SWEENEY RUSH SERIES HONORS CHAMPIONS & ITS TOP LM & MOD RACERS AS $75,000 IN CASH & $10,000 IN CONTINGENCIES DISTRIBUTED AT AWARDS BANQUET SATURDAY NIGHT AT GATHERINGS; NUMEROUS SPECIAL AWARDS DOLED OUT
By Mike Leone
January 17, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Edinburg, PA)…While the 2015 racing season is only a few months away, Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Racing Series Directors Vicki Emig and Mike Leone put a final wrap on the 2014 racing season with the awards banquet and dinner on Saturday night at the Gatherings Banquet & Event Center in Edinburg, Pa. A large gathering of supporters filled the beautiful banquet hall as the majority of the season’s $75,000 cash point fund along with some $10,000 in contingencies were distributed to Sweeney RUSH Late Model and Sportsman Modified racers.
Sweeney RUSH Late Models scheduled events at 12 different speedways in 2014 with 250 different racers participating in either a weekly-sanctioned and/or touring series event! The inaugural Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modified season saw six different speedways hold events with 26 different drivers competing.
Crowned 2014 champions were Ryan Montgomery-Sweeney Late
Model Touring Series, Chad Ruhlman-Sweeney Late Model Weekly Series, Rick
Singleton-Pace Performance Late Model "Summer Chase" & K&N “Cold Air Induction”
Dash Championship, Michael Lake-Late Model "Futures Cup", Tony White-Wheelman
Bonus Event Challenge Series, and Greg Martin-Sweeney Sportsman Modified Weekly
Series. RUSH was proud to have four different major Late Model champions from
four different states! All of the champions received their
point fund monies, championship photo plaque,
championship trophy, large championship check, and RUSH championship jacket!
The highlight of the program was the special awards ceremony. W.L. Stile was presented the prestigious Gary Knollinger Memorial “Golden Award”. The Muse, Pa. driver's qualities reminded Series Officials much like Knollinger with his hard work ethic away from the speedway, limited crew and sponsors, and in recognition of his professionalism, dedication and goodwill to the RUSH Series. In addition to his plaque, Stile also received a $100 Precise Racing Products gift card and $100 K&N gift certificate.
The "Majestic" was awarded to longtime flagman Todd Beichner. The Shippenville, Pa. resident began flagging at Emig's former track Mercer Raceway Park, and has worked with the Crate Late Model Series Emig and Leone have been involved with since 2007 in addition to being the flagman at Lernerville and Sharon Speedways. Beichner has become one of the most respected at his trade, and has done it with the description of what "majestic" states...with dignity!!
The "Car Owner of the Year" Award was won by Clint Enyeart. The James City, Pa. resident owns the #99* Late Model driven by Rick Singleton. Singleton won over 20 races in 2014 including eight that were sanctioned by RUSH. He won the Pace "Summer Chase", "Bill Emig Memorial Wild Card Weekend", swept the "Mid-Atlantic States Classic" for $5,250, tied for runner-up in the Sweeney Weekly Series points, and led the Sweeney Touring Series with victories. The duo split their time with the Steel-Block Late Model division.
Bob Williams received a Special Appreciation Award for his efforts debuting the Bilstein "sealed" spec shocks in such a successful manner that spurred the creation of the $13,000+ Bilstein Bandits Championship Program for the next three years. Williams of Canfield, Ohio owned the #8 driven by Alan Dellinger that had four wins at Sharon Speedway, two top four Sweeney Tour finishes at Lernerville in addition to other top finishes throughout the region.
The "Miles Traveled" Award was given to John Waters. The Whitesville, New York driver completed his first season on the Sweeney Tour and competed in all 16 events in addition to a 10-hour roundtrip to Wayne County Speedway on Labor Day Weekend that was rained out. Waters nearest event was an hour and a half from home.
The Series’ major sponsor, Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC/Pace Performance, was recognized with a special appreciation plaque for their continued support of the RUSH Late Model program in addition to the new RUSH Sportsman Modified division as the branding sponsor.
In 2013 at 16 years of age Ryan Montgomery put forth a yeoman’s effort to try and win the Sweeney Late Model Touring Series crown. The Fairmont, West Virginia standout won five features and led the points heading into the Series finale at Lernerville Speedway where he devastatingly lost the crown by three points to heavy favorite Mike Pegher, Jr.
