By Mike Leone


September 29, 2023               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(Imperial, PA)...The 35th annual "Pittsburgher” weekend kicked off on Friday night at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway as the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply RUSH Dirt Late Model Flynn’s Tire Touring Series raced in night one of the “Bill Hendren Memorial” presented by FK Rod Ends.  Special thanks to Keyser Manufacturing for adding $1,500 into the purse.  Race #19 of the 2023 season attracted an impressive 44 cars from seven different states plus Ontario, Canada!  The event was streamed live by The Cushion.


Tim Shaffer’s accolades in Sprint Car racing are certainly impressive.  The National Sprint Car Hall of Famer has 68 career All Star Circuit of Champions victories and four Series titles, 27 career World of Outlaws wins, $150,000 victory in the 2010 Knoxville Nationals, and a $100,000 win in the 2018 Sprint Car World Championship at Mansfield Speedway just to name a few.  In 2019, Shaffer began to dabble in RUSH Late Model racing and has continued to do so when time permits from his full-time Sprint Car schedule.  Last year, Shaffer won twice in his Late Model at Pittsburgh and did the same this year in RUSH City Chevrolet Weekly Series action. 


On Friday night, making just his seventh RUSH Late Model start of 2023, Shaffer put on an impressive performance from start-to-finish against the star-studded field of 44 cars.  After going sixth to second in the Sunoco Dash, Shaffer inherited the lead on lap six of the feature when leader Jeremy Steele slowed and was never challenged over the final 24 laps.  Shaffer earned $4,000 for his popular victory in night one of the “Bill Hendren Memorial”.  Shaffer became the eighth different winner of the season in Flynn’s Tire Touring Series competition and 43rd all-time.


“This is amazing,” acknowledged the 56-year-old Aliquippa, Pa. driver.  “To win a RUSH race here is awesome.  We don’t get to work together much as a team so this is pretty neat.  These cars are so tricky and hard to learn, and you have to change your driving so much.  I love working on it and it’s a whole new thing for me.  There are three times the setup on these compared to a Sprint Car; it’s got my attention and I just love it.”


“This was a new engine from Ingram and I was worried about it getting hot, but I got it cooled down pretty decent,” revealed the “Steel City Outlaw”.  “He (Mike Ingram) does a great job.  I just had to get my car right.  The guys asked what changes I wanted to make and I said we don’t need to make any, I just need to learn how to run this thing.  I’m pretty sore from flipping on Tuesday night in the Sprint Car so to come out here and win makes up for it.  It’s amazing what they (Hendren Family) do for us up here.  They don’t have to come up here and put this race on, but they do and we appreciate it.”


Steele, a South Carolina invader, rocketed into the early lead, while Michael Norris passed Shaffer for second.  Shaffer though regained the runner-up positions when he snuck under and past Norris in turn two on lap two.  Shaffer then ran down Steele and the two were running side-by-side for the lead on lap five when Mason Zeigler lost the driveshaft to bring out the caution.


When racing resumed on lap six, Steele lost fuel pressure allowing Shaffer to bolt into the lead before five cars got tangled up at the back to bring out the second and final caution of the event.  Steele was selected as the TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night” recipient. 


While Shaffer was never challenged over the final 24 caution-free laps, the racing behind him was tremendous.  Between laps 9-12, Daryl Charlier, Michael Duritsky, Jr., and Jacob Gunn waged war for positions 3-5.  Gunn started 10th and made his way to fifth when racing resumed on lap six.  The trio ran three-wide on laps 10 and 11 with Gunn passing Charlier for fourth on lap 11 and Duritsky for third on lap 12.  Gunn then quickly closed on Norris and made the pass for second on lap 15. 


Gunn though found himself 4.718 seconds behind Shaffer with still the second half of the race remaining.  Gunn would close the deficit to 3.573 seconds when Shaffer caught lapped traffic on lap 19.  Gunn closed the gap to two seconds, but that would be as close as he’d get as Shaffer stretched out his lead in the final laps. Shaffer took the checkered flag first by 3.093 seconds in his Kendrew’s Lounge/Chambers Embroidery/Greater Pitt Body & Paint Specialists-sponsored #45.  Shaffer now has the points lead in the $1,000 to-win “Bill Hendren Memorial” Weekend Championship presented by Northeast Paving and Sealcoat.


Gunn matched his career best Flynn’s Tire Tour finish of second from October 3, 2020 at Pittsburgh.  “I’m absolutely thrilled with this,” stated the 27-year-old McDonald, Pa. driver.  “We’ve been fast all year here.  In the heat race I went out and stunk it up and said we’ll see what happens here in the feature.  I had a good hot rod.  I have to give a shout-out to Duritsky’s crew for telling me how to race the race track.  If it wasn’t for them during the stoppage, I don’t know if I would have found that line so thank you.  It was a good time and super clean running with those guys here in a Tour race.  It’s exciting to run a big show and see the locals do so well.  Early on in the night the track was so damn fast so I didn’t think we’d do any passing, but it turned out absolutely phenomenal.”


