2022 HOVIS RUSH LATE MODEL WEEKLY RACERS TO SHARE $35,000 IN "TRACK PACK" CHAMPIONSHIP MONIES OVER & ABOVE NATIONAL WEEKLY SERIES MONIES; $2500 AWARDED TO TOP 6 MEMBER DRIVERS AT EACH WEEKLY-SANCTIONED SPEEDWAY
By Doug Kennedy
December 3, 2022 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Pulaski, PA)...The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply RUSH Dirt Late Model Series presented by Born2Run Lubricants continued its popular "Track Pack" program once again in 2022. The "Track Pack" actually debuted in 2016; however, expanded by more than 300% cash wise in 2021 going from $800 per RUSH weekly-sanctioned track to $2,500 and that continued this past season. Overall, the "Track Pack" will award $35,000 to drivers in the top six drivers in the 2022 RUSH member points at the 14 weekly-sanctioned speedways at the RUSH Racing Series Awards Banquet on January 21, 2023. Overall in 2022, RUSH Late Model racers captured well over $115,000 in championship monies for their efforts, which includes the "Touring" point fund.
RUSH uses the National Weekly Series point system for all events scheduled at weekly-sanctioned speedways during the year with the exception that member drivers are able throw out their lowest point score or missed event. To be eligible, the speedway must be RUSH weekly sanctioned. The point fund breakdown is $1,000 for the champion, $500 for second, $400 for third, $300 for fourth, $200 for fifth, and $100 for sixth. This of course is in addition to any monies drivers win through the National Weekly Series and Futures Cup Championships.
Jeremy Wonderling, the 42-year-old driver from Wellsville, New York, captured his second National Weekly championship, this season. Prior to that, the 2020 National Weekly Series Champion was also a three-time winner of the Flynn's Tire Touring Series (2018-2020). Besides the National Weekly Series Championship, Wonderling also won the Bradford Speedway RUSH "Track Pack" in addition to the track championship.
“Winning the National Weekly championship was a pretty big deal especially when you’re going against good competition,” said Wonderling. “I actually won it on the next-to-last weekend as the two-day show at Genesee allowed me to win it.”
As for the "Track Pack" program, Wonderling said, “It’s great for a lot of drivers who don’t follow the tour and don’t receive a lot of those bonuses. Vicki (Emig) found a way to get more money into the local racers' hands to help them support their local racetracks every week. There are guys like the Knowles (Jason & Brian) and (Doug) Ricotta who are great racers that benefit monetarily from RUSH with the "Track Pack" and weekly monies because they don’t have the opportunity to tour.”
“I’ve been with RUSH for quite some time,” said Wonderling, who also finished third place in the Flynn's Tire Touring Series for the second straight year. “I like the travel and the payouts. For me it doesn’t make sense to do anything else.”
Winning $30,000 in a little less than a month doesn’t hurt either for Jeremy, whose brothers Mike and Brady also race RUSH Late Models.
“It’s worked out well for me for the past couple of years,” said the 43-year-old Brian Knowles regarding 'Track Pack'. Knowles won the championship at Woodhull Raceway this past season for the second straight year. “I like the way they changed it this year allowing a little more flexibility,” said Knowles of the "Track Pack".
“I’ve said it time and time again that the communication between the Series director (Vicki) and the staff is second to none,” said Knowles. “They also do a great job of promoting. Since 2018, I’ve been committed to the RUSH Weekly Series.” Overall, Knowles has won four RUSH Late Model titles. His brother, Jason, finished second in points to Brian at Woodhull in 2022.
At 39 years old, Jason Genco of Frewsburg, New York just completed his 16th year of racing. This year, Genco won the $1,000 "Track Pack" championships at both Eriez and Stateline Speedways as well as finishing sixth at Raceway 7 thanks to two victories. Genco led the National Weekly Series points for much of the season before being overtaken by Jeremy Wonderling in the next-to-last weekend. Genco earned $5,100 in RUSH point fund moneys for the Jimmy Craig/Jason Badgley-owned team.
“The weekly championship means a lot when you went out and beat 30 other guys to do it,” said Genco of his track championships. “We won 10 features this year and finished second 14 other times. I don’t care if it’s winning a heat race or a $10,000 feature- a win is a win.”
