KYLE HARDY CAPS OFF $12,000 FLYNN'S TIRE/BORN2RUN TOUR TITLE WITH IMPRESSIVE RUSH LATE MODEL WIN AT LERNERVILLE; GARRETT KRUMMERT TOPS RUSH MODS WHILE HOVIS TOUR TITLE TO TONY TATGENHORST; CHAD RUHLMAN WINS RUSH SPRINTS & $5000 EQUIPMENT RENTAL OPTIONS TITLE; $9000 ENGINE PACKAGE FROM WATERSTONE MORTGAGE WON BY CHAS WOLBERT
By Mike Leone
October 15-16, 2021 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Sarver, PA)...The Pace Performance RUSH Racing Series together with Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC participated in the “Steel City Stampede” once again at Lernerville Speedway Thursday through Saturday night. Despite rain and threatening conditions each night, the shows was completed without delay. The 13th edition saw three of RUSH's classes spotlighted with Kyle Hardy capturing the Flynn's Tire/Born2Run Lubricants Late Model Touring Series event, while Garrett Krummert claimed the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Sportsman Modified Touring Series race and Chad Ruhlman earned the victory in the Equipment Rental Options Sprint Car Weekly Series special. In addition, Chas Wolbert was the lucky recipient in the Chevrolet Performance 602 Sportsman Modified complete engine giveaway presented by Waterstone Mortgage of Hermitage, Pa.
Kyle Hardy put an exclamation mark on his incredible $12,000 Flynn's Tire/Born2Run Lubricants Touring and $5,000 Pace National Weekly Series Championship season by dethroning Super Late Model standout Michael Norris at his home track and 2017 Tour champion Bryce Davis in a thrilling duel through lapped traffic for the 30-lap victory. Hardy's first career Lernerville win was worth $2,000 and came in a throwback scheme to his father Mike's former Late Model. The wrap was won by Hardy at the 2021 "Manufacturers Night" and contributed by fellow racer Matt Latta's 3C Graphix company.
"It's been a long, fun year and great racing with you guys," stated the 28-year-old Linden, Virginia winner. "This wasn't the plan at the start of the year, but it turned out to be awesome. You guys are great people to put up a series like you do, and to be able to race close to home is pretty fun. It's unreal to bring these colors back from 25 years ago. There's a lot of racing families and generations out there; I'm just thankful I can be a part of mine."
"I didn't know how our chances were going to fare when I didn't get the lead," explained Hardy. "I noticed I could get to him (Norris) though so that was good. I just needed to be able to pull a good slider and not break my momentum. It was fun racing with Michael. It's great to win the race and the championship. We had a great car- I can't believe how good it drove. I have thank my family and the same group of people that come with me every weekend; they're pretty loyal. It's fun to have people like that around you."
Fresh off a $3,200 win at the last Tour race two weeks ago at Pittsburgh, Norris raced past Hardy on the opening lap with Davis trailing. Daryl Charlier lost power in turn four on lap four and New York racers Kurt Stebbins and Brian Knowles were collected. When racing resumed on lap five, Hardy put a slider on Norris to take over the top spot. By lap eight, Hardy and Norris opened up ground on the field. Hardy caught lapped traffic on lap 11 and that's when Norris was able to regain the top spot. One lap later it was three-wide for the lead as Davis joined the battle.
Norris was able to clear traffic on lap 13 and opened up some breathing room, but it didn't last long as Hardy ran him down on lap 15. Hardy would make the winning move on lap 16 with a slider, but the two were side-by-side in turn four as Hardy nosed ahead at the line. Just as Hardy had clear track ahead, the caution was displayed for R.J. Dallape, who slowed down the backstretch with 18 laps scored. That would be the last stoppage as the final 12 laps went green-to-checkered.
By lap 22, the top three of Hardy, Norris, and Davis once again distanced themselves from the field. Hardy caught lapped traffic on lap 25; meanwhile, Davis was all over Norris in the battle for second and finally made the pass on lap 28. Davis though would run out of time as Hardy crossed the finish line first by 2.193 seconds. Hardy's 18th overall win of 2021 in RUSH-sanctioned competition came in the American Paint Co./AGX/Anthony's Pizza/Ingram Engines/Cline Construction/Sommey Lacey Paint-sponsored #99! Hardy became the 11th different winner in 13 "Steel City Stampede" events as three-time winner, Max Blair, is the only multiple winner.
