By MIKE LEONE
PULASKI, PA – The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Racing Series powered by Pace Performance heads to Tri-City Raceway Park this Sunday (June 17) for a Father’s Day doubleheader featuring the Sweeney Late Model Touring Series and the new RUSH Sprint Cars in a Bonnell’s Rod Shop Weekly Series event part of the annual “Bill Emig Memorial”. The “410” Sprint Cars will also be on the program. Racing begins at 6 p.m. There is a rain date of June 24.
Tri-City is in the fourth year of ownership by Mark Tatalovic. While Sunday will be the third race event of the season at the beautiful half-mile facility in Venango County, it’ll be the first on the new surface as numerous tri-axle loads of red clay was brought in very similar to what Lernerville and Sharon Speedways have. Sunday will mark the first of two appearances by both RUSH Late Model Tour and RUSH Sprint Cars. The Sprints will return on July 15, while the Late Models will be back for “Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance on August 19.
For the third straight year, Tri-City will host the annual “Bill Emig Memorial”. The “Marquee” Late Model Tour event will be highlighted by a $2,000 to-win 30-lap feature along with $100 FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying, and $25 to-win heat races in addition to the $100 to-win “John Buzzard Memorial” Dash. One driver could earn $2,225 with a clean sweep of the night! Meanwhile, the RUSH Sprint Cars will battle for $500 to-win, $125 to-start.
The Late Model winner will also receive a natural hardwood “Bill Emig Memorial” laser etched award by Steve Hendren of Hendren Racing Engines. Emig was a Semi-Late and Six-Cylinder Modified car owner from 1969 until his passing in 1990. Emig had successful drivers pilot the #1 Ford such as Jim Becker, Bob Krauss, Donnie Martin, John Buzzard, Jerry Lesnak, Butch Haefke, and Lou Gentile. In later years, Andy Priest, Jimmy Hawley, Frank Guidace, and Rodney Beltz drove Emig #1 Six-Cylinder and “358” Modified for Bill’s daughter Vicki.
Emig’s cars won over 300 feature events along with multiple track championships and several of Walt Wimer’s prestigious Cavalcade Championships. In 1986, his car was featured in a full color article in the special Christmas issue of Stock Car Racing magazine. He was one of the original recipients of Lernerville Speedway’s “Milestone in Racing” award in 1988. Emig was recently inducted into both the Pittsburgh Circle Track Club and Twin-State Auto Racing Club Hall of Fames.
“It really means a lot to my sister Jody and myself to have the ‘Bill Emig Memorial’ held on Father’s Day,” explained RUSH Director Vicki Emig. “I always go back to saying that it is because of my dad, Bill Emig, that I have such a love of racing. My dad never left me home, even as a very small child, when he went racing- thus my passion for our sport. I always wish he was here to see what is truly ‘his’ legacy- the RUSH Racing Series. I know he would be so proud of all our racers and they would have certainly enjoyed him and his full of life personality!”
Past “Bill Emig Memorial” winners in the Late Models include Jeremy Wonderling last season at Tri-City, Bryce Davis (Tri-City) in 2016, Max Blair (Tri-City) in 2015, Chad McClellan (Lernerville) & Rick Singleton (Sharon) in 2014, Mike Pegher, Jr. (Lernerville) & Ryan Montgomery (Sharon) in 2013, Blair (won bon events at Sharon) in 2012, and Blair (Lernerville) & Josh Holtgraver (Sharon) in 2011.
“When we brought the Bill Emig Memorial to Tri-City in 2015 it completed the circle of regional speedways where his cars competed throughout the years that have hosted the event,” continued Emig. “I know if he was here today he would tell you that some of his greatest memories as a car owner were watching Lou Gentile battle against the V-8 powered semi-lates with the six-cylinder on the big half-mile against the likes of Lou Steadman, Les Myers, Mark Weaver and many more. His cars won numerous feature events and track championships at Tri-City in both the Semi-Late and Six-Cylinder Modified divisions with the highlight being 1978 Semi-Late Track Championship.”
The “John Buzzard Memorial” Dash will pay $100 cash to win for the Late Models. The Dash will also set the beginning of the 30-lap feature lineup for the top two finishers in the heat races. Buzzard was a former racer for Bill Emig, who tragically lost his life at Expo Speedway.
