Pegher Jr Withstands Challenges from Logan Roberson for Second RUSH Late Model Win

By MIKE LEONE

FRANKLIN, PA – The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series powered by Pace Performance completed a busy stretch with its third event over the past nine days on Sunday at Tri-City Raceway Park. The spacious half-mile northwest Pennsylvania track owned by Mark Tatalovic hosted Sweeney Tour race #12 of the 2017 season in its second and final visit of the season. A season high 48 cars turned out from all over Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, West Virginia, Virginia, and Delaware for the sixth annual “Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance as nearly $50,000 in cash and contingencies were distributed.

After going nearly 15 months without a Sweeney Tour win, Mike Pegher, Jr. has been on a roll in the last nine days. Pegher nailed down the $4,010 “Jook George Steel City Classic” last Saturday at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway, finished second on Thursday at McKean County Raceway, then on Sunday took the lead from Andrew Wylie on lap on lap seven and held off Logan Roberson for the $2,000 win! Pegher earned $7,110 in cash plus contingencies for car owner Brian Swank over that nine-day stretch!

“I wasn’t sure where he was at,” explained the 31-year-old Cranberry Twp., Pa. driver when asked about Roberson. “I kept looking at the scoreboard and saw he got to second. I wasn’t sure how big of a lead I had until that caution. I felt I was better through the middle, but after that caution I kept hearing him down there on the bottom. My crew guy kept signaling me to go to the bottom, but my car didn’t feel near as good down there. Hats off to those guys for finishing second- that’s a good job. Vicki (Emig) and Mike (Leone) do such a good job for this sport. With nearly 50 cars here and at Pittsburgh last week it just shows you how many cars are around. Thanks to Tri-City. I wish we could come here more often as we enjoy coming here.”

Despite finishing runner-up to Pegher in the K&N Dash, Andrew Wylie flew into the lead on the start of the 30-lap feature with Pegher in tow. Roberson passed Sweeney Tour point leader, Bryce Davis, for third on the opening lap as Davis, and Jason Genco trailed. On lap three, Roberson closed in on Pegher in the battle for second and one lap later, it was a three-car race for the lead with Wylie trying to fend off Pegher and Roberson.




Pegher pulled even with Wylie on laps six and seven. Pegher would make what would turn out to be the winning move on lap seven as he slipped under Wylie in turn four. Less than one lap later, Roberson got under Wylie racing down the backstretch and completed the pass for second at the conclusion of lap eight. Pegher then began to open up some ground on Roberson, while Davis challenged Wylie for third and nosed ahead for the spot on lap 10.

As the laps ticked off caution-free, Pegher caught lapped traffic on lap 12 allowing Roberson to close back in, but three laps later, Pegher once again stretched his lead. The battle for fourth heated up as Wylie had his hands full with Genco and Chad Wright on lap 19. Wyle couldn’t clear the lapped car of Brian Swank with the pressure on from Genco and Wright and spun to bring out the event’s first caution. Wylie was awarded the TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”.

The caution was a break for Genco as he moved to fourth for the restart then edged ahead of Davis at the start-finish line of lap 22. Meanwhile back up front, Roberson was right on Pegher on lap 24 looking to make the pass for the lead before a three-car accident involving Swank, Jake Gunn, and Trevor Collins. The accident set-up a six-lap dash to the finish. When racing resumed, Roberson actually pulled even with Pegher on lap 26, but just couldn’t complete the pass. Pegher opened up a little breathing room in the final laps as he took his eighth career Sweeney Tour win by 0.733 of a second in the Brian Swank-owned, Royal Flush Oil & Gas/Mike’s Classic Car Wash/Jack’s Recycling-sponsored #RJ1.

It was quite the four days for Roberson, who finished fifth at Volunteer Speedway in Tennessee on Thursday, third at Path Valley Speedway in central Pa. on Friday, won at Virginia’s Winchester Speedway on Saturday, and then earned $1,000 for his runner-up finish Sunday in his 2017 Sweeney Tour debut. From the time Roberson left home on Thursday until getting home early Monday morning, the team logged some 1,500 miles. Roberson was chosen as the Maxima Racing Oil “Maximum Performance” award winner.