"It means everything in the world to me to win with this 25-year-old design," stated Kyle's father Mike in victory lane. "He (Kyle) surprised me with it and it just tickled me to death and brought me to tears. It's amazing how far he's come in 12 years. Thank you to everyone."
Davis earned $1,000 for his runner-up finish in his first RUSH Tour start since the final race of his 2017 championship season. After winning in his last two Tour starts, Norris settled for third then went out and won the $3,000 ULMS Super Late Model feature. Joe Martin was fourth for 11th straight top six finish and 14th in the last 15 races to nail down second in the final points worth $6,000 for car owner Tom Snyder, Jr. Michael Duritsky, Jr. was fifth for his fifth top five of the season. Duritsky's fourth place in the final points gives him three straight years in the top five in points.
After starting ninth, Will Thomas III finished sixth as he's done in all three 2021 Tour starts. Ryan Frazee's seventh was his best in Tour competition since the 2019 Tour finale at Lernerville when he finished fifth. Braeden Dillinger drove Joe Zulisky's #58 to an eighth place finish. Zach Kane went 16th to ninth to beat out Zach Morrow. Making his first Tour start since the 2018 "Steel City Stampede" at Lernerville, Andy Spooner raced from 23rd to 15th to earn the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger gift card.
Davis established a new track record in "Shock the Clock" qualifying on Friday night with a lap of 16.750 beating the previous mark of 16.776 set by Alex Ferree two years prior on October 18, 2019 to earn $100 from FK Rod Ends. Davis, Norris, and Jeremy Wonderling picked up the $25 FK Rod Ends heat races. Dallape made his first career Tour start and won the last chance B main on Saturday then finished 17th in the feature to win a $150 spoiler kit from Ontime Body & Graphic.
Hardy won his third Sunoco Dash of the season and received a $100 Sunoco gift card, while Jim Rasey was randomly selected for the $100 Sunoco gift card part of the "Fill'er up with Sunoco Bucks" program presented by Sunoco and Zarin Truck & Auto. Stebbins was selected as the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night" after being involved in two accidents. Denny Nakutis made his first Tour start of the season and was the first non-qualifier, which earned him a $100 Performance Bodies gift card.
Garrett Krummert led all 25 laps of the Pace Performance RUSH Sportsman Modified feature for his first Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Tour win of the season worth $800; however it was the drivers behind him that were the stories of the night. Runner-up Chas Wolbert was selected as the lucky recipient of the Chevrolet Performance 602 Sportsman Modified complete engine giveaway presented by Sara Cipriano of Waterstone Mortgage valued at approximately $9,000, while third place Tony Tatgenhorst garnered his first career championship of any kind nailing down the Hovis Tour title!
"We weren't very good lately and when Chas announced he was going big-block racing next year I called Jerry Schaffer and said let's call it quits but we wanted to come down here and put in a good effort in what will probably be my last crate race," announced the 33-year-old West Middlesex, Pa. racer. "I have to thank Jerry, who gives me good equipment to do this, along with my wife, mom and dad, everyone that helps us, Vicki (Emig) with RUSH along with everyone that puts this deal together."
Krummert went third to first on the opening lap passing pole-sitter Tatgenhorst, while Rob Kristyak passed Dave Price for third. Kristyak then drove around Tatgenhorst for second on lap three and caught Krummert on lap five. Krummert moved up to stop Kristyak's advances on the outside as the duo pulled away. Kristyak was all over Krummert until the lapped car of Josh Ehrenberg spun and collected Kristyak with 10 laps scored.