Genco used to do the Touring Series but now with his family and escalating fuel prices, he can’t do the traveling anymore. “I like to stay home and do my racing," stated Genco. "From a track standpoint, the 'Track Pack' is incentives for racers to support their local tracks. I’ve been running with RUSH since they got started. The rules keeps everybody on an even playing field. I like all of the kickbacks that they give back to their drivers, including the great products and of course the point funds; all of this is beneficial to the drivers and helps a team normal team keep going.”
The oldest "Track Pack" champion at 60 years of age is Warsaw, New York’s Doug Ricotta, who captured the Genesee Speedway title and was the opening night winner. Doug has been racing for 35 years, starting in a Street Stock and then finally settling into a RUSH Late Model. He has won over 80 times in his career including two championships.
“Anytime you can get some extra money, it’s good for the racer,” said Ricotta of the 'Track Pack'. “I m really happy with RUSH as far as how they police it and make everything the same. It’s a real professional job that they do. I’m going to continue to race with them for as long as I can. I stay in shape to be a competitive Saturday night racer."
Conversely, the youngest driver to win the "Track Pack" this year is Philip Bubeck of Colliers, West Virginia. Bubeck not only won the title at Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway, but the "Futures Cup" crown as well. “It was unexpected going into the season,” said Bubeck of the title. “We were new with the RUSH Late Models in 2021 and it was overwhelming to win both titles this year. It felt awesome to come out and be as competitive as we were. To compete with those guys in just my second year was great.”
As for the "Track Pack", Bubeck said, “It’s great for drivers who race at their weekly tracks and don’t travel. RUSH gives you the opportunity to race with some of the best drivers out there,” Bubeck continued. “I also like their payouts. They treat everyone fairly. They certainly know what they’re doing and everything is so well organized.”
Twenty-five year-old Michael Duritsky, Jr. of Masontown, Pa. was the track champion at Dog Hollow, captured the Speedway's RUSH "Track Pack", and finished third in the National Weekly Series standings “It’s always a good feeling to win a points championship,” said Duritsky. “It gives you confidence for next year and the knowledge that you’re one of the top guys to beat at the track. The main thing though, is there’s a good group of people who run RUSH.”
For 47-year-old Joey Warren of Georgetown, Delaware, 2022 took on a whole different meaning. “I was to retire after this year and not points race, but I went into the final race in third place and ended up finishing in first for the year. So it was quite a surprise. It’s going to be hard to walk away after having a year like that.”
“For me, it’s a hobby, not a full-time job.” This was Warren’s seventh track title at Delaware International Speedway, but just his second "Track Pack" title. When he’s not racing, Joey teaches Graphic Design at Sussex Central high School.
“I really appreciate the Track Pack and the Weekly Series," acknowledged Warren who also won his first career Flynn's Tire Touring Series race at the season opening race at Delaware, against a stout field of competitors at the 'Battle of the Bay'. "The extra money that it can generate for a weekend grassroots racer like me is tremendous. I don’t have multiple cars and a trailer and the RUSH competition is as good as I have ever seen. How they (RUSH) give back to the racers is so important. It can be pretty tough on us as not being a full-time driver with all the expenses it take to race anymore. How they promote us and everything they give back to us is so special. It’s a nice incentive for us.”
The main goal for 39-year-old Travis Campbell of Waynesboro, Pa. was to win the Winchester Speedway championship. “It was a big accomplishment for us for sure,” said Campbell, who was in his first full season of RUSH. “It was a very stressful year, but well worth it. We blew up mid-season, but still hung on. We found a used crate motor and worked hard to get it together to finish out the season. We will use that 'Track Pack' and track championship money to buy a new crate motor for next year. The extra money is really going to help us out.”
“In my opinion, RUSH is the best Chevrolet Performance crate engine series out there,” said Campbell. “I like how it is run with the strict enforcement of their rules and there’s no better competition. They put the money out there too. I’m a low budget race team, but we got it done. My goal next year is to get that first win.”
