By MIKE LEONE
WINCHESTER, VA – The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series presented by Pace Performance headed to Winchester Speedway on Saturday night for the finale of the second annual “Battle of the Bay” Speedweek presented by Wehrs Machine & Racing Parts. After torrential rains fell on Friday night that washed out round three of Speedweek at Potomac Speedway, sunshine and mild conditions returned for Winchester as 44 race teams from seven different states plus Ontario, Canada participated. Seven of the eight Speedweek events have now been completed over the two years with car counts over 40 for every event including a high of 53 on Wednesday night at Delaware International Speedway.
For the second straight year, Logan Roberson closed out Speedweek victorious at his home track; however, this year, wasn’t able to overcome Max Blair for the $1,000 title. Roberson inherited the lead after race-long leader Ross Robinson lost a driveshaft, but yielded the lead to Blair when racing resumed on lap 20, then would out-duel Blair on the following lap to regain the top spot and went on for his first Sweeney Tour win of the season. Roberson earned $3,225 for his night’s work along with a Sunoco 5-Gallon Race Jug plus $500 for his runner-up in Speedweek points.
“We had something in our playbook,” revealed the 21-year-old Waynesboro, Virginia standout when asked if he had anything for leader Robinson. “My dad was signaling me to slow down and wait for lapped traffic to hopefully get him. He (Robinson) was very good. I hate to see that bad break for him, but we’ll take it any way possible. We’ve had a great season so far. We struggled the first two nights of the Battle of the Bay and wasn’t as good as I wanted to be, but we came home and took the win. It feels good to win here for me and my family- it’s awesome.”
After passing Roberson to win the dash, Robinson took off in the lead over Roberson and Blair at the start of the 30-lap feature, which was initially aborted twice by multi-car accidents. Following a caution with eight laps scored for Dale Hollidge, Matt Hill moved past Jeremy Wonderling for fifth. Robinson had about a half-straightaway lead on Roberson when he caught lapped traffic on lap 19. That lead would shrink the following lap until Robinson came up lame in turn three after losing the driveshaft. Robinson entered the night just four points behind Blair in both the Speedweek and Tour point standings, and his misfortune would earn him the TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”.
Roberson would then inherit the lead over Blair, Devin Brannon, Hill, and Wonderling. Another caution would slow action when Brannon spun and collected Jennae Piper with still 19 laps scored. When racing resumed, Roberson and Blair were side-by-side the entire lap with Blair using the outside to nose ahead to lead the 20th circuit, while Jeremy Wonderling and Charlie Sandercock passed Hill for third and fourth. Blair though would be unable to maintain the lead on lap 21 as Roberson made the inside work to snatch the lead for good.
The last 11 laps would go caution-free as Roberson pulled away from Blair every lap to take the checkered flag first by 2.051 seconds for his third Winchester win of the season in four starts and fourth overall in RUSH-sanctioned competition. The victory was Roberson’s third of his career in Sweeney Tour action and came in the Dirt Defender/BTS Towing Service/Russ King Racing/Wynbridge/Swift Springs/Zmax/Virginia Motor Speedway-sponsored #17.
Though Blair was disappointed with his second place run, he’ll leave the Mid-Atlantic with approximately $9,925 in earnings in just three nights and will take his Sweeney Tour point lead to his home tracks of Stateline and Eriez next month.
“We were a little free, but I think it was maybe the tire difference,” explained Blair. “He had a different tire on than I did. We were alright. I think we had a shot at it if there was a little more room getting off turn two on that last restart, but it is what it is. Those guys are always tough here and you know that when you come here so congrats to them. The points came into it during the race. I knew when Ross was leading if I could finish third I’d still win it, but if I got passed I wouldn’t. He then broke a driveshaft and it went everywhere. I hit some pieces and was hoping it didn’t hurt anything under the car. I knew once that happened I had some breathing room for the points and could race hard for the win.”
For the second straight year, Wonderling ended Speedweek with a podium finish and the defending Sweeney Tour champion has now finished in the top 12 of all seven Speedweek races over the past two years! Wonderling will also receive the Ontime Body & Graphic “Spoiler Alert” $150 rear spoiler.