Norris, whose five career Flynn’s Tire Tour victories have all come at Pittsburgh in the last three years, was a disappointed third.  “I had the car all screwed up from pretty much the heat race on,” acknowledged the 31-year-old Sarver, Pa. standout.  “I was fighting being tight all night.  Towards the end I could finally get it to rotate in, but nonetheless congrats to Tim (Shaffer) on the win and Jake (Gunn) on second.  We were just a third place car at best and I was just hanging on.  If I had to pick between the two of them, I want to win tomorrow.”


Charlier started ninth and was as high as third before finishing fourth in a second Cole Petrelle #184 entry.  Duritsky, who started sixth, also got up to third before dropping back to fifth for his best Tour finish since a fifth on June 25, 2022 at Lernerville.  Zach Gunn, who finished sixth at the “Jook George Steel City Classic” at Pittsburgh on August 5, was sixth again after starting 13th giving the Gunn brothers a pair of top six finishes.   


Pittsburgh regulars Ben Policz and Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr., who each have two victories this season at “Dirt’s Monster Half-Mile”, finished seventh and eighth respectively.  Clinton Hersh was ninth in his first Tour start of 2023.  After taking a track provisional, Cole Petrelle went 26th to 10th to earn the $50 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger gift card.     


After struggling mightily throughout the night, second place Flynn’s Tire Tour points man Joe Martin went unchallenged to win his first ever D&V Jewelers Non-Qualifier.  The 38-year-old Punxsutawney, Pa. driver led all 10 laps as only a caution with one-lap to go slowed his efforts to the $200 victory aboard the Tom Snyder, Jr.-owned, T&D Performance/Tuff Nuts/Body Fasteners/Weather Capital Sales/Kevin Martin Trucking Daugherty Motorsports/Accelo Racegear-sponsored #10s.  Martin, who also received a $100 Performance Bodies gift card for being the “Nosed Out” recipient, became the amazing 72nd different winner in 88 races run all-time!  Tony Musolino charged from 11th to finish 2nd.  Zach Kane, Kassidy Kamicker and ninth starting Craig Graham completed the top five.     


Michael Norris established a new track record in FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying with a lap of 18.332 blowing away the previous record of 18.652 set by Daryl Charlier on July 3, 2021 to earn $100.  Winning $25 FK Rod Ends heat races were Shaffer, Brandon Burgoon, Norris, and Steele.  Steele then went on to win the “Bob Bentz Memorial” Sunoco Dash presented by Stan’s Transmission as he added another $200 cash plus a $100 Sunoco fuel card.  Brock Pinkerous and Frank Magill won the last chance B mains. 


Tour regulars Brandt Graham and Mike Wonderling won $100 Sunoco fuel cards in the random drawings, while the $50 Sunoco fuel cards were garnered by Dan Lepro, Demetrios Drellos, Colby Beighey, and Schirnhofer.  Drellos, who is the 2023 Albany-Saratoga and Fonda Speedways Big-Block Modified Champion, blew an engine during the Sunoco Dash ending his weekend after making a near eight-hour tow from eastern New York.  Logan Zarin finished 19th in the feature and received a spoiler kit from Ontime Body & Graphic.  Kyle Lukon took a nasty barrel-roll after catching the inside guardrail running second in his heat race.  Lukon was able to climb out of his car on his own power.   


The Flynn’s Tire Touring Series will be right back in action on Saturday night (September 30) at Pittsburgh for night two of the “Bill Hendren Memorial” presented by FK Rod Ends in conjunction with City Chevrolet, Pro Fab, Hendren Racing Engines, All Interior Painting, West Mifflin Collision, and Branden Lockwich.  The event will pay $10,000 to-win, $450 to-start plus a $400 to-win D&V Jewelers Non-Qualifier.  Northeast Paving and Sealcoat will present the two-night $2,715 point fund for the top 10 racers in points.  Registration opens at 3 p.m. with the drivers meeting at 5:30, warm-ups at 6 followed by qualifying and racing.


