(Erie, PA)…The Pace Performance RUSH Dirt Late Model Series together with Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC wrapped up a very successful two-night swing at Stateline and Eriez Speedways, which are separated by 50 miles, this past weekend. Sunday night was race #5 of the 2021 Flynn’s Tire/Born2Run Lubricants Touring Series slate and was the first of two appearances at Eriez. Sunday’s event attracted 38 cars, which was the highest at the northwest Pennsylvania oval since the 2015 “Manufacturers Night”. In total, 52 different cars participated in the two events! After five Tour events, the average car count is nearly 43 per event.
After sweeping the three “Battle of the Bay” Speedweek events in mid-April and taking home $10,175, Mid-Atlantic racer Kyle Hardy made a decision to chase after the $12,000 to-win Flynn’s Tire/Born2Run Lubricants Touring Championship. In the first post-“Battle of the Bay” Tour event, Hardy was only able to manage a 10th place finish on Saturday night in his first visit to Stateline. Hardy though flipped the script quickly figuring out Eriez Speedway on Sunday night as he led all 30 laps withstanding heavy pressure from three-time champion, Jeremy Wonderling, to capture the $2,000 victory. It was the second consecutive caution-free 30 lapper as Sunday’s was timed in 9:21 compared to Saturday’s that took 9:41.576.
“I’m just glad it’s over because Jeremy (Wonderling) was breathing down my neck,” explained the 27-year-old Linden, Virginia racer. “I knew Jeremy was on my bumper. He showed me a nose through (turns) three and four; I caught my left front on the berm and gave it some gas to get it back in front of him. I know I gave him a little contact there; he’s a hell of a racer, I have a lot of respect for him, and wouldn’t expect him to do anything less. It’s going to be a long year racing with him. This is a heck of a race track and I’m glad to be here. It’s also a very tricky track; you can’t overdrive it, and have to be on your toes. I can’t thank everyone at Eriez and the RUSH Series enough for putting this on along with all you fans for sticking it out and watching all this racing tonight.”
Despite winning the first three Tour events to open the season, Sunday’s pole position start was the first for Hardy thanks to winning the Sunoco Dash. After dueling with Joe Martin in the dash, Hardy quickly jumped into the lead at the start of the feature, while Wonderling raced past Martin for second. Hardy opened up a fairly comfortable lead of about a half-straightaway when he caught lapped traffic on lap 11.
Hardy’s lead began to shrink on lap 12 as both Wonderling and Martin closed in. Meanwhile, Andy Boozel and Chub Frank were putting on quite the battle for fourth as the two traded the position numerous times before Frank nailed down the position on lap 16. Finally on lap 20, Wonderling was right on Hardy, while Frank caught Martin in the battle for third on lap 21.
Heavy lapped traffic would then come into play for Hardy and Wonderling. Wonderling had been continuing to test the top in turn four and would get nearly alongside Hardy, but Hardy maintained the lead off the bottom. Hardy had his hands full trying to maneuver past Paul Norman and Jimmy Johnson, Jr., who were battling for position. On lap 23, Hardy and Wonderling made contact racing off turn four with Hardy barely leading the lap. That though allowed Wonderling to pull even with Hardy on lap 24, but Wonderling was unable to make the pass stick.
Wonderling continued to hound Hardy right to the finish, but Hardy denied Wonderling of a sweep of the weekend taking his American Paint Co./AGX/Anthony’s Pizza/Ingram Engines/Cline Construction/Sommey Lacey Paint-sponsored #99 to victory by 1.022 seconds. Hardy also received his fourth 5-Gallon Race Jug from Precise Racing Products. The win allowed Hardy to extend his Tour points lead after seeing it shrink following Saturday night, and was also able to maintain his lead in the Pace National Weekly Series standings.
After entering the weekend sixth in Tour points, Wonderling’s victory and runner-up propelled him into second place in the standings. “We got in lapped traffic but couldn’t pass them because we weren’t fast enough,” explained the 41-year-old from Wellsville, NY. “I rolled on the outside of Hardy in traffic that one time and he jumped the berm and we got together. I thought we were about to give the show away as we were both about pointed right towards the wall. He raced clean. I was trying my best, but he was a little better than I was.”
Frank was able to reach the podium in his first Tour start of 2021. After battling with his CFR employee, Boozel, for fourth in the first half of the race, Frank had a tremendous race with Martin for third in the second half. The two traded the spots several times with Frank winning out for good on lap 27.
“This is an older car that we redid and put together,” revealed the 59-year-old Bear Lake, Pa. veteran. “It’s the first night we ran it so I’m happy finishing third as I know how good these guys (Hardy and Wonderling) are. We still have to do a little more tweaking and work to do, but we were in contention so we’ll be alright. I wanted to get this car out earlier, but the weather hasn’t been too good and I’ve been busy.”
