By Doug Kennedy


July 14, 2015


(Pulaski, PA)...For Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Series racers, July 26 at Eriez Speedway will truly be a racer’s Christmas in July, as over $40,000 in cash and products will be given to participants that night in conjunction with their $1,500 to-win Insinger/Sunoco Northern Touring Series event.   


Two other “Manufacturers Nights” will follow on August 9 at Sportsman's Speedway in Knox, Pa. for the Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modifieds and September 19 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. for the Sweeney RUSH Pro Stock/Sportsman drivers. The crown jewel of Lernerville's event, which will take place at their annual "Autumn-Motive Fest”, will be a brand new $5,700 Sweeney GM 604 crate engine, which will push the total product giveaways to these drivers to easily over $10,000.    


Bobby Rohrer promoter of Eriez Speedway since April 2006, is looking forward to “Manufacturers Night” being presented at his track. “Vicki (Emig) told me that there has traditionally been between 40 and 50 cars at past events and that’s good for Eriez,” said Rohrer.  “I think it’s going to be a great night for the RUSH Series and Eriez,” said Rohrer, who retired as an active driver in 2007.  “The drivers enjoy winning the products and RUSH has a lot of good sponsors who donate quality merchandise.  It brings lots of cars, with lots of people, and hopefully everyone will make some money and go home with a valuable item.”   


What makes “Manufacturers Nights” unique and such valuable promotional events for both the RUSH-sanctioned speedways and their racers is that the racers receive actual products and not certificates toward the purchase of products.   Any certificates of that type that are given by manufacturers are dispersed over and above the actual product giveaways.  Combined, the Series' three "Manufacturers Night" events will disperse over $60,000 of extremely useful items to their race teams! 


Throughout the years, Series director Vicki Emig has strategically scheduled the events at various speedways throughout the region to ensure that all RUSH racers get an opportunity to participate in the event at some point.  This year will mark the fourth edition of "Manufacturers Night".  Previous events for the RUSH Late Models took place at Sharon Speedway, Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway, and McKean County Raceway.  Emig also ensures that each racer at the events walk away with an item valued at the very minimum of $250-$300.


"It's my goal to make sure everyone receives a useful and valuable product," said Emig.  “Every racer has the same chance of winning all of the items posted on “Manufacturers Night”  “There have been instances over the years where a racer who may not have fared so well in the actual touring event that night left the facility with more value than the driver who actually won the race.  It’s really great to see everyone go home with something you know they can utilize in their racing efforts.”    


Crate racing has taken off since 2007 and infiltrated the Northeast under the direction of Emig and Leone.  The RUSH Racing Series now encompasses 600 miles, seven states and one Canadian province (Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and Ontario, Canada), and three divisions or race cars, (Late Models, Sportsman Modified, and Pro Stocks).  Because the Series now encompasses such a large area and the overall value of the products given, over $40,000, has grown from its original posted amount of $15,000.  Emig's goal is to somehow split the event into a Northern and Southern edition, similar to what has been done to the RUSH Touring Series in general in 2015. 


Simply put, the RUSH Series is designed for the weekly racer and has become a phenomenal choice for many drivers. 


Becoming a participant in “Manufacturers Night” affords the individual the opportunity to showcase their company and products to not only all the RUSH racers in attendance, but also to the other divisions that are racing at the host speedways.  Companies receive a multitude of marketing and promotional amenities leading up to, during, and after the event.  Last year, 52 different contingency products were supplied by 34 different companies.      


Last season was a huge night for Late Model driver, Joe Martin.  Not only did he win the $1,500 Touring Series event at McKean, but also won several contingency prizes.  The Mayport, Pa. driver won a custom driver’s suit from Velocita-USA ($1,000 value) and was also awarded the “Slick Move of the Night” contingency package.  He, along with every other driver received a box of 200 custom tear-offs from Ultra Shield Race Products.


Another driver, Bruno Mowery of Allegheny, Pa., didn’t make the feature, but left the track last year as the biggest prize winner receiving a $2,200 Yamaha Electric Start Generator and wheel kit, a racing helmet from RaceQuip, the tear-offs from Ultra Shield, and a $50 certificate from Keizer Aluminum Wheels, the total product value he received was over $2,500!


Jason Knowles of Hornell, New York also made out very well in 2014.  After finishing a Sweeney Tour career best second, he also won four brake calipers from TBM Brakes worth $1,800 and $50 off for a fender nose combo kit from ARbodies, and the 200 tear-offs    


“There’s nothing else like it in the country that I know of,” said Martin. “They (Vicki and Mike) do so much work by getting all those companies on board with really good products.  It’s a unique thing.  Things are successful when you have good people running it.  Good people make good things happen and the RUSH Series is definitely a good thing.  You can tell they both have the passion for racing and that’s the number one thing that makes their series successful.”


Late Model driver, Matt Latta, has been participating in “Manufacturers Night” ever since it began. “I love it,” he said. “It’s a huge help for the teams.  Let’s face it, everyone knows about the financial difficulties involved with racing. You have good years and some bad years.  We’ve been fortunate enough to win sheet metal and an ARbodies nose kit, total package value of over $600 for the last two years (PPMS and McKean County). 

The Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania driver also went onto say, “Vicki has designed it so every driver leaves with something.  No one walks away empty handed.”


“Vicki and Mike understand that every little piece helps their teams and to offer these types of items helps us greatly,” said Latta. “It also helps them (sponsors) by getting more business down the road from the drivers who have been helped or received prizes from them.”


Last season’s Sportsman Modified champion, Greg Martin of Wilson, NY, said of “Manufacturers Night”, “It’s great to get support back from the people we support throughout the many seasons of racing.  It may be a small prize, but to us it means a lot because its money we don’t have to take out our own pockets.  It’s a very positive experience and I wish more tracks and series would take the initiative and follow RUSH’s lead.”  Martin also went onto say that none of the tracks or series he runs in New York have anything like “Manufacturers Night”.   Last season at Lernerville, he won a driver’s suit from Velocita and a complete set of FK Rod Ends leaving the speedway that night with over $1,500 in valuable products.


So, there really is such a thing as "Christmas in July"; and it's going to happen Sunday, July 26 at Eriez Speedway!  Watch for Santa Claus, he just might be pacing the RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series feature event followed by a lot of happy racers who just had an early Christmas!! 


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 Ignition, Maxima Racing Oil, Jones Racing Products, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, TBM Brakes, 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, B.R.A.K.E.S., RockAuto.com, and Valley Fashions.


RUSH Sportsman Modified marketing partners: Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Bicknell Racing Products, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, MSD Ignition, Maxima Racing Oil, Jones Racing Products, VP Racing Fuels, FK Rod Ends, Sherwood Racing Wheels, Velocita-USA, Precise Racing Products, Alternative Power Sources, K&N Filters, TBM Brakes, Lincoln Electric, 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.