June 18, 2014
(By Jim Zufall & Mike Leone)
(Pulaski, PA)…After a weekend off, the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series is ready to return to action this weekend (June 20-21) in a big fashion for the “Mid-Atlantic States Classic”. The Friday-Saturday swing at Potomac Speedway in Mechanicsville, Maryland and Winchester Speedway in Winchester, Virginia will feature the first ever Crate Late Model Tour events at each track.

(Pulaski, PA)…A dry weekend from start-to-finish was in store this past weekend and Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH racers treated fans to a full slate of racing at the member speedways.

On Friday night (June 13), the RUSH Late Models were joined by the open wheelers of the Ontario Topless Sprints. New track promoter Troy Shuknecht waited out the early rain and was rewarded with an all-time track record 24 Crate Late Models! In the feature, Max Blair became the fourth different winner in as many RUSH events this season. Blair is running a limited schedule of action this season due to his focus on Super Late Model racing.

Bryce Davis made his first start of the season at Freedom and just third of the year and was a strong second. Brady Wonderling was third over Andy Michael, who is the new driver for Lewy Kratts. Scott Waters completed the top five. Ironically drivers in positions two through six all made their first starts at Freedom. Freedom will return to action this Friday and in two weeks will be their mid-season championships.

Saturday night at Sharon Speedway, Dennis Lunger Jr. continued to pile up the victories in the RUSH Late Models. Lunger’s victory put a stop to the winning streak of Will Thomas III who had pulled off three straight victories. Starting on the front row Lunger took off with outside pole sitter Bobby Whitling in tow. Lunger caught traffic by lap 10 while stretching out his lead, only to have it erased by a caution. He was however rewarded with a clear track in front of him to again take the lead by a considerable margin.

Standing in victory lane, Lunger commented on his third win. “We really needed this to get out of this slump,” stated the 46-year-old Albion, Pa. veteran. “We had a string of three straight weeks where we broke stuff. We’ve had to start back there after I won two in a row. I know what it’s like,” Lunger said referring to Thomas’s required deep start after winning three features in a row. “Sometimes this place is real racy and you can start back there and win. It’s difficult in these crate cars. We all have the same motor and basically the same tires. The drivers have to get up on the wheel and sometimes I get blamed for being too aggressive, but if you’re not aggressive you’re not winning.”

This Saturday, Sharon Speedway’s “Steel Valley Thunder” program continues with the RUSH Late Models. It’s also Pittsburgh Circle Track Club Night. All members of the PCTC receive free admission when they present their membership card. Sharon will host a special midweek program featuring the All Star Sprint Cars in Ohio Speedweek on Tuesday night.

Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway hosted a regular show on Saturday night that included the RUSH Late Models. They also had some fun with a “Closest to the Pin” golf contest. In the feature, Nico Dabecco and Corey McPherson set the tone winning the two preliminary races. Starting on the outside of the front row, McPherson took control early and never relinquished control of the race. In the end, it was McPherson winning his first ever victory, both in a RUSH Late Model and at PPMS. The top five was rounded out by Steve Beatty, Mark Moats, Jr., Daryl Charlier and Dabecco. This Saturday, PPMS welcomes the B.O.S.S. 410 non-wing Sprints along with the regular divisions.

Saturday night at Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex, Troy Shields of Acme, Pa. picked up the victory in the RUSH Late Model feature event. Shields, who entered the night with nine top 11 finishes in as many nights, was finally able to win his first of the season. Sweeney Tour point leader Chad McClellan was second over Sweeney Weekly Series and “Futures Cup” point leader Michael Lake. John Over and Bill Pluta were fourth and fifth. Regular Saturday night racing continues this weekend at Roaring Knob.

Up north at McKean County Raceway, the East Smethport, Pa. oval continues to draw in stellar RUSH Late Models counts on a weekly basis. McKean’s lowest count this year out of seven events has been 22 and their average has been nearly 26 cars per night! On Saturday, 25 RUSH Dirt Late Models were on hand for the second straight week.

