By Mike Leone
(Sarver, PA)…The 2019 racing season for the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model and the Sportsman Modified Touring Series powered by Pace Performance along with the RUSH Sprint Cars will come to a close this weekend (October 17-19) at Lernerville Speedway for the “Steel City Stampede”. The RUSH Late Models will compete in a Sweeney Marquee Tour event, while the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will battle in a Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Touring Series event, and the RUSH Sprint Cars in a Bonnell’s Rod Shop Weekly Series special. Though not in competition, the RUSH Pro Stock “Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance will take place in the registration tent at 2 p.m. on Saturday with $7,000 in product giveaways.
An open practice will be held Thursday night (October 17) with heat races for all divisions on Friday night followed by the conclusion of the events on Saturday. Group qualifying for the RUSH Late Models will be at 7 p.m. on Friday with racing starting early at 4 on Saturday. The rain date is Sunday.
“This is always a great way to end our season,” said RUSH Director Vicki Emig. “Our Late Model racers are always excited to get the chance to compete at Lernerville. The car counts have always been strong and the racing at Lernerville is always some of the best of the season. Our championship annually comes down to this event. The Sportsman Modifieds have been given the opportunity to race numerous times over the past six seasons at Lernerville. It’s been a great way to continue to grow this division, and we expect a large turnout this weekend. Lernerville was a very important part of getting our RUSH Sprint division off the ground in 2018, and their races this year at the track have been tremendous. We’ll also reward the Lernerville RUSH Pro Stock racers on Saturday with their Manufacturers Night.”
The RUSH Late Models are coming off a very successful record-setting “Bill Hendren Memorial” event presented by FK Rod Ends in conjunction with Pro Fabrication as part of the “Pittsburgher 100” at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway two weeks ago where Kyle Lukon won $5,200. Saturday’s event will pay $2,000 to-win. There will also be a $200 to-win, $150 to-start non-qualifier.
This year’s “Steel City Stampede” will be the 11th edition of this huge event that includes most of the region’s racing divisions all showcased in this end of the season blowout for the region. There has yet to be a repeat winner in the Crate Late Models; past winners include Josh Holtgraver (2009), Bryan Force (2010), Butch Lambert (2011), Max Blair (2012), Dennis Lunger, Jr. (2013), Chad Ruhlman (2014), Jacob Hawkins (2015), John Mollick (2016), John Waters (2017), and Colton Flinner (2018).
On the heels of three straight Sweeney Tour wins, Kyle Lukon has exploded into the points lead for the first time in his career. Lukon is up just three on defending champion, Jeremy Wonderling, who had to overtake Jason Genco last year in the finale at Lernerville to win the points. Wonderling has struggled of late with finishes of 12th or worse in four of the last five races. Michael Duritsky, Jr. has pretty much secured third in points, but would love to capture his first career Tour win at a track he runs well at. Braeden Dillinger, Ryan Frazee, and Logan Zarin are fourth through sixth in points in their first year on the Tour. Completing the top 12 points paying positions are Bill Kessler, Jason Genco, Max Blair, Kyle Murray, Chad Sines, and John Waters.
Meanwhile, the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will join the “Steel City Stampede” for the sixth consecutive year. Greg Martin won the inaugural race in 2014, while Nick Ritchey won his first ever at Lernerville in 2015. Rocky Kugel topped what was at the time in 2016 was a record field of 29 cars. Steve Slater won the 2017 event, while last year saw teen Blaze Myers score a popular first Tour win after coming out of the B main to also win the “Futures Cup” title. The Sportsman Mods will complete their fifth season of Bicknell Touring Series competition and will be featured in an $800 to-win event.
By virtue of three wins, Garrett Krummert leads the Tour points by 26 over Jim Rasey, who is in his first year of RUSH racing. Krummert can clinch his second straight title by finishing 22nd or better on Saturday night. The Hovis Weekly Series Championship is a different story as Krummert, Chas Wolbert, and Rob Kristyak are in a three-way tie for the lead. A win by any of the three drivers will earn them the $3,000 title. If none of the three wins and one finishes second, that driver will earn the title. If none of the three finish in the two top, then Krummert wins the tiebreaker. David Kalb, Jr. has already clinched the “Futures Cup” title.