Sunday will be race #7 of 19 of the Sweeney Late Model Touring Series. Max Blair joined Logan Roberson as repeat winners this season following his $2,000 win on Sunday at a rainy Eriez Speedway. Jeremy Wonderling though leads the Series to Tri-City and would love to repeat last year’s victory to get him his first win of 2018. The Wellsville, NY driver has a 20-point lead on June 2 Genesee Speedway winner, Jason Genco, who is in his first year on the Tour. Another newcomer to the Tour in Brady Wonderling has tied Jason Knowles for the fourth spot in points.
The new RUSH Sprint Cars have fought Mother Nature from the get-go, but have now completed five events at four different speedways. Former RUSH Late Model star, Chad Ruhlman, has competed in three of them and is a perfect three-for-three in his first season in a Sprint Car. Arnie Kent and Bonnell’s Rod Shop Weekly Series points leader Gale Ruth, Jr. split the Lernerville Speedway events,
Precise Racing Products will award a $100 gift card for the “Pedal Down” Hard Charger that passes the most cars in the Late Model 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.
RUSH Late Model Series Officials will also determine the new Dirt Defender “Defensive Drive” to the driver that best defended his position throughout the night, and will receive a $40 product package. The award could go to a driver holding off another for the final heat race or B main transfer position, a driver denying a hard charging racer a feature win, a move to stay on the lead lap before a caution, or any such deserving move.
The Sweeney Tour for the Late Models will then be off until the inaugural event at Weedsport (NY) Speedway on Tuesday, July 3 in a $2,000 to-win “Marquee” event that will be televised by MAVTV/Speed Sport. The Sprints next race will be on Wednesday, June 20 at Lernerville Speedway for a “Wednesday Night Lightning” event.
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. $230 17. $220 18-24. $210.
Non-Qualifier: 1. $175 2. $150 3. $140 4. $135 5. $130 6. $125 7. $120 8. $115 9. $110 10-24. $105. Tow $100.
2018 Sweeney RUSH Late Model Touring Series points (only Tour members receive points): 1. Jeremy Wonderling 540 2. Jason Genco 520 3. John Waters 515 4. Brady Wonderling & Jason Knowles 506 6. Max Blair 482 7. Adam Ferri469 8. Cory Lawler 459 9. J.J. Mazur 457 10. Darrell Bossard 442 11. Bill Kessler 4420 12. Damian Bidwell 400 13. Beamer Guzzardi 376 14. Jimmy Johnson, Jr. 365 15. Charlie Sandercock 335 16. Garret Paugh 320 17. Cody Dawson 302 18. Bruce Hordusky, Jr. 299 19. Christian Schneider 292 20. Mike Franklin 282 21. Joe Watson 210 22. Kyle Murray 176 23. Braeden Dillinger 160 24. Paul Norman, Jr. 85 25. Chad Sines 80 26. Cory Sines 78 27. Tony White 77.
For Sunday, pit gates open at 3:00 p.m. Drivers meeting will be at 4:45 p.m. with warm-ups at 5 followed by qualifying for the Late Models and racing at 6. Pit passes are $35. There is a $100 entry fee for the Late Models. The AMB/MyLaps transponders will be used.
Tri-City Raceway Park is a ½-mile dirt track located at 3430 Route 417, Franklin, PA 16323. For more information, check out their website at www.tricityracewaypark.com or call 814-676-2894 on race day. Like their Facebook by searching Tri-City Raceway Park and follow them on Twitter @TriCityRaceway.
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, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, Racing Electronics, Dirt Defender, Dynamic Drivelines, Wrisco Industries, Frankland Racing Supply, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, TBM Brakes, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, Pancho’s Racing Products, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, Landrum Performance Spring, Schwartzmiller Ground Maintenance, CrateInsider.com, RockAuto.com, and Valley Fashions.
RUSH Sprint Car marketing partners include partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bonnell’s Rod Shop, Bilstein Shocks, Insinger Performance, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, Racing Electronics, Dirt Defender, Frankland Racing Supply, Earl’s Performance Plumbing, FK Rod Ends, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, Precise Racing Products, TBM Brakes, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, Pancho’s Racing Products, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, Landrum Performance Spring, RockAuto.com, and Valley Fashions.
E-mail can be sent to the RUSH Racing Series at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.