By Doug Kennedy


March 28, 2024                     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(Pulaski, PA)...With the 2024 Hovis Auto & Truck Supply RUSH Late Model Flynn's Tire/Gunter's Honey Touring Series set to kickoff on April 6 at West Virginia's Tyler County Speedway, an impressive group of at least 15 drivers have committed to follow the richest ever Touring Series Championship in RUSH history!  This year's schedule will include 22 events at 13 different speedways throughout the Northeast, Mid-Ohio Valley, and Mid-Atlantic regions all paying between $3,000 to $20,000 as drivers will be vying to roll into the Landrum Performance Springs Victory Lane!  


In 2021, the points fund doubled from the pre-COVID years with $12,000 for the champion; 2022 saw the points fund increase 24% with $15,000 to the champion and now the 2024 points fund will increase 42% to a $76,200 point fund with $20,000 to the champion, unmatched by any like Series in the nation!  New for this season is the Landrum Performance Springs "Loyalty Bonus" that will award a $5,000 bonus to any member driver who has competed in least 75% of the completed racing events!  3C Graphix will also present the "Rookie-of-the Year" paying $3,000 to-win.


"It's my job to continue to have drivers support not only our 'weekly' sanctioned speedways but also bring an extremely competitive and quality 'touring' show to our speedways and their fans," said RUSH Series Director Vicki Emig.  “The quality and competition of our RUSH Late Model Touring Series is incredible; it has definitely    evolved to the next level over the past few years.  Our car counts continue to be very strong with an average car of 35 each of the past five years, and it's not uncommon to see fields of 40 plus."  


"Our racers never disappoint continuously producing side-by-side racing and more often than not battling right down to the checkered for the win," added Emig.  "I couldn't be prouder of them; but to stay at this level we need to give them incentive to continue to follow RUSH.  By all indications I think we've accomplished this with our historical point fund as we have the largest group of drivers ever at 15 committed to run the entire Tour this season plus several others that will be hitting 50% or more of the events.” 


No doubt the entire group of Flynn's Tire/Gunter's Honey Touring drivers will first have their sights set on dethroning defending and four-time champion Jeremy Wonderling, and that won't be an easy task.  The 43-year-old Wellsville, New Yorker has visited Landrum Performance Springs Victory Lane 22 times in his career, which is second on the all-time win list.  Wonderling enjoys the travel, but more importantly the purses and strong technical rules package that surrounds the entire RUSH Series. 


"To be able to race for a minimum of $3,000 to-win and up to $20,000 to win with your sights set on a $20,000 to-win championship in a Crate Late Model is great," stated Wonderling, who is a strong advocate for the Series.  "Not only do we race for the best money, but there is a very strong rules package as well.  RUSH's teching, purses, and point funds are all some of the best.  Every time I think I want to do something other than RUSH she (Emig) raises the bar for her racers!"


At age 38, veteran Joe Martin of Punxsutawney, Pa. has been the bridesmaid finishing second in Tour points each of the last four seasons, but with a $20,000 paycheck on the line at the end of the season, Martin is poised to change that in 2024.  Martin will once again pilot the #10s entry for Tom Snyder, Jr.


 “I think it’s the best Crate Series in the country," stated Martin when asked about RUSH.  "RUSH offer good events and the points funds, both 'touring' and 'weekly', speak for themselves; and every year Mike (Leone) and Vicki (Emig) keep adding to their program.  I’ve always enjoyed travelling to different tracks, and like the feel of competing in big events with lots of fans cheering you on!"


Mike Wonderling will be entering his second year of Flynn's Tire/Gunter's Touring Series competition.  The oldest of the three Wonderling brothers that have competed in RUSH Late Model racing, finished third in the standing last year with six podium finishes.  The 50-year-old driver, who also calls Wellsville, NY home, will be looking for his first career Touring Series victory in 2024.


"RUSH's payouts, both event and the point fund, as well as the expected competition this year are great," said Wonderling.  "The Series officials are good people to be around; they all work hard and do a helluva job keeping things moving in the right direction." 