The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds have only raced once thus far this season at Lernerville. Back on July 26, Kristyak topped a 28-car field for the Weekly Series win, and will now look to perform the feat again and take the title.
The RUSH Sprints will wrap up their sophomore season this weekend racing for $800 to-win, $160 to-start. Chad Ruhlman has already clinched up his second $5,000 Bonnell’s Rod Shop Championship. Ruhlman has won 10 times in 2019 including one of the two Lernerville races. Zach Morrow won the other on August 31 for the “Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance, which had an all-time high 21 cars in action. Morrow, who finished third in last year’s points, sits second over Brian Woodhall, who led the points for much of the season. Jeremy Weaver and Brandon Blackshear are fourth and fifth in points in their first season of Sprint Car racing.
The annual “Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance for the RUSH Pro Stocks will take place on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in the registration tent. The 14 drivers that competed at least six times in 2019 at Lernerville will be eligible for the $7,000 in product giveaways. There will be one prize per driver. Each driver will also receive a buy one get one free Landrum Spring for an additional total value of more than $1,000. Due to the Stampede being an “open” rules event, drivers do not need to be present or compete to be eligible to win the prizes.
FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock Qualifying and Beat the Heat” will be utilized on Friday night for the Late Models meaning the fastest qualifier will receive $100 and all heat race winners will earn $25. The pole position dash will also be run on Friday night this year.
The Zarin Truck & Auto “$500 Club” drawings will take place on Saturday at the drivers meeting. The top 15 drivers in Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway and Dog Hollow Speedway track points that compete will be eligible for the five $100 drawings.
For both the Late Models and Modifieds, Precise Racing Products will award a $100 gift card for the “Pedal Down” Hard Charger that passes the most cars in the feature. The TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night” will award three bottles of Xtreme6 Racing Brake Fluid valued at approximately $45 along with a certificate for a discount off any TBM Brakes purchase for both classes.
RUSH Sportsman Modified Series Officials will determine the Sherwood Racing Wheels “Man of Steel” award winner as one that bounced back from an earlier mishap to finish the event strongly each night. The selected driver will receive a certificate for a free Sherwood Racing Wheel.
The Ontime Body & Graphic “Spoiler Alert” will award a $150 spoiler to the 15th place finisher of the Late Model feature. The Dirt Defender “Defensive Drive” will go to the driver that best defended his position throughout the night in both the Late Models and Modifieds. This award chosen by RUSH Officials will award a $40 Dirt Defender product package. A Sunoco 5-Gallon Race Jug will go to the winner of each Tour race.
RUSH Late Model Feature Payoff: 1. $2,000 2. $1,000 3. $650 4. $550 5. $470 6. $435 7. $410 8. $370 9. $340 10. $310 11. $280 12. $270 13. $260 14. $250 15. $240 16. $235 17. $230 18-24. $225.
RUSH Late Model Non-Qualifier Payoff: 1. $200 2. $190 3. $185 4. $180 5. $175 6. $170 7. $165 8. $160 9. $155 10-24. $150. Tow $125.
RUSH Sportsman Modified Feature Payoff: 1. $800 2. $500 3. $350 4. $300 5. $250 6. $220 7. $180 8. $175 9. $170 10. $165 11. $160 12. $155 13. $150 14. $145 15. $140 16. $135 17. $130 18-24. $125. Tow $75.
RUSH Sprint Car Feature Payoff: 1. $800 2. $400 3. $300 4. $250 5. $225 6. $220 7. $210 8. $200 9. $190 10. $185 11. $180 12. $175 13. $170 14-18. $165 19-24. $160. Tow $75.
