(Markleysburg, PA)...The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series returned to Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex on Friday night for the rescheduled April 19 "Battle Down the National Pike". A packed house filled the grandstands, grassy lawn chair seating, and drive in parking as RUSH joined with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series at the scenic Markleysburg oval.
Ryan Montgomery held off Sweeney Tour point leader and three-time winner Mike Pegher, Jr. in a thriller to win by the closest margin in history (0.132) to capture his season's second Tour win. The 30-lap, $2,000 win was Montgomery's biggest of the season and closed his deficit to Pegher in the Sweeney Tour Championship to 24 points.
"The lapped cars moving to the topside the last couple laps really helped me out a lot," stated the 16-year-old Fairmont, WV driver. "I knew Mike was there and I just kept trying to hold my line, but the last couple laps I kept moving out more and more. The right rear tire was going away so I'm glad it wasn't anymore laps. I could hear him behind me. I knew it was going to be close, but I didn't see him until I crossed the finish line. I was like 'oh wait did he just pass me and I stuck my hand out the window'? It's awesome to win here and it means a lot; all of my family and friends are here."
The race got off to an ugly start when contact was made and cars went scrambling everywhere with eight cars getting caught up in the melee. All drivers were okay as six of the eight would rejoin the field. When racing got underway, K&N Dash winner Troy Shields battled side-by-side on the opening lap with Joe Martin as Shields had the narrow advantage to lead the first lap. Montgomery started fifth and was up to third after one lap with Jorden Peters and seventh starting Pegher filling out the top five after one lap.
Roaring Knob Super Late Model star Bob Gordon was making his first start in the Tom Sieger-owned #99, but spun after contact bringing out the caution with three laps scored. On the restart, Montgomery slipped past Martin for second as ninth starting Rick Singleton was able to get by both Pegher and Peters for fourth. On lap five following a caution for a spin by newcomer C.J. Johnson, Montgomery raced side-by-side with Shields for nearly the entire lap before making the winning pass driving around Shields off the topside of turn four.
Montgomery and Shields continued to race side-by-side for the lead on lap six with Montgomery holding on until another fine run by Joe Martin ended when he slowed and eventually came to rest necessitating the final caution of the race with six laps scored. Martin was awarded his season's second Brake Man "Tough Brake of the Night" award. Pegher was able to slip by Singleton and Peters for third as lap six counted. Back under green flag conditions, it was three-wide for the lead between Montgomery, Shields and Pegher.
Montgomery continued to hold down the lead, while Pegher and Shields went at it for second. The duo ran side-by-side lap after lap without contact. Finally on lap 10, Pegher slipped underneath Shields in turn four for runner-up. Pegher quickly cut down Montgomery's lead as he closed in on lap 13 and one lap later was all over the leader. Singleton had already passed the #11P of Peters for fourth then passed the other #11 in Shields for third with an inside move on lap 15.
Twelfth starting Ricky Meglaye was on the move as he followed Singleton by Shields for fourth on lap 15 as well; however, two laps later, Meglaye slapped a Jersey barrier and lost a few positions. Singleton began chewing into the deficit behind the lead duo on lap 18. The remainder of the race saw Pegher and Singleton keep pace with Montgomery. Montgomery made some nice moves in traffic to maintain his lead.
Pegher would try everything over the second-half of the race. He really closed in again in the final laps. Pegher tried to get under Montgomery on the final lap, but it took until turn four when he finally had an opening. It was a drag race down the frontstretch with Montgomery holding on by the narrowest of margin in the Jeff Montgomery-owned, T.J. Contracting/High Gear Speed Shop/Mountain State Plumbing/Central Supply/Bobby Lake Motorsports/Frankland Rearends/Genesis Racing Shocks-sponsored #12.
"Those guys (Montgomery) were on top of their game all night long," acknowledged the Wexford, Pa. driver. "We struggled early on in qualifying and in the heat race. We made the right choices in the feature and were pretty good. I was hoping for a restart with a couple laps to go to see if I had anything for him. I could tell he was starting to slide up in turns three and four every lap. I honestly thought I was getting better every lap- just wished it was maybe 35 laps."
Singleton's third was his eighth top five of the season. "I was just kind of riding there at the end," revealed the Hesston, Pa. veteran. I knew I could catch them, but I couldn't pass them so I was trying to save my right rear hoping for a caution, but then at the end I figured I better go. These young boys are good. We've been battling in the point race, but broke down last week on the way to the track- that was a bummer. I was really enjoying the point race with them, but we'll try and catch back up."
Meglaye would gain back the ground he lost getting back by Shields for fourth on lap 26 and crossed the finish there in just his second Tour start of the season. After leading the first four laps, Shields faded to fifth. John Over's sixth was his best Tour finish of the season and propelled him three spots in the standings. Canadian Jorden Peters also recorded his best Tour finish of the season in seventh beating his prior best of a pair of 10th place finishes. Andrew Wylie came home eighth as he'll also gain three positions in the standings to move into the important 15th place in points.
