By Mike Leone


January 20, 2018             FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(Edinburg, PA)…While the 2018 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 2017 racing season with the annual awards banquet and dinner on Saturday night at the Gatherings Banquet & Event Center in Edinburg, Pa.  Sunshine and mild conditions prevailed as a record number of attendees filled the beautiful banquet hall as over $125,000 in cash and thousands in contingencies were distributed to Sweeney RUSH Late Model, Sportsman Modified, Pro Mod, and Pro Stock racers.  All told over a quarter million dollar of cash and useful product contingencies were  distributed to RUSH racers throughout the 2017 season.


The Sweeney RUSH Late Models had events at 22 different speedways in 2017 with over 350 different racers participating in either a weekly-sanctioned and/or touring series event!  Year four for the Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modified season saw a record eight different speedways hold events with a record 52 different drivers competing in 42 different cars with a record turnout of 30 cars at Sharon Speedway.  The Sweeney Pro Stocks continued in year three of their Weekly Series, while the second year Sweeney Pro Mods doubled in car count and added events at Bradford Speedway and McKean County Raceway in addition to Stateline Speedway.


Crowned 2018 Late Model champions were Bryce Davis-Sweeney Touring Series, Logan Roberson-Sweeney Weekly Series, Max Blair-Pace "Summer Chase", Justin Lamb-"Bilstein Bandits", Devin Brannon-"Futures Cup", and Jamie Wrightsman-Wheelman Bonus Event Challenge Series.  In the Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, it was Rocky Kugel-Bicknell Racing Products Weekly Series, Kyle Martell-Bicknell Touring Series and Jeremy Weaver-Bicknell "Futures Cup".  Dennis Lunger, Jr. won the Sweeney Pro Mod Weekly Series crown, while Brian Mohawk earned the “Futures Cup”.  Corey McPherson captured the Sweeney Pro Stock title.  All of the champions received their point fund monies, laser etched championship marble awards, inscribed RUSH championship leather jackets, and Hoosier championship jackets


After two years of coming home second, for the first time in his career, Bryce Davis is the RUSH Touring Series Champion.  After waging a battle for the second straight year with his nemesis and fellow New Yorker John Waters throughout the season, the Hornell, NY driver would earn the $5,000 Sweeney Tour championship by just 12 points over the 2016 champion.  Davis started off the year on fire with nine top 5s in the first 10 races and ended the season with 11 top 15s in 15 races including wins at Outlaw and Bradford in the first ever RUSH Tour races at those facilities. 


For the first time in his career, Logan Roberson is a RUSH Champion.  The 20-year-old Waynesboro, Virginia driver won six features at both Potomac and Winchester Speedway and had an impressive 26 top 5s and 30 top 10s in 34 starts, running more races than only one other driver.  After hurting a motor at Delaware on a Thursday night, Roberson's team drove 400 miles to Race 1 in Ohio where they purchased a new motor then drove 350 miles to race on Friday night at Potomac in Maryland.  Roberson earned $5,000 for the Sweeney Weekly Series title; Roberson added another $1,200 in point fund monies to take home $6,200. 


Max Blair left Saturday's banquet as RUSH’s top point fund earner once again by garnering $6,300.  He received $3,000 each for winning his third Pace Summer Chase title and also finishing second in the Sweeney Weekly Series points.  The Centerville, Pa. 28-year-old focused more on Super Late Model racing again in 2017 rather than following the Sweeney Tour, but did win two of his four Tour starts and finished runner-up in the other two.  Blair also won the $300 member points at Stateline.


The third top earner was Justin Lamb at $5,900.  The Coraopolis, Pa. driver had his best season ever and did it on the $135 "Bilstein Bandits" Shocks.  Lamb won a feature at his home track Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway and finished third in the "Jook George Steel City Classic" Touring Series feature over a 43-car field.  In 17 starts during the Sweeney Weekly Series period, Lamb had 16 top 5s with his worst finish being a seventh.  That was good enough to earn him the $5,000 "Bilstein Bandits" title, 11th in the Sweeney Weekly Series, and first place in the member points at Pittsburgh.


Devin Brannon became the latest to enshrine his name as a “Futures Cup” Champion.  The 14-year-old had 4 top 5s and 16 top 10s with his best finish being a second at Winchester where he finished third in the RUSH member points.  He traveled to Roaring Knob for the first time ever on the final weekend of points, and his third place finish clinched him the title.  Brannon earned $500 joining past champs Ryan Montgomery, Nico Dabecco, Michael Lake, Eric Wilson, Clinton Hersh, and Wyatt Scott.


