(Sarver, PA)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Racing Series was at Lernerville Speedway on Friday night for a RUSH doubleheader featuring the RUSH Late Models and RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. Highlighting the night was the kickoff to the “Bill Emig Memorial Wild Card Weekend” presented by Bilstein Shock Absorbers for the Late Models. A season high 30 Late Models were on hand from Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, New York, and Ontario, Canada.
Chad McClellan opened up the season winning the Sweeney Tour Late Model event at Freedom Speedway then backed it up with a fine fifth place at his home track Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex to lead the points. Things went downhill for McClellan during the “Mid-Atlantic States Classic” with finishes of 20th and 24th at Potomac and Winchester Speedways June 20-21.
In the meantime, Rick Singleton got on a roll winning an unprecedented three straight Sweeney Tour events. But on Friday night, McClellan put a halt to Singleton’s streak with an impressive performance in the 25-lap Bilstein Shock Absorbers feature for his first career Lernerville Speedway win. The victory was worth $1,500 plus an additional $100 for winning the “John Buzzard Memorial” K&N Filters Cold Air Induction Dash. McClellan also puts himself in prime position for capturing money in the $1,500 “Wild Card Weekend” point fund.
“This means a lot,” acknowledged the 37-year-old Stoystown, PA driver. “I’ve been coming here for a long time. This is a great, great facility. I’ve run every division here- 410 Sprints, Big-Block Mods, Super Late Models and I’ve always been close to winning. I’m finally glad I got one here.”
“I saw Rick (Singleton) up to second on the last caution, explained McClellan. “I was pretty decent up top, but I screwed up on the last restart and jumped the cushion. I had to settle down and hit my marks again. It was real tricky. The bottom was pretty slippy, but Rick is a heck of a good racer. If anyone is going to beat you it’s probably going to be him.”
Andrew Wylie used the outside to take the lead on the start from McClellan with Eric Wilson, Dennis Lunger, Jr., and Bobby Rohrer filling out the top five after the opening lap. Singleton started seventh and was in the top five after two laps. McClellan began to put the heat on Wylie on lap three. McClellan went to the outside and swept around Wylie in turn four to lead lap three. Singleton advanced to fourth driving by Rohrer down the backstretch on lap four.
No changes took places up front over the next several laps. With green flag conditions continuing, McClellan caught traffic on lap 11 as he had a half-straightaway lead on Wylie. Point leader Ryan Montgomery started back in 12th and became a factor when he began to pressure Rohrer for fifth on lap 13. The two raced side-by-side over the next four laps with Montgomery getting by on lap 16.
McClellan faced heavy lapped traffic on lap 18 as he was trying to work his way by a battle between Michael Lake, Cody Dawson, and Jamie Wrightsman. Singleton continued moving forward putting a slide job on Wilson in turn four for third on lap 19 before Wrightsman spun to bring out the first caution.
When racing resumed, Singleton performed another slide job in turn four- this time for second getting by Wylie on lap 20, while Montgomery moved ahead of Wilson for fourth. Montgomery then drove under Wylie in turn two on lap 22 to snag third. The event’s final caution took place when Robby Marhefka flew off turn three into the fence. Marhefka was awarded The Brake Man’s “Tough Brake of the Night”.
Back under green it was three-wide for the lead in turns one and two and then again in turns three and four. McClellan barely maintained his lead, but it was Montgomery getting by Singleton for second. That moved earned him Driven Oil’s “Slick Move of the Night”.
Montgomery was right there in the final laps, but McClellan had the momentum off the topside of the turns and didn’t make a mistake as he captured his fourth career Sweeney Tour win by a margin of just 0.948 of a second over Montgomery in his Fieg Brothers Coal Company/Mark Smith Shock Therapy, Onetime Body & Graphics-sponsored, Hendren Racing Engines, Lazer Chassis #119. It’s been a good week for McClellan as he also captured the win in Wednesday’s Sweeney Weekly Series event at Roaring Knob.
“I have to thank Mike (Leone) and Vicki (Emig) for putting this deal on- if it wasn’t for all of their hard work none of us would be here racing and I really appreciate that,” stated McClellan. “I have to thank my brother and all of my crew that help out. We had to change a power steering pump when we got here. We worked the last couple weeks trying to get this dialed back in after Winchester. Also have to thank all of my sponsors and the fans for coming out.”
