By MIKE LEONE
WINCHESTER, VA – The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series powered by Pace Performance returned to Winchester Speedway on Saturday night for the first time in three years to the Virginia oval. It was the fourth and final night of the inaugural “Battle of the Bay” Mid-Atlantic Speedweek presented by Pancho’s Racing Products, which attracted 44 cars from six states (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania & New York) along with Ontario, Canada.
One night after winning his first National Touring Series event of any kind at Potomac Speedway, Logan Roberson put a beat down on a stellar field of competitors Saturday night sweeping the night by setting a new track record in qualifying, winning his heat race, the K&N Dash, and leading all 30 laps of the feature. The $2,125 sweep also propelled Roberson to the $1,000 “Battle of the Bay” title by just one-point over Thursday’s Georgetown winner, Ross Robinson, and two points over Wednesday’s Delaware winner, Max Blair!
“We struggled the first two nights but it’s nice to get back home and to win against this competition is great,” expressed the 20-year-old Waynesboro, VA driver. “To win two tour events back-to-back means a lot. You have Max Blair, Ross Robinson, and Jeremy Wonderling. I watch those guys on Facebook win 10 to 30 races a year. To beat them, you know you’ve beat the best in crate racing. I enjoyed it. I can’t thank my family, friends, and sponsors enough. It’s been a dream come true to do what I do. It’s a lot of fun, and to meet great people- I love it. Vicki (Emig) and Mike (Leone) put on such a great series. My crew gave me a great car again. I just had to hold the steering wheel. I made a few mistakes in the feature that almost cost me.”
Roberson led Jeremy Wonderling, Tanner Kerr, Amanda Whaley, and John Waters for the first seven non-stop laps of the feature until Billy Thompson slowed to bring out the event’s only caution as the final 23 went caution-free. Waters made his way under and past Whaley for fourth on lap 10 as Whaley’s boyfriend, Robinson, followed in fifth on lap 13. Meanwhile, Roberson had distanced himself from the field and had a straightaway lead by the time he caught lapped traffic on lap 19.
Roberson had to work his way through heavy lapped traffic on lap 28 as Jason Genco, Adam Ferri, and Devin Brannon were all battling for position. Once he did, it was clear sailing as Roberson took the checkered flag first by a commanding 2.686 seconds in his Dirt Defender/BTS Towing Service/Pancho’s Racing Products/QA1 Shocks/Race 1/Sunoco/All About Wraps-sponsored #17.
Wonderling, a Sweeney Touring Series regular, ended the “Battle of the Bay” with his best performance taking the $1,000 runner-up. “Congratulations to Logan,” stated the Scio, NY driver. “He deserves it- he runs well. I’ve never been here before so I really didn’t know what to do, but things worked pretty well. It’s good end to the week. I tried everything I could to narrow the window down, but he kept seeming to get better so I gave up and just tried to maintain my line.”
In his first ever Tour start, Kerr was an impressive third. “Hats off to Logan (Roberson) and his crew,” expressed the hometown Winchester driver. “I have to deal with him every week down here. Man they are a class act. They are the best in the region and one of the best crate drivers in the country. His results speak for that. It’s a true blessing to be able to come out here and run with these guys. I told my guys at the beginning of the week I wasn’t sure if I was even going to run it. We’ve been having some brake issues and bad luck. I told them mid-week we were going to try it and the ultimate goal is to get in the show. To stand on the frontstretch with the type of drivers that finished behind us makes it feel good. We have a very small budget, old car and shocks with a used motor. I can’t thank my family, crew, and sponsors enough.”
Waters, the 2016 Sweeney Tour Champion and last year’s runner-up, was fourth for his best “Battle of the Bay” finish. The most important battle on the speedway was the intense action with Whaley, Robinson, Blair, and Sandercock. As Whaley was sliding back, Robinson was trying to keep Blair behind him in the chase for the “Battle of the Bay” title, while Canadian Charlie Sandercock was running the highline moving forward. Robinson, Blair, and Sandercock would all pass Whaley, but Robinson was unable to fend off Blair and the charging Sandercock in the final laps, which cost Robinson the title.
