MAX BLAIR PASSES ROSS ROBINSON WITH 5 TO GO TO WIN THE RICHEST CRATE LATE MODEL RACE IN THE HISTORY OF THE NORTHEAST; BLAIR'S $10,000 VICTORY COMES IN FRONT OF A HUGE CROWD FOR THE "BILL EMIG MEMORIAL" PRESENTED BY HOVIS FOR THE SWEENEY RUSH TOUR AT LERNERVILLE PART OF THE "FIRECRACKER 100"
By Mike Leone
June 22, 2019 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Sarver, PA)...The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series presented by Pace Performance was part of the 13th annual "Firecracker 100" weekend at Lernerville Speedway with the Worlds of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models for the first time ever. Preliminary action for RUSH was held on Friday with Saturday's "Bill Emig Memorial" presented by Hovis Auto & Truck Supply being the richest Crate Late Model event in the history of the Northeast! Huge crowds were on hand both nights and it's believed Saturday's crowd was the largest ever to watch a Crate Late Models race. The event attracted 53 RUSH Late Model drivers from seven different states plus Ontario, Canada.
Max Blair has been one of the top Crate Late Model racers in the nation for many years. And even though Blair focuses more on Super Late Model racing in recent years, Blair is always the driver to beat no matter where he goes. Blair will tell you Lernerville has never been one of his best tracks. On Saturday night, Blair didn't have the fastest car for the majority of the "Bill Emig Memorial" feature; in fact, had fell back to seventh during the second half of the 50-lap feature. But Blair benefitted from some others' misfortunes and then came on late to pass Ross Robinson with five laps to go to score the $10,000 victory! For Blair, it was his fourth Sweeney Tour victory in six starts this season boasting his earnings to over $23,000!
In addition to the $10,000 payday, Blair received the Zamp helmet lettered by five-time Lernerville Speedway Super Late Model Champion John Flinner, Jr., the special gold $ sign shoes from Velocita-USA, the sought-after large "Bill Emig Memorial" laser etched hardwood plaque done by Steve Hendren, and a Sunoco 5-Gallon Race Jug. Blair's big night wasn't just the $10,000 "Bill Emig Memorial" victory as he also captured the $3,000 "Uncle Sam 30" for the Super Late Models!
"I can't believe," acknowledged the 29-year-old Centerville, Pa. racer. "Like I've said I struggle here and it's been a few years since I've been here; in fact, before the XR1 Rocket cars. It just all worked out. I thought I was good in the beginning, but a lapped car got crossed up in front of me and I had to check up and lost four or five spots. It cost me so much track position that I didn't think I'd ever get caught back up. Then some cars got bottled up and for whatever reason I decided to try the top that lap and got back by several cars. It was a lot of fun racing with Ross (Robinson). He lit his tires up on that restart and I knew that was my chance. He's a class act and a good buddy of mine."
"It's awesome to win this race," acknowledged Blair. "Mike (Leone) and Vicki (Emig) do an amazing job with this Series- it just keeps getting bigger and better every year. Hopefully this race is an every year thing. It was a great turnout of fans and cars. Hopefully you enjoyed the race. This crate racing is getting tougher and tougher. That had to be a fun race to watch. I've won a lot of races with Vicki and even before the RUSH days. If it wasn't for Mike and Vicki with the crate deal I don't honestly know if I'd even be racing. When this deal came out, I was scraping pennies together just so I could race a Steel-Block Late Model one night a week. Then we put a Crate Late Model together and won some races and kept winning more races each year and upgrading out equipment and here we are."
Kyle Lukon used the outside to race to the early lead getting by defending Series champion and current points leader, Jeremy Wonderling, with John Waters following in third. Russell King and sixth starting Blair moved to fourth and fifth on lap two past Michael Duritsky, Jr. Wonderling closed back in on Lukon on lap 12 and was right on the leader on lap 14 before traffic came into play on the 15th circuit allowing Waters to make it a three-car race for the lead.
Lukon and Wonderling raced side-by-side for the lead on laps 16 and 17 as now King and Blair joined in making it five cars racing for the lead! While Waters was racing hard with Wonderling, King was able to make the pass of Waters for third on lap 20, but Waters would regain the spot six laps later. Ninth starting Chub Frank cracked the top five at the halfway point as he dropped Blair back to sixth and Blair would lose another spot to Ross Robinson. Robinson started eighth and was on the move as he broke into the top five getting by Frank on lap 28.
