RUSH Late Models set for weekly action beginning April 6; 5 Sweeney Tour events scheduled; Sharon makes 3-yr RUSH commitment;
By Mike Leone
March 27, 2013
(Pulaski, PA)…Sharon Speedway is set to begin the inaugural campaign of the RUSH Late Models as a weekly attraction beginning Saturday, April 6. Sharon is one of the seven Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model weekly-sanctioned speedways in addition to several others hosting sanctioned events. Sharon has made a three-year commitment to RUSH and will feature the division 23 times in 2013 including five Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Touring Series events along with 18 times as part of the track’s “Steel Valley Thunder” program.
Known as one of the nation’s longest continual operated, family-owned speedways in the nation with auto racing dating back to 1929, Sharon has transformed into a state-of-the-art multi-million dollar facility since acquired by the Blaney, Kirila, and Weller families in 2002. The 3/8-mile oval is located 10 miles north of Interstate 80 just across the Pennsylvania border in Hartford, Ohio.
“It was a major step for our Series when Sharon agreed to come aboard RUSH,” explained Vicki Emig. “Sharon was one of the first four speedways to come out of the box in our announcement press release and really helped spur our forward momentum. We’ve had a good working relationship with General Manager Dave Willoughby. Dave has been very instrumental in the growth of the Crate Late Models in recent years, and Sharon is a huge part of our Sweeney Touring schedule.”
Sharon’s large presence with the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Touring Series includes hosting five big events. The Tour’s first stop will be over Memorial Day Weekend on May 25-26 with two complete shows as part of the Bill Emig Memorial “Wild Card Weekend”. Not only will $1,500 be on the line both Saturday and Sunday night, but an additional $1,500 in point money will be up for grabs with the infamous card draws!
Sharon teams up with Lernerville Speedway on July 5-6 to host “Off with the Tops”. The Sweeney RUSH Tour joins with the BOSS non-wing Sprints both nights. The Sharon “topless” event will not only pay $2,000 to-win, but it’s Sweeney Chevrolet Night as one lucky driver will win the GM 604 engine valued at over $5,000!
The Sweeney RUSH Tour is back with BOSS again on August 17 for $2,000 to-win this time in the third annual “Gary Knollinger Memorial”. And yet again, $2,000 will be awarded as part of the annual “Apple Festival Nationals” on September 13-14.
Though not a Tour event, on Saturday, June 8 as part of Lincoln Electric Night at the Speedway, one lucky RUSH Late Model racer will win a Lincoln Electric Power MIG 140C + and Utility Cart in a random drawing!
One of the region’s top Crate Late Model racers is Will Thomas III, who calls Sharon home. Thomas is coming off his first full season racing on dirt. The Sharpsville, Pa. racer was a standout competitor on asphalt and made a quick and smooth transition to dirt where he won six features and the Sharon track championship in 2012. After missing some early events, 2011 Sharon champion Josh Double of nearby Bristolville, Ohio is expected to contend again for the championship.
Two other top racers in Matt Latta and Bobby Whitling are also expected to battle for Sharon’s championship in addition to running several of the Sweeney RUSH Touring events. Latta, who had a big 2012 season, is one of the top up and coming stars of the division and is ready for his third season of racing. Whitling, a former Stock Car great, captured his first career Late Model win last season at Sharon.
Dennis Lunger, Jr. and Rocky Kugel turned some heads last season at Sharon with fine runs and are expected to be back up front in 2013 going after the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC Weekly Series money.
Sharon has two “Futures Cup” racers that compete weekly at Sharon including Eric Wilson of Cortland, Ohio and Clay Ruffo of Mercer, Pa. Wilson already owns a pair of feature wins at Sharon with one in each his first two seasons of action. Ruffo meanwhile has an Econo Mod win to his credit in 2011 and would love to capture his first Late Model win.
Sharon’s weekly RUSH member racers will be able to take part in all of the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model programs. It’s quite possible that one Sharon regular racer could win $8,000 in point man excluding any Touring or “Futures Cup” point funds!
Drivers will be able to accumulate their best 15 finishes (two per week) throughout the season as part of the $25,000+ Sweeney “Weekly Series Championship” that will pay $5,000 to-win down 30 positions.
Come July, the top 10 Sweeney RUSH Weekly members in Sharon points under the RUSH system will move on to the $10,000+ Pace Performance “Summer Chase”. Drivers can race as many times as they want from July through Labor Day at not only Sharon, but any RUSH-sanctioned event. Drivers’ average points (minimum eight events) will determine the $3,000 champion that will pay down 10 positions.
Any RUSH member under the age of 18 will also be eligible for the $3,000 “Futures Cup” program. Those 18 and 19 cannot have more than one full season of competition in Crate Late Models or any other higher division. These racers can compete at Sharon and at any other RUSH-sanctioned event to accumulate points. Drivers’ Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC “Weekly Series” points will be added to three stand-alone “Futures Cup” events that will be announced.
“I know how hard Vicki (Emig) and Mike (Leone) work for the Series so I felt it was in the best interest for Sharon to join with RUSH,” stated Willoughby. “They have worked on a daily basis over the past six years for Crate Late Model racers and tracks. RUSH has a great program put together for the inaugural season that which I’m sure will only grow into the future. This is just another reason why we decided to make the three-year commitment like other speedways have.”
Sharon’s Barris Supply RUSH Late Models are on a tiered purse structure for their regular events with $600 to-win if there are less than 14 cars, $700 to-win if there are 14-23 cars, and $750 to-win if there are 24 or more cars. Sharon also offers a free pit pass in addition to the $50 tow money for any non-qualifier when a B main is.
In addition to the RUSH Late Models, Sharon also features the Governor Insurance Agency DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds, Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds (formerly known as E-Mod), Gibson Insurance Agency Stock Cars, HTMA/Precise Racing Products Econo Mods, and the Deforest Used Parts Mini Stocks as part of their weekly “Steel Valley Thunder” Program.
Sharon Speedway’s GPS address is 3241 Custer-Orangeville Rd. NE, Burghill, OH 44404. For more information, check out their website at www.sharonspeedway.com or call 330-772-5481. As for their social media outlets, you can like their page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SharonSpeedway or follow them on Twitter @SharonSpdwy.
2013 RUSH weekly-sanctioned speedways include Allegheny Mountain Raceway (Kane, PA), Bradford (PA) Speedway, McKean County Raceway (East Smethport, PA), Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway (Imperial, PA), Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex (Markleysburg, PA), Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH), and The Rock – Allegany County Speedway (Cumberland, MD).
2013 RUSH marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Precise Racing Products, The Brake Man, K1 RaceGear, K&N Filters, Wrisco Aluminum, and Valley Fashions.
E-mail can be sent to the RUSH Racing Series at [email protected] 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.