RUSH RACING SERIES CONTINUES STRONG FORWARD MOMENTUM; OVER 30 NEW COMPETITORS SET TO MAKE THEIR DEBUTS IN HOVIS RUSH COMPETITION FOR THE 2022 SEASON
By Doug Kennedy
April 6, 2022 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Pulaski, PA)...From its inception in 2013, the Hovis Auto & Truck Supply RUSH Racing Series presented by Born2Run Lubricants has continued to grow and expand throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic as each year more and more drivers and speedways align themselves with the Series. Consistency, stability, well enforced technical rules packages, as well as valuable championship programs seem to be the factors that draw racers to the Series, which boasts six exciting and very competitive divisions; Late Models, Sprint Cars, Sportsman Modifieds, Pro Mods, Stock Cars and Karts.
The list of new racers includes veteran drivers who have raced for the majority of their lives to drivers who have never stepped into a racecar, and this year will be no different as at least 33 new confirmed drivers will race under the RUSH banner.
"From day one, over 16 years ago when Mike Leone and I began to develop the crate engine concept throughout the Northeast, our goal has always been to keep people racing," explained RUSH Director Vicki Emig. "The RUSH concept is true 'cost containment' racing. We were met with a lot of resistance in the beginning, but we stayed the course and as time went by more and more speedways and teams came on board; we've been so thankful for their support. With all of the increased cost racers are facing in today's tough economic times I think RUSH will continue to provide racers from across the board an exciting option!"
Of the new Late Model drivers, five are from the state of Virginia and the common denominator seems to be Winchester Speedway, a track that all these new drivers love. Forty-six year old David Keith of Waynesboro, VA has been racing since 1999. For him, it’s always been a Late Model. Keith, who works as a shop foreman at Manheim Auto Auction, really likes the tire and the fuel deal. “The competition level is extremely hard down here in this area,” said Keith. “Any RUSH crate race has a lot of talent. This will be our first year with RUSH and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish.”
Travis Campbell, another driver from Waynesboro, started to race a Mini Stock at 18 years of age before moving to a Late Model for the last seven years. Campbell, 39, works as a maintenance mechanic for the Lycra Company. “I never raced a Crate until last year,” Campbell said. “The payouts are good and the racing is good. The competition level is harder than I thought it was. They (RUSH) run it fair. The tire rule is good, but it was the fact that they are doing the Sunoco E85R fuel that sealed the deal for me. I also love Winchester Speedway. We’re going to race there for points this year and if we do well then we’ll do some travelling to some other tracks for some touring races.”
Another driver who will be new to RUSH this year is 21 year old Isaiah Gochenour, who will be teammates with Campbell. “You got to have that rivalry for sure,” Campbell said. Gochenour also dates Campbell’s niece. When not racing, he works for Fisher Autoparts as a salesperson. He’s been racing Late Models for the last two years, but prior to that he was drag racing, and running some dirt bikes and four wheelers.
Winchester is Isaiah’s track of choice as well. “They are really organized and the shows are run really smoothly,” Gochenour said of RUSH. "I don’t want to go to a racetrack where someone doesn’t get teched and then goes onto have a big advantage. I really like the professionalism and the RUSH tech.”
Forty-one year old Matt Sponaugle of Wiley Ford, West Virginia has been racing for the last 26 years. Since he also competes with a Super Late Model, Sponaugle will try to run between 10-12 RUSH races. “I’m going to fill in some gaps with my Super Late with some RUSH races. “There’s some bigger paying races and the Crate is a lot cheaper to run. “I like their (RUSH} teching and their overall operations.”
Draven Kuzminski of Sugar Grove, Pa. has been racing Go-Karts since he was 16. Now 25, Kuzminski wants to do the RUSH Late Model Series because of his grandfather, Ward Shell, who has raced RUSH Late Models for years. His car however is owned by his uncle Gordy. “This will give me the chance to race against him for the first time,” Kuzminski said of his grandfather. “He’s been a great help to my racing program. RUSH is a good series and gives back to the drivers on Manufacturers Night. This is also a very good learning class. It’s going to be a fun season.”
Seventeen-year-old Ryan Hare of Elkins, West Virginia has been racing for eight years, six in a Go-Kart. His dad, Skip, who will oversee the racing operation, has been racing for 25 years, 15 of those in a Late Model. Late last season, Skip bought a crate motor and put Ryan into the Late Model for a few season ending races. Besides running local races for 2022, Skip would like to do some travelling, particularly to Potomac, a track he raced at for five years when he lived in that area.