Fast forward ahead to today and Montgomery is celebrating the sought after 2014 Sweeney Tour title after clinching at Lernerville- the very place that brought so much disappointment one year ago. Though I’m sure Montgomery would tell you he would have liked to win more than one Series feature event- it was the consistency that earned him the $5,000 top honors.
Outside of a 14th place finish on opening night at Freedom, Montgomery had only one other finish outside the top 10; in fact, Montgomery recorded an impressive nine top five finishes in 16 events, which propelled him to the 50-point winning margin in the Jeff Montgomery-owned, T.J Contracting & Custom Homes/Montgomery Homes/Central Supply/SBC Trucking/Bobby Lake Motorsports/High Gear Speed Shop/Genesis Shocks-sponsored Warrior Chassis #12 over runner-up John Waters.
“I have to thank all of my sponsors and everyone that helps out on my car- I literally couldn't do it without them,” stated Montgomery, while being interviewed after winning the title at Lernerville. “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."
Not only did Montgomery earn $5,000 for the Sweeney Tour crown, he added an additional $2,700 to his point fund total as he was also fourth in the Sweeney Weekly Series points and finished sixth in the Pace “Summer Chase”. Montgomery has come a long way since winning the inaugural 2011 “Futures Cup” title.
After his performance on October 25 in the 30-lap 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. Ruhlman came from 13th to win the $2,000 feature by over six seconds. The win, which propelled him into the top 15 in Tour points, was a fitting end to a stellar season by the veteran racer. Behind the strength of 12 wins, Ruhlman captured the $5,000 Sweeney Weekly Series title, which looked at drivers’ best 15 finishes (best two per week) from March through September at RUSH-sanctioned events.
The 37-year-old Bemus Point, New York racer dominated action at his home track at McKean County Raceway in East Smethport, Pa. where he won eight feature events including seven of the first nine! That also earned him the track championship. In addition to his McKean success, Ruhlman won three events at RUSH’s Friday night home, Freedom Speedway, in just five starts, and also a victory at Sunday night’s Humberstone Speedway in Port Colborne, Ontario.
Ruhlman drove the #4s C.J. Rayburn car owned by Terry Suppa and sponsored by Premiere Communications, Fox's Pizza Den, Spartan Tools, Rand Machine, Close Racing Supply, Carsmile Wiper Blades, Cargo Auto Parts, House Doctor, Boldt Machinery, and 5th St. Sunoco. The top 40 drivers in the Sweeney Weekly Series points received beautiful engraved photo plaques and shared over $27,500 in cash!
For as much success as Rick Singleton had in RUSH competition in 2014, it’s hard to imagine what would have happened had he focused entirely on running with the Series instead of moonlighting in open motor competition where he also had tremendous success racing throughout the region.
The former Virginia Tech football standout and Seattle Seahawk won four of the first five Sweeney Tour races he entered and managed a seventh place standing despite missing several events. Part of that early success earned him the $500 “Bill Emig Memorial Wild Card Weekend” title. The 50-year-old Front Royal, Virginia driver’s eight RUSH-sanctioned wins came at four different speedways in four different states, which helped him to tie for runner-up with Michael Lake in the Sweeney Weekly Series points ($2,750).
Singleton’s major championship though came in the Pace Performance “Summer Chase” where he earned a 109-point average in all RUSH-sanctioned events he competed in from July 1 through Labor Day. That average translates to a near second place (110) average finish! Singleton will earn an additional $3,000 for this honor racing the #99* MBH race car for Clint Enyeart. Singleton added $100 cash and $200 in K&N certificates for winning the K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash Championship. John Waters received a $100 K&N certificate for second and Bryce Davis $50 for third. The top 10 Pace "Summer Chase" drivers shared over $10,000.
When most people see Michael Lake race that don’t know his age, they wouldn’t think he’s a teenager let alone a 13-year-old! After running a limited schedule in 2012, Lake burst onto the scene in 2013 capturing the Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex championship with four feature wins including a Sweeney Tour event! The Uniontown, Pa. driver would come up just six points shy of the “Futures Cup” title to Eric Wilson.
