By MIKE LEONE
GEORGETOWN, DE – The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series powered by Pace Performance resumed action in the state of Delaware on Thursday night in the first ever race at Georgetown Speedway. Morning and early afternoon showers ended with clearing skies toward evening creating a windy and very cold night. It was night two of the four-night inaugural “Battle of the Bay” Mid-Atlantic Speedweek presented by Pancho’s Racing Products, which attracted 40 cars from six states (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania & New York) along with Ontario, Canada.
On Wednesday night, Ross Robinson held off his girlfriend, Amanda Whaley, for third at Delaware International Speedway. Fast forward 24 hours and it was Robinson fending off a last ditch effort by Whaley to win 20 miles up the road at Georgetown for his first career Sweeney Tour victory. In fact, Robinson’s best friend, Matt Hill, finished third giving “First State” racers a podium sweep for the first time in the history of the Series. Robinson earned $2,000 and took over the “Battle of the Bay” point lead after two of four nights.
“If you don’t wear your heart on your sleeve and put your heart into this you might as well not do this,” expressed the emotional 27-year-old winning racer who lives a mile from the Speedway. “I always catch flack that I’m a big baby. I’ve done this since I was seven and there’s nothing else I want to do so when we have success it means a lot. I’ve been trying to win one here at home for God knows how long. I go to dinner a lot with (promoter) Brett (Deyo) and always tell him I’m going to take his money, but he’s made a liar out of me until now.”
“This is Daniel’s car of DMH Farms,” explained Robinson. “He wanted to get back into racing and wanted some help. He helped me out and bought my car when I needed to get rid of it to get something else. We put a deal together where I take care of it and help him when he needs me. He lets me run races like these. I have to thank Logan, Chase, my parents, my grandparents, Amanda- the list goes on and on. I’ve gotten my butt kicked running the bottom before so I know not to do it. She’s (Amanda) good enough so if you give her an inch she’s going to take a mile. I couldn’t give her bragging rights when we go home. If she’d have won, I’d have been just as happy.”
Robinson used the outside to power past K&N Dash winner, J.J. Mazur, on the start for the lead in the 30-lap feature, while Whaley moved by Darrell Bossard for third. Whaley pressured Mazur and was able to drive under him in turn four on lap four for second. By now, Robinson opened up a half-straightaway lead over Whaley. Mazur then felt the heat from Bossard as the northern racers battled side-by-side for third on laps six and seven before the event’s first caution when Cory Lawler spun with seven laps completed.
When racing resumed, Mazur got too high in turn four allowing sixth starting Matt Hill to fly into third with Bossard, Max Blair, and Logan Roberson all following past Mazur. Five laps later, Joe Warren’s good run ended when he spun running seventh. When green replaced yellow, five cars got stacked up in turn one, which would be the final caution as the last 18 laps went green-to-checkered.
On lap 14, Blair moved to the outside in turn two to pass good friend Bossard for fourth. Roberson hounded Bossard until finally making the pass on the outside of turn two as well on lap 23 to move into the top five. Robinson maintained his half-straightaway lead on the big half-mile until he caught traffic on lap 27. Whaley really began to chew into the lead in the closing laps and made a final ditch effort driving hard into turns and four on the final lap, but would come up just 0.395 of a second shy of Robinson’s DMH Farms/Classic Lawn/Penske by JDS/Nash Transport-sponsored #11D.
Whaley earned $1,000 for runner-up and sits in third in the “Battle of the Bay” points just four points behind her boyfriend Robinson. “I wish we would have caught lapped traffic a little sooner- the wild child might have come out in me a little bit,” expressed the 23-year-old Millsboro, DE driver. “I thought about that top on the last lap, but there was a lapped car up there. If I was going to lose to anyone I’m glad it’s him (Robinson). We’ve been struggling here lately so the fact that we went forward and not backwards is positive so I’m looking forward to the rest of the week. I have to thank my dad who puts all the money into this. There’s a lot of product sponsors that came on board this year that I can’t thank enough.”
The final five laps saw an intense battle for third as Hill was able to cap off a great run closing out the Delaware podium for his best career Sweeney Tour finish. Blair edged out Roberson for fourth to maintain the Sweeney Tour point lead, but trails Robinson by two in the “Battle of the Bay” standings. Roberson was fifth for the second straight night.
Bossard dropped to sixth. Scott Gunn moved from 12th to seventh in an excellent run for the Pittsburgh area racer. Canadian racer, Charlie Sandercock, was eighth. Jeremy Wonderling improved eight spots from his 17th place starting spot to earn the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger gift card. Jason Genco was 10th for his second straight top 10 effort in his first ever Delaware races.
Matt Glanden ended the night leading all six laps of the non-qualifier event to earn $175 in his R&J Poultry/Coldmaster Refrigeration/Glanden Construction/MS Shock Therapy/G2 Design-sponsored #01. The 22-year-old Denton, Maryland driver became the 28th different “Wheelman” Bonus Event Challenge Series winner in 32 races run all-time. Bill Kessler was second over Robert Smith.
Jason Knowles set fast time in $100 FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying over the 40-car field with a lap of 19.956. Knowles would add $25 more for winning the first FK Rod Ends heat race, but would get caught up in a feature accident and was awarded the TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night” recipient. Wednesday night’s “Tough Brake of the Night” recipient, Bruce Hordusky, Jr., was able to fend off Damian Bidwell to garner the fifth and final transfer spot in heat two and was selected as the Dirt Defender “Defensive Drive” award winner.
In addition to Knowles, Robinson, Blair, and Whaley also added $25 FK Rod Ends heat race wins. Christian Schneider and Cody Dawson split the twin last chance B mains.