The event's first caution came when John Waters lost the handle in turn two on lap 30, and even though the caution was called for the first time in the event, Waters was able to keep going without stopping and blended back in the eighth spot. When racing resumed, Robinson moved into third with 12th starting Daryl Charlier entering contention in fourth. Frank and King made contact battling for fifth with King spinning and collecting Eddie Carrier, Jr. with 31 laps completed.
Back under green, Robinson used the inside to make the pass of Wonderling for second on lap 32. Blair, who hadn't been a factor, started to come alive as he passed Frank, Charlier, and then made the move on Wonderling to grab third on lap 35. It was a two-car race up front as Lukon continued to lead over Robinson. A spin by Charlie Sandercock would change the complexity of the race with 36 laps scored. It not only caught Blair up to the lead duo, but allowed Robinson to take the lead on the restart.
Blair would grab second on lap 39 when Lukon, Wonderling, and Waters all got crossed up battling for second as Lukon fell back to sixth. Blair began to reel in Robinson, who was struggling in turn four, and caught the leader on lap 42. The winning move would come on a restart with 44 laps completed as Blair grabbed the top spot from Robinson and led the final six circuits. Blair's all-time leading 25th career Sweeney RUSH Tour win came by 1.670 seconds in his Murphy’s Logging/C&J Dairy/Previty’s Auto Wrecking/Specialty Products/Moody & Son Welding-sponsored #111.
(Note: Blair's engine was tore down in post-race tech and was found to be 100% legal per the GM 604 Technical Manual, and the win will be official once the results of the fuel and tire samples that were taken are verified to be in compliance. Also, all of Blair's shocks were tested by Robbie Bilbrey of Race Products Inc., who came in from Alabama on RUSH's behalf to check suspension on all race cars, and were found to be compliant per the rules.)
Robinson, who won his first career Sweeney Tour race in 2018 at Georgetown Speedway during the "Battle of the Bay" Speedweek earned $5,000 for a terrific runner-up. "It's hard to swallow to be that close at the end," expressed the 29-year-old Georgetown, DE standout. "When you get beat by him (Blair) up in this crate area you can't hang your head, but man we were close. I can't thank everyone that helped me this weekend. We probably should have just brought the crate, but I wanted to do both. I put my guys through a lot this weekend. It was an entertaining race, I hope you fans enjoyed it."
Charlier would take the $2,500 third place spot in his first RUSH race of 2019 driving his former car that was purchased by Bobby Springer. It was a rough closing laps for front row starters Wonderling and Lukon, who both got caught up in separate accidents in the final laps. Lukon, who led the first 36 laps, was chosen as the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night" recipient. Eleventh starting Damian Bidwell was fourth for $2,000 ahead of Waters, who earned $1,500.
Kentucky's Grant Garrison was sixth for $1,200. It was an up and down weekend for Canadian Charlie Sandercock, who had a feature spot locked up on Friday before a flat tire. Then on Saturday, Sandercock charged from 10th to win the third last chance B main. He started 21st in the feature and worked his way up before a spin on lap 36. Sandercock went to the tail and charged back forward to a seventh place finish worth $1,000 and earned the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" hard charger gift card. David Pangrazio was eighth to earn the "Spoiler Alert" for a $150 spoiler from Ontime Body & Graphic. Completing the top 10 were Carrier and 22nd starting Breyton Santee.
Ryan Frazee was chosen as the Dirt Defender "Defensive Drive of the Night" for holding off fellow Sweeney Tour regular and "Futures Cup" Championship contender, Logan Zarin, to get the final feature transfer spot in the third last chance B main.
Despite coming up just short of making the feature, Zarin ended the weekend picking up the $400 Non-Qualifier victory. Brian Knowles took off in the lead with third starting Zarin taking second on lap two following the event's only caution. By lap four, Knowles and Zarin distanced themselves from the field. The two would race side-by-side on laps 9-11 with Knowles on the outside and Zarin on the inside. Zarin finally made the pass stick on lap 11 and the 16-year-old Moon Twp., Pa. driver went on to win by 1.298 seconds over Knowles in the Zarin's Truck & Auto/Tomei's Towing/Lovell Enterprise/RL Bolea Oil/Wheels, Wings & Wishes Foundation-sponsored #1z. It was Zarin's second career "Wheelman" victory. Sixth starting Jared Kane was third over Josh Stoica and Jamie Wrightsman.