The youngest driver who will be chasing the Tour this season is 14-year-old Brock Pinkerous of Ellenville, NY. Pinkerous, who is an eighth grader at Ellenville Central School District, will also be entering his second year of RUSH Touring Series competition.  Last season he fished fourth in points.  Nearly every track he raced at last year was one he had never seen before, which made it tough.  With a year of knowledge behind him along with veteran crew chief Russ King by his side, he's expected to be even more competitive.    


 “It's a really good Series with a lot of competition," acknowledged Pinkerous, who became the youngest driver to win a feature in the Crate Late Model division at Florida's Volusia Speedway Park this past February.  In 2023, Pinkerous became the youngest feature winner at 13 in the storied history of Stateline Speedway.  Pinkerous is expected to contend for both the Touring and 3C Graphix Futures Cup Championships. 


Cody Dawson of Laurel, Delaware has been racing since he was four years old and received special recognition at the RUSH banquet with the "Miles Traveled" award.  The 29-year-old competed in every event in 2023 and finished fifth in points.  Dawson, who is also looking for his first career Touring Series win, will be looking to move up the points ladder in 2024.


Dawson will once again be hitting the road and logging thousands of miles to follow the RUSH Tour with his girlfriend Daizie, sister Gaby and young nephew Christopher!  "It's hard to do with just those guys, but if we need help the other RUSH racers jump in and help us out," acknowledged Dawson.  "I enjoy going to other tracks and the tough level of competition."


Ashton Briggs of Erie, Pa. is entering his third season of competing in the Flynn's Tire/Gunter's Honey Touring Series.  Briggs jumped up three spots in 2023 points to sixth after a ninth in his rookie season.  Briggs also recorded his first career top 10 finish in 2023 accomplishing the feat on four occasions with three of them being eighth place runs.


“RUSH is terrific,” said his mother, Tricia.  “Vicki and Mike work endlessly to get more and more sponsors.  They are really good to their touring guys.”  Ashton's father, Brodie, added, “It’s a great Series and they run a great program.”


Ashton gets a lot of support from two of his cousins, Chub Frank and Boom Briggs.  The team will be moving into one of Boom’s cars for this season, switching from a Black Diamond to a Rocket.  Chub built the car while Boom ran it for about five races.  “The two of them are always available for consultations talking about setups and whatever else we may need,” explained Brodie.  Besides Chub and Boom, Ashton gets help from his father, crew chief, Mike Pohl, while his mother takes care of the finances. 


For the first time ever veteran driver, Brad Mesler will be following the RUSH Tour.  Last season, Mesler won five City Chevrolet Weekly Series races between Bradford and McKean, and also captured the $1,000 City Chevrolet Track Pack Championship at Bradford.  Mesler, who is 35, drives for car owner Kenny Sturdevant.  Mesler also lives within a mile of the Wonderling brothers. “It keeps things interesting,” he laughed.


“Following the RUSH Tour is something we considered for some time, but never did it,” explained Mesler.  “RUSH continues to give us better and better options with great competition at plenty of different tracks.  More importantly, she (Vicki) runs a very professional show- the way her and her crew run the Tour is very impressive.  I’ve raced with several of the RUSH Tour guys at local races, but never followed the Tour.  When you show up at one of these events you know you’re going to be running against the best; it's always nice to measure yourself up against those kinds of racers.” 


Jim Rasey calls Southington, Ohio home as he pilots the #21J RUSH Late Model for car owner Jim Wrightsman.  In his second year on the Tour in 2023, Rasey improved one spot to seventh in points, but also recorded the first three top 10s of his Touring Series career, which all came in the second half of the season, including a seventh in the season finale at Lernerville.   The 51-year-old racer also very successfully campaigns a Big-Block Modified. 


“We’re planning on running the full schedule again,” said Rasey.  “Over the years running in other series it was a big surprise how professional RUSH is operated, and how competitive it is- it's really amazing what they've accomplished.  I’ve run World of Outlaws, Lucas Oil, and Super DIRTcar races, and RUSH ranks right up there with them.” 


Twenty-seven-year-old Austin Hauser of Grand Island, New York started in Go-Karts in 2006 and has a WKA (World Karting Association" championship to his resume.  Hauser began running RUSH Late Models in 2019.  This will be his second year following the Tour after a 10th in his rookie season with seven top seven finishes.