Jamie Wrightsman won his first “Wheelman” Bonus Event Challenge Series title.  The Cortland, Ohio driver won the non-qualifier at Eriez and Pittsburgh to help him win the title.  Wrightsman received $200 cash and $200 in K&N gift cards in addition to his championship jacket and hardware. 


The top five in RUSH member points at each RUSH Late Model weekly-sanctioned track shared in $800 cash ($300,200,100,50) with positions six through eight receiving contingencies that will be mailed out as part of the new “Track Pack” Weekly Bonus Program.


Rocky Kugel withstood two crippling crashes and would win the $3,000 Bicknell Weekly Series title for the Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modifieds on the final night at Lernerville.  The Aliquippa, Pa. driver raced from the 22nd spot and had to either win or finish second and hope Kole Holden didn't win.  Kugel would make a three-wide move on the final lap to finish second and beat Holden by just one-point.  Kugel picked up three wins at both Sharon and Lernerville, the Tour race at Expo, and one at Pittsburgh.


One year after winning the "Futures Cup", Kyle Martell of Rootstown, Ohio captured the 2017 Bicknell Touring Series title.  The 17-year-old won the $800 opener at Thunder Mountain over a 26-car field then beat another 26-car field at Tri-City in race number two.  Even though he didn't win another Tour race, Martell didn't finish worse than seventh the rest of the year in Tour events to capture the $800 title.


Sixteen-year-old Jeremy Weaver garnered the "Futures Cup" for the Sportsman Mods.  The Stoneboro, Pa. driver fittingly won his first career race at Mercer- the track he grew up at watching his uncle Chris Haines race.  Weaver also had a second in the Tour race at Thunder Mountain, had 5 top 10s at Sharon, 6 top 10s at Pittsburgh, 2 top 10s at Lernerville and one each at Eriez and Mercer showing his versatility.  Weaver earned $300 and joins past champs Holden and Martell.


Veteran racer and still current RUSH Late Model driver, Dennis Lunger, Jr., joined the Sweeney RUSH Pro Mod ranks in 2017 and came out as champion.  The Albion, Pa. driver won the first seven features at Stateline and would go on to win 12 of the 15 along with the championship at the Busti, NY track.  Lunger also added wins at McKean and Bradford to give him 14 on the year to easily win the $3,500 title.  Including his RUSH Late Model point funds, Lunger took home $5,500 car owner Rueben Schwartz.  Gowanda, New York teen, Brian Mohawk became the newest "Futures Cup" champion and earned $300 thanks to 15 top 10s in 16 starts. 



After finishing runner-up to inaugural Canadian champion Justin Ramsay in 2015, Corey McPherson captured his second straight $1,000 Sweeney RUSH Pro Stock Championship.  The Tarentum, Pa. 29-year-old had another stellar season at Lernerville winning nine feature including two open rules events for the "Autum-Motive Fest" and the "Steel City Stampede" defeating some of the region's best open engine Pro Stock racers with him GM crate engine.  McPherson finished in the top four in 13 of the top 14 events at Lernerville propelling him to his fifth Lernerville track championship in six years.


The highlight of the program was the special awards ceremony.  The Series’ major sponsor, Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC/Pace Performance, was recognized with a special appreciation plaque for their continued support of the Series.  Don Blackshear, Director of Circle Track Development of Pace, accepted on behalf of both companies.


The “Legacy” Award is to honor historical significance as RUSH directors Vicki Emig and Mike Leone have completed their 11th year of directing crate engine racing in the Northeast.  The 2017 winner was Bud Rodgers.  Rodgers, a fair board member at the Trumbull County Fairboard, has been instrumental in offering a Touring Series event for the Late Models over the past 10 years and now the last three for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds.  Rodgers also operates the towing service at nearby Sharon Speedway.


The "Majestic" was awarded to Branden Lockwich.  For the past two years, Lockwich has been a huge asset in making the "Jook George Steel City Classic" at Pittsburgh the richest RUSH event of the season.  In 2017, Lockwich raised $12,000 as the event paid $4,010 to-win plus the show became a Touring Series event for the first time. 


The "Car Owner of the Year" Award was won by the Davis Racing Team.  Driver Bryce Davis won his first Sweeney Late Model Touring Series title, but a lot of effort was made by his team including his parents and other members that don't get a lot of notoriety.  Between Davis' job and three children at home, the team went a long way in the excellent maintenance program and helping to get the car to the races.     


