By Doug Kennedy


April 11, 2016            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(Pulaski, PA)...This Saturday night at Sharon Speedway, Charlie Duncan will lead the Sweeney RUSH Late Model Touring Series make-up feature to green as a tune-up for his first run at the Touring Series Championship, which will actually begin the following Friday night at Sharon.  The veteran 51-year-old race car driver has seen it all.  After racing Super Late Models for the majority of his career, Duncan decided in 2015 to switch over to a Crate Late Model and compete at his home track of Wayne County Speedway in their first year under the RUSH banner.  All he accomplished was five wins, 13 top fives and the track championship.


Wayne County Speedway track promoter, Jason Flory, knew that getting Duncan to compete in the crates would be a boost for that division.  “Charlie’s been instrumental in getting the crate thing off the ground,” said Flory, a former driver himself.  “He’s been around Wayne County forever and I’ve known him for 20 some years.” 


“When Jason (Flory) decided he was going to have the crates at Wayne County, that’s when I wanted to race them,” said Duncan.  “It’s more driver and set-up than the motor you have.  I like the back and forth style of racing and the competition.  The costs of open motors are out of hand.  They need to put a limit on the cubic inch displacement.  That should have happened years ago.”


This season, Duncan will compete full-time in the Sweeney RUSH Touring Series.  In his only Touring Series starts, Duncan had three top five finishes in three starts last year, all at Wayne County.  He was also able to capture the pole at Sharon Speedway for the "Apple Festival Nationals" that was twice rained/snowed out and will be made up on Saturday night (April 16).


Last season Duncan finished seventh in the Pace Performance "Summer Chase" points and 12th in the Sweeney Weekly Series to earn $1,045. 


Duncan, who is known by many as “Bucket Head”, began his racing career in 1995 when he bought a Pro Stock.  Prior to that, he served as a mechanic for Super Late Model standouts John Mason, Don Gross, and Brad Malcuit.  While working for Gross, the pair traveled for about a five-year period while Don competed in the STARS Late Model Series.


Charlie also followed the career of his father, Richard, who was a racer in an open wheel car from the mid ‘50’s through 1969.  Growing up in Millersburg, Ohio, Duncan and his family were just over the hill from Hilltop Speedway.  Charlie would go to virtually every race, ones that included his step brother, Rick. 


In 1994, while working for Malcuit, Duncan bought a Bullitt Chassis that Brad had built and with the help of Jeff, Craig, and Scooter Drown, the car was ready for competition in 1995.  That season turned out to be quite productive for Duncan as he won seven features and was the runner-up in points at both Lakeville Speedway and Wayne County Speedway. 


That would be the only season that Duncan raced a Pro Stock.  The following year, he was approached by Dave Simmons to drive his Super Late Model.  Simmons was in earnest as he sent Duncan to Donnie Moran’s driving school.  For the next two seasons, he drove for Simmons, winning some features along the way.  In 1998, Duncan left the Simmons ride and raced his own equipment for the next nine seasons. 


That lasted until 2007, when Charlie decided to take a two-year hiatus from racing.  Then in 2009, Leroy Hall, the owner of Mansfield, Ohio-based Hall’s Auto Sales and the Car Connection asked Duncan to drive his Late Model. 


“I’ve known him for about 17 years,” said Hall.  “He actually drove for me a few times 15 years ago.”


All the pair has done since ’09 is win three championships at Lakeville, two at Hilltop, and one at Wayne County, which was in a crate.  Besides the Crate that Duncan runs, Hall also owns a Super Late Model piloted by Doug Drown.  The relationship between Duncan and the Drown family of Wooster, Ohio goes back to better than two decades. 


“When the crates came along at Wayne County, I really wanted to run them,” said Duncan.  “We had a Super Late car and another Rocket Chassis with no motor.  Leroy and I really wanted to do this crate deal.  We didn’t have the manpower for two Late Model cars so I thought why not put Doug in the super and I would drive the crate.  We share information on what we can do.  We ran the same Rocket Chassis last year.” 


“Last year we stayed at home,” said Hall.  “This year he (Duncan) wanted to do some traveling and I agreed with him.  As long as he drives the racecar and the trailer, I’ll just go along for the ride.”


With regards to crate versus open motor, Duncan said, “They’re putting out 900 horsepower and spending $48,000 to $50,000 on a motor.  What weekend racer can afford it?  But there’s guys out there who will keep on doing it.  I like how the RUSH deal is policed and the way it is teched.  It is a good deal for me.”


Somewhat surprisingly, Duncan prefers the new equipment to the old.  “I really like the new stuff.”


“At first, I wasn’t sure about it, but I knew there had to be rules and somebody to police it.  I like the way Vicki (Emig) and Mike (Leone) show up, promote it, and make sure things run smoothly.  I can’t say anything bad about the series at all.”


“The thing for me isn’t the money because Leroy has the money,” said Duncan.  “It is my preference of what I wanted to do in racing.  I couldn’t go and run the big races with the Super Late Model.  The crates have put me back to racing against the competition and making me competitive again.  Last year when I went to Sharon, there was a feeling when I pulled in there that the drivers knew who I was.  I like the feeling that I might be one of the ones to beat.”


Last year was Duncan’s first year in a crate and he was somewhat skeptical on his first night out.  “My car just wasn’t right.  I didn’t have the power that I was used to with the Late Model.  I went back to the drawing board and talked with my son, Cody, who works for Rocket Chassis, and we changed some front end things and the springs and the car ran a lot better.”


Two races later, Duncan was in the winner’s circle.  In all, 2015 turned out to be a very good season for Charlie as he won those five features and that Wayne County Championship.  He also talked about a race he won at Hilltop with a crate engine competing against a field of Super Late Models.  “That made me feel good and made a lot of people think,” said Duncan. 


Besides the RUSH Touring Series, Duncan plans on running a full schedule at Wayne County. “If everything goes right, we’ll only miss one race at Wayne County.” 


He is clearly anticipating his opener at Sharon on April 16th.  “I want to see how that first night goes.  I’m on the pole and then the next week, we’ll start the Touring Series at Sharon and that will show how we stand up against the competition and what we need to do.” 


“I think I’m a good championship racer and I’ve always wanted to do a traveling series and I’m really looking forward to it.”


“I expect him to contend for the championship this year,” said Flory.  “Charlie has good equipment and Leroy is one of the best car owners in the business.  He will go on the road and win and come here to Wayne County and win.”


As for the racing philosophy of Charlie Duncan, he has said on numerous occasions, “The thrill of racing is racing.”


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, Maxima Racing Oil, Jones Racing Products, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, TBM Brakes, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, FK Rod Ends, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, Rocket Chassis, Bobby Lake Motorsports High Gear Speed Shop, CrateInsider.com, 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.