2019 Sweeney RUSH Late Model Touring Series points (only Tour members receive points): 1. Kyle Lukon 1146 2. Jeremy Wonderling 1143 3. Michael Duritsky, Jr. 1114 4. Braeden Dillinger 1086 5. Ryan Frazee 1051 6. Logan Zarin 1010 7. Bill Kessler 972 8. Jason Genco 787 9. Max Blair 766 10. Kyle Murray 685 11. Chad Sines 632 12. John Waters 595 13. Brian Knowles 579 14. Sam Pennacchio 537 15. Jared Kane & Jamie Wrightsman 506 17. Darrell Bossard 498 18. J.J. Mazur 472 19. Ross Robinson 464 20. Scott Gunn 404 21. Logan Roberson 384 22. Matt Latta 342 23. Dale Hollidge 254 24. Jason Knowles 244 25. Trever Feathers 243 26. Cody Dawson 233 27. John Mollick 226 28. Paul Norman 217 29. Cory Sines 215 30. Dale McDonald, Jr. 210 31. Garret Paugh 192 32. Jon Rivers 171 33. Al Shawver, Jr. 140 34. Beamer Guzzardi 80.
2019 Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modified Hovis Touring Series Points (only Tour members receive points): 1. Garrett Krummert 494 2. Jim Rasey 468 3. Chas Wolbert 464 4. Rob Kristyak 458 5. Kole Holden 449 6. Kyle Martell 418 7. Greg Porter & Jacob Jordan 402 9. Tony Tatgenhorst 353 10. David Kalb, Jr. 239 11. Cameron Nastasi 239 12. Blaze Myers 179 13. Jacob Wolfe 159 14. Nathen McDowell 142 15. Will Thomas III 94 16. Jordan Ehrenberg & Brandon Ritchey 87 18. Tom Urey 76.
2019 Sweeney RUSH Sprint Car Bonnell’s Rod Shop Weekly Series Points (based on best 12 finishes): 1. Chad Ruhlman 1321 2. Zach Morrow 1304 3. Brian Woodhall 1297 4. Jeremy Weaver 1278 5. Brandon Blackshear 1243 6. Kevin Ruhlman 1240 7. Andy Feil 1217 8. Shawn Smith 1210 9. Arnie Kent 1208 10. Brad Blackshear 1207 11. Steve Pedley 1187 12. Dave Hawkins 1184 13. Matt Sherlock III 1174 14. Brian Hartzell 1169 15. Tyler Powell 1050 16. Brian Ruhlman 849 17. John Mollick 763 18. Nolan Groves 756 19. Brandon Hawkins 676 20. Brad Church 672 21. Scott Hawkins 577 22. Ryan Fraley 484 23. Greg Beach 474 24. Frank Wilson, Jr. 374 25. Phil Thornton 284 26. Jim Kurpakus 90.
The AMB/MyLaps transponders are required at Lernerville. Driver radios are always mandatory at the 454.000 channel. The entry fee is $100 for Late Models and $35 for Sportsman Modifieds. There will be an open practice from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday night. Registration and tech opens at 2 p.m. on Friday. Drivers meeting at 6:20 p.m. with group qualifying for the RUSH Late Models at 7:00 followed by heat races at 7:30. Racing begins early on Saturday at 4 p.m. Check out the following link for additional “Steel City Stampede” event details https://nebula.wsimg.com/ea019ef4e043565caba57861b8f4d24b?AccessKeyId=8E2905451B0FC458A421&disposition=0&alloworigin=1.
Lernerville is a 4/10-mile high-banked clay oval located 11 miles southeast of Butler, Pa. on Route 356 at 313 North Pike Road, Sarver, PA 16055. Lernerville is just 30 miles northeast of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. For more information, check out their website at www.lernerville.com or call 724-353-1511 (office) or 724-353-1350 (track).
RUSH Racing Series is brought to you by Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC & Pace Performance 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, FK Rod Ends, Wehrs Machine & Racing Products, 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, Trailer-Alarms.com, Bonnell’s Rod Shop, Zarin Truck & Automotive, Sherwood Wheels, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, CrateInsider.com, and Valley Fashions.