Jessica Kriegisch was awarded the first “Outstanding Achievement”.  The Ellwood City, Pa. former go-kart racer joined her sister Chelsie, who won a race at Expo in 2016, by winning her first career feature at Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway.  Jessica did it at the "Monster Half-Mile" in front of a large crowd for the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars and got congratulated by Tony Stewart afterwards.  The Kriegischs are the first winning sisters in the region.


The second "Outstanding Achievement" went to another female racer in Lauren Butler.   The West Mifflin, Pa. racer became the first ever female RUSH Champion and did it by winning the Street Stock title at Jennerstown Speedway.  An auto accident derailed her title run in 2016, but didn't stop her in 2017.  Butler also became the first ever female Street Stock champion in the history of Jennerstown.


Jimmy Friedline of Jennerstown Engine Technologies was awarded the third annual Bill Hendren Memorial RUSH Engine “Rebuilder of the Year”.  The Jennerstown, Pa. business was key in the transition of RUSH sanctioning crate racing at Jennerstown Speedway in the Late Models, Modifieds, and Street Stocks as each engine had to be verified with RUSH seals before being able to compete in 2017. 


Top racers from the K&N “Air Induction” Dash Championship in both the RUSH Late Models and Sportsman Modifieds received K&N gift cards.  Champions were John Waters in the Late Models and Brandon Ritchey in the Sportsman Mods.  Dash points were kept at all tour events.


RUSH Series announcer, Brian Spaid, emceed the affair and also previewed the upcoming 2018 season.  Toni Carbone photographed the event and that link is now online. 


2017 Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series Top 12 Driver Points: 1. Bryce Davis 1056  2. John Waters 1044  3. Jeremy Wonderling 1024  4. Jason Knowles 972  5. Brian Knowles 956  6. Brian Swank 897  7. Mike Pegher, Jr. 784  8. Tony White 698  9. J.J. Mazur 680  10. Jamie Wrightsman 612  11. Bruce Hordusky, Jr. 561  12. Eric Wilson 533.


2017 Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Weekly Series Top 40 Points: 1. Logan Roberson 1342  2. Max Blair 1342  3. Chad Homan 1338  4. Jeremy Wonderling 1331  5. Jason Genco 1320  6. Dennis Lunger, Jr. 1319  7. Mike Pegher, Jr. 1318  8. Bryce Davis 1315  9. John Waters 1314  10. Daryl Charlier 1310  11. Justin Lamb 1306  12. Kevan Cook 1304  13. Troy Shields 1303  14. J.J. Mazur & Brad Mesler 1302  16. Chris Fleming & Sam Pennacchio 1299  18. Mike Franklin 1296  19. Joe Warren 1295  20. Jason Parkhurst 1294  21. Sparky White 1292  22. Wyatt Scott 1290  23. Darren Alvey 1289  24. Jimmy Johnson 1286  25. Ben Policz 1283  26. Rob Pietz & Transton Stoner 1279  28. Darrell Bossard & Matt Glanden 1279  30. Kyle Zimmerman 1278  31. Matt Hill 1275  32. Bret Belden 1273  33. Michael Reft 1272  34. Andy Michael 1271  35. Scott Gurdak & Eric Wilson 1262  37. Dale Caswell 1261  38. John Mollick 1259  39. Clinton Hersh 1257  40. Brian Knowles 1256.


2017 Pace Performance “Summer Chase” Late Model Top 10 Points: 1. Max Blair 113.64  2. Chad Homan 113.61  3. Logan Roberson 111.17  4. Jeremy Wonderling 110.03  5. Jason Genco 109.94  6. Mike Pegher, Jr. 109.86  7. Sam Pennacchio 109.70  8. Dennis Lunger, Jr. 108.97  9. Brad Mesler 108.91  10. John Waters 108.57.


2017 "Bilstein Bandits" Late Model Points: 1. Justin Lamb 1306  2. Sam Pennacchio 1299  3. Mike Wharton 1215  4. Chuck Medved 1202  5. C.J. Irons 1179  6. Megan Mann 1173  7. Mike Lozowski 1128  8. Tony White 984  9. W.L. Stile 474  10. Roger Whitlock, Jr. 448  11. David Pettyjohn 312.


2017 Late Model “Futures Cup” Points: 1. Devin Brannon 1238  2. Jakob Piper 1235  3. Kyle Murray 1215  4. Levi Crowl 1213  5. Megan Mann 1173  6. Max Hill 1138  7. Hunter Hulley 1095.