The Sweeney Tour will resume action on Friday night (April 20) at Potomac Speedway in Mechanicsville, Maryland for the first time in four years in night three of the “Battle of the Bay” presented by Pancho’s Racing Products. Pits open at 4 p.m. with the drivers meeting at 7, warm-ups at 7:30 followed by qualifying and heat races.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series Race #2 “Battle of the Bay” presented by Pancho’s Racing Products (30 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. ROSS ROBINSON (11D) 2. Amanda Whaley (4) 3. Matt Hill (84) 4. Max Blair (111) 5. Logan Roberson (17) 6. Darrell Bossard (Winans 213) 7. Scott Gunn (14G) 8. Charlie Sandercock (57) 9. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 10. Jason Genco (Craig 29J) 11. Billy Thompson (Klink 49) 12. Damian Bidwell (1/2-Pint) 13. Garret Paugh (03) 14. Christian Schneider (Maniecki 1ST) 15. Cody Dawson (36) 16. Tyler Reed (44) 17. Jason Knowles (4) 18. Joe Warren (11*) 19. Cory Lawler (93) 20. J.J. Mazur (13) 21. Trevor Collins (11) 22. Bruce Hordusky, Jr. (3) 23. Brady Wonderling (Ralyea 2R) 24. Austin Hubbard (Nuttall 11) 25. John Waters (LeBarron 11). (Note: John Waters took a Series provisional.)
Non-Qualifier (6 laps, $175 to-win): 1. Matt Glanden (01) 2. Bill Kessler (09) 3. Robert Smith (16) 4. Charles Shawver (74C)-DNS 5. Jimmy Johnson (39J)-DNS 6. Adam Ferri (66)-DNS 7. Mike Wharton (100)-DNS 8. Beamer Guzzardi (12)-DNS 9. Darren Alvey (30)-DNS 10. Jeff Pilkerton (8)-DNS 11. Chuck Bowie (14C)-DNS 12. Matt Tarbox (66X)-DNS 13. Joe Warren (35)-DNS 14. Chace Biron (29)-DNS 15. Mike Franklin (74)-DNS.
Car Count: 40
Margin of Victory: 0.395 of a second
Feature Lap Leaders: Ross Robinson (1-30)
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Jeremy Wonderling (+8)
Dirt Defender “Defensive Drive of the Night”: Bruce Hordusky, Jr.
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”: Jason Knowles
FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying ($100 for fast time): 1. Jason Knowles 19.956 2. Joe Warren 19.963 3. Max Blair 19.966 4. Scott Gunn 19.967 5. Logan Roberson 19.993 6. Ross Robinson 20.078 7. Darrell Bossard 20.089 8. Amanda Whaley 20.095 9. Jeremy Wonderling 20.147 10. Damian Bidwell 20.190 11. Charlie Sandercock 20.193 12. Garret Paugh 20.194 13. J.J. Mazur 20.195 14. Austin Hubbard 20.244 15. Billy Thompson 20.272 16. Matt Hill 20.283 17. Jason Genco 20.350 18. Bruce Hordusky, Jr. 20.435 19. Trevor Collins 20.500 20. Cody Dawson 20.551 21. Matt Glanden 20.554 22. Christian Schneider 20.576 23. Darren Alvey 20.586 24. Brady Wonderling 20.685 25. John Waters 20.697 26. Jimmy Johnson 20.722 27. Matt Tarbox 20.736 28. Charles Shawver 20.783 29. Mike Wharton 20.789 30. Cory Lawler 20.865 31. Adam Ferri 20.876 32. Mike Franklin 20.913 33. Chuck Bowie 20.928 34. Bill Kessler 21.054 35. Tyler Reed 20.063 36. Beamer Guzzardi 21.238 37. Jeff Pilkerton 21.251 38. Joe Watson 21.725 39. Robert Smith 21.808 40. Chace Biron 21.963.
FK Rod Ends Heat 1 (8 laps, $25 to-win, Top 5 transfer) 1. Knowles 2. Mazur 3. Roberson 4. Genco 5. J. Wonderling 6. Bowie 7. Waters 8. Wharton 9. Pilkerton 10. Glanden.
FK Rod Ends Heat 2 (8 laps, $25 to-win, Top 5 transfer): 1. Robinson 2. Warren 3. Hubbard 4. Bidwell 5. Hordusky 6. Schneider 7. Lawler 8. Johnson 9. Warren 10. Kessler.
FK Rod Ends Heat 3 (8 laps, $25 to-win, Top 5 transfer): 1. Blair 2. Bossard 3. Sandercock 4. Thompson 5. Collins 6. Reed 7. Alvey 8. Ferri 9. Tarbox 10. Smith.
FK Rod Ends Heat 4 (8 laps, $25 to-win, Top 5 transfer): 1. Whaley 2. Hill 3. Gunn 4. B. Wonderling 5. Paugh 6. Dawson 7. Guzzardi 8. Bowie 9. Biron 10. Franklin.
Last Chance B Main 1 (10 laps, Top 2 transfer): 1. Schneider 2. Lawler 3. Glanden 4. Johnson 5. Wharton 6. Kessler 7. Pilkerton 8. Bowie 9. Warren 10. Waters.
Last Chance B Main 2 (10 laps, Top 2 transfer): 1. Dawson 2. Reed 3. Shawver 4. Ferri 5. Guzzardi 6. Alvey 7. Smith 8. Franklin-DNS 9. Tarbox-DNS 10. Biron-DNS.
K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash (6 laps): 1. Mazur 2. Robinson 3. Bossard 4. Whaley 5. Warren 6. Hill 7. Knowles 8. Blair.
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.
E-mail can be sent to the RUSH Racing Series at email@example.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.