“They’re (RUSH) a series that is on top of everything with publicity and promoting its drivers,” said Skip. ‘They have good payouts for the weekly series and it gives the drivers a chance to compete on a level playing field.”
At 44 years of age, David Stolzenberg of Wilson, New York has been racing since he was 15. Most of the time was spent in a Street Stock, but there were a few years in a Super Late Model and a RUSH Late Model. “I did my first RUSH Tour race at Genesee last year and was blown away,” said Stolzenberg. “I was impressed how everybody worked together and the way Vicki’s team handled everything. It went so smoothly.” This year, Stolzenberg is thinking of not only running Saturday nights at Genesee, but Sunday nights at Eriez.
Twenty-five-year-old Aaron Miller of Greenwood, New York has been racing for the last five years. Three of those years were spent in a Hobby Stock and the last two in a Street Stock. This will be his first season in a RUSH Late Model. “We’ll try to do as much as we can,” said Miller. “I hope to do at least a quarter to a half of the RUSH series. We’ll run mainly at Genesee and Woodhull, my home track, and a few other shows at Bradford and some bigger race shows."
“It will be a little bit challenging but hopefully we will learn a lot,” said Miller. “I think it’s (RUSH) is a good series because everybody is on the same engine package. You can also do a lot of travelling to different tracks which gives you a wide range.”
After racing since the age of eight, 31-year-old Brett Marlatt of Canisteo, New York, will be stepping into a RUSH Late Model for the very first time in 2022. Prior to that, Marlatt raced a Go-Kart, a 4-Cylinder, and a Street Stock at a number of tracks. Of the nine different tracks he has raced, Marlatt prefers his home-track of Woodhull Raceway, although he does like The Hill as well.
Marlatt, who works as a gas construction foreman for National Fuel, hopes to make a variety of tracks and races for the upcoming season. He will be funding his racing program on his own and is just learning about what the advantages of being part of the RUSH Racing Series really is.
“I’m learning about RUSH and its benefits as I go,” said Marlatt, who likes to hunt when he's no working or racing. “When you go to a different track to race a Street Stock, you have to change the tires, the motors, and everything else so it’s nice to go to a track and not have to worry about those things and work more on the set-up as opposed to trying to beat the rules.”
When she’s not racing, 24-year-old Kassandra “Kassie” Norman of Gerry, New York teaches handicap kids in grades five to seven at Ashville BOCES. Prior to this upcoming 2022 season, Kassie has never stepped into a racecar. “All she did was watch me for the last 20 years,” said her dad, Paul, who raced in better than two decades. Paul’s career included racing a Street Stock, a Cadet and then eventually a RUSH Late Model.
“I asked her if she wanted to try racing and she said that she didn’t want to take away from my racing,” said Paul. “Once she starts, if she wants to keep going with it then I will let her do that. My enjoyment out of the whole thing is watching her.” If things go well, then Paul will just watch his daughter race the #6 Late Model. “We try to keep it as a family type of operation.” Kassie and Paul have pretty much supported the Norman racing program.
Plans are for Kassie to race at Stateline, Eriez, Genesee, and McKean. They might even try for a few races at Bradford, and maybe a few higher paying races. “It’s very competitive,” Paul said of RUSH. “I like the way the point system works. We’re just a small operation and don’t get the chance to travel a lot. But we will try to race every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but Saturday and Sunday for sure.”
“I love the RUSH Series overall,” said Kassie. “It’s a really good program to be part of. After dad missed a couple of years of racing, he came back and joined RUSH. The difference is being part of a Weekly Series with RUSH. When you’re part of that, it levels the playing field for everyone. I’m really excited about the upcoming season. I want to do the best that I can and keep the car in one piece.”
Three other new drivers to the RUSH Late Model division are Aaron Drummond of Winchester, Virginia, Josh Williams of Staunton, Virginia along with Pennsylvania racer Jarrod Lyon.
One of seven new participants in the RUSH Sprint Car Series is Montville, Ohio’s Dustin DeMattia, who will be in a Sprint Car for his first time ever this upcoming season. From the time he was 10 until he was 20, DeMattia raced a Go-Kart, mainly on the pavement, before competing in an Econo Mod beginning in 2018; one year later he was the track champion at Sharon Speedway.
Last year he primarily raced UMP Modified events. That is his plan once again for 2022 where he will race the UMP Mod, mixing it in with the RUSH Sprints. DeMattia purchased the Sprint Car from Brian Ruhlmann. “I’ve raced against him in an E-Mod, but I never really knew him until I bought the Sprint Car from him (April 3rd)".
