(Imperial, PA)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series participated in night 1 of the 2-night “Pittsburgher” on Friday night at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway, which also featured a $10,000 to-win NDRL “Kings of Dirt” Super Late Model event. Race #21 of the 24-event slate drew 35 drivers from all over Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and New York in the third of four visits to the “Monster Half-Mile” in Imperial, Pa. For the first time ever, RUSH was included in live video produced by DirtonDirt.com.
After two near misses with runner-up finishes after charging to the front in the Speedweek and Manufacturers Night Sweeney RUSH Tour events earlier this season at Pittsburgh, Ryan Montgomery left little doubt in Friday’s night’s opening event as part of the “Pittsburgher” weekend. Montgomery took the lead on lap four from Josh Holtgraver and set sail with the season’s most dominating victory by a near half-lap margin. The $1,500 win was Montgomery’s fourth of the season tying him with standouts Mike Pegher, Jr. and Max Blair as the most on the Sweeney Tour.
“We waited til the last minute, looked at the race track to see how it was, and it ended up being good,” explained the 16-year-old Fairmont, West Virginia racer about any changes to his race car. “It started to get tight toward the middle of the race, but I adjusted my brakes and it was fine. I really wasn’t that comfortable at all times. I split a couple cars and didn’t feel comfortable doing that, but I figured they were beating down on my back door. It definitely felt weird to lap Pegher. That doesn’t usually happen, ever.”
Via his K&N Dash win, Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. and dash runner-up Jason Rider led the field to green for the 25-lap feature, but a wild three-wide scramble for the lead saw Holtgraver come out in the lead over Rider, and Montgomery before a caution was displayed when Paul Jablonski, Dan Angelicchio, and Ron Hall tangled.
After slipping back to fourth, Schirnhofer passed both Rider and Montgomery for second on lap two. It was an intense battle for second on lap three and on the following lap, Schirnhofer got too high racing off the outside of turn two slapping the fence and ending his night. Schirnhofer, who won the Manufacturers Night event on August 31, was awarded The Brake Man’s “Tough Brake of the Night”. That would be the final caution of the event as the last 22 laps went green-to-checkered.
The caution was just what Montgomery needed as he lined up alongside Holtgraver. The duo ran side-by-side for the lead the entire lap four with Montgomery nosing ahead at the start-finish line on the bottom; meanwhile, seventh starting Chad Ruhlman was on the charge as he worked his way to third as he passed John Waters for the show position. Dennis Lunger, Jr. started alongside Ruhlman in the eighth position and followed him forward as he passed Waters as well for the fourth position on lap four.
Waters continued to back-pedal as he lost fifth and sixth to Mark Moats, Jr. and Max Blair as the laps ticked off. By lap six, Montgomery began to pull away as Holtgraver had his hands full with Ruhlman. Blair started back in 11th and was quietly picking after cars and found himself in the top five on lap 12 when he took the position away from Moats.
With each successive lap, Montgomery opened up more and more ground. Montgomery caught lapped traffic at the halfway point and at this juncture had a half-straightaway lead. Montgomery looked like a seasoned veteran on the high banks pulling away in lapped traffic to a straightaway lead on lap 17. As green flag racing continued it was apparent Montgomery had the event locked up barring any catastrophes in lapped traffic or mechanical failures.
By the time the checkered flag waved, Montgomery’s margin of victory was a season high 8.347 seconds in the Jeff Montgomery-owned, T.J. Contracting/High Gear Speed Shop/Mountain State Plumbing/Central Supply/Bobby Lake Motorsports/Frankland Rearends/Genesis Racing Shocks-sponsored Warrior Race Car #12. It was the 11th time in the past 15 Sweeney Tour events that Montgomery has beaten Pegher as he closed to within four points of Pegher with three events remaining.
After struggling this season in Sweeney Tour events with just a sixth place as his best showing, Holtgraver put on his best Tour performance of the year with a runner-up. “We had a good run here last time,” explained the 25-year-old Pittsburgh, Pa. driver, who won the last Sweeney Weekly Series event at Pittsburgh on September 28. “We’ve been real consistent. This is our home track as we really haven’t traveled as much this year. It’s a tough place to race on. If you can get this place down, you can be good anywhere. We were good, just not that good. I have to thank everyone that comes out here and helps me.”
Ruhlman’s third place was his best Sweeney Tour finish since a runner-up in the second event back at Sharon Speedway on May 25. “We ran good tonight,” acknowledged the Bemus Point, New York racer. “I have thank Shawn Nielson and Brad Nolte for working on this car. The last two weeks we kept saying what are we going to do to catch Ryan Montgomery. The guys worked their tails off, but apparently we didn’t do enough because I lost track of where he was at. The race track was great. You have to give the guys down here credit. They produce Eldora.”
Lunger, who was the Sharon track champion, continued the trend of season best Sweeney Tour efforts as his fourth place was his first top five of the season beating his prior best of sixth at Expo Speedway back on July 14. Lunger just edged out a late charge by Blair, who was right on him at the finish.
Moats dropped to sixth. Waters, who made the tow down from Whitesville, New York, was seventh in his first ever appearance at Pittsburgh and just his third start in a Late Model. Twelve-year-old Michael Lake came from 13th to place eighth in just his second race at Pittsburgh. Steve Beatty and Pegher completed the top 10. In his first ever RUSH start, West Virginia racer Zack Dohm earned the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger” for advancing 11 positions from 22nd to 11th.