“I’ve been decent but haven’t had the results,” stated the Wellsville, NY racer. “The first couple tracks were difficult for me. I’m not used to being on stuff like that. To come down here and finish third with these caliber of racers and the amount of cars is tough. I have to thank Jim Stephens. We’ve been working on this car and getting it better and better. I didn’t have anything for those two though (Roberson and Blair).”
After a disappointing finish the first two nights of Speedweek, Sandercock closed out the “Battle of the Bay” with a strong fourth place effort for his best ever finish in the seven races over the past two years. Sandercock started 12th and was halfway to the front before being shuffled back on a restart then charged back forward. Sandercock fought for the third position with Wonderling over the final 11 laps, but couldn’t make the pass. `
Hill was fifth. After not coming in the first two events of Speedweek, Matt Latta made the trip down from northeast Ohio and netted a sixth place finish after starting 11th in his season debut. Jakob Piper raced from 16th to seventh. After getting caught up in an opening lap accident, Kyle Lukon came all the way back to finish eighth. Nick Davis was ninth as 18th starting Braeden Dillinger completed the top 10. After taking a Series provisional and starting 25th, Michael Duritsky, Jr. made his way to 12th at the finish to earn the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger gift card.
Sam Pennacchio closed out Speedweek by capturing the Non-Qualifier victory in his Duguay Haulage-sponsored #311. After finishing a close third in Thursday’s Non-Qualifier at Georgetown, Pennacchio dominated the 10-lap caution-free affair. The Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada racer earned $200 and became the 35th different winner in 41 races run all-time in the “Wheelman” Bonus Event Challenge Series. Track regular, Timmy Booth, passed Kyle Murray on lap two to finish second. Chuck Bowie and Al Shawver, Jr. also got by Murray on lap four to finish third and fourth respectively. Murray dropped to fifth in his first ever visit to the track.
After setting a new track record one year ago, Logan Roberson once again set fast time on Saturday night in $100 FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying with a lap of 16.711. Earning $25 FK Rod Ends heat race victories were Roberson, Robinson, Lukon, Trevor Feathers, and Blair. Robinson won the dash, while Tyler Bare and Levi Crowl copped the last chance B main victories.
ARC Racing and Round Hill Auto Service presented the “$500 Club” as the five $100 drawings for racers in the top 15 of Winchester track points went to Roberson, Feathers, Jakob Piper, Booth, and Levi Crowl.
The Sweeney Tour will resume action on Saturday, May 18 at Stateline Speedway in Busti, NY for the “Bill Law Memorial” followed up on Sunday at Eriez Speedway in Erie, Pa. Both “Marquee” events will pay $2,000 to-win, $225 to-start.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series “Battle of the Bay” Speedweek presented by Wehrs Machine & Racing Products Race #3 (30 laps, $3,000 to-win): 1. LOGAN ROBERSON (17) 2. Max Blair (111) 3. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 4. Charlie Sandercock (Crouter 57) 5. Matt Hill (84) 6. Matt Latta (21) 7. Jakob Piper (21) 8. Kyle Lukon (184) 9. Nick Davis (92) 10. Braeden Dillinger (14) 11. Darrell Bossard (Winans 213) 12. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J) 13. Jason Genco (Craig/Badgley 29J) 14. J.J. Mazur (13) 15. Billy Beachler (21) 16. Jennae Piper (H1) 17. Amanda Whaley (4) 18. Jonathan Raley (05) 19. Levi Crowl (5) 20. Bill Kessler (09) 21. Devin Brannon (Newcome 37) 22. Ross Robinson (7) 23. Tyler Bare (30) 24. Steve Lowery (48) 25. Dale Hollidge (0) 26. Trevor Feathers (Royston 20). (Note: Michael Duritsky, Jr. took a Series provisional & Jonathan Raley took a Track provisional.)
Non-Qualifier (10 laps, $200 to-win): 1. Sam Pennacchio (311) 2. Timmy Booth (95) 3. Chuck Bowie (14c) 4. Al Shawver, Jr. (215) 5. Kyle Murray (21) 6. Ryan Frazee (11F) 7. Derek Magee (96) 8. Jeremy Pilkerton (8) 9. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 10. Cody Dawson (36) 11. Joe Pete (8/7)-DNS 12. Billy Thompson (55)-DNS 13. Logan Zarin (1z)-DNS 14. Andy Michael (17x)-DNS 15. Scott Gunn (14G)-DNS 16. Chad Sines (15)-DNS 17. Bryan Benton (52)-DSQ (fuel cell) 18. Scott Sweeney, Jr. (40s)-DSQ (seals).