“We got to lapped traffic and pulled up alongside of him (Pegher) and I thought ‘here’s my chance’ but he was just a little bit better than I was in longer runs,” stated the 19-year-old runner-up finisher. “Congrats to him and his crew- that was a great race. I don’t like running second. I wanted to try something. I was either going to be hero or go to the back so I tried everything I had. We’ve been gone from home since Thursday and we’ve got a seven-hour ride home- I’m ready to be there. Vicki (Emig) couldn’t put together a better series than she has. She gives away a lot of product, the point series, the races, the race tracks- everything is phenomenal!”

Genco recorded his third straight podium finish and has finished in the top six in four of his five Sweeney Tour starts this season. “It’s been a struggle up until now but it’s finally coming together,” expressed the 33-year-old Frewsburg, NY driver. “I think Bryce (Davis) must have had 55’s (tires) on. He stumbled a bit on the start and I got my nose in there. He raced me clean- it was fun. We have tons of sponsors plus Jimmy Craig and Jason Badgley; if it wasn’t for these two guys I wouldn’t even be racing here tonight so hats off to them. They give me everything I need and we’re racing with the best of the best so third is like a win to me right now. With it being Manufactures Night, that always brings in a lot of heavy hitters. Thanks to RUSH, it’s really cool what they do.”

After dropping out of Thursday’s feature at McKean ending his streak of six straight top fives, Davis was fourth for his 10th top five in 12 starts this season to maintain his point lead over John Waters. Wright recorded his season’s best finish in fifth. Completing the top 10 were Jeremy Wonderling from 10th, Matt Latta, J.J, Mazur from 15th, and brothers Jason and Brian Knowles.

Mike Wonderling, Jr. went from 24th to 15th to earn the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger. Scott Gurdak was the final car on the lead lap in 16th and received a $25 CrateInsider.com gift certificate. Khole Wanzer was the first driver to fail to qualify for the feature and received the ARbodies “Nosed Out” nose kit contingency.

Mike Franklin ended the night leading wire-to-wire to win the eight-lap non-qualifier event. The Winchester, Virginia driver crossed the finish line by 0.798 of a second ahead of Wanzer to earn $175. Chris Withers was third in his first Sweeney Tour appearance of 2017. Matt Sipes came from seventh to finish fourth and took over the point lead in the “Wheelman” Bonus Event Challenge Series. Bob Mitcham III was fifth.

Roberson also earned $100 for setting fast time in FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock Qualifying” with a lap of 19.663, $25 for winning an FK Rod Ends heat race, and $25 for finishing fourth in the K&N Dash bringing his night’s earnings to $1,150 plus all of the contingencies he took home. Wylie, Waters, Pegher, and Davis also added $25 FK Rod End heat race victories. Nathan Earle and Brad Mesler split the last chance B main wins. Pegher captured his first K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash win of the season to earn a $100 K&N certificate over Wylie, who added a $50 K&N certificate.

The Sweeney Tour will now be off until the “Fall Classic” on September 29-30 at McKean County Raceway in East Smethport. Friday night will featuring FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying and FK Rod Ends Heats. Saturday will be the conclusion of the program highlighted by a $2,500 to-win 30-lap feature event.

Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series Race #12 (30 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. MIKE PEGHER, JR. (Swank RJ1) [1]; 2. Logan Roberson (17) [4]; 3. Jason Genco (Craig 29J) [6]; 4. Bryce Davis (94) [3]; 5. Chad Wright (6) [8]; 6. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) [10]; 7. Matt Latta (B1D) [7]; 8. J.J. Mazur (13) [9]; 9. Jason Knowles (4) [11]; 10. Brian Knowles (7) [16]; 11. Dennis Lunger (Schwartz 71L) [12]; 12. Daryl Charlier (12) [18]; 13. Eric Wilson (27W) [13]; 14. Jake Gunn (14G) [17]; 15. Mike Wonderling, Jr. (18) [24]; 16. Scott Gurdak (5G) [19]; 17. Trevor Collins (11C) [23]; 18. Brian Swank (12s) [25]; 19. John Waters (LeBarron 11) [5]; 20. Cory Lawler (93) [20]; 21. Andrew Wylie (84) [2]; 22. Brad Mesler (24B) [22]; 23. Bruce Hordusky, Jr. (3) [15]; 24. Nathan Earle (17E) [21]; 25. Christian Schneider (Maniewki 1ST) [14]. (Note: Brian Swank took a Series provisional)

