SWEENEY RUSH LATE MODEL SERIES TO CROWN 4 DIFFERENT CHAMPIONS FROM 4 DIFFERENT STATES WITH RYAN MONTGOMERY, CHAD RUHLMAN, RICK SINGLETON & MICHAEL LAKE AT 2014 AWARDS BANQUET
By Mike Leone
October 28, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Pulaski, PA)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Series wrapped up a successful second year of operations last weekend with the “Steel City Stampede” at Lernerville Speedway, which attracted 44 cars for the Sweeney Tour event. RUSH will recognize four major champions from four different states, West Virginia, New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania at its 2014 awards banquet on Saturday, January 17 at Gatherings Banquet Center near New Castle, PA.
With 250 different drivers competing in a RUSH Late Model-sanctioned event, these following drivers stood atop the rest garnering 2014 championships: Ryan Montgomery-Sweeney Tour, Chad Ruhlman-Sweeney Weekly Series, Rick Singleton-Pace Performance “Summer Chase”, and Michael Lake-“Futures Cup”. RUSH will also honor the accomplishments of the new Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modified division with its champion, Greg Martin.
"I don't think any of us would have believed as we began our season in March that we would end up with such tremendous championship results," stated RUSH Co-Director Vicki Emig. "To have four different champions from four different states is a truly a testament to the competitiveness all of the RUSH racers who competed with us from as far north as Canada into Virginia and Maryland and everywhere in between. Our Weekly, Summer Chase, Touring, and Futures Cup programs have allowed racers of all experience levels and ages to compete for their own piece of our $70,000 plus point funds, which is exactly what we had hoped for. This year alone over 50 different racers will receive cash awards and numerous others were able to capture one of over 400 valuable product contingencies that amount to over $60,000."
In 2013 at 16 years of age Ryan Montgomery put forth a yeoman’s effort to try and win the Sweeney 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’ll add 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pace Performance “Summer Chase” 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.
“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.
RUSH Late Model marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Alternative Power Sources, 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.
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.