(Markleysburg, PA)...The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series made its initial visit of 2014 to the Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex on Saturday night. The Hendren Family presented the second annual "Bill Hendren Memorial" event in the Northeast that featured over $18,000 in contingencies being awarded randomly to the 29 racers that participated from all over New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia.
Rick Singleton opened the 2013 Sweeney Tour season in victory lane at Hagerstown Speedway. Singleton led the points early on then suffered a mechanical issue on his toter that forced him to miss an event, battled a summer illness and then a late season concussion that not only took him out of the championship chase, but was unable to win another Tour event the rest of the season.
This year, Singleton has been fast already picking up two Sweeney Weekly Series wins at Roaring Knob and another at Winchester Speedway in addition to several Steel-Block Late Model wins. On Saturday night, Singleton made his first Sweeney Tour start of the season a successful one taking the lead from Jason Rider on lap 16 after a hard fought battle with several competitors then drove away for the 25-lap $1,500 to-win "Bill Hendren Memorial" victory.
"The track was awesome- that was some good racing," acknowledged the 49-year-old Front Royal, Virginia racer. "I got into Chad (McClellan) and (Nolan) Dalton down there. I guess it was a 50/50 deal. There was some water laying in the bottom and when I got under Chad I had nowhere to go, I slid up and got into him. But hey that's racing. Chad and I race hard, and I when I come here sheet metal takes a back seat to winning. Those guys were fast. I got trapped behind a guy on a restart and Nolan and Chad got by me. I found myself in fourth, had to regroup, and work my way back up to the front."
"It's awesome to win this race," continued Singleton. "This RUSH crate racing is great. I know Hendren was a large part of crate racing. I never knew him. I talked to him on the phone a few years ago, and was a good guy to talk to. You can't beat this RUSH deal. It's good close racing. We battled. That didn't come down to horsepower or money- it came down to getting it done. I love to race- that's what we're here for. I race hard, and that was fun. If I get out there and run single file- that's no fun."
Pole-sitter Nolan Dalton led the opening lap before Rider took over on lap two with an inside move racing off turn two. Singleton started fourth and passed Cody Dawson down the backstretch for third on lap three. Dalton didn't go away as he stayed right with Rider and the two raced side-by-side on lap four. Rider was able to hold on, while Singleton made the pass for second the following lap after some contact with Dalton.
The event's first caution was for Vince Masi, Jr., who got crashed out with five laps scored. Masi received The Brake Man's "Tough Brake of the Night" Award in addition to a $100 Schoenfeld Headers certificate. Masi was also awarded with the Driven Racing Oil "Slick Move of the Night" Award as he narrowly avoided a three-car last lap accident in turn four in his heat race to qualify for the feature in his first ever Sweeney Tour start.
Back under green, Dalton got a great restart to get back by Singleton for second and raced side-by-side for the lead with Rider on lap seven, but once again Rider prevailed. Chad McClellan, who won the season opening Sweeney Tour race last Friday at Freedom, started sixth and snuck past Singleton for third on lap eight before a three-car accident involving Michael Lake, Russell Baird, Jr., and Bill Pluta, Jr.
When racing resumed, McClellan nosed ahead of Dalton for second on lap nine and appeared to have the fastest car. It was a four-car race for the lead on lap 10 when Dalton got crossed up allowing Singleton to get by for third. Singleton looked fast again as he ran down Rider and McClellan on lap 13. Singleton slid up the track on lap 14 and made contact with McClellan to take second.
Ryan Montgomery, who started 11th, was quietly moving forward. Montgomery cracked the top five on lap 13 taking the spot from Bryce Davis then got past Dalton for fourth racing down the backstretch on lap 15. Back up front, Singleton made his winning pass with an inside move in turn four on lap 16. A pair of cautions with 18 laps scored bunched up the field for the final time and set up a seven-lap shootout to the finish.
Singleton went unchallenged in the closing laps to win by a margin of 3.045 seconds in the Clint Enyeart-owned, Rick Singleton Rental, MBH, TC Racecars-sponsored #99*. Singleton's victory also earned him a guaranteed starting spot and free entry fee in the October 16-17 "King of the Carolinas" Crate Late Model event at Clint Elkins of Speedway benefits promoted Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, North Carolina.
The battle from positions two through seven was intense and swapped several times in the closing seven laps. McClellan actually got past Rider for second on lap 20, but Rider didn't go away as they side-by-side for three laps as Rider regained the position for good on lap 22. It was a four-car race for second right down to the wire with Rider prevailing for his best career Sweeney Tour finish. Rider was also awarded the Accelerator-1 carb spacer kit from Crate Innovations.