The champion at Potomac Speedway was 29-year-old Kyle Hardy of Stephens City, Virginia. Hardy won both the $1,000 RUSH "Track Pack" and the track championship at the Mechanicsville, Maryland facility. Hardy also finished in a tie for fourth in this year's National Weekly Series Championship after winning both the National Weekly Series and Flynn's Tire Touring Series Championships in 2021. Hardy also won the Super Late Model track championship at Potomac.
“The 'Track Pack' helps us get a few extra dollars that will go towards next season,” said Hardy who began full-time racing in 2009. "That really helps the racers. I think the RUSH Series is great. It’s economical and I can race close to home and for some good prize money.”
At 57, Donnie Dotson is the second oldest winner of a "Track Pack" championship. Dotson won the inaugural RUSH title at Tyler County Speedway this past season. For 37 years he has raced everything from a Street Stock to a Late Model. “I really love the RUSH Series because it’s more economical,” said Dotson. “I do a lot of stuff on my own and the money comes out of my own pocket. I think it helps the younger guys to race against the older guys to get more experience. It makes them feel good if they outrun us every once in a while.”
As far as "Track Pack" goes, Dotson said, “It made me feel better that I could win the track championship and get a little more extra bonus money at the end of the year. It’s a real nice bonus.” Dotson actually earned $2,000 for his RUSH "Track Pack" Championship as Tyler County matched the $1,000 posted by RUSH.
“I’ve won three titles in the Crate Late Models,” said Dotson. “I’ve also won titles in Street Stocks and Limited Late Models. I’ve had a pretty good career for what I’ve had to race. I don’t have a brand new racecar but I do have a good race car.”
Josh Ferry of Cochranton, Pa. won the title at Northeast Ohio's Raceway 7. At 23 years of age, he is the second youngest champion. “Winning the track championship shows all the hard work we put into it,” said Ferry. "This year we were more competitive so it’s nice to have something to show for it. It’s nice to know you’re going to get something by supporting the local tracks and the Series. That’s a reason why we ran for points this year, because we knew the money was going to be there.”
“RUSH does a great job of promoting their drivers and events," added Ferry, who won his first career Flynn's Tire Touring Series race this year at Eriez Speedway. "RUSH allows you to compete on a much larger scale and really gets your name out there other than just running locally. It’s a great way to get drivers into a Late Model style car who can’t afford a Super Late Model.”
Thirty-nine year-old Alan Chapman of Baldwinsville, New York won the track championship at Skyline Raceway Motorsports Park in the track's first year of running the RUSH Late Models weekly. “Winning that track championship was great,” said Chapman, who won three features at Skyline. “It’s a lot of hard work, but it pays off in the end. You have to grind it out every week. It was quite an accomplishment for me since I’ve never won anything like that before. And then there’s RUSH's 'Track Pack' which gives the drivers added money into their pockets. We go to all the tracks in New York, it's tough competition everywhere we go and you get to race with the best of the best. I’m committed to the RUSH Late Models right now and that’s where I will stay.”
Jared Keeney enjoyed his career best season of RUSH Late Model racing. The 42-year-old from New Albany, Pa. won seven features between The Hill Speedway and Skyline. Keeney also captured the $1,000 "Track Pack" title at The Hill.
“It was vindication for all the hard work we put into it and racing is my family time,” expressed Keeney. “It’s a good incentive for racers to join the RUSH Series. The expenses this year have been astronomical. The extra money definitely helps. The people who run RUSH are great. Anytime I’ve had questions or concerns, it’s taken care of immediately. The RUSH Series is the best I’ve ever been around. It makes me look forward to next year.”
In closing, Series Director Vicki Emig stated, "The 'Track Pack' program has done exactly what it was designed to do- keep our RUSH 'weekly' sanctioned speedway's car counts healthy, which of course is crucial to the success of our speedways! I know it would be very difficult for the majority of our RUSH Late Model teams to follow our Touring Series, and I've always said we have no 'Touring' Series if we don't have strong weekly speedways. I think we've created a great balance between our 'Weekly' programs and our Touring Series by making sure all of our racers, regardless of what level they choose to compete, are rewarded!"
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, Wieland Metal Services, 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, DrumPreserve, CrateInsider.com, Marthinsen & Salvitti Insurance Group 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.