Back under green, Tatgenhorst was trying to keep Wolbert at bay, but on lap 15 Wolbert was finally able to make the pass driving around Tatgenhorst for second. A caution for Greg Porter's spin with 18 laps completed gave Wolbert a shot alongside Krummert, but Krummert was too strong as he raced on to his fifth career Tour victory, which came by 1.261 seconds. Krummert's fourth RUSH-sanctioned win of 2021 and 21st of his career came in the MD Landscaping/Jerry Schaffer Racing/Turn 4 Toilets-sponsored #10s.
Wolbert, who was the $3,500 Hovis Weekly Series Champion, settled for second. Tatgenhorst was third as he had all top four finishes in Hovis Tour races to earn that championship. Kristyak charged back through the field on the outside to finish fourth and was selected as the Sherwood Wheels "Man of Steel" recipient and will receive a steel wheel. J.C. Boyer had a solid run in fifth after starting 10th. Jacob Jordan was sixth. Kole Holden went 14th to seventh to earn the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger gift card. Jeff Schaffer, Jr., Ayden Cipriano, and 15th starting Mike Smith were eighth through 10th. Ehrenberg, who was the only driver that didn't finish, was selected as the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night" recipient. Friday night's heat race winners were Wolbert and Kristyak.
Chad Ruhlman passed 2020 "Futures Cup" Champion Nolan Groves on lap three and kept hard charging John Mollick at bay in the final laps to win his third Pace Performance RUSH Sprint Car race of the season in as many tries at Lernerville worth $800. After a season long back and forth duel for the Equipment Rental Options Weekly Series Championship with Gale Ruth, Jr., Ruhlman's victories in the final two races garnered him his third $5,000 title in four years by virtue of a tiebreaker with the most high point scores.
"I'm happy for my team to be able to pull this off with Tim (Engles) being in the hospital right now," expressed the 44-year-old Erie, Pa. driver who completed his first season driving for Engles Motorsports. "I didn't want to see it happen with Gale (Ruth) going up in flames- I wanted to go toe-for-toe with that team til the finish. Hats off to Gale and his entire team. They had a flawless season and were fast every weekend when they unloaded. With all this rain, the track was immaculate, but I'm definitely too fat and old for that big of a cushion. This is a shot in the arm to this team. My guys haven't been in Sprint Cars since the early 90s from the stories they tell. I'm sure they're happy and the nurses are trying to restrain Tim to his bed up in Erie so this goes out to the entire team- that's why I'm here."
Despite starting on the pole, Ruhlman wasn't able to withstand Groves' momentum around the top as the youngster set the early pace, while Ruth passed Mollick for third. Ruhlman's winning pass came on lap three when he put a slide job on Groves in turn three. By lap five, the battle was on for second as Groves was trying to fend off Ruth and Mollick. Ruth needed to finish second or better to lock up the title and was doing everything he could to get by Groves, but lost third to Mollick on lap seven prior to his motor expiring on the next lap.
When racing resumed, the top three of Ruhlman, Groves, and Mollick distanced themselves from the field. Mollick finally worked his way past Groves on lap 16. Mollick then drove hard in his pursuit of Ruhlman, but ran out of time as Ruhlman took the checkered flag by just 0.343 seconds in the Tim Engles-owned, Dirt Roads Logistics/Pennywell Sandblasting/Dotera Oils-sponsored #68. It was Ruhlman's ninth victory of the season and all-time leading 34th of his RUSH Sprint Car career.
Groves was third. After spinning with one lap scored, Blaze Myers charged back through the field to finish fourth after passing Tyler Newhart on lap 18. It was Myers' 18th top five in 26 starts to earn third in the final standings. Newhart had a solid finish to his first full season with a fifth place finish for his fourth top five. Completing the top 10 were George, Brian Ruhlman, Brandon Shughart, Brian Hartzell, and Ricky Tucker, Jr. Friday night's heat races went to Groves and Ruhlman.
With the exception of a pair of RUSH Late Model special events at Delaware International and Georgetown Speedway in the coming weeks, the 2021 season is now complete for all RUSH-sanctioned Series. The 2021 RUSH Racing Series Awards Banquet & Dinner will be held on Saturday, January 15, 2022 at Gatherings Banquet & Event Center in Edinburg, Pa. More information will be released in the coming weeks.
