From Mike Leone
October 18-19, 2019: Zach Morrow has taken quite a liking to Lernerville Speedway. Last year, Morrow’s only two RUSH Sprint Car wins came at the track not far from his Gibsonia, Pa. home. Earlier this season, Morrow topped a record 21-car field at Lernerville during “Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance in what was one of the best races in Series history, and on Saturday night out-dueled “Futures Cup” Champion, Kevin Ruhlman, for his fifth career win with four of them coming at the Sarver, Pa. oval. Morrow earned $800 for his win and secured the $2,500 runner-up spot in points behind now two-time $5,000 Bonnell’s Rod Shop Champion, Chad Ruhlman.
“That was a blast,” expressed the 29-year-old winner. “Kevin (Ruhlman) is a hell of a wheelman and he’s learned from his old man (Chad Ruhlman). His old man has stolen plenty of these from me so to get a big check is pretty awesome. These cars are fun to drive. You can race anywhere and don’t have to be bat shit crazy to do it. Honestly anyone can be successful with some laps. Right around $15,000 can get you a really competitive race ready car. I’d like to thank my wife, my sponsors, and all of the RUSH sponsors. My aunt and uncle are here- that’s pretty awesome to get a win in front of them.”
Third starting Kevin Ruhlman snuck under front row starters Greg Beach and Tyler Powell on the opening lap of the 20-lap feature with his uncle Brian moving into second from the fourth starting spot. It was three-wide for second on laps two and three with seventh starting Shawn Smith finding good bite on the bottom to race to second with sixth starting Morrow halfway to the front in third.
Morrow then drove around Smith in turn four on lap four for second and two laps later ran down leader Kevin Ruhlman. The two traded sliders battling for the lead on lap 11 before Dave Hawkins spun to bring out the first caution with 11 laps scored. One more lap was completed before a four-car accident in turn one involving Beach, Powell, Arnie Kent, and Brad Blackshear. That would be the final caution as the last eight circuits went green-to-checkered.
When green replaced yellow on lap 13, Brian Ruhlman reclaimed third from Smith. Back up front, Morrow and Kevin Ruhlman resumed their battle for the lead again trading sliders, but this time Morrow made the pass stick in turn four on lap 15 to deny Kevin a shot at his first career win. Brian Ruhlman and Shawn Smith would both get by Kevin in the closing laps for second and third. Out front though, Morrow was too strong taking his Alternative Power Sources/Generational Dental/ConsumerLaw365.com/Wood’s Rod & Customs/FK Rod Ends/Precise Racing Products-sponsored #27 to victory lane by 1.374 seconds.
Brian Ruhlman, who also won the $1,000 UMP Modified feature on Saturday, was second for the second straight year at the “Steel City Stampede”. It also marked Ruhlman’s fourth runner-up finish this season in just eight starts as he continues to be close to his first career Sprint Car win. Smith was third for his third podium finish of the season. After leading the first 14 laps, Kevin Ruhlman dropped to fourth. Brian Woodhall charged from the 16th starting spot to fifth. Completing the top 10 were Jeremy Weaver, Steve Pedley from 12th, Chad Ruhlman from 14th, Brandon Hawkins from 19th, and Brian Hartzell. Brian Ruhlman and Shawn Smith won the heat races over the 20-car field.
This concludes the 2019 season for the Sweeney Late Model Tour, Hovis Sportsman Modified Tour, and RUSH Sprint Cars. The 2019 RUSH Racing Series Awards Banquet & Dinner will be held on Saturday, January 25, 2020 at Gatherings Banquet & Event Center located just west of New Castle, Pa. on Route 422 in Edinburg, Pa.
RUSH Sprint Cars Bonnell’s Rod Shop Weekly Series Race #19(20 laps, $800 to-win):1. ZACH MORROW (27) 2. Brian Ruhlman (49) 3. Shawn Smith (36) 4. Kevin Ruhlman (23) 5. Brian Woodhall 6. Jeremy Weaver (Hull 41) 7. Steve Pedley (21) 8. Chad Ruhlman (87R) 9. Brandon Hawkins (27H) 10. Brian Hartzell (69) 11. Brandon Blackshear (10) 12. Scott Hawkins (37) 13. Andy Feil (Mahoney/Eckart 9J) 14. Nolan Groves (25) 15. Dave Hawkins (27) 16. Tyler Powell (35) 17. Greg Beach (Clever 33x) 18. Matt Sherlock III (55) 19. Arnie Kent (18) 20. Brad Blackshear (19).