DeMattia has also been getting help since 2018 from fellow RUSH Sprint Car driver Jarrod Larson. “I’ve been looking up to him since that time,” DeMattia said. “My goal in Sprint Car racing is to get a foot in the door. The 410s and 305s were just too expensive so I think the RUSH Sprints will suit me just fine and fit my style better. I don’t expect to be blazing out of the box, but I would like to be solidly in the top five by season’s end.”
26-year-old Zack Wilson of Oil City, Pa will be entering the RUSH Sprint Car division in 2022. Wilson raced Go-Kart for 10 years, but not since 2012. “This year is going to be my rookie year so I can get my feet wet,” Wilson said of RUSH. “It’s cost-effective and you can be competitive with a minimal amount of money. It has strict rules and I like the travel to the different tracks.”
Wilson, who works as a recruitment manager for McClymond’s Supply and Transit, has been friends with Late Model driver Max Blair for years. “I grew up with him and he’s one of my sponsors,” Wilson said of Blair. I’ve learned so much from him and his dad. He’s helped me with mechanical knowledge and information with the tracks. I’ve been waiting for this for a while.”
Lacey Shuttleworth calls Jacksonville, Alabama, her home for the school season as she attends the college (Jacksonville State) majoring in nursing. The 20-year-old Wellsville, NY native will be behind the wheel of a Sprint Car for the upcoming 2022 season after a very successful Go-Kart career when she won several hundreds of races.
“We’re going to start by practicing at Bradford and then hopefully by the middle of the season, we will be doing a couple of races to get some experience under my belt,” Shuttleworth said. Lacey and her father Chris travelled at times with the Late Models and driver Jeremy Wonderling.
“My dad and I have known Vicki for about 18 years,” explained Lacey, who used to come to Mercer Raceway Park when her father raced a Sprint Car during Vick’s ownership tenure at the track. “She had a very big impact on our decision to do the RUSH Series. She gives away a lot of things like motors, tires, and everything and anything to help the drivers. I’m excited about the season- it’s going to be a big change for me.”
Tyler Clark of Titusville, Pennsylvania ran one race with the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds last season at Raceway 7. The 32-year-old has been racing for only three years, one in a Mini Stock, the next in a Modified primarily at Tri-City Raceway Park and now this year in a Sprint Car. “I traded my Modified for a Sprint. So this season I’m looking to get some seat time and gain some experience.”
Of the RUSH Series, Clark said, “I like it. It makes it more affordable for a guy like me who works 40 hours a week to go out and compete against the field. It’s more a driver friendly series. The other racers are more than willing to help you out. My plan is to go to a few tracks and get some knowledge to run a full season in 2023.
Another Titusville resident new to the RUSH Sprint Car class is 16-year-old Devon Deeter, who will be part of the “Futures Cup”. Devon’s father, Jarrod has spent 17 years as a crew member on a Pro Stock.
‘He’s not raced any type of racecar,” said Jarrod of his son. “He raced BMX bikes for a national team and then some dirt bikes. He sold his dirt bike and bought the Sprint Car. He’s doing things on his own. I will help where I can but we have a few other guys who have been around Sprint Cars for quite a while.” Matt Thomas, a Pro Stock driver, will be one of the guys. Jarrod also wanted to make sure to give credit to his wife, Stephanie, and Devon’s sister, Nydia.
“It’s a competitive class,” said Jarrod of RUSH, who plans on racing a dozen or so Equipment Rental Options Weekly Series races between Tri-City, Knox and some of the Lernerville shows and then go full bore for 2023. “And you don’t have to spend bundles of money on a motor. I think it’s more competitive than any other class.”
At 54 years old, Apollo, Pennsylvania’s Rich Womeldorf started racing in 1994. For three years, he raced a Stock Car followed by five years in an E-Mod, and then the next 10 in a Late Model; however, for the last seven years he has been idle from racing due to his commitments to his family and his business.
“I got burnt out on the maintenance of a Late Model,” said the owner of Richard’s, a HVAC company. “On the Sprint, there’s a lot less for maintenance and repairs. I love to race, but I don’t like to spend every night working on the racecar. RUSH provided me with the opportunity to race without taking a second mortgage on my house.”
Due to his family and business, Womeldorf is going to race part time, maybe a dozen or so races. “I’m just going to race to have fun,” said Womeldorf, who participated in the Kenny Wallace Driving Experience to get acclimated with a Sprint Car. It wasn’t quite the same with the equipment, but it did give him the experience of being behind the wheel of a Sprint Car. “I wanted to make sure this is what I wanted, but the change is dramatic.”