After a disappointing 14th place finish at Freedom, Montgomery has come back with four straight top four finishes to lead the Sweeney Tour points; however, the 2013 Series top winner with five victories is still looking for his first of 2014.
“We came here for the final race here last year and did the same thing tonight, but at the Stampede we didn’t do the same thing we did tonight so maybe if we stick to this, maybe we’ll get the championship,” joked the 17-year-old Fairmont, WV driver who lost the title in the season finale last year at Lernerville. “We’d like to win one of these- we’ve been running second or third. It didn’t work our way, Chad had the preferred line. I was hoping to make it through on that three-wide and we did. Chad and Rick are great drivers so I can’t complain.”
Singleton was third. “It was a great race,” said the 49-year-old Front Royal, VA standout. “I kind of gambled. I knew I was giving that middle up to him, but I thought there might be some traction on the bottom and I was trying to win the race. If I was being conservative I wouldn’t have gave that too him. That kid (Montgomery) is a heck of a racer. He’s got a bright future. Chad (McClellan) was definitely the class of the field. He knew where to be. I figured there was no point in me being up there unless I drove over him so I had nowhere to go. I just searched the whole race. My only chance to win was getting some drive off the bottom, but it didn’t work.”
While a lot of the attention was focused up front, Alan Dellinger raced from the 20th starting spot to finish fourth after getting by Wylie on lap 24 to earn the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger gift card. Dellinger is one of several racers campaigning the $135 Bilstein “sealed” spec shocks and performed very well after suffering a flat tire in his heat race and had to transfer through the B main. Bilstein was on hand with their service truck as part of Bilstein presented weekend.
“I love racing here when it’s shined off like that,” acknowledged the 50-year-old Hermitage, PA veteran. “That was a lot of fun. I sit and watch all those guys sideways through the corners and think ‘give me enough laps and they’ll come back’. These shocks are great- they looked pretty good to me. I’ve had $2500 shocks per corner on Super Late Models and Big-Block Modifieds and you turn around put the hundred dollar ones on and they work just as good. We’re trying to prove they’ll work and hoping it will get turned around and make this crate racing a little cheaper.”
Wilson, in his first year on the Tour, bettered his season’s best eighth at the last event at Winchester with a solid fifth and earned the Accelerator-1 carb spacer kit from Crate Innovations. Wylie dropped to sixth over Lunger, Waters, 13th starting Josh Double, and Rohrer.
Cody Dawson was the last car on the lead lap in 18th and earned the Moroso Custom Fit Plug Wire Set compliments of Crate Innovations. W.L. Stile was the first non-qualifier and received an ARbodies nose kit for the “Nosed Out” Award valued at $250.
Heat winners were Singleton, Waters, and Lunger. Joe Martin was credited with the Last Chance B main win after Jacob Hawkins was light at the scales. Following McClellan in the “John Buzzard Memorial” K&N Dash were Wylie, who earned a $100 K&N certificate, Wilson, who earned a $50 K&N certificate, and Rohrer, who earned an extra $25 cash.
The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds made their second appearance of the season at Lernerville and it was Dave Conant, Jr. holding off fellow New York racer and Series point leader Adam Hilton in a tremendous race-long side-by-side battle in the 15-lap event presented by VP Small Engines Fuels. Conant was making both his Series and Lernerville debuts and became the sixth different winner in eight races!
Hilton led the opening lap, while Conant moved into second past Jamie Duncan. A spin by Will Schaffer with two laps scored was the only caution of the event. On the restart, Conant used the outside to take the lead. The two literally ran side-by-side for the final 13 laps. Hilton nosed ahead to lead lap seven, but Conant retook the lead on lap eight.
On the final lap, Hilton seemed to have the advantage as he was trying to make it two-for-two at Lernerville and four overall, but Conant had enough momentum as he somehow found enough room to squeeze by off turn four to squeeze by and win by just 0.272 of a second in his #62.
“That was a lot of fun racing with Adam (Hilton),” expressed the Pendleton, NY driver. “I’ve raced with him some in New York. I didn’t want to move around and mess up. I thought he had me at the end, but I was able to keep my speed up out of turn four. This place is pretty cool. I’ve been following this Series and really like it and where it’s headed.”