After starting 10th, Blair was fifth giving him all four top five finishes. Sandercock went 17th to sixth to earn the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger gift card as he really turned around his night after having to start ninth in his heat due to being light at the scales. Robinson and Whaley faded to seventh and eighth at the finish. Brady Wonderling was ninth ahead of track regular, Levi Crowl, who made his first ever Tour start.
Scott Gunn ended the night and the “Battle of the Bay” victorious leading all 10 laps of the non-qualifier. Gunn got behind the eight-ball after being light at the scales following qualifying putting himself behind all night. Gunn did rally from eighth to third in the first last chance B main earning him the pole position for the non-qualifier. The West Mifflin, Pa. driver earned $175 in his West Mifflin Collision #14G as became the 30th different winner in 34 races run all-time. Mike Franklin was second, who ironically was light after finishing fourth in his heat. J.J. Mazur, Ronnie Martin, Jr., and Christian Schneider completed the top five.
Roberson shattered Jacob Hawkins’ previous track record of 15.700 set nearly three years ago with a lap of 15.479 in $100 FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying. Besides Roberson, Wonderling, Kerr, Waters, and Whaley picked up $25 FK Rod Ends heat race wins. Joe Warren and Jason Knowles split the last chance B mains.
The Sweeney Tour will now be off for one month and will resume action with a two-night weekend on May 19-20 with Saturday night at Stateline Speedway in Busti, NY for just the second time ever and Sunday night at Eriez Speedway in Eriez, Pa. Both “Marquee” events will pay $2,000 to-win.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series Race #4 “Battle of the Bay” presented by Pancho’s Racing Products (30 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. LOGAN ROBERSON (17) 2. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 3. Tanner Kerr (41*) 4. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 5. Max Blair (111) 6. Charlie Sandercock (57) 7. Ross Robinson (11D) 8. Amanda Whaley (4) 9. Brady Wonderling (Ralyea 2R) 10. Levi Crowl (5) 11. Billy Beachler (21) 12. Darrell Bossard (Winans 213) 13. Joe Warren (11*) 14. Garret Paugh (03) 15. Jonathan Dehaven (Reed 1) 16. Bruce Hordusky, Jr. (3) 17. Jason Knowles (4) 18. Jason Genco (Craig 29J) 19. Adam Ferri (66) 20. Devin Brannon (Newcome 37) 21. Damian Bidwell (1/2-Pint) 22. Chuck Bowie (14) 23. Braeden Dillinger (14) 24. Steve Lowery (48) 25. Billy Thompson (Klink 49). (Note: Jason Genco took a Series provisional.)
Non-Qualifier (10 laps, $175 to-win): 1. Scott Gunn (14G) 2. Mike Franklin (74) 3. J.J. Mazur (13) 4. Ronnie Martin, Jr. (15JR) 5. Christian Schneider (Maniecki 1ST) 6. Bob Schwartzmiller (28s) 7. Richard Hawkins (17H) 8. Scott Sweeney (44s) 9. Cory Lawler (93) 10. Corey McPherson (c33) 11. Jakob Piper (21) 12. Bill Kessler (09) 13. Trevor Collins (11)-DNS 14. Matt Glanden (01)-DNS 15. Jimmy Johnson (39J)-DNS 16. Matt Hill (84)-DNS 17. Jimmy Jesmer, Jr. (747)-DNS 18. Cody Dawson (36)-DNS 19. Beamer Guzzardi (12)-DNS.