Car Count: 44
Feature Margin of Victory: 2.051 seconds
Feature Lap Leaders: Ross Robinson (1-19), Max Blair (20), Logan Roberson (21-30).
“$500 Club” presented by ARC Racing & Round Hill Auto Service: Levi Crowl, Logan Roberson, Trevor Feathers, Jakob Piper & Timmy Booth
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Michael Duritsky, Jr. (+13)
Dirt Defender “Defensive Drive of the Night”: Jeremy Wonderling
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”: Ross Robinson
Sunoco 5-Gallon Race Jugs: Logan Roberson
Ontime Body & Graphic “Spoiler Alert”: Jeremy Wonderling
FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying ($100 for fast time) (Track Record: 15.479 by Logan Roberson 4/21/18): 1. Logan Roberson 16.711 2. Dale Hollidge 16.935 3. Amanda Whaley 16.942 4. Nick Davis 17.024 5. Darrell Bossard 17.033 6. Devin Brannon 17.113 7. Ross Robinson 17.122 8. Kyle Lukon 17.137 9. Trevor Feathers 17.203 10. Jeremy Wonderling 17.253 11. Jakob Piper 17.260 12. Matt Hill 17.271 13. Braeden Dillinger 17.271 14. Matt Hill 17.271 15. Max Blair 17.283 16. Matt Latta 17.292 17. Charlie Sandercock 17.318 18. Bill Kessler 17.335 19. Tyler Bare 17.336 20. Jennae Piper 17.349 21. Billy Thompson 17.415 22. Steve Lowery 17.447 23. Billy Beachler 17.464 24. Logan Zarin 17.472 25. Michael Duritsky, Jr. 17.485 26. Chuck Bowie 17.607 27. Scott Gunn 17.682 28. Jamie Wrightsman 17.700 29. Levi Crowl 17.817 30. Cody Dawson 17.818 31. Timmy Booth 17.848 32. J.J. Mazur 17.894 33. Kyle Murray 18.077 34. Sam Pennacchio 18.080 35. Ryan Frazee 18.092 36. Jeremy Pilkerton 18.146 37. Joe Pete 18.176 38. Chad Sines 18.186 39. Andy Michael 18.203 40. Derek Magee 18.286 41. Jonathan Raley NT (light) 42. Al Shawver, Jr. NT (light) 43. Bryan Benton NT 44. Scott Sweeney, Jr. NT.
FK Rod Ends Heat 1 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Roberson 2. Brannon 3. Latta 4. Ja. Piper 5. Thompson 6. Bowie 7. Booth 8. Pilkerton 9. Shawver.
FK Rod Ends Heat 2 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Robinson 2. Hollidge 3. Sandercock 4. Genco 5. Lowery 6. Mazur 7. Gunn 8. Raley 9. Pete.
FK Rod Ends Heat 3 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Lukon 2. Whaley 3. Beachler 4. Dillinger 5. Bare 6. Murray 7. Wrightsman 8. Sines 9. Benton.
FK Rod Ends Heat 4 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Feathers 2. Hill 3. Davis 4. Je. Piper 5. Crowl 6. Pennacchio 7. Zarin 8. Michael 9. Sweeney-DSQ.
FK Rod Ends Heat 5 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer to A, $25 to-win) 1. Blair 2. Wonderling 3. Bossard 4. Kessler 5. Duritsky 6. Dawson 7. Frazee 8. Magee.
Last Chance B Main 1 (10 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. Bare 2. Mazur 3. Pennacchio 4. Booth 5. Duritsky 6. Shawver 7. Thompson 8. Frazee 9. Michael 10. Wrightsman 11. Raley 12. Benton-DSQ.
Last Chance B Main 2 (10 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. Crowl 2. Lowery 3. Murray 4. Bowie 5. Pete 6. Pilkerton 7. Magee 8. Zarin 9. Gunn 10. Dawson 11. Sines-DNS 12. Sweeney-DSQ.
Dash (6 laps): 1. Robinson 2. Roberson 3. Blair 4. Feathers 5. Lukon.
RUSH Racing Series is brought to you by Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC & Pace Performance 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, Bonnell’s Rod Shop, Sherwood Wheels, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, CrateInsider.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.