Martin, who finished runner-up in the 2020 Tour points, continues to improve on his finishes throughout 2021. After starting the season with back-to-back 11th place runs at Georgetown and Potomac, Martin improved to a pair of fifths at Winchester and Stateline. Sunday saw Martin turn in his best Tour performance of the season with a fourth place. Breyton Santee made his 2021 Tour debut and had a solid fifth place effort after starting seventh. Santee also received a $150 spoiler kit from Mark McClellan of Ontime Body & Graphic.
Boozel dropped to sixth at the finish. After three disappointing feature finishes at the “Battle of the Bay”, Darrell Bossard returned home and turned in a sixth on Saturday and a seventh on Sunday. Kyle Lukon was eighth as he continued his impressive streak of all top 10 Tour finishes this season joining Hardy as the only driver to accomplish that feat. David Pangrazio was ninth, while Tour regular Logan Zarin turned in his best Tour finish of the season in 10th. After having to take a provisional to start the feature, Bud Watson earned the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger gift card by going 25th to 17th.
After finishing runner-up in the feature on Saturday at Stateline, Jason Genco had a tough night on Sunday getting caught up in a couple of run ins during his heat race along with suffering mechanical issues that forced him to scratch from the last chance B main. Genco though was able to salvage the night winning the eight-lap Non-Qualifier. Genco started sixth and took the lead on lap six by driving around David Parker off turn four. Genco earned $200 aboard the Jimmy Craig/Jason Badgley #29J for his second career Non-Qualifier victory. Parker was second over Jacob Peterson. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. was fourth as Saturday’s Stateline Non-Qualifier winner, Khole Wanzer, completed the top five.
Bobby Rohrer, whose parents were former owners of Eriez, missed the feature by one spot and was awarded the “Nosed Out” $100 gift card contingency from Performance Bodies. Newcomer Scott Jordan was selected as the TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night” recipient after making heavy contact with the turn three wall in the first last chance B main. The two $100 Sunoco gift cards part of the “Fill’er up with Sunoco Bucks” presented by Sunoco and Zarin Truck & Auto went to Hardy for winning the dash and Cory Sines in the random draw.
Despite going out 34th, Wonderling set fast time with a lap of 16.824 in FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying for the first time this season and earned $100. Picking up $25 FK Rod End heat race wins were Wonderling, Lukon, Martin, and Hardy. Matt Sipes and Ryan Frazee won the last chance B mains.
The Flynn’s Tire/Born2Run Lubricants Touring Series will return to action May 28-30 with $2,000 to-win events at Outlaw Speedway (Dundee, NY) on Friday night, Genesee Speedway (Batavia, NY) on Saturday night, and Bradford (PA) Speedway on Sunday night.
Pace Performance RUSH Late Model Flynn’s Tire/Born2Run Lubricants Touring Series Race #5 (30 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. KYLE HARDY (99) 2. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 3. Chub Frank (1*) 4. Joe Martin (Snyder 10s) 5. Breyton Santee (9) 6. Andy Boozel (12B) 7. Darrell Bossard (Winans 213) 8. Kyle Lukon (184) 9. David Pangrazio (136) 10. Logan Zarin (1z) 11. Scott Gurdak (Hollabaugh 5G) 12. Mike Knight (Blodgett 23GB) 13. John Lacki (7) 14. J.J. Mazur (13) 15. Matt Latta (21) 16. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J) 17. Bud Watson (225) 18. Billy Henry, Jr. (21*) 19. Logan Jaquay (Briggs 99*) 20. Matt Sipes (25) 21. Jimmy Johnson (39J) 22. Jake Gunn (14G) 23. Paul Norman (6) 24. Ryan Frazee (11F) 25. Josh Ferry (33). (Note: Bud Watson took a Tour provisional).
Non-Qualifier (8 laps, $200 to-win): 1. Jason Genco (Craig/Badgley 29J) 2. David Parker (2) 3. Jacob Peterson (McGhee 112) 4. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. (8S) 5. Khole Wanzer (01W) 6. Brian Kotarski (129) DNS: Bobby Rohrer (11), Jared Keeney (33K), Cory Sines (25S), Darrin Waldron (97), Scott Jordan (04), Mark Sundt (94B), Gary Youngs (Y26).