And Like Montgomery in the Sweeney Tour, Lake set his sights on coming back stronger in 2014 and winning the “Futures Cup” crown and that’s the very thing he did. Not only did he take the $1,000 title by a whopping 118-point margin over Reese Masiello, but he also substantially improved his final rankings in the Sweeney Weekly Series and Pace “Summer Chase”. Lake would tie Singleton for runner-up in the Sweeney Weekly ($2,750) after finishing 13th in 2013 and improved from 11th to fourth in the Pace “Summer Chase” ($800).
Lake led the way at Roaring Knob where he won an astounding seven feature events and defended his track title! Lake also turned a lot of heads at Lernerville in the Sweeney Tour finale where he won the K&N Dash and raced from 11th to second in the feature event!
Lake’s efforts earned him $4,555 in season ending point fund monies driving a #27 Warrior Race Car owned by Dave Yowler and sponsored by Bobby Lake Motorsports, C. Harper Chevrolet, High Gear Speed Shop, Slavic Signs, Youngblood, MCB Motorsports, and D&M.
Tony White of Aliquippa, Pa. was recognized for winning the “Wheelman” Bonus Event Challenge Series points for non-qualifier events. White received a beautiful plaque, $150 cash, and $100 K&N and Precise Racing Products certificates.
On April 26, 2014, history was made at Sharon Speedway when the first Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modified event was run utilizing the GM 602 crate engine, Bilstein “sealed” spec shocks, and spec Hoosier Tires on steel wheels. Ten drivers made the initial show, which was won by Jordan Eck.
When the season concluded six months later at Lernerville Speedway for the prestigious “Steel City Stampede”, Greg Martin was in victory lane to earn the inaugural Sweeney Weekly Series Championship. It was a tremendous season for the 33-year-old Wilson, New York driver, who had to fend off another Empire State driver in Adam Hilton to win the $3,000 crown! The top 15 drivers shared in over $10,000 cash plus all drivers received a $40 off certificate toward the purchase of two AERO Wheels.
"Being the champion of the inaugural season is really special," expressed Martin. "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."
Martin won at all four of the speedways he competed at in 2014. He was dominant at Sharon Speedway winning four of the eight events contested and finishing runner-up in the other four! Besides his Lernerville victory, Martin also picked up victories at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway and America’s Motorsports Park to give him a Series-high seven victories.
Overall, Martin ran in 13 Sweeney RUSH-sanctioned events and amazingly never finished worse than third! It was good enough to beat Hilton by eight points in the final Sweeney Weekly Series standings, which looked at member racers’ best 10 finishes. Martin piloted the Jeffrey Machine/NYDKS Go-Kart Series/Atwell Eye Care/Foster Tire/Triple-D Towing/Regional Haulage-sponsored #4. Besides Martin, Hilton was the second highest Series winner with six victories. Dave Conant, Jr. and Jeremy Zufall were the only other drivers with multiple victories at two. Single winners were Eck and Rocky Kugel.
Special thanks to Bobby Lake Motorsports, who awarded a pair of $250 High Gear Speed Shop gift certificates to Late Model drivers John Waters and Cody Dawson in recognition of the miles they traveled during the 2014 season. Velocita-USA provided five 50% off certificates for giveaways for both the Late Model and Modified drivers in addition to one $500 off a custom drivers suit for a "Futures Cup" driver. K&N awarded a Cold Air Induction System valued up to $500. All winners are listed below.
Attendees enjoyed an excellent dinner menu of Italian chicken, shredded beef, rice pilaf, pasta and meatballs, sausage, peppers, and onions, redskin potatoes, buttered corn, fresh garden salad and dinner rolls, specialty desserts, soda, coffee, tea, and draft beer.
Series announcer Brian Spaid emceed the affair and also previewed the upcoming 2015 season. The Sweeney RUSH Late Models have already added Ohio's Wayne County Speedway and Canada's Brighton Speedway with possible additional speedways added soon, while Sharon Speedway and Sportsman's Speedway have come on weekly for the Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. The confirmed dates for the Sweeney Late Model Tour were released. John and Christine Stivason photographed the event and the photo link will be posted as soon as it’s available.