Rocky Kugel, who won the last race at Sharon was third over Jeremy Paup and Duncan. Sixth through 10th were AMP winner Jeremy Zufall, Ken Moy, Jr., Schaffer, newcomer Brian Wright, and Adam Siegel. Conant also won the heat race. The two new cars brought this year’s total to 20 drivers in 17 different cars in the inaugural season.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series Race #5 (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. CHAD MCCLELLAN (119) 2. Ryan Montgomery (12) 3. Rick Singleton (Enyeart 99*) 4. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 5. Eric Wilson (27W) 6. Andrew Wylie (84) 7. Dennis Lunger, Jr. (Schwartz 71L) 8. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 9. Josh Double (38) 10. Bobby Rohrer (11) 11. Josh Holtgraver (00) 12. Joe Martin (55) 13. Bobby Whitling (7W) 14. Jorden Peters (11P) 15. Chad Shearer (42c) 16. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 17. Michael Lake (Yowler 27) 18. Cody Dawson (36) 19. Ben Bowie (17) 20. Russell Baird, Jr. (17) 21. John Imler (63) 22. Reese Masiello (22R) 23. Nico Dabecco (Karalagas F1) 24. Robby Marhefka (99FM) 25. Jason Rider (Wade 76). (Note: John Imler took a Tour provisional).
DNQ: W.L Stile (1W), Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. (8), Mike Anderson (72), Jacob Hawkins (Haseleu RJ1), Clay Ruffo (14R).
Car Count: 30
Feature Lap Leaders: Andrew Wylie (1-2), Chad McClellan (3-30)
Margin of Victory: 0.948
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Alan Dellinger (+16)
The Brake Man “Tough Brake of the Night: Robby Marhefka
Driven Oil “Slick Move of the Night”: Ryan Montgomery
Crate Innovations “Performance Plus” Accelerator-1 Carb Spacer Kit Giveaway: Eric Wilson
Crate Innovations “Ignite” Moroso Custom Fit Plug Wire Set: Cody Dawson
ARbodies “Nosed Out” Nose Kit: W.L. Stile
Heat 1 (10 laps, Top 6 transfer): 1. Singleton 2. McClellan 3. Rohrer 4. Dabecco 5. Double 6. Dawson 7. Masiello 8. Baird 9. Dellinger 10. Shearer.
Heat 2 (10 laps, Top 6 transfer): 1. Waters 2. Wilson 3. Marhefka 4. Holtgraver 5. Wrightsman 6. Lake 7. Hawkins 8. Rider 9. Schirnhofer 10. Martin.
Heat 3 (10 laps, Top 6 transfer): 1. Lunger 2. Wylie 3. Whitling 4. Montgomery 5. Bowie 6. Peters 7. Anderson 8. Imler 9. Stile 10. Ruffo.
Last Chance B Main (10 laps, Top 6 transfer): 1. Martin 2. Dellinger 3. Baird 4. Rider 5. Shearer 6. Masiello 7. Stile 8. Imler 9. Schirnhofer 10. Anderson 11. Hawkins-DSQ (light) 12. Ruffo-DNS.
“John Buzzard Memorial” K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash (4 laps, $100 to-win): 1. Chad McClellan 2. Andrew Wylie 3. Eric Wilson 4. Bobby Rohrer.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modifieds (15 laps): 1. DAVE CONANT, JR. (62) 2. Adam Hilton (3A) 3. Rocky Kugel (1) 4. Jeremy Paup (X) 5. Jamie Duncan (18) 6. Jeremy Zufall (20) 7. Ken Moy, Jr. (34) 8. Will Schaffer (4) 9. Brian Wrights (Tutak 71) 10. Adam Siegel (91).
The “Bill Emig Memorial Wild Card Weekend” presented by Bilstein Shock Absorbers will resume tonight (Saturday) at Sharon Speedway for $1,500 to-win. There will be the $1,500 Wild Card Weekend point fund and drawings for the Lincoln Electric Welder and TurboStart 16-V Racing Battery.
The Sweeney Tour will be in action on Wednesday, July 9 at Expo Speedway at Trumbull County Fairgrounds for $2,000 to-win. Racing begins early at 6 PM. Then on Saturday, July 12 will be at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway for $1,500 to-win plus the GM 604 Engine giveaway compliments of Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC and Pace Performance,.
RUSH Late Model marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, The Brake Man, K&N Filters, Bilstein Shocks, Lincoln Electric, TurboStart, Beyea Headers, FK Rod Ends, Bobby Lake Motorsports, Driven Racing Oil, Crate Innovations Inc., Moroso Performance Products, Velocita-USA, High Gear Speed Shop, CrateInsider.com, 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@example.com 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.