Twenty-three year old, Charlie Utsinger of Canfield, Ohio will be in his very first year of racing. “I’m looking forward to it,” said Utsinger. “The price for a motor is a big key. Vicki is also very good at promoting things. I hope to lay back and learn the car for this season.”
Charlie's late father, Buzzie, was a longtime car owner and sponsor of many race cars throughout the region in addition to being a friend of Emig and Leone's and was a big supporter of the RUSH concept. Charlie's uncle, Arlie, was a former "410" and "360" Sprint Car racer in the 1980s and 1990s.
One of the six new RUSH Pro Mod drivers is 17-year-old Garrett Miller of Belfast, New York. He’s been racing Go-Karts since he was 10 years old. “I always liked the class and the Series and was something I always wanted to do,” Miller said of RUSH, who will be competing for the Futures Cup Championship. “It’s always organized. You’re not just getting thrown out there to drive because you get help from other drivers. I’m impressed how she (Vicki) has run the Series. I’m looking forward to this season, actually really looking forward to it and getting out there.”
At 23, Nick Arnold of Bradford, Pa. has been racing Go-Karts for the last six years. When he‘s not racing, he works on a machine that turns logs into lumber. The company is called Bradford Forests. “I got good reports from some guys who have run the Series,” said Arnold of RUSH. “It’s a less expensive class and the environment and the people in the class are great.”
Zain Harvey of Eldred, Pennsylvania is 16 years old and will be the driver of his RUSH Pro Mod for 2022, and also will be part of the “Futures Cup”. He started racing at the age of four in a Go-Kart. He did that for three years. After a five-year gap, he once again got into a Kart for the last three seasons. He has 68 wins while driving a Kart. In between, he drag raced snowmobiles.
Zain’s father, John, is heading up the racing operations. “We’re going to race Stateline, Bradford, Genesee, and Freedom” John said. “He definitely wants to go for the Futures Cup title. RUSH provides us the opportunity to do open wheel racing.”
Zain got a chance to race a Pro Mod late last season but totaled the car when he hit the wall on the last corner and the last lap while leading the race. “The throttle stuck,” said John. “Now we’re building him a brand new car. “He’s on a mission now. He’s got the fire and wants to redeem himself.”
One of the youngest drivers in the RUSH Pro Mod Series is 15-year-old Brendan Warner of Bradford, Pa. For five years, he raced a Kart. “We made a big jump getting into the Pro-Mods,” said Brendan’s dad, Jay. “I like it (RUSH) for the economics when it comes to the tires, shocks and other things. We were pretty much established with the Kart stuff and now we’re starting over.”
To get going, five-time RUSH Pro Mod Champion Dennis Lunger, Jr. has been a big help for the Warners. “He got us a motor and has been like a saint to us. We wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for him. Our goal this year is to get Brendan some valuable seat time.”
Twenty-year-old Tyler Oaks calls Franklinville, New York home. He’s been racing for five years with the last two in a Modified. “My dad (Greg) raced Super Lates for quite a while,” said Oaks. “The Pro Mod class was up and coming and I really like the pay, but I really liked how RUSH looks out for their drivers,” said Oaks, who will compete for the RUSH Weekly Series Championship for the first time in 2022. “I like how RUSH gives back to the drivers with Manufacturers Night. It’s an affordable class and a stepping-stone to get to another level. I’m definitely excited.”
Ryan Sanders of Sherman, New York, is one of the “gray beards”. At 42, Sanders began racing at the age of 19 in a Spectator class at Stateline. “I’m absolutely looking forward to this season,” Sanders said. “The main factor is the cost factor that makes it easier to run than the open division. It also keeps a level playing field for all the competitors. I’m looking forward to getting some valuable seat time.”
Tim Laughard of Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania has been out of racing for 10 years. Prior to that, the 41-year-old Laughard raced a 4-Cylinder, a Pure Stock, and a Steel-Block Late Model. “What I like about RUSH is the equality of everybody with the tires, shocks, and fuel,” said Laughard. “As a racer, what it comes down to is the handling, the set-up, and the driver.”
After making a handful of starts at the end of 2021,
Laughard will compete in his first full season of RUSH Stock Car racing to
compete for the $2,000 Weekly Series Championship. Tim’s older brother, Mike,
competed with RUSH for a couple of years as well and is getting back into it
with the RUSH Late Models for 2022.