2017 K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash Late Model Champion: John Waters


2017 “Wheelman” Bonus Event Challenge Series Late Model Champion: Jamie Wrightsman


2017 Bicknell Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modified Weekly Series Top 20 Points: 1. Rocky Kugel 1332  2. Kole Holden 1331  3. Chas Wolbert 1324  4. Kyle Martell 1306  5. Justin Shea 1283  6. Chelsie Kriegisch 1276  7. Steve Slater 1266  8. Brian Schaffer 1253  9. Jeremy Weaver 1247  10. Shayne Izzo 1244  11. Brandon Ritchey 1236  12. A.J. Gillespie 1225  13. Jessica Kriegisch 1206  14. Preston Cope 1169  15. Tiffany Williams 1168  16. Jacob Jordan 1158  17. David Kalb, Jr. 1140  18. Blaze Myers 1138  19. Gary Haupt 1131  20. Billy Myers 1126.


2017 Bicknell Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modified Touring Series Top 10 Driver Points: 1. Kyle Martell 752  2. Kole Holden 719  3. Chas Wolbert 715  4. Brandon Ritchey 707  5. Chelsie Kriegisch 693  6. Blaze Myers 642  7. Anthony Gillespie 615  8. Nick Ritchey 605  9. Brian Schaffer 602  10. Shayne Izzo 598.


2017 Bicknell Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modified "Futures Cup" Points: 1. Jeremy Weaver 1247  2. Preston Cope 1169  3. Jacob Jordan 1158  4. David Kalb, Jr. 1140  5. Blaze Myers 1138  6. Amelia Clay 431.


2017 K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash RUSH Sportsman Modified Champion: Brandon Ritchey


2017 Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Pro Mod Weekly Series Points: 1. Dennis Lunger, Jr. 1339  2. Chad Carlson 1302  3. Ryan Scott 1300  4. Scott Gurdak 1281  5. Steve Dixon 1279  6. Matt Harvey 1257  7. Rich Michael, Jr. 1254  8. Jason Cove 1242  9. Nate Hartzell 1233  10. Justin Carlson 1226  11. Brian Mohawk 1203  12. Zach Johnson 1201  13. Dennis Hagg, Jr. 1072  14. Jarrod Silvis 966  15. Chad Silleman 894  16. Kevin Ruhlman 881  17. Vic Vena 846  18. Kevin Decker 484.


2017 RUSH Pro Mod "Futures Cup" Points: 1. Brian Mohawk 1203  2. Jarrod Silvis 966  3. Kevin Ruhlman 881.


2017 Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Pro Stock Weekly Series Top 15 Points: 1. Corey McPherson 1328  2. Jason Fontaine 1267  3. Aaron Easler 1261  4. Joey Zambotti 1245  5. Jeremy Pilkerton 1221  6. Joe Kelley 1191  7. Steve D'Apolito 1186  8. Jim Fosnaught 1180  9. Brett McDonald 1169  10. Brandon Wearing 1165  11. Scott Byers 1143  12. Bob Egley 1139  13. Mike Bordt 1133  14. Chase Lambert 1114  15. Terry Young 1079.

Special Award Winners:

"Legacy”: Bud Rodgers (Expo Speedway)

 “Majestic”: Branden Lockwich

“Car Owner of the Year”: Davis Racing Team

“Outstanding Achievement”: Jessica Kriegisch

“Outstanding Achievement”: Lauren Butler

Bill Hendren Memorial “Engine Rebuilder of the Year”: Jennerstown Engine Technology


2018 RUSH Late Model marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, Earl's Performance Plumbing, Quick Fuel Technology, FK Rod Ends, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, Racing Electronics, Dynamic Drivelines, Wrisco, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, TBM Brakes, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA,  Landrum Performance Spring,,, and Valley Fashions. 


RUSH Sportsman Modified marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, Earl's Performance Plumbing, Quick Fuel Technology, FK Rod Ends, Sherwood Racing Wheels, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, Racing Electronics, Dynamic Drivelines, Wrisco, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, TBM Brakes, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA,,, and Valley Fashions.


RUSH Pro Mod and Pro Stock marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, Earl's Performance Plumbing, Quick Fuel Technology, FK Rod Ends, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, Racing Electronics, Dynamic Drivelines, Wrisco, Precise Racing Products, TBM Brakes, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA,,, 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 Like our Facebook page at and follow us on Twitter @RUSHLM.