Car Count: 44
Feature Lap Leaders: Logan Roberson (1-30)
Margin of Victory: 2.686 seconds
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Charlie Sandercock (+11)
Dirt Defender “Defensive Drive of the Night”: Garret Paugh
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”: Beamer Guzzardi
FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying ($100 for fast time) (Track record 15.700 by Jared Hawkins 6/12/15): 1. Logan Roberson 15.479 (NTR) 2. Jeremy Wonderling 15.628 3. Levi Crowl 15.988 4. John Waters 16.059 5. Amanda Whaley 16.137 6. Brady Wonderling 16.157 7. Mike Franklin 16.166 8. Billy Thompson 16.173 9. Braeden Dillinger 16.206 10. Bruce Hordusky, Jr. 16.246 11. Ross Robinson 16.255 12. Devin Brannon 16.274 13. Damian Bidwell 16.281 14. Scott Sweeney 16.312 15. Max Blair 16.317 16. Trevor Collins 16.330 17. Adam Ferri 16.370 18. Joe Warren 16.384 19. Darrell Bossard 16.413 20. Billy Beachler 16.443 21. Matt Glanden 16.453 22. Jimmy Johnson 16.465 23. Tanner Kerr 16.479 24. Garret Paugh 16.501 25. Jonathan Dehaven 16.594 26. Jimmy Jesmer, Jr. 16.726 27. Cory Lawler 16.726 28. Steve Lowery 16.751 29. Christian Schneider 16.883 30. Richard Hawkins 17.200 31. Bob Schwartzmiller 17.201 32. Matt Hill 17.209 33. Jakob Piper 17.218 34. J.J. Mazur 17.275 35. Beamer Gizzardi 17.298 36. Ronnie Martin, Jr. 17.306 37. Jason Genco 17.401 38. Corey McPherson 17.431 39. Jason Knowles 17.534 40. Bill Kessler 17.708 41. Chuck Bowie 17.942 42. Charlie Sandercock DSQ (light) 43. Cody Dawson DSQ (light) 44. Scott Gunn DSQ (light).
FK Rod Ends Heat 1 (8 laps, $25 to-win, Top 4 transfer) 1. Roberson 2. Robinson 3. B. Wonderling 4. Bowie 5. Schwartzmiller 6. Martin 7. Jesmer 8. Collins 9. Glanden.
FK Rod Ends Heat 2 (8 laps, $25 to-win, Top 4 transfer): 1. J. Wonderling 2. Brannon 3. Ferri 4. Sandercock 5. Johnson 6. Lawler 7. Hill 8. Genco 9. Franklin-DSQ (light).
FK Rod Ends Heat 3 (8 laps, $25 to-win, Top 4 transfer): 1. Kerr 2. Crowl 3. Thompson 4. Lowery 5. Warren 6. Bidwell 7. Dawson 8. McPherson 9. Piper.
FK Rod Ends Heat 4 (8 laps, $25 to-win, Top 4 transfer): 1. Waters 2. Bossard 3. Dillinger 4. Paugh 5. Knowles 6. Mazur 7. Sweeney 8. Gunn 9. Schneider.
FK Rod Ends Heat 5 (8 laps, $25 to-win, Top 4 transfer): 1. Whaley 2. Blair 3. Beachler 4. Hordusky 5. Dehaven 6. Hawkins 7. Kessler 8. Guzzardi.
Last Chance B Main 1 (10 laps, Top 2 transfer): 1. Warren 2. Dehaven 3. Gunn 4. Mazur 5. Schwartzmiller 6. Lawler 7. Piper 8. Genco 9. Glanden 10. Kessler 11. Jesmer-DNS 12. Dawson-DNS.
Last Chance B Main 2 (10 laps, Top 2 transfer): 1. Knowles 2. Bidwell 3. Franklin 4. Martin 5. Schneider 6. Hawkins 7. Collins 8. Sweeney 9. McPherson 10. Johnson 11. Hill 12. Guzzardi-DNS.
K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash (4 laps): 1. Roberson 2. Wonderling 3. Kerr 4. Whaley 5. Waters.
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 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.