By Doug Kennedy


June 13, 2022             FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(Pulaski, PA)...Bill Emig had two passions in life, his daughters Vicki and Jody, and his famous #1 six-cylinder Ford race car that made its mark throughout western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and beyond from 1969 to his passing in 1990 at just 54.  Seven outstanding drivers wheeled his cars to over 350 feature wins and numerous track championships, many against stout fields of V-8 powered cars.    


Emig, who was nothing short of a racing icon, will be remembered at what will be the 32nd running of the "Bill Emig Memorial" presented by Sunoco Race Fuels.  The richest in the event's history that will see $20,000 go to the winner of the 50-lap Hovis Auto & Truck Supply RUSH Late Model Flynn's Tire Touring Series feature along with a $5,000 custom designed championship diamond ring from D&V Jewelers boosting the winner's take to $25,000!   Last year’s event attracted 54 cars from 11 states for $10,000 to-win. 


The event will be part of the "Firecracker 100" at Lernerville Speedway June 23-25 that will feature the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in three straight night of racing as Saturday night's finale will pay a whopping $50,000 to-win for the LOLMDS.  Combined with the $20,000 to-win "Bill Emig Memorial" for RUSH, the night will be both historic and unprecedented in Northeast Late Model racing!


"He was a bear of man with a big soft heart," says daughter Vicki Emig, who has worked with RUSH co-director Mike Leone developing Chevrolet Performance crate engine racing throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic for the past 16 years.


"I think the hardest part of what I do today is knowing that my dad isn't here to see what is truly his legacy," stated Emig.  "I was literally a baby when my dad started taking me to the races; my mom never liked racing so it was just him and I.  Imagine a young guy in his early 20s bundling up his little girl and off to the races they would go.  Throughout all those years he fielded a car, he never once left me home!  I wish our RUSH drivers could have known Bill Emig, but more importantly know without him there would be no RUSH!"


"I remember the first night we pulled into Lernerville Speedway in 1978; we were the only six-cylinder in an all V-8 powered field of Semi Lates," explained Emig.  "My dad though liked being different.   He knew he had a great driver in Lou Gentile and one of the best in the business with car/engine builder Paul Krauss.  By season's end no one was questioning his presence; as by season's end Lou finished second in Lernerville's points, and won the championships at both Mercer Tri-City!  My dad loved that six-cylinder and it gave many years of joy!  Lou still sits sixth on Lernerville Speedway's all time win list with 90 wins, while my father was one of Lernerville Speedway's prestigious "Milestone in Racing Award" recipients.”


"Many years later the first 'Bill Emig Memorial' was held at Lernerville in 1991 for $1,000 to-win," stated Emig.  "I don't think he or I could have every imagined that all those year later some of the best Crate Late Models in the country would come to that very same place to race for $20,000 in his memory!"          


Russ Bradford, the National Sales Manager for Sunoco Performance Products, has been with Vicki since the beginning of her involvement in the motorsports industry.  “I’ve known her for a number of years, probably more than I would want to admit.  Sunoco has been with her from her tenure starting at Mercer Raceway Park in 1999, and as she grew and developed the RUSH Racing Series,” said Bradford. 


“What an awesome combination; the Lucas Oil boys as well as the RUSH Late Model Series drivers," expressed Bradford.  "This event is going to be a homerun!  Lernerville is regarded as one of the top notch tracks in the nation!  We're thrilled to be the presenting sponsor of the 'Bill Emig Memorial'.  Man, what more could you ask for at a dirt track!?"


“I’ve never raced competitively, but growing up in Mercer, Pennsylvania I always knew the Emig #1," stated Bradford.  "I would have considered myself to be very lucky if I were chosen to drive that car.  The Emig #1 was always impressive; they were always good looking cars, and a class A-team and had the car to beat every week.  Bill always fielded top notch cars on the racetrack, and that’s the way he did business as well; now Vicki has carried on with that same business mentality.  You’re never going to see a better run operation than the one she has with RUSH." 


Lernerville General Manager, Mike Lysakowski, looks at this three-day event as a happening.  “It’s a big deal and there are two ways to look at it as a big deal," stated the New Caste, Pa. resident.  "The first is the on-track competition.  By shear purse, it’s the largest Crate Late Model event in the history of the Northeast quadrant.  The other side of the big deal is the 'Firecracker' itself.  It has a 15-year history of being one of the marquee events in America for Late Models.  It is three days of event revelry.  The entire weekend is enhanced by the $20,000 to-win RUSH Late Model portion that is memory of Bill Emig, who was such a big deal in western Pennsylvania”. 


“I remember Bill’s cars but never had the chance to meet him,” continued Lysakowski, who grew up not from Emig’s business and race shop.  “He fielded race teams that were dominant in multiple divisions and on multiple surfaces.  The team was also successful when they travelled to other states, so it wasn’t just limited to western Pennsylvania.  They made their mark in national events in other parts of the country as well.  In short, Lernerville Speedway is honored to be celebrating the career of Bill Emig.”