Pace Performance RUSH Late Model Flynn’s Tire/Born2Run Lubricants Touring Series Race #17 (30 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. KYLE HARDY (99) 2. Bryce Davis (94) 3. Michael Norris (51) 4. Joe Martin (Snyder 10s) 5. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J) 6. Will Thomas III (9) 7. Ryan Frazee (11F) 8. Braeden Dillinger (Zulisky 58) 9. Zach Kane (10) 10. Zach Morrow (Bentz 60) 11. Jim Rasey (Wrightsman 21J) 12. Jacob Gunn (14G) 13. Clayton Tarabori (Chernik 5x) 14. Brian Knowles (7) 15. Andy Spooner (85) 16. Zach Gunn (17G) 17. R.J. Dallape (75) 18. Chuck Recker (6) 19. Tony Kelley (2T) 20. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 21. Kurt Stebbins (26) 22. Khole Wanzer (01W) 23. Jacob Peterson (112) 24. Daryl Charlier (Centerline 114).
DNQ for the feature: Denny Nakutis (3), D.J. Nakutis (31).
Car Count: 26
Feature Margin of Victory:
Feature Lap Leaders: Michael Norris (1-4, 11-15), Kyle Hardy (5-10, 16-30)
Ontime Body & Graphic “Spoiler Alert” Spoiler Kit: R.J. Dallape
Performance Bodies “Nosed Out”: Denny Nakutis
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger: Andy Spooner (+8)
Precise Racing Products 5-Gallon Race Jug: Kyle Hardy
Sunoco and Zarin Truck & Auto $100 Sunoco Fuel Cards: Jim Rasey & Kyle Hardy
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”: Kurt Stebbins
RUSH Late Model FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying ($100 for fast time) (Track record 16.776 by Alex Ferree 10/18/19): 1. 94-Bryce Davis, 00:16.750 (NEW TRACK RECORD); 2. 51N-Michael Norris, 00:16.983; 3. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling, 00:17.024; 4. 99-Kyle Hardy, 00:17.202; 5. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr, 00:17.340; 6. 10S-Joe Martin, 00:17.351; 7. 11F-Ryan Frazee, 00:17.357; 8. 58-Braeden Dillinger, 00:17.463; 9. 9-Will Thomas, 00:17.479; 10. 114-Daryl Charlier, 00:17.558; 11. 60-Zach Morrow, 00:17.594; 12. 14G-Jake Gunn, 00:17.639; 13. 10-Zachary Kane, 00:17.709; 14. 7-Brian Knowles, 00:17.727; 15. 17G-Zach Gunn, 00:17.804; 16. 21J-Jim Rasey, 00:17.826; 17. 01W-Khole Wanzer, 00:18.046; 18. 26-Kurt Stebbins, 00:18.052; 19. 75D-RJ Dallape, 00:18.179; 20. 5X-Clayton Tarabori, 00:18.271; 21. 112-Jacob Peterson, 00:18.306; 22. 2T-Tony Kelley, 00:18.596; 23. 85-Andy Spooner, 00:18.893; 24. 6R-Chuck Recker, 00:18.968; 25. 3N-Denny Nakutis, 00:19.176; 26. 31N-DJ Nakutis, 00:22.176
RUSH Late Model FK Rod Ends Heat 1 (8 laps, Top 6 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 94-Bryce Davis; 2. 99-Kyle Hardy; 3. 11F-Ryan Frazee; 4. 114-Daryl Charlier; 5. 21J-Jim Rasey; 6. 10-Zachary Kane; 7. 2T-Tony Kelley; 8. 75D-RJ Dallape; 9. 3N-Denny Nakutis.
RUSH Late Model FK Rod Ends Heat 2 (8 laps, Top 6 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 51N-Michael Norris; 2. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr; 3. 58-Braeden Dillinger; 4. 60-Zach Morrow; 5. 7-Brian Knowles; 6. 5X-Clayton Tarabori; 7. 01W-Khole Wanzer; 8. 85-Andy Spooner; 9. (DNS) 31N-DJ Nakutis.
