CHAD RUHLMAN WINS A THRILLER AT ROARING KNOB TAKING $3,000 SUPER NATS II FOR 2ND WIN; 12-YEAR-OLD MICHAEL LAKE DOMINATES NON-QUALIFIER; DABECCO WINS "FUTURES CUP"
By Mike Leone
October 19-21, 2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Markleysburg, PA)…The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Pace Performance FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series returned to Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex for the fourth and final time of the 2012 season. It was part two of the "Super Nationals" and race #23 of the 2012 slate, which attracted 34 teams from all over Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, New York, and Maryland.
Qualifying and heat races were completed on Friday night despite some light showers. Saturday was scheduled to be the conclusion of the program, but rain showers hit early in the evening and the remainder of the event had to be finished on Sunday.
When the topside of the speedway is there, you can just about bet Chad Ruhlman will be at or near the front. Despite daytime conditions, Chad Ruhlman didn't give up and when the sun no longer was hitting the speedway, the topside really came in. Ruhlman was able to sneak past Mike Pegher, Jr. on lap 27 and held off a big charge by Troy Shields, who also found the outside to his liking, for the $3,000 "Super Nationals II" victory early Sunday evening.
Ruhlman also won a thriller during the Original Pizza Logs Speedweek event at Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway on July 7 and Sunday's win gave him his second Series win of the season in his first year in FASTRAK. It also solidified third place in the Northeast Touring Series points.
"Max (Blair) and Mike Pegher are the two cleanest guys you can run with," acknowledged the 35-year-old Bemus Point, NY racer. "I don't know what happened to Max, but Mike is clean as heck. When he saw me on the outside, he raced me hard and clean. I was glad we came down here and ran as well as we did after being here for three days. It's too bad we can't catch Max in points, but at least there aren't any other shake-ups."
"The track was real good," continued Ruhlman. "I was hoping the bottom wouldn't take rubber. I knew the top was going to be good, but I just need the guys to crank some runs laps and slick the bottom off. Mike was certainly better on the bottom than I was. I'm glad there was traction on the top for this Rayburn. I know we're the only Rayburn in four states. Hopefully this will keep C.J. happy. We shook them up when we won at Pittsburgh!"
Ruhlman earned the pole position for the 30-lap feature by virtue of his K&N Dash victory and led the opening lap over Pegher, Josh Holtgraver, Troy Shields, and Will Thomas III before the caution was displayed. Contact was made between outside pole-sitter John Flinner, Jr., Max Blair, and Shields with Flinner getting into the fence and ending his night.
When racing resumed, Pegher took the lead, while Shields passed Holtgraver for third. Holtgraver though battled back and regained third one lap later and brought Thomas with him. Three cautions slowed action with five laps completed. Blair brought out the first as the Series champion's night ended, while Jeremy Zufall was the next with a spin. The next caution was when K.C. Burdette slammed the turn one fence ending his night. Burdette was awarded The Brake Man "Tough Brake of the Night" in his first Series start of the season.
Back under green flag conditions, Holtgraver began to mount a challenge on Ruhlman on lap seven. Shields continued to fade as he dropped out of the top five on lap nine. Eighth starting Schirnhofer continued to move forward passing Thomas for fourth on lap 12 with Shields trailing in fifth.
Shields was now on the charge back to the front taking fourth from Schirnhofer on lap 13 then drove around Holtgraver on the outside for third two laps later. The top now appeared to be the preferred line as Ruhlman caught Pegher on lap 15 running the outside. Shields stayed around the outside and made it a three-car race for the lead on lap 18.
Behind the front trio, Holtgraver had his hands full with John Garvin, Jr. Garvin started 14th and steadily made his way forward. Despite the battle, Holtgraver and Garvin actually ran down the leaders and made it a five-car race for the lead with 10 laps to go. Garvin made the pass of Holtgraver on lap 25.
Up front, Ruhlman kept getting a great run off turn four, but Pegher kept shutting the door. On lap 27, Ruhlman pulled even with Pegher and this time was able to keep his momentum up off turn four and he snuck by down the frontstretch to lead the lap. Ruhlman began to pull away, but lapped traffic loomed ahead on lap 29. Traffic wouldn't become a factor as Thomas spun to bring out the caution with 28 laps scored.