Non-Qualifier (8 laps, $175 to-win): 1. Mike Franklin (74) 2. Khole Wanzer (01W) 3. Chris Withers (21W) 4. Matt Sipes (25) 5. Bob Mitcham III (827) 6. Hunter Hulley (09) 7. John McGee (Wanzer 7J). 8. John Lacki (Raynor 33R)-DNS 9. Paul Norman (6)-DNS 10. Darrell Bossard (Winans 213)-DNS 11. Kurt Stebbins (26)-DNS 12. Jennae Piper (14)-DNS 13. Mike Lozowski (41)-DNS 14. Bobby Pifer III (Schwartz 71P)-DNS 15. Bill Kessler (09)-DNS 16. T.J. Downs (1)-DNS 17. Andy Michael (17x)-DNS 18. Clinton Hersh (16)-DNS 19. Kyle Murray (21)-DNS 20. Steve LeBarron (29)-DNS 21. Wyatt Scott (x3)-DNS 22. Tony White (27T)-DNS 23. Paul Jablonski (3J)-DSQ (seals).

Car Count: 48
Margin of Victory: 0.733 of a second.
Feature Lap Leaders: Andrew Wylie (1-6), Mike Pegher, Jr. (7-30)
Maxima Oil “Maximum Performance”: Logan Roberson
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Mike Wonderling, Jr. (+9)
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”: Andrew Wylie
CrateInsider.com “Last Car on Lead Lap”: Scott Gurdak
ARbodies “Nosed Out: Khole Wanzer

FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying ($100 for fast time): 1. 17R – Logan Roberson (19.663) 2. 14G – Jake Gunn (19.763) 3. 6 – Chad Wright (19.766) 4. RJ1 – Mike Pegher, Jr. (19.805) 5. 94 – Bryce Davis (19.878) 6. 29J – Jason Genco (19.881) 7. 84 – Andrew Wylie (19.898) 8. 11L – John Waters (19.933) 9. 1ST – Christian Schneider (19.960) 10. 3J – Jeremy Wonderling (19.979) 11. 4 – Jason Knowles (20.006) 12. 29 – Steve LeBarron (20.050) 13. 27W – Eric Wilson (20.069) 14. 13 – J.J. Mazur (20.072) 15. 7 – Brian Knowles (20.096) 16. B1D – Matt Latta (20.119) 17. 12 – Daryl Charlier (20.166) 18. 24B – Brad Mesler (20.168) 19. 3 – Bruce Hordusky, Jr. (20.208) 20. x3 – Wyatt Scott (20.220) 21. 71L – Dennis Lunger, Jr. (20.255) 22. 16 – Clinton Hersh (20.277) 23. 12s – Brian Swank (20.277) 24. 18 – Mike Wonderling, Jr. (20.369) 25. 93 – Cory Lawler (20.376) 26. 11C – Trevor Collins (20.406) 27. 26 – Kurt Stebbins (20.439) 28. 17E – Nathan Earle (20.443) 29. 6 – Paul Norman (20.534) 30. 01W – Khole Wanzer (20.550) 31. 74 – Mike Franklin (20.555) 32. 25 – Matt Sipes (20.560) 33. 1 – T.J. Downs (20.590) 34. 5G – Scott Gurdak (20.599) 35. 14 – Jennae Piper (20.625) 36. 213 – Darrell Bossard (20.668) 37. 71P – Bobby Pifer III (20.773) 38. 21W – Chris Withers (20.882) 39. 41 – Mike Lozowski (20.958) 40. 09 – Bill Kessler (20.989) 41. 827 – Bob Mitcham III 21.080 42. 17X – Andy Michael (21.125) 43. 09 – Hunter Hulley (21.133) 44. 7J – John McGee (21.218) 45. 33R – John Lacki (23.077) 46. 21 – Kyle Murray (23.321) 47. 27T – Tony White (NT) 48. 3J – Paul Jablonski (NT).