RUSH Late Model FK Rod Ends Heat 3 (8 laps, Top 6 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling; 2. 10S-Joe Martin; 3. 9-Will Thomas; 4. 26-Kurt Stebbins; 5. 14G-Jake Gunn; 6. 17G-Zach Gunn; 7. 6R-Chuck Recker; 8. 112-Jacob Peterson.
RUSH Late Model Last Chance B Main (8 laps, Top 6 transfer to A): 1. 75D-RJ Dallape; 2. 2T-Tony Kelley; 3. 6R-Chuck Recker; 4. 112-Jacob Peterson; 5. 85-Andy Spooner; 6. 01W-Khole Wanzer; 7. 3N-Denny Nakutis; 8. 31N-DJ Nakutis.
RUSH Late Model Sunoco Dash (6 laps, $100 Sunoco fuel card to-win): 1. 99-Kyle Hardy; 2. 51N-Michael Norris; 3. 94-Bryce Davis; 4. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling; 5. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr; 6. 10S-Joe Martin.
Pace RUSH Sportsman Modified Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Touring Series Race #4 (25 laps, $800 to-win): 1. GARRETT KRUMMERT (10s) 2. Chas Wolbert (c3) 3. Tony Tatgenhorst (63T) 4. Rob Kristyak (00) 5. J.C. Boyer (12) 6. Jacob Jordan (28J) 7. Kole Holden (2) 8. Jeff Schaffer, Jr. (14) 9. Ayden Cipriano (5c) 10. Mike Smith (0) 11. Jessica Kriegisch (63) 12. Dave Price (111) 13. Chelsie Kriegisch (10) 14. Greg Porter (25) 15. Joe Gibson (119) 16. Josh Ehrenberg (571).
Car Count: 16
Feature Margin of Victory: 1.261 seconds
Feature Lap Leaders: Garrett Krummert (1-25)
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Kole Holden (+7)
Sherwood Wheels "Man of Steel": Rob Kristyak
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night": Josh Ehrenberg
RUSH Sportsman Modified Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. C3-Chas Wolbert; 2. 63T-Tony Tatgenhorst; 3. 111-Dave Price; 4. 14-Jeff Schaffer Jr; 5. 63-Jessica Kriegisch; 6. 28J-Jacob Jordan; 7. 571-Josh Ehrenberg; 8. 0-Mike Smith.
RUSH Sportsman Modified Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. 00-Rob Kristyak; 2. 10S-Garrett Krummert; 3. 5C-Ayden Cipriano; 4. 10-Chelsie Kriegisch; 5. 12-JC Boyer; 6. 25-Greg Porter; 7. 2-Kole Holden; 8. 119-Joe Gibson- DSQ (did not scale).
Pace Performance RUSH Sprint Car Equipment Rental Options Weekly Series Race #26 (20 laps, $800 to-win): 1. CHAD RUHLMAN (Engles 68) 2. John Mollick (Clever 14) 3. Nolan Groves (Beedle 25) 4. Blaze Myers (43Jr) 5. Tyler Newhart (57N) 6. Rod George (Hull 41) 7. Brian Ruhlman (49) 8. Brandon Shughart (29) 9. Brian Hartzell (69) 10. Ricky Tucker, Jr. (1T) 11. Jeff Metsger (20) 12. Jordan Hamilton (35) 13. Amelia Clay (16c) 14. Gale Ruth, Jr. (McConnell 24) 15. A.J. MacQuarrie (Hartzell 69).
RUSH Sprint Car Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 25-Nolan Groves; 2. 14-John Mollick; 3. 24-Gale Ruth Jr; 4. 43JR-Blaze Myers; 5. 57N-Tyler Newhart; 6. 29-Brandon Shughart; 7. 35-Jordan Hamilton; 8. 16C-Amelia Clay.
RUSH Sprint Car Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 68-Chad Ruhlman; 2. 41-Rod George; 3. 20-Jeff Metsger; 4. 49-Brian Ruhlman; 5. 69X-AJ MacQuarrie; 6. 69-Brian Hartzell; 7. 1T-Ricky Tucker Jr.
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.
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.