Pangrazio set fast time overall against the 53-car field in $100 FK Rod Ends "Shock the Clock" Qualifying on Friday night with a lap of 17.935. Russell King went out in the last group and was fastest in flight B qualifying with a 18.194. Capturing $25 FK Rod Ends heat races on Friday night were Lukon, Wonderling, Blair, King, Michael Duritsky, Jr., and Waters. Wonderling also won Friday's $100 "John Buzzard Memorial" Dash to earn the feature pole. Carrier, Nico Dabecco, and Sandercock copped the three last chance B mains.
The Zarin Truck & Automotive "$500 Club" random drawings took place for the top 15 drivers in Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway and Dog Hollow Speedway points. Receiving the five $100 drawings were Joe Moyer, Justin Lamb, Nico Dabecco, Bryan Benton, and Breyton Santee.
"We really cannot thank the Tomson Family of Lernerville Speedway, the World of Outlaws, and our sponsor Hovis Auto & Truck Supply enough for making it possible to bring the RUSH Late Models to the 'Firecracker' weekend as part of this crown jewel Super Late Model event," stated RUSH Director Vicki Emig. "To be able to put our Series and racers in front of what is thought to be the largest crowd to ever watch Crate Late Models was huge, and the racing was tremendous all weekend."
The Sweeney Tour will resume action this Saturday night (June 29) at Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway for the annual "Manufacturers Night" presented by MSD Performance. Over $30,000 in product will be distributed to competing racers in addition to the $2,000 to-win, $225 to-start Marquee event. Then on Tuesday, July 2 will be the return to Weedsport (NY) Speedway for the MAVTV broadcast presented by Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance in a $2,000 to-win, $225 to-start event followed up by back-to-back $4,000 to-win, $400 to-start Platinum events on July 12-13 at Autodrome Granby and Le RPM Speedway in Quebec.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series “Bill Emig Memorial” Race #8 (50 laps, $10,000 to-win): 1. MAX BLAIR (111) 2. Ross Robinson (7) 3. Daryl Charlier (Springer 42) 4. Damian Bidwell (1/2-Pt) 5. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 6. Grant Garrison (1) 7. Charlie Sandercock (Crouter 57) 8. David Pangrazio (136) 9. Eddie Carrier, Jr. (Nolan 13) 10. Breyton Santee (9) 11. Eric Wilson (27W) 12. Jason Genco (Craig/Badgley 29J) 13. Trevor Collins (11C) 14. Scott Gurdak (Hollabaugh 5G) 15. Nick Davis (92) 16. Jason Knowles (4) 17. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. (8s) 18. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 19. Kyle Lukon (184) 20. Chub Frank (99B) 21. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J) 22. Braeden Dillinger (14) 23. Ryan Frazee (11F) 24. Russell King (Latta 21) 25. Nico Dabecco (F1). (Note: Braeden Dillinger took a Series provisional.)
Non-Qualifier (15 laps, $400 to-win): 1. Logan Zarin (1z) 2. Brian Knowles (7) 3. Jared Kane (7) 4. Josh Stoica (22J) 5. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 6. Chad Sines (15) 7. Levi Crowl (5) 8. Zach Wiech (6) 9. Zach Kane (10) 10. Cory Sines (25s) 11. Bryan Benton (52) 12. John Oaks (11S) 13. Joe Moyer (32) 14. Heath Close (77) 15. Pete Wearing (111) 16. Colin Casale (24) 17. T.J. Downs (1) 18. Justin Lamb (93x)-DNS 19. Matt Dobnak (42)-DNS 20. Clate Copeman (Holzer 28c)-DNS 21. Joe Long (71)-DNS 22. Bill Kessler (09)-DNS 23. Kyle Murray (21)-DNS 24. Russ Matejka (17M)-DNS 25. Joe Pete (8/7)-DNS. DNQ: Jason Fosnaught (J19), Gary Troyer (13), Dan Angelicchio (14).