Joe Martin of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania has been racing for the greater part of the last 12 years under the leadership of Emig and Leone.  There was a brief respite when Martin took off two years to campaign a Super Late Model.  Currently, he is in second place in the RUSH Flynn's Tire Touring Series standings to Logan Roberson after finishing runner-up each of the past two seasons.


As for the Bill Emig Memorial, the 37-year-old Martin said, “Even when it was $10,000 to-win, it was a big deal for us, now at $20,000 it’s an even bigger deal.  We've been gearing up for this and had our eyes on it all year long.  When you’re racing on the same card as the Lucas Oil guys racing for $50,000 to-win at the televised ‘Firecracker’ in front of thousands of fans, that makes for a really big deal.”


As far as ever being a driver for a Bill Emig owned race car, Martin said, “I didn’t know him personally, but I remember as a young kid seeing that #1 car and its six-cylinder beating those V-8s.  That was something else.  Lou (Gentile) was the guy I always ended up cheering for.  It would have been a pleasure driving for someone like Bill who would do anything to get the job done right.  I’m fortunate enough now to be driving for someone like Bill in Tommy Snyder.”    


Forty-one year old John Waters of Whitesville, New York is really looking forward to the "Bill Emig Memorial" race at Lernerville. “It’s a big deal for us and the $20,000 to-win will be one of the highest paying races I've ever be in.  Lernerville is always a special place to race- it’s a magical place.  Anytime you get a win there, it’s special.”


Waters, the RUSH 2016 Touring Series Champion, also likes being showcased with the Lucas Oil Late Models.  "It definitely adds an extra special hype," stated Waters, who is just coming off an exciting $3,000 Flynn's Tire Touring Series event win at Bradford Speedway.


“I didn’t know Bill (Emig), but from what I gathered he always put the right guy in his equipment.  It takes time and money to be successful in racing.  To be on his list of drivers who would have raced for him would have been a great honor for me."  


Forty-two year old Jeremy Wonderling is certainly one to watch for the upcoming "Bill Emig Memorial" race. Wonderling is a three-time RUSH Touring Series champion (2018-2020) and is looking forward to this year’s marquee event.  “It’s definitely the biggest event of the year,” said the Wellsville, New York standout.  “With that much money on the line to win, it’s pretty cool.  I also like the three-day format, it gives us some off time to watch the Lucas Oil boys go at it.” 


“It would have been cool to drive for somebody like that,” said Wonderling of Bill Emig.  “He would certainly be the one you would want to drive for back in those days as well as today.”


Twenty-four year-old Logan Roberson of Waynesboro, Virginia is currently leading in points for the Flynn's Tire Touring Series and is looking forward to the $20,000 to-win "Bill Emig Memorial" race. “I think the event is going to have a huge impact and bring a lot of respect to Crate Late Model racing overall,” Roberson stated.  “Crate Late Model races are now starting to pay nearly as much as the Super Late Models.  Being a memorial race for Vicki's dad with all she has done for us racers is very special for me, as well as racing at the legendary Lernerville Speedway.”


“Even though I didn’t know him, said Roberson, who was born long after Emig had passed away, to be able to drive for somebody like him would have been great.  I know he’s gone, but people still talk about him.”


The "Bill Emig Memorial" presented by Sunoco Race Fuels will get underway on Thursday, June 23 with FK Rod Ends "Shock the Clock" Qualifying.  FK Rod Ends heat races and the "John Buzzard Memorial" Sunoco Dash will take place on Friday night (June 24).  Saturday will be the last chance B mains, 50-lap $20,000 to-win feature, and the D&V Jewelers non-qualifier.  The rain date is Sunday.


In closing, RUSH Series Director Vicki Emig had this to say about her father, "He's in my ear all the time, or at least in my heart.  He's the best teacher I ever had, so we'll just keep trying to make him proud of the RUSH Racing Series.  I know he's up there watching, and I know he'll be smiling when our racers go four-wide for the Northeast's richest Chevrolet Performance Crate Engine event in history that will be run in his memory!" 


The RUSH Racing Series is brought to you by Hovis Auto & Truck Supply together with Born2Run Lubricants along with the support of Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, FK Rod Ends, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, TBM Brakes, Performance Bodies & Parts, Racing Electronics, Wrisco Industries, Frankland Racing Supply, Landrum Performance Spring, Ontime Body & Graphic, Sherwood Wheels, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Waterstone Mortgage Hermitage, Wedge Motorsports, 3C Graphix, D&V Jewelers, DrumPreserve, CrateInsider.com, Terry Bowser Excavating, and Stop-Fyre.


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.