Hovis Auto & Truck Supply RUSH Late Model "Bill Hendren Memorial" Night 1 presented by Keyser Manufacturing for the Flynn’s Tire Touring Series Race #19 (30 laps, $4,000 to-win): 1. TIM SHAFFER (45)  2. Jacob Gunn (14G)  3. Michael Norris (Dabeeco 1)  4. Daryl Charlier (Petrelle 184D)  5. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J)  6. Zach Gunn (17G)  7. Ben Policz (14B)  8. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. (8s)  9. Clinton Hersh (16)  10. Cole Petrelle (184)  11. Brock Pinkerous (555)  12. Garret Paugh (03)  13. Colby Beighey (36)  14. Michael Reft (9R)  15. Brent Trimble (1)  16. Tom Klein (77)  17. Dan Lepro (2L)  18. Frank Magill (05)  19. Logan Zarin (Beach 33x)  20. Ryan Frazee (17)  21. Brandon Burgoon (Chernik/Bentz 60)  22. Cody Dawson (36)  23. Jeremy Steele (22)  24. Justin Chance (Lukon 184C)  25. Jeremy Wonderling (3J)  26. Mason Zeigler (25z). DNS: Demetrios Drellos (111). (Note: Jeremy Wonderling took a Tour provisional & Cole Petrelle took a Track provisional)


D&V Jewelers Non-Qualifier (10 laps, $200 to-win): 1. Joe Martin (Snyder 10s)  2. Tony Musolino (Dobnak 42)  3. Zach Kane (4)  4. Kassidy Kamicker (72B)  5. Craig Graham (98)  6. Brandt Graham (14)  7. Kyle Lee (2T)  8. Jim Rasey (Wrightsman 21J)  9. Ryan Hare (29)  10. Brian Huchko (60)  11. Mike Wonderling (18)  12. Chuck Medved (2M). DNS: Dave Goble (20G), Austin Hauser (51), Ashton Briggs (11A), Kyle Lukon (184), Colton Flinner (Deller 75).


Car Count: 44

Feature Margin of Victory: 3.093 seconds
Feature Lap Leaders: 
Jeremy Steele (1-5), Tim Shaffer (6-30)

Ontime Body & Graphic “Spoiler Alert” Spoiler Kit: Logan Zarin

Performance Bodies “Nosed Out”: Joe Martin

Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger: Cole Petrelle (+16) 

Sunoco Fuel Card Winners: Brandt Graham ($100), Mike Wonderling ($100), Demetrios Drellos ($50), Dan Lepro ($50), Colby Beighey ($50), Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. ($50).

TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”: Jeremy Steele


FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Flight A Qualifying (Track record 18.652 by Daryl Charlier on 7/3/21): 1. 45-Tim Shaffer, 00:18.458[2]; 2. 60-Brandon Burgoon, 00:18.474[22]; 3. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr, 00:18.513[16]; 4. 14G-Jake Gunn, 00:18.595[21]; 5. 14B-Ben Policz, 00:18.626[10]; 6. 17-Ryan Frazee, 00:18.680[20]; 7. 77-Tom Klein, 00:18.738[17]; 8. 03-Garret Paugh, 00:18.790[8]; 9. 555-Brock Pinkerous, 00:18.853[9]; 10. 36B-Colby Beighey, 00:18.870[3]; 11. 8S-Tommy Schirnhofer Jr, 00:18.872[12]; 12. 20G-Dave Goble, 00:18.911[7]; 13. 33X-Logan Zarin, 00:18.922[1]; 14. 2L-Dan Lepro, 00:18.948[14]; 15. 51-Austin Hauser, 00:18.984[6]; 16. 42-Tony Musolino, 00:19.048[5]; 17. 4K-Zachary Kane, 00:19.166[19]; 18. 14-Brandt Graham, 00:19.409[11]; 19. 2M-Chuck Medved, 00:19.510[4]; 20. 18-Mike Wonderling, 00:19.901[13]; 21. 11A-Ashton Briggs, 00:19.937[15]; 22. 75F-Colton Flinner, NT.


FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Flight B Qualifying (Track record 18.652 by Daryl Charlier on 7/3/21) ($100 for fast time): 1. N1-Michael Norris, 00:18.332[10] NTR; 2. 22S-Jeremy Steele, 00:18.491[13]; 3. 184-Kyle Lukon, 00:18.504[18]; 4. 111D-Demetrios Drellos, 00:18.572[8]; 5. 184C-Justin Chance, 00:18.630[16]; 6. 05-Frank Magill, 00:18.653[15]; 7. 36-Cody Dawson, 00:18.686[9]; 8. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling, 00:18.703[4]; 9. 9R-Mike Reft, 00:18.756[12]; 10. 25Z-Mason Zeigler, 00:18.768[11]; 11. 17G-Zach Gunn, 00:18.773[3]; 12. 1T-Brent Trimble, 00:18.802[22]; 13. 10S-Joe Martin, 00:18.853[19]; 14. 16-Clinton Hersh, 00:19.013[14]; 15. 184D-Daryl Charlier, 00:19.101[2]; 16. 72B-Kassidy Kamicker, 00:19.137[21]; 17. 98-Craig Graham, 00:19.249[1]; 18. 29-Ryan Hare, 00:19.370[6]; 19. 21J-Jim Rasey, 00:19.740[20]; 20. 60H-Brian Huchko, 00:19.872[17]; 21. 184P-Cole Petrelle, 00:20.489[7]; 22. 2T-Kyle Lee, DSQ (light) [5].