2014 Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series Top 15 Driver Points: 1. Ryan Montgomery 1462 2. John Waters 1412 3. Chad McClellan 1344 4. Eric Wilson & Jason Rider 1334 6. Cody Dawson 1059 7. Rick Singleton 859 8. W.L. Stile 822 9. Andrew Wylie 750 10. Ralph Morgan, Jr. 723 11. Bryce Davis 637 12. Josh Holtgraver 596 13. Dennis Lunger, Jr. 576 14. Robby Marhefka 559 15. Chad Ruhlman 519.
2014 Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Weekly Series Top 40 Points: 1. Chad Ruhlman 1673 2. Michael Lake & Rick Singleton 1654 4. Ryan Montgomery 1648 5. Dennis Lunger, Jr. 1643 6. Darin Henderson 1615 7. Alan Dellinger 1612 8. Nico Dabecco 1610 9. Josh Holtgraver 1607 10. Ben Bowie, Chad McClellan & Will Thomas III 1606 13. Adam Sixt 1601 14. Troy Shields 1598 15. Paul Grigsby 1596 16. Ward Schell 1594 17. John Imler 1585 18. Jeremy Wonderling 1579 19. Justin Lamb 1571 20. John Waters 1567 21. Nolan Dalton 1565 22. Damian Bidwell 1558 23. Ralph Morgan, Jr. 1556 24. Reese Masiello 1536 25. Jeff Dayman 1529 26. Russell Baird, Jr. 1529 27. Daryl Charlier 1524 28. Mark Moats, Jr. 1515 29. Dylan Lewis & Timmy Booth 1514 31. Ben Policz 1506 32. Max Blair 1504 33. Bob Kish 1499 34. Jason Rider 1498 35. Jamie Wrightsman 1491 36. Jamie Brown & Eric Wilson 1490 38. Clinton Hersh 1480 39. Luke Carleton 1478 40. Garret Stephen 1467.
2014 Pace Performance “Summer Chase” Late Model Top 10 Points: 1. Rick Singleton 109.00 2. Darin Henderson 106.70 3. Troy Shields 106.63 4. Michael Lake 103.83 5. Chad Ruhlman 103.67 6. Ryan Montgomery 103.50 7. Jeremy Wonderling 103.00 8. Ward Schell 102.75 9. Adam Sixt 102.73 10. John Waters 101.38.
2014 Late Model “Futures Cup” Points: 1. Michael Lake 1654 2. Reese Masiello 1536 3. Dylan Lewis 1514 4. Clinton Hersh 1480 5. Jennae Piper 1245 6. Clay Ruffo 962 7. Austin Stover 867 8. Matt Glanden 573 9. Jacob Burdette 356.
2014 K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash Late Model Champion: Rick Singleton
2014 “Wheelman” Bonus Event Challenge Series Champion: Tony White
2014 FINAL Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modified Weekly Series Points: 1. Greg Martin 1091 2. Adam Hilton 1083 3. Rocky Kugel 1055 4. Jeremy Zufall 1033 5. Ken Moy, Jr. 1018 6. Will Schaffer 980 7. Jamie Duncan 816 8. Jeremy Paup 815 9. Larry Kugel 708 10. Adam Siegel 11. Jerry Schaffer 505 12. Andy Paden 503 13. Josh Deems 201 14. Mike Kiezer 100.
Special Award Winners:
Gary Knollinger Memorial “Golden Award”: W.L. Stile
“Majestic Award”: Todd Beichner
Car Owner of the Year: Clint Enyeart
“Miles Traveled” Special Appreciation Award: John Waters
Special Appreciation Award: Bob Williams
$250 High Gear Speed Shop Certificates: John Waters & Cody Dawson
K&N Cold Air Induction System: Adam Hilton
Velocita-USA 50% off a Custom Drivers Suit (Mods): Will Schaffer, Greg Martin, Jeremy Zufall, Jamie Duncan, Adam Hilton
Velocita-USA 50% off a Custom Drivers Suit (LM): John Waters, Josh Holtgraver, Jamie Wrightsman, Ward Schell, Nolan Dalton
Velocita-USA $500 off a Custom Drivers Suit: Michael Lake
RUSH Late Model marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, MSD Ignition, Maxima Racing Oil, Jones Racing Products, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, The Brake Man, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, TurboStart, Beyea Headers, FK Rod Ends, Bobby Lake Motorsports, 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: Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, MSD Ignition, Maxima Racing Oil, Jones Racing Products, 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.