FK Rod Ends Heat 1 (8 laps, $25 to-win, Top 4 transfer): 1. 17R – Logan Roberson [1]; 2. 29J – Jason Genco [2]; 3. 4 – Jason Knowles [3]; 4. 7 – Brian Knowles [4]; 5. 11C – Trevor Collins [6]; 6. 213 – Darrell Bossard [8]; 7. 74 – Mike Franklin [7]; 8. 09 – Bill Kessler [9]; 9. 21 – Kyle Murray [10]; 10. X3 – Wyatt Scott [5]

FK Rod Ends Heat 2 (8 laps, $25 to-win, Top 4 transfer): 1. 84 – Andrew Wylie [2]; 2. B1D – Matt Latta [4]; 3. 71L – Dennis Lunger [5]; 4. 14G – Jake Gunn [1]; 5. 18 – Mike Wonderling, Jr. [8]; 6. 26 – Kurt Stebbins [6]; 7. 25 – Matt Sipes [7]; 8. 17X – Andy Michael [9]; 9. 29 – Steve LeBarron [3]; 10. 27T – Tony White [DNS]

FK Rod Ends Heat 3 (8 laps, $25 to-win, Top 4 transfer): 1. 11 – John Waters [2]; 2. 6 – Chad Wright [1]; 3. 27W – Eric Wilson [3]; 4. 12 – Daryl Charlier [4]; 5. 17E – Nathan Earle [6]; 6. 09 – Hunter Hulley [9]; 7. 71P – Bobby Pifer III [8]; 8. 16 – Clinton Hersh [5]; 9. 1 – T.J. Downs [7]; 10. 3J – Paul Jablonski [DNS]

FK Rod Ends Heat 4 (8 laps, $25 to-win, Top 4 transfer): 1. RJ1 – Mike Pegher, Jr. [1]; 2. 13 – J.J. Mazur [3]; 3. 1ST – Christian Schneider [2]; 4. 5G – Scott Gurdak [7]; 5. 24B – Brad Mesler [4]; 6. 6 – Paul Norman [6]; 7. 12s – Brian Swank [5]; 8. 21W – Chris Withers [8]; 9. 7J – John McGee [9]

FK Rod Ends Heat 5 (8 laps, $25 to-win, Top 4 transfer): 1. 94 – Bryce Davis [1]; 2. 3J – Jeremy Wonderling [2]; 3. 3 – Bruce Hordusky, Jr. [3]; 4. 93 – Cory Lawler [4]; 5. 01W – Khole Wanzer [5]; 6. 33R – John Lacki [9]; 7. 14 – Jennae Piper [6]; 8. 41 – Mike Lozowski [7]; 9. 827 – Bob Mitcham III [8]

Last Chance B Main 1 (10 laps, Top 2 transfer): 1. 17E – Nathan Earle [2]; 2. 11C – Trevor Collins [1]; 3. 01W – Khole Wanzer [3]; 4. 6 – Paul Norman [5]; 5. 74 – Mike Franklin [6]; 6. 14 – Jennae Piper [8]; 7. 21W – Chris Withers [10]; 8. 827 – Bob Mitcham III [13]; 9. 71P – Bob Pifer III [7]; 10. 25 – Matt Sipes [4] 11. 1 – T.J. Downs [14] 12. 17X – Andy Michael [DNS]; 13. 21 – Kyle Murray [DNS]; 14. 27T – Tony White [DNS].

Last Chance B Main 2 (10 laps, Top 2 transfer): 1. 24B – Brad Mesler [2]; 2. 18 – Mike Wonderling, Jr. [1]; 3. 33R – John Lacki [5]; 4. 213 – Darrell Bossard [3]; 5. 26 – Kurt Stebbins [6]; 6. 7J – John McGee [12]; 7. 09 – Hunter Hulley [8]; 8. 41 – Mike Lozowski [10]; 9. 09 – Bill Kessler [8] 10. 12s – Brian Swank [DNS]; 11. 16 – Clinton Hersh [DNS] 12. 29 – Steve LeBarron [DNS]; 13. x3 – Wyatt Scott [DNS]; 14. 3J – Paul Jablonski [DNS].

K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash (6 laps, $100 K&N certificate to-win): 1. RJ1 – Mike Pegher, Jr. [2]; 2. 84 – Andrew Wylie [1]; 3. 94 – Bryce Davis [3]; 4. 17R – Logan Roberson [5]; 5. 11L – John Waters [4].

RUSH Late Model marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, Earl’s Performance Plumbing, Quick Fuel Technology, FK Rod Ends, Maxima Racing Oil, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, TBM Brakes, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, Rocket Chassis, Landrum Performance Spring, CrateInsider.com, RockAuto.com, and Valley Fashions.

E-mail can be sent to the RUSH Racing Series at info@rushracingseries.com 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 www.rushracingseries.com. Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rushlatemodels and follow us on Twitter @RUSHLM.

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