FK Rod Ends Heat 1 (10 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 45-Tim Shaffer[1]; 2. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr[2]; 3. 14B-Ben Policz[3]; 4. 8S-Tommy Schirnhofer Jr[6]; 5. 77-Tom Klein[4]; 6. 555-Brock Pinkerous[5]; 7. 33X-Logan Zarin[7]; 8. 51-Austin Hauser[8]; 9. 4K-Zachary Kane[9]; 10. 11A-Ashton Briggs[11]; 11. 2M-Chuck Medved[10].


FK Rod Ends Heat 2 (10 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 60-Brandon Burgoon[1]; 2. 17-Ryan Frazee[3]; 3. 14G-Jake Gunn[2]; 4. 36B-Colby Beighey[5]; 5. 03-Garret Paugh[4]; 6. 20G-Dave Goble[6]; 7. 42-Tony Musolino[8]; 8. 2L-Dan Lepro[7]; 9. 14-Brandt Graham[9]; 10. 18-Mike Wonderling[10]. DNS: 75F-Colton Flinner.


FK Rod Ends Heat 3 (10 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. N1-Michael Norris[1]; 2. 184C-Justin Chance[3]; 3. 184D-Daryl Charlier[8]; 4. 17G-Zach Gunn[6]; 5. 36-Cody Dawson[4]; 6. 9R-Mike Reft[5]; 7. 184P-Cole Petrelle[11]; 8. 21J-Jim Rasey[10]; 9. 10S-Joe Martin[7]; 10. 98-Craig Graham[9]; 11. 184-Kyle Lukon[2].


FK Rod Ends Heat 4 (10 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 22S-Jeremy Steele[1]; 2. 111D-Demetrios Drellos[2]; 3. 25Z-Mason Zeigler[5]; 4. 16-Clinton Hersh[7]; 5. 1T-Brent Trimble[6]; 6. 05-Frank Magill[3]; 7. 72B-Kassidy Kamicker[8]; 8. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling[4]; 9. 2T-Kyle Lee[11]; 10. 60H-Brian Huchko[10]; 11. 29-Ryan Hare[9].


Last Chance B Main 1 (10 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. 555-Brock Pinkerous[1]; 2. 33X-Logan Zarin[3]; 3. 2L-Dan Lepro[6]; 4. 4K-Zachary Kane[7]; 5. 14-Brandt Graham[8]; 6. 2M-Chuck Medved[11]; 7. 20G-Dave Goble[2]; 8. 18-Mike Wonderling[10]; 9. 51-Austin Hauser[5]; 10. 42-Tony Musolino[4]; 11. 11A-Ashton Briggs[9]. DNS: 75F-Colton Flinner.


Last Chance B Main 2 (10 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. 05-Frank Magill[2]; 2. 9R-Mike Reft[1]; 3. 10S-Joe Martin[7]; 4. 72B-Kassidy Kamicker[4]; 5. 184P-Cole Petrelle[3]; 6. 2T-Kyle Lee[8]; 7. 21J-Jim Rasey[5]; 8. 98-Craig Graham[9]; 9. 29-Ryan Hare[12]; 10. 60H-Brian Huchko[10]. DNS: 184-Kyle Lukon & 3J-Jeremy Wonderling.


"Bob Bentz Memorial" Sunoco Dash presented by Stan’s Transmission (6 laps, $200 to-win plus a $100 Sunoco fuel card): 1. 22S-Jeremy Steele[1]; 2. 45-Tim Shaffer[6]; 3. N1-Michael Norris[3]; 4. 184C-Justin Chance[2]; 5. 60-Brandon Burgoon[8]; 6. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr[7]; 7. 111D-Demetrios Drellos[5]; 8. 17-Ryan Frazee[4].


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, Sunbelt Rentals, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, FK Rod Ends, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, TBM Brakes, Bilstein Shocks, Performance Bodies & Parts, Racing Electronics, Wieland Metal Services, Frankland Racing Supply, Landrum Performance Spring, Ontime Body & Graphic, Sherwood Wheels, Precise Racing Products, Velocita-USA, Wedge Motorsports, 3C Graphix, D&V Jewelers, CrateInsider.com, 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 www.rushlatemodels.com. Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rushlatemodels and follow us on Twitter @RUSHLM.