Brad Mesler shot around his father on the start of the feature with last year’s champion, Max Blair, quickly into second. Blair, who also took the win in the Super Late Model “Dave Lundgren Memorial” and was hoping to repeat his win from the night before at Freedom, moved into the lead by lap six. Point leader Chad Ruhlman started ninth and after working his way up to sixth passed four cars on one lap to make his way to second. A mid-race caution bunched up the field, putting Ruhlman on the rear bumper of leader Blair. Ruhlman made a sweeping pass on Blair on the restart and held on for his second consecutive win at the Smethport track. Blair held on for second with Bobby Rohrer, Damian Bidwell and Doug Ricotta in tow. For Ruhlman it was his fifth win of the season in seven races and his third from the ninth place starting position. Another “Super Six” racing program is on tap for this Saturday night.

Like Freedom, Winchester has now run four events and has had four different winners! It looked as though John Imler was preparing for his first win of the season at the Virginia oval as he held the top spot for 17 laps. On lap 18, Ralph Morgan Jr., coming from his sixth starting slot, took the top spot and went on to win his first ever Winchester Speedway feature victory. “That was some hard racing out there with John (Imler) tonight,” an excited Morgan said in victory lane as he had added to win earlier this season at Potomac. “We broke a shock in the heat race and worked on this thing until feature time, and to come home with a win is awesome.” Imler held on to the second spot followed by Transton Stoner, Darin Henderson and Jimmy Booth.

Also on Saturday night, America’s Motorsports Park held their first ever Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modified feature and Jeremy Zufall will go down as the inaugural winner. The Greensburg, Pa. driver was making just his fourth ever start in a Modified and was able to beat New York veteran Sportsman racers Greg Martin and three-time RUSH winner Adam Hilton. Adam Siegel and Rocky Kugel were fourth and fifth. Hilton continues to lead the points, which looks at drivers’ best 10 finishes throughout the season with the inaugural champion receiving $3,000!

Sunday night at Ontario’s Humberstone Speedway, Paul Grigsby and Rob Pietz led the RUSH Late Models to the green flag for their 20-lap main event with Grigsby showing the way. Pietz got loose exiting turn two and lost the handle of his ride, bringing out the caution. The restart saw Zack Carley showing the way. Ed Carley raced his way into second and began reeling in his son Zack, but this time the younger Carley held off his father for his first ever RUSH-sanctioned victory. Following Zack and Ed Carley were Paul Grigsby, Luke Carleton and Jorden Peters. Action continues at Humberstone this Sunday with a regular field of divisions, joined by the Mr. Dirt Modified Lite Tour.

While the RUSH Late Models were off the schedule at Potomac Speedway last Friday and the Sweeney Touring Series had the weekend off, they both come back in a big way this weekend! The “Mid-Atlantic States Classic” will take place Friday at Maryland’s Potomac Speedway and Saturday at Virginia’s Winchester Speedway. The two-night racing program will pay a whopping $2,500-to-win prize each night.

The Potomac and Winchester events will mark the richest Crate Late Model events ever held at each speedway with the Saturday Winchester show being the first ever Sweeney RUSH Tour event ever held in the state of Virginia! Drivers are expected from at least seven different states and ironically currently the top seven drivers in the Sweeney Tour points are made up of racers from six different states! “These will be exciting events for our Series,” said series co-director Vicki Emig. “Several racers from the Mid-Atlantic participated in our Sweeney Touring Series in 2013 so it’ll be nice for them to have two events closer to home.” If your travels take you to the Maryland/Northern Virginia area this weekend, these tracks are surely the places to be!

For the latest news, points, and happenings on the Sweeney RUSH Late Models and Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modifieds, check out, where you can go to each division’s site.

RUSH Late Model marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, The Brake Man, Bilstein Shocks, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, TurboStart, Beyea Headers, FK Rod Ends, Bobby Lake Motorsports, Driven Racing Oil, Crate Innovations Inc., Velocita-USA, High Gear Speed Shop,, Utsinger’s Towing, B.R.A.K.E.S.,, and Valley Fashions.

E-mail can be sent to the RUSH Racing Series at 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 Like our Facebook page for the Late Models at and follow us on Twitter @RUSHLM and for the Modifieds go to and @RUSHSportMods.