Ruhlman chose the outside for the restart. The duo were side-by-side down the fronstretch and through much of turns one and two, but Ruhlman powered by off turn two and went on to take the checkered first in the Terry Suppa-owned, Raineater Wiper Blades/Cargo Auto Parts/Spartan Tool/Rand Machine-sponsored Rayburn Race Car #4s.
Shields was also able to use the outside to get by Pegher on the final lap to secure the $1,500 runner-up spot, which was his best career Tour finish topping his prior best of fifth back on June 30, 2010 at Expo Speedway.
"That was fun," expressed the Acme, Pa. resident. "The track was good and racey. We didn't have anything for anyone on the bottom so after that one caution I decided to try it on the outside. It stuck so I figured that's where we were going to roll."
Pegher barely edged out Garvin for third. "We enjoy coming down here to run," stated Pegher. "It's usually a fast and racey track. We started to slow down with about five to go and Ruhlman was picking it up. It was good racing and we came out third, but the car is in one piece for Lernerville next week. We look forward to coming back next year."
It was just Garvin's third career Tour start and first since Memorial Day Weekend at Sharon Speedway when he blew a motor. Holtgraver was fifth for the fourth time this season matching his best finish of the year. It propelled him into 15th in the Driver Points and 14th in the Owner Points.
Ken Herman made his first Tour start of the season a successful coming home a career best sixth after starting 11th. Herman also received the $100 Genesis Shocks "Top Dog of the Night" certificate for being the highest finishing driver on Genesis Shocks.
Butch Lambert was seventh after starting 13th. Lambert's 11th top 10 of the season moved him into sixth in the standings. Nolan Dalton had a strong run in eighth after starting 17th. Schirnhofer was ninth. Ryan Montgomery earned the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger Award. After taking a provisional, Montgomery charged from the 25th starting spot to 10th at the finish for his 11th top 10 of the year as well. Thomas was the final car on the lead lap at the finish in 19th and received the Utsinger's Towing free Hoosier Tire.
Mentored by Super Late Model standout Doug Horton and backing from his grandfather and well-known car owner Bobby Lake, 12-year-old Michael Lake went out and dominated the $500 to-win non-qualifier event to end the night. Lake ended the regular season at Roaring Knob with eight top 10 finishes including a career best fifth on August 25 in addition to a heat race win. Lake made his first career Tour start on September 29 at Roaring Knob and finished a respectable 13th prior to Sunday's B feature victory in his second Tour start!
After losing the final A feature transfer spot in his B main on the final lap, Lake went on to lead all 12 non-stop laps in the Bobby Lake Motorsports/D&M Trucking/High Gear Speed Shop/C-Harper Chevrolet-sponsored #27. Lake continues the impressive youth movement and shows how much depth there is in the FASTRAK Series.
"This feels good," said the Uniontown, Pa. sixth grade Albert Gallatin student. "I have to thank my grandpa Bobby, my crew Dave and Tim, Doug Horton of Warrior Race Cars and High Gear Speed Shop, and all of my sponsors."
W.L. Stile passed Toby Massie on the opening lap for second, but wasn't able to mount a challenge on Lake. It was Stile's fourth top three non-qualifier finish of the season as he earned the "Wheelman" Bonus Event Challenge Series Championship.
Massie was running third, but got high on lap three and rode the turn four fence. Somehow Massie didn't roll over and was able to finish the event in fifth. Justin Lamb and Ron Smithley were able to get by Massie during his mishap to finish third and fourth respectively.
On Friday night, the third and final Pace Performance "Futures Cup" Trifecta race was run and it was Nico Dabecco becoming the first driver in two seasons to repeat. The 15-year-old Pittsburgh driver, who also won the Trifecta race at Pittsburgh, led all six laps for the $200 win in the Dan Karalagas-owned Treasure Hunt Jewelers/D&T Towing/Frankland Rearend-sponsored #1Freek. But more importantly for Dabecco he captured the $1,000 season-long championship! Shane Weaver passed Cody Dawson on lap two to finish second. Dawson was third.
Friday night got started with qualifying and four drivers were able to lower Max Blair's previous track record of 16.897 set at the last Tour event on September 28 led by Will Thomas with a new standard of 16.631! Thomas also won the first heat race in addition to Pegher, Blair, and Flinner, who also all had laps faster than the previous standard. B main winners on Sunday were Brian Knowles and Jeremy Zufall.