Rider set fast time in Bobby Lake Motorsports “Shock the Clock” qualifying laying down a lap of 20.466 to earn $100. Picking up an extra $25 for winning Bobby Lake Motorsports heat races were Rider, Schirnhofer, Moats, and Holtgraver. Schirnhofer became just the fourth repeat winner of a K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash this season and won a $100 K&N certificate. Rider received a $50 K&N certificate for second, while Holtgraver and Moats picked up $25 cash for third and fourth respectively. Dawson and Dohm won the last chance B mains.
The next events on the Sweeney Tour will be race #22 of 24 at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway in Imperial, Pa. on Saturday (October 12) for $3,000 to-win.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series “Pittsburgher” Race #21 (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. RYAN MONTGOMERY (12) 2. Josh Holtgraver (00) 3. Chad Ruhlman (Suppa 4s) 4. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L) 5. Max Blair (111) 6. Mark Moats, Jr. (15M) 7. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 8. Michael Lake (27) 9. Steve Beatty (B4) 10. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Geisler 1c) 11. Zack Dohm (A1) 12. Jason Rider (Wade 76) 13. Dan Angelicchio (14) 14. Rocky Kugel (21KRT) 15. Michael Reft (9R) 16. Dennis Niederriter, Jr. (09) 17. Ron Hall (01) 18. Cody Dawson (36) 19. Tim Shaffer (45) 20. Butch Lambert (27) 21. Andrew Satterlee (2) 22. Andrew Wylie (84) 23. Daryl Charlier (12) 24. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. (8s) 25. Paul Jablonski (3J). Note: Butch Lambert took a Series provisional.
DNQ: Dusty Curry (8), Chuck Medved (2M), Beau Glemba (99G), Brian Goebel (12G), Jake Gunn (14G), Matt Glanden (01), Bryant Hank (28), Nico Dabecco (Karalagas 1FR), W.L. Stile (1W), Justin Lamb (93x).
Car Count: 35
Feature Lap Leaders: Holtgraver (1-3), Montgomery (4-25)
Margin of Victory: 8.347 seconds
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Dohm (+11)
The Brake Man “Tough Brake of the Night: Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr.
Bobby Lake Motorsports Qualifying ($100 for fast time): 1. Jason Rider 20.466 2. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. 20.549 3. Mark Moats, Jr. 20.571 4. Paul Jablonski 20.611 5. Rocky Kugel 20.681 6. Ryan Montgomery 20.754 7. Chad Ruhlman 20.805 8. Josh Holtgraver 20.833 9. Dusty Curry 20.836 10. Steve Beatty 20.907 11. Nico Dabecco 20.944 12. Dennis Lunger, Jr. 20.959 13. Tim Shaffer 21.007 14. Daryl Charlier 21.013 15. Max Blair 21.079 16. Andrew Wylie 21.093 17. Cody Dawson 21.158 18. Mike Pegher, Jr. 21.179 19. Michael Reft 21.213 20. Andrew Satterlee 21.218 21. John Waters 21.290 22. Brian Goebel 21.334 23. Justin Lamb 21.419 24. Chuck Medved 21.449 25. Ron Hall 21.457 26. Bryant Hank 21.476 27. Dan Angelicchio 21.512 28. Zack Dohm 21.629 29. Matt Glanden 21.787 30. Beau Glemba 21.883 31. Butch Lambert 21.932 32. Dennis Niederriter, Jr. 21.951 33. Michael Lake 22.440 34. W.L. Stile 22.667 35. Jake Gunn 22.800.
Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 1 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer, $25 to-win) 1. Rider 2. Waters 3. Kugel 4. Lake 5. Shaffer 6. Dawson 7. Curry 8. Hall 9. Glanden.
Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 2 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer, $25 to-win) 1. Schirnhofer 2. Montgomery 3. Beatty 4. Pegher 5. Charlier 6. Hank 7. Glemba 8. Goebel 9. Stile.
Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 3 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer, $25 to-win) 1. Moats 2. Ruhlman 3. Blair 4. Reft 5. Angelicchio 6. Dabecco 7. Lamb 8. Lambert 9. Gunn.
Bobby Lake Motorsports Heat 4 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer, $25 to-win) 1. Holtgraver 2. Lunger 3. Satterlee 4. Jablonski 5. Wylie 6. Dohm 7. Niederriter 8. Medved.
K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash (4 laps/$100 K&N certificate to-win): 1. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. 2. Jason Rider 3. Josh Holtgraver 4. Mark Moats, Jr.
Last Chance B Main 1 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer): 1. Dawson 2. Hall 3. Curry 4. Glemba 5. Goebel 6. Glanden 7. Hank 8. Stile.
Last Chance B Main 2 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer): 1. Dohm 2. Niederriter 3. Medved 4. Lambert 5. Gunn 6. Dabecco 7. Lamb.
2013 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, Lincoln Electric, TurboStart, K1 RaceGear, Beyea Headers, FK Rod Ends, Bobby Lake Motorsports, Wrisco Industries, High Gear Speed Shop, Utsinger’s Towing, RockAuto.com, and Valley Fashions.
E-mail can be sent to the RUSH Racing Series at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.