McKean County Raceway Looks Ahead to Second Year Under SWEENEY RUSH Late Model Sanctioning Banner
By Jim Zufall (Staff Series Spotlight)
March 24, 2014
(East Smethport, PA)…After putting an official wrap on the 2013 racing season at their annual awards banquet on Saturday, March 1, McKean County Raceway is gearing up for the 2014 campaign. The new year will see MCR’s Crate Late Model division again run under the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Series banner. Track General Manager Chris Zuver, for one is looking forward to it.
“Our first full season running MCR with the RUSH Late Models was a success,” said Zuver emphatically. “With the region’s top weekly payout we had the highest weekly car count each week. Only twice all season did we have less than 24 cars! The only problem we had was Max Blair!” Zuver’s comments about Blair reflect the complete dominance by the young Centerville, Pennsylvania driver. “No doubt the best crate driver in our entire region was a weekly visitor and dominated the class with eight wins. If there had been no Max, we probably would have had 10 different winners.”
Zuver sees his track racing the Crate Late Model class under the RUSH banner a real asset to his track and competitors. “Mike (Leone) and Vicki (Emig) do such a wonderful job marketing RUSH and all their tracks that partner with them. If I have any questions or need any help, Mike and Vicki are a phone call away to help me out, give me advice or they find someone that may have the answers I need.”
Like a number of other short tracks in all parts of the country, introducing a crate engine Late Model class was not an easy sell for MCR. “Our fan base was like many others in the early years. They were very un-receptive to the crate class,” says Zuver. “Over time MCR’s fan base has seen the growth and competitive nature of the division and has come to see it as racing they need to stay and pay attention to. “Now, NOBODY leaves the stands when the crate class is on the track.”
McKean County Raceway is ready to get underway with not only the RUSH Series, but its other five divisions as well. The track is entering its first year under a new five-year lease. It all gets started on Friday April 18 for a practice night and then returns the next night to kick off the season on its new Saturday night time slot.
Twenty regular “Super 6” point events are scheduled along with a full slate of special events. The biggest of those will be the first ever appearance by the Kings of Dirt NDRL Late Models on Friday and Saturday, August 1 and 2. Drivers the likes of Billy Moyer, Scott Bloomquist, Steve Francis, John Blankenship and others will be competing on the 1/3-mile speedway. Other special events throughout the season include two appearances by the Patriot Sprints and numerous visits by the NDRL Northeast Late Model and Modified Series.
The Sweeney RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series will compete a number of times during the 2014 campaign as well. Once as part of the track’s annual county fair race on Thursday, August 14, then again on the popular “Manufacturers Night” on Saturday, August 30 and then again during the Fall Classic Weekend on October 10-11.
Drivers in all divisions will enjoy a number of improvements when they enter the gates at the East Smethport, Pa. facility for the 2014 season. Zuver explains the many track upgrades that will enhance the racing experience for the race teams and fans alike. “We are going to be putting down a new gray clay surface when the weather and frost finally leaves us for good. At the end of last year we added the red AMB transponders with the Yellow Westhold transponders we were using allowing us to implement both systems for scoring. We are also looking into adding RaceMonitor to our up-to-the-minute scoring for fans and teams to keep track of their lap times on their smartphones.”
The added features to MCR are not limited to race teams, but the families in the grandstands as well. “We are planning to do more giveaways during the week; keep the kids involved with different activities. Our plan right now is to have a roving announcer work the infield, pits and stands to get fans reactions.” Zuver continues, “We’re also looking at getting some fans a little different view of the races by putting them in the infield for some events so they can see how truly fast these machines are when they enter the corners at MCR.”
There is excitement on both sides of the RUSH/McKean equation. Sweeney RUSH Dirt Late Model Co-Director Vicki Emig holds little back in her enthusiasm for the upcoming season and continuation of the partnership with MCR, “There is no doubt that McKean County Raceway is considered one of the pillars of crate late model racing throughout the Northeast,” states Emig. “In 2007 they were one of the four original speedways to believe in this concept and since then have been the steadying factor for continued growth in the Northern part of our region.
We are really looking forward to bringing the 2014 edition of the $30,000 "Mfg. Night" to the racers who compete at McKean.
“Mr. (John) Kennedy has not only given RUSH the privilege of racing at McKean, but also at many of his prestigious NDRL events, such as the Pittsburgher. Both Mike and I have known promoter Chris Zuver for many years and know his dedication and passion for the success of McKean County Raceway will only be a positive for that facility, but for RUSH also.”
Zuver shares Emig’s fervor for the new season and the continuing partnership with RUSH, “We’re excited to have RUSH be a big part of our 30th season at MCR. We anticipate a big weekly car count that will no doubt provide a great field of cars for the RUSH Touring events.”
Chris Zuver and the McKean County Raceway staff are eager to get the 2014 season underway. After only having a short amount of preparation time last year, the track staff is fully equipped to put one of the best seasons ever on the track this year.
“I am really looking forward to this season,” exclaims Zuver. “Last year we had 23 days from when the Fair Board approved the NDRL in managing the track until opening night. This year going back to primarily Saturday nights will be beneficial to our fans, racers and our staff. I am really looking forward to the two NDRL Kings of Dirt Events and the Labor Day weekend event that will feature the Patriot Sprints and the RUSH Manufacturer night. The new surface we intend to put down will no doubt help bring back more quality side-by-side racing.”
The 2014 McKean County Raceway season should be one not to miss! For more information, check out their website at www.mckeancountyraceway.com, like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NDRLMcKeanCountyRaceway, and follow them on Twitter @McKeanCoRaceway.
RUSH marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, RainEater Wiper Blades, Hoosier Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, The Brake Man, K&N Filters, Bilstein Shocks, Lincoln Electric, TurboStart, K1 RaceGear, Beyea Headers, FK Rod Ends, Bobby Lake Motorsports, Wrisco Industries, High Gear Speed Shop, 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.