Thomas pulled an invert six, which put Shields on the pole of the K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash. Ruhlman, whose prior best dash finishes were second and a third, received a $100 K&N certificate for his first dash win of the season. Flinner received a $50 K&N certificate for finishing second, while Blair and Shields received $25 cash for third and fourth respectively.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Pace Performance FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series Race #23 (30 laps, $3,000 to-win): 1. CHAD RUHLMAN (Suppa 4s) 2. Troy Shields (11) 3. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Geisler 1c) 4. John Garvin, Jr. (J4) 5. Josh Holtgraver (00) 6. Ken Herman (58) 7. Butch Lambert (27) 8. Nolan Dalton (D2) 9. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. (8s) 10. Ryan Montgomery (12) 11. John Over (K2) 12. Brian Knowles (4) 13. Russell Baird, Jr. (17) 14. Nico Dabecco (Karalagas 1FR) 15. Mike Laughard (38L) 16. Mike Lewis (98) 17. Brad Kling (Powell 100) 18. Shane Weaver (Ruffner 325x) 19. Will Thomas III (9) 20. Dan Angelicchio (14) 21. Chris Angelicchio (4) 22. K.C. Burdette (KC44) 23. Jeremy Zufall (20) 24. Max Blair (111) 25. John Flinner, Jr. (Holtgraver T11) 26. Cody Dawson (36)-DNS. (Note: Ryan Montgomery took a Series provisional.)
Non-Qualifier (12 laps, $500 to-win): 1. Michael Lake (27) 2. W.L. Stile (2$) 3. Justin Lamb (93x) 4. Ron Smithley (27s) 5. Toby Massie (2S) 6. Scott Chenowetch (58)-DNS 7. Joe Martin (55)-DNS 8. J.T. Baird (95)-DNS.
Pace Performance "Futures Cup" Trifecta Race #3 (6 laps, $200 to-win): 1. Nico Dabecco 2. Shane Weaver 3. Cody Dawson.
Qualifying (Track record 16.897 Max Blair 9/28/12): 1. Will Thomas III 16.631 (NTR) 2. Mike Pegher, Jr. 16.746 3. Max Blair 16.757 4. John Flinner, Jr. 16.834 5. John Over 16.929 6. Dan Angelicchio 16.954 7. Josh Holtgraver 17.012 8. Ryan Montgomery 17.066 9. Chad Ruhlman 17.105 10. Troy Shields 17.132 11. Ken Herman 17.137 12. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. 17.159 13. Mike Lewis 17.198 14. Nolan Dalton 17.202 15. John Garvin, Jr. 17.205 16. Cody Dawson 17.226 17. Chris Angelicchio 17.249 18. Butch Lambert 17.338 19. Nico Dabecco 17.355 20. Mike Laughard 17.383 21. Michael Lake 17.389 22. Shane Weaver 17.401 23. Jeremy Zufall 17.412 24. Brad Kling 17.439 25. W.L. Stile 17.665 26. Brian Knowles 17.667 27. Ron Smithley 17.686 28. Scott Chenowetch 18.139 29. Russell Baird, Jr. NT 30. Joe Martin NT 31. J.T. Baird NT 32. K.C. Burdette NT 33. Justin Lamb NT 34. Toby Massie NT.
Heat #1 (8 laps/Top 5 transfer to A): 1. Will Thomas 2. Chad Ruhlman 3. John Over 4. Russell Baird, Jr. 5. Chris Angelicchio 6. Mike Lewis 7. Michael Lake 8. W.L. Stile.
Heat #2 (8 laps/Top 5 transfer to A): 1. Mike Pegher, Jr. 2. Troy Shields 3. Dan Angelicchio 4. Butch Lambert 5. Nolan Dalton 6. Shane Weaver 7. Brian Knowles 8. Joe Martin-DNS 9. Justin Lamb-DNS.
Heat #3 (8 laps/Top 5 transfer to A): 1. Max Blair 2. Josh Holtgraver 3. Ken Herman 4. John Garvin, Jr. 5. Nico Dabecco 6. Jeremy Zufall 7. Ron Smithley 8. J.T. Baird-DNS.
Heat #4 (8 laps/Top 5 transfer to A): 1. John Flinner, Jr. 2. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. 3. Cody Dawson 4. Mike Laughard 5. Brad Kling 6. K.C. Burdette 7. Ryan Montgomery 8. Scott Chenowetch 9. Toby Massie.