Car Count: 38
Feature Time of the Event: 9:21
Feature Margin of Victory: 1.022 seconds
Feature Lap Leaders: Kyle Hardy (1-30)
Ontime Body & Graphic “Spoiler Alert” Spoiler Kit: Breyton Santee
Performance Bodies “Nosed Out”: Bobby Rohrer
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger: Bud Watson (+8)
Precise Racing Products 5-Gallon Race Jug: Kyle Hardy
Sunoco and Zarin Truck & Auto $100 Sunoco Fuel Cards: Kyle Hardy & Cory Sines
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”: Scott Jordan
FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying ($100 for fast time) (Track record 15.655 by Max Blair 6/10/18): 1. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling, 00:16.824; 2. 184-Kyle Lukon, 00:16.855; 3. 10S-Joe Martin, 00:16.879; 4. 21L-Matt Latta, 00:16.943; 5. 1*-Chub Frank, 00:16.969; 6. 1Z-Logan Zarin, 00:16.976; 7. 5G-Scott Gurdak, 00:17.001; 8. 99-Kyle Hardy, 00:17.017; 9. 136-David Pangrazio, 00:17.018; 10. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr, 00:17.024; 11. 213-Darrell Bossard, 00:17.111; 12. 9S-Breyton Santee, 00:17.124; 13. 29J-Jason Genco, 00:17.145; 14. 12B-Andy Boozel, 00:17.166; 15. 11F-Ryan Frazee, 00:17.199; 16. 7L-John Lacki, 00:17.208; 17. 112-Jacob Peterson, 00:17.242; 18. 11R-Robert Rohrer, 00:17.250; 19. 2-David Parker, 00:17.256; 20. 39J-Jimmy Johnson, 00:17.257; 21. 99*-Logan Jaquay, 00:17.265; 22. 225-Bud Watson, 00:17.265; 23. 13-JJ Mazur, 00:17.270; 24. 14G-Jake Gunn, 00:17.273; 25. 23GB-Mike Knight, 00:17.274; 26. 21*-Billy Henry, 00:17.302; 27. 33-Josh Ferry, 00:17.334; 28. 25S-Cory Sines, 00:17.335; 29. 25-Matt Sipes, 00:17.342; 30. 129-Brian Kotarski, 00:17.487; 31. 33K-Jared Keeney, 00:17.590; 32. 8S-Tommy Schirnhofer Jr, 00:17.622; 33. 6N-Paul Norman, 00:17.691; 34. 01W-Khole Wanzer, 00:17.695; 35. 97-Darrin Waldron, 00:18.144; 36. 94B-Mark Sundt, 00:18.567; 37. 04-Scott Jordan, 00:19.941; 38. (DQ) Y26-Gary Youngs.
FK Rod Ends Heat 1 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling; 2. 1*-Chub Frank; 3. 136-David Pangrazio; 4. 23GB-Mike Knight; 5. 6N-Paul Norman; 6. 25-Matt Sipes; 7. 99*-Logan Jaquay; 8. 04-Scott Jordan; 9. 29J-Jason Genco; 10. 112-Jacob Peterson.
FK Rod Ends Heat 2 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 184-Kyle Lukon; 2. 12B-Andy Boozel; 3. 1Z-Logan Zarin; 4. 21*-Billy Henry; 5. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr; 6. 225-Bud Watson; 7. 11R-Robert Rohrer; 8. 129-Brian Kotarski; 9. 01W-Khole Wanzer; 10. Y26-Gary Youngs.
FK Rod Ends Heat 3 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 10S-Joe Martin; 2. 213-Darrell Bossard; 3. 5G-Scott Gurdak; 4. 13-JJ Mazur; 5. 33-Josh Ferry; 6. 11F-Ryan Frazee; 7. 2-David Parker; 8. 33K-Jared Keeney; 9. 97-Darrin Waldron.
FK Rod Ends Heat 4 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 99-Kyle Hardy; 2. 9S-Breyton Santee; 3. 7L-John Lacki; 4. 21L-Matt Latta; 5. 39J-Jimmy Johnson; 6. 14G-Jake Gunn; 7. 8S-Tommy Schirnhofer Jr; 8. 25S-Cory Sines; 9. 94B-Mark Sundt.
Last Chance B Main 1 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. 25-Matt Sipes; 2. 99*-Logan Jaquay; 3. 11R-Robert Rohrer; 4. 112-Jacob Peterson; 5. 01W-Khole Wanzer; 6. 129-Brian Kotarski; 7. 225-Bud Watson; 8. 04-Scott Jordan; 9. (DNS) 29J-Jason Genco; 10. (DQ) Y26-Gary Youngs.
Last Chance B Main 2 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. 11F-Ryan Frazee; 2. 14G-Jake Gunn; 3. 8S-Tommy Schirnhofer Jr; 4. 33K-Jared Keeney; 5. 25S-Cory Sines; 6. 2-David Parker; 7. 97-Darrin Waldron; 8. 94B-Mark Sundt.
Sunoco Dash (6 laps, $100 Sunoco fuel card to-win): 1. 99-Kyle Hardy; 2. 10S-Joe Martin; 3. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling; 4. 1*-Chub Frank; 5. 12B-Andy Boozel; 6. 184-Kyle Lukon; 7. 9S-Breyton Santee; 8. 213-Darrell Bossard.
RUSH Racing Series is brought to you by Pace Performance together with Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC along with the support of Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, Hovis Auto & Truck Supply, Born2Run Lubricants, Flynn’s Tire & Auto Service, FK Rod Ends, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, TBM Brakes, Performance Bodies & Parts, Racing Electronics, Dirt Defender, Wrisco Industries, Frankland Racing Supply, Landrum Performance Spring, Ontime Body & Graphic, Zarin Truck & Automotive, Sherwood Wheels, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, Stop-Fyre, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Waterstone Mortgage Hermitage, CrateInsider.com, and Wedge Motorsports.