After finishing a season best 12th in his last Tour start at Expo on July 14, Cody Dawson also nailed down his season's best effort in ninth. Completing the top 10 was Billy Beachler, who earned his season's first $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger gift card as he improved 11 spots from his 21st starting position.
Montgomery also set fast time in Bobby Lake Motorsports "Shock the Clock" Qualifying with a lap of 17.005 to earn an extra $100. Montgomery, Over, and Martin picked up $25 for topping the Bobby Lake Motorsports heat races. All told, Montgomery earned $2,125 for the night!
Troy Shields became the amazing 12th different K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash winner in 12 events this season! Shields received a $100 K&N certificate as second place finisher Joe Martin received a $50 certificate. The third and fourth place finishers of Over and Baird received $25 cash. Ten drivers (listed below) received an additional $100 in travel money from the April 20 event at Hagerstown Speedway that was part of the "Battle Down the National Pike" weekend.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series Race #12 (30 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. RYAN MONTGOMERY (12) 2. Mike Pegher, Jr. (Geisler 1c) 3. Rick Singleton (Enyeart 99*) 4. Ricky Meglaye (5) 5. Troy Shields (11) 6. John Over (K2) 7. Jorden Peters (11P) 8. Andrew Wylie (84) 9. Cody Dawson (36) 10. Billy Beachler (21) 11. Butch Lambert (27) 12. Nico Dabecco (Karalagas 15D) 13. Ken Herman (58) 14. Jeff Compton (65) 15. Matt Glanden (01) 16. Bob Gordon (Sieger 99) 17. Michael Lake (27) 18. Josh Jacoby (88) 19. Greg Hauger (T2) 20. Joe Martin (55) 21. C.J. Johnson (21JT) 22. Russell Baird, Jr. (17) 23. W.L. Stile (1W).
Feature lap Leaders: Shields (1-4), Montgomery (5-30)
Margin of Victory: 0.132
Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down Hard Charger": Billy Beachler (+11)
The Brake Man "Tough Brake of the Night: Joe Martin
$100 Travel Money: Rick Singleton, Mike Pegher, Jr., Joe Martin, Ryan Montgomery, John Over, Michael Lake, Butch Lambert, Matt Glanden, Cody Dawson, Jorden Peters.
BobbyLake Motorsports "Shock the Clock" Time Trials ($100 for fast time): 1. Ryan Montgomery 17.005 2. Andrew Wylie 17.048 3. Rick Singleton 17.175 4. Mike Pegher, Jr. 17.181 5. John Over 17.228 6. Jorden Peters 17.233 7. Troy Shields 17.342 8. Russell Baird, Jr. 17.354 9. Ricky Meglaye 17.387 10. Cody Dawson 17.418 11. Greg Hauger 17.428 12. Joe Martin 17.437 13. Nico Dabecco 17.475 14. 14. Matt Glanden 17.505 15. Billy Beachler 17.534 16. Michael Lake 17.542 17. Butch Lambert 17.542 18. Ken Herman 17.611 19. W.L. Stile 17.674 20. C.J. Johnson 17.693 21. Bob Gordon 17.737 22. Jeff Compton 17.815 23. Josh Jacoby 17.905.
BobbyLake Motorsports Heat 1 (8 laps, $25 to-win)1. Montgomery 2. Shields 3. Pegher 4. Dawson 5. Dabecco 6. Lake 7. Stile 8. Compton.
BobbyLake Motorsports Heat 2 (8 laps, $25 to-win): 1. Over 2. Baird 3. Lambert 4. Wylie 5. Jacoby 6. Johnson 7. Hauger 8. Glanden.
BobbyLake Motorsports Heat 3 (8 laps, $25 to-win): 1. Martin 2. Peters 3. Singleton 4. Meglaye 5. Herman 6. Gordon 7. Beachler.
K&N "Cold Air Induction" Dash (4 laps/$100 K&N certificate to-win): 1. Troy Shields 2. Joe Martin 3. John Over 4. Russell Baird, Jr.
The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Touring Series will be off until the McKean County Fair event on Thursday, August 15 for $1,200 to-win followed by the Gary Knollinger Memorial at Sharon Speedway on Saturday, August 17 for $2,000 to-win.
2013 RUSH marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, RainEater Wiper Blades, Hoosier Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, The Brake Man, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, TurboStart, K1 RaceGear, Beyea Headers, FK Rod Ends, Bobby Lake Motorsports, Wrisco Industries, High Gear Speed Shop, Utsinger's Towing, 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, PA16143. 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.