“He really liked how Vicki and everybody at RUSH operated,” said Tim. “I’m looking forward to racing this year and built a brand new car just for the Series.”
The Rickard family of Jamestown, New York is a three-car operation: Stu has been running RUSH Pro-Mods for the last four season, mom; his wife Jill races in the RUSH Adult Kart class where she finished second in points in 2021; and their 14-year-old son Cody will now be racing in the RUSH Stock Car division. For 10 seasons, Cody has been racing Go-Karts; in fact, he was the RUSH JR-2 Champion. “We built him a Stock Car this past winter,” said Stu, who works as a tool and die maker and also has a Street Rod fabrication business as their home.
As for RUSH overall, Stuart said, “I really do like it. It says a lot for what Vicki does. She has a lot of teams who follow her. I like her rules packages. There is no BS about it and no in between, it’s either right or wrong.
There are at least five new drivers already confirmed entering the Kart Division of RUSH for 2022. Eleven year old Jackson Himes of Mt. Jewett, Pa. will be in his very first year of racing. According to his dad, Jim, Jackson has been around Mike Eschrich who has been racing the RUSH Pro Mods. “I really like the RUSH Series,” said Jim. As for Mike, Jim said, “Mike always says they will do well by him so that’s good enough for me.”
Trenton Curry of Lakewood, New York has been racing Karts since he was seven. Now 12,
Trenton has won the Red Plate championships and has 20 feature wins. Jay, his dad, spent the last two seasons racing Karts on a very limited basis. “My daughter, Morgan, ran the Karts last year as well,” said Jay. “I’ve been associated with RUSH for quite a while,” said Jay. “Vicki always takes care of everybody so I’m a firm believer in RUSH.”
Morgan, who is 18, ran the Karts last year and had three wins before heading to Morrisville College. “She will run some select shows this summer,” said Jay. “I will run the same Kart when she’s not there. We have four Karts overall, two for Trenton and two for Morgan. I can’t wait for this season to start. I am so ready.”
Kaitlin Raught from Eldred, Pa. is in her fifth year of racing a Kart. “I think RUSH is a pretty good series,” said the 20-year-old Raught. “I’ve been actually looking at it for the past couple of years. It’s the big boy’s league for Go-Karts. I actually chose RUSH because I had a friend who raced it two years ago. I watched it and that’s what swayed my decision. Our motor builder told us about RUSH and after what he told us about it, we thought it was a pretty good idea to join. It’s more of an even playing field because you race what you bring. I am ready to go full bore.”
And the youngster of the Kart group is six-year-old Alex Daniels, Jr. of Asheville, New York. He’s been racing a 799cc Predator for the last year and a half. As for RUSH, his dad, Alex said, “I think it’s awesome, and a better and more affordable way to get into it. I really like the rules.” Alex, Jr’s cousin is seven-year-old Adalynn Ryan, who raced against him last year. She’s moving into the RUSH Karts this year as well.
Adalynn Ryan, also of Ashville, New York has been racing a Go-Kart for the last two years. In 2021, she was fifth place in points at Stateline and second in points at Pittsfield. Entering her third season, Adalynn wanted to move up a class.
“She’s becoming a pretty good little racer and she wanted to move up,” said her father Cody. “I think she needs to be in a faster class,” said mom, Dakota. “Last year she caught on with how to control the car and we decided to move her up, something we would like to do every year, if possible. She’s excited to be able to move up and go a little faster.”
“I talked with Jay Groves and others and they told me what a great class the RUSH Karting division is,” Cody added. “The biggest thing is that everyone is running the same stuff and its pretty equal and that’s what I like about it. It makes it fair for everyone.”
Cody plans on having everything as it has been including him serving as Adalynn’s crew chief. “I wanted to do the RUSH Karting Series this year as well, but I can’t do it so maybe next year. We’re definitely excited about this season."
The new 2022 class of RUSH ranges in age from six to 54 years of age, and will more than likely be more who will join to race under the RUSH banner.
The RUSH Racing Series is brought to you by Hovis Auto & Truck Supply together with Born2Run Lubricants along with the support of Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, FK Rod Ends, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, TBM Brakes, Performance Bodies & Parts, Racing Electronics, Wrisco Industries, Frankland Racing Supply, Landrum Performance Spring, Ontime Body & Graphic, Sherwood Wheels, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Waterstone Mortgage Hermitage, Wedge Motorsports, 3C Graphix, D&V Jewelers, Drum Preserve, CrateInsider.com, and Stop-Fyre.
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.