“I’d rather tour than anything else,” said Hauser.  “It’s run right and the payouts are good, which makes it worth my time.  I like being on the road, the different tracks, the caliber of the drivers I race with, and the people in general.  When you show up to a RUSH Tour event, you know you will be running against some of the best in the business!  As far as RUSH itself, they care about all their drivers, and their manufactures night is a great bonus too!”


Damian Bidwell, who hails from Eldred, Pa., is 31 years old and has been racing since 2005.  While Bidwell has had several stints over the years in RUSH Late Models, this will be his first competing full-time in the Touring Series.  Bidwell, who drives trucks for a living, was previously unable to tour, but hauling more local will now allow him to be able to do so.  Bidwell will be concentrating almost exclusively on the Flynn's Tire/Gunter's Honey Tour so that he may spend more time with his son eight-year-old son, Wylie, who has been racing karts for two years.


"I think they do a great job for our sport and have put a lot of time and effort into the RUSH Series," expressed Bidwell.  "I like the new $3,000 to win 3C Graphix Rookie-of-the-Year program as well, which I am eligible for and the RUSH payouts are now very comparable with the Super Late Models.” 


Super Late Model standout Jared Miley, a multi-time track champion at Lernerville and Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedways, will also be chasing the $20,000 to win RUSH Late Model Tour crown.   Miley will be piloting the John Deller Motorsports entry.  Deller, who is in only his second year as a car owner, is excited to team up with Miley.


"I think Jared is the best choice I could have made," stated Deller.  "I'm just happy to be around the Miley Family; they want to have fun but they also want to win!  The car number will be 75, the number John's uncle Sam ran when he raced."


As for RUSH and the Touring Series, Deller said, “She’s (Vicki) very serious about what she does, her the focus and dedication she has is incredible.  I think eventually it’s (crates) going to overtake the Supers, there seems to be more racing in our region for Crate Late Models than the Supers, in fact it crushes it.”


Albion, Pennsylvania's Kyle Zimmerman, 41, has been racing since he was 21 and has 50 feature wins and two championships to his credit.  Zimmerman returned to RUSH Late Model racing for a handful of events last year driving for Jonathan Stockdale, and will be dedicated to the RUSH Tour this season. 


“The Touring Series is a good deal," stated Zimmerman.  "It's well organized, allows us to go to different tracks and the competition is also good.  "I think we can confidently compete for top five finishes at the RUSH Touring events."  Zimmerman finished third in the season ending event at Lernerville, which was a great confidence boost heading into 2024.   


Austin Allen of Canisteo, NY has been a RUSH Late Model racer for three years, but 2024 will be his first following the Flynn's Tire/Gunter's Honey Touring Series.  Allen, who has a close-knit relationship with RUSH veterans Bryce Davis, Jason Knowles, and Brian Knowles, has four career City Chevrolet Weekly Series wins at Woodhull and was also their 2023 track champion. 


“I love RUSH,” said the 26-year-old Allen.  “They're always giving their racers extra incentive to race and the Touring payouts are great.  Nobody gives money back to the racers like RUSH does!  It was time for me to move up and see if I can compete with the other guys in the Series at the 'Touring' level.  I feel confident about the upcoming season.  I got a new Rocket XR1 during the off-season and am anxious to get on the track and make some laps.  Hopefully we can piggy-back on last year’s success into some good results for this season.” 


Another first timer to the RUSH Touring Series will be 33-year-old Zack Carley from Freedom, New York.  In February, Carley competed at East Bay Raceway Park in Florida and came away feeling very good about his performance.  He ended up ninth in the CUSA Winter Shootout Points Series, with 91 cars on hand. 


“It gave us some encouragement to come back and run the RUSH Touring Series this year," revealed Carley.  “RUSH takes care of their drivers with the payouts and of course the point fund is great.  The tracks on the Tour are good, with a fair amount of the events actually in my own area.   We’ve never toured before, but I think I have a shot of finishing in the top five of the standings at season's end.” 


