourth, was 1.474 seconds back in second. Pole-sitter Larry Kugel dropped to third over Jeremy Zufall, and Rocky Kugel. Martin also won the heat race on Friday night.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series Race #16 (30 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. CHAD RUHLMAN (Suppa 4s) 2. Michael Lake (Yowler 27) 3. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 4. Mike Pegher, Jr. (27P) 5. Jared Hawkins (Haseleu RJ1) 6. Daryl Charlier (88) 7. Rick Singleton (Enyeart 99*) 8. Josh Double (38) 9. Will Thomas III (9) 10. Ryan Montgomery (12) 11. Colton Flinner (75) 12. Eric Andrus (54) 13. Bryce Davis (94) 14. Matt Latta (B1D) 15. Josh Holtgraver (00) 16. Nico Dabecco (Karalagas F1) 17. Bobby Whitling (7W) 18. Andrew Wylie (84) 19. Ralph Morgan, Jr. (Powell 100) 20. Jason Rider (Wade 76) 21. Eric Wilson (27W) 22. Clinton Hersh (16) 23. Tyler Hershey (Piper 14) 24. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 25. Wendell Pinckney (11). (Note: Ryan Montgomery took a Series provisional)
RUSH Late Model Non-Qualifier (10 laps, $175 to-win): 1. Justin Lamb (93x) 2. Russell Baird, Jr. (17) 3. Scott Waters (02) 4. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 5. Tony White (27) 6. Chris Frank (49) 7. Trevor Herr (28) 8. William Pinckney (11JR) 9. Russ Byler (Hoover 00H) 10. Bill Pluta, Jr. (73c) 11. Bryan Rankin (7x) 12. Mike Ott (Fields 21) 13. Chad Wright (6)-DNS 14. W.L. Stile (1W)-DNS 15. Chad McClellan (119)-DNS 16. Jeff Haynes (27J)-DNS 17. Troy Shields (11)-DNS 18. Chuck Medved (2M)-DNS 19. Bobby Rohrer (11)-DNS.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (15 laps, $500 to-win): 1. GREG MARTIN (4) 2. Adam Hilton (3A) 3. Larry Kugel (0) 4. Jeremy Zufall (20) 5. Rocky Kugel (6R) 6. Chelsie Kriegisch (Schaffer 4c) 7. Steve Burns, Jr. (70B) 8. Michael Kristyak (404) 9. Will Schaffer (4W).
RUSH Late Model Car Count: 44
Feature Lap Leaders: Bryce Davis (1), Jared Hawkins (2-9), Chad Ruhlman (10-30)
Margin of Victory: 6.248 seconds
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Mike Pegher, Jr. (+19)
Driven Oil "Slick Move of the Night": Chad Ruhlman
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night: John Waters
Crate Innovations "Performance Plus" Accelerator-1 Carb Spacer Kit: Nico Dabecco
Crate Innovations "Ignite" Moroso Custom Fit Plug Wire Set: Matt Latta
ARbodies "Nosed Out" Nose Kit: Scott Waters
TurboStart 16V Racing Battery: Jeff Haynes
RUSH Late Model Heat 1 (8 laps, top 4 transfer): 1. Latta 2. Davis 3. Hershey 4. Rider 5. Dellinger 6. Wright 7. S. Waters 8. Byler 9. Baird.
RUSH Late Model Heat 2 (8 laps, top 4 transfer,): 1. Whitling 2. Wilson 3. Lake 4. Dabecco 5. We. Pinckney 6. Lamb 7. Stile 8. Shields 9. Medved.
RUSH Late Model Heat 3 (8 laps, top 4 transfer): 1. Charlier 2. Waters 3. Ruhlman 4. Wylie 5. McClellan 6. Frank 7. Pluta 8. Herr 9. Pegher-DSQ (light).
RUSH Late Model Heat 4 (8 laps, top 4 transfer): 1. Flinner 2. Singleton 3. Morgan 4. Hersh 5. Rankin 6. Ott 7. Haynes 8. Wi. Pinckney 9. Rohrer.
RUSH Late Model Heat 5 (8 laps, top 4 transfer): 1. Hawkins 2. Andrus 3. Thomas 4. Holtgraver 5. Montgomery 6. Double 7. Wrightsman 8. White.
RUSH Late Model Last Chance B Main 1 (10 laps, top 2 transfer): 1. Dellinger 2. Pegher 3. S. Waters 4. Wrightsman 5. Lamb 6. Baird 7. Pluta 8. Ott 9. Wi. Pinckney 10. McClellan 11. Montgomery 12. Shields-DNS.
RUSH Late Model Last Chance B Main 2 (10 laps, top 2 transfer): 1. We. Pinckney 2. Double 3. Wright 4. Rankin 5. Frank 6. Byler 7. Stile 8. White 9. Herr 10. Haynes 11. Medved-DNS 12. Rohrer-DNS.
RUSH Late Model K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash (4 laps): 1. Michael Lake 2. Tyler Hershey 3. Chad Ruhlman 4. Ralph Morgan, Jr. 5. Will Thomas III.
That concludes the 2014 season for both the Sweeney RUSH Late Models and Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. The championship awards banquet will be on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at Gatherings Banquet Center near New Castle, Pa. More details will be announced soon. Planning is already well underway for the 2015 season for both classes.
RUSH Late Model marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, The Brake Man, K&N Filters, Bilstein Shocks, Lincoln Electric, TurboStart, Beyea Headers, FK Rod Ends, Bobby Lake Motorsports, Driven Racing Oil, Crate Innovations Inc., Moroso Performance Products, Velocita-USA, High Gear Speed Shop, CrateInsider.com, Utsinger’s Towing, B.R.A.K.E.S., RockAuto.com, and Valley Fashions.
RUSH Sportsman Modified marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, VP Racing Fuels, FK Rod Ends, AERO Race Wheels, Velocita-USA, Driven Racing Oil, Precise Racing Products, Alternative Power Sources, Rocket Racing, and B.R.A.K.E.S.
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.