Car Count: 53
Feature Margin of Victory:
Feature Lap Leaders: Kyle Lukon (1-36), Ross Robinson (37-44), Max Blair (45-50)
Zarin Truck & Automotive “$500 Club”: Joe Moyer, Justin Lamb, Nico Dabecco, Breyton Santee, Bryan Benton
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Charlie Sandercock (+14)
Dirt Defender “Defensive Drive of the Night”: Logan Zarin
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night": Kyle Lukon
Sunoco 5-Gallon Race Jugs: Max Blair
Ontime Body & Graphic “Spoiler Alert”: David Pangrazio
FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying Flight A ($100 for fast time): 1. David Pangrazio 17.935 2. Chub Frank 18.006 3. Max Blair 18.090 4. Kyle Lukon 18.111 5. Jeremy Wonderling 18.140 6. Damian Bidwell 18.213 7. Cory Sines 18.268 8. Ryan Frazee 18.337 9. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. 18.404 10. Eddie Carrier, Jr. 18.429 11. Scott Gurdak 18.474 12. Jason Genco 18.482 13. Zach Kane 18.505 14. Logan Zarin 18.533 15. T.J. Downs 18.656 16. Joe Pete 18.696 17. Chad Sines 18.743 18. Matt Dobnak 18.842 19. Eric Wilson 18.844 20. Justin Lamb 18.889 21. Jamie Wrightsman 18.929 22. Kyle Murray 18.995 23. Joe Moyer 19.158 24. Gary Troyer 19.199 25. Clate Copeman 18.346 26. John Oaks 19.374 27. Joe Long 19.660.
FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying Flight B: 1. Russell King 18.194 2. Michael Duritsky, Jr. 18.309 3. Daryl Charlier 18.315 4. Dan Angelicchio 18.351 5. Grant Garrison 18.373 6. Charlie Sandercock 18.386 7. Nico Dabecco 18.482 8. Josh Stoica 18.523 9. Trevor Collins 18.526 10. Ross Robinson 18.547 11. Jason Knowles 18.563 12. John Waters 18.622 13. Braeden Dillinger 18.719 14. Jason Fosnaught 18.735 15. Zach Wiech 18.881 16. Nick Davis 18.904 17. Breyton Santee 19.011 18. Russ Matejka 19.039 19. Levi Crowl 19.147 20. Brian Knowles 19.173 21. Bryan Benton 19.382 22. Bill Kessler 19.428 23. Pete Wearing 19.606 24. Jared Kane 19.721 25. Colin Casale 19.998 26. Heath Close 20.359.
FK Rod Ends Heat 1 (10 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Lukon 2. Pangrazio 3. Wilson 4. Carrier 5. Z. Kane 6. Co. Sines 7. Pete 8. Murray 9. Copeman.
FK Rod Ends Heat 2 (10 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Wonderling 2. Frank 3. Gurdak 4. Frazee 5. Lamb 6. Ch. Sines 7. Zarin 8. Oaks 9. Moyer.
FK Rod Ends Heat 3 (10 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Blair 2. Bidwell 3. Genco 4. Schirnhofer 5. Wrightsman 6. Dobnak 7. Long 8. Troyer 9. Downs.
FK Rod Ends Heat 4 (10 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. King 2. Robinson 3. Davis 4. Dabecco 5. Dillinger 6. Kessler 7. Casale 8. Crowl 9. Angelicchio.
FK Rod Ends Heat 5 (10 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Duritsky 2. Garrison 3. J. Knowles 4. Santee 5. Stoica 6. Fosnaught 7. B. Knowles 8. Close 9. Wearing.
FK Rod Ends Heat 6 (10 laps, Top 3 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Waters 2. Charlier 3. Collins 4. Benton 5. J. Kane 6. Wiech 7. Matejka 8. Sandercock.
Last Chance B Main 1 (12 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. Carrier 2. Santee 3. B. Knowles 4. Z. Kane 5. Stoica 6. Co. Sines 7. Copeman 8. Wearing 9. Close 10. Murray 11. Pete 12. Fosnaught-DNS.
Last Chance B Main 2 (12 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. Dabecco 2. Schirnhofer 3. Wrightsman 4. Downs 5. Crowl 6. Dobnak 7. Casale 8. Long 9. Kessler 10. Dillinger 11. Troyer-DNS 12. Angelicchio-DNS.
Last Chance B Main 3 (12 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. Sandercock 2. Frazee 3. Zarin 4. J. Kane 5. Lamb 6. Ch. Sines 7. Benton 8. Wiech 9. Oaks 10. Matejka 11. Moyer.
"John Buzzard Memorial" Dash (6 laps, $100 to win): 1. Wonderling 2. Lukon 3. King 4. Waters 5. Duritsky 6. Blair.
RUSH Racing Series is brought to you by Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC & Pace Performance 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, FK Rod Ends, Wehrs Machine & Racing Products, 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, Trailer-Alarms.com, Bonnell's Rod Shop, Sherwood Wheels, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, CrateInsider.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.