Montgomery, last year's Sweeney Tour runner-up finisher, rebounded from last Friday night's disappointing end to finish third after getting by McClellan on lap 24. What a run for John Over! Over had a transfer spot locked up in his heat, but spun in turn four on the final lap. Over went from third to first in the B main giving him the 19th starting spot for the feature. Over made his way forward in the feature and ended up finishing fourth after passing McClellan on the final lap, which also earned him the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger certificate for passing 15 cars!
McClellan dropped to fifth at the finish and holds on to a slim two-point lead in the Sweeney Tour points over Rider. New York racer Bryce Davis was sixth in his first ever Roaring Knob appearance. Dalton faded to seventh. John Waters, another New York driver, was eighth in his second ever Roaring Knob start. Rick Strickler and Robby Marhefka completed the top 10. "Futures Cup" racer Reese Masiello earned the Crate Innovations Moroso Plug Wire Set in his first ever Sweeney Tour start.
Heat winners were Lake, Singleton, and Davis. Over of course won the B main. Dave Friedrich missed the feature by one spot in his first ever Sweeney Tour start and was awarded the ARbodies "Nosed Out" nose kit.
Bill Hendren's son Steve along with Kate Dillon of CrateInsider.com were on hand again from North Carolina to help present the over $18,000 in contingencies during the drivers meeting that was well appreciated by the racers. The majority of the drivers all received three prizes. A complete list of winners will be posted soon. Hendren also awarded beautiful engraved plaques to the top three feature finishers.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series Race #2 (25 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. RICK SINGLETON (Enyeart 99*) 2. Jason Rider (Wade 76) 3. Ryan Montgomery (12) 4. John Over (K2) 5. Chad McClellan (119) 6. Bryce Davis (94) 7. Nolan Dalton (D2) 8. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 9. Rick Strickler (Haseleu RJ1) 10. Robby Marhefka (99FM) 11. Ken Herman (58) 12. Bill Pluta, Jr. (73c) 13. Dylan Lewis (98J) 14. Eric Wilson (27W) 15. John Imler (63) 16. Russell Baird, Jr. (17) 17. Andrew Wylie (84) 18. Jeanne Piper (14) 19. Reese Masiello (22R) 20. Ralph Morgan, Jr. (Powell 100) 21. Cody Dawson (36) 22. Michael Lake (Yowler 27) 23. Bob Gordon (Seiger 99) 24. Vince Masi, Jr. (61). DNQ: Dave Friedrich (66), Mike Ott (21), Clinton Hersh (16), Bryan Rankin (7x), Mark Wells (7).
Car Count: 29
Feature Lap Leaders: Nolan Dalton (1), Jason Rider (2-15), Rick Singleton (16-25)
Margin of Victory: 3.045 seconds
Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down Hard Charger": John Over (+15)
The Brake Man "Tough Brake of the Night: Vince Masi, Jr. (also received a $100 Schoenfeld Headers certificate)
Driven Oil "Slick Move of the Night": Vince Masi, Jr.
Crate Innovations "Performance Plus" Accelerator-1 Carb Spacer Kit Giveaway: Jason Rider
Crate Innovations "Ignite" Moroso Custom Fit Plug Wire Set: Reese Masiello
ARbodies "Nosed Out" Nose Kit: Dave Friedrich
Dynatech Lap 5 Leader $350 Gift Certificate: Jason Rider
Heat 1 (10 laps, Top 6 transfer):1. Lake 2. McClellan 3. Montgomery 4. Piper 5. Herman 6. Masiello 7. Pluta 8. Friedrich 9. Ott 10. Rankin.
Heat 2 (10 laps, Top 6 transfer):1. Singleton 2. Dawson 3. Dalton 4. Rider 5. Lewis 6. Morgan 7. Wylie 8. Gordon 9. Hersh 10. Wells-DNS.
Heat 3 (10 laps, Top 6 transfer):1. Davis 2. Waters 3. Strickler 4. Marhefka 5. Imler 6. Masi 7. Over 8. Wilson 9. Baird.
Last Chance B Main (10 laps, Top 6 transfer):1. Over 2. Wylie 3. Gordon 4. Wilson 5. Pluta 6. Baird 7. Friedrich 8. Ott 9. Hersh 10. Rankin 11. Wells-DNS.
With the cancellation of the "Steel City 100" presented by Bilstein Shock Absorbs due to the 100% chance of storms on Sunday, the next events for the Sweeney Tour are the "Mid-Atlantic States Classic" on Friday, June 20 at Potomac Speedway and Saturday, June 21 at Winchester Speedway. Each event will pay $2,500 to-win!
RUSH Late Model marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, The Brake Man, K&N Filters, Bilstein Shocks, Lincoln Electric, TurboStart, Beyea Headers, FK Rod Ends, Bobby Lake Motorsports, Driven Racing Oil, Crate Innovations Inc., Moroso Performance Products, High Gear Speed Shop, CrateInsider.com, Utsinger's Towing, B.R.A.K.E.S., 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.