Another young driver set to hit the RUSH Tour for the first time will be 17-year-old Ben Easler of Linesville, Pa.  Easler is no stranger to RUSH as he competed three years in the RUSH Sportsman Modified division, capturing the 2021 Futures Cup Championship, the 2022 Weekly Series Championship, and back-to-back Wedge Motorsports Route 7 Rumble Series Championships.  Easler nailed down 11 feature wins in his three years of competition. 


This season will be full of new challenges for Easler, as not only will he be hitting the road with the RUSH Tour, but it'll be his first season behind the wheel of a be a Late Model.  Easler is a junior at Conneaut Area Senior High School where he plays quarterback and is also a student at Crawford Tech Center for machinery.  Easler is looking forward to the task and has assembled quite a team around him starting with veteran RUSH Late Model racer Matt Latta and his brother Tim.  The Easler operation will be run out of Latta's garage.


"Ben's family bought their own Late Model; however, myself and my brother Tim will be there to mentor and provide some equipment to Ben, while Russ King Racing will be providing technical support," explained Matt Latta.


Latta, who is the founder of 3C Graphix, will be presenting the new $3,000 to-win "Rookie of the Year" Award as well as presenting all five of RUSH's Future Cup Championship programs.  3C Graphix also donates a custom wrap to both the RUSH Late Model and RUSH Sportsman Modifieds "Manufacturers Nights" presented by MSD Performance.


"She’s (Vicki) continuously adding to the RUSH Series to make is more appealing to us racers,” said Latta, who will be stepping back from racing in 2024 after running a limited schedule in 2023 due to some health complications. “The payouts and championship point funds are tremendous for Crate Late Model racing; if it’s not already the best Crate Series going, then it’s damn close!"


While not competing for the championship, several other racers are expected to hit a majority of the events such as Davin Kaiser, Scott Stein, Ryan Hare, and Craig and Brandt Graham.  Kaiser, who won the 2023 3C Graphix Futures Cup Championship along with a win at his home track Winchester Speedway in his rookie season of RUSH Late Model racing at age 16, drives the Almost Home Motorsports #11 entry. 


Stein, a former Stock Car and Steel-Block Late Model standout, will be making his debut in a RUSH Late Model in 2024.  The 51-year-old from Cherry Tree, Pa. will be learning the ropes from good friend Tom Snyder, Jr. and his driver Joe Martin.


Nineteen-year-old Ryan Hare competed in seven RUSH Tour events in 2023 and finished a career best fifth on September 3 at his Saturday night home track Tyler County Speedway.  The Elkins, WV driver is expecting to more frequently in 2024 starting off with the opener at Tyler County on April 6.


The father-son duo of Craig and Brandt Graham competed full-time on the Flynn's Tire/Gunter's Honey Touring Series in 2022 and 2023 making the long tows from their home in Orono, Ontario, Canada.  And while they won't be at every event in 2024, they expect to hit many of the shows during the upcoming season. 


In closing, Emig had this to say about the 2024 RUSH Late Model Flynn's Tire/Gunter's Honey Touring Series.  "We're exactly where we want to be as we get ready to kick-off the 2024 Touring season next week!   Guaranteeing a deep bed of some of the best Crate Late Model racers in the country that will produce an extremely competitive show, one that more often than not will have the fans on the edge of their seats until the checkered flag waves, all Chevrolet Performance crate engine style!"      


The RUSH Racing Series is brought to you by Hovis Auto & Truck Supply together with Born2Run Lubricants along with the support of Hoosier Tire, Rick Hendrick City Chevrolet, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, Flynn's Tire, Gunter's Honey, Sunbelt Rentals, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, FK Rod Ends, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, Landrum Performance Springs, TBM Brakes, Dave Poske's Performance Parts, Heritage Wine Cellars, Racing Electronics, Wieland Metal Services, Frankland Racing Supply, Ontime Body & Graphic, Sherwood Wheels, Precise Racing Products, Velocita-USA, Wedge Motorsports, 3C Graphix, D&V Jewelers, and Terry Bowser Excavating.   


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 Like our Facebook page at and follow us on X (formerly known as Twitter) @RUSHLM.