B Main #1 (8 laps/Top 3 transfer to A): 1. Brian Knowles 2. Shane Weaver 3. Mike Lewis 4. Michael Lake 5. Toby Massie 6. Justin Lamb 7. Joe Martin-DNS.
B Main #2 (8 laps/Top 2 transfer to A): 1. Jeremy Zufall 2. K.C. Burdette 3. Ryan Montgomery 4. Toby Massie 5. Ron Smithley 6. Scott Chenowetch 7. J.T. Baird-DNS.
K&N Cold Air Induction Dash (4 laps): 1. Chad Ruhlman 2. John Flinner, Jr. 3. Max Blair 4. Troy Shields.
Feature Lap Leaders: Ruhlman (1), Pegher (2-26), Ruhlman (27-30)
Car Count: 34
Genesis Shocks "Top Dog of the Night": Ken Herman
Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger: Ryan Montgomery (+15)
Utsinger's Towing Hoosier Tire Giveaway: Will Thomas III
Brake Man "Tough Brake of the Night": K.C. Burdette
2012 Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Touring Series Results
Date/Track/State/Winner/# of Wins/To-Win Amount/Car Count
April 1 Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex (PA)/Max Blair (1)/$3,000/47
April 20 Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex (PA)/Mike Pegher, Jr. (1)/$1,200/42
May 13 Eriez Speedway (PA)/Max Blair (2)/$1,200/32
May 20 Humberstone Speedway (ON)/Max Blair (3)/$2,000/26
May 26 Sharon Speedway (OH)/Max Blair (4)/$1,500/34
June 8 Dog Hollow Speedway (PA) /Max Blair (5)/$1,200/32 (41 between the 2 nights)
June 16 McKean County Raceway (PA)/Ryan Montgomery (1)/$1,200/24
June 23 Sharon Speedway (OH)/Joe Martin (1)/$2,000/35
July 4 Expo Speedway (OH)/Will Thomas III (1)/$2,000/30
July 5 McKean County Raceway (PA)/Max Blair (6)/$1,200/49
July 6 Raceway 7 (OH)/Max Blair (7)/$1,200/33
July 7 Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway (PA)/Chad Ruhlman (1)/$1,200/41
July 8 Eriez Speedway (PA)/Matt Latta (1)/$2,000/22
July 14 Mercer Raceway Park (PA)/Will Thomas III (2)/$1,200/24
July 21 Sharon Speedway (OH)/Sammy Stile (1)/$2,000/42
Aug 11 Black Rock Speedway (NY)/Wayne Robertson (1)/$3,000/32
Aug 16 McKean County Raceway (PA)/Max Blair (8)/$1,200/39
Aug 18 Sharon Speedway (OH)/Max Blair (9)/$1,500/31/(5/27/12 make-up)
Aug 18 Sharon Speedway (OH)/Mike Pegher, Jr. (2)/$1,500/47
Sept 15 Sharon Speedway (OH)/Chad Wright (1)/$1,200/24
Sept 23 McKean County Raceway (PA)/Max Blair (10)/$1,200/49
Sept 29 Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex (PA)/Joe Martin (2)/$2,000/29
Oct 21 Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex (PA)/Chad Ruhlman (2)/$3,000/34
The next event for the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC FASTRAK Northeast Touring Series will be this Friday and Saturday at Lernerville Speedway as part of the "Big Kahuna". Saturday's feature will pay $2,000 to-win. There will be an open practice on Thursday night.
2012 FASTRAK Northeast marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tires, Original Pizza Logs, K&N Filters, The Brake Man, Utsinger's Towing, Precise Racing Products, Genesis Shocks, VP Fuels, Beyea Custom Headers, H&H Racing Equipment, High Gear Speed Shop, Hyperco, Jake's Golf Carts, Lincoln Electric, Wrisco Aluminum, and Wylie Race Cars.
You can reach co-directors Vicki Emig and Mike Leone at the FASTRAK Northeast office at 724-964-9300
. E-mail to email@example.com
and snail mail to 4368 Route 422, Pulaski, PA 16143. The office is open daily late mornings and after 1:30 p.m. For more information, check out the FASTRAK Northeast website at www.fastraknortheast.com
. Become our fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fastraknortheast