By Mike Leone
(Sarver, PA)…The Pace Performance RUSH Racing Series together with Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC will have a tripleheader of action this weekend (October 15-17) at Lernerville Speedway for the “Steel City Stampede”. The RUSH Late Model Tour finale will lead the way, while the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will battle in a Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Weekly Series special, and the RUSH Sprint Cars in an Equipment Rental Options Weekly Series special. Practice will be held Thursday night (October 15) 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 followed by racing at 7:30. On Saturday, racing will begin early at 4 p.m. The rain date is Sunday.
“This is always a great way to end our season,” stated RUSH Director Vicki Emig. “The RUSH championships annually comes down to this event. 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. The Sportsman Modifieds have been given the opportunity to race numerous times over the past seven seasons at Lernerville. 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.”
This year’s “Steel City Stampede” will be the 12th 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 only been one repeat RUSH Late Model winner and it took until last year for that to happen; past winners include Josh Holtgraver (2009), Bryan Force (2010), Butch Lambert (2011), Max Blair (2012 & 2019), Dennis Lunger, Jr. (2013), Chad Ruhlman (2014), Jacob Hawkins (2015), John Mollick (2016), John Waters (2017), and Colton Flinner (2018).
Saturday’s event will pay $2,000 to-win. There will also be a $200 to-win, $150 to-start non-qualifier. 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.
There has yet to be a repeat winning on the 2020 RUSH Late Model Tour. The season got underway at Lernerville on June 27 when Blair won the $10,000 “Bill Emig Memorial” for the second straight year. Since then, Garret Paugh, Michael Norris, Kyle Lukon and Levi Crowl have been victorious at Pittsburgh. Will there be a sixth different winner in six events this weekend!?
One driver looking for his first Tour win of 2020 is Jeremy Wonderling. The Wellsville, NY driver enters the weekend as the points leader in both the Pace National Weekly Series and Touring Series Championships. Wonderling has never won the Weekly title; however, is poised for his third consecutive Tour title. Wonderling hasn’t finished worse than sixth in any Tour race this year. While Wonderling has all but locked up the Tour Driver Championship, his lead is only 14 on the Bob Bentz-owned #60M in the Tour Car Owner Championship. Alex Ferree raced the #60M to a runner-up finish on October 2, while John Mollick was chasing after a Lernerville Big-Block Modified Championship. Completing the top 10 in Driver points are Joe Martin, Josh Ferry, Michael Duritsky, Jr., Ryan Frazee, Bill Kessler, Tony White, Mollick, and Kassidy Kamicker.
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.
Meanwhile, the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will join the “Steel City Stampede” for the seventh consecutive year in an $800 to-win event. 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 show, while teen Blaze Myers scored a popular first Tour win in 2018 after coming out of the B main to also win the “Futures Cup” title. Last year, Eric Gabany became the sixth different “Steel City Stampede” winner in as many years. Interestingly, three of the top RUSH Sportsman Mod winners in recent years, Garrett Krummert, Chas Wolbert, and Rob Kristyak, have yet to win a “Steel City Stampede” belt buckle.
The RUSH Sportsman Mods have made one visit this season to Lernerville this year on July 24 for the “RUSH Summer Showcase” when Wolbert topped a 23-car field. Wolbert has already clinched his first Hovis Weekly Series title. Kristyak, who won the Wedge Motorsports “Route 7 Rumble” Series title, has locked up second in points. Kole Holden, Tony Tatgenhorst, and Kyle Martell sit third through fifth in points. Ayden Cipriano, who clinched the Hovis “Futures Cup” Championship, is sixth in points.
The RUSH Sprints will wrap up their third season this weekend racing for $800 to-win, $160 to-start. In their two prior Lernerville appearances this year, Jeremy Weaver won on July 24 and Jack Sodeman, Jr. won on October 2 in his RUSH Sprint Car debut. Weaver has already clinched the Equipment Rental Options Weekly Series point championship in the Hull Racing #41.
By virtue of his third consecutive Pittsburgh win this season last Saturday night, Zach Morrow vaulted to second in the Equipment Rental Options Weekly Series points. Morrow won twice at Lernerville each of the past two seasons, and would love to end 2020 victorious to clinch the runner-up spot in points for the second straight year. Steve Pedley, Andy Feil, and Brian Hartzell are third through fifth in points. Pedley won his first career feature earlier this season at Sharon Speedway.
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.
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. There is no entry fee for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds or RUSH Sprint Cars. There will be an open practice from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday night. Registration and tech opens at 2 p.m. on Friday. There will be a 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://www.dirtcarmembers.com/upload/1cca92020%20Stampede%20Comp%20notes%20%20.pdf.
Late Model Touring Series Driver Points (must be a member to receive points):1. Jeremy Wonderling 468 2. Joe Martin 435 3. Josh Ferry 426 4. Michael Duritsky, Jr. 424 5. Logan Zarin 418 6. Ryan Frazee 379 7. Bill Kessler 371 8. Tony White 363 9. John Mollick 356 10. Kassidy Kamicker 280 11. John Waters 250 12. Chad Sines 244 13. Max Blair 179 14. Chub Frank 171 15. Cory Sines 149 16. Jamie Wrightsman 140 17. Jason Genco 90 18. Kyle Murray 82 19. Justin Kann 72 20. Robbie Scott 71.
Late Model Touring Series Car Owner Points (must be a member to receive points): 1. Jeremy Wonderling 3J 468 2. Robert Bentz 60M 454 3. Thomas Snyder 10s 435 4. Ferry’s Millennium Motorsports 33 426 5. Michael Duritsky 90J 424 6. James Zarin 1z 418 7. SSR Sines & Sons Racing 15 401 8. Ryan Frazee 11F 379 9. William Kessler 09 371 10. Anthony White 27T 363 11. James Wrightsman 21J 285 12. Craig Kamicker 72B 280 13. Dale LeBarron 11 250 14. William Blair 111 179 15. Chub Frank 1* 171 16. SSR Sines & Sons Racing 25s 149 17. JP Craig Racing 29J 90 18. Kyle Murray 21 82 19. Justin Kann 66 72 20. James Zarin 18 71.
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.
RUSH Racing Series is brought to you by Pace Performance together with Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC 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, Zarin Truck & Automotive, Sherwood Wheels, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, CrateInsider.com, and Wedge Motorsports.